I recently ran across a quote on the website for Salt & Light TV, the Catholic Television Network in Canada. It is a brilliant, hope-filled message addressed by Vaclav Havel in 1990 as he greeted John Paul II and welcomed him to Prague, Czechoslovakia shortly after that country’s liberation from Communism.
“I am not sure I know what a miracle is. In spite of this, I dare say that, at this moment, I am participating in a miracle: the man who six months ago was arrested as an enemy of the state stands here today as the president of that state, and bids welcome to the first pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church to set foot in this land…
“I am not sure that I know what a miracle is. In spite of this, I dare say that at this moment I am participating in a miracle: in a country devastated by the ideology of hatred, the messenger of love has arrived; in a country devastated by the government of the ignorant, the living symbol of culture has arrived; in a country that, until a short time ago, was devastated by the idea of confrontation and division in the world, the messenger of peace, dialogue, mutual tolerance, esteem and calm understanding, the messenger of fraternal unity in diversity has arrived.
“During these long decades, the Spirit was banished from our country. I have the honor of witnessing the moment in which its soil is kissed by the apostle of spirituality.”
“Welcome to Czechoslovakia, Your Holiness.”
During that same historic Papal Visit to Prague in April 1990, President Vaclav Havel welcomed John Paul II to a gathering of the cultural and non-Catholic leaders by reminding him of a line from a poem written by then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla when he was Archbishop of Cracow in 1974. Havel spoke these moving words:
“In one of your poems you asked: ‘Can history ever run counter to conscience?’ What you intended to say in that exclamation is clear: that history cannot run counter to conscience forever. You were right and with you all those who did not lose hope.”
This quote seems particularly applicable to the effort of many in our country for now 39 years who have worked to overturn Roe v. Wade in order to establish a “more just society”, which honors the sanctity of all life, born and unborn. Indeed, a nation that allows the legal destruction of unborn, human life, is acting against the national conscience.
Truly, those who pray and work according to conscience are helping to lay bare the conscience of a nation to help it correct a great injustice, namely the taking of innocent life. We believe and trust that “history cannot run counter to conscience forever.” So, take heart, people of faith. Stay the course, persevere in faith and goodwill. Trust in God, and He will act! (Psalm 37)
The legal killing of unborn children is offensive to the human (corporate) conscience. Such injustice will be over-ruled one day! As Deacon Vernon Dobleman said so well last night in his address at the Pro-Life Dinner, leading up to today’s Mass and march: “We must pray, study, and act” together. United in the one moral voice of truth, we will see a victory in this arena one day!