Today in Catholic Exchange is an article about Auschwitz. I visited the death camp in the summer of 1992 along with a group of Polish and American college students (we were touring southern Poland doing Christian concerts). When we got to the camp, the Polish students refused to go inside -- they waited in the bus while the rest of us went in. When we asked them about it, there was suddenly an insurmountable language barrier between us.
While the Germans ran the camp, the people immediately outside the gates were Polish, not German. Some did resist, and were themselves exterminated. Others grew wealthy by cooperating. Still others fled. It's a comforting thought, I suppose, to tell ourselves that if we were in that situation, we would not have turned a blind eye, that we would have paid with our lives, if necessary, to resist such a monstrous evil.
Ironically, it is the cold, metallic words inscribed in the entrance gate that gives us the best possible advice for how we can eliminate the necessity of abortion in a single generation. Arbeit macht frei: work makes freedom.
What are we doing today -- individually and as a society -- besides talking? I recently read of one Catholic man who promised an unwed mother that he would pay for her expenses for her pregnancy and delivery, and continue the payments for the first two years of the child's life, so she would have time to get back on her feet and be able to support herself and her child. How many of us would make that kind of sacrifice? Or how many would say, as Blessed Teresa often did, "Give the child to me. I will take care of him for you."
It is this kind of witness, this kind of sacrifice, that will make the abortion mills obsolete. We must give more than words. We must give ourselves.