In late June, Baby Monica was laid to rest after a funeral Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, New York. She had been found, dead and discarded, in a bag surrounded by bloody clothing under a tree near a Brooklyn school.
The Life Center of New York worked with the Diocese of Brooklyn, the New York Police Department, a local funeral home and a Staten Island cemetery to arrange for the funeral.
“Baby Monica, like all of us, deserves dignity and respect in living and dying,” Life Center founder Fred Trabulsi was quoted in the New York Daily News as saying.
At 20 weeks, an ultrasound would have shown Monica’s heart, kidneys and brain hemispheres. She would have had working taste buds. She would not have been viable outside the womb, but she was a human being, and her remains were worthy of respect.
“The corpses of human embryos and fetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected, just as the remains of other human beings,” states Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life), issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1987.
Burying the dead may not sound like a controversial act, but when it involves unborn children, it can be. One news story about Baby Monica mockingly described the funeral procession as “parading a little casket.” A 2016 story about Indiana’s legislation mandating the burial or cremation of fetal remains explained that these unborn children “will be laid to rest in the way of a human” — as though the babies were anything but human.
“Why would a state create a mourning ritual for no one?” the writer asked.
The answer to such tone-deaf questions, according to pro-life groups around the country, is found in faith — and common sense.
A Corporal Act of Mercy
“It’s exactly what God asks us to do: Bury the dead,” says Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League. “It’s a corporal work of mercy.”
“And it’s what human nature calls upon us to do,” he adds. “We recognize something sacred about the human body.”
That’s why his organization partnered with Priests for Life and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to establish the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, observed each September on the second Saturday — Sept. 14 this year. Across the country, solemn prayer vigils are held at gravesites of aborted children, as well as at other sites dedicated to the memory of aborted children.
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