24-January-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Denver Prelate Remembers Personal Experience With Abortion

Archbishop Aquila Releases 1st Pastoral Letter as Nation Marks Roe vs Wade Anniversary

DENVER, COLORADO, January 22, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Archbishop Samuel Aquila, the new archbishop of Denver, released a pastoral letter today, as the United States marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. In the letter, his first since arriving to Denver, the 62-year-old prelate recalls his own personal experience with abortion.

"I went to college in 1968 with the idea of becoming a doctor, like my father," the archbishop begins.

He recounts how his first three years of college were spent working as a hospital orderly: "At that time, some states had approved abortion laws that I wasn't even aware of. Because of those laws, when I was in college I witnessed the results of two abortions.

"The first was in a surgical unit. I walked into an outer room and in the sink, unattended, was the body of small unborn child who had been aborted. I remember being stunned. I remember thinking that I had to baptize that child.

"The second abortion was more shocking. A young woman came into the emergency room screaming. She explained that she had had an abortion already. When the doctor sent her home, he told her she would pass the remains naturally. She was bleeding as the doctor, her boyfriend, the nurse and I placed her on a table.

"I held a basin as the doctor retrieved a tiny arm, a tiny leg and then the rest of the broken body of a tiny unborn child. I was shocked. I was saddened for the mother and child, for the doctor and the nurse. None of us would have participated in such a thing were it not an emergency. I witnessed a tiny human being destroyed by violence."

Archbishop Aquila said the memories of those events haunt him. "In the abortions I witnessed, powerful people made decisions that ended the lives of small, powerless, children. Through lies and manipulation, children were seen as objects."

"I witnessed the death of two small people who never had the chance to take a breath," the prelate wrote. "I can never forget that. And I have never been the same. My faith was weak at the time. But I knew by reason, and by what I saw, that a human life was destroyed."

Coarsened

The Denver archbishop said there is a responsibility to "work and pray without ceasing" for the end of abortion.

"Tolerating abortion for 40 years has coarsened us," Archbishop Aquila warned. "We've learned to see people as problems and objects.

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