2006-01-23 A review of some statistics from our fiftieth anniversary yea

January 23, 2006

A review of some statistics from our fiftieth anniversary year provides some interesting information. In 2005 we had 47 marriages (not counting the weddings of parishioners performed in other parts of the country or abroad), 69 baptisms, and 8 funerals. Compared with just five years ago, this represents a 31 percent increase in marriages, a 98 percent increase in baptisms, and an 11 percent decrease in deaths.

In a society whose average age is getting older, our parish is getting younger and more fecund. Even with all the canonical and pastoral work involved in marriage preparation, each wedding is a unique joy. It is especially gratifying that our baptisms have doubled in just a few years. We hear the voices of the little ones all about us in church, and if we hush their decibels we are stifling the hope of the future. The decline in deaths may indicate that Murray Hill is a healthy place, but all of us pray for a happy death in the hope of resurrection to life eternal.

Amidst these happy statistics is the grim one which has appeared in various newspapers and magazines as of late, sometimes begrudgingly, and sometimes with a sense of embarrassment, and often with an appropriate sense of horror: Our city is the deadliest city in the nation for babies. Ten percent of all abortions in the United States take place in the state of New York and 70 percent of these take place in the city of New York. In 2004, there were 124,100 live births in the city and 91,700 induced abortions. This is almost double the national average. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of abor­tions performed here for out-of-town women increased from 57 to 70 out of every 1,000. Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Center in Manhattan provides 11,000 abortions each year.

In the blinkered moral vision of our time, it is possible in the same hospital to have the latest technology struggling to save premature babies and to destroy other babies even older. Our city is prosperous and dazzling to behold but it also conceals this darkest secret. Some consciences have become so debased that they take pride in what the Second Vatican Council called this abominable crime. The recent Senate hearings on the Alito nomination highlighted the poverty of moral discourse in high places.

These days also are an octave of prayer for Christian unity. There can be no unity with those dying religious sects that try to reconcile Christ and the destruction of his unborn sons and daughters. This Sunday many of our parishioners, including older altar servers, will be traveling to Washington for the March for Life. Their absence from us will be our presence. I give my own thanks that our parish is a beacon of light in the darkness of our current “Culture of Death.”

Fr. George W. Rutler

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