Dear President-Elect Biden:
Your commitment to usher in “a time to heal” brings to mind a call to heal delivered decades ago by a woman of towering courage who stood barely five feet tall. Her name was Mother Teresa, and her message at the 1982 Harvard graduation ceremony made an indelible impression on those in attendance, including at least one of our supporters.
There at one of the most liberal institutions on earth, this fearless little nun spoke up for the unborn. “It is something unbelievable that today a mother, herself, murders her own child, afraid of having to feed one more child, afraid to educate one more child. This is one of the greatest poverties. A nation, people, family that allows that, that accepts that, they are the poorest of the poor.”
As reported by the Harvard Journal, “Mother Teresa spoke with almost mesmerizing conviction; her excellent English had an accent and cadence compounded of her native Yugoslavia and India. What she said struck many listeners as anomalous in Harvard Yard on Class Day, but she received a long, standing ovation from the unusually large crowd come to hear a saintly woman.”
Years later in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court, this saintly woman urged the Justices to return to America’s founding principles. “As your Declaration of Independence put it, in words that have never lost their power to stir the heart: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…’ A nation founded on these principles holds a sacred trust: to stand as an example to the rest of the world, to climb ever higher in its practical realization of the ideals of human dignity, brotherhood, and mutual respect. Your constant efforts in fulfillment of that mission, far more that your size or your wealth or your military might, have made America an inspiration to all mankind….
“Yet there has been one infinitely tragic and destructive departure from those American ideals in recent memory. It was this Court’s own decision in Roe v. Wade to exclude the unborn child from the human family… America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation…. I have no new teaching for America. I seek only to recall you to faithfulness to what you once taught the world. Your nation was founded on the proposition—very old as a moral precept, but startling and innovative as a political insight—that human life is a gift of immeasurable worth, and that it deserves, always and everywhere, to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”
Mother Teresa has since gone to her eternal reward, where we are convinced she will hear the voice of her Master say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” for “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Meanwhile as her words to America continue to call us, we call upon you to take the lead in doing what Mother Teresa urged: return to our founding principle of treating the sacred gift of human life with the utmost dignity and respect. Only thus can our nation truly be healed.
International Organization for the Family