My primary purpose for walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela was to perform a spiritual pilgrimage that has been undertaken since ancient times by countless Christians. Even with such intent, however, some of the decay of modern society is apparent.
As I walked through the picturesque cities of Castilla & Leon in Northern Spain, I began to notice pro-abortion graffiti. The most common slogan was “aborto libre” (free or unlimited abortion) spray-painted on public benches. Pro-life pilgrims, for their part, responded with their own messages.
Spain is in the midst of a dramatic national debate over abortion. The previous Socialist government removed almost all restrictions on abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. When the most recent national elections threw the Socialists out of power, one of the electoral promises of the victorious Conservatives was to roll back the anti-life legislation. Sadly, in a scenario we know all too well, the politicians have thus far failed to honor their word. Literally millions of Spaniards have taken to the streets in massive pro-life protests: first against the Socialists, and then against the Conservative government.
Why is it so hard for the will of the people to prevail? America has experienced essentially the same phenomenon for decades.
It is good that abortion is a hot topic here. A prominent newspaper reported that the spokesman for the Spanish bishops’ conference called for the eradication of abortion. The more people think about this terrible procedure, which kills the life of a baby, the better the chances people will come to understand how truly horrific it is. Silence is the enemy of change.
I have capitalized on every opportunity to speak to people along the Camino about this topic, dispelling some common myths about world overpopulation or the vicious prejudice that Africans “breed like rabbits.”
We can do an amazing amount of good by simply and charitably sharing the truth with those we meet along the way.
Once a pro-lifer, always a pro-lifer.
Follow the hashtag #HLIcompostela on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and HLI’s website for weekly posts about Joseph Meaney’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in honor of HLI’s Seminarians for Life.