St. Innocent, pray for us

My very favorite historical theologian, Aidan Nichols, O.P., offered in his fascinating and little noticed book, Christendom Awake, a new ‘liturgical’ approach to the intractable debates over abortion.  An approach that draws its inspiration from today’s Feast of the Holy Innocents.

He suggested that the Church, in a single and dramatic act, canonize as “martyrs of innocence” the countless millions of brutally and unjustly aborted children.

He examines the many debates that have surrounded this proposal, especially the challenge of finding real precedent in the Catholic Tradition for canonizing the pre-born, or those whose death is not explicitly endured out of odium fidei, “hatred for the faith.”

One important effect of such an act would be, he argues, that Catholic Christians who formally cooperate in direct abortions would suddenly find themselves ranked not with the “noble army of martyrs,” but rather with that ignoble perpetrators of martyrdom.

In any event, we turn today to these powerless Innocents who suffered as scapegoats for the Lamb of God, and seek their powerful intercession.

Today’s Mass Collect: O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in your which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life. Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.’ (Matt. 2:17-18)

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