The director of The Lincoln Forum, our Board Chairman Dr. J. David Franks, considers solidarity through the lens of Dostoyevsky's striking concept of love in The Brothers Karamazov. This, and other readings, are part of our Social Ethics and Pro-Life Solidarity Certificate at MCFL. We welcome you to join the conversation that is creating a more just world, in-person, or remotely. If online, use #ReVitalize and #MassProLife to follow along.
By J. David Franks, Ph.D.
To be truly pro-life means to respond to the claim made on us by the other: to be responsible to and for the lives of others. And, somehow, we must know this without becoming sanctimonious.
This is the summit of wisdom, as Dostoevsky has Elder Zosima express it. He speaks of monks in a monastery, but we must see how this truth transposes to the pro-life sentinels of human dignity. We belong to the vanguard not because we are innocent of all the anguish of the world, but because we cannot escape our implication in that anguish.
“For you must know, my dear ones, that each of us is undoubtedly guilty on behalf of all and for all on earth, not only because of the common guilt of the world, but personally, each one of us, for all people and for each person on this earth. This knowledge is the crown of the monk’s path, and of every man’s path on earth. For monks are not a different sort of men, but only such as all men on earth ought also to be. Only then will our hearts be moved to a love that is infinite, universal, and that knows no satiety. Then each of us will be able to gain the whole world by love and wash away the world’s sins with his tears…”
The more we must resist assaults on life and dignity, the more we must remember: I am pro-life because I am responsible for all, without exception. We have no enemies. Our mission is love and universal friendship.