CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Miscarried babies and the mercy of God

In her 2018 Policy Address, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor mentioned the handling of the remains of miscarried babies, saying, “… the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Hospital Authority have already implemented various administrative measures to facilitate the handling of abortuses. The government is examining proposals to further improve such arrangements in a holistic manner, including provision of facilities” (45 [5]).
 
Recently, a Mass was offered at the Holy Cross Cemetery, Chai Wan, for miscarried children. Afterwards, their remains were buried in the cemetery’s Angel Garden. It is hoped that this will give great comfort to grieving parents and honour the babies. 
 
The Church entrusts the souls of miscarried babies who have died without baptism to the mercy of God, who desires everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Furthermore, Jesus, who loves children, said, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them” (Mark 10:14). So, we have every reason to hope that there is salvation for children who have died without baptism (cf Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1261).
 
November is the dedicated to the souls in Purgatory. The Catechism tells us that Purgatory is the “final purification of the elect” (1031), and that, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (1030).
 
The CCC says, “From the beginning, the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead” (1032).
 
The existence of Purgatory does not imply any imperfection of the salvation brought by Jesus. Rather, it highlights the communitarian dimension of the Church—the Communion of Saints—that we are all brothers and sisters in the mystical body of Christ—the Church on Earth, the Souls in Purgatory and the Saints. 
 
We care for and support each other and are connected even after this life through prayers for one another.
 
Miscarriages are tragic and the parents can suffer grave and lasting trauma from the loss. We hope and pray that will emerge from their despair and intercede for them and for the souls the unborn babies.
 
May they see the face of our loving God and enjoy his comfort and his embrace! SE