On this Feast of the Holy Innocents, I came across Eric Metaxas' article "Gushing over the royal fetus: words matter" on Lifesitenews.com. He made me consider all of the hoopla surrounding the royal baby in a new light. Of course, like the rest of the world, I was thrilled for the couple when I heard the news, but I hadn't taken pause to consider what a wonderful blessing this royal baby is by his or her presence in the media spotlight.
As a pro-life woman, I barely blinked at all of the reports about a "royal baby" and took that phrase for granted. After all, when a woman is pregnant, she is having a baby, right? I never considered what a wonderful, pro-life message the words "royal baby" send the world--especially early on in the pregnancy. The news generally does semantic gymnastics when it refers to a pregnancy in the first trimester. These babies are usually referred to as a "product of conception," "lump of tissue," or a "fetus."
Yet, it seems when we're talking about royalty, there's no debate in the tabloids or news over the personhood of the royal offspring. Since the news broke, we hear everywhere that Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge are having a baby--not a "product of conception," a "fetus," or a "lump of tissue." In his article on Lifesitenews.com, Metaxas mentions a British blogger with the tongue-in-cheek pseudonym "Archbishop Cranmer," "referencing the 16th-century Protestant divine who was executed during the reign of Queen Mary on the charge of heresy." I think Metaxas is onto something when he quotes the hypocrisy "Archbishop Cranmer" notes the media treatment of the "royal baby" compared to other first trimester babies:
Noting the excitement in British society about the child who is “destined to ascend the throne,” the modern “Archbishop Cranmer” points out the slip of so many tongues. “Surely such ‘pro-choice’ newspapers and journals (and people) should be talking about a bunch of pluripotent stem cells, an embryo or a foetus?” he asks. “For reports suggest that the Duchess is still in her first trimester, so this is not yet a baby; and certainly nothing with any kind of destiny. At this stage, surely, it is a non-person, just like the other 201,931 non-persons who last year were evacuated from wombs in England, Scotland and Wales.”"Archbishop Cranmer" is right to question why the world unwaveringly considers the royal baby (even in the first trimester) a baby while the country legally aborted hundreds of thousands of babies and refers to other first trimester babies as "a bunch of pluripotent stem cells, an embryo or a foetus."
When the world watched the Olympics in London, we witnessed the deep respect and love the English people have for the royal family. That deep respect seems to be transferring naturally to the royal couple's children. In an unspoken agreement, the English people and the world dare not degrade the royal baby to the status of "potential person."
Some might lament that the world is anticipating the royal baby's birth more than it anticipated the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas, but let's focus on the good. It is good and beautiful to witness the world anxiously awaiting the birth of any baby.
It's interesting to consider that the world won't question the personhood of the royal baby, yet it turns a blind eye to the millions of babies that are victims of abortion. If we believe what St. Paul tells us, we need to remember that we are royalty, too. (Remember, though, our King wore a crown of thorns instead of jewels.)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)If God is King and we are His children, we are made in His image and likeness and make up His royal priesthood. When I taught high school Spanish at an all-girls school, I routinely told my students (en español) that they were God's princesses and deserved only the best treatment from any young men that they dated. Now that I have children of my own, I demand that the world treat them as the royal babies that they are--not because they can do no wrong (ohhhhhhhh, believe me, my precious little ones can make my blood boil on the right day), but the world should treat them as royal babies because they are on loan to me from their perfect Father. Just as I expect the world to treat them as royal babies, I expect them to return the same treatment to everyone else on this planet because we're equally important in the eyes of God.
So, Holy Innocents, please pray for us. Pray that we see the inherent beauty and dignity in every human person--especially the unborn, disabled, and elderly. Pray that we defend the Innocents among us. Help us to anticipate the birth of every baby with hope and joy in the knowledge that the baby will be a member of a royal priesthood.