In anticipation of Christmas, the priest at my church delivered a homily about the pregnant Mother Mary a few weeks ago. He set up a scenario about this young teen, returning from the place where Gabriel announced to her that she would bear the Son of God:
She's in awe. She might not understand how it could be possible, but she recognizes the weight of the blessing in God's choice. This teen also knows that she is just a girl and she doesn't know how to explain it to her parents. There she was, walking along a path she had walked a hundred times before back to her home, but this time she was facing the risk of judgment, charges of adultery, and death.
How would we react if we met the real Mary with the real Jesus in her womb? What kind of judgment would we pass on her in the name of Christianity. "If she was a good person, she wouldn't be pregnant right now."
Obviously, I believe in and love the teachings of JP2's Theology of the Body. I don't think "Oh, it's fine" if someone chooses to have sex before marriage, but it doesn't help anything to treat them badly. Gossiping, trash talking, and passing judgment on pregnant women are not Christian acts, even if one is doing them as acts of standing by values of abstinence.
This is where I struggle with the shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. I don't watch it often, but when I saw it I constantly try to shake my first reaction of: what was going on in their heads?
The more pressing question is: what is going on in the heads of teens who watch the show? I don't have an answer to this question because sometimes the young moms tout an "I wish I'd waited" message and others tout an "I'm old enough to handle this" message.
These girls have to learn a lot of lessons really fast, while surrounded by judgmental looks. A lot of the teen dads on the show leave the picture and start sleeping with other girls. Zero consequences, few lessons learned. Each teen in the show is responsible for the pregnancies, but only the girls carry around the reminder for their schoolmates to see.
What is the difference between women who are 5 months pregnant and not-pregnant men or women who had sex 5 months ago? Evidence. We can see the reason we should be "allowed" to judge.
Mary's parents were disappointed. The most logical reason she would be pregnant was that she had sex with a man. Before the angel came to Joseph in a dream, the only explanation he could entertain was that Mary had sex with another man. The other Nazarenes would jump to that conclusion, as well.
We can never know everything about another person. The simplest strategy should be to love everyone. This kind of love is an action, not a passive emotion.
Don't throw the first stone. Imagine everyone for whom you're aiming is either Mary or Jesus, two innocents who faced judgment and accusations.