The very first tenet of Catholic social teaching is: “Human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. We need to respect life in all its forms.” Following this tenet, Pope Francis invites us to recommit ourselves to the dignity and value of all human life. We are challenged to bear witness not only to value and sacredness of the unborn, but also to the elderly, and the physically and mentally challenged. We are urged to treat all our brothers and sisters, young and old, with the dignity we ourselves expect. Our Holy Father stated that this witness to life begins with the defense of the unborn child in the womb. He indicated that we must always welcome the unborn.
Recently the State of New York enacted a law called the Reproductive Health Act that essentially strips the unborn of virtually all of its protection and rights. It leaves the child defenseless. The law effectively allows the termination of pregnancy in the third trimester, up to the actual time of birth to protect, among other factors, the mental health of the mother. It also allows non-physicians such as nurses, physician assistants, and midwives to perform abortions. It also protects doctors and medical professionals who perform abortions from criminal prosecution. This law was passed not with anguish or regret, but rather with celebration. Other states have also considered or enacted similar type aggressive abortion laws.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, called this New York law gruesome and grotesque, a scourge against humanity and an affront to any sense of morality. He wondered how any moral person can celebrate a law that promotes death. Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, and national Catholic commentator called it a short route to chaos.
We are urged to stay informed concerning legislative developments in our nation which relate to the sanctity of life. We are also urged to review the comments of Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Barron, taken from articles on their respective websites, and reflect on the potential implications this particular law has on our Catholic faith and on our society as a whole. The links to these articles are posted on our Parish website. We are also invited to contact Cathy Schneider in our Respect Life Ministry for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.
Pope Francis has consistently reminded us that we are challenged to reaffirm our commitment to welcome the joy of new life as a gift from God and to support the dignity of life from conception until natural death. He has asked us to promote alternatives to abortions, such as adoption, and to offer healing to women who have terminated their pregnancies. We are challenged to heed the call of Pope Francis to bear witness to the Gospel of Life in word and in action as we continue and persevere on our Christian journey of faith.
Many of our parishioners took this message to heart and recently participated in our Holy Hour for Life. We were pleased to see so many respond to the call of Our Holy Father. We are also asked to pray that God will change minds and hearts, and that laws such as this one in New York will be rescinded and that one day all human life will truly be respected.
Thank you for all you do to protect the sanctity of life.
May God continue to bless you and your families.