The month of October is annually observed by the Catholic Church in the United States as Respect Life Month. We are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between. Last Monday we offered our October Devotions for the increased respect of all human life and dignity. For the Church, there is no distinction between defending human life and promoting the dignity of the human person.
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes in his encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate: "The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that 'a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.'"
As a gift from God, every human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and in every condition. The right to life is the first and most fundamental principle of human rights. It must lead all faithful Catholics to actively work for a world of greater respect for human life and dignity and to strive for a greater commitment to justice and peace. The Gospel of Life should guide us and lead us.
This fundamental truth of our teaching cannot be changed and certainly is not a matter of popularity or polling. Last Sunday’s Providence Journal released a poll that suggested a majority of Catholics support the efforts by abortionists and their allies to expand abortion law in Rhode Island. Such a poll is actually rather meaningless when it comes to fundamental Church teaching and the truth of the Gospel of Life.
The Ten Commandments, the Teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church are not meant to be polled to see which are the most popular. If moral truths are matter of polling or popularity then there would be no moral truth! Let’s be very clear that the direct killing of innocent unborn children by abortion is always evil and a grave moral sin. This truth is unchangeable whether the Providence Journal polls otherwise or not!
I spoke with a parishioner who was polled by the Journal for last Sunday’s article. He suggested that the question on abortion was rather general and misleading. The truth of the matter is that the legislation being proposed by the abortion lobby and their allies is a radical bill that does much more than codify the US Supreme Court Decision, Roe v. Wade.
The proposed legislation would allow for the gruesome practice of partial birth abortion, deregulate the abortion mills and provide your tax dollars to pay for abortion on demand. The question in the poll did not include a full or accurate description of the proposed legislation. It seems the Providence Journal is more interested in manufacturing news than reporting it!
Not reported in the Providence Journal were the recent remarks of Pope Francis. At his General Audience in Rome last week, he reflected on the 5th Commandment “Thou shall not kill.” He stated: “The ‘he’ or ‘she’ that one presents as a problem, is, in reality, a gift from God, which can make me come out of my egocentrism and make me grow in love.”
The Pope decried “the suppression of human life in the maternal womb, in the name of safeguarding other rights.” He compared abortion to the hiring of a Mafia assassin to kill someone, asking: “But how can an act that ‘does away’ with innocent and defenseless life in its origin be therapeutic, civil or simply human? I pose the question to you: Is it right to do away with a human life to resolve a problem? One cannot,” it’s not right ’to do away’ with a human being, although small, to resolve a problem.”
In this Respect Life Month of October let us pray our rosaries for an increase of respect for human life and dignity. As we prepare for election day in November let us pray for candidates who believe in the right to life especially for the innocent and vulnerable of our society. Our Lady of Life, pray for us!
Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Sox! Go Pats!!! See you on Monday at Devotions!