Every October, we in the Catholic Church consider more deeply why every human life is valuable and reflect on how to build a culture that protects life from conception to natural death.
Why it’s Important
One of the most fundamental truths that we proclaim is that human life is a precious gift from God; that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self and others; and that society, through its laws and social institutions, must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence. That means every human life. At every point in their life.
Rightly so, the Catholic Church holds that our struggle against abortion is a preeminent cause within the pro-life movement. Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha writes: “Catholic social teaching is multifaceted, but it is not complicated. Its central focus is the life and dignity of every human person. Our opposition to the injustice of abortion will not be credible when we fail to recognize and work to eliminate other serious threats to human life and dignity, including racism, the environmental crisis, the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees, poverty and the imposition of the death penalty. At the same time, work to establish justice in other areas is undercut by any perceived lack of strong support for the protection of the right to life in the womb of the most vulnerable members of the human family.”
The Pro-Life “branding” began in the late 1960s and its focus was anti-abortion, anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-many things that were unjust an threatened human life and dignity. After the Supreme Court decision of Roe-v-Wade, the Pro-Life movement began focusing almost exclusively on the important issue of legalized abortion. To the point where it was quipped pro-lifers believe “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” Not true, but that perception undercut the way the general public saw the movement. It was in that era that the movement because increasingly known as anti-abortion not fully pro-life – the very concern of Archbishop Lucas.
Just semantics? The US Bishops understand that in the end a change of heart and thought is the key so that people understand the amazing gift of life from God – and each person understands that they are responsible for the life they’ve been given but also the life of the most vulnerable among us.
In the winter months the Church focuses on the scourge of abortion as the anniversary of Row-v-Wade approaches. But in this time of year, the church asks us all to broaden our perspective to include a range of issues that are squarely Pro-Life – even as we continue to rally for an end to legalized abortion.
Welcome to Respect Life Month! Each week in the Month of October we will speak to one aspect of what the bishops are asking of us: to be fully pro-life. So, check with us next week in the parish eNewsletter when we speak to another pro-life issue.
Would you like to receive a Respect Life eNewsletter? You can sign up for it by going to our parish website: https://stfrncis.org/respect-life/