Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
On January 22, our nation will commemorate the 46th anniversary of the fateful Roe v. Wade United States Supreme Court decision that permits the practice of abortion in our country. The act of abortion is contrary to will and law of God. Our good Lord gives human life to individual persons, beginning at conception, and only He has the authority to determine the timing of death for a human person.
The practice of abortion in our country and world puts our society and culture against God and His plan for the human family. In light of this reality, we are called to lend our voice to our unborn brothers and sisters and to all in our world whose lives are rejected.
We are now in the middle of the USCCB sponsored ‘9 Days for Life’ prayer and action effort (from January 14-22). In the bulletin last weekend I included a ‘Novena for Novena to Three American Saints for Building the Culture of Life’. It is not too late to join in prayer for healing in our country.
Finally, let us especially remember those who have been wounded by abortion: aborted children and mothers and fathers who have chosen abortion. Our good Lord’s mercy seeks to heal the wounds of abortion, especially those who have been most affected by abortion. Jesus desires that we all work with Him to help hearts receive His love and mercy after abortion. He desires to forgive – which will stop the cycle of misery and death that surrounds abortion.
I include this week a collection of quotes from various Catholic sources about the dignity of human life:
On the Fundamental Right to Life - Pope Benedict XVI:
God's love does not differentiate between the newly conceived infant still in his or her mother's womb and the child or young person, or the adult and the elderly person. God does not distinguish between them because he sees an impression of his own image and likeness (Gn 1:26) in each one.1
[L]ife is the first good received from God and is fundamental to all others; to guarantee the right to life for all and in an equal manner for all is the duty upon which the future of humanity depends.2
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: [T]he failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the "temple of the Holy Spirit" – the living house of God – then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person's most fundamental right – the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.3
Abortion - Pope Benedict XVI: Children truly are the family's greatest treasure and most precious good. Consequently, everyone must be helped to become aware of the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion. In attacking human life in its very first stages, it is also an aggression against society itself. Politicians and legislators, therefore, as servants of the common good, are duty bound to defend the fundamental right to life, the fruit of God's love.4
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Among important issues involving the dignity of human life with which the Church is concerned, abortion necessarily plays a central role. Abortion, the direct killing of an innocent human being, is always gravely immoral (The Gospel of Life, no. 57); its victims are the most vulnerable and defenseless members of the human family. It is imperative that those who are called to serve the least among us give urgent attention and priority to this issue of justice.5
In Vitro Fertilization - U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
What is wrong with in vitro fertilization (IVF)? IVF is a reproductive technology in which a new human being is conceived by joining egg and sperm in a glass dish, not in the mother’s body (“in vitro” is Latin for “in glass”). It further depersonalizes the act of generating a child, turning it into a technical process in a 7 laboratory. This procedure is so far from a loving act of the spouses that it can even be used to conceive a child if neither of them is alive, for the body of neither one is involved in the act of generating this life once sperm and egg are obtained and stored. Because these embryos are deliberately created not in the nurturing environment of the mother’s body but in the poor substitute of a culture in a glass dish, the great majority of them die. Many couples have exhausted their savings and ultimately abandoned their efforts without ever having a live-born child from IVF. 6
Embryonic Stem Cell Research - U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: We must help those who are suffering, but we may not use a good end to justify an evil means. Moreover, treatments that do not require destroying any human life are at least as promising – they are already healing some conditions, and are far closer to healing other conditions than any approach using embryonic stem cells. The choice is not between science and ethics, but between science that is ethically responsible and science that is not.7
Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide - Pope Benedict XVI:
The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery.8
More and more lonely elderly people exist in big cities, even in situations of serious illness and close to death. In such situations, the pressure of euthanasia is felt, especially when a utilitarian vision of the person creeps in. In this regard, I take this opportunity to reaffirm once again the firm and constant ethical condemnation of every form of direct euthanasia, in accordance with the Church's centuries-old teaching.9
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Euthanasia and assisted suicide can appear a reasonable and even compassionate solution to the suffering of individuals and families struggling with illness or the dying process. Yet these are not real solutions – they do not solve human problems, but only take the lives of those most in need of unconditional love.
1 Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants at the 12th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Congress on "The Human Embryo in the Pre-Implantation Phase" (February 27, 2006)
2 Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life (February 24, 2007)
3 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics" (1998)
4 Pope Benedict XVI, Address at a Meeting on Family and Life Issues in Latin America (December 3, 2005)
5 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology” (2009)
6 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life" (2001)
7 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers" (2004)
8 Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at Mass of Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome (May 7, 2005)
9 Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Pontifical Academy for Life Congress on the theme: "Close by the Incurable Sick Person and the Dying: Scientific and Ethical Aspects" (February 25, 2008) (quotes taken from www.usccb.org)
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph, and St. Columbkill, may Jesus grant His mercy and healing to our country and the whole world! In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kasel