Beginning on October 2 —Respect Life Sunday—Catholics across the nation will join to witness to the inherent equality and transcendent value of every human being as they observe Respect Life Month, an annual tradition now in its fortieth year.
It is clear that both locally and nationally a sense of urgency and recommitment to the culture of life is desperately needed.
The Obama administration’s attempts to mandate immoral medical practices and violate religious liberty and personal conscience most certainly call for a recommitment by Catholics to the culture of life. The loud applause for the death penalty and for allowing patients without healthcare to die in the emergency room at Republican presidential debates also demands such a recommitment. And without a doubt, Governor Chafee’s recent executive order to establish the health care benefit’s exchange in Rhode Island and allow taxpayer funded abortions cries out for a vigorous recommitment to the culture of life in our own state.
Together Catholics must voice opposition to the injustice and cruelty of abortion on behalf of those victims whose voices have been silenced. We must cry out for an end to vengeful violence and elimination of all capital punishment, we must stand up for the terminally ill and infirm in opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia, and rebuff efforts to violate personal conscience and destroy religious liberty by agents of our government. As Catholics we must never shrink from the obligation to assert the moral values and ethical principles we hold essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being and the right of every woman and man to express and live by his or her religious beliefs and well-formed conscience.
As we enter into this Respect Life Month of October, let every Catholic and every person of good will recall the prophetic words of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, spoken during his pastoral visit to the United States: “In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need a message that all human life is sacred and that each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary.”
This Sunday in parishes across the nation let us as a church and as individual Catholics take up the clarion call to build the culture of life through prayer, penance, and political action in defense of human life and for the respect of human dignity. We live in hope that one day through our prayerful efforts and political action we may live in a state, in a country, and in a world where every human person is treated as sacred and every human life is willed, loved and truly necessary!