My Dear Friends,
“So what happens now?” Last June, the Supreme Court finally overturned Roe v. Wade, a decision that so many of us had worked and prayed long and hard to see overturn. On this first Respect Life Sunday of a Post-Roe world, we can’t help but ask the question, “what happens now?” Abortion did not disappear at the end of June nor did the culture that allows it, encourages it, and defends this evil practice (Buckle up, folks, it’s going to be that kind of bulletin column and this issue is not one that I dare to carefully dance around as to not offend. Souls are at stake!). What happens now is that as a Church that labored for almost 50 years to see the day where Roe was no more, now has to step up to truly promote the culture of life and not just but by word but with concrete action. Before June, it was easy to write to our lawmakers, protest and pray in front of abortion clinics, and march to the Supreme Court every January. And while many of these things may still be quite valid to do as we seek to change the culture, as a Church we must be ready to accompany women, accompany families not only during pregnancy, but throughout the life of a child.
Archbishop William Lori, the Chairman of the U.S. Bishop’s Pro-Life Committee, recently released a statement titled, “Building a Culture of Life in a Post-Roe World.” In this statement, he calls us to action:
In a post-Roe world, then, we must shift the paradigm to what Saint Pope John Paul II described as “radical solidarity,” making the good of others our own good, including especially mothers, babies (born and preborn), and families throughout the entire human lifespan. It is a call to friendship and compassion rooted in the truth that we are made to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We do this not by demonizing those who disagree with us, but by engaging with them and finding common ground. Archbishop Lori continues:
Our nation is in desperate need of healing from the toxic polarization and anger that has poisoned so much of our politics in recent years. A paradigm shift from an abandonment of women masquerading as freedom to radical solidarity can open the way to a new politics. Those who disagree on the morality or justice of abortion should nonetheless come together to pursue common-ground solutions to provide care and support to mothers, children, and families in need. Public officials can stake out new ground, to move beyond the political divisions of Left and Right and build a new coalition of people of good will that will focus on the best outcomes for those in need by whatever means—public or private—that prove to be most effective.
Life must be respected from the moment of conception to natural death. Yes, this includes respecting the homeless, caring for the immigrant, and working for the abolition of the death penalty as our Holy Father asked us to pray during the month of September. As Archbishop Wenski likes to say, as Catholics, when we line all these issues up, we may find ourselves orphans in any political party. But respecting life in all its forms transcends politics. As a Church, we must accompany the mother or family with an unexpected pregnancy beyond birth, take in the immigrant (as many of us were once taken in), feed the homeless, and cry out in opposition when someone is sentenced to death.
Yes, it is indeed a new world after Roe was struck down. Now the real work begins. In two weeks, we have the return of our annual Respect Life Brunch sponsored by our Pro-Life Ministry and the Knights of Columbus to aid our Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Centers that need our help now more than ever. Catholic Charities continues to assist the thousands of migrants who keep coming to our Archdiocese. They need our support. And any time a human being, no matter how heinous his or her crimes, is sentenced to death, we must remember that only God gives and takes away life. Life must be respected from the moment of conception to natural death.
I told you it was going to be that kind of bulletin column, but with all the political toxicity in the air as we approach the midterm elections next month, it would have been a dereliction of duty as your pastor to just write “niceties” and not guide you to the resources necessary to keep working towards St. John Paul II’s “Culture of Life.” While a victory was won last June, our prayers and work to defend life should not cease. Please read the resources below, and above all, pray for an end to all forms of violence against the human person: born and unborn. Our work as a Church has truly just begun.
God bless you all,