During the Respect Life Month of October, Catholics across the United States will gather in prayer and thanksgiving, at charitable and educational events, and in public witness to the unique and priceless value of every human life, guided by the theme for this year’s Respect Life Program: “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” With each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God’s boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent.Read the rest of Cardinal DiNardo's statement here.
With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions—due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child. Yet the loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.
For those the pro-life community could not reach and assist before they underwent an abortion, the Catholic Church throughout the United States offers compassionate, confidential counseling through its Project Rachel ministry. In contacting Project Rachel, no one need fear that they will encounter anything less than a reflection of God’s love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.
In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government. For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67% opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll. In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to Members of Congress, urging them to “retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.”
Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people’s abortions through their health care premiums. Ensuring that health care reform will meet the urgent needs for which it has been proposed, and is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on rights of conscience, will be an urgent task in the coming year.
Some people who have no problem with Catholics being "religiously opposed" to abortion will cry foul at the cardinal's discussion of political matters. But being opposed to abortion is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of truth--the truth that an unborn human being is a unique human being whose life is worthy of our respect and protection. To dissent from that truth is to share with many dictators and evil leaders of the past the tendency to define as "subhuman" those people it is politically expedient to exploit and even kill.
The evil people responsible for this atrocity played the same game. They saw the prisoners and patients they infected as less than human. They saw them as objects to be exploited, harmed, experimented on, and even killed in the name of some "higher purpose." It is the same kind of rhetoric that depersonalizes and dehumanizes the unborn, and lifts up as the "higher purpose" the mother's autonomy, society's desire to be free of the poor, of crime or even those of certain races, or--ironically enough--the need for medical research.
If we think we've grown away from the kinds of evils inflicted in the past on people who simply didn't count, we need look no farther than the "medical waste" bins full of tiny hands and feet and bloody, shattered remains carted daily out of our neighborhood abortion clinic. We are still steeped in the particular and diabolical evil that sees some people as disposable.