Pennsylvanians for Human Life Respect Life Breakfast
November 5, 2022
Good morning. It is a pleasure for me to affirm the good work that you and so many others have done is support of human life.
Not long ago, as he has so often done, Pope Francis affirmed that every human person has a reason to hope, because every person “has a place in God’s heart from all eternity.” Focusing upon the weakest and most vulnerable – the sick, the elderly, the poor and especially the unborn – the Holy Father asserted that every person “has an inviolable right to life” and “is a masterpiece of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”
Powerful words, aren’t they? Words that need to be seared into the hearts of every one of us – and many others as well.
Most of us appreciate the Holy Father’s words – because every one of us has been blessed with the faith and wisdom to see the value of God’s gift of life – to recognize that this gift, in whatever shape and form it takes – is not the result of an accident of creation but are the result of God creative and loving presence among us.
Sadly, however, it is quite apparent that this fundamental teaching of our faith hardly resonates with many of our brothers and sisters. As a Church, we are grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout our land. Yet, the division that has emerged in our country these past few months is a stark reminder of the fact that so many fail to appreciate the dignity and value of all human life, especially the life of the unborn.
In response to this division, it is incumbent upon us, as a people of faith, to not merely point fingers of derision at those who fail to embrace the teaching of the gospel regarding the value of human life. To the contrary, as disciples of Jesus, we are called to be light in the midst of darkness – a leaven to transform our misguided world. As such, it is our responsibility to witness to our beliefs by caring for life – not merely for life in the womb but for all of life and particularly for women and the children they have carried past the time of birth.
Simply put, brothers and sisters, if we desire to live our lives as God-fearing individuals with authenticity, we have no choice. We cannot merely speak of our respect for human life or self-righteously criticize those whose beliefs may be different from our own. We must enliven our words with action. We must both choose and serve life in whatever way we can.
The challenge to defend human life cannot be side stepped in an effort to create a false peace or sense of harmony. We must be fearless in our defense of the unborn – but also mothers in need, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the disabled, the immigrant and every life that is in jeopardy.
Nor must we ever shrink from confronting life issues in our prayer, in what and how we teach as a Church and in the pastoral care that we offer. But we must also never shrink from confronting life issues when we vote, in the initiatives and public policies that we are able to influence, in our volunteer efforts and in the daily activities and choices of our lives that can even unwittingly exploit the most defenseless among us.
So continue to embrace the noble cause of this blessed organization. Don’t let down those treasures of life that God has woven into our lives.
Defend life, even if – and particularly when the world proclaims a different message. ….
Our task is hardly simple and the road ahead, for all of the strides that have been made in recent years, continues to be challenging and filled with unexpected obstacles. May we persevere in prayer and through the support of one another.
May we be encouraged by the words of the great Saint John Paul II:
Love and honor the life of every man and woman. Work with perseverance and courage, so that our time, marked by too many signs of death, may at last witness the establishment of a culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and love.