Witnessing for life with faith and love 01/29/2016

January 22, 2016 marked the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy for virtually any reason. The death and destruction caused by this abominable judicial fiat staggers the mind.

Estimates put the death toll from reported abortions nearing 60 million since the Court’s ruling in 1973. And this number does not include the countless unborn lives lost due to abortifacient contraception. In addition to destroying these precious gifts from God, abortion has wounded the hearts, minds and souls of millions of women and men connected to these abortions.

Soon-to-be Saint Teresa of Calcutta described the aftermath of Roe this way: “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe vs. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience.”

In response to this destruction, and 43 years of a ruling that some insisted settled the abortion question in our nation, the pro-life movement has stubbornly persisted to oppose the injustice of abortion, to proclaim the truth about human life and to proclaim God’s infinite mercy to those involved with abortion.

In his statement on this anniversary of Roe, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Pro Life Committee, pointed out that “despite the endorsement of our highest legal tribunal and many political and cultural elites, [abortion] is as controversial as ever. Most Americans oppose a policy allowing legal abortion for virtually any reason – though many still do not realize that this is what the Supreme Court gave us. Most want to protect unborn children at later stages of pregnancy, to regulate or limit the practice of abortion, and to stop the use of taxpayer dollars for the destruction of unborn children.”

Yet, Cardinal Dolan points out, “many who support important goals of the pro-life movement do not identify as ‘pro-life,’ a fact which should lead us to examine how we present our pro-life vision to others.”

“In taking up this challenge,” Dolan continues, “we who present the pro-life message must always strive to be better messengers.

“A cause that teaches the inexpressibly great value of each and every human being cannot show disdain or disrespect for any fellow human being. We should celebrate human freedom, always reminding others that this freedom is ours so we can freely choose the good – and that to enjoy this freedom, each of us must first of all be allowed to live.

“And especially in this Year of Mercy, we recall with Pope Francis that each human life is created by a God whose love is infinite – and that this same love is a source of unbounded mercy and forgiveness for all who have fallen short of God’s plans for us.  For its part, through the healing ministry of Project Rachel, the Catholic Church seeks to offer this gift of God’s mercy and reconciliation to all who have been involved in abortion.”

Last Friday, thousands of pro-lifers witnessed to the sanctity of life and the injustice of abortion at the March for Life in Washington D.C. This included 14 busloads of students from Nebraska! Their pilgrimage became a sacrifice when they got stuck in a snowstorm on the return trip. If there was a silver lining to that sacrifice it is that the faith-filled, life-affirming witness of these students garnered national attention that the March itself did not attract.

This Saturday, the annual Nebraska Walk for Life will take place at the Capitol in Lincoln. A pro-life Mass precedes the Walk at 9 a.m. at St. Mary Church, across from the Capitol. The Walk begins at 10 a.m. on the north steps of the Capitol. Please come and be a pro-life witness to our state.