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Editorial | Every human life is cherished

Work for the protection of human life

The logo for the USCCB's Respect Life Month Campaign
Photo Credits: Illustration courtesy the USCCB's Respect Life image gallery
“May we show by our words and actions that every human life is cherished and chosen.

“May we build a culture of life by embracing our mission as messengers of God’s love.”

These are intercessions to pray for the protection of human life during the Prayer of the Faithful. Provided by the U.S. bishops’s Respect Life Program, they’re simple yet powerful.

The U.S. bishops’ theme for Respect Life Month this year is “Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent.” Each October, Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and around the nation come together to serve as witnesses to the dignity of every human life. Parishes will kick off the month by marking Respect Life Sunday at Masses the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7.

The Church has consistently taught that every human life is precious and worthy of protection. Every intentional abortion is gravely wrong (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271). In April, Pope Francis wrote: “Our defense of the innocent unborn … needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.”

The Respect Life Program materials point out that the Church won’t approach difficult pregnancy decisions with a false “either/or” mentality, pitting mother against child. For example, a baby conceived in rape isn’t an aggressor deserving death by abortion. She is innocent, like her mother. They both deserve compassionate care and support, not more violence. Abortion doesn’t bring healing or peace, but both can be found in the courageous decision to give birth to the baby.

Today, many babies diagnosed prenatally with a disability are aborted. Frightened parents, unsure of their ability to care for such a child, can trust that God gave them this child for a reason. Parents raising children with disabilities often write about the unexpected joys and transformative effect on their families (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “A Perfect Gift”).

The Respect Life program urges us to:

• Support women who need help during and after difficult pregnancies through the work of the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate, local pregnancy care centers and other outreach such as Catholic Charities agencies.

• Educate yourself and others about struggles some experience after abortion, and lead people wounded by abortion to the Project Rachel (for women) and Project Joseph (for men) ministries.

• Stay informed about key federal legislation and the voting records of your elected representatives by visiting www.usccb.org/prolife. Stay updated on state issues by signing up to receive information from the Missouri Catholic Conference at www.mocatholic.org.

• Pray daily for the end to abortion, that all mothers and children experience the loving support of the Church community, and that all who suffer after abortion find healing and peace.

Additional information about Respect Life Month and resources in the archdiocese is provided in the Living Our Faith section.

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