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Prayer breakfast message hit on Ukraine and life issues

WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholics should urge their lawmakers to continue to help the people of Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion of their country, Metropolitan Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia told attendees of the 18th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on March 14.

“Every time there is Russian occupation in Ukraine, the Catholic Church is strangled,” Archbishop Gudziak said, citing prior conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The annual breakfast was launched in 2004 in response to St. John Paul II’s call for a “new evangelization” and has been held annually with the exception of a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said. It draws religious leaders, elected officials and laypeople working in a variety of fields in the nation’s capital.

Not only are Ukraine’s young people giving their lives, Archbishop Gudziak said, “they’re stopping tyranny.”

“In the 21st century — when everything is seemingly up for grabs, when we’ve deconstructed almost everything, when truth is transactional in media, politics, diplomacy and popular culture, conditioned by a post-truth anti-ethic — Ukrainians have been saying no, not so fast,” Archbishop Gudziak said. “There’s good and there’s evil. There’s truth and there’s lies. And they are doing it at the risk of their own lives, consciously, deliberately, freely looking into the face of the risk.”

Also at the event, O. Carter Snead called on Catholics to help build a culture of life and love post-Roe. He is the director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture and a professor of law and political science at the University of Notre Dame

“The context in which the question of abortion arises is not a conflict of isolated strangers,” Snead said. “It is a crisis involving a mother and her child. And any decent society, any decent person, if you hear that there’s a crisis involving a mother and her child, you don’t ask, ‘Who has the right to the body?’ You stop, you say, ‘Let’s go help. Let’s rush to the aid of that mother and that child.’

“So our imperative is to come to the aid of those in need, before and after the child is born,” he said.

“And when help, support, and protection are not forthcoming, (we must) step in and provide it directly,” he said. “The success or failure of the law, our success or failure, will be understood through this lens.”

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