September 17, 2014
Pro-Life chairman calls for ‘community and solidarity’ in face of threats to life
Respect Life Program theme for 2014-15: “Each of Us is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation”
Calls for the protection of the unborn, the elderly
WASHINGTON—In a statement to mark Respect Life Month, October 2014, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston called for “community and solidarity” as an antidote to threats against life. Cardinal O’Malley chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The Cardinal’s statement launches this year’s Respect Life Program, with the theme, “Each of Us is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation.” This year’s theme echoes Pope Francis’ message during his 2013 Day for Life greeting. “Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect,” Pope Francis said.
“We want to be part of a society that makes affirmation and protection of human rights its primary objective and its boast,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his statement. “Yet to women faced with an unexpected pregnancy, abortion is often presented as their only ‘choice.’ A large percentage of children pre-diagnosed as having Down syndrome are never given the chance to live outside their mothers’ wombs. Elderly members of our families fear they will become burdensome and seek physician-assisted suicide. We see these and many more of our brothers and sisters pushed to the periphery.”
Cardinal O’Malley called for “community and solidarity” as an antidote to the individualism behind these and other such threats. “We must ask the Lord for the grace to see ourselves and others as he sees us—as masterpieces of his creation,” he said.
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in Catholic dioceses throughout the United States. In addition to new prayers and other resources, the 2014-15 Respect Life Program features six articles highlighting the respect due to each person as a “masterpiece of God’s creation.” A variety of topics is treated: adoption, miscarriage, healing within marriage after an abortion, advance medical directives, the treatment of children as commodities, and the connection between poverty and abortion.
The full statement is available in English and Spanish along with many other program resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife
. A short video featuring Pope Francis’ warm gestures to the “weakest and most vulnerable” is on YouTube: http://youtu.be/h62l-4OddI0?list=PLpTzvCOJa7DBsXu19BJ8EbwTF5Xi7Vyt7
Keywords: Pope Francis, USCCB, U.S. Catholic bishops, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Respect Life Month, Respect Life Program, pro-life, unexpected pregnancy, Down syndrome, abortion, the elderly, poverty, adoption, miscarriage, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, end of life, advance medical directives, prayer, social justice, post-abortion healing, marriage, Project Rachel
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Norma Montenegro Flynn