Statement for October6 Respect Life Sunday (en español)
By Cardinal Seán
September 27, 2013
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
daughters and sons of God, each October we begin the activities of Respect Life
Month with the observance of Respect Life Sunday, celebrated on October 6th
this year. At Masses that day, thousands of parishes across the country begin a
year-long educational and prayer campaign in support of life. As chair of the
bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, it is my pleasure to introduce this
year's theme, which echoes Pope Francis' call for all people to "Open your
hearts to life!"
We live in
a society of unbelief, where the unborn, the sick, and the elderly are often
unwanted and endangered by acts of violence or neglect. Earlier this year, we marked the 40th anniversary of the tragic
U.S. Supreme Court rulings Roe v. Wade
and Doe v. Bolton. Without grounding
in the Constitution, natural law, or our nation's human rights traditions,
these decisions made it legal to end the life of an unborn child in the United
States for any reason and at almost any stage of development. Since then, over
fifty-five million unborn children's lives have been taken, leaving many
millions of mothers, fathers, and family members wounded and grieving their
loss. Physician-assisted suicide is now legal in three states, allowing doctors
to help end patients' lives rather than provide much-needed comfort in times of
pain and distress.These laws pave the
way for euthanasia by undermining true respect and care for people with serious
these challenges, Pope Francis reminds us that we always have hope in Christ.
The Holy Father speaks not only of physical life, but spiritual life as well --
our life in Christ that has the power to transform us. By opening our hearts to
his love and mercy, we let Christ dwell in us and we see more deeply the
intricate and unique beauty of each person.
it mean to open our hearts to life? It means to search our souls and
acknowledge our deepest longing for Christ's love.Though we are capable of sins against human
life such as abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, we are not beyond
Christ's mercy.It is important for us
to know and share with others that Christ's forgiveness is offered even to
those who have taken another person's life, if they are truly repentant of that
respond to Pope Francis' call with great urgency.Opening our hearts to life in Christ empowers
us for loving, merciful action toward others. We must give witness to the
Gospel of Life and evangelize through our lives. We must personally engage
others and share the truth about human life. We must continue to show love and
mercy, especially with those who have been involved in abortion. All members of
the Church can bring healing to the world by upholding the beauty of human life
and God's unfailing mercy.
tender, compassionate love that seeks to serve those most in need, whatever the
personal cost, is strong enough to overcome a culture of death and to build a
civilization of love.Let us open our
hearts and reflect on how God might be calling each of us to witness the
sacredness of human life and assist in pro-life efforts.We may be called to help parents welcome
their unborn child as a miracle of God's creation, to visit the elderly or aid
those who are sick and suffering, to pray and fast for life, to advocate to our
elected officials, or to assist educational efforts in our parishes.
entrust all these efforts to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, and
her husband St. Joseph. They are models of virtue and holiness who gave
everything to welcome Jesus into their lives despite the hardships. With their
assistance, may each of us have the courage to open our hearts to life.
Cardinal Seán O'Malley is the Chairman of the USCCB
Committee on Pro-Life Activities.