November 17, 2017
Senselessacts of violence have simply become all too common in our day. From mass
shootings at concerts, to stabbings in department stores, to families being
gunned down in churches, we are tragically immersed in a culture of violence. Brutality
is experienced on the street, in the home, between family members—and even in
people should be horrified by this vicious epidemic. Yet are we? How many
popular movies don't have a high amount of violence? How many video games don't
involve blowing up or shooting down an opponent? How fascinated are we by the
daily reports of violence in the news?
began with the very children of Adam and Eve, and violence has been with us
ever since. But haven't we become too desensitized to this culture of violence?
How did we become that way?
20 years ago, as Pope Saint John Paul II was ending a visit to St. Louis, he
gave us this challenge: "And so America: If you want peace, work for justice.
If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace truth—truth
revealed by God." The Holy Father's plan to end violence was wonderfully
God's truth leads us to defend human life.
human life is the foundation of justice.
a culture of justice can transform a tendency to violence into a movement for
Saint John Paul II often warned that violence tolerated in the womb would begin
to unravel respect for human life at all levels, until violence becomes the
norm. Saint Teresa of Calcutta told us: "Any country that accepts abortion is
not teaching its people to love, but to use violence to get what they want.
That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion." And Pope
Francis has consistently decried our throwaway culture in which people are discarded
by those who are stronger, healthier, or in power.
Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops, reminded us at the annual U.S. bishops'
meeting in Baltimore that "…civility begins in the womb. If we cannot come to
love and protect innocent life from the moment God creates it, how can we
properly care for each other as we come of age? Or when we come to old age?"
The only way forward in transforming
violence into civility and peace is by recommitting to the defense of human
life at all levels. Consider joining the bishops in this effort in these ways:
and fast for an end to the culture of violence: Sign up for the bishops' prayer
campaigns, 9 Days for Life (9daysforlife.com) and Call to
the wide range of life issues and share the Church's teaching with your family,
friends, and co-workers. Respect Life Program resources are available at www.usccb.org/respectlife.
your time at a local pregnancy center, shelter, maternity home, or nursing
prepared to refer someone seeking healing from a past abortion to a diocesan
post-abortion healing ministry. Diocesan Project Rachel ministries can be found
- Advocate for life by joining advocacy
networks with your State Catholic Conference and with the U.S. bishops. Sign up
for federal pro-life action alerts at humanlifeaction.org/signup.
Each of us can do our part to educate, advocate, pray,
May our prayers,
works and personal sacrifices (yes, even abstinence from entertainment with
themes of violence) inspire us to be missionary disciples to a world so in need
of God's mercy and healing.
Tom Grenchik is the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on the
bishops' pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife.