Respect Life Sunday
In addition to the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade, on January 22, 1973, we set aside the month of October and specifically the first Sunday of October to reflect on the great gift of life and the dignity of all human life. From the first chapter of the Bible, where we read about God creating man and woman in His own image and likeness.
The source of human dignity is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Like God, we have a rational intellect and a free will. With our intellect we can seek the truth, try to understand the world around us, and even come to a better understanding of ourselves and human nature. With our free will we can decide to act either for good or for evil. One of the main ways that humans have rationalized the bad they choose to do is by dehumanizing the people they’re hurting. How did people justify slavery, the owning and using of other human beings? They said that they were less than human. How did some of the explorers and colonists in the New World justify the crimes they committed against the Native Americans? Again, they claimed that they were less than human.
There have always been those who have seen through these excuses and fought for the truth. They were people like the Underground Railroad, the Franciscan missionaries to the Americas who tried to protect the Native Americans from abuse, and Pope Eugenius IV who condemned slavery in 1435.
Abortion and Euthanasia are two of these issues that we’re facing right now. They are complex issues with many causes, and many people try to justify them. That doesn’t change the fact that abortion is still the killing of an innocent human being; a human being with the same human dignity, the same DNA, the same rights as the rest of us. 45 years after abortion was legalized it may seem like we’ll never win this battle, but we can’t give up now. We have an obligation to fight for the truth. Euthanasia, likewise, is now legal in 5 US states and people are fighting to make it legal in more. Instead of Euthanasia, they call it “Dying with Dignity” or “Provider Assisted Dying,” but it’s still killing a sick human being who needs love and care.
We don’t condemn anyone, and we shouldn’t attack anyone either. We should, however, live and speak the truth. The people who make these choices are often in terrible situations and feel like they don’t have any other options. So please, keep praying and fasting for an end to abortion and euthanasia and that the rights and dignity of all people may be respected.
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Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.