- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston
A letter to the faithful
"On Tuesday, we will remember the somber 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, that legalized abortion in our country, a decision that has unleashed the death of over 50 million unborn children, nameless to many but not to the Lord, and caused great brokenness to the mothers and fathers and extended families of those same children. ... The Catholic Church remembers January 22nd each year as a day of voluntary fast and abstinence; there is a special Mass in the Missal with its proper Scriptural Readings assigned for that day. I ask, most especially this year, that all of our priests, clergy, religious and faithful make a major effort to stop that day, to pray more fervently for a rebirth of a culture of life, to fast and abstain from food as a mark of solidarity for all those affected personally by the scourge of abortion, and to make space and time to participate in prayer at Mass."
Read entire letter.
- Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.
"Proclaiming the Gospel of Life on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade"
"This is not an anniversary we celebrate, it is an annual observance that invites somber reflection. How did we get here? How have we, as a nation, tolerated the destruction of 55 million lives at our own hands? What is the spiritual climate in our country that allows this culture of death to prevail?
Blessed John Paul II spoke these questions in his encyclical, the Gospel of Life, 'When the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life' (21). The culture of death prevails when faith is lost and the light of God's word ceases to shine on our trials and sufferings, the challenges of the human condition, giving us perspective and hope.
Our witness to the value of life must be the voice that awakens our society to the emptiness of shortsighted measures that condone the widespread destruction of unborn human life. We must speak for the worth of all life – for the right to life."
Read entire message.
- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities
"On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade"
"Without grounding in the Constitution, law or human rights, these decisions have made it legal for the past forty years in the United States to end the life of an unborn child. Since then fifty-five million children never had the chance to be born. The scope of this loss is staggering, yet the Court and many in our society relegate it to a matter of personal choice.
As part of the ongoing response to innocent children's lives being taken with the protection of the law, the U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a major pastoral initiative calling for prayer and penance to promote and build a culture of life, marriage and religious liberty.
The initiative includes "Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage" from January 19 to 27, 2013. I invite Catholics in the United States to join me in this novena. It includes daily prayer intentions for the healing and conversion of our nation, for elected officials who support abortion, and for all people whose lives have forever been changed by an abortion. The novena is available through social media, text messaging and email.
Read entire statement. You can also learn more about the novena.
- Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati
"A Letter From Archbishop Schnurr: On The 40th Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade"
"The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion at all stages of pregnancy by judicial fiat, is a sobering and dispiriting occasion. Many of us have spent most or all of our lives fighting to restore a culture of life in the United States. We reflect painfully upon the 54.5 million lives lost and the millions more lives changed forever by abortion in these past four decades. ...
In this Year of Faith, however, there is much reason for hope. While public opinion polls vary, it is clear that the legality of abortion has not led to a general acceptance. A majority of Americans in many polls agree that abortion ends a human life and that it is morally wrong. Moreover, 41 states set new limits on abortion in 2011 and 2012."
Read entire letter.
- Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio
Transcript of message at Right to Life Rally
"In this Year of Faith, let us never let our belief in the power of prayer waiver against the unbelieving force of the world or the sadness in the losses we may encounter in this the day-to-day struggle for life. As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, 'Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.' (Phil 4:6-7)
If we hope to stop this terrible holocaust we must recognize that prayer is at the foundation of every initiative, every struggle, every victory in our struggles to defend all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. I join my brother bishops throughout this great land, urging Catholics and all people who join with us in our great cause to participate in a Nine-Day pilgrimage of prayer marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The intentions for these nine days will be for healing and conversion, for elected officials who support abortion and for all people whose lives have been forever changed by its tragedy."
Read entire transcript.
- Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Conn.
"40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade"
"Since that historic day, each year Catholics and all people of good will come together to pray and publicly intercede on behalf of the unborn, their parents, their families, our communities, our nation and its leaders. It is our hope that this prayerful presence in our nation’s capital will open hearts, minds, and souls to the fullness of the Gospel of Life in our lives and laws. The March for Life in Washington D.C. began as a grassroots response of pro-lifers nationwide to Roe v. Wade, but today draws hundreds of thousands of young and old from all walks of life and from every part of the country who come together in prayer and public witness in defense of the Gift of Life."
Read entire blog post.
- Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles
"Life is beautiful"
"As Catholics we have been entrusted with the good news of Jesus Christ – that the human person is sacred and created in God’s image.
But we live in a society that has accepted legalized abortion for 40 years and is now moving more and more to the acceptance of euthanasia. This is the challenge we face – as a Church and as individuals. ...
We have been in this struggle for life in our society for a long time. We need to keep at it. And we need to deepen our efforts at every level, beginning in our own personal commitment to the Church’s teaching on life. ...
We also need to continue to resist the 'anti-life' and 'anti-family' movements and tendencies in our society. We need to remind our neighbors that the right to life is the foundation of every other right and liberty in our society – and the only foundation of true justice and peace.
If the child in the womb has no right to live, then no one does. If the child in the womb has no human dignity, then no one does."
Read entire message.
- Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver
"40 Years of the Culture of Death: A Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade"
"[D]uring my employment in hospitals, something changed. At that time, some states had approved abortion laws that I wasn't even aware of. Because of those laws, when I was in college I witnessed the results of two abortions. ...
The memory haunts me. I will never forget that I stood witness to acts of unspeakable brutality. In the abortions I witnessed, powerful people made decisions that ended the lives of small, powerless, children. Through lies and manipulation, children were seen as objects. Women and families were convinced that ending a life would be painless, and forgettable. Experts made seemingly convincing arguments that the unborn were not people at all, that they could not feel pain, and were better off dead.
I witnessed the death of two small people who never had the chance to take a breath. I can never forget that. And I have never been the same. My faith was weak at the time. But I knew by reason, and by what I saw, that a human life was destroyed. My conscience awakened to the truth of the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception. I became pro-life and eventually returned to my faith.
I learned what human dignity was when I saw it callously disregarded. I know, without a doubt, that abortion is a violent act of murder and exploitation. And I know that our responsibility is to work and pray without ceasing for its end."
Read entire letter.
- Bishops of Florida
"Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Florida on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade"
"We are saddened by a culture that devalues the life of an unborn child, and considers fertility a 'disease' and pregnancy a 'pathology.' Catholic teaching on life is supported by science and reason: unborn children are human beings and abortion hurts women and men. No human being should be discriminated against or suffer the loss of life because of their stage of development.
Two generations have grown up with the notion, constantly fueled by media messages, that sex is a 'recreational activity,' that can be engaged in without thought of any possible consequences such as pregnancy or emotional harm. Abortion is seen as the solution to an unforeseen problem. No person, made in the image and likeness of God, is a problem. In fact each human being is a blessing from God."
Read entire statement.
- Bishops of Nebraska
"40 Years of Roe v. Wade: 1973-2013 A Message from the Catholic Bishops of Nebraska"
"Most estimates indicate that more than 55 million unborn babies have been killed by abortion since 1973. And this number grows by more than 3,000 every day. In addition, millions of women and men suffer from spiritual, emotional and/or physical wounds from their encounter with abortion. ...
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta summarized the legacy of Roe when she said 'America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe vs. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience.' "
Read entire message.
- Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Diocese of Juneau and Southeast Alaska
"40th anniversary of a tragic decision"
"I recognize that many Americans view the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion as a victory oriented toward justice for women. However, from my perspective, it has led to, and continues to be, a modern day holocaust. ...
As a Catholic Bishop I desire to stand in solidarity with the poor, the weak, and the marginalized. And who could be weaker, more vulnerable, or poorer than a human being developing in the womb of her mother?"
Read entire column.
- Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington, Ky.
Interview in story, "For the 40th anniversary of 'Roe v. Wade' Bishop Foys reflects on pro-life efforts"
"I think that it [Roe v. Wade] has remained for so long because of our culture. Our late Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II, referred to it as a 'Culture of Death.' We live in a culture of death, we live in a culture of selﬁshness, and we live in a culture of lack of respect for each other. I think that all feeds into a system that disregards life. ...
It will take a change of the hearts and minds of not only of people in realizing the gravity of abortion but also a change of the hearts and minds of legislatures. In the meantime we continue to educate people in the faith. That education, regardless of the law, can be our best tool to preventing abortions."
Read entire article.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Messages from bishops mark 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
As we approach the 40th anniversary of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, many bishops across the country have released statements about the occasion. For your convenience, excerpts and links from many are listed below. This list may not be exhaustive, so if you note any missing, please feel free to share it in the comments section below. (Please note: Links must be approved, so your comment will not show up right away)