Today I believe the Lord is saying to us all: do not hesitate, do not be afraid to engage the good fight of the faith (cf. I Tim 6:12). When we preach the liberating message of Jesus Christ we are offering the words of life to the world. Our prophetic witness is an urgent and essential service not just to the Catholic community but to the whole human family.
In this statement we attempt to fulfill our role as teachers and pastors in proclaiming the Gospel of Life. We are confident that the proclamation of the truth in love is an indispensable way for us to exercise our pastoral responsibility.
Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead, let us be careful shepherds watching over Christ's flock. Let us preach the whole of God's plan to the powerful and the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season, as St. Gregory writes in his book of Pastoral Instruction.10
Mary, patroness of America, renew in us a love for the beauty and sanctity of the human person from conception to natural death; and as your Son gave His life for us, help us to live our lives serving others. Mother of the Church, Mother of our Savior, open our hearts to the Gospel of life, protect our nation, and make us witnesses to the truth.
1Henry Luce, "The American Century," Life (February 17, 1941).
2Pope John Paul II, Departure from Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Departure Remarks, October 8, 1995; 25 Origins, p. 318 (October 19, 1995).
3Pope John Paul II, Homily in Giants Stadium, October 5, 1995; 25 Origins, p. 305 (October 19, 1995).
4Pope John Paul II, Homily in Giants Stadium, October 5, 1995; 25 Origins, p. 303 (October 19, 1995).
5Pope John Paul II, Arrival in Newark, Airport Remarks, October 4, 1995; 25 Origins, p. 301 (October 19, 1995).
6In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), the Supreme Court upheld most of the challenged provisions of a Pennsylvania law regulating abortion. The Court declined, however, to overturn what it called the "central holding" of Roe v. Wade and said: "[F]or two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail." 505 U.S. at 856.
7 Pope John Paul II, Homily at Camden Yards, "What Freedom Is," October 8, 1995; 25 Origins, p. 314 (October 19, 1995).
8Pope John Paul II, Remarks on accepting the credentials of the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, December 16, 1997; 27 Origins, p. 488 (January 8, 1998) [citing C. Herman Pritchett, The American Constitution (McGraw-Hill 1977), p. 2].
9Administrative Board, Unites States Catholic Conference, Political Responsibility: Proclaiming the Gospel of Life, Protecting the Least Among Us, and Pursuing the Common Good (1995), p. 12.
10 Boniface, Ep. 78: MGH, Epistolae, 3, 352, 354; from Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1975).
11Cf. also Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People (Apostolicam Actuositatem), 11.
12Pope John Paul II, Ad Limina Remarks to the Bishops of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (June 27, 1998); 28 Origins, p. 282 (October 1, 1998).
Excerpts from Vatican II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations edited by Austin Flannery, OP, copyright © 1996, Costello Publishing Company, Inc., Northport, N.Y. are used with permission of the publisher, all rights reserved. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without express written permission of Costello Publishing Company.
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