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Respect Life - 2012

Bishop John Noonan
Bishop of Orlando

January 22, 2012

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

A child is born to us; a son is given us.  We have just concluded our Christmas season and the Good News of the angels heralded to the shepherds is still ringing in our ears.  This precious gift of life, human in flesh, divine in nature, is given to us so that we might have everlasting life.  Not one of us would deny the coming of Jesus.  Not one of us would advocate for any law that might prevent His coming.

So, we find ourselves in January, a month where the number 22 seems to stand out as a red flag day for me.  January 22 is the thirty-eighth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court which legally allowed abortions to occur.  Since 1973, we have advocated for the death of the unborn.  The lives of these children of God would be spared because of economic difficulty, despair, suffering, self-pride or greed.  I wonder how we have come to this and I think about it in the context of the birth of Jesus.  What would we have missed if Mary had chosen against the pregnancy of the precious Child for which we just celebrated His birth and have done so for 2011 years?

Some of you may say, “Well, that was different.”  How so?  The life of a child is God-given.  Each child born is a gift to us and a blessing in whatever way he/she develops and brings forth the power of God.  I grieve over even one untimely death of one of God’s creations, a unique and irreplaceable human being.

There are people, both men and women, who suffer from guilt and separation from the Church because of participation in an abortion at some point in their life. Healing and God’s love, mercy and compassion are there for those who seek reconciliation for what one may feel is an “unforgiveable sin.” Our Diocesan Office of Advocacy and Justice offers Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard, a confidential process for healing and reconciliation through nationally recognized post-abortion programs approved by the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI said, “The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself.  This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right—it is the very opposite.”

I ask that you pray for each of us as we lead others to advocate for life in all stages.  I hope that your schedules will allow you to join others from the Diocese of Orlando on Saturday, January 14 as we travel to St. Augustine to mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade legalizing abortion in the United States.  The March begins at the Mission Nombre de Dios—The Great Cross— and concludes in the public plaza with talks by nationally recognized Pro-Life Speakers.

For information on Project Rachel, Rachel’s Vineyard or the March for Life on January 14, call the Office of Advocacy and Justice at 407-246-4819.

My sisters and brothers, during this new year, may we remain joyous as God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.


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