Baptism calls us to
build culture of life
By Lisa Schulte
The Catholic Voice
Diocese of Omaha, NE
January 21, 2005
At his baptism, Jesus was anointed to proclaim the Good News
to the poor, to open the eyes of the blind, to set the captives free, to
proclaim the Kingdom of God and to bring about justice. All baptized Christians
share in this mission, too, said
Father Peter West, a member of Priests
for Life who spoke at Masses at St. James Church in Omaha Jan. 8 and 9.
Through baptism comes great responsibility, including building
a culture of life, he said.
“Pope John Paul II has called the culture that we live in a
culture of death,” he said. “I believe that we can create the culture of life if
we work together and we are faithful to our baptismal calling.”
A priest for the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., Father West was
in Omaha Jan. 7-10 to speak to parishioners at St. James and to area high school
students about pro-life issues, such as abortion, contraception, in vitro
fertilization and human cloning. He also was the featured speaker for the
Nebraskans United for Life’s 32nd Annual Celebration for Life dinner.
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme
Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Since that time there have
been nearly 44 million abortions – one out of every four pregnancies, Father
West said. And today there are additional challenges, such as human cloning,
embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.
“To be pro-life means to be proactive,” said the pro-life
activist. “We have to act out our belief.”
Putting that belief into action can include providing
information to pregnant mothers and embracing our political responsibility, he
said. Most importantly, it’s done with prayer.
“Pray for a greater respect for life in all stages of
development. Pray for the unborn babies threatened by abortion. Pray for the
elderly, the sick, the handicapped threatened by euthanasia. Pray for women who
are tempted to have an abortion. Pray for men that they will understand their
roles in being responsible husbands and fathers and guardians and defenders of
life,” he said. “We also need to pray for doctors to use their skills not to
take life, but to serve life, and for politicians, that they will stand up for
the most basic human rights we have.”
In order to build a culture of life, there also must be
forgiveness, healing and support shown to women and men wounded by abortion,
said Father West, founder and director of Amicus, a Catholic young adult group.
“The Lord has called us to a victory of justice. Together, if
we are faithful to our baptismal calling, we can bring about a culture of life
and a civilization of love in which each and every human being will be welcomed,
protected, nurtured and loved from the moment of conception to the moment of
Clippings from 2005