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Living the Gospel of Life -- Study Guide

Paragraph Seven

Reflection

This paragraph issues a clear call for consistency and renewal. The bishops are not recruiting for a political party or an ideological platform; rather, they are calling disciples of Christ to rediscover their identity. Recognizing the sanctity of life flows not from our own agenda or our adherence to a political platform, but from our knowledge of Jesus Christ. He identifies himself as "life" (see John 6:35; John 10:7-15; John 11:17-27; John 14:1-6). To stand with Christ is to stand with life, and to stand with life is to stand against whatever destroys it. Our commitment to work for the renewed protection of life is not simply a response to an erroneous Court decision; it is, ultimately, a response to Jesus Christ. It is, in fact, the same response that impelled Christians to rescue abandoned children in the earliest centuries of the Church, to establish hospitals, to free slaves, and to fight segregation.

It has been said that there is no such thing as "secret discipleship." Either the discipleship will destroy the secrecy, or the secrecy will destroy the discipleship. The Christian Faith is not given to us as a private possession, but as a public proclamation intended for all people. The Church is missionary by her very nature. In other words, announcing the Gospel to others is not one among many agenda items the Church has; it is, rather, what the Church does at all times and through all her other activities. A follower of Christ does not have the option to choose whether or not he or she wants to help spread the Gospel to others. Rather, being a follower of Christ necessarily entails bearing witness to that Gospel message. And this call to proclaim the message is given by the Lord himself. Each Christian receives this call, and the grace to carry it out, through baptism and confirmation.

Discussion Questions

Is being a good Catholic compatible with being a good American, or is that a conflict of interests?

How does being a leader in our society relate to one's faith?

Is it proper to divide one's "private religious beliefs" from one's conduct in public, especially if one is a leader?

Give some examples of "act[ing] publicly in a way contrary to [the] faith."

Further reading

George Grant, Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-life Movement from the First Century to the Present (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Haytt, 1991).

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