Culture of Violence and Death


Bishop John Steinbock

  California Catholic Daily - San Diego, CA

My dear people of God,

January 22nd is the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court. This decision denied the right to life for unborn children, and has led to the slaughter of millions upon millions of innocent unborn babies in our land. Without a doubt this decision has led to what we now call a culture of violence and death in our country. When there is no respect for the life of the most defenseless, innocent and vulnerable members of the human family, there is little to support society to uphold and respect the right to life of others in our society. Violence and death are now accepted as a solution for solving problems both in personal lives and in the life of society.

Rampant in our society now is spousal abuse, elderly abuse, suicide, the promotion to legalize euthanasia, the growing demand for the death penalty, using and destroying human embryos for research, which is destroying human life. Globally the ready solution now to many of our world-wide problems is preemptive war with the accepted indiscriminate killing of non combatants through so called smart bombs, and the acceptance of torture as a moral good. We continually build more sophisticated weapons and more effective ways of killing people. Violence and death are now accepted by so many as an ordinary way of life for solving our problems. And we are not talking simply of psychopaths who have no respect for anyone’s life, but of ordinary people, upright, and respected citizens, politicians and professionals, as well as people who profess to believe in God. This is all in the wake of the Roe vs. Wade decision.

We believe in a God whose Son died for every person in this world, and whose love is all embracing. Our Lord Jesus extended his arms on the cross to embrace everyone in this world, rich and poor, born and unborn, citizen and foreigner, documented and undocumented, victims of serious crimes and their families as well as those guilty of those serious crimes; those who are productive in society and those who contribute nothing to our society; those who sleep comfortably in beautiful homes, and those who sleep on the streets, for our soldiers who are fighting and sacrificing their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those who are fighting against them. The Church teaches clearly and unequivocally that every person, without exception, is a child of God, whose life is sacred and possesses the right to life, and is to be respected as a human being.

God calls us to witness, not to our limited human love, but to His Divine Love, which embraces all peoples. Only the power of God’s love within us can enable us to reach out to each and every person in this world with respect and love. We are all members of our society and we are influenced tremendously by this culture of violence and death in which we live. It is easy to condemn those that many in our society condemn and we must constantly ask God’s help to witness to the sacredness of every human life. We are powerless to do this living in this culture, but with God all things are possible.

God bless you all. +++