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Strong spiritual dimension growing in North American Pro-Life Movement

John Cardinal O'Connor

Archbishop of New York

April 8, 1991

Abortion and euthanasia are threats against human beings only because they are alive. This differs historically from threats against human beings because of racial, religious, ethnic or other characteristics involved in genocide. This evil is rooted in the rejection of God by those who would be gods by determining what is good, what is evil, as in the case of Adam and Eve.

In both Canada and the United States the unborn are deprived of personhood and constitutional protection. (Throughout the entire world, 30 to 50 million unborn are aborted annually.)

A weakening of a sense of moral absolutes is resulting in making life itself a relative value. The civil law becomes both the great teacher in society and the arbiter of morality. Divine and natural law are subordinated to civil law, as is Church teaching on the sacredness of human fife. Misinterpretations of Vatican II's teaching on the role and authority of conscience have added to the confusion. Powerful propaganda forces, such as large, wealthy pro-abortion organizations, a press strongly supportive of abortion rights, widespread ignorance that life begins at conception and that abortion is the destruction of human life, and the creation of new terminologies to conceal the true nature of abortion all help create an anti-life climate.

Much that is said of abortion can be said of euthanasia, assisted suicide and related phenomena.

The bishops of North America are engaged in widespread efforts to help restore a sense of the sacredness of all human life and to influence public policy for the protection of human life. Many lay persons and organizations provide strong leadership and engage in heroic efforts along these lines, as do many religious - contemplative and active - and priests.

A strong spiritual dimension is growing in the Pro-life Movement. Rosary rallies are becoming common. A new religious community is being established, called Sisters of Life, for the protection and advancement of all human life, particularly the unborn. A new National Federation for Life is being formed in the United States to help unite the efforts of the many pro-life organizations already at work.

The Bishops of the United States recently reaffirmed their commitment to an extensive pastoral plan which recognizes a "consistent ethic of life". A unanimous resolution declared: "At this particular time, abortion has become the fundamental human rights issue for all men and women of good will... No Catholic can responsibly take a 'pro-choice' stand when the 'choice' in question involves the taking of innocent human life" (NCCB).

The loss of life and the grave moral and spiritual damages to everyone involved (including mothers who suffer abortions) in abortion and euthanasia are severe and require critical action. The enormous pro-life efforts underway, however, are a source of great hope and encouragement.

Priests for Life
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