Letter for Respect Life Sunday
Diocese of Metuchen
Office of the Bishop
October 1, 2000
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
The most important moral issues of our time undoubtedly concern the dignity
of every human life. On this Respect Life Sunday, we are asked to reexamine our
view of God's gift of life. When the Church condemned the initial legalization
of abortion in 1973, some diverted attention from life's destruction by stating
abortion was limited to the first trimester of pregnancy, and only for specific
reasons. We strongly rejected this erroneous notion by declaring that every life
is sacred from the moment of conception - and that; once death's door is
controlled by human will rather than God's will, all life is in jeopardy.
Sadly, the Church was painfully prophetic. We now have abortion-on-demand for
any reason - even as the child emerges from the womb, as in so-called
partial-birth abortion. A parent's right over a child seeking an abortion has
been usurped; stem cells of destroyed human fetuses are now harvested for
experimentation. The elderly are denied adequate, affordable health care; the
legalization of assisted-suicide is gaining ground. Our youth are hammered by
mixed messages regarding marriage and sex; violence mars our cities and our
schools, and many seek the death penalty to combat crime. We must seriously
study these issues and seek God's help in dealing with them; no one can remain
silent or uninvolved!
I have dedicated this month devoted to respect for life to the former
chairman of our diocesan Commission for Pro-Life Action, the late Rita Martin,
who worked tirelessly, lovingly and compassionately to support every life from
conception to natural death. May Rita's spirit inspire us to restore protection
to God's gift of life! How can we do this?
We can educate ourselves to recognize the ever-increasing attacks against
life. We can speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: the unborn, the
frail and sick, the elderly. On October 1, we can stand in silent affirmation of
God's gift at one of the Life-Chains situated throughout our Diocese so that our
message of truth - God's truth - will be heard and given serious attention.
Above all, we can pray that God's Spirit will enlighten those who do not
acknowledge the sanctity of every human life, and will grace us with the courage
and conviction we need to defend and respect life.
We cannot waver where truth is concerned, and the truth is clear: in God's
hands alone belong life and death. May Mary, the Mother of the Author of Life,
help us bring about an end to this horrendous slaughter and every threat to the
dignity of human life.
With my blessing, I am
Sincerely in Our Lord,
Most Rev. Vincent De Paul Breen
Bishop of Metuchen