Letter from the Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Letter from the Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Bishop of the Diocese of
Duluth, Minnesota, to participants in the Pro-Life Candlelight Prayer Vigil on
the steps of the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth, Minnesota on January 22,
My dear friends,
January 22, 2002, marks the twenty-ninth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the
tragic US Supreme Court decision that made abortion-on-demand throughout
pregnancy the law of the land in this country. Every day, nearly 4,000 unborn
babies are killed in the name of "choice." Since 1973, over forty million babies
have been killed. That is the equivalent of the entire population of the states
of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina, and Nebraska.
We may periodically find ourselves asking why we are investing all this time,
energy and resources into the pro-life movement when, after nearly three
decades, abortion is still the law of the land. At such times, it is important
to reflect upon the actions of the many compassionate people who are determined
to bring about change.
There are an estimated 3,700 help centers for women, operated mostly by
volunteers, that will assist mothers and fathers facing an unexpected pregnancy
-- where services are free. Grieving parents who have chosen abortion can find
an empathetic and nonjudgmental atmosphere in which to begin the road to hope
and healing. There are numerous pro-life organizations, scattered throughout the
states, working to educate their communities while striving to pass pro-life
legislation and elect pro-life candidates.
These pro-life organizations, working together, are making a difference.
Slowly but surely the pro-life movement is pulling American society in the
direction of protecting innocent life from the moment of conception until
Our efforts are working. Be encouraged! Your contribution, at whatever level,
has been a wise and constructive investment. You must continue to invest in this
life-or-death struggle to ensure future victory.
At the same time, we keep in mind these words of Our Lord to His disciples:
"Without me, you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5). These words make clear the
necessity of prayer and union with God for the success of any worthy
undertaking. Prayer is not just a "good thing." It is, rather, absolutely
necessary. The Lord Jesus does not merely "help us." Without Him, we can do
nothing at all. Still, we must not be tempted to use prayer as an escape from
activity which may cause inconvenience or rejection. Prayer is never meant to
turn us in on ourselves; rather, it is supposed to propel us into action.
On this twenty-ninth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, we mourn the loss of 40
million babies killed by abortion, but we must also rededicate ourselves to the
protection of the lives of the millions more who, today and tomorrow, are
vulnerable to the lethal attack of abortion. It’s important that we pause to
reflect and mourn; it is more important that we never, never give up! When we
feel powerless in the face of so much real and potential evil in the world, we
cannot allow ourselves to succumb to that temptation. In doing so, we
shortchange the power of God who hears our prayers and works through us to
transform the hearts of sinners. We are called to believe that God has a plan
for us and that God’s plan will prevail.
With gratitude for all that you do to protect human life and with prayerful
best wishes, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Bishop of Duluth