Media Statement from
The Most Reverend Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap.
Bishop Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach
Contact: Deacon Sam J. Barbaro, Director of Communications
Voice: 561-775-9529 - Facsimile: 561-775-9502
P.O. Box 109650 - Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410-9650
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
As slavery was the great moral and ethical crisis of American History, in our
own times, the worst moral blindness finds its expression in abortion. There is
a sadness in my own heart that wells up each time I recall the tragic mistake of
our Supreme Court in the decision of Roe vs. Wade that opened the flood gates of
abortion. This egregious betrayal is akin to the Dred Scott decision in the
radical way that the court devalued human life and excluded innocent human
beings from the protection of the law. After three decades and millions of
abortions, the danger of complacency is great.
Every Catholic must work to promote the Gospel of Life in all its facets; not
to do so is to fail in our mission to make this a better world where people take
care of each other and make sacrifices for the most weak and vulnerable. Our
obligation to protect and nurture human life does not end when the baby is born;
but the other works of mercy and social entitlements are meaningless to the baby
girl who has died a victim of partial birth abortion. As a society, the first
thing we can do for a child is to respect the inalienable right to life that
comes to us from God and is enshrined in the foundational documents of our
This year, as I have done for the last 30 years, I shall go to the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and there with young people, priests and
faithful veterans of the cause of life, we will pray for the end to abortion in
our country and in the world. I am so proud of the fact that each year we are
joined by thousands of young people who pray with us at Mary's Shrine and then
walk in the March for Life. Their faith and idealism fill me with hope. They are
there despite the hostility of so many advocates for abortion who want to
ridicule our cause and dismiss us as "social conservatives." But the cause of
life cannot be dismissed. Life is precious and the defense of life is both a
privilege and a duty.
We pray for just laws that will protect human life, but we must work to
change human hearts to make room at the table of life for all our brothers and
sisters. A huge challenge is to change people's attitude towards adoption. We
are confronted with the strange logic that somehow it is better to kill a child
rather than entrust a child to a loving family. Thousands of childless couples
are longing to give a home to an unwanted baby. In our Church we must celebrate
adoption and support birthmothers and adoptive parents who want to give life a
chance. We must build a society where every baby is wanted.
The kinds of changes we strive for demand spiritual renewal and prayer. It is
in prayer that we will experience God's power and love. In prayer we shall learn
compassion for the unborn child, for the mother and even for the abortionist who
tramples the noble vows of the Hippocratic Oath.
We must not allow our rightful indignation over the crime of abortion to
diminish our love and concern for those involved in these horrendous situations.
Recall how Dorothy Day, whose cause has been presented for sainthood, in her
youth opted to have an abortion after her lover abandoned her. Likewise, Dr.
Nathanson the champion of NARAL and personally responsible for thousands of
abortions has become Catholic and a staunch defender of human life. God's grace
can turn people's lives around; we must never cease to proclaim this consoling
As a community of faith we need to reach out to women who have had the
misfortune to have aborted their child. We must try to help them to recover
spiritually and psychologically from the violence that abortion causes women. We
are grateful for Project Rachel, which has been a powerful instrument of healing
for the families of aborted children.
This year by a vote of the United States Bishops' Conference and confirmation
by the Holy See, it is a particular law of the Church for Catholics of the
United States that January 22nd will be observed as a day of penance for
violations to the dignity of the human person through abortion and as a day of
prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.
The liturgical calendar (Ordo) states that the Mass for Peace and Justice
should be celebrated with purple vestments. It is also a day when we are all
asked to fast and pray and to make sacrifices as we do during Lent. I would
certainly encourage people to try to attend Mass on that day and to pray the
Even as we pray for changes in our laws and in the hearts of our fellow
citizens, we must redouble our efforts to work for a more just and caring
society where women will be less prone to abort their babies. We need to get the
word out that our faith community stands ready to help every woman in a
The Catholic community must stand ready to help those families that are
suffering economic insecurity and are most vulnerable to "facile solutions"
promised by a culture of death. We must also do a better job of preparing our
young people for a vocation of marriage and parenthood.
Let me say a word of thanks to our brothers and sisters who are already
working tirelessly to make the world safe for unborn children and to those who
are helping women contemplating an abortion or who have already had an abortion.
We must embrace the Gospel of Life not in a spirit of self-righteousness but
with humility and compassion and also with a sense of fulfilling the mission
that Christ has entrusted to His disciples. Christ has not sent us to judge or
condemn people but to invite them to conversion and to life. Our quest for
respect for life is not a political issue, it is a moral imperative. Life is
precious at all stages, and we must be prepared to defend life through all the
stages of life whenever it is threatened.
I pledge my prayers for all of you but especially for our young people that
you will all be apostles for the Gospel of Life and that together we may make
ours a better world; a world where human life is deemed precious and where we
bear one another's burdens with compassion.
Devotedly in Christ,
Most Reverend Sean P. O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap.
Bishop of Palm Beach