Happy October! And what a month it will be! There are various powerful observances and events this month whose themes reinforce one another and the overall mission of the Church on behalf of human life.
It is, first of all, Respect Life Month. It's a time to let the pulpits roar with the Church's Biblical witness to the sacredness of life.
And the appropriateness of that roaring is accented this month by the worldwide Synod of Bishops that begins on October 7, and the Church's Year of Faith that begins on October 11th, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
The Synod of Bishops will discuss the "New Evangelization," the proclamation of the faith with new vigor and new methods. It is for the purpose of embracing anew our faith in Christ that the Year of Faith is being observed. And all of this is, of course, why Churches exist, why religious freedom is important, and why preachers preach.
Moreover, the pro-life message is not something we "add on" to our faith as a hobby or extra-curricular activity. It is at the very heart and foundation of our faith. As I put it in the memo I submitted to the Vatican on behalf of Priests for Life in preparation for this year's Synod of Bishops,
"The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of Life. The good news of the redemption of the human person in Christ is news about how he unites our human nature with His Divine Nature. The Gospel is precisely about the exaltation of human dignity in Christ. In proclaiming the hope that Christ offers humanity, namely, that he will sit us with him on his throne (cf. Rev. 3:21), the Church cannot then ignore the phenomenon by which that same humanity is thrown in the garbage. Were she to do that, her very proclamation of the Gospel would be compromised and rendered unpersuasive.
"When a society forgets the Creator, the creature becomes unintelligible. The culture of death is precisely a sign that new evangelization is needed. New Evangelization includes, at its core, the proclamation of the sanctity of life."
We proclaim that message, furthermore, in these weeks that lead up to the most important election of our lifetime, an election that will decide the fate of countless unborn children, and the status of religious liberty in America.
Because the stakes are so high, hundreds of pastors this year will take part on October 7 in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," in which they will preach sermons that apply Biblical standards to political candidates, and will send those sermons to the IRS to challenge them to clarify the restrictions on Churches against political speech. This has occurred for several years now. In fact, we can do much more than we think we can, but it's not a bad idea to challenge those restrictions in court.
So, welcome, October! As we enter Autumn, bring a Springtime to our Faith, to our pro-life zeal, and to our informed, responsible citizenship