Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is good news for the protection and sacred dignity of human life. The right to life is one of our nation’s founding principles. It also is the first principle of Catholic social teaching. Every person is created in the image and likeness of God, and God loves every single human life.
The Catholic Church gives special attention to the needs of the poor and vulnerable. This includes the child in the womb, the migrant, the ill and the elderly. All life — no matter its stage or ability — has value. Pope Francis reminds us in his encyclical letter “Laudato Si’” that “when we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities — to offer just a few examples — it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.” Abortion severs this connection by rejecting the gift of life — a life with no voice but a great deal of potential that will never be realized.
In our efforts to protect vulnerable life in the womb, we also must not forget that women facing crisis pregnancies are also vulnerable. They, too, need our care and assistance throughout their pregnancies and after the birth of their children. The people of our diocese have a long history of offering financial support and supplies to pregnancy centers and other organizations that serve both mother and child. I am very grateful for these efforts. They make an incredible difference in helping women choose life.
Now that the Supreme Court’s ruling returns the issue of abortion to the states and access to abortion will continue in Minnesota due to a past state Supreme Court decision, we face the challenge of stepping up our educational and charitable efforts even more. I fully support the involvement of our parishes and Area Catholic Communities in programs such as “Walking with Moms in Need” (www.walkingwithmoms.com), which helps local church communities “walk in the shoes” of pregnant and parenting women by filling in service gaps that may exist. We must also redouble our advocacy for public policies that support pregnant women, strengthen families and limit any expansion of abortion. The Minnesota Catholic Conference (www.mncatholic.org) is a valuable resource for learning more about the issues and how to take action.
I ask you to take time today to pray for the lives lost to abortion, for healing for the women and men harmed by its effects, for peace in the wake of this court decision, for continued courage to stand up for a culture of life, and for a change of heart for anyone contemplating an abortion today or in the future.
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud