October is a time we are asked to focus on respect for life. On July 27-29 there was a meeting in Kansas City of 70 people involved in pro-life ministry from 51 dioceses. The Catholic Key covered the conference in their August 7th paper. Below are quotes given by Cardinal O’Malley during his homily at the mass he celebrated for those gathered for the conference. I think they are thought provoking for us as focus on respect for life.
Don’t let society succumb to the false idols of individualism, where nothing else matters but me, and materialism, in which lives are measured by their usefulness and productivity to me. Instead, build communities of solidarity where even lives of the weakest, the most vulnerable and the most marginalized are deeply valued.
Cardinal O’Malley denounced the idea that “it’s my life and I can choose to do with it as I please.” It pushes people into isolation where they make terrible decisions. A mother in a crisis pregnancy can then choose abortion. A sick and elderly person can choose suicide rather than to “be a burden on others.” All decisions deeply affect others.
If someone moves into a neighborhood, paints his house purple and orange, and fills up his backyard with bathtubs would his neighbors say, “It’s his property and he can do what he wants?” It’s not a matter of we can do whatever we want and not have an effect on others. Abortion and euthanasia cheapen all human lives. Every life is a gift from God, as well as the planet we share together.
There is a danger in becoming so fascinated by the gifts that we forget the giver. We then allow God to become like an anonymous and distant benefactor in our lives.
The culture of death is part of the materialism and extreme individualism of the day. Pope Francis is offering us an antidote to these evils. The antidote is solidarity and unity. The pro-life community needs to go about building community and especially a community of caring and compassion.
That is why we must not only change unjust laws, we must change lives and we will do that by building communities of solidarity and love. We are put on this earth to take care of each other and to protect our gifts.
In the most recent copy of The Catholic Key there is a copy of the annual report from the Office of Child and Youth Protection. Our diocese has been making an effort to let people know what is being done to keep our children safe. I encourage you to take a look at their report.
Next week we have a second collection for the Missions around the world.
The weekend of October 24th and 25th we will have an anointing of the sick at all of our masses. If you know of someone who would benefit from this sacrament, but is not able to make it to mass, please let me know and I will go to see them.