This year the U.S. Bishops have chosen Be Not Afraid as the 2017-2018 Respect Life Program. When we hear these words, how can we not remember with affection Pope St. John Paul II, who vigorously exhorted and encouraged us with these words, so often found in Scripture, to keep our hearts open to Christ? This October, as Respect Life Month begins, be not afraid to proclaim the great call and responsibility to stand for every human life.

In The Gospel of Life, John Paul II makes three main points:

  1. There is a conspiracy against life that leads to a culture of death.
  2. There is a Gospel of Life, which demands that we love one another for love does no wrong to our neighbor.
  3. We are a people of life and for life.

The names of cities like Orlando, Barcelona, and Charlottesville have loaded meanings for us because of events that have taken place in the last year or two. These events are the result of the culture of death that threatens to become normative. This all starts with a conspiracy against life, which starts with the erroneous belief that a life in the womb has no rights, has no inherent value or dignity, which one may choose to treat however one wishes, even with death.

"Everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others" (Pope Francis; Laudato Si').  Once we place ourselves at the center, we give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative (LS).

Once we believe that an unborn child has no rights, not even a right to life, then our self-centeredness allows us to slowly devalue other lives.  It can even become reasonable to accept that:

  • Some people are “not as equal as others” because of their race, color, religion, sex, or gender.
  • Capital punishment is a needed means of discipline.
  • Helping someone to “die with dignity” by means of euthanasia is not the direct, willed choice to take the life of another human person.

The culture of death pervades; be not afraid to proclaim the Gospel of Life!

We are a people of life and for life. We must not be afraid of proclaiming the Gospel of Life. We must not remain silent about the lives Jesus died to save.

We encourage you to be a person of life and for life.  You can sign the petition to end taxpayer-funded abortions in Oregon. Do not be afraid to take up the call to stand for life by trying to limit public funding for abortion – not as a political issue, but to respond to the Gospel call on this moral issue.

You can write Governor Kate Brown and ask her to commute the sentences of those on death row from capital punishment to life without parole.

You can talk to an unfamiliar parishioner who looks different from you.

To be pro-life is a sensitive and a very critical need for our people today.

Be not Afraid!