Thursday, October 21, 2004

Respect Life: Seeing the Whole Picture

What is it?
The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental - the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others. It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognize this right for some and not for others: all discrimination is evil, whether it be founded on race, sex, color or religion. It is not recognition by another that constitutes this right. This right is antecedent to its recognition; it demands recognition and it is strictly unjust to refuse it.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974), no. 11

During October, the Church has been asking all people of faith and good will to recall that life and death are not “earned” as if we hold the power to create and negate life. Creation and being born into that creation is God’s gift, and God is attentive to every second of our existence, from beginning to end, no matter what. We acknowledge this when we pray, “In you we live and move and have our being. Each day you show us a Father’s love” (Sunday Ordinary Time Preface VI, P34).

Our first priority then is protecting innocent life and the lives of those who are weak and defenseless. For this reason, abortion and euthanasia are the Church’s overriding concern.

Yet our concern for life cannot end there. One of the most difficult threads of this seamless fabric of life is concern for the lives of those who have wronged us. We experienced this most deeply as a nation in the days and months after September 11. Even now, the two leading presidential candidates have sworn to kill those who attacked our country that day.

But our faith teaches us a different response.

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you,what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.
- Luke 6:27-36

The whole picture

See the whole picture of life and every human’s right to that life. Find an issue about life that you usually bypass and learn more about what our church teaches about that issue.

Some of these interrelated issues of life are:

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