September 1, 2009
My dear Diocesan Family,
"Every Child Brings Us God's Smile" is this year's theme for the USCCB Respect Life Program. During October Respect Life month, this program will be implemented throughout our diocese by our Office of Pro-Life Activities with the assistance of 160 Respect Life Coordinators at the parish level, keeping the pro-life issues visible in order to promote a Culture of Life in our Diocese.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI affirms the reality in his latest writings, Dignitas Personae, and Caritas in Veritate, that “the human person has been endowed with a very exalted dignity, which is rooted in the intimate bond that unites him with his Creator: a reflection of God’s own reality what ever the age, stage or condition of life”. The Church is committed in its resolve to protect and promote the sacredness of life.
We live by a human life ethic; social justice can not advance unless the right to life is protected. But Roe v. Wade continues to instigate society to create immoral laws that destroy life and policies that compromise its dignity; against newborn children with disabilities, the elderly through a “right” to assisted suicide, divorcing biomedical research from its necessary ethical foundation through embryonic stem cell research and possible threats to conscience protection for medical workers and the taxpayer funding of abortion coverage in the pending health care reform bill. No plan should compel us to support the destruction of life.
Today’s cultural campaign against human dignity and the struggle to defend life has polarized our society. The antidote to violence is not more violence. I recommend that spiritual works continue in addition to pastoral services and corporal works of mercy. We should offer special prayers for our nation and her leaders at every Mass in order that the culture of death may be overcome and a civilization of love may be advanced. I encourage all to take part in Eucharistic adoration and the praying of the rosary for the restoration of respect for human life, seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of our Lady of Guadalupe.
To accomplish this, I invite all to join me on Respect Life Sunday, October 4, 2009 for Mass as I celebrate the Eucharist in the spirit of St. Francis who showed honor, respect, and love to everyperson. Mass will begin at 10:30am at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in reverence for God’s sacred gift of life; no matter how broken, deformed, disabled or desperate that life may seem. It will be signed for the hearing impaired and it will be my honor to bless babies, expectant mothers and families immediately after Mass where a small social with refreshments will be served.
Be assured of my grateful and prayerful best wishes as together we work to promote the Culture of Life in our diocese and in our world!
Sincerely in Christ,
+Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec
Bishop of Buffalo