July 3, 2009

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

Pro-life ministry in action

David SilerThe Catholic Church is well known as one of the primary torchbearers for the sanctity of human life.

We are proud of this tradition and the unwavering ethic for the value of life from the moment of conception to the end of natural life.

One of the most important ways that the Catholic Church puts this value into action every day is through our Catholic Charities programs.

Throughout the United States, and in our own local Church, we are actively engaged in supporting women who become pregnant by providing real-life alternatives to abortion.

St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services in Indianapolis and St. Elizabeth-Catholic Charities in New Albany offer all of the necessary support for women to carry their child to term.

Birth parents are provided with all of the information related to choosing adoptive parents for their child.

They can choose the parents through adoption or they can receive the necessary support to parent their child on their own. Our staff seeks to take away every reason for choosing abortion.

In a somewhat less obvious “pro-life” form, we demonstrate the value of the sanctity and the dignity of life by sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, resettling refugees, counseling the despairing, caring for, advocating and educating children, visiting the sick and caring for the elderly.

We don’t always think of these works of mercy as pro-life services, but they clearly demonstrate a profound concern for the human person at every stage of life. And people that generally show up at our doorsteps are individuals that society often deems as less desirable. However, we all know that they are Jesus in disguise.

Much of the focus of the “pro-life” issue usually centers on impacting legislation dealing with the beginning of life.

We all long for the day when Roe v. Wade is reversed, and abortion is no longer a legal option but, in the meantime, we can all work to support the many programs that we currently have in place that demonstrate the value and primacy that we place on human life.

Just this week, a Catholic Charities Respect Life Task Force was launched to work to spread the word that the Church is indeed actively engaged in living out our pro-life mission every single day in many varied ways.

We can all stand proud knowing that, as members of this great Catholic family, together we are here for the entire human family, supporting life from its very beginning to its natural end.

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at dsiler@archindy.org.)

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