July 27, 2018

Editorial

Novena seeks to move hearts to protect all human life

There are tragic deaths reported by the media on a daily basis.

Examining the headlines recently shows us how lives are turned upside down for individuals and their families through no fault of their own: A duck boat tragedy in Missouri where 17 people—including nine members of a family from Indianapolis—lost their lives when a thunderstorm hit the area and the boat sank. A Dallas police officer killed by an alleged drunk driver during a funeral procession for another officer. A hit-and-run accident in Indianapolis that left one person dead.

Those tragedies offer a snapshot into how unforeseen circumstances can change lives in a heartbeat.

As Catholics and people of faith, the heartbeat of an unborn child is something we truly value as well but, sadly, there are still some in society who believe those children have no rights.

In January, we marked the 45th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion on demand in the U.S. during all nine months of pregnancy. Since that misguided court ruling, more than 60 million unborn babies in the U.S. have died as a result of abortion, reports the National Right to Life Committee.

Though recent polls indicate that more and more people in the United States are embracing life issues, we must continue our efforts as people of faith to work to protect all human life. Our faith also calls us to share our love with all God’s people, and reach out to our brothers and sisters most in need, including the poor, vulnerable and despised of this world. And yes, the unborn. We must never forget our unborn children.

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has called for a national prayer campaign effort that “the change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.”

“As soon as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, pro-abortion groups began lobbying the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to endorse Roe v. Wade,” the cardinal said on July 19 in a statement. President Donald J. Trump announced on July 9 that his nominee for the Supreme Court is Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington and a Catholic who once clerked for retiring Justice Kennedy.

“While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee,” Cardinal Dolan said, “we can and should raise grave concerns about a confirmation process which is being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade. And we must pray.”

Prayer will be at the heart of an initiative that will be held each Friday from Aug. 3 to Sept. 28. Cardinal Dolan invited all people of goodwill to participate in the initiative, known as the “Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life.”

“Call to Prayer” materials are accessible at bit.ly/2JBU1MH (case sensitive). Materials include prayers and educational resources, and an invitation to fast on Fridays for this intention.

Also, those wishing to join this nine‑week prayer effort can sign up at www.usccb.org/pray to participate in this and subsequent “Call to Prayer” initiatives via e-mail or text message.

The novena will send the message that people of faith, hopefully in droves, are continuing our work to change hearts and minds by building a culture of life.

We hope and pray the seeds planted bear much fruit.

And as Cardinal Dolan prayed, “May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for the healing of our nation and our people from decades of abortion on demand.”

—Mike Krokos

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