September 24, 2021


40 Days for Life, Life Chain events help to change minds and hearts

“Abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is murder. Abortion, without hinting: whoever performs an abortion kills. … It’s a human life, period. This human life must be respected. This principle is so clear.”
—Pope Francis during his in-flight press conference returning from Bratislava, Slovakia, on Sept. 15

This week, we began the fall 40 Days for Life campaign, which runs through Oct. 31 at hundreds of sites throughout the world, including several here in Indiana.

As in years past, the effort is an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses.

So our Holy Father’s words during a recent in-flight press conference couldn’t come at a better time as we initiate this campaign, which will lead us into Respect Life Month in October.

To those who don’t understand the tragedy of abortion, the pope asks two questions: “Is it right, is it fair, to kill a human life to solve a problem? Scientifically, it is a human life.

“Second question: Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? I said this publicly. … When I did, I said it to [Radio] COPE, [and] I have wanted to repeat it. … Don’t continue with strange discussions: Scientifically, it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? This is why the Church is so strict on this issue because accepting this is kind of like accepting daily murder.”

The pope’s message is clear to those of us—not only Catholics but people of other faith traditions—who understand we are called to protect all human life, from conception to natural death. To take an innocent life, as the Holy Father said, is “accepting daily murder.”

Participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign allows us to be witnesses to this unwavering truth of protecting the unborn, which some in society—including several prominent politicians—are quick to dismiss as a “choice,” not a child.

Our faith teaches us we cannot stand idly by and let this atrocity continue.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson will celebrate the archdiocesan annual Respect Life Sunday Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis, at 1 p.m. on Oct. 3.

Life Chain events will also take place throughout central and southern Indiana later that day, including in Indianapolis from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Meridian Street from Michigan Street to 38th Street.

As you read on page 3 of this week’s issue of The Criterion, Life Chain events are peaceful and prayerful public witnesses of individuals standing and praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that human life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death.

For those interested in taking part in 40 Days for Life, the Central Indiana campaign is taking place on the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 8590 Georgetown Road, in Indianapolis. To sign up to pray, go to For more information, contact Timothy O’Donnell at 317-372-0040 or

In Bloomington, the 40 Days for Life campaign is taking place on the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 421 S. College Ave. To sign up to pray, go to For more information, contact Deacon Russell Woodard at 812-526-9460 or

For more information or to sign up at other sites, go to

As missionary disciples, our call includes assisting the least of our brothers and sisters. Is there anyone more vulnerable than an unborn child?

Since its inception in 2007, the 40 Days for Life campaign has borne much fruit. To date, 19,198 lives have been saved, 221 abortion workers have quit and 112 abortion centers have been closed. These statistics confirm our witness is changing minds and hearts.

But we cannot rest on our laurels. May we use this fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign to remind humanity that it’s a child in the mother’s womb, not a choice.

—Mike Krokos

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