September 29/30, 2012
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord:
Next weekend, that of October 6/7, is the beginning of the Respect Life program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as that of Respect Life Sunday. The theme for this year's program is Faith Opens Our Eyes to Human Life in All Its Grandeur and Beauty. What a poignant theme to reflect upon as we anticipate the beginning of the Year of Faith, October 11, invoked by our Holy Father.
During the Year of Faith our nation will observe a shameful anniversary. In 2013 we will mark the fortieth year from of the tragic Supreme Court decision in Roe V. Wade which legalized abortion in our country. In addition to legalizing abortion, the Supreme Court's decision eroded respect for human life and further opened the door to accepting death as a means to deal with personal and societal problems. Within that forty year span more and more obstacles to life, such as euthanasia and assisted suicide, have come to be seen as acceptable practices.
At this time within our nation's history, we face a growing threat to our religious liberty, especially as it affects our ability to live our faith and practice our moral convictions in regard to the sanctity of life at all stages. As men and women of faith we have every right, as well as a moral obligation, to make our voices heard in promoting legislation that protects the gift of life from the moment of conception until natural death. We must express our opposition to legalized abortion. We cannot have our right to religious liberty ignored so that the Church is forced to provide insurance coverage that includes not only contraception but also abortion inducing drugs. Nor can we stand quietly by while we are refused federal funding for Church programs because they do not include practices such as abortion.
The coming days are especially significant as we immediately prepare and inform ourselves for an important national election. The time before us is more critical than ever and our faith cannot be divorced from how we vote. We need to support positions and candidates that promote the sanctity of life. We need to support and vote YES for Amendment 6 on the Florida ballot which will prohibit the use of public funds for abortions as well as allow legislation to require parental consent for a minor child who wishes to have an abortion. We need to vote YES on Amendment 8 which protects our religious liberty by eliminating existing language that discriminates against churches and religious institutions that provide social services.
Above all, as people of faith, we must remember that prayer is our most important means of promoting a culture of life within our society. We must join our efforts to our prayers as citizens of this great nation in fostering a culture of life and in ensuring that our country lives by the principles for which it was founded. As we begin the Respect Life program as well as the Year of Faith, may we always see that faith and life are part of one whole.
With every prayerful wish, I am Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
Bishop of Palm Beach
Please place in your parish bulletins and read at all Masses on the weekend of September 29/30.