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home : from the bishop : from the bishop February 21, 2019

Bishop O'Connell: "Life IS the Answer"
A message from Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

When Jesus was speaking to the crowd about being the Good Shepherd in John’s Gospel he assured them, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  Notice that he did not speak conditionally.  He did not say, “I have come that they may have life,” except the unborn; except those with handicaps, physical or mental or social; except the elderly or the terminally ill; except the guilty or the criminal; except anyone in certain socially questionable circumstances. His mission and promise of life was and remains to all and for all.  All human beings, born and unborn, are intentionally created by God and in God’s image.

It is with this understanding that thousands upon thousands of people from every age group, race, nationality religion and personal situation converge annually upon Washington, DC, on the anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade — now 43 years old — to “march for life.” It is not politics or social convention that prompt people to “march.”  Human life transcends every level of existence and unites us all in a celebration of God’s gift … “to the full.”  Lest anyone suggest otherwise, this is not simply “a Catholic thing” although it is certainly a Catholic imperative.

Life embraces every human being who lives, from conception through natural death.  Jesus positions himself and his mission in the midst of our shared human life and experience.  It is a “human thing,” THE “human thing” that we lift up, celebrate and carry on our shoulders to the March, throughout the March.

To be “pro-life” is to be “pro-human” without qualification, without condition, without reservation, without hesitation, without exception.  The excuse that the pro-life label somehow violates a woman’s “reproductive rights,” the so-called “right to choose,” is a flawed argument that attempts to appeal not to what is truly reasonable but to what is selfish and contrary to human nature.

The “right to choose” death rather than life, even for the unborn and most vulnerable among us, is a contradiction that strikes out against the heart of who and what we are as human beings.  People of faith locate that identity and purpose in the will and intention of God as Creator, in the most sacred and noble dignity inherent in every human being as a child of God.  Life is what unites us all in a common humanity. 

If Jesus assures us — and he has and does — that he has come that they, that we may have life to the full, then who among us has any right to believe or say otherwise?  In their heart of hearts, any honest, reasonable and rational person knows the answer.

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