“We can all do something” to foster the culture of life, of love, says Archbishop

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LINCOLN, Neb. (CNS) – The chairman of the pro-life committee of US bishops told a Nebraska pro-life conference that “there are legitimate reasons to hope” that the United States Supreme Court can grant the States “more authority to protect the lives of unborn children.

“We are at a time of great promise and opportunity in our efforts to rebuild a culture of life in our society,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said in an evening keynote address on the 17th. September at the Lincoln conference. .

On December 1, the High Court will hear oral arguments in a Mississippi appeal to uphold its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and supporters of the law are urging the court to reconsider its previous abortion rulings.

If the country’s High Court upholds Mississippi state law, it could overturn the 1973 court ruling in Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion across the country. The matter would fall back to state jurisdiction, as it did before Roe.

While there is reason to be hopeful, at the same time, “abortion advocates are more extreme in their demands,” Archbishop Naumann said.

“They celebrate abortion as a right,” he added. “They are not happy with abortion as a choice. They seek to force doctors, nurses, Catholic hospitals to participate in abortion. They want to force every taxpayer to fund abortion.

So “the stakes are high,” he said. “Our nation and our church need all of us to be fully engaged in promoting a culture of life and building a civilization of love.”

No one can do it alone, “but as Christians we are never alone,” Archbishop Naumann said. “We must pray and call on the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and give courage to our hearts. “

“We can all do something or something,” he continued. “We can and should pray. We must make our families sanctuaries of life where true love is lived and the virtues cultivated.

“The most important pro-life education does not happen at big events, but person-to-person through conversations on the kitchen table or by the garden fence, conversations in the workplace or on the football field.”

Archbishop Naumann, who is in his third year as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, addressed a number of abortion-related issues in his address to openness, especially the communion received by Catholic politicians who support legal abortion.

He discussed Pope Francis’ remarks on politicians, abortion and the Eucharist made when he returned home from his trip to Hungary and Slovakia. The Archbishop of Kansas also explained why American bishops are focusing on the Eucharist with a planned document and a national Eucharistic revival initiative.

This idea of ​​revival was sparked in part by a 2019 Pew Research study which found that 69% of Catholics do not believe the church teaching that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.

The Archbishop spoke of a “cultural confusion” that allows abortion and gender reassignment, tolerates a “pornography pandemic” and rejects traditional marriage. This confusion, he said, “has enveloped our society in recent years” and has “brought an agonizing and even disturbing cloud of darkness into our nation.”

“Our government authorizes the murder of nearly a million of our own children each year, with our current president promising to put all the weight of the federal government in preserving the right to kill children,” he said, referring to President Joe Biden, a Catholic, and his calls to codify Roe v. Wade in federal law.

“Some deny the biological reality of their gender and claim that gender is only a social construct,” said the archbishop. “We are confused about something as basic as the nature of marriage.

“We are facing a pornography pandemic that attempts to make children addicted to alluring explicit visual sexual content at an age when they are ill-equipped and helpless to resist, while at the same time there are forces that want to classify the teaching of chastity and related virtues as hatred. crimes. Evil is called good and good is portrayed as evil. “

But he urged Catholics “not to be intimidated” by such “forces of darkness”, but to “continue to proclaim the truth of God’s amazing love with boldness and tenderness”, especially to those who do not. do not share their respect for life.

“Develop messages that will grab the attention of those who identify as pro-choice and surprise them with the overwhelming beauty of the truth of God’s love and mercy revealed in Jesus,” he explained. .

Regarding Catholic politicians who support legal abortion, he quoted Pope Francis saying in an interview on his flight back to Rome that “fellowship is for those in community and politicians who support abortion are in. outside the community ”.

“However, he also said that in these cases it is a pastoral issue that must be dealt with by the individual’s pastor,” Archbishop Naumann said.

He agreed that bishops and priests “must act as pastors and not as politicians” in these cases.

“However, part of being a good pastor is the willingness to have difficult conversations with individuals for their own spiritual well-being and the well-being of others,” he said. “A pastor has an obligation to have a conversation with someone who is acting in a very public manner contrary to the basic moral teachings of the church.”

He added: “We must try to help them understand the gravity of what they are doing and encourage them to reconsider their reasoning and change their actions.”

But if after a period of “honest dialogue” and time for them “to reflect and reconsider” their position and these individuals “remain stubborn in their objectively immoral actions”, they should no longer come forward for Holy Communion, a he said, adding that “integrity requires” that.

He said that Catholics in public life “have the opportunity to influence both positively and negatively the understanding by others of our Catholic faith. When their public actions conflict with basic Catholic moral teaching, they confuse and mislead many people inside and outside the church.

The Archbishop also stressed that public policy “is only one element” of the Catholic Church‘s pro-life pastoral plan and that whatever happens with regard to Roe, “the need to surround d ‘love those considering abortion remains of paramount importance’.

One of those efforts is an initiative started by the pro-life committee of bishops called Walking with Moms in Need.

He also highlighted The Rachel Project, a healing ministry for “those who have been involved in abortion and now deeply regret it”. The Archbishop said he had been involved in this ministry since 1984.

Archbishop Naumann said that the document planned by the American bishops on the Eucharist will address subjects such as the real presence, the Eucharistic coherence and the unity, the beauty and the identity of the Eucharist as “the source and summit of all Christian life ”.

The purpose of this document, currently being drafted, and of a Eucharistic renewal with parish and diocesan events is “to motivate Catholics to meditate on the great miracle that occurs at each Mass, when the Lord of Lords and King of kings comes to us in the humble guise of unleavened bread and wine, ”he said.


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