Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
October is Respect Life Month. The Church calls for special attention and reflection on this year’s theme — I came so that all might have life and have it to the fullest — which contrasts a life lived for career and wealth with a life lived in love and service to others.
The Church reminds us that respect for life begins at conception and is a core teaching and value of our Catholic faith. In promoting our annual celebration of life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops states, “How we care for an unexpected child, a parent suffering from cognitive impairment or an infant with a disability does not reflect the degree of their humanity, but our own.” Their statement conveys the richness of the call to discipleship for people of faith who cultivate a respect for life and a culture of life at all stages of this precious gift from God.
The goal of banishing all forms of violence flows from the love and celebration of the life with which our Creator’s love has endowed us. Created as we are in God’s own image we should build a world where human life is always loved and defended. In the homily of his inaugural Mass, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”
The sacredness of the life of human beings is violated when the life of the unborn is threatened; when children live in fear, poverty, hunger and abuse; when the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the elderly and disabled are neglected; and when millions who live in refugee camps, in prison, in war zones and in disease are deprived of their God-given human dignity. We are all precious gifts from God.
There are no simple solutions, but there is guidance and support. The U.S. bishops have assembled a Respect Life package that many parishes have ordered, and information on the Respect Life program can be accessed through the Diocese of Davenport website at http://www.davenportdiocese.org/socialaction/sarespectlife.htm. This October, please join me in reflecting on the sacredness of every human being so that we may each be a sign of God’s love to each other.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport