In preparation for Respect Life month, the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities has issued a new pamphlet entitled Created, Loved and Redeemed by God. It closes with the following observation:
No amount of good social policy, such as programs that feed the hungry and shelter the homeless as vitally important as they are can make up for bad policies concerning the protection of life itself. Without the fundamental right to live, the right to not be killed, no other rights are meaningful. In fact, without life no other rights can exist.
Pope Benedict reminds us in God Is Love that, as Catholics, we are called to make Gods love present in the world. He noted that the bishops help form consciences in political life and stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice (no. 28). But, he emphasized, it is the responsibility of lay Catholics to work for a just ordering of society and to take part in public life in a personal capacity (no. 29).
In other words, it is up to Catholic laypeople to participate directly in public life, helping to enact laws and policies that respect the lives of all, especially those who have no voiceunborn children, human embryos targeted for destructive research, and those who are cognitively impaired, disabled or dying.
Whether we are writing letters to elected representatives, voting, campaigning, or simply providing friends and colleagues with solid information about the grave moral issues of our day, our participation in American public life should at all times be guided by this fundamental truth: each one of usincluding those with whom we strongly disagreeis created, loved and redeemed by God. We, and they, are priceless in his eyes.
By speaking the truth about human life in love, we can help build a society that protects and respects every human life, born and unborn, and better reflects our status as children of God.