WASHINGTON — In a statement to mark Respect Life Month, October 2017, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York reiterated the need to build a culture of life throughout the year. Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Cardinal’s statement launches the year-long 2017-18 Respect Life Program (www.usccb.org/respectlife), which provides materials exploring the theme, “Be Not Afraid.”
“Looking back over the last year, there’s been a lot of uncertainty, suffering, and heartache. Between tragedies that occur in the public eye and trials that take place in our personal lives, there’s no shortage of reasons we cry out to God,” Cardinal Dolan said. “At such times, we may feel alone and unequipped… But we have an anchor of hope to cling to…. God says to us, ‘Do not fear: I am with you’ (Isaiah 41:10).”
“There are times we may doubt the value of our own lives or falter at the thought of welcoming and embracing the life of another. But … He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new. He is the God of redemption,” the Cardinal said. “That’s powerful. That’s something to hold onto.”
“As followers of Jesus Christ, … we are called to be missionary disciples…commissioned to reach out to one another, especially to the weak and vulnerable,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program highlights the value and dignity of human life throughout the year. Materials are intended for use across the spectrum of Catholic life, work, ministry, and education.
The 2017-18 Respect Life Program features six articles on a range of issues. They address practical steps to build a culture of life, compelling reasons to oppose assisted suicide, principles to consider at the end of life, an overview of the role of conscience, offering genuine support to a friend who’s considering abortion, and a Catholic Q & A on the death penalty. Many digital and print resources are offered, including toolkits for priests and deacons, parishes, Catholic education, Respect Life ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, faith formation, and communications.
The full text of Cardinal Dolan’s statement is available along with many other resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife.