Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
January 23, 2017
St. Mary's Chapel
Catholic Pastoral Center
Today, throughout the United States, the Church is reflecting on the precious gift of human life. It is a day to pause and to recall that all life is a gift from God, given to us to share. We were created to be stewards of creation promoting a Culture of Life.
Life is life from the very first moment of conception until a natural death. We cannot pick and choose which life is more valuable than another life.
More and more, it seems that our society regards human life as disposable, something to be thrown away. If a life does not serve a useful purpose, or it is too expensive, or too inconvenient or unwanted – it can be thrown away.
The destruction and disrespect of human life is not a part of God’s plan for us.
It contradicts the very nature of God. As disciples of Jesus Christ we are obligated to embrace and promote the Gospel of Life.
Is it difficult to choose between life and death when our fifteen year-old daughter is two months pregnant and no one else knows? Absolutely.
Is it difficult to choose between life and death when in vitro fertilization, which destroys multiple fertilized living eggs, is the only recourse for a childless couple? Absolutely.
Is it difficult to choose between life and death for an 85 year old parent with Alzheimer’s? Absolutely.
Is it difficult to choose between life and death for someone who has brutally taken the life of an innocent victim? Absolutely.
Assisted suicide, late term abortion, artificial contraception, capital punishment, cloning, ethnic cleansing, stem cell research are all issues which continue to deteriorate the moral fiber of our times.
You and I have seen both the blatant and the subtle manifestation of evil throughout our world’s history and throughout our own lifetime. When are we going to learn not to kill our own?
More than 1 million abortions are performed every year. That is more than 4,000 abortions a day. That is a terrible and tragic loss of precious human life.
Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium states that “this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.”
“Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, ‘every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offense against the creator of the individual’”. (Christifideles Laici 37)
We live in very challenging times. We are witnesses to the cost of freedom and the responsibility and consequences of free will. Both have caused death and yet both are meant to bring us to a greater life.
We can no longer be silent. As our nation debates reforms in our Health Care System, we must speak out for those who have no voice.
Yes, our free will gives us a right to choose. But when it comes to life, there is no choice.