Nebraska Bishop James D. Conley’s pastoral letter “The Language of Love” has had an international impact in the first three months since it was published.
“Sacrifice is the language of love,” Bishop Conley’s pastoral letter reads. “Love is spoken in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who poured out his life for us on the cross. Love is spoken in the sacrifice of the Christian life, sharing in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. And love is spoken in the sacrifice of parents, and pastors, and friends.”
The pastoral letter, published March 25, discusses topics like marriage and the reasons behind Catholic rejection of contraception and sterilization. It is addressed to the Catholic families and healthcare providers of the diocese of Lincoln, Neb.
The letter was reprinted in several outlets in the U.S. and in other countries. In Germany, the Bishop of Regensburg cited the letter in a homily and a German-language translation was published on the popular website Kath.net.
A Danish translation of the letter was published at the website of the Denmark-based magazine Katolsk. It has also been published in the Philippines.
Last week in London, Bishop Conley spoke about “The Language of Love” at St. Patrick’s Evangelization School, a formation program for young adults aged 20-30 based at the parish of St. Patrick in London’s SoHo neighborhood.
At the time of its release, the pastoral letter was delivered to every Catholic family registered in the Diocese of Lincoln. It was also made available as a podcast on the diocese’s website.
Bishop Conley’s letter says that American culture rejects “the gift of new life,” and therefore rejects love, through the use of contraception, which “gravely and seriously disrupts the sacrificial, holy and loving meaning of marriage itself.”
Marriage is a call to “loving as God loves… freely, creatively and generously.”
The letter also exhorts Catholic physicians, pharmacists and other health care professionals to pursue the “art of healing.” It notes that contraception and sterilization “denigrate and degrade the body’s very purpose.”
In March, Bishop Conley told CNA that Catholics who reject or ignore the immorality of contraception should look to the Church and to the teachings of Christ as “a message of love and mercy,” a message proclaimed by Pope Francis.