The day gives Catholics across the country an opportunity to give thanks to those who help foster respect for life in pregnancy care centers, hospices, legislative assemblies, homes, schools and workplaces, said the cardinal, who serves as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities.
The cardinal noted that many young people have joined the pro-life movement as educators and activists and a growing number have committed to living chastely until marriage, which contributes to the decline in abortions.
He also observed a change in public sentiment toward abortion, with fewer Americans favoring unlimited abortions and acknowledged the ongoing debate to ban partial-birth abortions.
The cardinal said he was encouraged by the increased opposition, particularly among committed Catholics, to the use of the death penalty.
“These and other signs of progress are true advances,” he said.
However, the cardinal also pointed out “other recent developments, though hailed as forms of technical progress, are regressive and harmful in their effects on human life.”
The RU-486 abortion pill remains on the market even though it has been linked with serious side effects for women, including death. Plan B, approved by the Food and Drug Administration for “emergency contraception”, may also act as an abortifacient and poses health risks as well.
He also deplored the “exaggerated or even fraudulent claims” that are made in favor of embryonic stem-cell research — as in the case of Missouri’s November ballot — while downplaying adult stem-cell research.
“Let us educate and motivate ourselves to ensure that truth – the scientific and medical truth, and the profound truth about the dignity of each human person – will increasingly inform and guide our society’s decisions about human life,” he concluded.
Respect Sunday is celebrated by Catholics throughout the U.S. with many dioceses and parishes offering special Masses for the unborn and life issues.
.- There have been several advancements in creating a culture of life in the United States that a well worth celebrating Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 1. But there are still other areas, where respect for life must be promoted, said Cardinal William Keeler in a statement leading up to Respect Life Sunday.