In light of the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston issued a statement on what he perceives to be the greatest threats to human dignity in society, calling on Catholics to work towards transforming culture “into one that welcomes every human person.”
Cardinal DiNardo, who serves as chairman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, opened his remarks on Sept. 28 by stating that with “each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God’s boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent.”
“With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions – due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child.”
“Yet the loss of even one child,” he noted, “and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.”
“In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government,” the cardinal continued.
For example, although “Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins,” he said, in “March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people’s abortions through their health care premiums.”
“Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science,” he added, “when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research – and demand the use of all Americans’ tax dollars to support this agenda.”
A recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities which showed that “57 percent of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor” and “only 21 percent favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings,” said the prelate.
Despite the overarching opinion of Americans on this issue, however, the current Administration “issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court’s finding that these guidelines may violate the law,” Cardinal DiNardo lamented.
“At the other end of life,” he went on, “seriously ill patients are again under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide.”
“Instead of addressing these patients’ real problems by providing love, support and relief of suffering, this agenda urges us to eliminate the patient as though he or she is the problem. Marching under the false banner of 'compassion' and 'choice,' it raises the fearsome prospect of a future in which the only 'choice' cheerfully granted to our most vulnerable patients is a lethal overdose of drugs.”
“While critics want to portray the Church’s witness as a narrow and negative ideology, it is just the opposite: A positive vision of the dignity of each and every human being without exception, each loved equally by God and so equally deserving of our love and our nation’s respect,” he underscored.
In his concluding remarks, Cardinal DiNardo stressed that “Our efforts, of course, must always be undergirded with prayer – the silent space for personal daily prayer that allows us to hear God’s voice deep in our hearts, and communal prayer that asks God to transform our culture into one that welcomes every human person.”