Denver archbishop challenges 'pro-choice' Catholics to test their conscience

shutterstock 1638697636 Former vice president Joe Biden at a campaign event, Nov, 2019. | YASAMIN JAFARI TEHRANI/Shutterstock

During his homily on Sunday, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver criticized pro-choice Catholics, adding that if life is not valued at the beginning and end then it will not be respected in between.

He spoke at the Respect Life Mass on Jan. 23 in remembrance of the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.

During his homily, the archbishop discussed the recent transition to a new presidential administration, which heavily advocates for abortion rights. He addressed Catholic politicians, such as President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who have defended and promoted permissive abortion policies.

He said these politicians have not subordinated "their positions to the truth of the Gospel," and have failed "to give witness to life."

"There are also many Catholics, unfortunately, who think Jesus is crazy, or some of his teachings are crazy, and especially when it comes to human life and the dignity of the unborn child. It is important for us as Catholics that both our hearts and our minds, that our words, thoughts, and actions, are always conformed to Jesus Christ and to the Gospel, and not to the ways of the world," he said.

He said abortion has impacted other pro-life topics, such as immigration and assisted suicide. He said the dignity of the person will not exist in these areas if human dignity is not respected at conception.

"It is important to give witness to the dignity of the unborn, [as well as] give witness to the dignity of the human being when it comes to immigration, when it comes to capital punishment, and other life issues," he said.

"But we are also clear that the preeminent [concern], and the place dignity begins, is with the unborn child and the dying – at the beginning of life and at the end of life. If dignity does not exist at those two points – at the beginning and the end – it will not exist in between."

Aquila said it is necessary to form one's conscience in light of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church. He said the conscience is not an opinion but it is instead the voice of God.

The archbishop further added that some consciences are erroneous or even dead to the truth. He said, when one believes to be following their conscience, they should put it to the test and question whether it is consistent with Church teachings.

"Our consciences must be formed according to the Gospel and according to the teachings of the Church. We must listen to that, and then our works will become good, and they will bring light," he said.

The archbishop said Catholics should preach the Gospel of Life with clarity, mercy, and love but they should not be apathetic to or supportive of the evils of abortion. He encouraged Catholics to show kindness to abortion advocates, especially women who have terminated a pregnancy, and to pray for a greater conversion to life.

"Let us first pray for the conversion of our country and for the conversion especially of Catholics who take a so-called pro-choice position," he said. "We must pray for their conversion, for the awakening of their consciences, that they may no longer be dead or erroneous, but come to the truth of Jesus Christ."

"Let us ask the Lord to open our hearts to that truth and let us pray that we may always have the courage to be those who give witness to the Gospel of Life, at both the beginning of life from the moment of conception, until natural death at the end of life, when hopefully we will enter the glory of God and the promise of eternal life."

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