Cardinal says progress is ‘decidedly mixed’ in creating culture of life in US

The United States’ progress is “decidedly mixed” in fostering a culture where every human life is respected and defended, said Cardinal William Keeler.

In a written statement marking Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 2, the Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities invited people to pledge that they will do the utmost this year to promote a culture of life.

“On Respect Life Sunday we reflect on God’s priceless gift of human life,” said the archbishop of Baltimore. “We acknowledge with gratitude the many blessings we enjoy as creatures made in the image of God — our capacity to make moral choices, to know and love God and serve one another.”

“The truth that human life has a purpose, given by its Creator, has been a bedrock of Western civilization … [and] animated our country’s founding documents,” he said. “God’s creative and sustaining love for every human being is the one sure source of human dignity and freedom. His love for us is the fundamental reason why every human life must be valued and defended.”

The cardinal made reference to several legal and medical developments, which do not respect human life. 

He noted that the “Supreme Court will soon rule on whether Oregon physicians may demand access to federally controlled drugs so they can assist the suicides of sick and elderly patients.”

As well, while “stem cells from adult tissues and umbilical cord blood can now treat dozens of diseases and may soon treat many more … some persist in pursuing immoral and speculative research using stem cells obtained by killing developing humans in their first week of life.”

And while reproductive medicine has helped some couples have children, “in vitro fertilization is now best known for its tendency to produce ‘spare’ embryos who are frozen and sometimes destroyed for research,” he said. “And some fertility experts today sort (and reject) embryonic humans to eliminate those with identifiable ‘defects’- or simply with traits the parents do not prefer.

“In short, the ‘healing arts’ are moving beyond the field of healing and into an ethical minefield, where technical knowledge can be used as much to demean life as to serve it,” Cardinal Keeler said.

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