Pro-life witnesses must ‘walk our talk’ and live with ‘holy boldness’

| Jean Stolpestad | October 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

October is Respect Life Month. The following column is adapted from a talk the author delivered at the annual Champions for Life awards lunch held Oct. 18 at St. Peter in Mendota.

It’s been 40 years since Roe v. Wade, and 40 years is a good place from which to reflect — to take a moment and recommit to the respect life movement.

In a recent document, Pope Benedict XVI made the statement that “the world is in need of witnesses more than teachers.” This is a challenge the Holy Father directs to each one of us — to live with the boldness of who we are created to be.

Being Catholic must be lived as more than a social association or a place we happen to worship. Being Catholic is who we are and drives our thoughts, decisions and actions. When we live what we believe, we frequently open ourselves to ridicule and harsh judgment. But as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta says, “Love anyway.”

Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. We have heard it so many times that it is easy to take that statement for granted. Resist that temptation. Never forget that all human life stands under God’s protection.

When we begin to dissect the reality of the human person and separate the spiritual from the physical, we fall into a grotesque barbarianism; we kidnap the person from God’s protection and trample on his human dignity. We reduce the precious gift of the person to a thing; to the worth of a few dollars or a matter of simple convenience.

In an article published in the Washington Post last spring, Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the country’s oldest abortion-rights advocacy group, said her worry about an “intensity gap” on abortion rights was a prominent reason for her forthcoming resignation.

Anti-abortion millennials, the group considered to be the generation of Americans born between 1980 and 1991, see abortion as a crucial political issue. NARAL’s own internal research did not find similar passion among abortion-rights supporters.

Good news abounds

Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a Nobel Prize laureate, stated the motivation for his research was found in his desire to offer an ethical, moral alternative to embryonic stem-cell research.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life reports great state level political gains throughout the United States. Last year, 92 pieces of legislation were passed which advanced the cause of life. Eight states have laws in place to defund Planned Parenthood. Thirty-one states have laws to protect the definition of marriage.

Gallup polling from May 2012 found that the number of Americans who describe themselves as “pro-choice” is at an all-time low. More than 60 percent of Americans describe themselves as pro-life. The number of abortions in Minnesota dropped to its lowest in 36 years as women and teens are choosing life.

The promotion of families and the promotion of life are intimately bound together. The family provides a tangible expression to the fulfillment of the promises associated with being pro-life. Families, by their very existence, invite others to have faith and trust in the goodness and right to life. In moments of crisis and difficulty, they are a natural source of strength and support.

Momentum building

The Church calls every generation to action, to live what we profess to be true. Each of us is called to publically promote the right to life, to courageously step out and invite others to do the same. Over the past few years, great advances have been made in building the culture of life.

There is a tremendous momentum building. Today, more than ever, the world needs witnesses. It is time for us to walk our talk and live with holy boldness!

Jean Stolpestad is director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life.

Category: Commentary