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placeholder Sharing 50 years
of their gifts at
St. Edward

St Joseph Pinole marks 50 years

St. Perpetua celebrates 50th

St. Michael turns 100

St. Theresa pupils learn to share the wealth via Lenten project

Doing one thing is
no small thing

Poets at St. David

Facelift at
St. Paul School

Long-shuttered gym reopens at St. Martin de Porres School

Yearbook technology

Peer tutoring program

Pupils learn to lead with faith

St. John pupils
use iPads to bring
learning to life

Catholic education:
A gift that keeps
on giving

Choir offers more
than music at St. Leo
the Great School

Bishop marks O'Dowd's opening

St. Mary's Center
Gala more important
than ever

College to inaugurate president

Archbishop Brunett recovering

Bay Area Catholic Singles group looking for a few good participants

Pope Francis desires to draw remarried people to Christ

Contra Costa group meets monthly

Church upholds rules about marriage

Birthright fundraiser

Respect Life program begins

Respect life not just
for the unborn

Cardinal O'Malley
calls for hope, action, compassion

Bishop Daly
to lead seminary

Finding common

"Got love?"
conference returns

placeholder October 7, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Respect Life Month
Respect life not just for the unborn

Tony Magliano

Respect life!

Every October the Catholic Church issues this clarion call. But what exactly does it mean to respect life?

For many Catholics respecting life means that we should pray and work to protect unborn babies from murderous abortion.

With the brutal dismembering of more than 1 million aborted unborn brothers and sisters annually in the United States, and the killing of approximately 55 million unborn babies worldwide every year, our efforts to end this grave evil should be maximized and ongoing.

Most every Wednesday, I join several other people near an abortion mill in Baltimore, to witness to the humanity of the unborn and to pray for an end to abortion.

Putting an end to the killing of unborn babies is a priority for me, and it is a priority for the Catholic Church. But it is not the only priority.

The concern of Christ and the Catholic Church for the suffering of the world, is not limited to any one group of people — born or unborn.

Our deep and active concern must be directed to all. For in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II "we are all really responsible for all."

So we are not to rank prolife, social justice and peace issues, we are to link them. It's what the Catholic Church calls the "consistent ethic of life."

In 1983, as head of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, the late Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, championed for our time, the early church's consistent pro-life ethic.

During an address at St. Louis University, Cardinal Bernardin said, "The case for a consistent ethic of life — one that stands for the protection of the right to life and the promotion of the rights, which enhance life from womb to tomb … is both a complex and demanding tradition.

"It joins the humanity of the unborn infant and the humanity of the hungry; it calls for positive legal action to prevent the killing of the unborn or the aged and positive societal action to provide shelter for the homeless and education of the illiterate."

So therefore, not just the unborn, not just the poor, not just the hungry, not just the homeless, not just the war-torn, not just the undocumented, not just the medically uninsured, not just condemned prisoners, not just the environment and not just future generations, but all of the above deserve our care. Everyone's life and dignity needs to be fully protected and respected.

Catholics, and all Christians, cannot ignore the Lord's call to consistently build-up the Kingdom of God — the kingdom Jesus calls for in the last judgment scene of Matthew's Gospel — where the hungry are fed, the thirsty are refreshed, the strangers are welcomed, the naked are clothed, the sick are cared for and prisoners are visited.

In Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's words, "Love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential [to the church] as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel." ("Deus Caritas Est," No. 22).

During this time when so many of those who hold political and economic power are cutting anti-poverty assistance programs and waging war on the born and unborn, the followers of the God of Life and the Prince of Peace, must prophetically proclaim: "Thus says the Lord, respect every life! And give priority to the poor and vulnerable!"

(Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.)

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