Comfort My People — Respect Life Month is a time for reflection and action

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre

October is annually recognized in the Church as Respect Life Month. The Respect Life Program is an important initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Throughout each year, but especially during the month of October, the Church calls us to a heightened and particular reflection on and actions toward respecting the sanctity and dignity of all human life.

The Respect Life program of the USCCB each year reminds all of us that each and every person, regardless of the circumstances of their lives, is of inestimable value. We are each created in the image and likeness of God and therefore each possess an intrinsic dignity. We are each called to an eternal destiny with God.

We are all invited in a focused and heightened way during October to reflect upon and to thank God for the wonderful gift of human life and to also renew our dedication to advancing the cause of respect for life through our prayer, words and constructive actions. As we are grateful and moved by God’s mercy in breathing into us the gift of human life, so we are called to show this same mercy to others and to respect and be grateful for the gift of human life that God has mercifully breathed into each and every human person.

The many attacks against human life continue to manifest themselves in our society. The list of attacks against the sanctity of human life reads like a litany of death and destruction in a culture of death: abortion; euthanasia; capital punishment; racism; embryonic stem cell research; assisted suicide, to name only a few.

With all these and so many other ongoing attacks against life emerging all the time, we can clearly see why the Church during the month of October invites us to pray for, reflect upon and work towards ending all attacks against the holiness of human life. All human life is sacred from the first moment of conception until the time of natural death, and having received God’s mercy we should all respect all human life.

This year has brought about enormous change in the political and legal landscape surrounding the attack against life that is abortion. The historic Dobbs decision in June has sent the issue back to the individual states. Along with my brother bishops of Kentucky, we have addressed this matter and will continue to do so.

In Kentucky this year, there is a ballot initiative on Nov. 8 for a proposed amendment to the Kentucky Constitution (Amendment #2) which would state — clearly and unequivocally — that there is not a right to abortion, either explicitly or implicitly, contained within the Kentucky constitution, nor is there any right contained to allow any government funding for such procedures.

This is a watershed opportunity for the people of Kentucky to codify that which we Catholics already hold dear: the principle that all life has inherent dignity, sanctity and value, regardless of its state of development, and therefore must be allowed the right to live.

As has so often been the case in the past, now is the time to speak and work in defense of that greatest of God’s many gifts, the gift of life as we seek to codify in the Kentucky Constitution that there is no right to an abortion. I ask you to vote yes for Amendment #2 in November. Please continue to work and pray for the success of this amendment in November … and may God continue to bless us all as we work towards bringing about his Kingdom.

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