The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning,embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
What does it mean to enhance the life and dignity of the human person? In short it means to bring about life where there is death, respect where there is disrespect, hope where there is despair. There is no greater need to enhance the life and dignity of the human person than in the area of Abortion.
As we begin Respect Life month this weekend, with the 40 Days for Life campaign having started on Wednesday, certainly our thoughts are directed toward the protection of life in the womb. However, this year’s USCCB message, motivated by the Jubilee of Mercy is: “Moved by Mercy”. To be Moved by Mercy is to recall the words of Pope Francis: “We are called to show mercy, because mercy has first been shown to us.”