October is Respect Life Month, and Oct. 6 is Respect Life Sunday. As has been the case for more than a decade now, Catholics and others of good will have the opportunity to pray for the protection of life through the 40 Days for Life apostolate. After the success of the movie “Unplanned,” which depicts the important role the 40 Days for Life organization played in the life of the movie’s real-life protagonist Abby Johnson, it’s an especially good time to help that organization dedicated to peaceful prayer outside abortion facilities to continue.
At the same time, we are also concerned with the end of life, as there have been repeated pushes to legalize assisted suicide here in Minnesota, as well as across the country and around the world.
As Pope Francis told a group of Italian doctors last month, this is a “false compassion” and a temptation to be avoided. Attempts to break the bipartisan consensus against this practice, which is completely contrary to the purpose of medical care, must be avoided.
Instead, Catholics can support efforts such as the one winning support from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Medical Association, a bill funding training, education, and research for authentic palliative care, which gives patients the real love and care they need.
Our witness to life at all stages from conception to death is often countercultural, but it is one we can all feel good about taking up, rooted as it is in the gift of God that every human life represents.