October is the first Respect Life to take place in the United States in the post-Roe v. Wade era, and both the legal situation and the public discussion have certainly changed since a year ago.
On the one hand, many states have now been able to adopt pro-life laws that protect unborn children in ways that were not possible last year. On the other, here in Minnesota, we’re still confronted with judicial decisions claiming that the state constitution gives a legal right to abortion, funded by taxpayers. In fact, since Roe was overturned, the abortion license has actually expanded in Minnesota, with a judge recently overturning abortion restrictions such as parental notification that had bipartisan support and had been in place for years.
That’s to say nothing of a public conversation in our state where pro-life convictions are often the subject of vitriol and hatred and accusations of extremism.
It’s helpful, in the face of all this, to constantly go back to the essentials of our pro-life convictions, which are rooted in both the scientific truth that human life begins at conception and in the moral truth that every person, at every stage of life, has a right to be treated with love and respect. Put those together and our call is building what Pope St. John Paul II, in his encyclical on the Gospel of Life, called a Civilization of Love.
A Civilization of Love includes protecting innocent human life in law but goes beyond it, supporting and caring for each of society’s members, especially those most vulnerable and in need, such as pregnant mothers.
It’s fitting, then, that the Minnesota Catholic Conference recently sent out an email inviting people to be part of a new movement of Minnesota Catholics building a Civilization of Love. You can get involved in this initiative by going to the website civilizationoflove.net, sharing your story, and taking on a monthly challenge.
As the initiative says, “It is time now that we cut through the noise and build a Civilization of Love; a culture of Christians living out their vocation and sharing their gifts for the betterment of the Kingdom. Together, we can make a difference.”