Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City called on the faithful "to pray for an end to the human rights abuse of abortion, and for a culture of life, where through God’s grace all will come to know they are made in His Divine Image.”
His statement on January 18 marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states. Archbishop Naumann, who gave the opening prayer at the March for Life the same day, chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Protecting the life of the unborn children is the pre-eminent human rights issue of our time, not only because of the sheer magnitude of the numbers, but because abortion attacks the sanctuary of life, the family,” wrote Archbishop Naumann. “Every abortion not only destroys the life of an innocent child, but it wounds and scars mothers and fathers...in reality, the welfare of parents and their child are always intimately linked.”
Naumann also made it clear that pro-life Catholics “are concerned about the life and dignity of the human person wherever it is threatened or diminished,” and highlighted the sexual abuse crisis within the Church as an example of “grave injustice” to this dignity. “The abuse of children or minors upends the pro-life ethic,” the Archbishop explained, because it is an “egregious offense against the dignity of the human person.”
The Archbishop spoke of a Church “devastated by the scandal of sexual misconduct by clergy and of past instances of the failure of bishops to respond with compassion to victims of abuse and to protect adequately the members of their flock.” He urged the Church and the faithful to “seek justice for all of God’s children.”
“We must do all we can to be God’s witnesses of merciful love in the world,” the Archbishop continued. “We know and give thanks for the great dignity God has given to us from the moment of conception, to be made in his image. We also must pray for the grace to remind others of this inherent dignity, in our words and in our actions.”
The Archbishop encouraged all Catholics to take part in the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn on January 22: “Let us pray that we can be great and effective witnesses for life, witnesses for love, witnesses for mercy.”
The full text of Archbishop Naumann's message is online.