For the Catholic community in the States, the first Sunday of October is designated “Respect Life Sunday.” The Catholic respect for life is rooted in the biblical testimony that we share the life of God, “we are spoken into existence by God,” thus our respect for human life is not limited to the unborn and the elderly but extends to every person--difficult because of cultural and peer pressure.
Then, too, respect for human life begins with each one of us first developing a respect for ourselves as daughters and sons of God, of internalizing this in our consciousness, this all-encompassing respect for life, and only then in our testimony to others. St. Francis of Assisi is to have said preach (the Gospel) and if necessary, use words. Modeling respect for life in our daily living brings balance.
Given that respect for human life begins with each one of us, we might reflect with Pope Francis who said when interviewed, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods . . . it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.” --For the interview see www.americamagazine.org, click Archive, September 30, A Big Heart Open to God