A Note From Fr. LeRoy
This past week, we celebrated the 4th of July, our "independence" as a nation, and yet, in doing so, we indirectly also celebrated our "dependence" on God as a nation. In writing our United States Constitution, our Founding Fathers had the wisdom and insight to realize that if it is only the state that defines the rights of persons, then that same state can also take those rights away! However, if we establish the rights of persons on God (their Creator) then the state cannot take a person's rights or human dignity way. "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."
With this in mind, this week I would like to comment on the important (yet controversial) decision of our U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade which happened in recent weeks. The reason for our Supreme Court's decision (to paraphrase the court) is that there is no Federal or Constitutional "right" to abortion. It is neither written or implied. In other words, although the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit states from the regulation or prohibition of abortion, states cannot be forced to provide access to abortion based on Constitutional Law. Now, some would argue that the U. S. Supreme Court's decision voids a whole history of precedence following Roe v. Wade in support of abortion, yet it's important to know that precedence itself, does not define law, but is simply a means to achieving law. In the words of one Supreme Court Justice, "It (Roe v. Wade) was an abuse of Judicial authority."
This said, we as Catholics and Christians can and should celebrate our U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, since the Church has always stood in defense of the human life from conception to natural death. Obviously, there are all sorts of opinions and viewpoints on this issue, yet regardless of the rhetoric, as Bishop Kettler reminds us, the right to life is not only one of our nation's founding principles, but also the first principle of all our Catholic Social Teaching, (i.e. since every person is created in the image and likeness of God that person(s) should be protected.) If we cannot treat with respect and protect all human life from its beginning, then all our other social teaching and action loses its true value and effect. Any rejection of human life, even in the womb, becomes a rejection of the gift of life itself! Often, we see this in the growing violence, criminal activity, and disrespect of all people, races, cultures, and languages in our society today.
Bishop Kettler also reminds us that although abortion is a terrible wrong, we cannot forget to give special attention to all the poor and vulnerable, including those women facing a crisis pregnancy and who are also vulnerable and in need of our support, assistance, and help. We as a diocese have long supported this cause, offering financial support and counseling along with other organizations and programs so mothers can carry their unborn child to full term. We must continue to do so.
Right now, it's up to the states to further address the abortion issue without Federal mandate. As of now, Minnesota will continue to provide abortion on demand which, unfortunately, means our work is not done in changing minds and hearts and so create safer, more loving homes. The Minnesota Catholic Conference (www.mncatholic.org<http://www.mncatholic.org>) is a great resource for learning more. Let's continue the good fight of peace in Christ.
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl