Our Parish Respect Life Committee gathers as a resource for its members to learn and understand what the Church teaches about all life issues. The goal to is support and encourage people to become involved with these issues as a way of proclaiming the Gospel to all nations.
Our primary resource is the USCCB, The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. The Bishops are our Good Shepherds. We rely on them to teach us and articulate for us the Will of Christ in His mission in the world.
All information can be resourced from them at www.usccb.org/prolife
Our Parish Respect Life Committee hopes to address the many issues of Life as a witness to our Catholic Faith and help you articulate them in the public forum.
Human Life: A Call to Greatness
Religious Liberty and the American Soul
Conscience Protection in Healthcare
Contraceptives and Women’s Well-Being
Responding to Unplanned Pregnancy
Pornography and Our Call to Love
Marriage, the Sanctuary of Life
Doctor-Assisted Death by Suicide
A Call to end the Death Penalty
January is the Month for Life:
This year marks 40 years since the landmark Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing the right for Americans to abort their children. The March for Life (http://www.marchforlife.org/), a peaceful prayerful event attended by hundreds of thousands on the anniversary of the decision each year, will be held on Friday, January 25, 2013. Any parishioner wishing to travel to D.C. for the March, please contact Michael Fichera at email@example.com. The bus will make a stop at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for those unable to walk in potentially harsh weather, but wish to spend the time in prayer.
The March for Life’s website was updated this year, featuring an excellent summary of the core life principles expressing the ideals behind the movement: http://www.marchforlife.org/life-principles
On Thursday, January 24, MDP will hold a Holy Hour at 7 PM in Church for those who wish to pray in solidarity with the marchers.
Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty will run from October 14-22, 2012. Our parish Respect Life Committee encourages every parishioner to pray the Rosary Novena as Individuals, as families, or in groups each day. The USCCB will be providing resources which will all be accessible at www.archphila.org. Thank you once again for promoting and defending religious liberty!
Mass, Pilgrimage For Life, Liberty Set For October 14 At National Shrine
WASHINGTON—A Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington is slated for Sunday, Oct. 14 at 12 noon EDT. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, will celebrate the liturgy and pilgrimage as part of the U.S. bishops’ annual Respect Life prayer campaign. His homily will focus on the noted quote from Thomas Jefferson: “The god who gave us life gave us liberty.”
Mass will be preceded by time for confessions starting at 10 a.m. Following Mass, there will be Eucharistic Adoration. Shortly thereafter, attendees will recite the rosary as part of the first day of the Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty. At the conclusion of the rosary, Archbishop Lori will offer a 10-minute reflection. The event will conclude with benediction at 2:30 p.m. EWTN television will carry the Mass and Pilgrimage live.
Further details about the October prayer campaign can be found atwww.usccb.org/freedom.
Check out what the Pennsylvania Bishops have to say about all respect life issues:
“The Respect Life committee of Mother of Divine Providence Church is dedicated to promoting the dignity and sacredness of human life from conception to natural death. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and with the support of the Respect Life office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we strive to accomplish this mission through: prayer, education, and action.”
Justice, Terrance Williams and the death penalty
Even when a defendant is well defended, properly tried and justly found guilty, experience shows that capital punishment simply doesn’t work as a deterrent. Nor does it heal or redress any wounds, because only forgiveness can do that. It does succeed though in answering violence with violence — a violence wrapped in the piety of state approval, which implicates all of us as citizens in the taking of more lives.
Turning away from capital punishment does not diminish our support for the families of murder victims. They bear a terrible burden of grief, and they rightly demand justice. Real murderers deserve punishment; but even properly tried and justly convicted murderers — men and women who are found guilty of heinous crimes — retain their God-given dignity as human beings. When we take a murderer’s life we only add to the violence in an already violent culture, and we demean our own dignity in the process.
Both Scripture and Catholic tradition support the legitimacy of the death penalty under certain limited conditions. But the Church has repeatedly called us to a higher road over the past five decades. We don’t need to kill people to protect society or punish the guilty. And we should never be eager to take anyone’s life. As a result, except in the most extreme circumstances, capital punishment cannot be justified. In developed countries like our own, it should have no place in our public life.
Last month here in Pennsylvania, execution warrants were signed for four men. A judge stayed one of the execution warrants, but the three remaining warrants could potentially result in the first execution in our state in 13 years. One of the cases in which appeals seem to be exhausted involves Terrance Williams.
In October, Williams is scheduled to die by lethal injection for the murder of Amos Norwood in 1984, a crime committed when he was 18 and a college freshman. Williams is indisputably guilty of the crime. He’s also mentally competent. His defense attorneys argue that he was repeatedly sexually abused as a youth, including five years of abuse at the hands of the man he murdered, and that this helped motivate his violence. The state counters that all of Williams’ claims — including claims of sexual abuse — have had proper judicial review and been rejected.
Terrance Williams deserves punishment. No one disputes that. But he doesn’t need to die to satisfy justice. We should think very carefully in the coming days about the kind of justice we want to witness to our young people.
Most American Catholics, like many of their fellow citizens, support the death penalty. That doesn’t make it right. But it does ensure that the wrong-headed lesson of violence “fixing” the violent among us will be taught to another generation.
As children of God, we’re better than this, and we need to start acting like it. We need to end the death penalty now.
The Archbishop strongly encourages readers to contact the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, urging them to recommend commutation of Williams’ sentence to life in prison. Please also contact the Office of the Governor and urge the Governor to accept a clemency recommendation from the board, or, in its absence, to order a temporary reprieve. Use the Catholic Advocacy Network at www.pacatholic.org to send an email to the Board of Pardons and the Governor. Or call or write them at:
Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, 333 Market Street, 15th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126; phone: 717.787.2596.
The Honorable Tom Corbett, Governor of Pennsylvania, The Capitol, Harrisburg, PA 17120; phone: 717.787.2500.
One of Jesus Christ’s most difficult commandments is to love our enemies. Some enemies are personal, while others are more indirect, enemies of a peaceful society. The Church has upheld this commandment with its stance on capital punishment. The Church offers conditions for moral use of lethal force in cases of self defense (where all other non-lethal means for defense are exhausted), just wars, or in rare cases where execution is the only way to stop an individual from killing again. However, our modern forms of imprisonment our country has afforded us for the past 200 years provides us alternatives that prevent the necessity of executing a prisoner in most cases. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (provided free online by the Vatican at http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM) explains these teachings in Chapter 2, Article 5 regarding the Fifth Commandment: Thou Shall Not Kill (see: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7Z.HTM).
Last month, Archbishop Chaput wrote an article about Terrance Williams, a Pennsylvania man on death row for murder. The Archbishop writes that Williams, who claims he was sexually abused by the man he murdered since he was 13, “deserves punishment. But he doesn’t need to die to satisfy justice.” The defense attorney states that jurors, who were not told about the abuse in his trial, would have opted for life in prison had they known about the abuse. The courts have now issued a stay of execution, but he remains of death row. See the Archbishop’s article here, and his strong encouragement for Catholics to contact the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and the Office of the Governor and urge them to recommend commutation of Williams’ sentence to life in prison:
It is easy to love those that love us back (Luke 6:32), but we must be mindful of Jesus’ declaration that whatsoever we do for the least among us, we do for Him (Matthew 25:40). Those on death row are truly among the “least” of our society. Our Church challenges us to decrease our desire for earthly justice and increase our focus on compassion, knowing perfect justice awaits all of us before the throne of the Father.
For a brief history of what the US prison system (which began in Philadelphia) was like during the early days of our nation, see: http://www.prisonsociety.org/about/history.shtml
March for Life 2012
Members of MDP parish ventured to Washington, D.C. on January 23 to join the March for Life on the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court “Roe v Wade” decision which legalized abortion in the U.S. MDP was welcomed by our Berwyn neighbors at St. Monica’s parish, to join their chartered bus, which made a stop at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for mass with our Archbishop Chaput to begin the day. Eight from MDP, half of them teenagers, braved the cold and rain to peacefully march with an estimated 500,000 other Americans to voice their opposition to the law. It is estimated An 54 million unborn children have been legally killed in the U.S. since the ruling took effect on January 1973.
“By virtue of the simple fact of existing, every human being must be fully respected… discrimination with regard to human dignity based on biological, psychological, or educational development, or based on health-related criteria, must be excluded…The boundless and almost incomprehensible love of God for every human being reveals the degree to which the human person deserves to be loved in him/herself, independently of any other consideration.” (Dignitas Personae, 2008, n.8)”
Included here is a website that might help in your study of the Church’s Life Issues: