26 August 2008

Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Saltarelli on dignity of human life

This is the address of Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap of Denver, Colorado, at a Pro-Life Prayer Vigil outside Planned Parenthood of Stapleton, CO, 25 August 2008, the day the Democratic Party convention began in Denver.

One of the other speakers was Dr Alveda C. King, the niece of Dr Martin Luther King.

The future of a community, a people, a Church and a nation depends on the children who will inherit it.

If we prevent our children from being born, we remove ourselves from the future. It's really that simple.

No children, no future.

Here in America, and especially here tonight, we need to remember two basic truths.

Here's the first truth. Society has an obligation - and Christians have a Gospel duty -- to provide adequate and compassionate support for unwed and abandoned mothers; women facing unintended pregnancies; and women struggling with the aftermath of an abortion. It's not enough to talk about "prolife politics." The label "prolife" demands that we work to ensure social policies that will protect young woman and families, and help them generously in their need. In the Archdiocese of Denver we try very hard to do that through the Gabriel Project and other forms of outreach and support. But much more needs to be done. And we will cooperate with anyone of good will who wants to pursue that vital work.

Here's the second truth. Killing an unborn child is never the right answer to a woman's or society's problems. Acts of violence create a culture of violence -- and abortion is the most intimate form of violence there is. It wounds the woman, it kills the unborn child and it poisons the roots of justice and charity that bind us all into one human family.

Or to put it in the words of the great Protestant pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

"Destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has
bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder."

Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of abortion and family suppression services in the United States. This facility in this minority neighborhood should offend every African-American and Latino family, and all of us, because every child lost to abortion here subtracts one more life, one more universe of possibilities and talent, from the future of this community. Every time Planned Parenthood provides propaganda, pills or medical procedures to teens without parental permission, it undermines the Black and Latino family. The business of Planned Parenthood is the prevention of the future – and business is good, and very profitable, at the expense of this community.

I've been a great admirer of Dr. Alveda King for many years. She does the memory and legacy of her extraordinary uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, proud -- and it's a great blessing to be with her tonight.

We're very grateful that she's willing to bring her message here to Denver at this critical moment in the life of our country. I'm also very grateful for the many African-American pastors who do such powerful work inspiring their congregations about the sacredness of human life, and anchoring their people in respect for the dignity of all life, from the unborn child to the elderly and poor.

And I'm also delighted to greet my brother in the ministry, Bishop James Conley, who also joins us tonight despite his own demanding schedule.

Finally, I want to thank you all for being here tonight despite your many other obligations. The hope of our Denver community resides in all of you, and especially your unselfish love for children and commitment to the sanctity of human life. May God bless all of you and your families.

Bishop-emeritus Michael Angelo Saltarelli of Wilmington, Delaware, the diocese of Democrat Vice-presidential candidate Senator Joseph Biden, a self-proclaimed Mass-going, rosary-carrying 'Catholic' who pushes abortion, composed the following litany four years ago in honour of St Thomas More (1478-1535), martyr and patron saint of statesmen, politicians and lawyers so that his people would pray for their politicians.

V. Lord, have mercy
R. Lord have mercy
V. Christ, have mercy
R. Christ have mercy
V. Lord, have mercy
R. Lord have mercy
V. Christ hear us
R. Christ, graciously hear us

V. St. Thomas More, Saint and Martyr,
R. Pray for us (Repeat after each invocation)

St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers
St. Thomas More, Patron of Justices, Judges and Magistrates

St. Thomas More, Model of Integrity and Virtue in Public and Private Life
St. Thomas More, Servant of the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ
St. Thomas More, Model of Holiness in the Sacrament of Marriage
St. Thomas More, Teacher of his Children in the Catholic Faith
St. Thomas More, Defender of the Weak and the Poor
St. Thomas More, Promoter of Human Life and Dignity

V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Spare us O Lord
V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Graciously hear us O Lord
V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Have mercy on us

Let us pray:

O Glorious St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, your life of prayer and penance and your zeal for justice, integrity and firm principle in public and family life led you to the path of martyrdom and sainthood. Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life - the foundation of all other human rights. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

You can find a comprehensive interview with Bishop Saltarelli at Ignatius Insight .


IgnatiusInsight.com: Last year, you wrote a statement on Catholics in public life. You said: "No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’ Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’"

Bishop Saltarelli: We hear that so often. It’s such an excuse; to me it’s a cop out: "I’m personally opposed, but…" If someone would say I’m personally opposed to slavery but its okay, people would laugh at the ridiculousness of that statement. And yet we tolerate, don’t we–"I’m personally opposed to abortion, but…"? That "but" is translated into the destruction, the massacre, the holocaust of millions of innocent lives in our time.

[The Litany to St. Thomas More that Bishop Saltarelli composed for the conversion of pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians was first distributed to parishes last October 2004. The litany asks St. Thomas More for his intercession to make politicians "courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life."

IgnatiusInsight.com: If you send the Litany to your parishes, do the parishes automatically distribute it and talk about it?

Bishop Saltarelli: Oh yes, it is distributed. There is no doubt about that. Now, some will cast it aside, some will see (this is what we’re dealing with) it as a violation of Church and state, the fact we even dare pray for politicians. Because they get what they say is a hidden message. But, that’s okay; that doesn’t stop us. We’re still going to do it. We’re still going to ask our people to pray the Litany.

I think for too long we have been silent and our people have taken that silence as part of an acquiescence of the status quo. We are complicit in this. So we have to step forward and say, "No, this is not right–it is wrong, it is sinful"–and somebody at least has to say it. Not that I’m being the brave man. I have a magnificent team here with me and wonderful people committed to the cause of life and the Gospel of Life and we push forward together.

IgnatiusInsight.com: What advice would you give to Catholics trying to live a moral and happy life?

It is possible. And that’s not a cliché. The world tells us that we are crazy, ridiculous. The world–and not all the world–but some groups in the world tell us that we’re just fanciful people.

But we know–because of the glorious history that is ours–that in spite of crisis, the scandals, the persecutions, that the Army of Heroes (we call them saints) was there all the way. And the Lord continues. Even in the most critical of times, He sends these heroes in our midst, to announce the Good News, to proclaim the Good News.

We have a God who loves us and invites us to a special way of life and that way for us Catholics, is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who invites us to live a life that is destined to take us to the Father. You know, Jesus never promised there’d be no scandal; Jesus never promised there’d be no suffering; He never promised there’d be no persecutions–witness the two thousand years where there have been enough of those, all of them.

But He promised one thing: He promised that He’d be with us always. We hold onto that promise and we live that promise. Here in this Eucharistic year we experience that promise magnificently, in the Eucharist. And we don’t need a year to tell us about that, we have Jesus’ words that "I’ll be with you" and here it is, His own flesh and His own blood that remains with us and abides with us forever.

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