Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
Statement on Abortion-Related Legislation nationwide
The landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade unleashed a tidal wave of abortion in the United States. In the intervening years the lives of millions of unborn children have been terminated. When one considers the ramifications of so many lost lives, it is almost impossible to believe that a nation as great as ours has permitted this moral evil for so long. As many who follow the politics of our day are aware, several states have recently passed very strict pro-life laws which will greatly reduce abortions. These state laws are soon to be challenged in appellate courts and quite probably the U.S. Supreme Court. I cannot help but believe that we are drawing nearer to reversing this moral catastrophe. How we proceed from here is crucial and I would offer the following three points for guidance.
The first is that we must keep the light focused on what abortion does to the unborn child and the life it terminates. This truth, which is based upon science, medicine, and reason, is all too often kept in the dark by the pro-abortion world. However, even as we keep the light focused on the child in the womb, we likewise cannot fail to acknowledge and respond to the crises in which so many pregnant women find themselves. While stopping abortion is a moral imperative, the followers of Jesus Christ will recognize His face in the face of every pregnant woman suffering from poverty, fear, abuse, or abandonment. Saving the lives of infants is critical, but we likewise must do all we can to make it possible for women to keep and care for their children. Legislation, political decisions, and government policies that compound and further aggravate the lives of poor and suffering women can be a powerful incentive to push them through the abortion clinic doors. Again, even as we keep the light focused on the devastation of an unborn child’s life, we cannot afford to narrow our vision and refuse to see the suffering of their mothers and many times their older siblings. For this reason, I am especially grateful, and strongly supportive of, those charitable organizations that serve poor and needy pregnant women as well as women struggling to care for their children.
The second is that Catholics are called to be full members of our communities and that includes the political realm. We have a right and an obligation to bring our values into our local communities as well as our individual states, our nation, and the global community. Catholics have a crucial role to be a salt for the earth and a light for the world. We are never authentic to the Gospel when we ignore or run from the world. Informing our legislators, as well as how we vote, matter deeply. The Gospel is quite clear: Our goal is heaven but our task for today is to dig deeply into daily life and to be a part of building a land of justice and peace today. We can never abandon our citizenship or our stewardship for God’s created world.
The final point is prayer, and it is perhaps the most significant of our efforts. Regrettably the word prayer is sometimes tossed around casually without reference to its very real power. The forces of evil are clearly at work in the world. In the face of so great an evil we need to unleash renewed waves of prayer—invoking the Holy Spirit upon the people of our Nation and most especially upon our judges and legislators. Prayer is powerful and it will make the difference. Too, we don’t pray instead of taking action. Rather, the two are profoundly connected. Indeed, it is oftentimes prayer that unleashes the Spirit within us so that God—working through us—can bring about His will in our world. From this vantage point prayer is not incidental, it is critical. We must pray and pray aggressively for an end to abortion, for true justice in our nation, and for women and children in crisis.
Again, there are current efforts around our nation which have the potential to end a profound moral evil. Now is a time for renewed energies on our part. I believe that we must blend together three critical tools: an intensity of prayer, renewed efforts in the political world, and generous service of suffering women and their children. The stakes are critical, the potential immense, and our call to be a part of righting this profound evil is clear.
You’re invited to pray
Msgr. Raul Trevizo, Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, Sister Gladys Echenique, OP, Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, SC, and I recently recorded a recitation of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The recordings in both English and Spanish now are available at your parish for no cost while supplies last. If you prefer, the recordings also are available as downloadable MP3 files, also at no charge, at our diocesan webpage at https://diocesetucson.org/communications/Rosary-Audio-Download.html If you had difficulty with the download last week, please try again as we made the process easier.
As I wrote in a letter to our priests, “As we journey through the season of Easter, I would like to focus attention on sharing the power of prayer with our brothers and sisters, specifically prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. In the sh0rt time that I've been in our Diocese I have come to understand that the need for more priestly vocations is at the top of our most critical issues for the future. Addressing this need first and foremost with prayer is critical, and for that I need your help.”
Each CD or MP3 download includes a very brief introduction to prayer followed by me praying the first decade. The others follow me, each praying a decade or two. I encourage you to join us in prayer for priestly vocations.
This evening at St. Monica Parish, Sunday at St. Joseph Parish in Hayden, on Wednesday, May 29, at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson.
We now are entering the graduation season for students of our six Catholic high schools. Congratulations to all of the students and prayers that your futures beyond high school will be fulfilling and bright as you pursue your lifetime goals. Take the lessons you learned from your family and school experiences along with your faith as your move on; those experiences will prove valuable as you continue your lives.
Thursday, May 23
Immaculate Heart High School: Baccalaureate Mass at St. Odilia Church at 6 p.m., Graduation on Friday, May 24 at the school gymnasium at 6 p.m.
Friday, May 24
San Miguel, Cristo Rey High School: Baccalaureate Mass 6 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral; Graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 25 at Centennial Hall at 9 a.m.
Yuma Catholic High School: Baccalaureate Mass 4:30pm at the gym of Yuma Catholic High School. Graduation ceremony follows on same day at the stadium at 6:30 p.m.
Memorial Day Masses
It is customary here in our diocese for the bishop and another priest within the Diocese to celebrate Mass to remember our nation’s fallen service men and women and their families during a Mass at Our Lady of the Desert/ All Faiths and Holy Hope cemeteries. I will celebrate the Mass at Our Lady of the Desert, beginning at 8:30 a.m., at 2151 S. Avenida Los Reyes; Father Miguel Mariano will celebrate Mass at Holy Hope Cemetery, also at 8:30 a.m. Holy Hope is located at 3555 N. Oracle Road.
Ordination of Transitional Deacon Jesus Haros-Mendes to the priesthood. Saturday, June 1 at St. Augustine Cathedral. Another of our Transitional Deacons, Justin Agbir, will be ordained to the priesthood in his home diocese in Makurdi, Nigeria, on Saturday, June 8, at God the Father of All Mankind Parish by Bishop Wilfred Ckikpa Anagbe, CMF. He will be ordained as a member of Via Christi Society, and so will be Father Justin Agbir, VC.
I will include more information about our newest priests in the next Update.