Respect Life Week

On Sunday I was privileged to be in Yonkers for the proclamation of the 4th Annual Respect Life Week.

Here are my remarks:

Your Honor, Mayor Amicone
County Executive Astorino
Bishop Walsh, Rabbi Vinas, my brother priests and Pastor Hassell

Mother Genevieve, Dr. Copolla, Mr. Felicissimo and Advocates for Life.

friends in this noble cause one and all . . .

I am felicissimo — very happy — and honored and inspired to be with you for this proclamation of Respect Life Week in Yonkers.

I am here with esteem for Yonkers, “the City that knows Every Life is Worth Living,” the only municipality in the state that officially commemorates this “Respect Life Week” led by a bold pro-life Mayor, Philip Amicone.

I am here with gratitude to all of you for your loyalty to the most noble cause of all, the protection of the innocent baby in the womb.

I am here as one especially grateful to you because our state and local communities, which I love and now am proud to call home, are less than receptive to our pro-life message, making our efforts all the more urgent and your work all the more heroic.

I come to this Polish center hoping to find some pierogi and kielbasa;

I come this afternoon because the Jets played last night!

Your presence is downright inspirational, everybody.

A couple of weeks ago I went for my physical, and was in the X-ray room.  There, as clear as day, was the dramatic warning:  “X-rays can be dangerous to your unborn baby.  Let the technician know if you are pregnant.”

We all know it, don’t we?  We’re not talking about a “fetus,” “a mass of cells,” but a baby.  The X-ray technicians know it; the obstetricians who show the sonogram to a mom know it; even the teenage mom on a recent MTV program sympathetic to abortion knew it when she pointed to a little baby and whispered, “Don’t tell me that little baby is just an ‘it.’”

We all know it, yet, right down the hall from the X-ray room with that sign an abortion taking the life of that innocent baby might have been occurring.

Logic, biology, medicine, common sense, reason, American values, and ethics are dramatically on our side; money, marketing, the media, most political leaders, and the chic molders of today’s style are not.

While I hold my head high to be in the company of such distinguished religious leaders, and am grateful for the prophetic role our own Catholic people have held in the pro-life endeavor, the cause to defend the life of the baby in the womb is not primarily a religious issue, is it, even though our shrewd opponents want to reduce it to a narrow minded movement of religious reactionaries to impose their will on a tolerant, enlightened society.

This is not a church issue; this is a civil rights issue, the premier civil rights issue of our day!

All we are asking is that the equal protection of the law promised by our beloved constitution be applied to the pre-born baby.

All we’re promoting is the noble right to life assured in our nation’s foundational documents, which list the right to life first among those inalienable rights no one has the power to take away.

You bet our high moral and biblical convictions inspire us, as they did the brave civil rights leader whose birthday is this week, a minister, Reverend Martin Luther King.  He saw the tragic consequences of a wrongheaded Supreme Court Decision — the Dred Scott Decision — which had sadly reduced the black slave to a piece of property whose life was at the mercy of a master’s choice.

And we see the chilling consequences of an equally somber judicial decision — Roe v. Wade — that has reduced the life of the baby in the womb to a piece of chattel whose God-given and constitutionally protected right to life is now contingent upon the baby’s “owner.”

This cannot stand!
we unite as Americans this afternoon eager to restore this premier civil right;

we come together as friends and neighbors sincere in our love and respect for struggling moms and their unborn babies, so eager to assist them;

we gather as no one’s enemy, with no threats, simply believing the truth will set us free, that this great nation will recover its birthright as a guardian, not a taker, of innocent life;

we assemble in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, that towering woman promising a welcome, a new life, to those threatened, conscious that those who are most threatened today are babies in the womb;

and we unite recalling the words of Mother Teresa, at the White House, before a president and guests who blushed at her remark that, “the greatest poverty of all is for a nation to take the life of an innocent unborn baby so we could live as we want.”

Thanks, everybody.  Coraggio!  Do not be afraid!

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5 Responses to “Respect Life Week”

  1. Andrew Piacente says:

    I was there too. In fact I finally ran into the Archbishop in the lobby and finally got to tell him about the most important subject under the sun for the Church. Education. I begged him to help us.

    Catholics are woefully unchatechized. We live in a catechetical wasteland with modernism permeating almost every nook and cranny. The problem is massive. I see it at work, out of work, in my family and esp. at every funeral and wedding I attend. We are dying out here Your Excellency. Please help us.

    Without an education and properly formed Catholic, all of this is a waste of time.

    Does anyone realize that it took an awful lot of so called Catholics to elect the most pro abortion President and NY Governor in history.

    We will all be asked what we did when the time comes. What wil you say?

  2. Christine from Racine says:

    Just to say to Archbishop Dolan that we in the Milwaukee Archdiocese are still looking on from afar and are so proud of your leadership and example. I hope your pierogies and kielbasa were as good as ours on Mitchell St. back in the ‘old neighborhood’!

  3. Larry says:

    I’d like to add a strong second to Mr. Piacente’s post, and also say that I’m envious of the fact that he had the chance to personally confront the Archbishop of New York over the catechetical disaster that is American Catholicism. I myself expressed much the same thing in person to one of the associate bishops of the Chicago Archdiocese more than a year ago. I’ve also written to several bishops–of course you never can tell whether your letter was ever read. In my favorite fantasy, I am talking at length about this problem while giving a speech before a group of American bishops. Fat chance that will ever happen in reality! I can tell you that I personally know a Lutheran woman, widow of a Catholic husband, who has two grown children raised as Catholics. Although she does not believe in Catholic tenets, nonetheless she told me that she undertook herself to educate her children in CATHOLIC (not Lutheran) doctrine when she learned that despite having gone to parish catechism classes, her young man and lady had never HEARD of Purgatory! Imagine that. A Lutheran finds herself teaching Catholic catechism to Catholic youths, because their own Catholic so-called teachers never did! To Abp Dolan: if you are tempted to think that Mr. Piacente is exaggerating things, I assure you, sir, that if anything, he is UNDER-stating the problem!

  4. Tony Felicissimo says:

    On behalf of the Advocates of Life I would like to thank Archbishop Dolan for his presence and talk at the event. Events like these remind the community of the importance of protecting human life – especially when it is government officials, such as Mayor Amicone, who sponsor it. The struggle to restore a culture of life is has been long and arduous but the involvement of our Archbishop in this issue reinvigorates those of us on the front lines. Archbishop Dolan please know how much your presence and words meant to us on Sunday! You are the Successor of the Apostles in our midst and we continue to pray for you that the Lord may give you the wisdom and courage to lead us to Himself!

  5. Know that I pray for you often Archbishop Dolan. I enjoy your blog and commend you for your constant stand for the pro-life culture. May the Lord continue to speak to you as you walk this walk of protecting God’s children! Your strength of character to keep on speaking the truth to your people is a great encouragement to me.

    God continue to give you the strength to stay on this course till our country turns around and accepts the Culture of Life!
    Sincerely,
    Sister Loretta O’Reilly, SJH