Pro-Life Sunday

Here is a copy of my homily from Pro-Life Sunday, Sunday, October 3, 2010, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. An audio clip of the homily is available online here.

AMDG                                                                                                              JMJ

27/OT/C/3/X/10
(Pro-Life)

“For the vision, still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

if it delays, wait for it

it will surely come, it will not be late.”

The vision . . . God’s holy Word this Sunday morning, from the Prophet Habakkuk.

The vision . . . what is this vision?

From the beginning, our creator had this vision:  to share His life with us, His creatures, life now, life forever.

The vision of the sacredness of life, life now, life forever.

A reign of life, not destruction

A kingdom of life, not extinction

A culture of life, not death.

This vision our creator planted in the depth of every human person, as part of our normative law: that life is sacred; that, once God breathes it into us, it lasts forever; that to take innocent life is so inimical to a righteous society that its protection is mandated in the very middle of the ten commandments; that the more innocent and fragile the more it begs protection; that, indeed, to protect life is the most noble of vocations.

This vision, while enshrined in every great religious creed, whether Jewish, Catholic, Islamic, evangelical, Hindu, Buddhist . . . the list goes on . . . , is at its core not denominational or confessional at all, but human, basic, fundamental, rational, natural law, so much so that it was at the core of the enlightened founding fathers who fashioned on these shores a new “promised land” acknowledging from day one that human beings are endowed with certain basic inalienable rights, and that the first of these is . . . guess what? . . . life.

The sacredness of life, life now, life forever.

The vision is threatened, dulled, eclipsed . . . Habakkuk uses vocabulary such as “violence . . . ruin . . . misery . . . destruction . . . strife . . . discord.”

We today add words such as “war . . . terrorism . . . abortion . . . euthanasia . . . trafficking . . . experimentation on living organisms . . .” and are at times tempted to shout out with the prophet, “How long, O Lord?  I cry for help, but you do not listen!”

And the one who implanted that vision within His creatures soothes,

“For the vision, still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

if it delays, wait for it

it will surely come, it will not be late.”

This is the vision that inspired a Francis (whose feast we celebrate tomorrow) to genuflect before a pregnant woman; a Peter Claver to climb onto slave ships to pour clean water in to the parched throats of African captives; a Bartholomew de las Casas to challenge a system that abused and violated native rights; a Teresa of Calcutta to bathe maggots from the face of a dying beggar in a gutter; a Marine sergeant to jump on a live grenade in a foxhole to preserve the lives of his platoon; a Gianna Molla to carry the baby in her womb all the way to birth even though she knew it would mean her own death . . .

This is the vision that inspires today’s premier civil rights cause, the pro-life movement, renewing our nation, world, culture, and Church.

We may legitimately ask, with Habakkuk, “when . . . how long . . . how much longer will the distortion of death seem to trump the vision of life? . . .” but we never ask if . . . for, fellow dreamers, we hold this truth to be self-evident.

“For the vision, still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

if it delays, wait for it

it will surely come, it will not be late.”

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7 Responses to “Pro-Life Sunday”

  1. Sharon Murphy says:

    Beautiful and inspiring homily ArchBishop……thank you so much! We need to be patient in the war and wait on the Lord. God Bless you!

  2. Mary says:

    Archbishop Dolan, Amen. This is a beautiful, beautiful call to God’s vision. You speak to many who have labored for years; others, like myself, who are workers hired late. And to the many more that need to open their hearts to God’s vision. Especially as we approach another crucial election.

    Father Richard John Neuhaus, in addressing the National Right to Life convention in July, 2008, said this about the visionists:

    We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.

    Against the encroaching shadows of the culture of death, against forces commanding immense power and wealth, against the perverse doctrine that a woman’s dignity depends upon her right to destroy her child, against what St. Paul calls the principalities and powers of the present time, this convention renews our resolve that we shall not weary, we shall not rest, until the culture of life is reflected in the rule of law and lived in the law of love.
    ***

  3. Denis Giannelli says:

    “This is the vision that inspires today’s premier civil rights cause, the pro-life movement, renewing our nation, world, culture, and Church.”
    With all due respect, Your Excellency, these are empty words if not accompanied by action. Today, Oct 8th, Andrew Cuomo stood in downtown White Plains accepting the endorsement of a gaggle of pro abortion women. Said Cuomo: ” “Planned Parenthood and Choice Matters go to work each day fighting for the rights of women across our State, and it is my honor have their support,”.
    Mr. Cuomo is also living with a woman not his (divorced sic )wife. Will this man be excommunicated?? Denied the Blessed Eucharist?? Interdicted?? Anything? If not your words are empty. We have heard enough from our bishops–it’s time for action.
    Yours in Christ the King,
    Denis Giannelli
    The Fr. Fahey Institute
    Yonkers

  4. Andrew Piacente says:

    As long as the rich and powerful anti life Catholics are allowed to receive our Most Holy Lord in the Eucharist words are meaningless.

    Andrew Piacente aka Doria2

  5. Andrew Piacente says:

    It is Shepherds like Archbishop Burke, soon to be made Cardinal, who are leading the way. Future Cardinal Dolan take note:

    “Not possible to be a practicing Catholic”
    Archbishop Burke says public repentance required for pro-abortion politicians
    By John-Henry Westen Published: October 18, 2010

    ROME (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking at the Human Life International World Prayer Congress on Saturday, Oct. 9, Archbishop Raymond Burke received sustained applause when he noted that Catholic politicians who support abortion are required to repent publicly. Speaking to pro-life leaders from 45 nations, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the highest Vatican court) also noted that those who recognize the scandal caused by such public, dissident Catholics assist the Church in repairing a serious breach, but are nevertheless often ridiculed for it.

    Archbishop Burke stressed that “both bishops and the faithful” must be obedient to the Magisterium – which he described as the teaching of Christ as handed down through the successor of Peter and the bishops in union with him. “When the shepherds of the flock are obedient to the Magisterium, entrusted to their exercise, then surely the members of the flock grow in obedience and proceed with Christ along the way of salvation,” he said. “If the shepherd is not obedient the flock easily gives way to confusion and error.”

    Burke, who is also a member of the Congregation for Bishops added: “A most tragic example of the lack of obedience of faith, also on the part of certain Bishops, was the response of many to the Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae of Pope Paul VI, published on July 25, 1968. The confusion which resulted has led many Catholics into habits of sin in what pertains to the procreation and education of human life.” Humanae Vitae reiterated age-old Christian teaching on the immorality of the use of artificial contraception.

    However, after its publication the encyclical was repudiated by many within the Catholic Church, including priests and bishops, who had believed that the Church would change its views on contraception. Turning to the issue of scandal within the Church, the archbishop said, “We find self-professed Catholics, for example, who sustain and support the right of a woman to procure the death of the infant in her womb, or the right of two persons of the same sex to the recognition which the State gives to a man and a woman who have entered into marriage. It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself publicly in this manner.”

    To resounding applause Burke said, “When a person has publicly espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into confusion and error about fundamental questions of respect for human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, his repentance of such actions must also be public.”

    The Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura then voiced a concern that struck a deep chord with many of the Catholic pro-life activists present at the conference. “One of the ironies of the present situation is that the person who experiences scandal at the gravely sinful public actions of a fellow Catholic is accused of a lack of charity and of causing division within the unity of the Church,” he said. “One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal.”

    The Vatican prelate concluded the point stating:
    “Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity which is not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church’s unity is founded on speaking the truth with love. The person who experiences scandal at public actions of Catholics, which are gravely contrary to the moral law, not only does not destroy unity but invites the Church to repair what is clearly a serious breach in Her life. Were he not to experience scandal at the public support of attacks on human life and the family, his conscience would be uninformed or dulled about the most sacred realities.”

  6. Andrew Piacente says:

    “There is an army of us out here willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you” Bishop Dolan:

  7. Richard says:

    The longer you do nothing about pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage politicians like Cuomo, Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, etc etc, the more your words hold no meaning. No wonder the post conciliar church is hemmoraging members. You had a great opportunity with Carl Palladino to reinforce in no uncertain terms what the Church’s stance on gay marriage was. Instead all we got was post-conciliar double speak and hyper-ecumenical meaningless words. No wonder our children are leaving for other sects…..they aren’t catechized and the bishops don’t stand for catholic dogma; they just stand for “niceness” political correctness” and “ecumenism”. When’s the last time we heard a sermon on sin? Or about the Catholic Church being the one true church founded by Jesus Christ? Or about the necessity of sanctifying grace for salvation? Or the necessity of baptism for salvation? Confusion abounds and the world needs the light of truth that can only come from Christ’s ONE Church – the only one He founded.