WASHINGTON, DC - In a statement to mark Respect Life Month, October 2016, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York called for all human life to be "cherished and protected." Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The Cardinal's statement launches the year-long Respect Life Program (www.usccb.org/respectlife), which explores the theme, "Moved by Mercy." As Pope Francis said in calling for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, "We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us." Cardinal Dolan said: "When we let our hearts be moved by God's mercy, it shapes everything."
Cardinal Dolan emphasized the need to protect human life at every stage. "From each tiny child waiting to be born, to individuals nearing death, all are precious and deserve our care and protection."
"Women and men suffering after abortion, individuals tempted to end their lives, couples longing to conceive a child, people pushed to the margins of society by a 'throwaway culture', expectant mothers facing challenging pregnancies, and every other person—each 'has a place in God's heart from all eternity'," he said, citing the 2016 apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Cardinal Dolan called for every person to be "treated with the dignity they deserve. No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly - everyone should be cherished and protected!"
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program highlights the value and dignity of human life throughout the year. It is observed in Catholic dioceses throughout the United States. Tools equip leaders across the spectrum of Catholic work, ministry, and education to integrate the message of mercy on life issues.
The 2016-17 Respect Life Program features six articles highlighting ways to put mercy into action. They address the tragedy of assisted suicide, navigating infertility, facilitating healing after abortion, end of life care, attentiveness to God's creation, and supporting birthmothers. This year's program offers new prayers, toolkits for clergy, social media, and press, and other resources for parish bulletins, religious education, RCIA, marriage prep, and Catholic high schools.
The full text of Cardinal Dolan's statement is available along with many other resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife.