Dear St. Gerard Majella parish family,
A few days ago, I was driving up to the entrance station at Yellowstone National Park when I received a text from a brother priest that the Supreme Court had ruled to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision from 1973. At that point, I promptly lost almost all cell reception and didn’t have the opportunity to read more until much later, but I had the opportunity to process the decision and some of the implications over the next few days. I’m sorry I was unable to address it with you personally last weekend, but wanted to share with you some thoughts on the decision.
For years, thousands of people have been gathering in Washington DC to commemorate the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision at the March for Life. Parishes have been proudly sending busloads of teenagers and adults, or else finding ways to support those who desire to witness to the sanctity of life. Having been there myself several times, it is at once an uplifting and a somber occasion - celebrating the gift of human life, but acknowledging the pain and death inflicted by the decision. With the recent reversal in Dobbs v. Jackson, there is a degree of celebration that many justifiably feel at the culmination of prayer and advocacy to this point.
At the same time, the Dobbs decision should spur us to a new level of compassion, charity, and care for our sisters and brothers in need. Amidst the celebrations, I have encountered many who are fearful or concerned about the future, or about the unknown, as a result of this Supreme Court decision. It’s important that we as a Church listen carefully to these voices and address the needs at the heart of these concerns. One of the common criticisms of the Pro-Life movement or even of us as Catholics is that we are “pro-birth” - against Roe v. Wade, but unaware or unconcerned with families who face unexpected or difficult pregnancies. While that isn’t true, Dobbs now challenges us to “put our money where our mouth is,” and to make practical efforts to support women and men in crisis, and create a culture which treasures every human life.
The work of the Church to foster respect and dignity for every human life does not end with the reversal of Roe v. Wade, but perhaps it can change our approach on how to create a Culture of Life. Perhaps that’s getting to the roots of the fears of young families that would lead them to consider abortion. Perhaps that’s supporting the practical needs of families with things like diapers, food, and even other expenses like utilities or rent. Perhaps that means helping to provide counseling and support for those who suffer from anxiety caused by an unexpected pregnancy or depression caused by a past abortion. Perhaps it means providing support for adoption agencies or foster parents working to provide loving homes for all children. Perhaps it means we can turn some attention to fighting other offenses against human life, including capital punishment, euthanasia, or the taking advantage of the vulnerable. As Archbishop Rozanski wrote, “now more than ever, [we are urged] to demonstrate compassion and provide support for those in need, with a special deference to mothers and children in need.”
To start, I want to challenge you to consider donating to an organization that helps mothers in crisis pregnancies. Here are some options:
Fr. Michael Grosch