We’re called to build civilization of love and life Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Written by Bishop Donald J. Hying, Bishop of Madison   
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
Bishop Donald J. Hying's column

We congratulate and rejoice with Deacons Timothy Mergen and Enan Zelinski, who were ordained last week in St. Peter’s Basilica and will be ordained priests here next June for the Diocese of Madison.

These men, so representative of all our seminarians, are prayerful, holy, committed, and zealous in living out the Gospel of Christ and shepherding His holy people. Our prayers and gratitude go to these inspiring servants of the Lord, as well as to their parents, families, and friends.

October is Respect Life Month, as we lift up the dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, worthy of absolute respect and concern, with both rights and responsibilities.

Right to life

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson asserts the right to life as the most foundational tenet of the human enterprise. If a person does not have the right to be born, then discussion of any other rights or anything else for that matter, is superfluous. For almost 47 years now, the United States has lived with the tragic evil of legalized abortion.

If a mother wants to keep her child, then that precious pre-born life is human. If she does not, then that precious life is not human and can be destroyed without any discussion or consent from anyone else, including the father.

In other words, our country has abrogated to itself power over life and death, the conferral of human nature or its withdrawal. Only God has this power! Only God gives life and humanity to us. We see the tragedy of abortion all around us, millions of people who should be living out their sacred destiny but their lives were snuffed out in the womb, all for the ideology of “choice.”

Tragedy of abortion

I became involved in the pro-life movement as a young priest, as I began to listen to the heartbreaking stories of women and men who had experienced the violence and tragedy of abortion. I came to realize that not only did abortion dismember the new life in the womb, but also profoundly damaged the hearts, souls, and psyches of everyone close to that child.

This tragedy affects millions of people, many of whom still carry the wounds of shame, regret, grief, depression, and inability to forgive one’s self.

Through the sacraments, counseling, post-abortion healing ministries, pregnancy help centers, and retreats, the Catholic Church seeks to help everyone damaged by abortion to find joy, peace, forgiveness, and healing in the risen Christ. We know that many women choose abortion in situations of great crisis, stress, and pressure, as they are often pushed or even forced into such an action by family and friends.

The Church does not condemn them, but only seeks to help them find healing and wholeness. If you or someone you know is suffering because of a past abortion, please reach out to your pastor, a parish staff member, or to the folks here at the Diocese. We also encourage anyone struggling with a crisis pregnancy to reach out. We want to help you. We love you.

I recently read a news article, detailing the fact that, if it was not for immigration, our U.S. population would be declining precipitously. The implications of this demographic diminishment are enormously impactful on the economy, employment, health care, education, tax revenue, families, and social resources.

I thought of the millions of people who would be contributing to the common good, living out their vocation, loving God in the adventure of this life, but they are not here. They were never given a chance to live. They were aborted. As Mother Teresa said, “A country that aborts its children has no future.”

Rededicating ourselves to life

As followers of Christ, we are called to build a civilization of love and life, of truth and justice, of compassion and welcome, a society that reflects the beautiful reality of the Kingdom of God. We proclaim the dignity of all human life, especially the most vulnerable, beginning in the womb.

We serve the needs of all, so that every person comes to know their own inestimable value as a child of God, enjoys the resources to live an abundant life in the Lord, and makes their contribution to the common good and to authentic human flourishing.

Our dedication to strengthening marriages and families as God intended them to be the pillars of our society and cells of our Church; our teaching on the beauty and truth of human sexuality as God created us to make a gift of ourselves for others; our upholding of human life, in all of its stages, as a participation in the mystery and creativity of God will all continue to be a formative, healing, and strengthening force for our world and our Church.

We live in a culture that has become focused on self, doubts the ability to know the truth of things and in many ways, has substituted self-indulgence for self-gift. Into this world we are sent, bearing the Good News of Jesus Christ who sets us free from the power of sin and death.

We are His missionaries of love and truth, compassion and justice, service and peace. In this month of October, we rededicate ourselves to the great cause of life, which is the cause of Jesus Himself!