MADISON -- Thirty-five roses were presented during the offertory at the Respect Life Mass at St. Patrick Church, beginning the Liturgy of the Eucharist on this Respect Life Sunday with a reminder of those who have lost their lives by abortion, euthanasia, executions and violence, especially the millions killed since abortion was legalized in the United States in 1963.
At the diocesan Respect Life Mass, Tom Delaney, parishioner at the Cathedral Parish, presents one of 35 roses marking the lives of all who have died by abortion, euthanasia, executions, and violence. (Catholic Herald photo by Kat Wagner)
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In his homily at the Mass on October 5, Bishop Robert C. Morlino first examined the Gospel reading for the day, the parable in which the tenants of a vineyard kill the master’s son, sent to them to collect the produce, and its metaphor for God, the church, and society.
“The people who killed the master of the vineyard’s son turned against him in the end,” the bishop said. “What greater rejection could there be than they would kill your son?
“Killing always involves the rejection of the master of the vineyard,” he said.
Going back to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve’s decision to follow their conscience, no matter whether right or wrong, led to all the troubles in the world. “It’s not what God planned,” the bishop said, “but Adam and Eve wanted to prove they knew better than God.”
So the first sin was pride, of disobedience against God, he said. The second, of Cain against Abel, was murder.
Fighting against abortion
“As soon as people turn away from God, they turn away from their brother or sister,” he said. “And then they kill their brother or sister.
“It wouldn’t be possible to have (the killing of innocent human beings) in a culture that hadn’t turned away from God,” Bishop Morlino said. But the culture is “irrational” and wants to keep God from the public space.
He spoke of the Freedom of Choice act, currently in congress, which would declare that it is the policy of the United States “that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect her life or her health,” and would prevent the government from restricting or interfering in that “right.”
The proposed law, he said would give “a blank check nationwide” so that abortion is always possible, without restriction.
The number of abortions has been going down recently, he said, “but things could get worse.”
In the voting booth in November, “all of us have an obligation to think about that,” he said. “That things could get worse.”
Stem cell research
“It breaks my heart that, in a sense, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the embryonic stem cell research capital of the world,” the bishop continued.
Recently, in fact, Madison held a large international celebration of that accomplishment, he said. People sometimes say to him, “Isn’t it wonderful that embryonic stem cell research is no longer a political issue in Wisconsin?”
“I don’t know what that means — that it’s not a political issue,” he said, “but on Pro-Life Sunday, it’s your charge and ministry to make sure embryonic stems cell research continues to be a moral issue in Wisconsin.”
If embryonic stem cell research is not an issue in this state, he said, then justice is not an issue.
“Politics is all about justice, and justice is all about the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the bishop said.
“Justice is an issue in the state of Wisconsin, and so the right to life of the most defenseless who are destroyed through embryonic stem cell research is an issue in the state of Wisconsin,” he said.
“We have to speak out,” the bishop said. “We have to tell the Truth as we dedicate ourselves on Pro-Life Sunday.”
Later in the day, the 64th semi-annual International Rosary March was held at St. Patrick Church. Due to rain, the march was held indoors, with the Rosary prayed in a walking procession around the church. It was followed by a presentation of flowers to Mary, a homily by Bishop Morlino, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
To listen to Bishop Morlino’s homily from the Respect Life Mass on Sunday, Oct. 5, go to www.madisondiocese.org and download the audio file under the “Audio & Video” drop-down menu halfway down the main page.