WASHINGTON (CNS) — “Increasing attempts to expunge God and religious discourse from public life” are contributing to a growing disrespect for the unique status of human beings, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said in a message for Respect Life Month in October.
In a statement made public Sept. 26, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities linked respect for life to recent moves to silence the voice of people motivated by faith.
“Some now even seek to eliminate religiously motivated people and organizations from public programs, by forcing them to violate their moral and religious convictions or stop serving the needy,” he said. “The same forces, aided by advertising and entertainment media, promote a selfish and demeaning view of human sexuality, by extolling the alleged good of sexual activity without love or commitment.”
Cardinal DiNardo noted that the theme for the 2011-12 Respect Life program, now in its 40th year, was taken from Jesus’ promise in the 10th chapter of John: “I came so that all might have life and have it to the full.”
“Jesus’ promise of ‘life to the full’ is especially poignant today, when our culture and sometimes our government promote values inimical to the happiness and true good of individuals and society,” he said.
“Viewing life as a ‘zero-sum’ game, in which advancing one’s interests requires putting aside the needs of others, can lead to callous unconcern for anyone who is especially weak, defenseless and in need of our help,” Cardinal DiNardo said.
“The unborn child, the aging parent whom some call a ‘burden’ on our medical system, the allegedly ‘excess’ embryo in the fertility clinic, the person with a disability, the cognitively impaired accident victim who needs assistance in receiving food and water to live — each today is at risk of being dismissed as a ‘life unworthy of life,'” he added.
The cardinal said the recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to require all health plans to cover contraceptives and sterilization without cost demonstrates both “a distorted view of sexuality and a disdain for the role of religion.”
“Mandating such coverage shows neither respect for women’s health or freedom, nor respect for the consciences of those who do not want to take part in such problematic initiatives,” he added.
Cardinal DiNardo urged Catholics not to “shrink from the obligation to assert the values and principles we hold essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being and the right of every woman and man to express and live by his or her religious beliefs and well-formed conscience.”
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