Reflections on the Struggle to Advance the Culture of Life

Archbishop Burke speaks …

It is clear that we are experiencing today a period of intense and critical struggle in the advancement of the culture of life in our nation. The administration of our federal government openly and aggressively follows a secularist agenda. While it may employ religious language and even invoke the name of God, in fact, it proposes programs and policies for our people without respect for God and His Law. In the words of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, it proceeds “as if God did not exist” (Pope John Paul II, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, “On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World,” 30 December 1988, no. 34).

At the same time, there is a lack of unity among those dedicated to advance a culture which respects fully the gift of human life and its origin in procreation, that is, in the cooperation of man and woman with God through the conjugal union and through education in the home which they have formed by marriage. Recent statements, occasioned by the Rites of Christian Burial accorded to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, have manifested profound disagreement and even harsh criticism among those who are publicly committed to the Gospel of Life.

As we share the same commitment to foster respect for human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, I wish to offer some fundamental reflections on how to advance the culture of life in our nation. The reflections are not comprehensive. It is my hope that, in some small way, they may help us both to address more effectively the Gospel of Life to the political leadership of our nation and to draw together in greater unity with all who are truly dedicated to promote the respect for human life and the integrity of the marital union and its fruit, family life.

Finally, by way of introduction, I have tried to relate these reflections to the Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, “On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth,” of Pope Benedict XVI, given on June 29th of this year. It seems to me that the development for which God has created man is achieved in the establishment of the culture of life. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI:

Hence charity and truth confront us with an altogether new and creative challenge, one that is certainly vast and complex. It is about broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces [in the development of peoples], animating them within the perspective of that “civilization of love” whose seed God has planted in every people, in every culture (Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, “On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth,” 29 June 2009, no. 33; hereafter, Caritas in veritate).

Our tireless promotion of the culture of life, in fact, responds to the deepest longing in every man, and in every society. It anticipates and prepares “a new heaven and a new earth,” which Our Lord Jesus Christ will inaugurate at His Final Coming (Rv 21:1).

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