by Kara Hansen
OVERLAND PARK — Catholics are often called to take a stand for pro-life issues. This time, however, Catholics were asked to sit in the name of life.
Catholics from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph attended the first-ever Gospel of Life convention on April 12 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park. The day consisted of presentations on over 10 different pro-life topics, as well as a keynote address delivered by Archbishop Joseph Naumann, entitled “Faithful Catholics and Faithful Americans.”
In his talk, Archbishop Naumann reviewed the history of the church and politics in America.
“There is a long history of the detachment of church leadership from partisan politics. Yet the church cherishes its right and responsibility to speak to the morals of the nation. Transforming American values is the responsibility of the church here,” Archbishop Naumann said.
He encouraged Catholics to use their most basic civil right to vote, and to work beyond that vote by taking opportunities to change and transform the culture.
“Catholic voters may have different ideas on a variety of issues as long as they do not involve a direct choice of something evil. All issues are important, but not all are equally important morally,” said Archbishop Naumann. “The ultimate goal is not to pick only one political party, but to build a broad consensus that neither party will allow convictions that go against human life.”
Following the archbishop’s keynote address, which began and ended with a standing ovation, breakout sessions were held covering topics ranging from the death penalty to the theology of the body.
Convention attendees also had the opportunity to visit booths set up by various groups, organizations, and businesses involved in the pro-life arena. The day concluded with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
“I think this day is really exciting,” said Rachel Langley, a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kan., and a medical student. “We were able to bring a whole group of medical students here to get educated on some of these issues. It’s great to think of having more pro-life doctors out there.”