by Deacon Bill Scholl
The best definition of the Catholic Church is provided by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “Here comes EVERYBODY!”
Catholic means “universal,” meaning that Jesus wants us to invite and make a place at the table for everybody. This is Catholic Social Teaching 101: to see each of us, made in the image of God, with inherent dignity.
As the church has engaged in the political struggle for the most fundamental human rights issue — the right to life for the unborn — the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson put the Catholic Church in the United States at a crossroads.
Even though the Supreme Court did not recognize the right to life for the unborn, and returned the decision to the states, pro-abortionists and others are outraged and blame the church.
How do we live into our Catholic identity as the church for everybody when so many Americans feel alienated by our advocacy? What answer do we have for the abortion- minded who perceive us as the enemy of personal autonomy?
Pope Francis offers some valuable coaching by encouraging us to be a people of accompaniment: We tell the truth about abortion, and we also love those caught up in its logic, especially women facing unwanted pregnancies who need support.
Archbishop Naumann says of the pro-life movement, “What we cannot accomplish by law, we must accomplish with love.” Indeed, love is the primary reason the church enters into the contentious arena of politics. If we don’t speak up for the unborn, and for those tempted or resigned to abort (a decision that truthfully causes trauma for mothers- and fathers-to-be), how can we say we love a sacred God who has made all human life in his image?
For the church, the political proceeds from the pastoral. As Abraham Lincoln noted, “He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.” As Catholics, we must show our hearts more conspicuously than our critiques.
As Catholics of northeast Kansas, we have some opportunities to show our hearts by accompanying women and children who are looking at the Catholic Church to see if we really are as pro-life as we say: the Foster Care Initiative and Walking with Moms in Need.
There are not enough foster parents in Kansas, and thousands of kids have no safe place to stay. Besides discerning and getting training to be a foster parent, you can also support the effort in other ways. Go online to: www.archkcks.com/foster to get involved.
As well, every parish in the archdiocese is discerning how we can be a place to turn for pregnant and parenting moms in need. Visit the website at: www.archkck.prolife to learn more.