Respect Life leaders say post-Roe is no time to rest and ‘our work is cut out for us’
Now that Roe v Wade has been overturned and the legal battle over abortion has been returned to the states, emotion seems to be ruling the conversation, according to Father William Miller, episcopal vicar for respect life for the Diocese of Peoria.
The problem is that this obscures the truth, he said.
“The enemies for the cause of life are putting a lot of money and a lot of time into campaigning to continue a narrative that is false, misleading . . . that this is a women’s issue,” Father Miller told The Catholic Post.
“Of course, we know the truth is that it’s not either/or, it’s both/and,” he explained. “It’s about taking care of mother and child and (abortion) does a mother no good. It’s never the solution. Something that’s intrinsically evil is never the solution to the problem — it only adds to the problem.”
Those who care about women don’t offer them something that’s going to make their situation worse,” Father Miller said.
In its Respect Life Program this year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities is inviting people to look at the ways they are “Called to Serve Mothers in Need.” While Respect Life Month is observed in October, the bishops are asking people to start immediately and keep going.
One program they established and have been advocating for is “Walking with Moms in Need.”
Cecilia Soñé, director of Respect Life Ministry for the Diocese of Peoria, said this concept is nothing new to the parish respect life representatives in central Illinois. This year’s call just makes it more concrete.
“In our diocese, we are so, so lucky because we do have the services available to help these moms in need,” she said, adding that the parish representatives are the ones best able to make the necessary connections because they know their communities.
“I’m here to help them the best I can and give them the tools and resources they can use,” Soñé said.
For her, the focus is very broad, however.
“One of the things I always pray about is we’re not only walking with moms in need who are having issues with poverty and social justice,” she said. “What about the working mom? What about the mom that is part of the ‘sandwich generation’ — she’s pregnant, has little ones, but she’s also taking care of an elderly parent? Her life is within that spectrum of life and being that caregiver.”
Soñé’s vision is that parish representatives will recognize and have resources ready for any mom that walks up to them, whether they need help finding diapers, a food pantry, or access to medical care.
In preparation for Respect Life Month, parish respect life representatives will gather this Saturday, Sept. 24, for Mass, brunch, and a meditation by Father Miller. Soñé will also offer information on various materials to help them in their ministry and then give them time to network.
“We’ll feed them physically and we’ll feed them spiritually, and get their ‘batteries’ recharged so they can go out, and like Bishop (Louis) Tylka says, go out and make disciples in the ministry they’ve been chosen to serve,” she said.
MAKING PRAYER A PRIORITY
They’ll need their batteries fully charged because both Soñé and Father Miller said this is no time to rest.
“Our work is cut out for us,” Soñé told The Catholic Post.
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“We have to all be convicted that from the moment that sperm and egg unite that there is a human being that is irreplaceable, that is unique, and that requires all the dignity and respect that should be given to that human being all the way through their lifetime, until the good Lord calls them home,” she said.
There is also a need to convince others of the sacredness of this gift, to keep the science in front of them that shows the beauty of life, she added.
“I think we’ve got to make sure our children are hearing this, our young people are hearing this — everybody across the board is hearing this and rehearing what is the good news of the Gospel of Life and what that means in practical terms that we can do and should be doing,” Father Miller said.
He also emphasized the importance of prayer.
“This is a spiritual battle,” Father Miller said, “and we need to be praying for the conversion of minds and hearts.”