Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Last Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the almost 50-year erroneous decision of Roe v. Wade. This decision fabricated a constitutional right for an abortion. Although this decision will not outlaw abortion, it affirmed that there is no right to abortion under the constitution. The question of abortion will now be returned to the states for further clarification.
I was in law school in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided. It struck me even back then that the decision was highly flawed. I was only a student of the law, but I could see that the right for an abortion goes against the very nature of the protection of the citizens of our nation. To secure a right to kill the unborn life seemed almost societal suicide.
There were all sorts of promises that abortions would be rare and never occur past the second trimester. However, through the years following, these so-called assurances were replaced by more and more aggressive abortion postures. This very day, abortion was proposed as a right even when the child was emerging from the vaginal canal.
I, like others, took up the cause of “life” simply because it was right and just, and very much in keeping with the moral teachings of the Church. The Church clearly teaches that you can never justify the direct taking of innocent life. This moral evil somehow got embedded in the reasoning of the society, and even in some misguided Catholic perspectives. I could not help but feeling ashamed and sorry for the individuals who were holding signs that read “Catholics for Abortion.” The great teachings of St. John Paul II boldly proclaimed the Church’s dignity for human life from the moment of conception to natural death.
There are so many organizations for which I and other Church leaders are so very grateful: The Knights of Columbus for securing ultrasound devices to assist women in seeing the life within them; our pro-life groups who wrote letters to political leaders, marched in protest and prayed for an end to abortion; our Women’s Care Centers that reached out to women who were in crisis and assisted them in choosing life and supporting them after the birth of their child; and Project Rachel, which was started by our dear friend, Vickie Thorn, who walked with women who have had abortions.
Since Roe v. Wade, over 63 million lives have been lost – more than any modern-day cultural revolutionary movement, or all the United States wars combined.
But as eventful as this decision is, it still does not end the struggle for life. This struggle continues. While we focus on laws protecting human life, we must also be mindful of women who see themselves trapped in an unplanned pregnancy. It would be wonderful if we established that abortions are not only unavailable but also unnecessary. We must continue our efforts to reach out and support various groups that walk with women in need. Many of our Human Concerns committees continue to find ways to support and inform our communities.
We cannot ignore that 63 million lives were lost. Relying upon our spiritual sensibilities, we will offer prayers of mercy for those lives taken during the years of the Roe v. Wade decision. We will pray for those women who have had abortions. We will pray in thanksgiving for the number of pro-life supporters – both living and dead – who have given time, talent, and treasure to confront this issue.
I invite you to join me this Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. when I will celebrate a Votive Mass for the Mercy of God at St. Dominic Catholic Parish, 18255 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield. During the Mass, in recognition of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we will pray for merciful remembrance before God for lives lost to abortion, and renewed efforts in support of the dignity of all human life.
Together, let us join our prayers for merciful remembrance before God for lives lost and our renewed efforts in support for the dignity of human life and our willingness to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the June 28, 2022 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.