Bishop Mark Hagemoen again designated the last Sunday in January as a Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, to pray for respect, protection and care of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.
Dear Clergy, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Saskatoon:
The day of prayer for Reverence for Life will be celebrated in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon on Sunday January 30, 2022, providing our faith communities with an opportunity for prayers, reflection and discussion about the value of the precious gift of human life.
Over the past year we continued to deal with the great trial of the COVID-19 pandemic – a health crisis that we are still dealing with. I have heard many comment that the pandemic has highlighted both the fragility and strength of human life. We continue to pray for the many elders and health-compromised and all who have become very sick or have died because of contracting COVID-19. We also recognize the strength of character and resolve of health care and service providers, and many community members who have not given into fear, but rather reach out to those in need by providing care and support.
It is in the context of what we are learning during this pandemic that we continue to struggle with care of the vulnerable, and especially with protection and care for the unborn and critically ill in our communities.
SINS AGAINST HUMAN LIFE CONTRIBUTES TO AN UNCARING & UTILITARIAN CULTURE
Canada continues to deal with the tragic repercussions of the removal of abortion from the Criminal Code. We now mark the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Morgentaler case on January 28, 1988, which removed all remaining restrictions on abortion in Canada. Incredibly applauded by many in our society, this moment in our nation’s history holds within it the tragic reality of millions of lost lives.
Victims of abortion include the unborn children who are killed, but also the mothers, fathers and families left wounded after an abortion. The community is also weakened and damaged as the weakest and most vulnerable among us are not valued and protected.
As the Canadian government has now expanded access to doctor-assisted suicide, also known as Medical Aid in Death or “MAiD” – the words of the Holy Father only a few years ago continue to ring prophetic:
“The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. – who are in danger of being ‘thrown away’, expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs.”
In this statement, Pope Francis went on to call all people of good will to continue the steady work to turn our culture from one of convenience and short-sightedness, to a cultural movement that seeks – through good-will and honest reflection – the realization of a truly human culture. (+Francis’s speech to Dignitatis Humanae Institute Dec. 7, 2013)
INCREASING IMCOMPATIBILITY OF ‘CARE FOR CREATION’ WITH ABORTION & EUTHANASIA
Pope Francis highlights that respect for creation and human dignity are issues that are only realized together. As he states:
“Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion… How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” (see Laudato Si, #120)
The Gospel’s moral and social teaching calls on all people of good will to bring to bear intellectual, social, and political consciousness on such a blatant inconsistency that is increasingly affecting the well-being and flourishing of human cultures through our world. As Pope Francis states:
“It is necessary to raise awareness and form the lay faithful, in whatever state, especially those engaged in the field of politics, so that they may think in accord with the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church and act consistently by dialoguing and collaborating with those who, in sincerity and intellectual honesty, share – if not the faith – at least a similar vision of mankind and society and its ethical consequences.” (+Francis’s speech to Dignitatis Humanae Institute Dec. 7, 2013)
Indeed, this effort is at the service of every person on the planet! If we do not engage in calling each other to a greater and fuller humanity, we should then not be surprised at the larger deterioration of a culture of human care and respect.
THE LOSS OF HEART
Current advances in science, genetics and embryology clearly show the distinct humanity of each unborn child, which comes into existence at conception. Each new, distinct human person shares the fundamental human right to life that we as Canadians celebrate and support on so many other fronts.
Failing to recognize that right has left our country damaged – not only in the missing and lost lives of millions of unborn children – but is removing ‘the heart’ from our society. Devaluing human life at any age or stage has inexorably led to the legalization and growing acceptance in our country of euthanasia and assisted suicide: our lives seem to cease to have meaning and value as we face the fear of not being ‘useful’, or that we are a ‘problem’ to those on whom we rely for care. This loss of ‘heart’ is also the root cause of so many other evils in our midst, including poverty, hunger, discrimination, injustice, racism, and violence. The recovery of heart will be a very important feature in the coming New Year – including as we work towards the goals to healing and reconciliation with Indigenous and all peoples; finding forgiveness and healing of past sins; and seeking relationships that respect and honour people in the fullness of their humanity.
Sisters and brothers, let us respond to loss of heart by holding steady to the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the Sacred Heart for our world. Let us join together in our common prayer for Reverence for Life on January 30, and throughout this year. Sisters and Brothers, we again pray that as a nation we may re-discover our heart!
Yours in Christ
Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen
The Day of Prayer is now held at the end of January at the recommendation of a diocesan Reverence for Life Committee, scheduled to fall near the anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Morgentaler case Jan. 28, 1988, which removed all restriction on abortion in Canadian law.
Prayer for Reverence for Life
Almighty God, giver of all that is good, we thank you for the precious gift of human life:
For life in the womb, coming from your creative power,
For the life of children, making us glad with their freshness and promise,
For the life of young people, hoping for a better world,
For the life of people who are disabled, teaching us that every life has value,
For the life of the elderly, witnessing to the ageless values of patience and wisdom.
Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “yes” to Your gift. Help us to realize the sacredness of human life and to respect and cherish it from conception to its natural end.
And bring us at last, O Father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN
Prière pour la révérence pour la vie
Dieu Tout-Puissant, donateur de tout ce qui est bon, nous te remercions pour le don précieux de la vie humaine:
Pour la vie dans le sein maternel, provenant de ton pouvoir créatif,
Pour la vie des enfants, nous rendant heureux de leur fraîcheur et de leur promesse,
Pour la vie des jeunes, espérant pour un monde formidable,
Pour la vie des personnes qui sont handicapées, nous apprenant que toute vie a de la valeur,
Pour la vie des personnes âgées, témoignant des valeurs intemporelles de patience et de sagesse.
Comme la bienheureuse Marie, puissions-nous toujours dire “oui” à Ton don. Aide-nous à réaliser le caractère sacré de la vie humaine, à la respecter et à la chérir de la conception à sa fin naturelle.
Et amène-nous enfin, ô Père, à la plénitude de la vie éternelle en Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur. AMEN