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Day of Penance for the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 22, 2019


Today the Church in the United States observes a day of penance on the anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision that deprived children in their mother’s womb of a human right so foundational that its denial precipitates an unraveling of all other rights that are necessary for a civil society to ensure human flourishing. This foundational right is the right to life.

Penitential practices are a manifestation of contrition for sin, and exhibit a conscience enlivened by the virtues of faith, hope, and love. Penance displays that a person is willing to acknowledge what has been done and what one has failed to do. Therefore, what is asked of the Church’s faithful today is to reckon with how our own attitudes and actions have contributed to a sad status quo that threatens the culture with a situation where the most vulnerable among us are afforded no rights, offered no legal protection, and seen as unimportant in their very existence.

The Church contends to a culture that thinks otherwise that all life is a revelation of God’s grace, and as such, should be accepted with love and acknowledged with gratitude. The Incarnation of God in Christ has ratified this extraordinary revelation by rendering holy the totality of human existence from conception to natural death. God in Christ has entered himself into all of human experience and imbued all the events and circumstances of our lives with his divine life and presence. The practical implication of this revelation in the life of the Church is that the faithful bear witness to the inviolable dignity of human life and receive every single person, even as from the first moment of their conception, with a reverence befitting a child of God.

It is for our failures to do precisely this that we ask the Lord’s forgiveness.

Below, as we prayerfully advocate for a conversion in the understanding of the dignity of all life, we offer two of Bishop Barron’s video commentaries on abortion for your reflection.

In addition, please pray for the brave men, women, and children who marched for the right to life in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere around the country. May God bless them, keep them safe, and help them to affect change in the hearts and minds of our nation’s lawmakers.