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Respect Life Month: Human dignity from conception to natural death
By Sean O'Driscoll

9/24/2013

Parishioners from Prince of Peace Catholic Church; Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, St. Edward Catholic Church and St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church in Spring; and St. Anne Catholic Church in Tomball kneel and pray in front of a Planned Parenthood office. The group has not missed a prayer day since April 22 when the Planned Parenthood branch opened. (Photo courtesy of Darlene Marinoff)

HOUSTON — October 6 is Respect Life Sunday. This celebration marks the observance of Respect Life Month, in which Catholics are called in a special way to reflect on the gift of human life, the threats against it and how to protect all persons from conception to natural death.

Respect Life issues cover a broad range of topics that affect the dignity of the human person. While abortion is a major pro-life issue, there are other important issues that fall under this banner.

Issues such as contraception, reproduction technology and embryonic stem cell research address the miracle of life itself, while issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide focus on the end of life.

Issues as diverse as capital punishment, domestic violence, conscience protection, as well as care for the elderly, the mentally ill and the physically disabled, focus on recognizing the dignity in all persons. Because it is the foundation of families, even the definition of marriage is a respect life issue.

Understanding the Church’s view on so many issues begins with the affirmation of human dignity. The Catholic Church teaches that every human being is made by God in His image and likeness, both men and women. Every human being was created by God and entrusted at conception with a unique mission and vocation in life.

The dignity possessed by all human beings is the same, regardless of age, state or condition. It is not based on any human quality, legal mandate, or individual merit or accomplishment because it comes directly from God. It is an intrinsic quality that can never be separated from other essential aspects of the human person.

No matter how much a person goes through in life, and no matter what they have done, they are still worth the same as everyone else.
During this Year of Faith, the U.S. bishops have called for a nationwide effort to advance a movement for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty through prayer, penance, and sacrifice.

This includes Eucharistic Holy Hours, a daily Rosary, and abstinence from meat and fasting on Fridays for the intention of the protection of life, marriage, and religious liberty.

You can find out more about the U.S. bishops’ Call To Prayer at www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/call-to-prayer.cfm.