Each of the Strategy’s 6 elements involves both a goal and specific means for reaching the goal. What follows is an explanation of the means.
The various means that are discussed certainly do not exhaust the ways of reaching the goals and should not limit the taking of other worthwhile initiatives.
Catholics educated, and ready to educate others, on life issues
Means for Reaching the Goal
3.1 Each parish and high school asked to form a pro-life committee
3.2 Seek to form each Catholic in the Church’s teaching
3.3 Training of Catholics to be apostles for life
3.4 Annual Pro-Life Sunday
3.5 Archbishop’s Directive on Health Care
While it is up to clergy to provide leadership on moral matters, the collaboration of dedicated lay persons is needed to make the Church’s teaching part of the mainstream of life in a parish or Catholic high school. A pro-life committee is a useful vehicle for this cooperation.
In a spirit of generosity befitting the importance of the task at hand, each parish and school should devote its best talent to this committee.
The committee can give coordination to existing pro-life activities such as the Life Chain. More generally, its major role would be to spread the Good News about the sacredness of life and about the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to choose life in every sense; to raise awareness about life issues; and to invite and challenge their fellow students or parishioners to respond to the Good News and become witnesses to it.
The secular media do such an effective job of muting the truth about human life, and especially about the contemporary abortion holocaust, that much education is needed just to keep our people in touch with reality.
The committee’s role will overlap with other elements of the Pro-Life Strategy and can serve as a catalyst for implementing the plans as a whole. The committee’s activity could thus include:
- Organizing prayer for life (1.2-3)
- Fostering discussion on how to deal with crisis situations (2.1) and helping to publicize counseling services (2.2)
- Educating Catholics on civic responsibilities (4.1)
- Initiating contact with other Christians to discuss and cooperate on life issues (5.1-3)
- Serving as liaison to pro-life groups (6)
The possibilities of what a committee might do are endless. For both ideas and materials, pro-life groups are superb and often underutilized resources (see 6.1). Here are but a few suggestions:
- Operate parish lending library of videos, literature, etc; promote same (don’t wait for people to come to you).
- Periodically put “blurbs” and inserts in parish/school bulletin.
- Arrange for speakers on life issues and related topics (sexuality, family planning, etc.).
- Survey student body/parish on life issues.
- Do outreach education to inactive Catholics and non-Catholics in the parish area.
- Invite media people, politicians etc. to a dialogue on their handling of the issues.
- Organize a letter-writing network to respond to political and media developments.
- Have a prayer vigil/picket at local abortion site.
A high school pro-life committee should operate under the guidance of a staff person. A parish committee must work closely with the pastor and may be a sub-committee of the parish council.
Over the years much has been done to provide explicit pro-life instruction to Catholics. This has occurred in a variety of ways (homilies, religious education, BC Catholic, activities of pro-life groups, etc.). In addition the regular spiritual activity of the Church (liturgy, catechesis, etc.) is constantly directed to building up the people in faith and morals.
But so much remains to be done. There is a great need for conversion of our own minds and hearts. Not only must the efforts to impart the Church’s pro-life wisdom be extensive, ongoing and systematic; out of love for our people we must also be attentive to how well they are actually receiving, believing and living this teaching.
We face a particular challenge of forming young people and newly married couples to live out the Good News about the dignity of human life.
- The current system of religious education transmitting the Church’s teaching to teenagers will be evaluated with a view to making recommendations concerning programs and resources.
- All those who oversee marriage preparation should make a renewed effort to ensure that pro-life instruction is effectively communicated to the couples.
We want our Catholic people to believe in and practice the Church’s teaching on abortion and euthanasia. But we want more than this. We also want them to bear witness to it before others, in both word and deed. Christianity is inherently social and public; it is Good News to be passed on to others.
Given a society that is indifferent and even at times hostile to the pro-life message, Catholics need special training and encouragement to live out the calling and grace they have received in Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage – to be heralds of their faith. Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici (On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World) is a valuable formational guide.
The Archdiocese will continue its practice of designating one Sunday each year on which to promote respect for life in a special way.
Parish pro-life committees are encouraged to plan special events to help celebrate this day.
In conjunction with the launching of the new Pro-Life Strategy, Archbishop Exner is issuing a directive that will establish ethical guidelines for all Catholic health are facilities in the diocese.
The theme of respect for human life is central to this document. In particular, the question of what constitutes euthanasia is addressed. Reproduction issues (abortion, sterilization, contraception) are also covered.
The policy statement affects both health care workers and all who utilize hospital services. It merits study and discussion in the parishes and high schools.
|Archdiocesan Pro-Life Strategy|
|1.||Introduction: Some Shaping Principles|
|1.1 The Grace of Conversion|
|1.2 Impetus for a New Pro-Life Strategy|
|1.3 Primary Emphasis of Strategy: Prayer|
|1.4 The Strategy: More Than Prayer|
|1.5 Long-Range View|
|1.6 “Toward a Culture of Life“|
|2.||Elements of Strategy|
|2.2 Crisis Response|
|2.4 Civic Action|
|2.5 Ecumenical Relations|
|2.6 Liaison with Pro-Life Groups|
The Pro-Life Strategy was developed in 1993
Revised: May 1995, November 1995, February 2000