Below is a summary from Kim Griffin on the recent webinar on the May 1st pastoral letter “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You: A Pastoral Letter on the Human Dignity of the Unborn, Holy Communion, and Catholics in Public Life” by Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone’s, Archbishop of San Francisco. The video of this webinar as well as a link to Archbishop Cordileone’s letter are posted below.
Many pro-life leaders are crying out that now is the time for bolder leadership and clarity on the issue of abortion, the Catholic faith, and reception of the Holy Eucharist.
On May 28th, a group of panelists came together to discuss these topics in a webinar titled “Life in the Womb: The Preeminent Issue.”
The webinar was moderated by Helen M. Alvare, an Antonin Scalia Law School Professor and joined by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Kristan Hawkins, Lila Rose, and Kathy Folan and her son Nathan, who was placed in an open adoption.
The Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco pointed out that now is a time of urgency because the abortion industry is getting “more aggressive” and laws “more permissive.”
He authored a pastoral letter May 1st titled, “Before I Formed You in Womb I Knew You.”
The four main points of the letter address;
1. The gravity of the evil of abortion
2. Cooperation in moral evil
3. The Meaning of choosing to receive the Holy Eucharist
4. The responsibilities of Catholics in public life
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone reflected that “a sense of the sacred” is being lost amongst Catholics. An example; disbelief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He explained, “If we lose this, we lose everything as Catholics and society.” And he makes the correlation that with the loss of belief in the sacredness in God comes the loss of belief in the sacredness of human life, even; “the sacredness of the most vulnerable human life, a little baby in the mother’s womb.”
Kristen Hawkins, President of Students for Life in America since 2006 (an organization that recruits, trains and mobilizes young adults to work to abolish abortion)
discussed three issues Students for Life are currently focusing on;
1) The issue of censorship; Pro Life people are being silenced and some pro-life groups are being classified as “hate groups.”
2) Rise of chemical abortions
3) Post Roe; She pointed out the need to be ready and willing to take care of women and their babies
Addressing the issue of censorship, Helen Alvare commented she would love the time to come when both the left and the right “embrace free speech again.”
Lila Rose is the Founder of the human rights non-profit Live Action and an undercover journalist. Live Action is a global educational leader for the pro-life movement. Lila discussed three areas they are currently focused on;
1) Exposing the truth about abortion
2) Inspiring people to take action
3) Activation; Getting people active in the political battles currently taking place
She pointed out that many Catholics, due to mis-education are “on the fence” when it comes to the abortion issue despite abortion being the “antithesis of our Catholic faith.”
Kathy Folan offered her personal story about being the victim of rape during her junior year of college. When she found out she was pregnant she was filled with fear; of what people would think, a lack of resources to care for the baby, and disappointing her parents. But despite all the fears she also knew that the life inside of her was a gift from God, entrusted to her. She knew she had to choose life.
To Kathy’s surprise the community and her parents were supportive. Kathy had planned to keep her rape and pregnancy secret, except for a few friends. But an intuitive professor noticed something was wrong and reached out to her. When she shared her story, he encouraged her to be open and share it with others, to be a pro-life example.
She took his advice and to her surprise found the support and love of the community. Her fears were unfounded. She chose to place her son Nathan in an open adoption. When she met his adoptive parents for the first time they all “clicked.” She even spent her spring break with them. Seeing the love the adoptive mother and father extended to her son and to her affirmed her in her choice.
Her son Nathan, now an engineer participated in the webinar and offered his rare perspective; “You’ve heard it before: ‘I am pro-life EXCEPT in cases of rape.’ I want everyone to realize, especially the EXCEPTers, that you are talking about me. Life is life, no exceptions.”
Archbishop Cordileone suggested a three-step approach for Catholics wishing to change the culture of death we are living in; pray the rosary daily, commit to one hour of adoration of the blessed sacrament weekly, and to fast on Friday’s.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Re-discover Catholic teaching on the Eucharist by attending the virtual Eucharistic Conference June 4-6. Find out more information here.
Watch the webinar; “Life in the Womb; the Preeminent Issue below.
Read Archbishop’s Salvatore Cordileone’s Pastoral Letter in its entirety for free here.