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Director's Reflections on Human Life and Dignity

January 22nd marked the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade—a tragic and unjust decision which paved the way for a horrific practice that has claimed the lives of over 60 million unborn children.

 The scars of countless women and men testify to the truth about abortion—it is gruesome, violent and demeaning to women. Those who witness to this truth by sharing their stories remind us the “unthinkable” must never become acceptable.

 Clearly the efforts of pro-life advocates are bearing fruit as abortion numbers continue to decline.  Sadly, abortion remains all too common and as long as it is legal some will promote it as good and necessary. Consequently, we continue to pursue legal protection of unborn children.

 But, what ought pro-life “work” look like moving forward? Certainly it calls for prayer, outreach, legislative advocacy and “faithful citizenship” exercised in accord with our baptismal mission.  But are these alone sufficient?

 Ask yourself, “If I knew abortion would remain legal forever, how would I build a culture of life and ensure that no expectant mother think she has no “choice” but abortion?” The point is we must not become constrained by the weight of the laws we seek to change. We are neverpowerless to act on behalf of human life. But, to do so most effectively our witness must be credible.

Credibility requires consistency so it’s important we consider the degree to which we embrace a “consistent life ethic.” Of this ethic Saint John Paul II said, “Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good. We need then to show care for all life and for the life of everyone” (Evangelium Vitae, 87).

Are we showing “care for all life and for the life of everyone?”

 This question isn’t intended to suggest a moral equivalency between abortion and every other moral issue. However, we should examine our own heart for it is the same heart called to love the unborn that is also called to love the poor, the incarcerated, the immigrant, and the marginalized.

 Our hearts weep for children killed in the womb and for those who have chosen abortion. But do our hearts weep for the poor? Do our hearts weep for refugees? Do our hearts weep for immigrants brought here as children now fearing deportation? Do our hearts weep for victims of war, racism and abuse? Do our hearts weep for the neglected, drug-addicted, abandoned and lonely?

 And if our hearts do weep for each of these would anyone looking at the lives we lead know this to be true?

 We cannot feign true love or fool “pro-choice” critics waiting to call out real or imagined hypocrisy. More importantly, we cannot fool God.

 A heart on fire for life shines in a selfless outpouring of loving deeds directed at life’s dark crevices and it effectuates change in the hearts of those unaccustomed to the joy, hope and love such light brings.

 So, let us never weary in our labors for life or allow setbacks to diminish our joy. Be not afraid! And let us ask God to transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh so that through us he may do the same for others

Matthew Brower
Executive Director of the Montana Catholic Conference

Bishops' Statement Regarding Planned Parenthood

In his recent Encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis asserted that because “…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,” wrote the Pope, “if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” (#120)
Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a “widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society. The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues through abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human
As Catholic Bishops of Montana, we urge all people to respect the value and dignity of all human life, even at its earliest phase of life. We urge all people to work together to protect those unable to speak for themselves, born or soon to be born.

Most Rev. George Leo Thomas
Bishop of Helena

Most Rev. Michael W. Warfel
Bishop of Great Falls-Billings


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Montana Catholic Conference Legislative
AlertNetwork Newsletter

Each Friday during the legislative sesssion, the Catholic Conference sends out an electronic newsletter to all those who have joined the Alert Network. To receive a hard copy of the newsletter, simply call the Conference at 442-5761 to submit your name and mailing address.

The newsletter summarizes the weeks' events, highlights the bills the Conference is actively working on or is following, lists the hearings of interest scheduled for the upcoming week and provides contact information for the legislators.  If there is an issue the Conference needs assistance with, a Call to Action Alert is sent out.  The Alert will identify the bill, the committee members and include contact information.

You must subscribe to the Network to receive the newsletters.  Join the Network by clicking HERE. You may opt out at any time.

Planning to be in the Helena area?

Stop by the Montana Catholic Conference office at 1313 11th.  Summer office hours are:
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.