October is Respect Life month in the life of the Church. For all of us, respecting life should be about an attitude toward God’s creation, toward our personal lives and the lives of all of those in our society. The USCCB elucidates seven themes of Catholic social teaching. Human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the moral foundation of our society. This involves protecting the life of the unborn and the elderly, and being aware of the impact of cloning and embryonic stem cell research. This attitude calls us to know the moral threat of the death penalty. The intentional killing of civilians in war and terror attacks is morally wrong. The protection of the family follows as well the need for respect and dignity. The importance of marriage as a powerful force in the stability of society cannot be understated. Awareness of our rights in this society but also our responsibilities to each other and the common good is another part of the firm ground of our teaching. Protection of the poor, the vulnerable, and the disabled is a clear choice we should make. I think this includes immigrants seeking a better life. They are aliens, and God’s people were aliens and slaves in a foreign land. Expecting our economy to serve people, the dignity of work, and the rights of workers are basic tenets of our moral teaching. The idea that we are one human family, all created in the image of God, is also morally promoted. Finally, respect for God’s creation in this beautiful garden of the environment is another theme of our Christian life.
Let us pray for and contemplate these aspects of our lives and thus make choices that support life in all its forms and manifestations. The God of creation will be pleased, I hope, if we respect the many fruits of His work.