Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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Building a culture of life today

By | January 27, 2010

As I held the little boy in my arms I could not help but wonder how anyone could take the life of a little helpless child on purpose. It was obvious to me that somehow they did not know what they were doing. As Jesus said on the cross, “forgive them Father they know not what they do.”

It is a great honor to gather with the youth who will be making the trip to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. I am privileged to bless you this evening with a prayer for safe journey and for protection while you are there representing us, the Diocese of Green Bay, in the national march for the protection of life in all of its stages.

As you go and as we send you forth for this march, I would ask you to not just consider that you are going on a trip or even a pilgrimage, although there will be those features. You are being sent as ambassadors to the corridors of civil power as you stand and walk in behalf of the most voiceless and helpless of human beings, the innocent child in the womb, the most defenseless of human persons, and the ones that need our protection most. You are going for training in a non-violent protest to speak in behalf of the greatest social justice issue of our times, the taking of innocent human life.

I would remind you also that your work and your mission do not stop when the rally in D.C. is over, but that you bring your ambassadorial skill to bear here in the communities in Wisconsin where you live. Your work as an ambassador is done by speaking and defending life yes, but it is also best done as you save souls one by one, as you talk to young women between the ages of 18 and 24, the largest group of those who commit abortions. I urge you to use your skills of love and persuasion to convince them to change their minds and hearts and to bring the life of their child to life and to full term.

Our Holy Fathers, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have urged all of humanity to build a culture of life. Pope Benedict says that a culture that denies or marginalizes God will soon bring itself to destruction. Therefore, your mission and the mission of all men and women of goodwill is to be beacons of hope and of charity for others. The book of Deuteronomy records that God said, “I place before you life and death. Choose life.”

At this anniversary time of Roe v. Wade, it is good for us to remember that the only way to overturn a Supreme Court decision is through presenting a decision at the lower court that then would be appealed to the higher court. There is a cloud hanging over our nation, a cloud caused partly by the nation legalizing the taking of innocent lives.

Perhaps more important than that however, is the fact that we need to pray, fast and give alms for the changing of the consciousness of America. We need to pray that there will be an awakening in America, for all peoples to see that this is wrong and simply decide not to do that anymore.

I have a hope and a dream that one day all of the abortion clinics in the country will simply close their doors, not because the legal system nor law enforcement had to force them to. They go out of business because they have no clientele. No doctors or others are willing to take the lives of innocent children anymore. The question will be mute and other radical actions not necessary.

Let us join together to raise awareness, not to condemn but to help young women to make better choices. Let us join together to teach the sanctity of marriage as the only place to conceive children and to bring them to birth. The security and comfort of married couples and families who love and cherish children as God intended is the only place for sexual expression and rearing a family.

May God bless all of you who are so committed to this message and the realization of a dream.

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