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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The Supreme Court decision: A new day for life

By Bishop David Ricken | June 28, 2022

As you probably know, last Friday, on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, eliminating the federal right to abortion. This is a monumental decision, one that I and countless pro-lifers have been praying for nearly 50 years! This decision will lead to fewer babies suffering the cruel fate of abortion and, hopefully, lead to new opportunities for our nation to come together in support of life, whether of the unborn, their mothers or any other person.

First and foremost, I want to thank God that this scourge on our nation has finally been lifted. The legal right to abortion has hung over our country like a dark cloud for nearly 50 years, bringing immense suffering to many people. The concept of choice, supported in Roe v. Wade, is built on a false notion of freedom. It seeks to build the advantage of one person on someone else’s disadvantage, which is not a path to freedom and justice. This “choice” has horrible consequences for mothers, fathers and children, who have never gotten a chance at life. Again, I am grateful that there is new light shining through the darkness on this issue.

While I am grateful for this new day for life, I also recognize that our work is not done. There will still be many places in this country where abortion is legal and there will be people who fight to make abortion more accessible. Even in places where abortion is illegal, there will be attempts to go around the law. Most importantly, there will still be women who find themselves in difficult circumstances and feel that abortion is their only option. So as Catholics and pro-lifers, how should we approach this new post-Roe world? I want to offer a few suggestions.

First, as with everything, we begin with prayer. The fight for life is, and always has been, a spiritual battle. Following the decision this week, we gathered at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral for a special Holy Hour for Life, and I encourage you to continue to pray and fast for life. Pray for women and men who are facing a difficult or unexpected pregnancy and don’t know where to turn. Pray for the folks who run pregnancy care clinics and other social services agencies, that they will have resources they need to support families in choosing life. Pray for the conversion of those who fight for and defend the legality of abortion. Pray for our political leaders, that they can work to find creative solutions to support life. And pray for our country, that this new era can be a time for unity and peace, rather than division and violence.

Second, we need to redouble our efforts to support women and families in need. As the church, we must accompany mothers who will choose life for their children by offering material, emotional, medical and spiritual support. Learn about the “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative, which highlights the many wonderful resources available to support women and families in need at our local pregnancy care centers, the St. Gianna Clinic and Catholic Charities. You can find more information about this initiative at disciplesforlifegb.org/walking-with-moms-in-need. I encourage you to take time in prayer to ask God how you can best support mothers and families in need, whether through one of these organizations or in other ways. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide!

Lastly, while the court’s decision takes away the federal legal right to abortion, unfortunately, abortion is not going away. We all need to continue to make the case for life with our words and with the witness of our lives. We need to appeal to our fellow Catholics, our neighbors and our political leaders, until all people recognize the inherent, God-given right to life for every individual, from the moment of conception until natural death. We do this, not with an attitude of superiority and self-righteousness, but with a spirit of charity, modeled after the love Jesus had for us, a love that lays down his life for the good of others. We, too, must display this love for our brothers and sisters until all people are convinced of the value of life.

Friends, as you can see, there is much work to be done. Let us be encouraged and uplifted by this decision, while rededicating ourselves to the work ahead. And we ask for Jesus, whose Sacred Heart was pierced for our sake, to guide us with wisdom and courage on this new day for life!

Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.

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