This is a transcription of the homily delivered by Archbishop Robert Carlson for the Annual Memorial Mass for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis on Saturday, January 21, 2017.
Bishop Hermann, Monsignor Rivituso, my brother priests and deacons, this week in the St. Louis Review I reflected in my article on the need to witness for life and the power of one: the power and the testimony and the witness of each one of you.
As I said in the beginning of that article, “consider the treachery of Judas; consider the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.” One can do great good, and one can cause great harm. I certainly see that in the Board Bill 203.
It is an attempt, I believe, to make St. Louis a sanctuary city for abortion, and the bill is built on a lie. As you know, the fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God; a gift from our parents. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed by the Supreme Court in 1973 – as we saw in the procession of the roses – some 44 years ago, and now in Saint Louis some of our politicians want to make reproductive health a protected class.
I’ve already heard of one company that was planning to come to St. Louis that has decided to wait and see the outcome of that horrible piece of legislation; a piece of legislation that attempts to make all of us participants in the abortion business.
If you will, this bill is “eye candy” for the culture of death. It goes hand-in-hand with the attitude, “Whatever I think or believe, whatever I value or want, whatever I feel or desire must be correct.” In the scriptures, they call that selfishness, pride.
And St. Peter, in today’s first reading, puts it in a context for each one of us: “Beloved do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you.” It’s a subtle trial. But the smoke of the evil one is there.
Make no mistake about it: today the abortion fight is “a matter of life and death” and each one of us is asked to respond to the Lords call to follow Him.
We pray at this liturgy that our hearts and our minds, our words and our actions may truly be formed by Jesus Christ. Only then will we have the courage to be like the Apostles and disciples in the Acts of the Apostles who had the courage to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ at, for them, great cost.
How fortunate it is today, in this Mass that we celebrate, do we have the example of St. Agnes who at the age of 12 was a martyr for the faith and she’s known as the patroness of Christian virtue.
Unfortunately our nation and tragically our city leaders, at least some of them, do not seem to know, or in their selfish desires fail to understand, that human life is sacred from the very beginning, for it involves the creative action of almighty God.
As saintly John Paul II said “God alone is the Lord of Life.” “With the authority of St. Peter and his successors,” St. John Paul said “I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral.” For abortion is the “unspeakable crime” and is a sign of “an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense” of a society – and tragically, I add today some leaders here in St. Louis – they are “incapable of distinguishing between good and evil.” [Evangelium Vitae]
On Friday January 27th I will accompany some three thousand people from across the Archdiocese of St. Louis and beyond who will join in the March for Life in Washington D.C. to witness to our new leaders that we are not, we are never, going away. We are growing even if the media continues to ignore us. But for you today I have a challenge – let’s not wait until the end of the week – if you live in the City of St. Louis, sit down tonight and email or text or write to your alderman or alderwomen; as I said at the beginning of the homily, be a force of one.
If they vote in favor of Board Bill 203 make sure they know how you feel: be a force of one. And if you live outside the City of St. Louis make sure that you let your political leaders know how you feel – tell them “do not follow in those footsteps.” Be a force of one, and while you’re at it, if you live outside the City of St. Louis, let the political leaders here in St. Louis know whether or not you want to shop in a sanctuary city of abortion.
As our gospel tells us, make sure that we acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord of Life. Care for those who feel abortion is the only option. Pray for those who have had an abortion, that they are healed. Pray that the miracle of life becomes primary here in the City of St. Louis. Let us boldly witness to our faith, as Jesus did. As we were told at the very beginning, there’s a possibility that there will be some people who would want to distract us as we pray [at Planned Parenthood]. We will only pray, and we will feel great pride that somebody wanted to make us angry. That someone did not like our witness.
— lisa johnston ن (@aeternusphoto) January 21, 2017
We will be the silent majority in prayer. For we proclaim the faith of Jesus Christ. Never be afraid of those who oppose us. May our nation, and our city, finally become pro-life and pro-family. Amen.
Click here for coverage from the St. Louis Review of the Mass and march to Planned Parenthood on Saturday, January 21, 2017.
St. Louis City Board of Aldermen (including a search for ward by address): www.stlouisreview.com/bEB
St. Louis Aldermanic Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee: www.stlouisreview.com/bEK
Click here to read Archbishop Carlson’s statement regarding Board Bill 203
Missouri Catholic Conference action alert: http://stlouisreview.com/bma