BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
As he presided at the Jan. 22, 2020 Mass commemorating the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, Bishop William F. Medley stated that those gathered in St. Stephen Cathedral that day “stand for life – we stand for the dignity of life.”
The bishop said it was a sad day, because they were remembering the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion – which has resulted in the “destruction of 60 million lives in this country alone,” not counting the ripple effect of legalized abortion in other nations.
During his homily, the bishop quoted a speaker he once heard, who pointed out that “for every four of you, there should be a fifth,” and, the bishop reflected, the cathedral that afternoon would be even fuller.
“The act of abortion rejects God’s way of life,” said Bishop Medley. “It also wounds those who choose it, (who) are left with a deep hole in their hearts.”
The bishop explained that often, those who choose abortion feel abandoned and that they had no choice. He said steps must be made to support women and families in these crisis situations, so that ultimately, “it becomes unthinkable – despite the law – that a life may be destroyed.”
Bishop Medley added that “respect for human life must touch on respect for all creation,” whether inside or outside the womb; an immigrant or someone without healthcare; “all life, every life, of all colors and races.”
“It’s easy after 47 years… to lose heart,” said the bishop, “thinking that we’ve been working on this, praying about this, even marching about this, for 47 years,” especially remembering the 60 million who have died.
But he said he believes, “and as a priest, I know,” that there are also countless people who have considered or even attempted to procure an abortion – but then did not, “because people loved them. People offered them support. People cared for them, and continued to care for them when the child was born.”
The bishop said we will never know “how many lived, because we believed in the dignity of life, and were willing to offer a hand, and offer a heart, and offer a voice, to uphold that dignity.”
Jordan Wells, a parishioner of St. Stephen Cathedral, attended the Mass that day with her 11-month-old son, Levi.
After Mass she told the WKC she had come today because of “the importance of life,” and that in bringing her child, “we’re instilling that in him from an early age.”
Originally printed in the February 2020 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.
Copyright © 2020 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic