Tuesday, January 9, 2024

U S Bishops actively preparing for the Novena for Life


2019.01.29 Aborto, feto, embrione, vita, interruzione gravidanza

U.S. Church to hold annual Novena for Life against the “tragedy of abortion”

Ahead of the annual novena of prayer and penance for life commemorating the 51st the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade, U.S. bishops reiterate that continuing efforts are needed to protect children and their mothers from the "tragedy of abortion".

By Lisa Zengarini

Catholics across the United States are preparing to pray 9 Days for Life, the annual pro-life novena beginning this year on January 16.

Sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the novena is held ahead of the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on January 22, commemorating the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which legalized abortion nationwide.  

First Novena for life in 2013

It was first launched in 2013 on the 40th anniversary of that landmark decision, and includes the March for Life  which has been held annually since 1974 in Washington  D.C. and then throughout the U.S..

Each of the nine days’ intentions will be accompanied by a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions to help build a culture of life. Participants can share their pro-life witness and invite their social networks to pray on social media with the hashtag #9DaysforLife.

The 2022 Supreme Court ruling overtuning the Roe vs. Wade 

This 12th edition comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe vs. Wade in June 2022 by handing state lawmakers across the country the power to restrict or ban abortion.

Although that decision was a step forward, the US bishops noted that  “continuing efforts are needed to protect children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion.” Indeed, they said, the overarching intention of the novena is the complete end to abortion.

Since June 2022 14 U.S. states have enacted near-total abortion bans, while two states – Georgia and South Carolina – have banned abortion past six weeks of pregnancy.

However, other states have enacted laws or held ballot referendums to protect access to abortion.   So far, seven states have directly voted on abortion and two state legislatures put abortion rights constitutional amendments on their 2024 ballots, while abortion advocates in at least nine other states are leading citizen-driven efforts to put similar measures on the ballot.

Statement on surrogacy

Ahead of the Novena for Life the U.S bishops also joined Pope Francis’ firm condemnation of surrogacy as an attack on the dignity of human life.

In his annual address on the state of the world to all of the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See on January 8, the Pope deemed surrogacy “deplorable” and called for a global ban on the exploitative practice of “so-called surrogate motherhood”, which, he said represents” a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs. A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Pope Francis stressed.

Echoing his words, the U.S. bishops reiterated in a statement that the “practice of surrogacy is not morally permissible” “Instead,” they said in “we should pray for, and work towards, a world that upholds the profound dignity of every person, at every stage and in every circumstance of life.”

Threat of abortion remains US bishops' pre-eminent priority 

In its recently updated quadrennial "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" teaching document for the 2024 presidential elections, the USCCB reaffirmed that  the threat of abortion remains the bishops' “pre-eminent priority because it directly attacks our most vulnerable and voiceless brothers and sisters "and destroys more than a million lives per year in the United States alone.

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