WASHINGTON (September 25, 2007) – In a statement marking Respect Life Sunday, celebrated in Catholic parishes in the United States this year on October 7, Cardinal Justin Rigali noted widespread confusion on life issues – from embryonic stem cell research and partial-birth abortion to euthanasia by starvation – and called upon Catholics and all people of good will to "witness to the truth about the incomparable dignity and right to life of every human being." Cardinal Rigali is Archbishop of Philadelphia and Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal Rigali noted that the right to life is more than a religious concern and quoted from a United Nations document that the "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world" (Preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989).
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program brings Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public in the United States. The theme of the 2007 Respect Life Program is "The Infant in My Womb Leaped for Joy" (Luke 1:39-56).
The full text of Cardinal Rigali's statement will be available at www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/rlp07rigali-stmt.shtml
This year's Respect Life Program materials may be seen at www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/rlp0708.shtml.