UP Catholic 10 27 2017 E Edition Page 16

16 October 27, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC RESPECT LIFE www.upcatholic.org Pro-life leaders: Life has value. Always. BY ADELAIDE MENA CNA/EWTN NEWS Washington D.C. - All lives are valuable, especially those of peo- ple who are suffering, speakers at a recent pro-life program at George- town University irmed. Their lives deserve care and accompaniment, even in the most trying of times, the experts said. When we speak of respect for hu- man life, it is easy for us to get caught up in abstractions, and our response can be or appear to be somewhat theoretical. But our obligations are quite concrete, said Cardinal Don- ald Wuerl of Washington, during his speech at Georgetown University. Life depends on us, he stated. Wuerl spoke at an event earlier this month, entitled Lives Worthy of Respect, that began the schools Respect Life Month programing. Wuerl stressed the importance of life - and the challenges facing a culture where people have the power to choose which lives are worth living and which ones are not. The car- dinal pointed to the prevalence of suicide among young people, the rise of physician-assisted suicide, and the discarding of the disabled, the unborn, the elderly, and other vul- nerable populations as examples of a culture which views some lives as not worthy of living. The Christian view of life, he coun- tered, honors life not as something we own or create, but are stewards of: Life, as all creation, in its rich diversity is God's gift. To counter the views of life which see people as disposable and burdens, Wuerl sug- gested following the example of Pope Francis and accompanying those who are suffering. The speakers' panel echoed the cardinal's critique of a culture of discarding others and the need to care intimately for the vulnerable. George Mason University law Pro- fessor Helen Alvare shared how her experiences caring for her severely disabled sister and elderly grandpar- ents gave her a new appreciation for the Church's radical message of the equality of all human persons. As she became more involved in the pro-life movement, she saw the web of situa- tions and decisions in a culture that immiserates women. The poor are suffering the most, she said of this culture, and critiqued the lack of solutions provided to women that don't include abortion. Congressman and doctor Brad Wenstrup of Ohio pointed to a deeply moving experience of caring for an AIDS patient in 1985 while he was a resident in Chicago. He explained that many of his fellow doctors were scared of the man, and the attending physician made care for the dying man voluntary. Westrup wanted to see him, however, and learned much from his examination. I learned even more from what he said to me afterwards, Westrup recalled. The man told the young doctor that you just examined me more than anyone, and was grateful for his care. The patient died the next day. I thought what does that feel like to be so discarded, cast aside. To be made to feel that your life is mean- ingless, Westrup mused. However, the mans life, though it was painful at the end, was not meaningless, and Western still remembers his patients name and takes his message of care for each vulnerable person to heart. He delivered that message on his last day of life, the congressman stated. It matters to the very last moment. National Right to Life vice presi- dent Tony Lauinger emphasized the high cost of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, and the millions of persons whose lives have been taken over the past 45 years. It was less than 25 years after the Nurem- burg trials that our own supreme court condemned to death the un- born children of America, Lauinger lamented. This is not a victimless act, he urged. Therefore it is not a matter of private morality but public mo- rality: protecting the most innocent, the most vulnerable members of our human family. JEFF BRUNO/CNA A marcher holds a pro-life sign during the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.

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