Electoral defeat is difficult, but we have much to be proud of. And work to do

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Joseph F. Naumann is Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

by Bishop Joseph F. Naumann

The loss of the “Value Them Both” amendment on August 2 was a devastating defeat for those who care about the lives of unborn children and the damage abortion inflicts on mothers, fathers and society.

Opponents of ‘Value Them Both’, aided by an extremely sympathetic secular press, have waged an effective disinformation campaign fostering confusion and fear.

Unfortunately, the defeat of “Value Them Both” means there is little we can do in the area of ​​public policy in the foreseeable future to protect women and children from the abortion industry.

I suspect that as taxpayers are forced to fund abortion, we are seeing the dramatic increase in the number of pregnant women from other states coming to Kansas for abortions and the current limitations of the abortion industry are deemed unconstitutional, many Kansans will experience buyers’ remorse.

I thank the thousands of Value Them Both volunteers, many of them young adults, who have worked tirelessly to make phone calls and knock on more than 500,000 doors. I am grateful to the many generous donors who have made sacrificial donations to our Respect Life Special Fund, in part to help fund educational messages in support of “Value Them Both”.

I thank our priests, deacons, and lay leaders who have worked tirelessly to educate parishioners on the importance of “valuing them both.”

I was proud and uplifted to be part of the “Value Them Both” coalition which included many other faith groups as well as secular organizations including the Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, Dr. James Dobson, the Family Research Council, Democrats for Life, over 200 Kansas medical and mental health professionals, Concerned Women for America of Kansas, and Kansas Family Voice.

I’m grateful to everyone who put up ‘Value Them Both’ signs – and when they were stolen or defaced by our opponents, asked for another one.

I am proud of our pastors and parishioners who, discovering that their churches had been vandalized, moved the same day to rectify the situation. I am proud of the faithful who, educated in the teachings of our faith, have pledged to exercise their moral obligation to protect the fundamental human right to life.

For me personally, it was a period of introspection. I reflected and prayed about what I could have done differently as a leader that could have yielded a better result. I also pray for all those who have worked very hard not to be discouraged. Although we hoped for a different result, your work was not in vain.

I pray for those who are deeply hurt by abortion, who have had an abortion, or who have encouraged someone else to have an abortion and now deeply regret it, that you will benefit from our post-abortion healing ministries.

Finally, I pray for the opponents of “Value Them Both”. They too were fashioned in the divine image and are of such worth to God that Jesus gave his life on Calvary for them.

How dark and dark is your life experience, if your passion is to protect a so-called right to kill your own child? We must ask the God of mercy to give us the love and joy of his gospel to pierce the darkness of the culture of death that envelops the hearts of so many of our brothers and sisters.

Advocacy in favor of public policies that respect the life and dignity of the human person is only one component of the pastoral project of the Catholic Church to build a culture of life. We must direct our energy and efforts towards the other elements of the plan, namely 1) education; 2) alternatives to abortion; and 3) prayer.

First, we need to better equip ourselves to be able to educate others. The results of the “Value Them Both” election make even clearer the importance of respect education efforts in the life of the church. Most education happens through one-on-one conversation with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We must strive to reach minds and touch hearts to build a broader consensus supporting the sanctity of human life.

We must work to dispel misinformation from the secular media. For example, claims that doctors did not provide treatment for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and life-threatening conditions of a pregnant mother because they feared lawsuits, hurt the passage of ” Value Them Both”. Effective and ethical treatment for all of these conditions is available that does not involve the direct killing of the child.

I highly recommend the book “Tearing Us Apart – How Abortion Harms Everything and Solves Nothing”, co-authored by Ryan T. Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis, which reveals how abortion not only destroys the life of the unborn child, but also harms women. , families, medicine, the rule of law, the democratic process and culture. They also argue that abortion promotes discrimination based on race, gender, disability, and socioeconomic status.

Second, the loss of “Value Them Both” underscores the importance of our pastoral efforts to surround every woman who experiences a difficult or premature pregnancy with a community of love and support.

Our pregnancy resource centers and crisis pregnancy clinics have been doing this for decades. The women and children we are unable to protect by law from the abortion industry, we can save with love. I encourage each of you to consider how you could support better local pregnancy resource centers by volunteering and/or donating financially to these life-saving ministries.

Two years ago, the Catholic bishops of the United States launched “Walking with Moms in Need”, an initiative to better communicate and resource the services already available in dioceses and parishes. Walking with Moms is also designed to identify gaps in current services and develop a plan to address them.

Third, the defeat of “Value Them Both” must bring us to our knees. Prayer should be the foundation of all our apostolic activities. Prayer is not primarily about telling God what we think our Lord should do. Prayer is meant to be a conversation with God.

If we want to advance the culture of life in this difficult societal environment, we must tune our souls to listen to the voice of God. Our Catholic spiritual tradition gives us a rich array of prayer resources, for example, frequent attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion, Eucharistic adoration, meditation on the word of God, daily prayer of the Rosary, frequent sacramental confession, etc.

As Christians, we are never without reasons for hope and reasons for joy. The scriptures remind us that God makes everything work together for good in those who love him, especially when we encounter adversity. Our job is to trust in God’s love and to persevere in seeking His will.

My episcopal motto – Life will be victorious – does not imply that we will win elections. What this means is that Jesus has already won the victory and you and I are privileged to be part of its unfolding! Never give in to discouragement, let alone despair.

When we faithfully follow Jesus, we become witnesses of true love and joy. When we faithfully live the gospel, it is attractive and contagious. The Gospel of Jesus is the antidote to the culture of death!

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