By Dave Andrusko
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is Archbishop of New York and served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013. He is a thoughtful and influential pro-life champion.
His column in the current edition of Catholic New York qualifies, if ever a column did, as must reading.
The dual setting for “Two Essential Values” is the message Cardinal Dolan received when he wished a Jewish friend a blessed Yom Kippur, their holy day of atonement, and the Catholic Church’s October celebration of Respect Life Month.
“Thanks,” his Jewish friend replied, “and it seems so obvious that the world sure needs atonement.”
Cardinal Dolan responds, “Yes, that sentiment seems almost universal.”
All this comes especially to the fore with Respect Life Month.
Cardinal Dolan reminds us, “Pope St. John Paul II constantly preached the two essential values without which civilization cannot endure: the dignity of the human person, and the sacredness of human life.”
Cardinal Dolan worries about what is happening to our culture when “the baby in the womb can be sucked out and left dead, with health care workers coerced to perform the hideous procedure and all of us forced to pay for it on us as a culture.”
Am I wrong to wonder especially about the toxic effect that the unlimited abortion license has had on the Republic founded on self-evident truths, and the right to life? When what should be nature’s safest sanctuary, the mother’s womb, becomes the most perilous place for the most innocent and fragile life, should we be shocked when any life deemed “in the way” is in hunting season?
The dignity of the human person, to be defended and promoted as a first priority, a dignity not dependent upon race, stock portfolio, age, or health; the sacredness of human life, from the instant of conception to the holy moment of natural passing, to be defended vigorously rather than diluted and then discarded…these are essential to civilization. How grateful we are as Americans that these two principles are at the foundation of our Republic; yet how vigilant we are that they are under threat; and how committed we are as patriotic Catholic citizens to promote and defend them.