Glimpsing at a timeline of events paints a picture of the road that has been traveled. In 1968 Pope Paul VI promulgated, Humanae Vitae. This encyclical was criticized and ridiculed by prominent theologians and they encouraged widespread dissent. Looking back at the document 50 years later now proves to be quite sobering. The document was prophetic. Unfortunately, we have still refused to embrace the teaching faithfully.
In 1972, the bishops of the United States could read the writing on the wall and they created "Respect life Sunday" (first Sunday of October) and "Respect life Month" (October) to promote a culture of life. Then in January of 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court gave us the ruling making abortion legal throughout the country and through all nine months of pregnancy. We had indeed turned a dark corner.
In 1987, about 2,000 participants gathered in Yuba City, California to begin what we now know as LifeChain. On the first Sunday of October people line the streets to pray for our nation and be a witness to the dignity and value of each human life. In 2017, (30 years of LifeChain) there were chains held in over 1,550 communities across the country.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II promulgated Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). There is plenty of food for thought in this beautiful document.
It was only five years later when the FDA approved the RU-486 abortion pill in the United States on September 29, 2000. This did not seem to be coincidence that this was approved on Friday just before Respect Life Sunday. What a slap in the face to those who support building a culture of life!
In 2007, 40 Days for Life began. I reviewed the statistics on their website and it is amazing what has been accomplished through this endeavor. Campaigns have been held in 769 cities in 50 nations. There have been a total of 5,605 campaigns with over 750,000 volunteers. There have been 14,643 lives saved in this process of faithful witness. There have been 177 abortion workers quit their jobs and 96 abortion centers have closed. Wow!
How will you get involved in building a culture of life?