September 15, 2008
Our Lady of Sorrows
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Pope John Paul II pointed out in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae that “we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life’. We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life,” (Evangelium Vitae, #28).
I would like to call on all Catholics in the Diocese of Birmingham “to be unconditionally pro-life.” With this in mind, I wholeheartedly endorse the good work of the Forty Days for Life that will take place in our diocese from September 24, 2008 through All Souls Day, November 2, 2008.
The prayer, fasting and witness of the Forty Days for Life is an excellent example of what being “unconditionally pro-life” is all about. We must take a stand for life, making our voices heard not only in our communities, but through the prayer and fasting advocated by the Forty Days for Life to Heaven itself—asking the intervention of God to touch those hearts hardened by a culture that does not see life as a precious gift, but a burden too great to bear. As Our Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples when they could not cast out a demon, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting,” (Mark 9:29).
On this Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, I call upon the intercession of the Our Sorrowful Mother, who sadly continues to witness her Son’s crucifixion in those who are not permitted to be born, those who’s cries for hunger we do not hear, those who have been forgotten, and all who suffer the many injustices that continue to exist in our society. May Our Lady move our hearts to compassion and action to convert our land to a “culture of life.”
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Baker
Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama