Respect Life Apostolate

Respect Life Apostolate

Archdiocese Thanks Little Sisters of the Poor After 147 Years Serving the Elderly

New Missouri Laws Further Regulate, Restrict State Abortion Provider

Pro-Life Victory: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of CA Pregnancy Resource Centers

Read the St. Louis Review article on the Pro-Life Women's Conference.

The Respect Life Apostolate (RLA) promotes the Catholic Church’s teachings on respect for and legal protection of every human life from conception to natural death by coordinating educational, spiritual, pastoral, and public policy advocacy efforts with particular focus on those issues in the culture that threaten life - abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and unethical advances in scientific technology.

Upcoming Events

Project Joseph Support Group - Monday, July 2

Biking for Babies "Celebration of Life" Event - Saturday, July 14

Helpers Mass & Rosary - Saturday, July 21

Project Rachel Support Group - Thursday, July 26

Papa Palooza: World Meeting of Families Picnic, Saturday, July 28

Looking for options? We can help!

Project Rachel & Project Joseph Ministries 

Right START Educational ProgramSign-up for our e-mail newsletter

Latest News

Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri Synod Lutherans stand against sale of baby parts

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It would be easier to forget what we have seen, to erase from our memories and our minds what we have heard. But the statements and actions of Planned Parenthood medical directors and technicians, captured on film and released by the Center for Medical Progress, are the kind we will not forget, the kind that cannot be unseen and unheard.

Like millions of Americans, including those in the Roman Catholic Church and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, we have been shaken to the core by what we have witnessed: intact babies, at times still alive, having their body parts harvested as a commodity. We are shocked at the image of tiny hands and feet seen in a glass pie plate. We are horrified at what we have seen and heard. Such actions and attitudes have no place in our society.

While offensive, the degradation of the bodies of these infant human beings is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg. Those fetal tissue and organs are only available for sale because they are being killed through abortion. Over 57 million unborn children have been lost to abortion in our nation since 1973.

The toll of these lives lost is enormous. We are missing sons and daughters, siblings, spouses, coaches, scholars, mentors and friends.

This loss is symptomatic of a loss of respect for human life in our society today. In so many ways, our culture seeks to deny the humanity of the unborn, of the elderly or of someone with a disability.

Together, we stand firm and repeat that every human life is worthy of dignity and respect. We affirm our continued commitment to offer resources to help parents of any faith background who are in need of medical, financial or social service assistance both during pregnancy and after. We stand ready to assist any parent who wishes to make an adoption plan for their child.

Our commitment is to all life in all its stages from conception to natural death. For those men and women who participated in an abortion, we extend to you the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden …” (Matt. 11:28), and we invite you to experience hope and healing from your experience.

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson,
Archbishop of St. Louis

The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President,
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

 


Click here for coverage from the St. Louis Review

Click here to view the press release announcing the statement

The Year of Mercy and the Gospel of Life

On April 11, 2015, Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy in Misericordiae vultusWhen one thinks of mercy, particularly in the context of our Catholic faith, forgiveness and the Sacrament of Confession come to mind. Something deeper, however, is going on. At its core, this Jubilee Year of Mercy focuses us on restoring our dignity as sons and daughters of God; it is intimately connected with the Gospel of Life and its call for a greater respect and defense of human dignity.

In declaring the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis stated, “This Holy Year will bring to the fore the richness of Jesus’ mission echoed in the words of the prophet: to bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society, to restore sight to those who can see no more because they are caught up in themselves, to restore dignity to all those from who it has been robbed” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 16). Yet, how does a focus on mercy restore human dignity?

Human Dignity and Mercy

Perhaps the clearest connection between the Gospel of Life and the concept of mercy can be found in St. John Paul II’s encyclical Dives in Misericordia, promulgated in 1980. In reflecting on the parable of the Prodigal Son, The Return of the Prodigal Sonhe focuses on the interior disposition of the son who realizes that the greater loss he has suffered was the loss of his status as a son in his father’s house. The loss of the son’s dignity would certainly be warranted under the order of justice for not only squandering his father’s material goods but also by offending his father in his actions. The father, however, is faithful to the love he has in his fatherhood. Love is the well-spring from which the mercy of the father springs. This love causes the father to be concerned about the dignity of his son. Despite the material loss caused by the son, the father sees the greater good to be saved: the son’s humanity. The father is able to rejoice because his greatest concern is of the dignity of the son; he cannot help but continually await his son’s return.

From this reflection, we see that, fundamentally, mercy, rooted in love, restores human dignity. St. John Paul II puts it this way: “Mercy is manifested in its true and proper aspect when it restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man” (Dives in Misericordia, no. 6). This type of mercy, rather than humiliating or causing uneasiness, restores one to his or her proper dignity. We see the attitude of the father not as one seeking to judge or condemn the prodigal son, however much he may have deserved it; rather, the father is filled with joy. The son is able to appreciate who he is and his actions in the light of truth.

A Divine Dignity

This dignity is also what lies at the center of the Gospel of Life, that is, a profound relationship between human beings and God. The Gospel of Life is about proclaiming the desire of God to be in an everlasting communion with us, granting us a dignity “little less than a god, crowned…with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:6). As St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote, “Man, as a being, is of no account; he is dust, grass, vanity. But once he is adopted by the God of the universe as a son, he becomes part of the family of that Being, whose excellence and greatness no one can see, hear, or understand. What words, thoughts, or flight of the spirit can praise the superabundance of this grace? Man surpasses his nature: mortal, he becomes immortal; perishable, he becomes imperishable; fleeting, he becomes eternal; human, he becomes divine” (De Beatitudinibus, Oratio VII).

Merciful Like the Father

This call to share in the very life of God is the source of the incomparable dignity and worth of each human person. It is this dignity which we seek to uphold and defend in working to end abortion, prevent euthanasia, and in serving the poor. Every person is created for and designed to exist in an eternal relationship with God. Violations of a person’s dignity inhibit one’s ability to freely live in that communion.

In Evangelium vitae, St. John Paul II points out that, even after Cain slays his brother, God is still merciful to him, protecting and defending him from others wishing to kill him, even those seeking to avenge the death of Abel. He says that “not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this” showing for “the paradoxical mystery of the merciful justice of God” (Evangelium vitae, no. 9). Even in the face of grave sin which ripped away another’s dignity, God remains merciful.

There is a reason why feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful and so forth are called works of mercy: they restore dignity to those from whom it has been taken. As Pope Francis states, “Mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible.” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 9) These acts, in imitation of Christ, speak of the mercy of the Father and make visible the great love the Father has for each and every one of his children.

Building a Culture of Life is therefore intimately tied with being heralds of mercy. We bring mercy to the unborn child at risk of abortion for they are on “the outermost fringes of society” with no voice. We bring mercy to those impacted by abortion by speaking of the peace and forgiveness found in Christ Jesus. We bring mercy to those sentenced to death, recalling the mercy God had on Cain in Genesis. We bring mercy to those seeking physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia or those who are at risk of being victims by confirming their dignity as sons and daughters of God and sharing in their suffering.

Thus, as Pope Francis calls for the Church to “announce the mercy of God,” it is truly a command to recognize the God-given dignity of every human person and to help them realize it in themselves. To do so may require stepping outside of our comfort zones or breaking down our lens of indifference to see situations from a different perspective. By being “merciful like the Father” in charitable acts towards others, invitations to return to the Sacraments, prayers, and evangelization, may we reveal the love of God for every person.

This article originally appeared on Catholic Stand and is reprinted with permission.

An Educational, Pro-Life Summer

By Lauren Ficker, RLA Intern

When I first found out about the Respect Life Apostolate internship, applying was an easy decision. Although I plan to be an elementary school teacher, I have a lot of passion for working in a non-profit, especially one like the Respect Life Apostolate.  The ability to contribute to a cause very close to my heart, Internslearn more about being pro-life and work in a Catholic environment convinced me to send in my application. I’m happy to say that I got the internship and was not disappointed in the experience I had.

This summer internship has been a truly beneficial experience. Working with three other interns, we completed group projects that include making a promotional video for the Pro-Life Video Challenge and planning two youth group meetings concerning pro-life issues. In addition, I had my own individual projects, such as writing articles and a book review, making infographics, and creating pictures for social media. These projects helped me learn what working in a non-profit would be like, in addition to gaining new skills and improving old ones.

Not only did I get work experience in a non-profit, but I was also able to learn more about the pro-life movement and various pro-life organizations. We were able to visit the Vitae Foundation, Missouri Catholic Conference, Our Lady’s Inn, Good Shepherd, and met with pro-life Senator Riddle. In addition, we had visitors come and talk with us about programs like Right START, Coalition for Life, and Project Rachel. I never expected to learn so much in just two months, but I feel much more knowledgeable and informed about pro-life issues, available resources, and the movement as a whole.

Throughout this summer, I learned so much about myself, what it means to be pro-life, and how I can contribute to the fight for life. I was challenged to do the best work I could, while being supported by a great staff. Working with passionate, hardworking people in such an encouraging, Catholic environment has been invaluable to me and will surely be beneficial to me throughout my college experience and beyond. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity and could not imagine spending my summer elsewhere. 

Lauren Ficker is a junior at Truman State University studying education and communications. She is a member of Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin.
Learn more about the Respect Life Internship here.

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