Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge: Proclaim the sacredness of all human life
The following is the homily given by the Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge during the Jan. 23 North Carolina Respect Life Mass at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
Last week in North Carolina at the MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, the keynote speaker was the Chief Executive Officer for AT&T. In her address, she referred frequently to the recent campaign initiative of her company: Rethink Possible. She used the phrase to help those gathered to imagine what the world would like if love prevailed and all people, without exception, were treated equally.
Dear friends in Christ, our gathering today at this magnificent Basilica Shrine and soon on the streets of our nation's capital reflects what we truly believe is possible:
It is possible to change the hearts of elected officials so that their decisions, actions and votes ensure a society in which all people are treated equally and never denied the right to be born and to live with dignity and respect.
It is possible to inflame a "culture of death" with the Gospel of Life through the enthusiastic, joyful and peaceful witness that we offer, especially as demonstrated through the thousands of youth present today. Dear young friends in Christ, Bishop Jugis and I are so very proud of you!
It is possible to help others understand and acknowledge that a miraculous event takes place at the moment of conception when a new, unrepeatable and irreplaceable human being comes to exist.
It is possible to overturn the horrific decision of Roe vs. Wade and to ensure that in our great nation abortion is illegal, inaccessible and impossible.
My brothers and sisters, we know the reasons for the hopes and prayers we share and we understand how they can become realities. They are rooted in the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. By His birth, the Son of God and the Son of Mary has made all human life sacred. By His suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has demonstrated the infinite worth and value of all persons. Thus, His mandate is that life from the moment of conception to natural death must be revered, defended and protected and that respect and dignity are shown to all of His people, especially the unborn, weak, vulnerable, the needy and those whose rights and freedom are violated.
My friends in Christ, we also understand how it is possible to transform society. As today's Gospel teaches, it can only occur with the amazing grace of God. We are merely the branches, the instruments. It is the Lord who is the true vine and through whom abundant fruit is produced. Yes, we must continue to advocate on behalf of the sacredness of human life. Yes, we must offer witness in the public arena. Yet, the greatest gift we give to the Pro-Life movement is our renewed commitment to heed the call of Saint Paul in our First Reading and remain a people who rejoice in hope and persevere in prayer, most especially as we allow ourselves to be enlightened by the Lord's word and nourished with His Holy Body and Blood. Our deep faith is demonstrated when we entrust all our work and endeavors to His divine providence through the intercession of Mary Our Mother, who most perfectly understood that all things are possible with God!
Through her intercession, we go forth from this Mass spiritually renewed and strengthened to help others Rethink Possible and to proclaim the sacredness of all human life in the Holy Name of Jesus, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
To view video from the Mass, go to the Diocese of Raleigh's You Tube Channel.
The Poor Clares: Reflections on the Year for Consecrated Life: Self-giving love: The gift of chastityConsecrated religious life, as we know it today, developed gradually over the centuries. In the early days of the Church, we hear of men being called to live in the desert as solitary hermits, leaving the world behind to seek the Lord and pursue...
Father Patrick Winslow: The greatest lieThe greatest lies always possess an aspect of truth. Nobody believes a bold-faced lie that lacks even the semblance of truth. These are the weakest of lies. Who would believe that two plus two equals seven? On the other hand, good lies sell...
William L. Esser IV: Catholic discriminationI discriminate. So do you. Every day in fact. Yup, we are each guilty of discriminating. And I hope you are proud of it. After all, to discriminate means "to make a clear distinction; to distinguish." The blue tie, or the red tie. Orange juice...
Thomas R. Ascik: Catholics first to introduce religious freedom to the American ColoniesDuring the Fortnight for Freedom which just concluded July 4, the American bishops encouraged Catholics to think about religious freedom and the threats it faces today. It is not always recognized or appreciated that our country is both the...
Deacon James H. Toner : What we know that ain't so: My conscienceWhat we think is the right road Poet William Ernest Henley famously said, "I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." People today cheer the mantra of nonconformity, of individual autonomy: "I gotta be me!" I celebrate me. I...
Victory of the Sexual Revolution presents evangelical possibilitiesThe legal dispute over same-sex "marriage" in the United States has now been decided, and in that contest the traditional Christian understanding of marriage lost. What you may be surprised to learn is that I welcome this defeat. Since I began...
Robert D. Potter Jr.: Same-sex 'marriage': What happens now?On June 26, five members of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the states must grant the right to same-sex "marriage." As Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out in his dissent, this decision flies in the face of our own Declaration of Independence...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Grateful for your support of retired religiousOn behalf of more than 33,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests who benefit from the Retirement Fund for Religious, please accept my prayerful thanks for your diocese's...
Vatican II was indeed an eventRegarding the July 3 article "History professor speaks on 'Reforming a Challenged Church,'" it seems as though the attendees of this talk got a lot less history than one might expect from a history...
Remember our neighbors' griefTwo weeks ago I paid my respects by standing and praying outside Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Zion Church in Charleston, placing a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the people of Jacksonville, Florida's...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy