Bishop Olmsted: Let's Not Be Silent About Life

Promotes Arizona’s License Plate Initiative

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PHOENIX, JAN. 21, 2010 ( The bishop of Phoenix is urging Catholics to renew efforts to stand up for life, cautioning them not to remain silent faced to such important issues.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted stated this in an article published today in the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Sun.

He spoke about the silence of the Pharisees in the Gospel when Jesus «asked them a basic question about human life.»

«Out of fear of taking a stand, or perhaps out of pride or just plain callousness, these religious leaders remained silent when confronted with a question linked with the right to life and the dignity of each human person,» the prelate noted.

Looking at this story, he warned that «those who don’t oppose a culture of death may find themselves resorting to death as a solution.»

As the country marks Friday’s anniversary of the U.S. court decision that legalized abortion, «the Lord is asking us not to be silent on the dignity of human life but to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel of Life in our day,» the bishop said.


He acknowledged that «popular society pressures us to remain silent about the rights of unborn children, the institution of marriage, the dignity of the elderly, the immigrant, the poor and other persons.»

«But, of course, followers of Christ cannot and we will not,» Bishop Olmsted added.

«It is not hard to get into hot water over the right to life,» he said, «but to do so for the Lord and his Gospel is indeed a privilege and a blessing.»

The prelate urged Catholics to take action in a new way this year.

He invited participation in an initiative that gives witness to pro-life commitment through placing a «choose life» license plate on the car. «I was happy to be one of the first in Arizona to do this,» the bishop said.

He also asked the faithful to join him in prayer and fasting, and in pro-life events such as the Children of the Rosary program that gathers youth to pray in front of abortion clinics, or the 40 Days for Life campaign during Lent.

«In the past year,» Bishop Olmsted affirmed, «Arizona became a beacon of hope for pro-life activities with several positive pieces of legislation being passed and signed into law.»

However, he urged his readers to also contact national lawmakers in order to influence health care legislation that «could have devastating consequences for the unborn, the elderly and rights of conscience.»

God’s mercy

The prelate called for support for women with difficult pregnancies, as well as those who have procured an abortion in the past.

«Point a family member, friend or acquaintance who has suffered through past participation in or encouragement of an abortion to one of our local English or Spanish Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, which can be powerful experiences of God’s mercy,» he stated.

The bishop encouraged his readers that their pro-life action can make a difference in the nation.

«It seemed to some of the early followers of Christ that faith, hope and love were too weak to transform the Roman Empire, which teemed with injustices against children, women and foreigners,» he affirmed.

«But that empire like other earthly governments came to an end,» the prelate noted, «and the Gospel of Life shaped the civilization of Europe for centuries to come.»

«The same will happen in America one day,» he said. «Roe v. Wade will be reversed; unborn children will be protected; the Gospel of Life will not fail.»

Bishop Olmsted concluded: «Let us be full of hope. Let us not be silent.»

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