TRENTON, N.J. (ChurchMilitant) – New Jersey Catholic bishops are calling for a day of prayer and fasting on Jan. 22 to end abortion.
In a recent statement calling the faithful to participate in this event, the bishops reflected, “As we mark this tragic event in our nation’s history, we remember the millions of lives lost to abortion and pray for the mothers and fathers left to suffer the tragic effects.”
All the state’s Catholic bishops signed the statement. These include Cdl. Joseph Tobin of Newark, Bp. David O’Connell of Trenton, Bp. Dennis Sullivan of Camden, Bp. Kevin Sweeney of Paterson, Bp. James Checchio of Metuchen, Bp. Kurt Burnette of Passaic and Bp. Yousif Habash of Our Lady of Deliverance of the Syriac Catholic diocese.
“The Catholic Church is committed to protecting all life from conception to natural death,” the prelates stated, reinforcing the teaching of the Catholic Church.
The bishops chose the date to mark the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court holding that there is a constitutional right of privacy for women to procure abortions. Abortion was promoted as “safe, legal and rare” by Bill Clinton in the 1990s but has resulted in the death of approximately 60,000,000 babies since 1973.
The Catholic Church is committed to protecting all life from conception to natural death.
According to Life News, “The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.”
The bishops’ call comes as a radical pro-abortion bill is making its way through New Jersey’s legislature. The 48-page bill (S3030/A4848), known as the “Reproductive Freedom Act” (RFA), would legalize killing unborn babies for any reason up to birth. It asserts that “a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus may not be understood to have independent rights under any of the laws of this state” and allows an unmarried, pregnant minor to get an abortion without notifying her parents.
In their statement, the bishops further promised to “work vigorously to ensure the laws of our state and country protect and defend the intrinsic dignity of all people.”
In November, Church Militant reported on a previous statement the New Jersey bishops put out expressing opposition to the RFA. It read, in part: “As the Catholic bishops of New Jersey, we urge all Catholics and people of goodwill to reject this proposed legislative initiative in our state and to contact your state legislators to vigorously express opposition to its passage.”
But Nicole Dundon, founder of Call to Act NJ, a pro-life group, lamented that Catholic clergy aren’t doing more to oppose the RFA:
And while there are many holy and courageous priests in our state, most of the bishops in New Jersey seem to lack those qualities, in that they have not provided any guidance for the faithful. Did they talk to their pastors? In my researched experience, many priests were, and I’m sure still are, not aware of the bill, which makes sense, because we have come across alarming numbers of Catholics who were also not informed about it until we told them, or another pro-life organization educated them on it.
And in an article called “Cardinal Sows Moral Confusion” published last October, Church Militant cited Cdl. Tobin’s advice to Catholic voters saying they could “in good conscience” support a radical pro-abortion candidate, i.e., Joe Biden. Ironically, the cardinal’s comments were made around the same time that he delivered introductory remarks to a virtual pro-life Rosary rally.
We humbly implore our Blessed Mother … to intercede on our behalf that these efforts to end abortion are guided by mercy, compassion and, above all, charity
Many faithful are opining that the bishops’ latest statement is “too little, too late.” They question why the full force of the New Jersey Catholic Conference has not been able to sway their governor, Phil Murphy, from categorizing the pro-life movement as “anti-woman,” as he has in arguing for passage of the RFA. They further note the online “Worldometer,” which tracks abortions in real-time, is recording over 1.5 million abortions thus far in 2021 as of the time of publication of this article.
Still, the bishops’ most recent statement petitions the Blessed Mother, who reigns above all.
“We humbly implore our Blessed Mother under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and Protectress of the Unborn, to intercede on our behalf that these efforts to end abortion are guided by mercy, compassion and, above all, charity,” they implore.
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