Now is a time for mercy.
The recent overturning of the Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court is the long-awaited answer to many prayers, especially for those of us who work with young people. This Supreme Court decision is a landmark step toward building the culture of life called for by Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae.
However, we cannot lose sight of the needs right in front of us. The hundreds of thousands of vulnerable mothers and their children in the United States have not gone anywhere. The cries for help they plead to God continue to convict a Church that often struggles to find the courage and initiative to meet their needs. As ministry ministers we have pledged ourselves to be advocates for the needs of young people—our work is not done; we are being given an opportunity to witness our faith by laying down our lives in service to these mothers and children.
Further, the Supreme Court ruling has left many women confused about their rights and their place in our democratic society. This is not a time to argue, to preach, or to judge—this is a time to listen. We must remember the role that listening plays in the authentic accompaniment of persons:
“The first kind of sensitivity is directed to the individual. It is a matter of listening to someone who is sharing his very self in what he says. A sign of this willingness to listen is the time we are ready to spare for others. More than the amount of time we spend, it is about making others feel that my time is their time, that they have all the time they need to say everything they want. The other person must sense that I am listening unconditionally, without being offended or shocked, tired or bored. We see an example of this kind of listening in the Lord; he walks alongside the disciples on the way to Emmaus, even though they are going in the wrong direction (cf. Lk 24:13-35). When Jesus says he plans to go farther, they realize that he has given them the gift of his time, so they decide to give him theirs by offering their hospitality. Attentive and selfless listening is a sign of our respect for others, whatever their ideas or their choices in life.” (Christus Vivit, 292)
The US Bishops have made clear that this is a time for the whole people of God to stand up for Life, in their recent statement they write: “Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America. It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources, she needs to bring her child into this world in love.”
We would like to highlight two resources that we believe can help your ministry with young people at this time. Both resources have been developed by member organizations of NFCYM.
The first is the “INTO LIFE” series created by the McGrath Institute for Church Life and the Sisters of Life. This 12-part video series is a “journey with the Sisters of Life as they explain what it means to walk with a woman who is pregnant and vulnerable.”
The second is the Walking with Moms in Need Initiative being promoted by the USCCB. This community action orientated campaign helps communities conduct a resource inventory and create a strategic plan for assisting vulnerable mothers and children, including how to communicate support to mothers in need within your local community.
We have also created this Pro-Life Resources page with the input of members of NFCYM. Please feel free to share these resources and post the page on your social media and websites. We will add additional resources to the page as they are submitted to us by members. If you have a resource to submit, please e-mail [email protected].