byMost Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito, Bishop of Palm Beach
As we celebrate the Fourth of July within our great nation this year, we do so at a very challenging time. The Supreme Court has just overturned the tragic decision of Roe v. Wade, for which for almost 50 years we have been praying and have taken every appropriate legal action. We give thanks to God for the system within our nation which has finally corrected its own legal error. A great nation made a grave mistake, and a great nation has used the proper means to correct it. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a pro-abortion judge, recognized the legal flaw of Roe v. Wade.
The Supreme Court’s decision has caused a reaction deepening a great deal of anger, confusion and misunderstanding already present within our nation. We respond to that reaction as Christians, who hold fast to the right for all to express their opinion, as we have for almost 50 years, but in a manner which is open, respectful, attentive and does not disrupt the foundation of our nation. We realize that there is a great need for healing within our nation, and it will not be a vitriolic attitude, but only the respect for the life of all men and women, created in God’s image and likeness, that will bring about healing. This is what the Fourth of July is all about.
We also realize that we have much work to do to engender a respect for life in regard to the unborn and for all men and women at every stage. While the nation no longer recognizes abortion as a constitutional right, the availability of abortion will be left to the decision of each individual state. We must continue all our efforts to pray for and to do all we can, in a proper manner, to end abortion within our nation at every stage. We also need to continue to do all that we can to provide every service to women who find themselves in difficult situations, to assist them during their pregnancies and after a child has been born. Our diocese has been proactive through the many services of Catholic Charities over the years in this regard and will continue to be so in a supportive manner as much as possible. The support for respect for life on behalf of so many of the faithful of our diocese has been a great blessing and inspiration.
Let us celebrate the Fourth of July as men and women proud of our nation and its foundation, which gives us a Constitution to protect the rights, dignity and value of every person as God intended. Let us also prepare to commemorate the foundation of our nation as Christians, heeding the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, spoken this past weekend: “When we meet with opposition, we must turn toward doing good elsewhere, without recrimination. This way, Jesus helps us to be people who are serene, who are happy with the good accomplished, and who do not seek human approval.”
Through the intercession of Mary, the patroness of this great nation, may God continue to bless it, all of its citizens, and to foster a greater appreciation for the gift of life!
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
June 28, 2022