Respect Life Month: Radical Solidarity

Respect Life Month 2023 is unlike any other. This Respect Life Month follows the historic Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to determine abortion policies. With this changed environment, we have new opportunities and new challenges.

In Indiana, our state has thankfully passed laws that are far more protective of the life of an unborn child than under Roe. We have neighboring states that have taken the opposite approach and have passed very aggressive pro-abortion laws. The net effect, for now, is that our goals remain unchanged: in addition to advancing legal protections, we are called to live in radical solidarity with women facing circumstances that have led them to believe that taking the life of their own child is the solution to whatever problems they might face.

The Church’s entire social doctrine is guided by the fundamental principle that every human life has innate dignity and incomparable value: “Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and he himself is present in their lives.” We seek to “love them both” – the mother and the baby in the womb.

This year’s Respect Life Month theme reinforces our Christian witness in action: “Radical Solidarity.” One definition of radical hospitality is offered by Pope Francis: A culture of radical solidarity “gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives… and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.” 

As the Respect Life materials state this year, we each have our particular gifts, roles, and obligations within the Body of Christ to help build a culture of life. We must honestly ask ourselves, “What radical, out-of-the-ordinary, actions have I taken to help a pregnant or parenting mother in need, or to proactively contribute to a culture of life in some other way?”

Radical solidarity can be lived out in countless ways, including volunteering at your local pregnancy help center; helping an expectant mother find stable housing; babysitting so a mom can work or take classes; providing encouragement and a listening ear to a mom without a support system; or launching or supporting Walking with Moms in Need at our local parishes.

Our pro-life commitment is from the womb to the tomb and includes a sustained commitment to love all those in need. Our convictions should put into practice the words of Christ as he prepared to offer himself for our sakes on the Cross: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34).

In essence, Jesus says it is love for one another that will be the identifying characteristic of his disciples. Let’s follow the command of Jesus to live in radical solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters, from womb to tomb, especially by supporting moms in need.

Your servant,
Most Reverend Robert J. McClory


Diocese of Gary