VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To fight a throwaway culture that pressures women to view abortion as the only alternative to a difficult pregnancy, the Catholic Church must be ready to assist, accompany and care for expectant mothers and their families, said U.S. Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell.
The cardinal, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, opened a Vatican conference on protecting life May 23.
Catholics, Cardinal Farrell said, must have a more “pastoral orientation” to fulfill the Christian obligation to “take care of another in a loving and caring manner in accordance with our view of human life: that every man and every woman is created in the image and likeness of God.”
“One of the greatest challenges to every mother is the thought that the child in the womb may be diagnosed with a grave illness,” he said. “It is at such moments that the church and indeed all people of good will must be prepared and ready to assist the mother and her family as a loving mother that the church is always called to be.”
The conference sponsored by Cardinal Farrell’s office was designed to offer “reflection and formation from a scientific perspective and with pastoral concern” for unborn and newborn children threatened by or suffering from serious illness or disability.
It also aimed to promote “a genuine welcoming culture” for those diagnosed with fetal pathologies.
The two-day conference, titled “Yes to Life: Caring for the Precious Gift of Life in its Frailness,” featured experts in the field of prenatal care and medicine as well as religious men and women who offered their perspectives on creating a welcoming and caring environment for expectant mothers and their families.
In his opening address, Cardinal Farrell said that the purpose of the event was “to promote a pastoral approach” in which the church community goes out “in search of these families and helps them in this moment of disorientation, this moment of disability, illness and the possible loss of children.”
“We must ensure that these people never feel alone, never feel abandoned by us,” he said.
The cardinal also emphasized the need for greater cooperation between those in the medical and religious profession to defend “the unique experience” of motherhood that “is a mysterious and profound bonding between a mother and her child right from the time of conception.”
“This bonding is forever, whatever may happen. It is a relationship that must be safeguarded, protected and accompanied so that it can be lived as a path of welcome and love,” he said.
Cardinal Farrell said that saying “yes” to life, especially when it is most vulnerable, is neither a symbolic nor abstract theme, but rather a real and concrete challenge that “does not involve only a few women or a few rare cases around the world.”
“God is the father and creator of all things: science, medicine and faith,” the cardinal said. “And all three of these elements must come together in the world in which we live today.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103