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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 18, 2020) As part of the United States Navy’s 245th birthday celebration and observance, Catholic Mass is celebrated at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who has served for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA, since 2007. Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Timothy Broglio for the Military Services, USA and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has written a letter to Catholics within the U.S. military urging them to witness to the Gospel by advocating for the protection of the unborn and “to refuse any participation in the evil of abortion.” 

The archbishop’s April 28 letter comes after the U.S. Senate’s recent 51-48 vote in favor of adding abortion coverage to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) health benefits packages.  

Addressing the Catholic members of the armed forces, the archbishop rooted the Christian defense of the sanctity of life in the profession of faith in the Incarnation. Broglio wrote, “God assumed the fullness of our humanity in order to offer us salvation. Authentic proclamation of the Gospel, therefore, demands the protection of all human life, for in this way, we profess that the very life of Jesus Christ, our Savior, which began in the womb, and ended on the cross, encompasses our lives as well.  

To deny the life of a baby in utero is to deny the Incarnation, and thus, the very source of our hope for salvation,” the bishop declared. 

READ: USCCB president responds to Biden: Catholic bishops ‘will work as one body’ to end abortion 

Broglio also reminded Catholics of the witness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, who both manifest the sacredness of life in the womb. Broglio wrote, “Our Lord chose to offer salvation to the world by becoming enfleshed in the womb of His mother, our Blessed Mother. Mary’s witness of carrying God incarnate communicates that human life is a gift to be praised, shared, and celebrated joyfully (see Lk 1:39).” 

“In the genius of the divine detail, preserved through the writing of Saint Luke, God reminds us that even the preborn know Him. John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of our Lord. Blessed, indeed, was the fruit of Mary’s womb (Lk 1:41-42). Jesus’ incarnation reaffirms that human life truly is created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:26). Each human person is a treasure, uniquely formed and known by God (see Ps 139:14-16). Each life deserves to be protected and loved, at every stage, from conception to natural death.” 

Taking Congress to task for its failure to uphold the sanctity of life in its recent vote, which will place Catholic members of the military in situations in which they will be called on to violate their conscience through participation in abortion, Broglio wrote, “I write today deeply saddened that last week, in a 51-48 vote, the Senate let stand the Administration’s new Department of Veterans Affairs’ rule that provides for abortion at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers in certain circumstances. In parallel, the Administration is also implementing a Department of Defense policy which mandates federal funding for abortion travel and compels military commanders to authorize such undertakings. 

The archbishop firmly condemned the Biden administration’s mandate as “morally repugnant, contrary to the Gospel, and running afoul of the protections afforded by the First Amendment. In no uncertain terms he declared, “The policy and rule, now in effect, are morally repugnant and incongruent with the Gospel which the faithful are commissioned to share throughout the world (Mt 28:19). Moreover, the new DOD policy and VA rule fail to incorporate basic conscience protections, thus creating First Amendment pitfalls for military commanders and VA employees. 

With this letter, I implore the faithful of this Archdiocese to continue to advocate for human life and to refuse any participation in the evil of abortion,” he urged, adding, “As Pope Francis instructs, our defense of the innocent unborn must be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. He has referred to the crime of abortion as hiring a hitman. 

The archbishop concluded by reminding Catholics “of our Christian duty to exercise radical solidarity with mothers and families experiencing a challenging pregnancy. 

Prior to the letter to Catholic members of the armed forces, Archbishop Broglio had joined the USCCB’s chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, in a letter sent on behalf of the USCCB to Congress condemning the U.S. Senate’s vote in favor of rejecting the Congressional Review Act resolution that would have overturned the VA’s new pro-abortion policy. 

READ: USCCB leader Abp. Broglio slams Senate vote in favor of ‘inhumane’ abortion coverage for veterans 

In a press release on the matter, they stated, “It is a gross failure that the Senate did not pass this lifesaving resolution. Our heroes and their dependents deserve quality health care services, instead of policies to end the lives of their own children.” 

Many veterans face tremendous life challenges, especially as the active duty experience too often involves significant mental health traumas and can be followed by a difficult readjustment to civilian life. It is inhumane to provide fully taxpayer-funded abortion (which itself can increase mental health risks) as a so-called solution to pregnancy, instead of resources needed to welcome a child and flourish as a family. We continue to urge Congress to prevent implementation of this harmful policy, and to provide instead real support for our military veterans and their loved ones.”