FARGO, North Dakota, March 2, 2011 ( – In a recent address to laity in the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver challenged pro-lifers to “become martyrs” for the cause of building a culture of life.  “I said it was simple,” said the archbishop, “I didn’t say it was easy. Be ready to pay a price.”


Archbishop Chaput’s address focused on a few “do’s” and “don’ts” to build a culture of life, based upon his years of experience in the pro-life movement. 

Read the complete address here.

In the first place, he advised pro-lifers to resist the view that says religion has no place in the public sphere because “real pluralism actually demands that people with different beliefs should pursue their beliefs energetically in the public square.”  “If we’re uncomfortable being Christians in a public debate, then we’ve already lost the war,” he said.

The aim of the pro-life movement, the archbishop stressed, is nothing less than ending abortion.  “If we really believe that abortion is an intimate act of violence, then we can’t aim at anything less than ending abortion.  It doesn’t matter that some abortions have always occurred, or that some abortions will always occur.  If we really believe that abortion kills a developing, unborn human life, then we can never be satisfied with mere ‘reductions’ in the body count.”

In order to succeed in the goal, pro-lifers must be willing to become martyrs, he said.  “In the America of our lifetimes, we may never be asked to shed our blood in witnessing for our faith. But we do see character assassinations, mud-slinging and lies used against good people every day in the public media. And we should be ready to pay the same price.  Nothing, not even our good name, should stop us from doing what we know to be right,” emphasized Chaput.

Against an opposition that routinely has more funding and a supportive media behind it, the pro-life movement requires shrewd individuals.  “Outsmart your enemies” and use new technologies, such as the internet to “deliver the message,” said Chaput. “We should never dream or whine about all the things we could do with the millions of dollars we don’t have. We need to focus on the real dollars we do have.”

“Remember that renewing the culture, not gaining power, is our ultimate goal,” concluded the archbishop. “Culture is everything. Culture is our ‘human ecology.’ Getting political influence has obvious and important short-term value.  But it’s not what pro-lifers are finally about.”

“Only saints really change the world. And therein lies our ultimate victory: If we change one heart at a time, while we save one unborn life at a time, the day will come when we won’t need to worry about saving babies, because they’ll be surrounded by a loving and welcoming culture.”

“Your character, your faith and your dedication to the sanctity of the human person matter. Your commitment to human life matters eternally.”

Full article available here.