By Matthew Anderson

KANSAS CITY, August 16, 2009 ( – Bishop Robert W. Finn spoke to a group of pro-life volunteers on Sunday at a Respect Life Banquet held at St. Pius X High School in Kansas City, MO. The theme of his address was “moving from ideas to action.” (To read the complete speech, click here)

Bishop Finn highlighted four main components in being pro-life: belief, teaching, prayer and especially action.

“First: I believe, as you do, in the truth of life's dignity,” he said to those at the dinner. “We invite all people of good will to join us in the fundamental convictions of the natural law, written in every human heart: We all want to live. The life of other persons is something as important as our own life.”

He went on to emphasize the important role of teaching the pro-life message. He highlighted how at the root of the abortion problem is a lack of appreciation for objective truth. “We somehow have to get across that there is such a thing as right and wrong. This is no easy task in a culture of 'choice;' in a society that values a kind of personal dogmatism,” he said.

To counter this “culture of choice,” the bishop emphasized the importance of prayer. “It is important that we keep in mind that we are involved with something that has a supernatural dimension.” Due to this spiritual dimension, Bishop Finn pointed out that pro-life work cannot be merely temporal, but must also be spiritual.

“Pray – pray a lot,” the Bishop exhorted. “One modern day Saint used to say that when we are trying to change a person's heart for the good, pray 80% and talk or act 20%.”

However, the bishop said he does not want those in the pro-life movement to stop at prayer. He stressed that to be truly pro-life means getting “involved” in an active fashion. He went on to say, “I have to be willing to get involved, even if it costs me something, even if it means that I have to sacrifice my convenience, or risk being misunderstood.”

Bishop Finn also underscored the importance of aiming high, not settling for the status quo, but being courageous in the fight for life. He said, “Act to accomplish some good when and how you can. Don't be reckless, but be daring!”

He went on to stress the importance of overturning Roe v. Wade. Calling it a “grave evil” he said, “We must overturn unjust laws. Obviously and with great urgency, we must change a law that exposes human life to the terror of abortion”

Even though this work must be done worth urgency, the Bishop emphasized the need for all those working to overturn Roe v. Wade to work with fortitude because, “the efforts to dislodge what is evil are so arduous – we know that evil will not give up without a fight”

However, he also noted that there have been minor victories against abortion, victories which should encourage those in the pro-life movement.  “Through many courageous and hard-fought battles we have put in place – particularly in the States – some small but important limits on abortions: waiting periods, parental notification requirements, use of ultrasounds, alternatives counseling, etc.”

“We have also been able to establish limits on tax dollars used for abortion, and conscience protection for individuals.”

Many of these victories, though, are now under attack, he said. Though the Freedom of Choice Act has not yet been passed, Bishop Finn emphasized the danger of its being passed piecemeal.

“The efforts that had been won painstakingly over the last generation – limits on abortion that can be shown, statistically, to reduce the number of abortions in our country by hundreds of thousands per year – are today being nullified,” he said.

Finn stressed that these renewed attacks mean that those who consider themselves pro-life must only work the harder to stop abortion. “We must do much charity, much work in mercy, and develop more safety nets for those who are in need.”

It is not enough to simply maintain what has been gained, he said, but pro-life workers must continue to work for the complete reversal of the injustice.

“Our first call is to provide and protect justice, and the primordial human right is life – for those who are most vulnerable, who have no voice of their own.”

“We must not cease to work actively against evil, anymore than we would abandon the initiatives of active charity that mark the work of Jesus Christ. You and I must do these things. I am counting on you!”

(To read the complete speech, click here)


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