By CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
Let me say it again! God can—and does—bring good out of evil.
Lord knows, there’s a lot of evil these months. Our city, our beloved country, our world community—yes, even our Church—seem in the grip of the bad, the darkness, the toxic, the claws of death.
Do we give in to discouragement, depression, self-pity, destructive speech, and violence? Is nihilism, the pervasive philosophy that emptiness and nothingness, not meaning and purpose, all there is?
Never! Not for the believer!
I remember a young person, filled with radiant joy and ideals, asking me once, “Why do the Bible, Jesus, the saints, and the popes keep talking about hope? Life is so good and beautiful!”
Well, something tells me he knows why now!
Might I suggest that one of the dramatic ways He is powerfully accomplishing that is in the renewal of our rediscovering the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of all human life?
So, for the last seven-and-a-half months, we have seen the fragility of human life, as more than a million have perished from this apocalyptic virus, and their families and friends have mourned them from a painful distance.
Yet, we are bolstered by medical professionals, emergency workers, and a helping community, with the world cheering them on, as they sacrificially and indefatigably persevere in protecting and saving vulnerable lives. We whisper thanks for the gift of our own life, that gratitude deepened as we admit how delicate life is, and how we are at our best when we respect and protect it.
The recognition of the tumor of racism in our culture has inspired us to chant, “Black lives matter!” as we realize that, if the dignity of any human person is at risk, or thought less than worthy of reverence, we are all in peril.
Thus do we cringe at the death of blacks, and of police officers, and of elders thought expendable. Thus do we worry about rhetoric that incites and divides, looking for people to blame and scorn.
So do we have second thoughts about the lives of innocent black and brown babies in the womb, whose lives are flushed away by rampant abortion on demand, with the rate of abortion of black and brown babies at 60% in poor sections of our own city.
No wonder we shudder at the plight of refugees and immigrants at the border, or of forgotten masses unable to access the health care that is so appreciated in this Covid pandemic.
Am I naïve to detect a rising consciousness that a culture of death which mocks the dignity of the human person and takes a scalpel to the sacredness of all human life—to use the vocabulary of Pope St. John Paul II—has led to what Pope Francis terms a “throwaway culture” bringing about a survival of the fittest?
As the Lord brought light from darkness at creation; freedom from slavery at the Exodus; plowshares from swords; and life from death at Easter, is He now inviting us to transform a culture of death into a culture of life, with a ringing affirmation of the inherent dignity of the human person and the inviolable sacredness of all human life as the absolute principles of a civil, prosperous, peaceful, just society?
This prayer, this hope, this conviction rings loudly in the new encyclical of Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti.
And it is our chorus this October, Respect Life Month!
Our God can—and does—bring good from evil.