Respect Life & Pastoral Care

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"Human Life is Sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end." CCC 2258

The Respect Life and Pastoral Care program addresses our Church's call for "A vigorous affirmation of the value of Human Life" on issues including chastity, stem cell research and human cloning, capital punishment, abortion, physician assisted suicide and euthanasia and Natural Family Planning. 

About

Pope Francis says: "A population that does not take care of the elderly and of the children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise." 

Our Team

We:

  • Promote compassionate and practical assistance for those in need and the development of Parish Respect Life Ministries

  • Provide Formation Programs: Sanctity of Human Life PMFP Specialization Program

  • Provide Formation: Married Love & the Gift of Life Seminar

  • Coordinate Rachel Hope and Healing Ministry for men and women hurt by abortion

  • Provide Natural Family Planning instruction

  • Coordinates and promotes the development of Parish Bereavement Ministry

  • Coordinates and trains the volunteers for Respect Life affairs

Liaises Programs include: Local, State and Federal Legislative Advocacy, building Neighborhood Respect Life Alliances, annual Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Life in commemoration of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court abortion decision, and the Mother's Day Rose Sale to support Pregnancy Resource Centers

Parish Coordination:

We encourage our parishes, clergy and lay people to continue a dialogue with the Catholic Community in order to broaden their understanding of the value of human life from conception to natural death.

We develop parish based Respect & Family Life Ministries, recruit, train and supervise volunteers, so that they may educate and inspire their parishioners and the wider community.

We teach Abstinence, advocate against the Death Penalty, Physician's Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, and provide unity and assistance with neighboring parishes through our Vicariate Alliances. We work with other parish lay groups and are grateful for the continuous support of the Knights of Columbus. 

Maria Valadez
Director
Stefani Saldaña
Administrative Secretary

 

 
 

The Gabriel Project

The Gabriel Project reaches out with compassion and practical help to millions of Catholics in our Diocese of San Bernardino and empowers them to provide assistance to families, friends, and neighbors. 

Promotes Natural Family Planning

Married Love and the Gift of Life

The Church encourages people to be "responsible" stewards of their fertility, while enjoying a Christ centered, committed and loving relationship.

Respect Life and Pastoral Care provides education and training for Natural Family Planning, which strengthens marriages and empowers women to make informed, moral healthcare decisions. 

Image by Oziel Gómez

Rachel's Hope & Healing Ministry

Image by Zbynek Burival

Provides assistance to women and men hurt by abortion, providing safe, confidential and compassionate outreach. 

We offer training for therapists and volunteers and organize Rachel's Vineyard retreats.

Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreats are a beautiful opportunity for any woman or man who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion. It is therapy for the soul and an opportunity to release and reconcile painful emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing. 

Peace is found, Lives are restored. 

If you are struggling to find spiritual peace and emotional wholeness, please contact: 1 909-475-5353

Mother's Day Rose Sale

Supports Pregnancy Resource Centers and Maternity Homes

For over 24 years, Churches throughout our Inland Empire have been supporting Life-Saving organizations, who offer love and support to women and babies in difficult circumstances. 

In 2019, Christians representing many different denominations, working together, assembled and distributed more than 12,000 fresh rose bouquets, raising $40,000 for moms and babies in need.

 

For more information and a list of Pregnancy Resource Centers, click the button below.

Image by Gian D.
 

Caring and Preparing For End of Life

We provide educational workshops to help discern and prepare for moral, medical issues in advance.

learn about the "Aid in Dying" Physician Assisted Suicide Law in California. Understand the art of palliative care. How to have conversations with family members and the medical community.

We provide Parish resources regarding Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

Whole Person Initiative

It is a collaborative project of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops and the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, guided by a Leadership Council comprising representatives from the two organizations, including Bishops, Catholic health care executives, and other leaders.  The initiative is aimed at creating an environment in our parishes, communities, and health care systems in which all persons are loved, wanted, and worthy and will be prepared and supported in health and serious illness through the end of life.  We are implementing our “Respect and Care” End of Life Program which provides theological and practical support for End of Life issues.  This includes discussion about the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and expanding our Bereavement ministries to include “End of Life” care.  The Whole Person Initiative will provide a synchronized strategy to help us further develop a comprehensive program that will help us to enable caregivers in our parishes and health care facilities to attend to people and provide basic human needs.

For more information and resources available click the button below.

Image by Grant Whitty
 

Important Issues in our society

Bioethics

"In defending the right to life, in law and through a vibrant culture of life, America can show the world the path to a truly human future, in which man remains the master, not the product of his technology." - Pope St. John Paul II, August 2001

We highlight the appreciation of Science to offer hope and healing, while upholding the Church's opposition to the deliberate destruction of human life found in Embryonic Stem Cell Research and the creation of human life for the purpose of medical experimentation, found in Human cloning.

We advocate for ethical research, practice and laws using adult stem cells or blood cord cells, which continue to show great promises and have provided cures for many. 

For more information and resources available, click the button below.

Education

Parents are the first teachers, the home is the first school of Christian Life

The human family constitutes a community of love and solidarity, which is uniquely suited to teach and transmit cultural, ethical, social, spiritual and religious values, essential for the development and well-being of its own members and of society. 

The parents’ love, placing itself at the service of children to draw forth from them (“e-ducere”) the best that is in them, finds its fullest expression precisely in the task of educating.  Parents have the duty and right to impact a religious education and moral formation to their children, a right the state cannot annul but which it must respect and promote. 

- (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church 238,239)

Find out more and find resources available to parents. 

Abortion

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270

Human Life is Sacred 

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God', and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being." (Donum Vitae, 5)

"The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. 'Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action'". (Evangelium Vitae, 57.2)

Image by Isaac Quesada

The Moral Gravity of Procured Abortion

From Evangelium Vitae of Pope St. John Paul II

The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenseless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defense consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby's cries and tears. The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb. And yet sometimes it is precisely the mother herself who makes the decision and asks for the child to be eliminated, and who then goes about having it done.

It is true that the decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful for the mother, insofar as the decision to rid herself of the fruit of conception is not made for purely selfish reasons or out of convenience, but out of a desire to protect certain important values such as her own health or a decent standard of living for the other members of the family. Sometimes it is feared that the child to be born would live in such conditions that it would be better if the birth did not take place. Nevertheless, these reasons and others like them, however serious and tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. 

As well as the mother, there are often other people too who decide upon the death of the child in the womb. In the first place, the father of the child may be to blame, not only when he directly pressures the woman to have an abortion, but also when he indirectly encourages such a decision on her part by leaving her alone to face the problems of pregnancy: 55 in this way the family is thus mortally wounded and profaned in its nature as a community of love and in its vocation to be the "sanctuary of life". Nor can one overlook the pressures which sometimes come from the wider family circle and from friends. Sometimes the woman is subjected to such strong pressure that she feels psychologically forced to have an abortion: certainly in this case moral responsibility lies particularly with those who have directly or indirectly obliged her to have an abortion. Doctors and nurses are also responsible, when they place at the service of death skills which were acquired for promoting life.

But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centers where abortions are performed.

Euthanasia

"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible. Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator."

-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2276-2277

Image by Amisha Nakhwa

Moral Judgement on Euthanasia

Derived from Evangelium Vitae of Pope St. John Paul II

By definition, euthanasia is understood to be an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering. "Euthanasia's terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used." Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Depending on the circumstances, this practice involves the malice proper to suicide or murder.

"The choice of euthanasia becomes more serious when it takes the form of a murder committed by others on a person who has in no way requested it and who has never consented to it. The height of arbitrariness and injustice is reached when certain people, such as physicians or legislators, arrogate to themselves the power to decide who ought to live and who ought to die. Once again we find ourselves before the temptation of Eden: to become like God who "knows good and evil" (cf. Gen 3:5). God alone has the power over life and death: "It is I who bring both death and life" (Dt 32:39; cf. 2 Kg 5:7; 1 Sam 2:6). But he only exercises this power in accordance with a plan of wisdom and love. When man usurps this power, being enslaved by a foolish and selfish way of thinking, he inevitably uses it for injustice and death. Thus the life of the person who is weak is put into the hands of the one who is strong; in society the sense of justice is lost, and mutual trust, the basis of every authentic interpersonal relationship, is undermined at its root."

So called "Assisted Suicide"

"To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called "assisted suicide" means to cooperate in, and at times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested. In a remarkably relevant passage Saint Augustine writes that 'it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he request it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live.' Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing "perversion" of mercy. True "compassion" leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of euthanasia appears all the more perverse if it is carried out by those, like relatives, who are supposed to treat a family member with patience and love, or by those, such as doctors, who by virtue of their specific profession are supposed to care for the sick person even in the most painful terminal stages." Evangelium Vitae, 66.2

"People who request death are vulnerable. They need care and protection. To offer them lethal drugs is a victory not for freedom but for the worst form of neglect. Such abandonment is especially irresponsible when society is increasingly aware of elder abuse and other forms of mistreatment and exploitation of vulnerable persons." - USCCB, A Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide

Image by Nathan Anderson

Death Penalty

"Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that 'The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person'" -CCC 2267

"The sacredness of life gives rise to its inviolability, written from the beginning in man's heart, in his conscience. The question: "What have you done?" (Gen 4:10), which God addresses to Cain after he has killed his brother Abel, interprets the experience of every person: in the depths of his conscience, man is always reminded of the inviolability of life-his own life and that of others-as something which does not belong to him, because it is the property and gift of God the Creator and Father." (Evangelium Vitae, 40).

The Dignity of the Human Person - An Inviolable Gift given by God

Derived from Pope Francis', Fratelli Tutti

Let us keep in mind that “not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this”. The firm rejection of the death penalty shows to what extent it is possible to recognize the inalienable dignity of every human being and to accept that he or she has a place in this universe. If I do not deny that dignity to the worst of criminals, I will not deny it to anyone. I will give everyone the possibility of sharing this planet with me, despite all our differences.

"A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary." - Pope St. John Paul II, Homily (January 27, 1999). 

Image by Hasan Almasi
 

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