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Celebrating Life: Speak the Language of Human Rights, Not Civil Rights

By Deacon Stephen Nolte
October 4th, 2012
South Texas Catholic (southtexascatholic.com/index.cfm?active=1)

Deacon Keith Fournier, Editor in Chief at Catholic Online, gave the keynote address at the 23rd annual Celebration for Life dinner held at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center in Corpus Christi on Sept. 13.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Deacon Keith Fournier, Editor in Chief at Catholic Online, gave the keynote address at the 23rd annual Celebration for Life dinner held at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center in Corpus Christi on Sept. 13.

The fund-raising banquet is held annually for the benefit of Hope House, Project Gabriel and Birthright of Corpus Christi.

A Constitutional lawyer, Deacon Fournier is in his sixteenth year of service as an ordained deacon in the diocese of Richmond, Virginia.

During his presentation Deacon Fournier referred to the contemporary times in which we live as a neo-pagan culture that does not respect the dignity of persons or life. Placing his comments in this context he addressed the battle between this neo-pagan culture of death and the hope and joy of those who work to bring about a culture of life.

Recognizing that many who have been involved in pro-life work for years find themselves suffering from battle fatigue, Deacon Fournier counseled against becoming enslaved to the stale language of past efforts. Rather, he advocated for a change in the language of pro-lifers, a change that would embrace a language of love, of hope and of joy.

This is necessary he said because "we must learn that when Roe is overturned, and it will be, that our work is just beginning."

"The culture of life will not become a reality simply with the overturning of Roe. We must learn to see the child in the womb as our neighbor.we need to learn a positive language that proposes change and solutions, not condemnation," Deacon Fournier said.

Deacon Fournier said that pro-life advocates need to speak the language of human rights, not civil rights. The Author of all life confers these human rights, not civil authority.

"Our work, our mission is just beginning. It is the way of love and worth. The struggle in which we engage is one which we have faced before as a people of life," Deacon Fournier said.  "Our position is authentic human freedom which is rooted in God's immutable truth. This truth liberates us from the culture that seeks to enslave us because it sets us free for life, rather than from life."

The early Christians proclaimed the truth of this freedom found in Christ by the examples of their lives, Deacon Fournier explained. They dealt with the culture of death by living the culture of life within the very heart of death. Their way led to conversion by love. This Christian vision proclaims the sanctity of life, marriage and family and the dignity of every person. It must be tethered to truth.

"This age is a one of a dictatorship of relativism," Deacon Fournier said of the challenges the pro-life community faces. "As Christians we need to recognize how to proclaim the truth that frees us from dictators and slavery and frees us for life. We live in an age which demands new missionaries, new evangelists. We are called to respond to this need; it will not be easy but we are not alone.

"We must strive to be faithful citizens because this struggle will never end, but we are empowered by true freedom to fight the fight. We must be strong in our faith in the midst of a culture that is decaying from within. This is accomplished by living the love we've been given. The Christian way of life transforms and converts; it offers hope and forgiveness. Authentic Christian love is the most important work we can engage in, for a new culture of life will emerge only from a culture of love. We must remember who we are and be joyful in the tasks at hand."

Prior to offering the closing prayer and final blessing, Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey thanked Deacon Fournier for his words and paraphrased the words of John F. Kennedy with the refrain, "Ask not what the Church can do for me, but rather what can we do together?"  As a people of faith and life, there is much we can do, and much we must do as we celebrate the gift of life, which should never be taken for granted, Bishop Mulvey said.

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