A powerful pastor's message on the slaughter of innocents from Fr. Greg Coiro, O.F.M.Cap, rector of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco.
I am writing this on Friday, December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. It is difficult to recount King Herod’s slaughter of all the baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and its environs without remembering that it was only days ago that 20 innocent little children, as well as six devoted adults, were massacred in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
We know why Herod murdered the Holy Innocents—he wanted to destroy the newborn King of the Jews who posed a threat to his continued reign. Herod was mad…mad with power. But we have no idea what caused that madman to gun down those innocent first-graders in an idyllic New England town.
The shock of Newtown plunged an entire nation into grief and a debate on how we can prevent such heinous crimes in the future. I suggest that the answer does not so much lie in a change in the legislation regulating firearms as it does in transforming minds and hearts about the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.
Our President went before the people of Newtown and the nation proclaiming that we need to protect our children and that if we do not get that right, we get nothing right. Yet, the President himself supports the continued daily slaughter of children under the convenient euphemism of "freedom of choice."
You are not getting it right, Mr. President, and your words ring hollow in the face of your own com-plicity in the failure to protect children.
Just as Herod was mad for power, today’s "Herods"—Planned Parenthood and other abortion pro-viders—are also mad, not for power as much as for money. Never forget that abortion is a multi-billion dollar industry.
As long as our society fails to protect the lives of the most vulnerable members of our human family, we will continue to reap the fruits of the culture of death as Blessed John Paul II called it. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta warned us that a society that sanctions the crime of abortion can never have peace.
Let us continue to work and pray for a change of minds and hearts in our people and among our public officials, especially members of the judiciary, so that the right to life will be protected for all human beings regardless of their stage of development or ability to exercise "personhood." As we approach the fortieth anniversary on January 22, 2013 of the disastrous Supreme Court decisions that established abortion as a "constitutional right," let us strive even harder, as a people, to get it right.
Dear Brother and Lord Bishop,
I would like to extend to you wholehearted congratulations on your election as Head of one of the oldest episcopal chairs founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in the 7th century.
You have been entrusted with the spiritual guidance of the entire Anglican Communion, a unique union of like-minded people, which, however diverse the forms of its existence in the world may be, needs one ‘steward of God’ (Tit. 1:7) the guardian of the faith and witness to the Truth (cf. Jn. 18:37).
The Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion are bonded by age-old friendly relations initiated in the 15th century. For centuries, our Churches would preserve good and truly brotherly relations encouraged both by frequent mutual visits and established theological dialogue and certainly by a spirit of respect and love which used to accompany the meetings of our hierarchs, clergy and ordinary believers.
Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. The introduction female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole.
We hope that the voice of the Orthodox Church will be heard by the Church of England and Churches of the Anglican Communion, and good fraternal relationships between us will revive.
I wish you God’s help in your important work.
“May the God of love and peace be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11).
+Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk