The reaction to the article in Saturday's paper signed by myself and other priests made me realize that there were pieces in that article that had been edited. The article was distorted and contained loopholes, which certainly allowed people to come to conclusions that were justified, based on the inconsistencies in the edited article. I do not fault their conclusions. I fault myself for using the media. This is Respect Life month. I preached on this very issue not more than three weekends ago. I knew that it had taken on special significance and meaning because we had just celebrated the month before the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. There are so many examples and forms of violence and abuse to human life. I stated and will re-state again that the gift of life is precious. Yet it is so fragile.
I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm to you my steadfast belief in the full and consistent teaching of the Church on life issues. I begin with a commitment and a renewal of that commitment never to intentionally kill or collude in the killing of any innocent human life, no matter how broken, how unformed, disable or desperate that life may seem. I believe and I teach in accordance with the Catholic Church that abortion, the direct taking of human life prior to birth, is always a moral evil. I believe and hold that the same is true for deliberate destruction of human embryos. I have taught this in classes, preached it in church and theologized on it in Theology on Tap. I have also stated that assisted suicide, or euthanasia, is morally unacceptable. I have stated repeatedly that direct attacks on civilians and acts of terrorism are also morally unjustifiable. This is the "consistent ethic of life" which affirms the dignity of all life and condemns any form of violence that would weaken or destroy life.
If I have, by my signing of the article in the newspaper, given cause of scandal to anyone or have in any way fractured the unity of the Church, I apologize most profusely and will undergo penance for that action.
As I write this to you, please know that I will entering on retreat the week of October 28th to take days of prayer and penance and to make reparation for any harm that I may have done to any individual and to ask the help of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me in the ministry of the Church.