September 10, 2013
Today I received an email from Human Life International promoting a partnering with the Nebraska Bishops’ Pro-Life Office and the Archdiocese of Omaha Respect Life Apostolate to present a timely and important conference October 18-19 in Omaha, Nebraska: Life, Dignity, and Disability: A Faith that Welcomes. Thank God the plight of the disabled is being brought to the fore in the pro-life movement. The disabled are more than babies in the womb with faulty DNA in danger of abortion. They are those who have been afflicted through accident, disease, and aging, or who are experiencing the debilitation of faulty DNA that makes its appearance later in life.
The email notes:
Persons who are disabled are prime targets for abortion and euthanasia. A negative prenatal diagnosis is frequently a death sentence. Families who raise children with disabilities are often isolated and lonely. In both developed and developing countries the disabled are killed or discarded. These, our brothers and sisters, are dehumanized regularly by society so much so that many would claim that the dignity of the disabled is not even a “pro-life issue.”
It is also true that many organizations, agencies, and people of good faith have come together to support persons with disabilities.
Most Rev. James D. Conley, D.D., S.T.L., Bishop of Lincoln, will give the keynote address at the conference, and Most Rev. George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, will be the main celebrant at the conference’s opening Mass.
Besides myself, other featured speakers include Peter Kreeft, prolific author and professor at Boston College; Joseph Pearce, editor of Saint Austin Review; Omar Gutierrez, manager of the Office of Missions and Justice at Archdiocese of Omaha; Sr. Terese Auer, O.P., chair of the Bioethics Department at John Paul the Great Catholic High School; Patty Franke, Be Not Afraid Ministry; Sarah and Jeff Schinstock, Family Life Office of the Diocese of Lincoln; Martin Cannon and Andy Bath, Saint Thomas More Society; and Arland K. Nichols, director of education and evangelization at Human Life International.
There’s still time to register for the conference, and please invite your friends, family, and co-workers to attend as well by forwarding this email or sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
This sounds like a great conference with well-known speakers. Perhaps readers will notify their bishops and parish priests so this can be publicized in bulletins and diocesan newspapers. I wish I had both the monetary and physical capacity to attend myself, particularly because I am concerned about where bioethics is going in the Catholic Church.
Kudos to the Nebraska bishops and the Omaha Respect Life Apostolate for sponsoring this with HLI. Bishop Conley, successor to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, seems to be carrying on the legacy he inherited as Lucas of Omaha carries on from Curtis. This is just the kind of leadership we need from our bishops with much lay involvement. Teamwork between clergy and laity witnessing to the Gospel is a beautiful sight.
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