"The theme of the 2016-17 Respect Life Program is "Moved by Mercy" (usccb.org/respectlife). When we let our hearts be moved by God's mercy, it shapes everything. As Pope Francis said, "We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us" (Misericordiae Vultus. . . ).

God made each of us in his own image and likeness.  He desires to be united with us forever in a loving relationship.  God loves us, treats us with respect, and asks us to do the same with others.  Every person is sacred and must be treated with the dignity they deserve.  No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly—everyone should be cherished and protected!

From each tiny child waiting to be born, to individuals nearing death, all are precious and deserve our care and protection. Women and men suffering after abortion, individuals tempted to end their lives, couples longing to conceive a child, people pushed to the margins of society by a "throwaway culture," expectant mothers facing challenging pregnancies, and every other person—each "has a place in God's heart from all eternity" (Amoris Laetitia. . . , 168).

Let's ask God to make us channels of his loving mercy: Lord, help us to receive your mercy and turn to you each moment. And please guide us in extending your mercy to others today. Now is the time for mercy."

-Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Chairman USCCB
Committee on Pro-Life Activities October 2016
©2017 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops