In an effort to benefit a variety of respect life programs, the diocesan Respect Life Office will be handing out grants to help support work that promotes a consistent ethic of life.
“It lets the Church, through the ministry of the Respect Life Office, really have a hand in the pro-life work that’s being done,” said respect life director Catherine Phillips.
It is the first year that the Presbyteral Council approved Respect Life grants, using several thousand dollars from the Respect Life Office budget. Though there are “limited funds,” Phillips said grants can range from $100 to $1,000, at the discretion of Bishop Anthony B. Taylor.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 30, and grants will be awarded during October for Respect Life Month. Grant recipients are required to provide a follow-up report before May 31, 2019, to detail progress and documentation regarding how the funds were used. Applicants must apply every year if they want to be considered again.
Common respect life issues of the Church include opposition to abortion, euthanasia, human embryo research, the death penalty, violence or anything that involves the “direct killing of human beings,” Phillips said, but a consistent ethic of life reaches deeper into Catholic teaching and includes “a broad range” of moral issues.
“We also understand how issues such as racism and poverty and unjust immigration laws are tied in with all of these issues. So we do want to promote respect for all human life. We want to promote the God-given dignity of the human person,” Phillips said. “That’s really I think the core of what our Respect Life grants touch on — how we do this. How we take what the Church teaches, what God has essentially given to us, our human dignity, and really put it into practice.”
The grant guidelines emphasize four pillars of respect life work stemming from directives in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities:
• Education and public information: Any pro-life work that leads to educating those on a deeper respect for human life and opposing “abortion, research that destroys human embryos, euthanasia, assisted suicide, infanticide and capital punishment,” the grant guidelines stated.
• Pastoral care: Outreach care and service toward pregnant women, adoption and foster care, counseling and spiritual assistance, support for victims of violence, chastity education and natural family planning. The grant also includes broader care for families including those touched by abortion, violent crime or those in prison.
• Public policy: Promoting legislation that revolves around respect life issues.
• Prayer and worship: Work that participates specifically in the sacramental life of the Church, which at the parish level, can include care for those who have lost a child to abortion, miscarriage or other causes and also any work that seeks “to build a culture of life together at diocesan and national gatherings,” the application states.
“We are called to build a culture of life in this world that often is in darkness. There are dark and evil things in this world, but our pro-life work is to oppose that on every level. Not along political lines, but from the standpoint of the truth of Christ, the God-given dignity we each have and our Church firmly teaches,” she said.
The organizations, which don’t have to be Catholic, cannot advocate for something that goes against Church teaching. For example, a social justice organization promoting nonviolence but also advocating for abortion would not qualify.
“If you’re not respecting every human person out there, or at least aspiring to, this grant is not for you,” she said, later adding, “This is an opportunity to put what we teach, what we believe, what we know to be true out there. It really is a teaching opportunity about a consistent ethic of life.”
Phillips encouraged applicants to read the guidelines prior to applying to learn more about a consistent ethic of life.
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