The Common Good

for the Gospel of Life

     I believe that everybody is pro-life about something. Two people may disagree about everything, or at least over all of the twelve "issues" offered here for prayer and reflection. Even so, I believe that everybody is pro-life about something. The one friend who clamed to be pro-life about nothing admitted over lunch that there were ways of looking at many of these questions that he had simply not yet considered. He too is now pro-life, not yet about everything, but a willing work-in-process. Is that not a pretty good place to begin?

     If I am correct that everybody is pro-life about something, then have we not an outstanding opportunity to join forces, or as Saint Paul would say, to "build up" one another in the body of Christ, as the people of God, into a coalition of justice, peace, and mercy in the social and economic and, yes, even in the political? Since the beginning, the Church has sought to pray, study, act, and love.

     Let me presume to offer a thought on each of these issues. Please do not take these ponderings as any kind of substitute for Pope John Paul II's illuminative encyclical from 1995, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae).


These reflections are from Gospel of Life Prayer Cycle

by Stephen Joseph Wolf,New

former parish priest and spiritual director

idjc press, 2007, $9.95


Coming soon: One at a time, twelve downloadable

ETCFAITH  meetings for faith-sharing groups.





Response to Abortion




Please, Choose the Adoption Option

     I am perplexed about a culture that thinks the only options in an unexpected pregnancy are raising the child or abortion, because every parish has couples trying to adopt a newborn. If people knew what priests hear in pastoral counseling and in the sacrament of reconciliation about the long-term suffering and grieving of the mothers and fathers, abortions would indeed be rare.



Limited Access to

a Human Right




 Health Care for Human Dignity

     I do not know why health care should be available in a dignified way only to people who are fortunate enough to have the right kind of job, nor does it make sense to expose any family to bankruptcy just because someone is sick. There has to be a better way. Have we found it yet?



The Temptation of the Death Penalty




 Let us Learn Jesus' Third Way

     I stay frustrated with the disconnect of Christians between today's death penalty and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The idea that we have to kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong is itself wrong, and insane.



Response to Pollution




 For Caring for God's Creation

     The earth is a gift to us from God which we will pass on to God's children coming after us. To deplete the gardens of God's earth to make money to spend today is at minimum theft from our own children, and possibly murder of the future itself.



For the Working Poor




 A Living Wage: Work that Works

     If I hire a full-time worker, and expect him or her to work full-time for my enterprise, then he or she is earning a living wage, even if I do not pay a living wage. If I pay less than a living wage because I can get away with it, then I am saying to the rest of the community that they have an obligation to subsidize my enterprise through taxes or charity. What makes it immoral is the undignified way this system treats lowest paid workers.



Dealing with the Fire




 A Sexual Being Honors the Fire

     The statistic is that more people lose their virginity in the month of June than in any other month. Sexuality is a gift from God that brings us together as human beings. Human sexuality is not entirely genital, nor is it meant to be. Still it may be (as one good friend puts it) God's best joke on us. It is also a fire than can burn us. If you're not ready to bring a child into this world, and deal with that life-changing event, then you're not ready for you-know-what, and if you don't know "what" I'm talking about, let's talk. 



The American Experiment




 Freedom of Religion is the American Way

     Many Americans are uncomfortable about it, but even in our imperfect ways we have given the world a witness to how peoples of different religions and faiths can live side by side with tolerance and even respect. Throughout history, religious peoples have sought to make their presence felt through government. When they have succeeded, the results have generally been catastrophic.




Moral Test of a Society




 Widows, Aliens and Orphans Going Hungry

     In the Hebrew ethic, society is judged by how the widows, the aliens and the orphans are faring. We are indeed called to do our best to build economic, social and political systems of justice. But there will always be people who fall through the cracks. This is when charity becomes necessary.



Human Right and Duty




 Education: The Right That Can Be The Key

     Education is one of the established rights of each human being. The people who have the capacity to improve education are most of the very people who no longer need it. If those with the power and means worry only about the education of their own, we risk forgetting that all children are with us brothers and sisters in Christ.



Resisiting Assisted Suicide




 Natural Dying In God's Time

     The process of dying is named by some as our greatest fear. Perhaps we all want to avoid the pain. The priesthood has shown me that the greatest consolation to a dying person is the awareness that he or she has loved and is still being loved. While we are blessed with medicine and facilities that can help to minimize pain, no drug can equal the consolation of love. And none of us is a machine with a humanly determinable "useful" life.



The Right to Trust in God




 Sabbath Rest: Call, Command, Gift

     If I never take a sabbath day of rest, sooner or later something unhealthy is going to happen. Even trumping physical and mental health, if I never take a day of rest then am I not trying to be God? Or am I saying that God is not doing a good enough job? Just watching the world around me, the stress caused by lack of free time is squeezing the very life out of us.



When Peoples War




 For the Hard Work of Peace

     Every time we have to resort to war, it means we have failed again as human beings. The temptation of war is that it can seem a simple matter of naming an enemy and attacking. The difficulty of making and sustaining peace can be those unpredictable details hard to monitor and measure. Eventually, the only path to peace is the one Jesus gives: forgiveness.