February 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ is in our midst!

We speak of the most vulnerable, those in the womb, and rightly so and we must also speak for those other vulnerable persons like children who are starving because of our waste and negligence, like prisoners who languish in jail, some unjustly, simply because they cannot raise the few hundred dollars they need for bail, and others who wait for their penalty ofdeath, and the elderly who are shoved into homes out of sight and out of mind and find themselves wholly dehumanized by a system that cannot provide the compassionate touch that only families can give and all human beings need and deserve. Are they not among the living for whose lives we are called to be grateful?

And what of those who are ravaged by poverty? Those who suffer from war and its consequences?

What of the woman who is raped or who suffers discrimination, the children and spouses who are abused, the minorities who suffer from systemic bigotry whether subtle or overt, the hungry, the oppressed, the social outcasts, the sick and the dying?

In other words, what about the rest of humanity? We cannot only care for those we care about!

And what of non-human life? The destruction of the planet and of entire species of animals and plants due to greed and ignorance and apathy surely deserves our attention when we speak of the sanctity of life.

We give thanks for all life, for the world, for our neighbors and for ourselves and our respect for life can never be offered to some and not others; for everyone and everything that draws breath.

Patriarch Bartholomew writes that, "For there can never be love for one person or group of people and not another. As the Christian Gospel puts it, to say we love God when we do not · love our neighbor is to be proved liars (cf. 1 John 4:20)."

Let us respect life in all its forms and protect it as we are able even to the giving of our own lives.

Yours in Christ,

+Fr. Antony