In the wake of a US election that saw the most pro-abortion president in the nation’s history take to the helm, US bishops are making a concerted effort to dam the pro-abortion tide. Affirming the sanctity of all human life has been a significant focus at the USCCB’s 2008 Fall General Assembly, with the latest initiative being a proposed blessing for the unborn.Although the results of the vote are yet to be released, a spokesperson for the USCCB told LifeSiteNews.com that there did not appear to be any opposition to the pro-life blessing.
The “Blessing of a Child in the Womb,” was “prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage in the parish prayers for and recognition of the gift of the child in the womb and to foster respect for human life within society,” according to a USCCB release.
The blessing reads: “May almighty God, who has created new life now bless the child in your womb. The Lord has brought you the joy of motherhood: may he now bless you with a safe and healthy pregnancy. You thank the Lord today for the gift of your child: may he bring you and your child one day to share in the unending joys of heaven.”
There is also an optional blessing for parish communities welcoming a newborn: “May God bless this parish community as it welcomes the gift of new life and joyfully accepts the responsibility of sharing in the spiritual formation of this child (or children).”
According to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, in the discussions following the proposal, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville advocated the blessing, saying it is “a very tangible way to witness pastorally and sacramentally to the life of the unborn child,” and the President of the USCCB, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, said it was a “very moving blessing.”
Bishop Michael Pfeifer went one step further, calling for a national Day of Prayer for the unborn.
Upon the approval of the Vatican the blessing will be added to the next edition of the Church’s Book of Blessings, and will be available in English and Spanish.
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life commented on the blessing, saying, “It assists the whole Church to witness clearly to the reality of the unborn child as a person in our midst – a person whom the Church recognizes and to whom the Church ministers. In a Culture of Life, we treat persons in a way that their dignity requires. The children in the womb are our youngest brothers and sisters. By blessing them, we ourselves are blessed.”