Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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Bishop Knestout Statement Following U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2022

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout released the following statement today, June 24, after the United States Supreme Court issued a final ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“Today, I am gratified that our nation’s highest court has overturned the fundamentally unjust Roe v. Wade decision and restored to states the ability to protect the dignity and rights of the human person from the moment of conception. Every life – both mother and children – is sacred and immeasurably loved and valued by God. I pray that throughout our nation – including here in Virginia – lawmakers will open their hearts to the opportunities before them to protect unborn children, support women in crisis pregnancies and promote life-affirming alternatives to abortion.

“Our local Church works to support and walk with women and couples who find themselves in unexpected or stressful pregnancies. As followers of Christ, we must walk with them during these challenging times.

“Throughout the year, many of our parishes and Catholic institutions faithfully are the hands and feet of Christ by providing support so women can be assisted, comforted and strengthened to transform their lives in order to give their baby life. I am deeply grateful for the work of Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ Seton Housing Program – a new initiative, nearly a year old, which provides a whole life care for mother and baby. In the eastern part of our state, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia served and empowered more than 350 mothers through its Pregnancy Support Program. Portsmouth-based Hope4Life dedicates itself to supporting moms with unplanned pregnancies and being a critical intervention to women when they are most in need. This non-profit is supported by many of our Catholic parishes and faithful. Resources are also found through Williamsburg House of Mercy – an extension of St. Bede Catholic Church, Mary’s Choice RVA, the East End Pregnancy Center as well as the pregnancy resource centers in Richmond and Roanoke supported by the Knights of Columbus.

“For decades, the faithful who have vocalized and promoted the sanctity of life have felt like “the voice crying out in the wilderness” – the words the prophet Isaiah uses to describe the role of John the Baptist in proclaiming the coming of Christ. There have been many courageous, devoted and faith-filled individuals and families who have embraced this teaching. I am thankful for the faithful who use their voice to advocate for the unborn and for the sanctity of all life. This goal must be pursued with firmness and respect. We should not mistake politeness or civility for faintheartedness. Respect and charity are the Christian manner of stating one’s case, listening to what others say and responding. If we are to have any success in promoting pro-life concerns, we must commit to engaging in charitable dialogue.

“While today’s decision brings much hope, tragically some will continue and even intensify their advocacy of abortion. I offer my prayers for the vitally needed conversion of minds and hearts and steadfastly ask the Holy Spirit to keep all safe during this time. With prayer and perseverance may we find the peace and abundant life that Christ offers.”