Just in time for October, respect for life making headlines

With the arrival of October comes the crunch of leaves, postseason baseball (for some), and, of course, an abundance of pumpkin-flavored coffee.

It’s also Respect Life Month in the Church, and OSV Newsweekly will have plenty of material in the next few issues to help direct your attention to the worthwhile efforts of the many faithful working to uphold the culture of life.

This week, in particular, Eddie O’Neill reports on the importance of an aesthetically pleasing pregnancy resource centers (Pages 7-8). From the clock on the wall, to the comfort of the chairs, to the type and size of the windows — no detail is too small to overlook when it comes to making women feel comfortable and at home.

I like this story because, in the fight against abortion that can seem overwhelming and never-ending at times, it offers a manageable way for pregnancy centers to be more effective.

As Abby Johnson, a former director at Planned Parenthood, says in the story: If Planned Parenthood is appealing to women through their clinics’ surroundings, we should be giving it some thought as well. The effort would be minimal, while the rewards could be great.

Speaking of abortion, Pope Francis made headlines in the secular press two days in a row last month because of comments he made on abortion during, first, an interview for Jesuit journals and, second, to members of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. In his interview, he emphasized the need for “a new balance” in the Church when it comes to living the Gospel.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods,” he said. “This is not possible.”

He then apparently stunned all secular media when, the next day, he told doctors that “the first right of the human person is his life.”

To most Catholics, of course, both of those statements ring true as a bell. The secular media, though, didn’t know what to make of it. Headlines like the one in The Daily Mail online were just plain funny: “A day after telling Catholics not to obsess with abortion, the pope encourages doctors NOT to perform abortions.”

Stop the presses! The pope isn’t in favor of abortion, after all. For the umpteenth time, I am grateful for the Catholic press, where I know the faithful will be able to find the complete story in its full context. Our story on Pope Francis’ remarkable interview, by the way, is on Page 4 this week. We also take a closer look at our pontiff’s appealing transparency in the editorial (Page 31).

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the 16-page special section on vocations (Pages 9-24). Seven stories look at the balance struck by priests, men and women religious, and deacons as they pray and labor daily in the vineyard of the Lord.

As always, I’d love your thoughts: feedback@osv.com.