Retired Bishop Calls on Fellow Bishops, Pro-Lifers to Stay Focused on Culture of Life

Bishop Pfeifer also highlighted the importance of winning hearts and minds and building a life-affirming society where abortion becomes unthinkable.

Bishop Michael Pfeifer was Bishop of San Angelo, Texas, from 1985 to 2013.
Bishop Michael Pfeifer was Bishop of San Angelo, Texas, from 1985 to 2013. (photo: Courtesy photo / Diocese of San Angelo)

An emeritus Texas bishop is calling on his fellow Catholic bishops — and all pro-life people — to focus on creating a culture of life following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“2023 is the first full year without Roe v. Wade, but thousands of precious babies are still being killed by abortion,” Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, bishop emeritus of San Angelo, wrote in a January pastoral statement marking 50 years since the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that previously legalized abortion nationwide.

He cautioned: “The abortion lobby is spending many millions of dollars, including your taxpayer dollars, on a comprehensive strategy to expand abortion even more this year.”

Bishop Pfeifer, who served San Angelo from 1985 to 2013, stressed that the Church and all pro-life people still “have much work to do in promoting pro-life messages to its own members and society at large.”

Citing Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, the vice president of the U.S. Catholic bishops, Bishop Pfeifer pointed to the “many efforts at a presidential and many at a congressional level to use power to facilitate abortion.”

His comments come after President Joe Biden, a Catholic, issued a statement in support of abortion to commemorate the anniversary of the now-obsolete Roe v. Wade decision.

Biden, Bishop Pfeifer said, “needs to remember there are no abortion rights in the Constitution nor in the Commandments of God.”

In his statement, Bishop Pfeifer called on the bishops to remain unified on the pro-life issue.

“Our clear teaching has the goal of addressing the sacredness of all human life at all stages of life, and to use all the means we have guided by the Holy Spirit to overcome attacks on life and to promote and protect the life of every human being from the very beginning, and to ensure that pregnant and parenting mothers are fully supported in the care of their children before and after birth,” he said.

“This must be our strong, clear message for all pro-lifers and with political leaders at all levels,” he added. “We bishops need to be more proactive in leading these pro-life efforts and especially with our president and other elected officials.”

Bishop Pfeifer also condemned government funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and increased access to abortion drugs. At the same time, he commended pro-life legislation, such the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bishop Pfeifer wrote that the pro-life movement has the “God-given tools” to end abortion and build a culture of life while noting the need for the involvement of the entire community, including young people.

He outlined specific actions, such as more weekly pro-life Masses, adoration, fasting, and prayer, including, praying in front of Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.

Bishop Pfeifer also highlighted the importance of winning hearts and minds and building a life-affirming society where abortion becomes unthinkable.

“It is urgent that we also take more courageous and unified action as bishops to encourage members of Congress and our president to pass legislation that advances the health, safety and flourishing of women, children, and families,” he wrote, “and we strongly encourage the passage of bills that support and fund families, such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and support for child tax credit, paid family leave, pregnancy resource centers, child care, housing and nutrition, maternal and child health, adoption, healthy relations, for environmental protections and inclusion of immigrant families in social programs.”

The government’s “most sacred duty,” he wrote, “is to safeguard the lives of all Americans beginning with the most vulnerable and weakest, the unborn child.”

Bishop Pfeifer identified the threat of abortion and protecting the unborn as the “preeminient life issue.”

“This brutal daily killing of these precious sacred images of God should cause all pro-lifers, especially bishops, to fall on our knees in prayerful repentance and reparation, pleading for God’s forgiveness and mercy as we humbly admit before the Lord that we could have and should do much more to prevent the massive daily destruction of tiny, precious human lives,” he wrote.

“God created the human person in the divine image and likeness as the pinnacle of all creation,” he concluded. “Each of us including the unborn share in the image of God’s glory. Human life as a gift from God is sacred and inviolable.”