A message from Bishop Kemme on “Value Them Both.”
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I have always thought that among all the physical disabilities, being blind would be the worst. Consider how life would be so different and challenging, not being able to see in order to move freely and safely or to see the faces of the ones we love or the many beautiful things in creation, like a sunset or sunrise or a mountain or landscape. Life would be shapeless and colorless; our world would be darkness. Such was the case with the man in today’s Gospel, Bartimaeus, that is until the day the Lord passed his way. In this encounter, which we heard so clearly in the Gospel, Jesus cured his blindness, but even more than that gave him the light of faith, for having been given back his sight, he immediately followed him on the way. He became not just a man with restored sight, but a disciple, who spent the rest of his life no longer on the roadside as a beggar, but now a disciple on mission with Jesus. Like Bartimaeus, we too come to the Lord this day crying out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on us.” And “Master, I want to see.” Why? Because so many of us come with degrees of spiritual blindness, often unable to see the goodness of God in ourselves, in the world and in others. If we allow Jesus to touch us, as surely as he desires to, we will be restored to see the unmistakable presence of the Lord in our lives, in the Church he founded and in each other. But let me speak now of a particular blindness that grips so many in the world today, the blindness to the dignity of the human person, especially at his or her earliest stages, the life of the unborn. So many in our society are blind to the reality that the unborn child is just that, a person, one created in the image and likeness of God, with inalienable rights and inherent dignity. Many see the unborn child as problem to be fixed or a difficulty to be overcome. The abortion industry, the greatest evil of our world and the greatest enemy to God’s creation exists to eliminate this so-called problem by the willful killing of unwanted, unborn children, all to the number of nearly 1 million each year in the United States. So, we can see how blind so many are to this and the unspeakable loss of so much human life as a result.
Between now and next August, we here in the State of Kansas have an opportunity to do something about this by the passage of the Value Them Both Amendment to our state constitution. This is an incredibly important amendment that will restore much if not all of the pro-life legislation so many have worked so hard over the past five decades to get passed, legislation that for all intents and purposes has been rendered unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court’s 2019 decision enshrining the right to abortion virtually in all circumstances. While the passage of Value Them Both does not ban abortion completely, it does return the abortion industry in our State of Kansas to important oversight and regulation and will thus save thousands of children from being aborted and protect their mothers by ensuring such things as parental notification, clinic licensing, restrictions in the second and third trimester and informed consent. These are critically important protections that save lives.
As your bishop, I am asking each of you and all people of good will to prayerfully reflect and consider the Value Them Both Amendment. We need each of you to get involved and to speak to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers about this amendment. We need all of you who are eligible to vote to go the primaries next August and vote YES to Value Them Both. And we need your financial support between now and then so that all the pro-life organizations including the Kansas Catholic Conference can continue this important work of getting Value Them Both passed. You should have all received an appeal letter from me this past week. I hope you will join me in being extra-generous so that we will have the necessary funds to combat the abortion industry which will bring far greater resources to defeat this amendment. St. Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr of the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland during World War II once said, “The deadliest poison of our time is indifference.” Indifference is a kind of willful blindness of some that refuses to see what is clearly in front of them. I pray that in this life changing and life saving effort, Value Them Both, none of us will be indifferent or blind to the needs of the unborn and their mothers, but that we will see them as our brothers and sisters and use our voices and our votes to help them survive the evils of the abortion industry in our society. We can do this! All we need is a simple majority to vote Yes to Value Them Both. Will you join me in this effort? Thank you!
Father Hien Nguyen