Saturday, June 25th, 2022
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
My dear siblings in Christ,
I want to take a moment to address the recent Supreme Court rulings that eliminated restrictions on handguns and overturned Roe vs. Wade which, though anticipated, have caused division among us. In the last few days, I have spent time with people who expressed anger, dread, and fear, some of whom were inconsolable. As bishop, their tears reached into the deepest part of my being. However you feel about these rulings, I ask that your works and actions reflect our Savior’s goodness, mercy, hope and love.
My deep pastoral concern is that these rulings will have a concentrated and adverse effect on women, people of color, the young, the impoverished, and those without access to healthcare. As the Body of Christ, when one person suffers, we all suffer. Therefore, we cannot ignore or dismiss the impact of these rulings on anyone.
Christian communities can be an instrument of witness and a source of hope. Now more than ever, we must now step into the ever-widening breach and be present with all, even as we act to embody Jesus’ clear call to bear the pain and struggle of the poor, the marginalized and the powerless.
Just as they were before these decisions came down, beloved children of God are dying of gun violence, lack of access to quality health care, housing, hunger, and despair. Beloved children of God are being victimized, trafficked, enduring the horror of physical, sexual and domestic abuse. Beloved children of God will make agonizing and prayerful medical decisions. All without a voice. Women, people of color and the poor have been denied their voice for far too long and it must not continue in this direction. As the Church, we must be that voice.
We as a diocese – as one people – are committed to not leaving anyone behind based on where they were born, gender, economic status, religious beliefs, who they love, or how they identify themselves. We will not allow anyone to be marginalized.
We must now redouble our efforts and ministries to ensure equitable access to quality health care for all people. We must ensure access to food, housing, healthcare, childcare, safety and equal rights and voice for all people. We must demonstrate through our faith, words, and actions that we value all people with no exceptions.
God bless you, and know that Christ is with us. To learn more about The Episcopal Church’s position on Abortion and Reproductive Health, please click here.
The Rt. Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania