Bishops encourage Missourians to safeguard sanctity of life


Bishop W. Shawn McKnight and his fellow Roman Catholic bishops of Missouri are urging Missourians to remain vigilant in safeguarding human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

This comes at a time when amendments are being proposed to the state Constitution that would remove hard-fought legal protections for women and preborn children, threatening the dignity of human life in its earliest stages.

“Though several initiatives are being contemplated and none have yet to be finalized for the November 2024 ballot, we encourage all Catholics and people of good will to safeguard as much as possible the fundamental principle of the right to life,” the bishops said in a unified statement Dec. 11.

The statement’s signatories include: Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of St. Louis; Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph; Bishop McKnight; and Bishop Edward M. Rice of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, functioning in their role as officers of the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC).

The bishops reiterated their support for efforts to reduce or eliminate the underlying social causes for abortion by expanding care and resources available to mothers.

“Even with legal protections for the unborn as we have in our state today, more can still be done to build a culture of life,” the bishops noted in their statement.

They said the MCC will continue to collaborate with diocesan pro-life offices and with other pro-life groups to protect the health and safety of women and their children.

The bishops, as they did after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision was overturned in 2022, pointed out that “the Catholic Church stands ready to continue providing spiritual and material support to expectant mothers and their families through our parishes and ministries, and to advocate on their behalf and on behalf of their unborn children at the state and federal levels.”

“We look forward to the day when every child, born and unborn, has the love and support needed to thrive and reach his or her full potential,” the bishops stated.

“Let us pray for a greater recognition of the gift of each and every human life in our society,” they said.

The text of the statement can be found on the MCC website at: