Statement of the Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, on the reissuing of
The Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr, and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers
On October 31, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed St. Thomas More to be the patron of statesmen and politicians (in addition to lawyers): “His life teaches us that government is above all an exercise of virtue what enlightened his conscience was the sense that man cannot be sundered from God, nor politics from morality.”
On September 30, 2004, my predecessor Bishop Michael Saltarelli issued his Litany with these words: “I share this Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers in a true spirit of compassion for all politicians who sincerely strive to serve the nation and the world with good will. I ask you to pray especially for politicians who take public anti-life positions. It is my belief that if we pray for them in a spirit of gospel and Eucharistic charity, we may begin to see substantial changes in their public positions May the ‘Man for All Seasons’ inspire us to be faithful to the Gospel in season and out of season.”
Since that time, the Litany has been prayed by Senators and Representatives in the Halls of Congress. Our Saint Thomas More Society of dedicated Catholic lawyers prays it at the conclusion of their Red Mass and Spring Banquet. A University of Delaware engineering Professor prays the Litany with his family every night in October, Respect Life Month.
One of our Catholic high school religion teachers reports that the sentence “Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life – the foundation of all other human rights” has had a powerful formational effect on his students.
The defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life is the foundation of any promotion of human rights and all efforts to serve the poor. Together, with courage and perseverance, we continue to fight for the right to life of all human beings from conception until natural death. It is a fight Christians have waged since the very beginning of the Church in the First Century A.D. and is the greatest civil rights battle of our time.
Thank you for joining me in praying this litany for all statesmen, politicians, judges and lawyers daily during October 2008, Respect Life Month. In addition, the Litany will be prayed at the conclusion of every Mass in the Diocese on the weekend of October 25-26, 2008.
Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of Wilmington
September 25, 2008