Archbishop urges prayer, action in face of SB175

Says Catholics can make a stand for life in opposing 'right to abortion' bill

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila is inviting all Coloradans of goodwill to spend 10 minutes in prayer over the weekend, and to take action against a proposed bill that would enshrine the “right to abortion” into state law.

Click here to read Archbishop Aquila’s “Open letter to Coloradans of good will” 

Click here to read Archbishop Aquila’s “Carta abierta a los católicos del norte de Colorado”

In a letter issued Friday afternoon, the archbishop informed the faithful of Senate Bill 175, the Reproductive Health Freedom Act, which passed through committee on party lines last Thursday.

“This over-reaching piece of legislation would essentially shut down any attempt to pass life-affirming legislation in Colorado ever again,” the archbishop stated. “It enshrines the culture of death into law and ignores science.”

He noted that the bill would affect the ability of Coloradans to enact legislation requiring ultrasounds, waiting periods, and parental involvement for minors. It would also prevent any type of regulation on abortion pills, even for minors.

“Advocates of this bill seek the absolute ‘right to abortion’ for girls as young as 10 or 11 without a parent’s knowledge, guidance or advice,” the archbishop notes. “Parents are seen as unfit in the moral guidance of their children.”

The letter comes on the same day that Pope Francis came out with some of his strongest statements in favor of children, in which he stated that “human life is sacred and inviolable.”

“Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right of life,” the pope added, “which is not subordinated to any condition, either qualitative or economic and least of all ideological.”

“This bill would protect the ‘only one form of thought’ that Pope Francis warns against and undermine the freedom of one’s conscience to promote the dignity of human life and the unborn child,” Archbishop Aquila wrote.

He also noted that the bill would eliminate what pro-abortion activists call “burdensome” abortion clinic health code regulations. “Remember Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia, and the horrific images and stories of women nearly dying on the abortionist’s table?” he asked. “That is what an unregulated abortion clinic looks like! This bill is not good for the women and girls of Colorado!”

Archbishop Aquila asked all Coloradans to spend at least 10 minutes in prayer, to “plead to Our Lord for His intercession on behalf of life in Colorado,” as well as for the “conversion of the heart and mind of those who support such irrational, unscientific, and a denial of conscience legislation.”

“But don’t stop there,” he added. “As a conclusion of your prayer, ask Our Lord what action he wants from you. You are called to be a leaven for good and for life in society.”

Some ideas he gives include writing to State Senators, contacting the media and spreading the word in each person’s social networks.

“It would be a beautiful testimony on the part of the people of Colorado who support life if each senator in Colorado would wake up on Monday morning with hundreds of emails asking them to oppose SB175,” he noted.

Finally, he encourages Coloradans to be “people of hope.”

“Many of you have lost faith in politics, but remember that attitude is not of God,” he wrote. “Christians are a people of hope! No action taken in defense of life is meaningless, particularly if it comes from a place of prayer and the Gospel.”

“Together we can make a stand for life here in Colorado!” he concluded.

For more information on SB175, or information on how to contact your senator, contact the Colorado Catholic Conference. Call 303-894-8808 or visit their website: www.cocatholicconference.org.

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.