Bronia Karniewicz: identity drives our mission

08 Oct 2008

By The Record

Who are we? The Perth Archdiocesan Respect Life Office.


Bronia Karniewicz


I am often asked “what exactly is the Respect Life Office?”  Consequently I thought this a good opportunity to share a little on who we are and what we do.
The Perth Archdiocesan Respect Life Office, affectionately known as the RLO, was an intuitive move by Archbishop Hickey, opened in 2003 with the aim to promote the dignity of all human life within Perth and build up a community knowledgeable on authentic truth and love.
The office is particularly inspired by the late Holy Father John Paul II’s great encyclical of life Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life” and we work to promote the new culture of life and love that John Paul II inspired and encouraged us towards. Principally the RLO is an information resource for schools, media, members of parliament and any other interested individuals on issues of life.
We work to clarify the true teachings of the Catholic church and to help people better understand the true dignity of the human person, especially in issues such as contraception, sexuality, abortion, reproductive technologies (IVF and surrogacy) euthanasia, stem cells and cloning.
Of course we cannot consider the issues without thinking of the people involved, this is of the utmost importance. John Paul II had a profound way of looking at the person and their experience.
This personal approach of John Paul II is a great influence on the RLO. We work from the knowledge that our Christian faith brings a just and loving response to the value of each and every human life and every situation faced. It is the work of the RLO to continue actively promoting the dignity of all human life. The activities of the RLO are to have a presence in the media, conduct schools presentations, organise Respect Life Sunday – a day designated each year to promote life issues – and to arrange Embrace the Grace, a youth conference designed to inspire and encourage young people in their faith and knowledge through thought provoking speakers, music, drama and fun.
A particular quote from Evangelium Vitae encompasses the attitude and work of the RLO: “It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasp its utter gratuitousness, its beauty and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person His living image” Evangelium Vitae 83 Gospel of Life.
No matter what issues we face the Catholic Church recognises the state of our culture and the difficulty of applying ethical principles to certain cases.
The RLO is involved in the Catholic Churches response to invite people to see the wisdom of the teachings that are also written in their hearts and seen in their life experience.