The Pastoral Letter can be found here.
Risa Hontiveros’ letter can be found here.
You begin with a reference to the numerous points in the Bishops’ letter and the claim, “Most of them are old points that have been raised and clarified repeatedly in so many debates and too few dialogues in the past decade, though it drives me almost to tears that it seems the good Bishops have not been listening intently or understanding with empathy.” Madame, the Bishops do indeed, throughout the course of their entire letter, address points that have been raised and clarified repeatedly, not merely in the past decade, but for as many centuries as Mother Church has stood, her leaders – their authority passed down in a direct line from Christ and the Twelve Apostles – protected by the Spirit with regards to the dogma of our faith, having not once, ever, in all these centuries, wavered in its defense of the dignity of human life. It is a miracle, a witness, and a gift of Love Himself, that these good Bishops and all who have come before them, have not tired and given up on humanity with its seeming determination to undermine and ultimately destroy this innate dignity given to us by our Creator.
I speak to you, woman to woman, with the respect that you choose to believe you do not receive from these good men of God.
It is true, “You do not have a soul. You are a soul; you have a body.” This, I believe we agree on. But neither your body nor your soul was given to you without an ultimate purpose by which alone you will be fulfilled. You claim to have the right to responsibly and joyfully make decisions about your body, decisions that no one else can or should make for you. I also believe this to be true; but only insofar as those decisions do not defy the Will of the One Who gave you free will. Yes, your free will is a gift, and it can be misused; just because you have it does not mean there is no distinction between good and evil; just because you have it does not mean that there are no consequences (or rewards) to your choices… And just because you have free will does not mean you cannot discern or adhere to the Will of God.
The Bishops – the Church – march for Life; Life from natural conception to natural death; they march for Life that has its difficulties, that is not founded on instant gratification or convenience, that requires us to die to ourselves and be born again in Love; they march for the Life that it would appear you do not yet have the courage to stand for.
Madame, God does not punish us; we punish ourselves. We suffer on this earth because we allow things to come between us and heaven, often even deliberately and consciously hammering these things into place with our own hands. If your sisters do not have the chance to enjoy the fullness of life, from birth and girlhood to the childbearing years to menopause or climacterium and then death, it is due to the sin of men, not the neglect or unthinkingness or injustice of God. Perhaps your sisters do not have this chance at Life because they were never allowed by man to exist at all.