Bishop Nickless


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Bishop Nickless’ homilies

Planned Parenthood closings illustrate a victory of prayer

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Praised be Jesus Christ, who has risen from the dead and makes all things new again! I hope you will rejoice with me in last week’s news that four of the Planned Parenthood abortion mills in Iowa are closing at the end of this month. This is a great victory of prayer and witness for life and for hope, in the midst of the culture of death which so much surrounds us.

I am so grateful to all those who have engaged in this spiritual battle over the years, most obviously through Forty Days for Life, and through private, fervent, daily devotions and rosaries offered for an end to the scourge of abortion in our midst.

I am also grateful to those who staff and operate Mary’s Choice, which is next door to the Sioux City Planned Parenthood facility. Their presence has made a difference.

Prayer is our greatest and most effective weapon against evil. Along with prayer is our daily witness of the grace and mercy of Christ in our lives, our marriages, our homes. Even when we are scorned and ridiculed for our faith, we must continue to hold fast to the Gospel and insist that we have the right (and the duty) to be publicly Catholic. More than anything else, it is the committed prayer and daily witness of us as disciples that brings peace to worldly troubles and overcomes worldly evils.

From that platform of prayer and witness, we are also called to act publicly in accordance with our faith. One of the things this means is that we must not support pro-abortion politicians and parties. In so many things that engage us as a people, we may choose one option or another, and support our choice morally. But in a small number of issues, of which abortion is the chief and most destructive and vicious, the bottom line is an intrinsic evil that must never be supported, but always clearly opposed. We cannot pray for an end to abortion in private, and then support pro-abortion politicians in public and believe that we are consistently following Christ. It is simply a contradiction.

In this case, both prayer and voting pro-life have been necessary. The particular trigger for this decision is the transferring by the state government of more than $3 million in state and federal funding for women’s health and family planning, from Planned Parenthood to other health centers which do not perform either chemical or surgical abortions. Women will now have many more options for their health care – more than 200 clinics across the state will now receive this money.

Consider for a moment the implications of this cause. Your tax money, which by law may not be used for abortions, has been propping open the doors of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country. At the same time, this company and all its spineless shills in government office, the media, and elsewhere, brazenly lie that abortion is not its main purpose. Regardless of our political leanings, none of us can be happy to be so lied to for so long.

The truth is now undeniably obvious. This company is now admitting that it cannot be economically successful without abortions and without tax subsidies. They have no other reason for existing, and when the prop is taken away, the doors close. I am happy these doors are closing, because they never opened onto anyone’s good.

Yet, let’s also not forget to pray for all women who find themselves in a difficult pregnancy, all doctors who perform and provide abortions and all workers at the clinics who now are unemployed. All lives are important and every person deserves the dignity and love that the church can offer.

We have won a significant victory, but the larger struggle continues. We remain surrounded by the culture of death. All the cultural forces that undermine the enduring values of marriage, family and the dignity of each person continue to gnaw away at our foundations. We must continue diligently and faithfully to pray and work for the protection of every human life at all stages of life.

Again, we need to remember, the people who support evils like abortion are not themselves evil. We must not hate them, or gloat over them, or show them by our words or actions that they are our enemy.

Certainly, we oppose them in the evils being supported. But we call them, God calls them, to a deeper conversion. The good that we seek is not only that abortion should never be practiced, but that, like slavery before it, abortion should become unthinkable.

This can only happen by the power of God changing minds and hearts, just as he has changed us. In our prayer and witness, we must also pray for them, and show them as far as possible the beauty and power of God’s infinite mercy for all sinners.

Please pray for me, and for each other in every circumstance and struggle, just as I pray always for all of you. May the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ renew every heart to love God and neighbor more perfectly!

Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City


June 1, 2017: Planned Parenthood closings illustrate a victory of prayer

May 18, 2017: Holy Spirit lives within each of us

May 4, 2017: Praise, thanks to God for all his gifts

April 20, 2017: Joy of Easter at heart of Gospel

 April 6, 2017: Easter’s joy awaits us

March 23, 2017: Lent calls faithful to greater discipline, renewal of sacrifice

March 9, 2017: Confession important opportunity of Lent

March 9, 2017: Give generously to Catholic Relief Services Collection

March 9, 2017: Bishop commutes Lenten obligation for March 17 

February 23, 2017: Lent is a time to pause, turn to God

February 9, 2017: Valuing the covenant of marriage 

February 9, 2017: Bishop releases immigration statement

January 26: 2017: Catholic Schools: Instruments to spread Gospel, do Lord’s work

January 12, 2017: Forming best plan to journey forward

December 22, 2016: Catholic Charities offers support, guidance

December 22, 2016: Welcome Christ into your hearts with joy and love

December 8, 2016: Faith, hope and love: Celebrate Christmas for the right reasons 

November 17, 2016: Pledged to be true servants of Christ

October 20, 2016: Rely on God’s mercy to avoid devilish influences

October 6, 2016: Worldly culture committed to lies cannot bring about peace, justice

September 22, 2016: Pastoral planning committee reviews, evaluates feedback

August 25, 2016: Spending deliberate time in prayer enhances other areas of our lives

August 11, 2016: Prayers for youth, adults as they prepare to go back to school

July 28, 2016: Voters must be Catholic first

July 14, 2016: Ordination offers opportunity to evaluate diocesan needs

June 20, 2016: Seeking the face of Christ in suffering 

June 16, 2016: Keep the faith this summer

May 19, 2016: Be aware of God’s presence

May 5, 2016: Pastoral care for families: God’s plan for marriage, family taught by Jesus Christ

April 21, 2016: Papal document affirms marriage

April 7, 2016: Pray, discern God’s will during pastoral planning process

March 24, 2016: Find joy in exultation of Jesus

March 10, 2016: No longer time to coast, Lent brings time for conversion

February 11, 2016: Trusting in Lord’s mercy, seek a deeper conversion of heart

January 28, 2016: Being a good disciple is giving a consistent witness to Christ

January 14, 2016: Pray, work more willingly for end to scourge of abortion

December 17, 2015: Jubilee Year of Mercy:  Birth of Christ opens door of mercy

December 3, 2015: Diocese of Sioux City promulgates safe environment program

November 19, 2015: SPOTLIGHT: Movie reminds us to be vigilant

November 5, 2015: GOD’S MERCY: Moving sinners to conversion 

October 15, 2015: Family life: Faithful families know hope and joy

October 1, 2015: Pope’s visit a joyful one

September 17, 2015: Pray for safe travels, success of family meeting and for pope

September 3, 2015: Families contribute to student faith, school success

August 6, 2015: Caring for the most vulnerable

July 23, 2015: Build laws on good laws and truth

July 9, 2015: SUPREME COURT DECISION: Rejecting four marks of natural marriage 

June 25, 2015: POPE’S ENCYCLICAL: Boldly confronts us about creation, bishop says

June 11, 2015: Being a disciple of Christ

May 14, 2015: United with Christ in this life

April 30, 2015: Prayers sought as priest changed implemented

April 16, 2015: Mercy asks to seek opportunities for forgiveness and healing of sin

April 2, 2015: Seeking full, perfect union with Jesus

March 19, 2015: Turning back to the Lord during Lent 

March 5, 2015: Celebrating the charisms of professed vocations

March 5, 2015: Diocese to take up collection for Catholic Relief Services

Feb. 19, 2015: SEASON OF LENT:  Time of contrition, penance

Feb. 5, 2015: Bishop comments on Pope Francis’s remarks on children, family size

Jan. 22, 2015: Uphold human dignity, recommit to light and mission of Christ

Dec. 18, 2014: Blessings of the Season: God wills each of us gifts of grace and holiness

Dec. 4, 2014: Embrace spirit of gratitude, humility this Advent Season

Nov. 6, 2014: Bishop asks for prayers for vocations

Oct. 16, 2014: Don’t lower the bar to achieve holiness