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March for Life: homilies of Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop Dolan

Catholic World News - January 24, 2012

During the eve and early morning of the March for Life in Washington, over 20,000 pilgrims attended the National Prayer Vigil for Life, held at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The vigil included two Masses, confessions, the Rosary, Night Prayer in the Byzantine Rite, six holy hours led by seminarians, Lauds, and Benediction.

“We are nearing the 40th year anniversary of Roe versus Wade,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston preached at the opening Mass. “53 million children have lost their lives since then; millions of men and women have lives that will never be the same because of their tragic choices. Our embrace of life must be clear. As we mourn the loss of precious human lives, most of them without a name but always known by the Lord, we cannot let our resolve to pray and work for change be such as to use so stringent a rhetoric against those hostile to us that we foreclose change and repentance. Yes, the Lord through his Son weeps over the loss of life; His simultaneous compassion and mercy opens up forgiveness to those who have greatly sinned. The more wounded his sinful children become the more he promises mercy and invitation to conversion.”

“Disturbing news came to us Friday from HHS and the Obama Administration: it fundamentally repeated the mandate that sterilization and contraception must be included in virtually all health plans,” he added. “Never before in our US history has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase what violates our beliefs. At issue here … is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for conscience and religious liberty.”

“From a human point of view, we may be tempted to surrender, when our government places conception, pregnancy and birth under the ‘Center for Disease Control,’ when chemically blocking conception or aborting the baby in the womb is considered a ‘right’ to be subsidized by others who abhor it, when the ability of feeding, housing, and healing the struggling of the world is curtailed and impeded if one does not also help women abort their babies,” Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York preached at the closing Mass.

We “whisper ‘thanks be to God’ as we behold untold numbers of young people with passion for the culture of life, those of us old enough to recall 39 years ago when sophisticated voices told us that the ‘pro-life movement’ was just a momentary fad that would soon crash upon the shores of a ‘brave new world,’” he added. “We veterans who now smile as the pro-life cause is acknowledged as today’s premiere civil rights movement still, in spite of editorial pages and chic tsk-tsk the most pivotal, burning issue on the campaign trail.”

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