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Cardinal at SD Walk for Life: ‘We have a lot of work to do’

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SAN DIEGO — Cardinal Robert McElroy congratulated the 1,700 participants in the San Diego Walk for Life on Jan. 14 for their tireless defense of the unborn but stressed, “We have a lot of work to do.”

The event, the largest gathering of the pro-life community in the San Diego region, was held at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. Families, groups of young people, members of parishes, ministries, schools and clergy came bundled up for the rain, which was forecast but never materialized.

The cardinal acknowledged the momentous ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the question of abortion to the states. As he spoke, participants cheered joyously, lifting the signs and banners. (See his complete remarks below.)

The cardinal pointed to the other reality the pro-life community faced last year: The overwhelming approval by California voters of Proposition One, which added the right to abortion to the state constitution.

He spoke about the lesson the pro-life community could draw from Proposition One to advocate for the unborn.

“I believe the way (the campaign) succeeded was by simply excluding from consideration the unborn child,” the cardinal said. “It really annihilated the moral identity of children in the womb by ignoring them. And we cannot let that happen.”

He urged the participants to talk to family members and friends about how unborn children are human beings deserving of protection.

“Once we get into a conversation with people about the moral reality of the unborn child, that these are human beings, then the pro-life cause will be victorious,” the cardinal said.

He was the last of five speakers who addressed the participants of the Walk for Life, which had as a theme “Changing Hearts, Saving Lives” in its 11th edition.

The walk had a festive vibe from the beginning. Composer-singer Santiago Fernández provided the musical entertainment during the bilingual event, emceed by María Olivia “Marioly” Galván, chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, and Pastor Jack McDonnell, of The Tribe Church. Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano led to opening prayer.

The Walk for Life was organized by the diocese in collaboration with many organizations, including clinics, pregnancy resource centers, adoption agencies, ministries and churches. Around 50 organizations had informational tables at the event.

The following is the text of Cardinal McElroy’s remarks at the 11th annual San Diego Walk for Life:

“You know, last year, when we were all gathered here together, we were waiting in great hopefulness that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. And we saw that happen, when the Dobbs decision came down, which allows states to regulate to protect human life in the womb.

“And yet, amidst that hopefulness we also went through the campaign in California, Proposition One.

“I want to affirm all that the pro-life community has been doing to emphasize that its mission in defense of human life is also a mission in defense of women and women who are pregnant. That has been such a hopeful theme in the pro-life movement in the last decade and I congratulate you on that and I pray that all of you will work and continue that theme because it’s so important in building bridges with the wider society and in witnessing to the real needs that women have.

“But I also want to point out something that we need to work on that came from the Proposition One campaign and our experience in it.  I believe the way it succeeded was by simply excluding from consideration the unborn child. It really annihilated the moral identity of children in the womb by ignoring them. And we cannot let that happen.

“I believe that’s the focus we need to have going forward — to speak with our families and friends and witness in our communities to the reality of the moral identity of unborn children as children of God. And really, once we do this, once we get into a conversation with people about the moral reality of the unborn child, that these are human beings, then the pro-life cause will be victorious. It’s only when the identity of the unborn child is excluded and set aside, only then that those who are pressing for laws to protect the unborn children will be defeated. So, I thank you for all that you are doing.

“This is a wonderful turnout. It’s all people, all ages, all cultures, all faiths coming together to witness to life from conception to natural death.

“We have a lot of work to do.

“But again, I hope and pray that all of us can begin by focusing on our relationships, talking with others about what is the moral reality of the unborn child and focusing on that image and that truth in the light of our faith, in the light of God, who is the author of all life.”

 

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