SAN DIEGO — Addressing the San Diego Walk for Life, Cardinal Robert W. McElroy recognized the historic victory achieved on behalf of the unborn but stressed, “We have a lot of work to do.”
Around 1,700 turned out for the bilingual event, the largest gathering of the pro-life community in the San Diego region, held at Waterfront Park on Jan. 14. Families, 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 signs and banners.
The cardinal pointed to the other reality the pro-life community faced last year in California: The overwhelming approval by voters of Proposition 1, which added the right to abortion to the state constitution.
He spoke about the lesson the pro-life community could draw from Proposition 1 to continue 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 people of faith 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 four speakers who addressed the participants of the Walk for Life, which in its 11th year had as a theme “Changing Hearts, Saving Lives.” The others were Greg Butler, from Your Life Began at Conception; Brylee Green, a teenage mother who opted to place her baby for adoption instead of getting an abortion; and Star Parker, a nationally recognized pro-life advocate.
The walk had a festive vibe from the beginning. Composer-singer Santiago Fernández provided the musical entertainment during the 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 the 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 Orthodox and Protestant churches. Around 50 organizations had informational tables at the event.
Cardinal McElroy and Auxiliary Bishop Bejarano led the walk on the heavily transited streets around the County Administration Building. The participants joyously hoisted signs. Among the ones seen year after year was one that read: “I Am the Post-Roe Generation.”
Bilingual information is available at sdcatholic.org/lpj.
Cardinal’s Message at Walk for Life
The following is the text of Cardinal Robert W. McElroy’s remarks at the 11th annual San Diego Walk for Life on Jan. 14:
“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 1.
“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 1 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. … 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.”