Face of pro-life movement “more youthful”
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations expressed his gratitude for the efforts of young people to promote human life and dignity, noting that the face of the pro-life movement is becoming “more and more youthful.”
Archbishop Bernardito Auza was speaking last week at an event honoring Lila Rose, a pro-life activist who gained fame for exposing the illicit practices of the abortion industry.
“I would like to thank Lila Rose for all her work in the defense of the unborn and for the enthusiasm with which she transmits and shares to so many young people the unconditional love for life in all in phases,” said Archbishop Auza.
Rose founded the organization Live Action to advocate on life issues, and in 2014 was named among “25 Most Influential Washington Women Under 35” by National Journal.
Archbishop Auza cited her work as an example of “bravery and youthfulness” in the defense of life.
The full remarks by Archbishop Auza are given below
Remarks of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
at a C0nference-Rally:
Young and Courageous, Because Life Can’t Wait: Lila Rose in Person
United Nations, New York, March 12, 2015
Excellencies, Colleagues, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with pleasure that I welcome you to tonight’s presentation on the courage so many young people are showing in the defense and promotion of human life and dignity.
Here in the United States and across the world, the face of the pro-life movement is becoming more and more youthful. The annual March for Life in Washington demonstrates an ever greater awareness among the young for the precious gift of life. We also see so many young faces in prayer services, prayer rallies and other forms of public witness. We behold them volunteering to care for pregnant mothers in need and for the sick and elderly. A great number of youth regularly cross the road and travel the world to help lift up the poor and needy, to share knowledge and express solidarity. They stand up against what Pope Francis calls a “throwaway culture.” This evening, you represent all these courageous young people.
They are signs of a springtime of respect for the human person that fills society with hope. The courage they display in giving this selfless service and witness encourages us all. And there’s a great need for this courage because forming a culture that gives every human being the respect, welcome and love each person deserves will never be quick or easy. It requires perseverance. It needs the grit to continue to stand up for those who have no standing, even when the temptation toward discouragement can set in and the headwinds are very strong.
It can be tempting on occasion to become fixed in adversarial categories of “us” versus “them,” to write others off, to abandon hope of some people’s ever changing. Arm yourselves with love and mercy, friendship and respect for all. We can possess these virtues only if we ourselves work hard for our own personal conversion.
Last month Pope Francis sent a letter to the young people of the world in anticipation of the 30th World Youth Day in which he repeated Jesus’ challenge in the Sermon on the Mount for us to become “pure of heart.” The clean of heart, Pope Francis reminded us, are those Jesus says “will see God.” The pure of heart see differently than the rest.
Pope Francis challenges us all to be able to discern and then correct the things that defile our hearts and blur our vision, so that we can form our conscience rightly and sensibly, so that we will not fail to see the image of God, not to mention recognize the humanity, of those who are defenseless, from womb to natural death, so that we will not neglect those who are on the margins of society and the extremes of illness and life.
It’s hard work to keep an upright heart and a clean conscience. It’s hard work to strive to see and to reverence the image of God in others, especially when others might not be living according to God’s likeness. But this is essential work if we’re ever going to help others see the way God teaches us how to see others.
Addressing the young people in the Philippines last January, the Pope told them that the most important lesson that we have to learn in life is to learn how to love. This is the challenge that life sets before you today: not just how to accumulate information, not even just to espouse a cause however just it may be, but learning how to love. There will come a time when you won’t know what to do with all the information you gather from all sorts of sources, and your energy and enthusiasm for your causes will wane. All this information and all your energy for good causes can bear fruit only through love.
I would like to thank Lila Rose for all her work in the defense of the unborn and for the enthusiasm with which she transmits and shares to so many young people the unconditional love for life in all in phases. Thank you, Lila!
I am grateful for the witness of your courage and vitality. How important this bravery and youthfulness are in the protection and fostering of the most precious gift of all, and the most fundamental human right of all, namely, life!
Thank you very much!