- Trying to square the circle
The opening days of the Synod on the Family have revealed distinct differences of opinion between the participants. How can their commitment to church teaching be matched with compassion for those who struggle with it?
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Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Chairman of the United States Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, delivered a particularly provocative homily at the Vigil Mass yesterday before today’s annual March for Life in Washington.
O’Malley said, “The Church with the candour of a child must call out the uncomfortable truth. Abortion is wrong. Thou shall not kill.”
Cardinal O’Malley then dedicated a large part of his homily to the need to respect and support women who face crisis pregnancies. Preaching on the Gospel text of the woman caught in the act of adultery, O’Malley said, “The feelings of the woman in the Gospel must be like the young woman caught in a crisis situation of an unwanted pregnancy. She feels overwhelmed, alone, afraid, confused. We must never allow that woman to perceive the Pro-Life movement as a bunch of angry self-righteous Pharisees with stones in their hands, looking down on her and judging her.”
Cardinal O’Malley invoked Pope Francis in urging the Pro-Life movement to reflect the merciful face of God in dealing with other people.
He also linked the incidence of abortion to poverty. “The majority of women who succumb to abortion are poor,” he said. “Poverty is a dehumanising force that leads people to feel trapped and to make this horrible choice. The Gospel of Life demands that we work for economic justice in our country and in our world. In a society where the rich are getting ever richer and the poor poorer, abortion looms ever larger.”
The March for Life today is expected to attract thousands of participants. It is held each year on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal throughout the US.
Above: March for Life participants head up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court in Washington DC on Wednesday 22 January. Photo: CNS/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters