Cardinal Sean O’Malley: The Need for a Love-driven Pro-life Movement

Last year, Cardinal Sean O’Malley gave an outstanding homily at the Vigil for Life. As Anusia Dickow explained, “Cardinal O’Malley called us to shift the paradigm of the pro-life movement to one of accompaniment.” His homily from this year’s Mass was likewise rich in insight.

Cardinal Sean explained the need for pro-lifers to embrace a love-based approach:

“We shall overcome the indifference only by love. A love that will allow us to see in every unborn child a precious gift, a fellow human being.”

“Christ has given us the formula for joy in the Gospel. We must learn to look on people with love. An attitude of judgmental self righteousness is not going to change peoples’ attitudes and save babies.”

“To change people’s hearts we must love them and they must realize that we care about them. They need the witness of our love and our joy. To evangelize is to be a messenger of joy, of good news.”

“We must work tirelessly to change the unjust laws, but we must work even harder to change hearts, to build a civilization of love. Solidarity and community are the antidotes to the individualism and alienation that lead people on the path of abortion and euthanasia.”

He explained the need for a whole life approach that includes poverty reduction and concern for the vulnerable:

“Part of the Gospel of Life has to be about loving and helping the poor. Indeed, reducing poverty will also reduce the number of abortions. Poor and low income women account for more than half of the abortions performed each year in our country.”

“What must characterize the pro-life movement is a special love for the poor, the marginalized, the suffering, and especially human life that is in danger of being discarded.”

“The Pro Life movement in the Catholic Church is about overcoming that indifference, indifference to the suffering of a woman in a difficult pregnancy, indifference to the voiceless child who is destined to be part of the statistic of a million killed in the womb each year, indifferent to the poverty and suffering of so many.”

He also addressed some of misconceptions present in the abortion debate:

“Earlier this month in an op-ed on the editorial page of the New York Times entitled, The Abortion Stereotype, Razib Kahn observes that in polling done over the last 20 years, women have been consistently more pro-life than men.”

“If abortion depended on the ballot box rather than an activist court, it would be greatly reduced.”

“Even a majority of so-called pro-choice Americans actually favor informed consent for mothers, abortion bans in the third trimester, bans on partial-birth abortions, required parental consent for minors, 24 hour waiting periods and even abortion bans in the second trimester. These are polls by Gallup, CBS and the New York Times, not by EWTN, Catholic University and the Vatican.”

“It is good to recall that even if all the myths were true that the American people, women and youth were overwhelmingly in favor of abortion, that would not alter the sacredness of human life and our absolute obligation to protect and defend this most precious gift that is life.”