The staff of the Pro-Life Action League was watching with great anticipation this week to see who would be chosen by the College of Cardinals to be the new Pope. We knew that, whoever he was, he would be strongly committed to the pro-life cause—but we couldn’t be more delighted with the choice of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.
It has also been gratifying to see Francis’s election greeted with so much joy the League’s many non-Catholic supporters and allies, who recognize the importance of strong Catholic leadership to the pro-life cause in the United States and throughout the world. Though all the current League staff are Catholic, we are strongly dedicated to working together with all whose faith prompts them to fight abortion.
Since his election and introduction to the world yesterday, Pope Francis’s many strong pro-life statements as bishop of Buenos Aires have been making the rounds, but I think this is the most powerful one I’ve seen yet, from 2005:
Defend the unborn against abortion even if they persecute you, calumniate you, set traps for you, take you to court or kill you. No child should be deprived of the right to be born, the right to be fed, the right to go to school.
What really touches me about this statement is that not only does Pope Francis speak to the right to life of the unborn child, he acknowledges that fighting for their right to life often involves tremendous sacrifice, from being lied about to being physically attacked.
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But I have to confess, sometimes it seems church leaders, both Protestant and Catholic—despite unequivocal opposition to abortion—don’t really understand what it’s like fighting abortion “in the trenches.”
It’s extremely encouraging to know that the new pope understands and sympathizes with the challenges we face fighting to save unborn babies from abortion. He clearly recognizes that (to use the League’s motto) action speaks louder than words—and that with effective action comes persecution.
As bishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio was already under attack himself for his strong stance in defense of marriage, family and the right to life. The attacks will only increase now that he’s been elevated to the papacy.
The Pro-Life Action League is honored to stand in solidarity with Pope Francis in defense of the Truth. May God grant him many years!