3,000 pro-lifers take part in German March for Life
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BERLIN, Germany, September 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – More than 3,000 pro-lifers last Saturday gathered in the German capital to participate in the annual “March for Life,” restricted to some extent by measures intended to fight COVID-19 and threatened by a left-wing mob that attempted to disrupt the peaceful event.
One of the speakers at the rally preceding the march, blind singer Bernarda Brunovic, said, “We need a change in society, in ideologies. Life is so beautiful, every life is unique, we must stand up for it!”
Politician Johannes Singhammer, formerly one of the vice presidents of the German parliament, emphasized the holistic concept of creation, since man was part of creation, and thanked all participants in the march for standing up for the right to life of all people.
A mother who refused to kill her daughter in utero after a diagnosis of anencephaly gave her testimony, saying, “The pressure on us to abort was very high and very tempting at a particularly difficult time. We are very happy that we were allowed to hold Hanna in our arms.”
Alexandra Linder, chairwoman of Bundesverband Lebensrecht, the umbrella organization of pro-life groups in Germany, stressed the priority of human dignity, which should not be subordinated to any other rights such as autonomy or self-determination. “Only with the human dignity that every human being has unconditionally from his conception until his death, a humane constitutional state can last,” she said. During an ecumenical worship service after the march, Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin asked, “What is man, what is actually his greatness, his dignity, what is his life?” Even though billions of people populate the earth, every single human person “is great, because every human being is unique … Man, never forget your greatness and dignity, never forget them, and promote the greatness of every human being in every phase of his life.” Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg was present for the march, as were Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, Germany’s smallest diocese and the first to reinstate the Sunday obligation after the height of the coronavirus crisis, and Bishop Florian Wörner, an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Augsburg.
The president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, sent a short greeting.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a powerful reminder of how vulnerable and in need of protection humans are,” he wrote. “The experience of the fragility of their own existence motivates many people to show a new solidarity towards older and sick fellow human beings.
“All over the world, doctors and nurses, but also pastoral workers, expose themselves to health risks in order to help the sick,” Bishop Bätzing pointed out. “They all deserve our sincere recognition. Through their efforts, we can become more aware that life is a gift from God that never loses its value and is worth fighting for.”
Bätzing did not mention abortion, but he criticized a decision by the highest court in Germany earlier this year, which essentially legalized assisted suicide. “As Christians, we see the humane answer to illness and suffering in helping one another, alleviating physical and emotional pain and, above all, offering God’s comfort in fear and loneliness,” he wrote.
Last year, before COVID-19 restrictions wreaked havoc on society across the globe, about 8,000 pro-lifers came to Berlin. This year, the organizers planned for fewer people to prepare for so-called social distancing.
In the lead-up to the event, opponents of the pro-life march circulated rumors, claiming that the “March for Life” was being styled as a protest against the COVID-19 measures.
Linder said in response that “it is our task and our concern to represent the issues of the right to life in the political, social, scientific and public sphere – in a way that is non-partisan, non-denominational and independent.”
“The March for Life was and is a pure pro-life demonstration,” she explained. “This includes all people from conception to death, their right to life and their protection of life. Therefore, we naturally observe the official regulations in Berlin, which require a mouth and nose covering, and a minimum distance as a hygiene concept, and we also have a stock of pro-life scarves on site for this purpose.”
“As always, only materials from the Bundesverband Lebensrecht and its member associations are permitted at the March for Life,” she emphasized. “Any assertion that connects our demonstration with social groups or currents with a different focus is untrue.”
She admitted that “isolated incidents in this respect can just as little be completely excluded as the regular aggressive disturbances by extremist, intolerant groups that deny children their right to life and abandon mothers in pregnancy conflicts in favor of a misogynist ideology.”