May 22, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) – Anyone who has ever participated in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., has marvelled not only at the always-surprisingly massive and joyful crowds, but also at the abundance of pro-life resources available: books, pamphlets, buttons, stickers, CDs, DVDs, and so on. And in light of the comparably modest amount of pro-life material available in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy), one may even be a little envious of the influential presence of the American pro-life movement in the worldwide battle to defend life, especially their youth activism.
We should of course keep in mind that in many, if not most, cases, the tragedy of abortion is being exported by the United States to the rest of the world. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the healing of the deep wounds that four decades of abortion have inflicted on the lives of countless post-abortive women and men should begin in America. It can no longer be denied that abortion is deadly, both for the child and for the mother, and it will take a concerted effort to end this holocaust.
In German-speaking countries, many people, especially young people, are finally beginning to realize the truth about abortion; a development which is the result of the tireless efforts of pro-life individuals and groups who have remained committed to raising awareness about its devastating consequences (despite constant ridicule by the media and the never-ending nature of the task at hand). Slowly, an appreciation for the beauty and dignity of every life is spreading, and the issue of abortion and the healing of its wounds is gaining more traction in the public conversation.
So what’s next? Without a doubt, the challenge of raising awareness remains at the forefront of pro-life activities. Our American counterparts have been exemplary in this respect, as well as in showing that the pro-life cause is very much a cause of the young generation. Contrary to the media’s portrayal of the pro-life movement as a collection of backwards extremists, the images from the U.S. March for Life and its European equivalents have put a new, young face on the cause for life.
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This year in Brussels, young pro-life leaders organized thousands for the March for Life in the EU capital. During pro-life demonstrations in Slovakia, around 500 young people marched for the first time in Bratislava, and in the city of Kosice more than 1,500 people participated in the march. Young people filled the streets for the March for Life in Prague. And Romania had its biggest March for Life ever with 20 cities participating. Being pro-life is not simply a vestige of a generation gone by but rather the passion of today’s generation and, by any indication, of tomorrow’s generation, too.
Recently in Rome, Italy, as many as 15,000 people of different ages and regions came to this year’s March for Life to express their solidarity with the unborn, many of them young pro-life advocates. It was a complete success, as organizers were expecting 5,000 people at most to attend.
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the director of the Rome office of Human Life International (HLI), who helped to organize the march, told LifeSiteNews that the march was a “demonstration of a new commitment to defend life” in Italy, particularly among the young
American Cardinal Raymond Burke also participated in Italy’s March for Life, telling the Catholic News Agency that it brought back memories for him of “so many marches” in America.
“[The marches] serve a very important function,” he said, “first to give a witness in our whole country to the inviolable dignity of human life but second, to awake consciences to what is happening.”
“I can only imagine that it will grow and increase every year and that it will be an important part in Italy, as it is in America, for the restoration of the respect for the dignity of human life,” he said.
So we have every reason to be optimistic in Europe that young pro-life leaders will finally turn the tide. Endurance, tenacity, knowledge and courage are vital to our success, and so is faithfulness. Our young pro-life leaders in Europe have all these qualities and more. The abortion lobby may be a Goliath, but young David is here, and David is advancing.
Joannes Bucher is the regional coordinator for Europe at Human Life International (HLI). This article reprinted with permission from HLIWorldWatch.org