January 22, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC, January 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to some 16,000 in attendance at the Vigil Mass for the March for Life this evening, principal celebrant Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia gave a stirring homily, rousing the massive crowd to applause at several points.
After a quote from the late Rev. John Neuhaus on the vitality of the pro-life movement, Cardinal Rigali expressed on behalf of the US Bishops "deep admiration" for the efforts of pro-life activists.
The Philadelphia Archbishop praised the fact that Barack Obama was the first African-American President, but used Obama's rhetoric of change to clamor for a "change" towards a "culture of life." From the US Bishops, and Catholics, he said, the new President can expect "respectful but impassioned protest" where needed in defending life.
The Cardinal encouraged prayer to end abortion and advocacy for legal protection of unborn children. All pro-life work is to be undertaken, he suggested, with the knowledge that "Christ is our Hope, and in Him the victory is already won."
Cardinal Rigali acknowledged that standing up for life can bring trials. "We can be rejected because we confront society," he said. "Are we prepared to say yes to His will without counting the cost?"
Those sacrifices, he suggested, are most necessary since many "people greatly loved by God are being deceived" into accepting abortion, and the "consequences of abortion can be devastating and eternal."
Such heroic courage is needed, he said, "now more than ever." He noted abortion's toll of over 50 million killed children, and the looming Freedom of Choice Act which would "pave the way for more wholesale assaults" on unborn children.
"What is at stake," he said, quoting the Pledge of Allegiance, "is 'liberty and justice for all.'"