Pray for life

  • December 2, 2010
babyIt was a welcomed coincidence that the inaugural worldwide Prayer Vigil for All Nascent Human Life occurred as The Register was preparing our annual issue dedicated to Life and Family.

At the request of Pope Benedict XVI vigils were held Nov. 27 around the world. It was an extraordinary undertaking and many bishops commented that they could recall nothing like it in the history of the Church.

The vigils took various forms, but all included exposition of the Eucharist and benediction, and all encouraged reflection on the dignity of life and family. They provided a communal opportunity to contemplate that, although peaceful protest and political lobbying are vital, prayer remains the first weapon in the crusade for life.

In presiding at a packed St. Peter’s Basilica, Benedict commented that it was appropriate for this extraordinary global prayer service to occur at the launch of Advent. Christians everywhere are preparing to celebrate the birth of the infant Jesus and then the feast of the Holy Family. It is a time of joy and hope when thoughts of life and family should be paramount.

The Pope urged world leaders to work harder to foster a culture that respects human life and to provide services that support it. He said the threat to life does not end at birth because children often face abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence and exploitation. Against this “sad panorama of injustices” he implored all of society to act.

The Life and Family section in this issue (Pages 11-16) gives witness to several people who could teach our leaders about taking action. Their collective courage is embodied in two young women,  Lia Mills, 14, and Ruth Lobo, 23, who have endured taunts and threats and, in Lobo’s case, arrest for trying to rebuild a culture of dignity and respect for human life.

Mills first spoke out in Grade 7 when, despite a teacher’s protest, she advocated for life in a speaking contest. She was subjected to all types of vile comments after the speech ran on YouTube. “I was stepping into a spiritual battle I was not aware of,” she said. But rather than retreat she has remained on the front line and even started to advocate against euthanasia.

Lobo is one of five students arrested on campus at Carleton University in October for engaging in a peaceful pro-life protest. The students were handcuffed and paddywagoned to jail in a heavy-handed overreaction by campus administrators. Her group, Carleton Lifeline, subsequently lost its university funding for dissenting against the pro-abortion view that dominates on campus.

In his address, the Pope warned of “cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences.” But he, along with crusaders like Mills and Lobo, remind us of the antidote to cultural anesthesia. It’s called faith and prayer.

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