Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

St. Sebastian

Sebastian was the son of a wealthy Roman family. He was educated in Milan and became an officer of the imperial Roman army, and Captain of the Guard. He was a favorite of Emperor Diocletian. During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing both supplies and comfort. He is reported to have healed the wife of a fellow soldier by making the sign of the cross over her. During his time in the army he converted many soldiers and a governor.Charged as a Christian in 288 in Rome, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. However, he survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian, where the emperor then had him beaten to death.During the 14th century, the random nature of the blak plague caused people to say that the plague was intruduced to thier villages through being shot by natures archers. In desparation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.

Warm weather greets marchers at the 45th annual March for Life

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 04:54 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- They came from across the country and the globe to Washington, DC. for one purpose: to stand in solidarity with unborn children.

With a quite a few groups donned in matching hats and scarves – quickly rendered unnecessary due to the unseasonably warm January day – and clutching some innovative signs, the 45th annual March for Life went off without a hitch Jan. 19.

While the rally made history as President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address the march via livestream video, the individual marchers to whom Catholic News Agency spoke over the course of the day were more concerned with the need to protect the unborn and to promote the dignity of life.

And they were big fans of the nice weather, of course.

The crowd was overwhelmingly young, and large groups from all over the country were spotted on the National Mall. A group of around 400 from Baton Rouge, La., made an impressive entrance, and the wave of white hats continued as far as the eye could see.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">From earlier—here’s a small bit of the 400-strong contingent from Baton Rouge, LA at the <a href="https://twitter.com/March_for_Life?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@March_for_Life</a> <a href="https://t.co/XJN3oKe7ha">pic.twitter.com/XJN3oKe7ha</a></p>&mdash; Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) <a href="https://twitter.com/cnalive/status/954493345660919808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The University of Mary had a three-bus contingent of about 150 students, faculty, and staff, who made the 30-hour car ride to Washington, D.C from Bismarck. The prospect of a long bus ride didn’t sway UMary junior Mary Kampa, who was returning to DC for her second March for Life in a row.

“Knowing that it’s not about the bus ride, and it’s not about me, and it’s for something much greater – standing up for the dignity of life,” Kampa told CNA. “I want to be a voice for the voiceless,” she continued.

Last year, the University of Mary contingent led the march. Kampa said that was an honor. This year, 20 students were present in the Rose Garden for Trump’s address.

And true to form, some UMary students were clad in short-sleeved shirts prior to the start of the pre-march rally. Kampa wasn’t surprised by this, considering the weather her and her classmates had left behind in North Dakota.

<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BeJeT5blJxh/" data-instgrm-version="8" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BeJeT5blJxh/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">We are the Pro-Life Generation! #marchforlife2018 #whywemarch #lovesaveslives #lifeatmary</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/universityofmary/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> University of Mary</a> (@universityofmary) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2018-01-19T22:36:06+00:00">Jan 19, 2018 at 2:36pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

“It was negative 20 [degrees] last Sunday, so this is awesome,” she said, laughing.

Another big fan of the weather was Ave Maria University student John-Paul Arias. Arias was at his first March for Life, and unlike many of his classmates who were in DC, he flew up.

Arias said he thought it was important for men to “defend the life that we helped create,” and that they too had an important role in the pro-life movement. He said he was thrilled to be in Washington, and very excited to be at the march.

And despite AMU’s location in southwest Florida, it was somehow warmer in DC on Friday.

 

Pope Francis warns Peruvian leaders against 'virus' of corruption

Lima, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 03:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to Peruvian authorities Friday, Pope Francis issued a stern warning against corruption, which he said has done significant harm, and snuffs out the hope offered by the country's rich cultural and natural diversity.

“Peru is a land of hope that invites and challenges its people to unity,” the Pope said Jan. 19. However, he warned that despite the promise of the country's many saints and the rich cultural and environmental diversity, “over this hope a shadow is growing, a threat looms.”

He warned against the destruction of natural resources and urged authorities to be “very attentive to that other, often subtle form of environmental degradation that increasingly contaminates the whole system of life: corruption.”

“How much evil is done to our Latin American people and the democracies of this continent by this social 'virus', a phenomenon that infects everything, with the greatest harm being done to the poor and mother earth.”

Pope Francis spoke to Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard and the country's diplomatic corps. He spent the morning in Peru's Amazonian region, visiting Puerto Maldonado before heading back to Lima for his meeting with civil authorities.

He will be in Peru until Jan. 21, following a three-day visit to Chile, marking his fourth tour of South America since his election.

The Pope's visit comes after Kuczynski narrowly escaped an impeachment vote in December following revelations that a company he owned had businesses ties with the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, which is at the center of of one of Latin America's biggest corruption scandals.

Odebrecht admitted in a 2016 plea bargain with the U.S. Department of Justice to paying around $800 million in bribes in 12 Latin American countries, the Guardian reports. Peru received some $29 million between 2009 and 2015.

Kuczynski is the latest Peruvian politician to get caught up in a scandal of this kind, with some former presidents currently sitting behind bars. The latest ex-president to be jailed was Ollanta Humala, who went to prison in July 2017 due to alleged money laundering in connection with Odebrecht.

In his speech, Pope Francis said efforts to fight the “social scourge” of corruption must be both recognized and supported, which is a task that involves everyone.

Hope must be defended, he said, which “requires a greater culture of transparency among public entities, the private sector and civil society. No one can be excluded from this process. Corruption is preventable and calls for commitment on the part of all.”

“I encourage and urge all those in positions of authority, in whatever sphere, to insist on this path in order to bring your people and your land the security born of feeling that Peru is a place of hope and opportunity for all, and not just for a few,” he said.

Francis praised the natural beauty and the vast biodiversity found in the country's Amazonian region, which contains the largest tropical forest and the most extensive river system on the planet. He also drew attention to the many cultures present in Peru, which he said are the “soul of this people.”

He also noted that the country has a lot of young people, who are “the most vital gift that this society possesses,” and many saints, who have “blazed paths of faith for the entire American continent.”

Pointing to the theme of his trip, “United in Hope,” the Pope said Peru is a land of hope that invites its inhabitants to a unique unity, which he said is threatened not only by corruption, but also by environmental destruction.

Quoting his 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato si', he said “never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely, particularly when we consider how it is currently being used.”

“This is evident in the way that we are stripping the earth of its natural resources, without which no forms of life are possible,” he said, adding that the loss of jungles and forests means not only a loss of species and resources for the future, but also a loss of “vital relationships that could end up altering the entire ecosystem.”

To be united in hope, then, means both developing and promoting an integral ecology and listening to local populations and recognizing and respecting them as true partners in dialogue, since they know the land and the “the catastrophic effects produced, in the name of development, by many projects.”

Francis said environmental degradation is also linked to the moral degradation of communities, and pointed to black market mining as a practice which is “is destroying people’s lives.”

“This whole process of degradation brings with it and encourages organizations operating outside of legal structures; these debase so many of our brothers and sisters by subjecting them to human trafficking (a new form of slavery), irregular employment and crime … and to other evils that gravely affect their dignity and, at the same time, the dignity of the nation.”

Pope Francis closed his speech urging all those in positions of authority in every sphere “to bring your people and your land the security born of feeling that Peru is a place of hope and opportunity for all, and not just for a few.”

By doing this, a new Peru will be forged which “makes room for people of 'all bloods', a land in which 'the promise of Peruvian life' can be achieved,” he said, quoting from the Peruvian novelist José Maria Arguedas and the historian Jorge Basadre.

“I wish to renew in your presence the commitment of the Catholic Church, which has accompanied the life of this nation, in this joint effort to continue working so that Peru will continue to be a land of hope,” he concluded.

The Pope met privately with Kuczynski following his address.

Commentary: Aziz Ansari's hookup was a game of Russian roulette

New York City, N.Y., Jan 19, 2018 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- There are better models of fraternal correction than telling the story of the horrible night you spent with comedian Aziz Ansari to a reporter from a casually crude website. But that was where “Grace” (a pseudonym) went to express what she didn’t have a way to say to Ansari—that he had hounded her physically; pressured her to go farther, faster than she wanted; and left her feeling wretched after their night together.

Grace spoke up, she said, because she saw Ansari wearing a “Times Up” pin and supporting the #MeToo movement, and she couldn’t see how he reconciled his support of women generally with the way he treated her particularly.

Grace’s story sparked many reactions. But if Aziz Ansari is reading all the thinkpieces about him, he must feel most ill-served by his allies. “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader” wrote Bari Weiss for the New York Times, exonerating Ansari in a singularly insulting way.

It’s unreasonable, Weiss and others write, to expect Ansari and other men to be able to know if they’re scaring or upsetting their one-night-stands. The solution isn’t for men to pay attention to women’s non-verbal cues, she writes, but for women to be much more aggressive in fending off men who make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

For all the worry about women defining themselves as snowflakes or victims, the defense offered to Ansari sounds much more cossetting than comforting.

What virtuous man would feel relieved to be told he is powerless to avoid harming the women he takes to bed? Who would be put at ease, after seeing a woman in tears, to be told that it’s not his fault, he couldn’t help it, there’s no way for him to know—he’s not a mind-reader.

If sex is always such a blind leap, with no way to take care of your partner, what good man could have an assignation and respect himself in the morning. The sexual culture Ansari’s supporters describe is a game of Russian roulette: eventually, every man will wind up deeply wounding a woman he’s taken to bed, but he may never even find out which lovers were the collateral damage of our hookup culture. (And, of course, he also may be coerced, objectified, or abused himself).

Ansari’s critics agree, in part, with his supporters. Those non-verbal cues are hard to read, so men (and women) should stick to a “Yes means yes” model of consent, waiting to hear explicit, enthusiastic consent before pushing things with a partner, they say.

The “affirmative consent” model, viewed simply as harm reduction, is an improvement over the “Not a Mind Reader” defense, but it still sells men and women short. It’s a way of camouflaging the fundamental problem: you can’t have generically respectful and ethical sex.

As long as men and women go to bed as strangers, it will be very difficult for them to take care of each other. The most egregious behavior can be minimized with affirmative consent, but who is aiming for a sex life that is simply “not assault?"

Sex that is a gift of self is intimate and particularized. You make a gift of your particular self to one other particular person. No one makes love to “a woman” or “a man” generically—those who try are engaged in something much more like mutual masturbation than intercourse.

Before couples get intimate—which starts, physically, well before sex—they must know and love each other. There must be trust, in each other, and trust that they share an understanding of what the good is, if each person is relying on the other to will his or her good correctly. (They must also be right about what that good consists of, but the other pitfalls are more obvious).

That means ethical sex starts long before clothes come off. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes chastity as “the successful integration of sexuality within the person” (CCC 2337) and purity as that which “frees one from wide-spread eroticism and avoids those things which foster morbid curiosity” (CCC 530).

Both must become a habit, before it is possible to offer the gift of one’s sexuality to another. These virtues are a prerequisite to the other step Ansari and Grace skipped, getting to know the other person, to the point where you do know their non-verbal signals, because you see and know them in all their particularity.

One school for these virtues (and corrective to the culture) is the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, a fellowship of men and women pursuing chastity through prayer. Even someone not enrolled in the Confraternity can join (from time to time, or even every day) in the 15 Hail Marys that Confraternity member pray daily for chastity and purity. Joining in the Confraternity’s daily prayer is a particularly good redoubt to flee to in the case of temptation.

 

Leah Libresco Sargeant is the author of Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers Even I Can Offer. Her writing has appeared at First Things, FiveThirtyEight, and The Washington Post.  Her opinions do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of Catholic News Agency.

 

Pro-life strength lies in love, speakers tell March for Life

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 02:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The pro-life movement’s most powerful tool lies in its ability to love, speakers said Friday at the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

This year’s annual March, the theme of which was ‘Love Saves Lives’, was an historic event for numerous reasons - it marked the 45th anniversary of the March, it was an uncharacteristically balmy 50 degree day in January, and it was the first time the event was addressed live by the sitting President of the United States.  

“I want to thank every person here today who works with such big hearts to make sure parents have the care and support they need to choose life,” President Donald Trump told the crowds from the White House via a satellite feed.

“Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential...you are the living witnesses of the theme ‘Love saves lives,’” he said.

Some speakers shared personal stories of love in difficult moments and pregnancies to emphasize this year’s theme during the March for LIfe rally.

One such story was told by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), who was joined on stage by her family, including her 4 year-old “miracle” daughter Abigail, who punctuated her mother’s remarks with questions and exclamations.

Beutler told the audience that while she was pregnant with Abigail, an ultrasound revealed devastating news - their daughter was not developing vital organs properly within the womb, and she would likely suffocate to death as soon as she was born.

Beutler said that she and her husband were told the baby had a “zero percent chance” of survival, and that most parents in their situation opt to get an abortion.

“We prayed, we cried...and in that devastation, we saw God,” Beutler said. Unwilling to abort, the couple sought doctors and experimental treatments that could give their daughter a chance at life. She said their love of their daughter and unwillingness to give up would save her life.

“Through divine intervention, and some very courageous doctors who were willing to take a risk, we now get to experience our daughter Abigail, who is a healthy, happy 4 year-old big sister,” Beutler said. “She says that someday she’s going to be the boss of mommy’s work - look out Speaker Ryan.”  

Sr. Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life told the crowd the story of Raquel, a scared pregnant woman who came to the sisters for help and told them that while she believed abortion was wrong, she could never tell another woman what to do.

That all changed one day when Raquel met a fellow scared pregnant woman in an elevator. She took the mother’s hand and had her feel the kicks of her own unborn baby.

“Yeah, my baby’s gonna be a linebacker. He’s gonna be strong and he’s gonna be blessed,” Raquel told the woman. “Why is he gonna be blessed? Because he’s here.”

Raquel then told the woman that she would have a girl, and could name her Raquel Jasmine, after the “fabulous lady you met on the elevator.”

Two years later, Raquel met the woman again at the doctor’s office. She was pushing a stroller with twin girls - named Raquel and Jasmine.

“It was such a small thing, this loving exchange, and the impact reaches in to eternity,” Sr. Bethany Madonna said. “You may not see the impact of your love, but God sees it. The love in your hearts is totally unique to you...and your love saves lives.”

Other speakers addressing the March included Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Pam Tebow, the mother of former pro-football player Tim Tebow, U.S. Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and well as Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Orthodox Church of America, and Bishop Vincent Matthews Jr., President of the International Missions Department of the Church of God in Christ.

Ryan encouraged the crowd - mostly made up of young people, he noted - that love is the reason the pro-life movement is on the rise in the United States.

“The pro-life movement is on the rise because we have love on our side,” Ryan said. “We believe every person is worthy of love and dignity.”

“That’s one thing that gets lost [in the political debate about abortion] - just how compassionate the pro-life movement really is,” he said. “I’m proud of what this movement has done for women who have gone through the pain of abortion, how it supports single mothers who are struggling to support their children...this is the face of the pro-life movement,” Ryan added.

He also noted several pro-life bills that have been passed by the House in the past year, including the just-passed Born Alive Survivors Protection Act, which protects the lives of babies who survive failed abortions.

“Most importantly, we are striving to do all of this without judgement in our hearts, but with compassion and love for all of the victims [of abortion],” he said.  

“Thank you for being here...this is one that we will win this day. Thank you. God bless you, tell everybody come back next year and bring three friends.”

Meet the priest who serves an unlikely community in Peru's Amazon

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Pablo Zabala is a 70-year old Spanish priest, who serves in a remote part of the world: the Peruvian Amazon.

Most of the people who fill his church pews are gold miners and sex workers in Boca Colorado – an area that some are likening to the California Gold Rush. Before Fr. Zabala began serving in the Amazon, his fellow clergy compared it to Sodom and Gomorrah.

“God is in all parts,” Zabala told them, saying he felt a calling to serve with “the life of the common people,” according to the Associated Press.

Kabala, a former biologist, has lived in the Amazon for the past 24 years, 10 of which have been spent heading up the parish in Boca Colorado, part of the Madre de Dios region. Pope Francis visited the region's capital, Puerto Maldonado, on Friday.

During his ministry, he has seen how miners support their families through their trade mainly because they have no other option for work. Poverty, Zabala noted, has driven thousands into mining or prostitution.

According to AP, miners in the area are using mercury in their pursuit of gold, which has infiltrated into the local water systems. In addition, the miners have brought with them new roadways which have tapped into the rainforest’s supply of trees.

However, Zabala has been working closely with the locals, saying he often points the women toward the witness of St. Mary Madgalene, who has been an effective inspiration for them. He also noted that the women in the town have been instrumental in building two churches.

In addition, Zabala offers the support that he can to the miners, usually in the form of a listening ear. However, on occasion, the task falls to the local priest to bury lone miners who get caught up in local conflicts.

“He’s here for the difficult moments,” said Juana Roque, a local woman who lives with her family in the mining camps.

Pope Francis visited the Madre de Dios region Jan. 19, meeting with indigenous Amazonians, the people of Puerto Maldonado, and the community of a home for orphaned children.

While meeting with members of the Amazonian community, he handed out copies of his 2015 encyclical Laudato si' and noted that “the defense of the earth has no other purpose than the defense of life.

He also spoke about desperations of poverty which has led many to seek gold in the Amazon’s mines. However, he warned that gold can turn into “a false god that demands human sacrifices,” which can “corrupt people and institutions, and they ruin the forest.”

House passes protections for abortion survivors

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As the annual March for Life began just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol on Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring medical care for babies surviving botched abortions.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protections Act requires physicians and abortion clinics to provide proper medical treatment for babies born alive after an abortion.  The bill mandates fines and the possibility of imprisonment for medical professionals found to be noncompliant.  

“Justice and compassion took a great leap forward today,” Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List said of the bill’s passage..  

“We thank Leader McCarthy and our allies in the House for holding a timely vote on this crucial bill, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans rally at Congress’ doorstep,” Dannenfelser said in a Jan. 19 press release.  

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), says that abortionists would be required to provide to meet the same standards of care for a child surviving an abortion as would be expected for infants of the same gestational age who were not subjects of an abortion. The law would also specifically require surviving babies to be transported to a hospital.

Women undergoing abortion could not be prosecuted under the law’s provisions, but it would give them a cause for a lawsuit if the a child surviving an abortion was uncared for.  

A bill already exists which orders medical professionals to provide emergency care for the infants who survive late term abortions, but the problem, according to Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), is that the current bill has little power to be enforced.  

“The problem with existing law, Mr. Speaker, is enforcement—the lack of legal implications,” Smith said on Jan. 18 in a speech on the House floor.

“The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act...requires appropriate health care to be given to any child who survives an attempted abortion,” Smith added.

Every Republican in Congress voted for the bill, as did six Democrats.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was among Democrats opposing the bill, stating there was little evidence that doctors aren’t already providing health care for babies born after failed abortions.

“There is no evidence at all that doctors currently are failing to provide an appropriate level of care,” he said during the bills debate on Jan. 19.

But Smith said there is no evidence for the problem because it is swept under the rug. He cited Willard Cates, M.D., former head of the Centers of Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Unit.

“[Live births] are little known because organized medicine, from fear of public clamor and legal action, treats them more as an embarrassment to be hushed up than a problem to be solved. It’s like turning yourself in to the IRS for an audit,” Smith said, quoting Dr. Cates.

The legislation needs 60 votes to pass through the Senate, which has not yet passed a ban on abortions of 20 weeks of pregnancy, passed by the House last year.

“We urge the Senate follow their colleagues’ lead and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act as well as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end cruel late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy,” Dannenfelser said.

In his remarks supporting the bill, Smith encouraged Americans to continue working to end abortion.  From the House floor, he offered “a call to increased prayer and fasting asking God to protect the weakest and most vulnerable and to heal.”

 

March for Life hears praise from President Trump

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 12:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- President Donald Trump praised the pro-life movement’s support for pregnant women and touted his administration’s pro-life policy achievements in his remarks to the March for Life Friday.
 
“You come from many backgrounds, many places, but you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected and cherished,” he told the March for Life Jan. 19 via videocast. “The March for Life is a movement born out of love.”
 
“You love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God,” he told the marchers on the National Mall while speaking before an audience in the White House Rose Garden. “Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential. Because of you.”
 
Hundreds of thousands of people were in Washington, D.C. to attend this year’s March for Life, which is in its 45th year. The theme of this year’s march is “Love Saves Lives.” The march is held annually on or near the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide.

The president said he was “honored and really proud” to address the march. While previous presidents addressed the march while in office by phone or remote loudspeaker, organizers said he is the first president to do so via telecast.
 
Trump said the Roe decision resulted in “some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world,” making the U.S. comparable to countries like China and North Korea in permitting late-term abortions.
 
“It is wrong, it has to change,” he said. “Americans are more and more pro-life.”
 
Trump promised that his administration would always defend the right to life.

He touted his re-implementation of the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funds for groups that perform or promote abortion overseas, and cited his administration’s reversal of an Obama-era policy that restricted state’s efforts to direct federal dollars away from “facilities that violate the law.” He voiced strong support for a House bill to ban late-term abortions in which supporters say the unborn child can feel pain. Trump called on the Senate to “pass this important law.”
 
He also cited his executive order protecting religious liberty and an effort to protect conscience rights and religious freedom of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
 
The president also introduced Marianne Donaido, a woman whose parents supported her when she became pregnant at the age of 17. He praised her work with Room at the Inn, a Greensboro, N.C.-based maternity program that helps house and support pregnant homeless women. The charity is affiliated with Catholic Charities USA.
 
In a separate Jan. 19 statement, Trump declared that Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe decision, will be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, “to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as ‘non-human’.”
 
Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed last year’s March for Life in person, introduced Trump in the Rose Garden. He said the Roe Supreme Court decision “turned its back on the right to life” but began the pro-life movement that continues today, a movement defined by “compassion and love.”
 
“Life is winning in America, because love save lives,” he told the march. “Your compassion, your persistence your activism and your prayers are saving lives… this pro-life generation should never doubt that we are with you.”
 
“This president stands with you,” he said, contending that Trump was “the most pro-life president in American history.”
 
Trump once declared himself “pro-choice in every respect,” but increasingly advocated anti-abortion views ahead of and during his 2016 election campaign, Politico reports.
 
Other political leaders at the March for Life rally were House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).
 
In previous years Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush addressed the March for Life remotely.

'My mother was told to abort me', priest says to March for Life youth

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 11:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Martino Choi told some 18,000 teens and adults about his mother's decision in favor of life at a Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

“I know a woman who went in for her ultrasound, and was told by the doctors that the child’s organs were not developing properly. The child would probably not make it a year after birth, and they recommended abortion,” Fr. Choi said during his homily at the Capital One Arena Jan. 19.

“This woman is my mother, and I am that child,” he stated.

Choi is a parish priest at St. Patrick's parish in Rockville, Md., about 20 miles northwest of the District of Columbia. He said the doctors had told his mother that abortion would shield him and her from unnecessary suffering. He continued: “The devil knows who to disguise evil with a lie that somehow death is better than life … but death is never better than life.”

The young priest also shared stories from his parish where he has counseled parents who lost a child between days and months after the child's birth.

“Not a single one of those families comes to me and says, ‘You know what, Father, we wish we hadn’t had this child. We wish we hadn’t had to suffer through this.’ None of them say that. They all say, ‘Thank God that we got to love this child, even if it was just for a couple of days.'”

“One family, whose kid never left the hospital, said that in his three months of life their son taught them the depths of love and courage that we could not understand before his birth…”

These stories resonated with the teens at the Mass for Life, who came from dioceses both across the U.S. and internationally.

“I thought that it was really amazing,” Kelly Lambers, a high school student from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told CNA. “His mother didn’t give him up even though she knew he didn’t have that long to live, but now look at him; he’s a priest!”

Lambers traveled nine hours by bus with her classmates from Mother of Mercy High School to attend the rally and the March for Life. She said she is particularly proud of her friends’ signs that read, “Pro-Life is Pro-Women.”

Tajil Baptiste, a young man from the U.S. Virgin Islands, also shared why he and his friends traveled to D.C. for the March for Life: “It is a a religious event for us, traveling so far from a little island, but the message that we will be bringing back to our community and our Church is ‘Let’s be pro-life, let’s change the world.’”

There were nearly 200 priests, 20 bishops, and three cardinals concelebrating the youth Mass, according to the Archdiocese of Washington. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was the principal celebrant.

“We are gathered here to proclaim the value, the worth, and the dignity of all human life,” Cardinal Wuerl told the crowd before the Mass.

The Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, shared a message from Pope Francis with the youth and extended an invitation to tag the Holy Father as they stand up for life on Twitter and Instagram using #iStand4Life.

After the Mass for Life, the youth groups walked from the Capital One Arena to the National Mall for the March for Life.

The world needs you, Francis tells young people at children's home

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 11:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to kids at a home for orphaned and abandoned children on Friday, Pope Francis said they have much to offer the world by being themselves and sharing their experiences.

“The world needs you, young men and women… and it needs you as you are. Do not be content to be the last car on the train of society, letting yourselves be pulled along and eventually disconnected. We need you to be the engine, always pressing forward,” the Pope said Jan. 19.

“Share what you learn with the world, because the world needs you to be yourselves, who you really are, and not an imitation of someone else. We need you to be authentic, young men and women who are proud to belong to the Amazonian peoples and who can offer humanity an alternative for a true life.”

Francis spoke at the “Hogar Principito” (“Little Prince Home”) in Puerto Maldonado on the second day of his Jan. 18-21 visit to Peru. The children's home was founded in 1996 to help deal with with the high rate of neglect and child exploitation that occur in the city.

It currently houses around 40 children and adolescents, who have come from orphanages, at-risk families, or illegal mining camps. Some have been abandoned or been victims of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

Pope Francis met with the children and their caretakers on the basketball court of the home.

Before his speech he was greeted by the director of the home, Fr. Xavier Arbex, and listened to the testimony of Dirsey Irarica Piña, a woman who was raised in the home. He also watched performances by the children of songs and a choreographed dance.

Irarica described having been orphaned at the age of 11, and being welcomed into the Hogar Principito a couple of years later, saying the home “was ready immediately to give me the fullness of support and love … I thank my teachers and the 'little father' for filling this void in me. Thank you for this unconditional love which makes us feel at home.”

She now lives in Tacna, where she works and studies psychology.

In his address after listening to Irarica, the Pope referenced the recent celebration of Christmas, where our hearts were touched by the coming of the Child Jesus.

“He is our treasure. You children are his reflection, and you too are a treasure for all of us, the most precious treasure that we have, and one that we are called to guard,” Francis said.

He asked forgiveness for the times that adults have neglected to care for them and protect them as they deserve, saying how their lives demand a greater commitment and effort on the part of everyone – that we do not remain indifferent to children who suffer and are in need.

“Without a doubt, you are the greatest treasure that is ours to care for,” he underlined.

Speaking to Irarica, who gave a testimony before his speech, he said she was brave to share that sometimes she feels very hurt, and misses her father and mother.

“You told me; ‘I hope my message may be a light of hope,’” the Pope referenced. “But let me tell you something. Your life, your words, and the lives of all of you, are a light of hope.”

He said a wonderful witness “is offered by all of you young people who have travelled this road, who found love in this home and now are able to shape your own future! You demonstrate to all of us the enormous potential of each person. For these boys and girls, you are the best example to follow, a sign of hope that they will be able to do the same. We all need good role models: children need to look to the future and have positive role models.”

“Everything that you young people can do, like coming here to be with them, to play and spend time together, is important,” Pope Francis said. “Be for them, as the Little Prince says: the little stars that light up the night,” referring to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry character for whom the children's home is named.

The Pope went on to note how the children who came from indigenous communities may have been witness to the destruction of their home, saying: “today those woodlands have been laid waste by the intoxication of a misguided notion of progress.”

“Young people, do not be resigned to what is happening! Do not renounce the legacy you have received from your elders, or your lives and dreams.”

He also encouraged them to study and to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

“Listen to your elders; value their traditions; do not curb your curiosity. Get in touch with your roots, but at the same time open your eyes to new things; bring the old and the new together in your own way,” he encouraged.

Society often needs correction and you, young people, can help greatly with this “by teaching us a way of life based on protection and care, not on the destruction of everything that stands in the way of our greed,” he said.