Pro-life leaders from all over the world descended upon Rome this past weekend to meet at the inaugural Rome Life Forum.
The Conference, hosted by LifeSiteNews in partnership with Human Life International and Family Life International NZ, was an amazing opportunity to meet the people behind the organisations that are effectively bringing about a culture of life in their countries.
One of the concerns raised at the Conference was communion being given to pro-abortion politicians. This issue continues to be a problem in many countries, where the Catholic politician who openly supports and encourages pro-abortion legislation is allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist at Mass.
A declaration calling on the Bishops of the world to extend mercy to the Church’s pro-abortion politicians was signed by 52 pro-life leaders in 16 countries.
It should be noted that denying Holy Communion to those politicians who openly support abortion is an act of mercy and love. St Paul reminds us “for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eatheth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:29). Receiving the most precious body and blood of our Saviour while supporting an act that willingly kills His own creation, made in His image and likeness, is doing so unworthily. It is an act of sacrilege. It causes scandal to the faithful. It says that being pro-abortion is a legitimate position within the Church. It is not. It never can be.
The full text of the declaration can be found here.
Conference participants were privileged to be addressed by Cardinal Raymond Burke on The Perennial Newness of the Gospel of Life. Greeted with a standing ovation, the Cardinal expressed his appreciation of the work pro-lifers do saying “It is my desire, by my presence and with my words, to pay tribute to your tireless work in defending and fostering the inviolability of innocent and defenseless human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.”
During his talk Cardinal Burke explained the Church’s discipline regarding the reception of Holy Communion by those who are in grave sin.
“The discipline”, he said “is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin. It prevents them from committing sacrilege by violating the incomparable sanctity of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and safeguards the Christian community and the community at large from scandal, that is, from being led to believe that the violation of the moral law, for example in what pertains to the inviolable dignity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the family, and the freedom of conscience, is not sinful, does not gravely break communion with Our Lord.”
This was met with a standing ovation by those present.
The full text of Cardinal Burke’s address can be found here.
Following Cardinal Burke, George Weigel, most famous for his comprehensive biography on St John Paul II, Witness to Hope, addressed attendees.
Weigel explained that the idea that there is such a life as not worthy to be lived has taken hold in society. “It must be said, and it must be said without hesitation: the desperately false idea that some human lives are worth less than others, and thus have less claim on cultural and legal protection than others, is at the root of the abortion license in our countries, and is now infecting public policy toward the elderly, at the other end of the life spectrum,” he elucidated.
Later on he reasoned that our arguments for life must be complimented by our service, for example through our work in crisis pregnancy centres and in our care of the elderly and disabled.
In conclusion Weigel encouraged those in attendance to “stand fast and firm” with “compassion, mercy and truth”.
The Conference preceded the Italian March for Life which was held on Sunday 4th May and attracted about 50,000 participants from all over Italy and the world.