Rochester bishop affirms importance of pro-life movement
“Among the profound teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas referred to in his Summa Theologica, one finds references to these words: ‘The things we love tell us what we are,’” Bishop Salvatore R. Matano observed at the start of his homily for the Diocese of Rochester’s Mass for Life, which took place Jan. 28, the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.
“This evening, we firmly express our love and reverence for the gift of life, from the very moment of conception until natural death. We affirm our identity as being pro-life and seeing in the human person God’s noblest creation, human beings, the crown of his creation,” Bishop Matano continued.
Livestreamed by the Catholic Courier from Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Mass was celebrated on the eve of the 48th-annual March for Life, which was a virtual event this year due to the global pandemic and recent violence at the U.S. Capitol. The Jan. 28 Mass was one of several local events planned to complement the virtual march.
Several dozen masked and socially distanced people attended the Mass in person, and nearly 300 participated online. During his homily, Bishop Matano addressed various assaults against the dignity of human life, including the clergy sex-abuse scandal, racism, terrorist attacks and physician-assisted suicide.
Lasting peace cannot be achieved until the sanctity of each life is recognized, he said.
“When people begin to make distinctions, as is already done in the maternal womb, between a life that is worthy and one that is unworthy of living, no other phases of life will be spared,” he said.
The bishop noted that in November 2019, Pope Francis in his ad limina meeting with the bishops of New York state reaffirmed that the pre-eminent concern of the Catholic Church is the protection of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Catholics must ask God for “the strength to continue the march for life, which is a constant march never relegated to one month, one day or one year, but every day,” Bishop Matano said.