Catholic Cardinal Sean O’Malley has spent nearly 50 years working and praying for an end to Roe v. Wade.
It’s a dream that many have shared for decades, while wondering when it would finally come true, the Boston cardinal told pro-lifers Jan. 21 at the National Prayer Vigil for Life in Washington, D.C., according to the Catholic News Service.
“We’re all painfully aware that dreams are seldom realized overnight. They point us in a direction and they encourage us to make the journey,” O’Malley said.
This year, however, those dreams may be fulfilled as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a major challenge to Roe out of Mississippi, he said.
“Perhaps this will be the year … when legal protection for unborn children will be enshrined in our laws,” the cardinal said.
Nearly 50 years ago, as a young Capuchin Franciscan priest, he said he met March for Life founder Nellie Gray while serving in Washington, D.C. He said Gray “renounced her career as a lawyer in the Labor Department to dedicate her life” to the pro-life cause, according to the report.
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“We had a dream that we wouldn’t have to go back on a cold day in January every year,” that Roe v. Wade “would one day be relegated to the dustbin of history,” O’Malley said.
Gray died before the dream could be fulfilled, but the pro-life movement continues strong, gathering every year in January to march and working every single day to protect unborn babies from abortion.
Whether Roe is overturned this year or many years in the future, O’Malley said the pro-life movement still will have work to do.
“Dismantling unjust laws is only the beginning. We still have the arduous task of creating a pro-life culture, of changing heart and minds,” he said. “Changing the laws is important, but building a civilization of love is what will ultimately overcome abortion in our culture.”
That will happen only through compassionate interactions, education and support for struggling families, he continued.
He cautioned pro-lifers against coming “across as judgmental and self-righteous [because] we’re never going to get a hearing in America.”
“Only a huge educational effort will be able to change the cultural prejudices that exist. Adoption needs to be more user-friendly, it needs to be more transparent and it needs to be celebrated,” O’Malley continued.
Better assistance also is needed to provide health care, housing, justice, education and more to families in need, he said.
“Our job is to build a society that takes care of everybody, where every person counts, where every life is important,” he continued, otherwise “poverty, racism and economic injustice will continue to fuel abortion in post-Roe v. Wade world.”
O’Malley said the answer to ultimately ending abortion is providing “solidarity and community” to struggling mothers and fathers and their unborn children. By doing so, he said pro-lifers will be a beacon of hope against “so much isolation and alienation and individualism” in the world.