02/19/2024, 14.56
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At this year’s Walk for Life in Manila, Card Advincula calls for rethinking pro-life strategies

by Santosh Digal

In his homily, the archbishop of Manila urged the faithful to “engage in more listening and dialogue", via approaches that, while upholding the Church's teachings, avoid judgement and condemnation, helping young couples on their journey. More than 80 groups were present.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Thousands of Catholics joined the annual Walk for Life march on Saturday between Quezon City and Manila.

At the Grandstand España of the University of Santo Tomas in the capital, Cardinal Jose F. Advincula, Archbishop of Manila, led a Eucharistic celebration.

In his homily, he urged the faithful to "rethink" pro-life strategies to adopt approaches that avoid judgement and condemnation.

“We need to engage in more listening and dialogue,” the prelate said. This, too, is part of walking for life, stressing that families and especially young people need accompaniment on their journey.

“Yes, we are clear about teachings on the different issues connected with life and family. But we also need to rethink our approaches, methodologies and strategies,” he explained. This requires keeping in mind “the diversity and understanding of identity and personhood”.

“We witness how human life is attacked from all sides, especially those who are most vulnerable: the unborn, the sick, and the elderly,” Card Advincula said in his address to more than 80 Church groups and Philippine pro-life organisations.

“Most people still take the gift of life for granted. In today’s celebration of our Holy Mother Church, let us remember to show gratitude to the Lord for the life that He has bestowed upon us. We owe Him all that we are and all that we can be.”

Bishop Severo Cagatan Caermare of Dipolog, president of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), reiterated the same message.

The march was held for the first time in 2017 in response to the violence caused by the war on drugs and the proposed reinstatement of the death penalty. It was coordinated by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines (Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, or just Laiko), an association of believers established by the CBCP.

Bernard Canaveral, president of the Pro-Life Foundation of the Philippines, also spoke.

“In this year’s Walk for Life, we advocate for the sanctity of every precious human. Walking together towards the same ideal as a family brings unity and strengthens our love,” he said.

“But the greatest ideal is to strive for holiness. One of the ways that we can grow in holiness is by respecting the God-given dignity of every human person,” he added.

Laiko board member Divina Lupe Mendoza Lazaro thanked all those present for their support during the rosary prayer.

“As we walk for life, we learn that valuing life and advocating for life starts with the family," said Joy Katigbak, a member of the Couple for Christ, a church-based group that promotes family life.

“One of the most powerful weapons that we have in the pro-life mission is prayer. As we continue to fight the forces of death that seek to destroy marriage, family, and life, let us tap into God's strength," she added.

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