‘Be as bold, audacious as Jesus Christ in defending life’

Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento/THE FLAME

CATHOLICS MUST have “the same boldness and audacity” that Jesus Christ had in upholding the dignity of individuals in a world that welcomes death more than life and love, Manila Archbishop Jose Advincula said.

During this year’s Walk for Life, Advincula cited the importance of solidarity among Catholics in defending the sacredness of life, an advocacy that he described as one that is not a “short-term engagement or a temporary battle.”

“As long as there are subtle and not-so-subtle attacks against the family and human life, we will be there to register our firm objection and make sure that our united stand is heard,” Advincula said in his homily at the UST Grandstand on Saturday, Feb. 17.

“Thanks to all of you, missionaries for the gospel of life, we can fulfill our prophetic role in a rapidly changing world that is often times more welcoming to a civilization death and so hostile to a civilization of life and love,” he added.

The prelate reminded the faithful to remain passionate in proclaiming the value of life even if their efforts do not result in immediate success. 

“Do not be disheartened if sometimes you feel that what you have been doing is not even noticed or ends up in an apparent failure. Take courage, you are not alone,” he said.

“Walk for Life” is an annual event where various religious organizations and groups gather to promote the culture of life and oppose policies perceived to be threats to the family like abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, death penalty and divorce. 

Noting that modern issues cause rifts among family members, Advincula said tackling such problems should not be solved by mere obedience and silence.

Echoing Pope Francis, the archbishop said Catholics must listen and dialogue to “become active proclaimers of the gospel of life together.”

“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 said.

“Families today, including and especially the young people, need accompaniment in their journey. They don’t need more judgments and condemnations. To lead people to the truth, we must do so in love.” 

The Walk for Life began with an assembly of the participants at the Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City. Various religious groups mobilized to UST, the official venue of the program, at 4:15 a.m.

About 4,000 Catholics attended the event, higher than last year’s estimated 3,500, officials said. 

Council of the Laity of the Philippines president Xavier Padilla described the event as a “show of conviction and commitment” by the Catholic attendees whom he called the “defenders of life.”

This year’s Walk for Life carried the theme “Together, we walk for life” to show solidarity with those whose right to life is endangered. The event was organized by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, the lay arm of the CBCP (Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines) Episcopal Commission on the Laity.  F – with reports from Micah Pascua and Heschel Klein Pavon

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