Manila archbishop calls to ‘rethink’ pro-life strategy

February 19, 2024 - 9:23 AM
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Walk for Life
Cardinal Jose Advincula presides over Mass for the “Walk for Life” at the University of Santo Tomas Open Grounds in Manila, Feb. 17, 2024. (CBCP News/Roy Lagarde)

It’s time to ‘rethink’ the pro-life strategy, and this reevaluation must encompass new approaches that refrain from further judgment and condemnation, the head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church said Saturday.

During the Mass for this year’s “Walk for Life,” Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila spoke about the need for the Church to explore “new pathways” to better respond to the dominant values of contemporary times.

“We need to engage in more listening and dialogue. This is part of walking for life,” Advincula told the congregation gathered at the open grounds of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.

“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 said.

The cardinal particularly called for better ways of dealing with, among other issues, the dilemmas and complexities of modern families, irregular situations in the home, and what he termed “the diversity in understanding identity and personhood.”

He also emphasized that families today, especially the young people, need accompaniment in their journey.

“They don’t need more judgments and condemnations,” Advincula added. “To lead people to the truth, we must do so in love, truth in charity, walking together for life, this is where the holy spirit is leading us today.”

Organized by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, participants walked along España Boulevard from Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to UST.

According to organizers, the event brought together more than 3,000 people from various religious and lay organizations, aiming to demonstrate solidarity in upholding the dignity of human life.

The concelebrants of the Mass include Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, who is the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog and chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity.

Caermare said that this year’s Walk for Life also raised important family and life issues and opposed attempts to revive the death penalty, divorce and same-sex unions in the Philippines.

“Our participation, our presence today is a demonstration of how we value the sacredness of life,” he said.

Advincula enjoined the faithful to work together to defend the sacredness of life “in a rapidly changing world that is oftentimes more welcoming to a civilization of death and so hostile to a civilization of life and love”.

“I encourage you to continue to be passionate in your ministry. Do not be disheartened if sometimes you feel if what you have been doing is not even noticed or ends up in an apparent failure. Take courage. You are not alone,” he said.

“Our society today needs teachers that can lead others to the right path and to the right choices. We must not abandon this mission of being teachers and catechists of the Gospel of life,” he also said.