January 26, 2011
Pope Benedict XVI sent the following greeting to the young people attending Masses for Life at the Verizon Center and D.C. Armory marking the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.
The message was sent to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and was read by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, to over 17,000 youth at the Verizon Center, and read by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to 10,000 youth at the DC Armory:
From the Vatican, 13 January 2010
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI asks you kindly to convey his cordial greetings to the more than 30,000 young people from throughout the United States who will gather in Washington on the 24th of January 2011 for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in conjunction with the National March for Life.
His Holiness is deeply grateful to all who take part in this outstanding annual witness to the Gospel of Life, and to the many others who support them by fasting and prayer. He is especially proud of the growing number of young people whose presence demonstrates their recognition of society’s duty to defend the inviolable dignity of every human being, especially the weakest, the most defenseless, and those who have no voice. By their efforts to ensure adequate legal protection for the inalienable right to life enshrined in the nation’s founding documents, they are contributing in no small measure to the building of an ever more inclusive, compassionate and just society.
It is also the Holy Father’s hope that more and more young Christians, inspired by this moving celebration of the beauty and grandeur of God’s gift of life, will take up the challenge of the new evangelization, bearing joyful witness to their faith in the Risen Lord and allowing the wisdom and liberating power of his word to guide them in facing the urgent moral and social challenges of the present time.
With these sentiments, and with great affection, His Holiness commends all those gathered for the March for Life to the prayers of Mary, Mother of the Church, and willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, strength and peace in the Lord.
With fraternal good wishes, I remain
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Secretary of State