Those of you who have been to Rome know what an amazing place it is. The imprint of the Church is very clear in the names of the streets and buildings, and the Christian history that one sees at every turn. Superimposed on this in various ways is a modern, commercial culture. And at any time, you don’t know what language will come out of the mouths of those around you, as pilgrims from every part of the world come to seek a spiritual boost to take them above that modern culture.
I lived for two years in Rome from 1997 to 1999 as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family. This council coordinates and encourages the pro-life, pro-family work of the Church. I had a pleasant visit with a number of the clergy and lay staff with whom I worked at that time, and gave them a thorough update on the work of Priests for Life. We promote the various documents of the Council, which are a wonderful collection of doctrinal and spiritual reflections on life and family.
We also promote the various documents of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, headed by our friend Cardinal Renato Martino. The work we do for the pro-life cause is, in fact, the heart of justice and peace. The relatively recent Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, issued by this Council, brings that point home in numerous ways. I will be taking part in a world conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace later this month in Rome.
On a personal note, my own family background is 100% Italian (my grandparents came over to the USA from Abruzzo and Calabria). I even still have relatives in Rome, with whom I visited on my recent trip. I enjoy the pasta, of course, and all the seafood. But I’m also glad I live in the USA rather than in Rome. Those of you who know me and follow my work closely know that my “pace of life” is much more American than Roman.
In the pro-life cause, of course, the best of both come together. Christian history has left us a clear teaching on the absolute sanctity of life, and the vision behind America is the equality of every human being. Let’s continue to move forward in this great cause with confidence!