What a powerful weekend! I am always more energized than exhausted after spending the day greeting the participants in the West Coast Walk for Life, which took place on Saturday, January 21, and then taking the redeye flight to Washington DC to spend all of Sunday and Monday greeting the people taking part in the national March for Life.
So many of you were there and were able to tell me of your daily prayers for me and of the concern you have for me. You were encouraged by seeing that I am in great health and great spirits.
But more important even than that is being in great focus. So many people over recent months, and in the March for Life days, have said things to me like, "I know this has been a painful and difficult time, for you to be asked to stay for a while in Amarillo. I know this is a burden for you and it must be frustrating. But we are with you and it will work out."
This is always a consolation, knowing that whatever difficulties we have, we are not alone, and as I said to thousands of people, I really appreciate the support and prayers. Keep them coming!
But what I want my friends and foes alike to understand is that my greatest burden is not the events of the last few months, nor the limitations on my travel, nor the false things said about me in the media. There is one single thing that gives me more pain than anything, and that is the ongoing slaughter of my brothers and sisters by abortion.
So many of you share that pain, and carry that burden. Day by day in our country, thousands of children are ripped apart, dismembered, decapitated, killed, and thrown in the garbage. The law permits it, the courts justify it, and so many are silent about it.
That's what's painful. That's what keeps me up at night. That's what makes my heart break. It's abortion, not a decision by Church authorities.
And isn't that what I've been saying all along, from the first day when, at the 1976 March for Life, as a high school senior, I decided to get involved in the pro-life movement? Isn't that the same thing I've been saying from the first day Cardinal O'Connor authorized me to lead Priests for Life and Bishop Yanta received my promises to spend the rest of my life defending the lives of the unborn? Isn't this what the Church means by saying that no right is more fundamental than life, and that abortion deserves urgent attention and priority? Isn't this what the depths of the human heart and conscience say when, faced with the gruesome reality of abortion, they cry out in pain and demand that the killing stop and that justice prevail?
My friends, the alarm of conscience is sounding. If something is going to bother us, let it be abortion, and let our every action be focused on stopping it.