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Cardinal urges pro-life movement to be ‘a field hospital, not Judge Judy’

Cardinal O'Malley at a Mass at the US-Mexico border last year (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal Seán O’Malley has said that indifference is the “greatest enemy” of the pro-life movement, adding that “to change people’s hearts we must love them”.

The cardinal was speaking at the March for Life vigil Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.

He cited Pope Francis’s words at Lampedusa about the “globalisation of indifference”, and added that the pro-life movement was “about overcoming that indifference, indifference to the suffering of a woman in a difficult pregnancy, indifference to the voiceless child who is destined to be part of the statistic of a million killed in the womb each year, indifferent to the poverty and suffering of so many”.

To change that indifference, he said, “we must learn to look on people with love”. Cardinal O’Malley said: “An attitude of judgmental self-righteousness is not going to change people’s attitudes and save babies. We need to be the field hospital not Judge Judy. We need to be the merciful face of Christ in the way we promote adoption, aware of how difficult it is for birth mothers to choose that option. We also need to expand our outreach in Project Rachel to those whose lives have been devastated by abortion.

“To change people’s hearts we must love them and they must realise that we care about them. They need the witness of our love and our joy. To evangelise is to be a messenger of joy, of good news.”

The cardinal also spoke about the many myths propagated about abortion in the US. He said: “First of all, you will hear that abortion is a woman’s issue; secondly, that most Americans are pro-choice, pro-abortion; and thirdly, that young people are overwhelmingly in favour of the pro-choice position.”

He added, however, that “if abortion depended on the ballot box rather than an activist court, it would be greatly reduced”, with as many Americans identifying as pro-life as pro-choice. Young Americans in particular are the “most pro-life segment of the American people”, he said.

The full text of his homily can be read here.