Pope Francis praised a pro-life event in Rome and offered comments defending the dignity of life on Sunday.
According to the website for the national Scegliamo la vita (Let’s Choose Life) event, the May 21 gathering intended to affirm the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Videos and photos on the event’s Facebook page shows crowds marching and singing with signs and music.
The pope greeted participants in the event after praying the Regina Caeli in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
“I thank you for your dedication in promoting life and defending conscientious objection, which there are often attempts to limit,” he said.
“Sadly,” the pope continued, “in these last years, there has been a change in the common mentality, and today we are more and more led to think that life is a good at our complete disposal, that we can choose to manipulate, to give birth or take life as we please, as if it were the exclusive consequence of individual choice.”
Pope Francis flatly rejected that view.
“Let us remember that life is a gift from God!” he said. “It is always sacred and inviolable, and we cannot silence the voice of conscience.”
Pope Francis’ pro-life comments came after he offered a reflection on Jesus’ words to the disciples at the Last Supper in Sunday’s Gospel reading from John, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” The Holy Father said that “no one can leave others peace if they do not have it within themselves, emphasizing that the peace that Jesus is referring to comes from the Holy Spirit and is a “gift of God.”
Pope Francis’ comments defending life come at a time when the highest court in the United States nears the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
In early May, a draft of a Supreme Court opinion that showed the court was poised to overturn Roe was leaked by the news outlet Politico.
Shortly after the leak, pro-abortion advocates began protesting at the court, in front of justices’ homes, and even in Catholic churches around the country. Additional security measures have been taken to protect the justices and the court itself, as a fence has recently been built surrounding the court.
However, if Roe is overturned, abortion will not be outlawed nationwide. The Mississippi abortion case in consideration, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, would give states the exclusive right to legislate on abortion.
Still, some states have “trigger laws” which automatically outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned.