Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 12, 2008
400 march silently to defend life
Smith says culture must be renewed
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Prolifers, many of them praying the rosary, marched to the Alberta Legislature May 4.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Holding signs that read Defend Life, some 400 people walked in silence through downtown Edmonton to condemn abortion and assisted suicide and to demand legal protection for the unborn.
The first annual March for Life began at St. Joseph Basilica and ended at the Alberta Legislature, where several speakers addressed the crowd. Building a Culture of Life was the theme of the event.
"We want to show the public that we are a people of life," said organizer Sister Elizabeth Coulombe. "We believe everybody has the right to live and we want to celebrate life. We are celebrating the importance of life."
Speaking briefly to the crowd in front of the basilica prior to the May 4 march, Archbishop Richard Smith called for legislative and cultural renewal.
"We are well aware of the need for legislative reform in our country that would give real protection to the child in the womb. But for a reform that is sufficient and lasting we also need cultural renewal," Smith said.
"To work for cultural renewal is to strive for the inclusion of all (forms of life) with the conviction that life is beautiful, that human life has an inherent dignity, that human life has to be welcomed and celebrated and that human life in every stage deserves real protection.
"By your witness today you are contributing to this renewal. Your march is silent but your witness speaks loudly."
Led by a group holding a large sign that read March for Life 2008 - Building a Culture of Life, participants walked east on Jasper Avenue and then turned south on 107th Street towards the Alberta Legislature. Some prayed the rosary throughout the procession.
"I think it is important that we stand up for the right to life because nowadays it seems that there is only one choice - and that's death and I don't agree with that," said participant Diane Pueschel, who marched with her husband Bryan, their 10-month-old baby Elisabeth and other family members.
Denise Mountenay, a prolife activist, author and lecturer who had abortions while young, came to the rally "representing hundreds of thousands of women who have been hurt and wounded and injured by legal abortion in our nation."
"We want to be a voice for the voiceless," she said. "I hear story after story of women like me who had an abortion and we were lied to. We were never told the truth about what an abortion really is and what it does.
"I was never told the truth about fetal development. I was never told that my baby had a beating heart three weeks after conception."
Mountenay said women are suffering in silence. "Study after study confirms that legal abortion is hurting women physically, emotionally and spiritually and that once they have an abortion they are six times more likely to try to commit suicide afterwards."
'Be more aggressive'
Joseph Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League, an American pro-life educational and activist organization, urged participants to be more aggressive in the fight against abortion.
In the United States, Scheidler and his followers are known for displaying large blown-up pictures of aborted babies in front of abortion clinics and in public places.
"In one of our actions in Chicago 20 women on their way to have an abortion stopped and told us they could no longer have the abortion," he said.
"So my message is have some guts; don't worry about what people think about you. We are doing God's work. You are the soldiers of Jesus, the cream of the crop, the communion of saints because you are doing the most important work on earth today."