WASHINGTON – Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians joined in prayer and public gathering on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, to express their long-standing belief that all life is sacred.
An official delegation of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States participated in choir in the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Roman Catholic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 21.
The following day, Jan. 22, Catholic and Orthodox bishops jointly offered prayer to begin the March for Life at noon on the National Mall.
As he reflected upon the importance of this year’s sanctity of life events, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said: “While we lament the tragedy of abortion in our land, our Lord continues to show us how good can come from evil. Our collaborative and prayerful ef- forts with our Orthodox brothers and sisters have certainly been a sign of hope in our combined efforts to build a culture of life.”
Highlighting the importance of prayer when addressing the issue of abortion, Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, chairman of the Committee for Church and Society of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in the U.S., stressed the need to “pray not only for those who are currently considering an abortion, but also those who have already undergone the procedure and may despair of God’s love and mercy.”
The following statement was signed prior to the event by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the USCCB; Archbishop Demetrios, chairman of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops; Cardinal Dolan; and Metropolitan Savas.
Seeking Life, Mercy, and Healing – A Common Statement by Orthodox and Catholic Bishops on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
“On January 22, Catholic and Orthodox Christians will once again stand in solidarity on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. As our communities firmly believe in the sanctity of life, the faithful – along with many people of other traditions and goodwill – lament the legal circumstances that facilitate abortion and the cultural phe- nomena that present abortion as the only choice for expectant mothers experiencing difficult conditions.
“We recognize that the choice to abort an unborn child ultimately reflects the broken condition of humanity.
“We remind the world of our common teaching that life begins at the earli- est moments of conception and that life, at all stages of its development, is sacred. We denounce the termination of a life as a response to unwanted pregnancies or as a method of overcoming social and economic challenges. We embrace the mothers and the couples who, in spite of difficulties, choose to bring their pregnancy to term. At the same time, however, we invite those who may have undergone or facilitated an abortion to turn to Christ with contrite hearts, seeking to overcome their grief through His forgiveness, mercy and healing.”
Archbishop Demetrios of America
Chairman, Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA
Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
Chairman, Committee for Church & Society
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
President,U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops