From staff reports
On a cold, windy day as thousands gathered in downtown Dallas to march for the sanctity of life, Bishop Edward J. Burns had a message for them: “Uphold the dignity of every human life.”
As in past years, the North Texas March for Life on Jan. 15 began at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe and led to a pro-life rally at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse, where Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Organizers said this year’s march drew nearly 3,000 participants.
Bishop Burns served as the main celebrant for the annual Roe Memorial Mass at the cathedral that preceded the march. In his homily, the bishop stressed the importance that the faithful proclaim the Gospel of Life.
“It is clear for us who are a community of believers that God created life,” Bishop Burns said. “And that life begins in the womb at the moment of conception.”
He noted that in the day’s responsorial hymn, Psalm 139, the cantor sang, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!”
“For us, members of the faith and children of God, we know for certain that these truths are self-evident,” Bishop Burns said.
The bishop explained that the United States was founded with the idea that certain truths be self-evident.
“All men are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Bishop Burns said. “We know that these truths to be self-evident, but unfortunately these truths are not self-evident today to everyone. We find that this country continues to grapple with truths.”
The bishop recalled the civil unrest the country has experienced in the recent past. He said that unrest served as a catalyst for his decision to establish a diocesan taskforce for interracial healing, which led the bishop to emphasize the sacredness of Black lives.
When it comes to discussions about the sacredness of life, Bishop Burns said the child must be at the center of the conversations at all times — especially when those conversations concern the topic of abortion.
“When we fail to have the child in the center of that conversation, it becomes rudderless, it becomes off-track, and then it becomes a disservice to the sacredness of life,” he said. “It is important that we uphold that a man and a woman, so in love for each other, produce life, and that life in the womb is sacred. It is important for us to march so as to uphold the dignity of every human life.”
This year’s North Texas March for Life occurred at a time when major court decisions are being considered on the abortion issue. A federal appeals court sent a challenge to Texas’s abortion law back to the state’s Supreme Court Jan. 17.
According to Catholic News Service, he decision leaves the law in place and is expected to delay action on reviewing a challenge to this law, which bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, stressed that the court was being consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Texas abortion law in December. The nation’s high court said the law could remain in effect while clinics continued to challenge it.
As the legal battle continues to play out in the courts, Bishop Burns urged the faithful to continue to work with the grace of God to uphold the sacredness of all life.
“While this will be a very telling year for the pro-life movement, my friends, we still have lots to do. We have lots to pray for,” he said.
Find more photos from the Roe Memorial Mass and North Texas March for Life and rally in our photo gallery.