LOS ANGELES (EWTN News) — Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles marked Respect Life Month by saying that Catholics must defend the unborn and marginalized in society out of fidelity to Christ.

For Catholics, “the defense of unborn life is not a political issue,” he said in an Oct. 7 article for the archdiocesan paper, The Tidings. “This issue is deeply related to who we are as Catholics, to our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Archbishop Gomez urged the faithful to spend the month of October praying together as a Church for an end to “every offense against the sanctity and dignity of the human person” and for all of society to recognize the dignity of every person.

“Our religion, in a beautiful and mysterious way, is deeply identified with human life,” he said. “What other world religion remembers the time when its founder was in his mother’s womb?”

Pointing to the Church’s celebration of Jesus’ birth and early childhood — at Christmas and numerous other feast days — the archbishop said that we “retell these stories in our worship, year after year.”

“Biblical religion is a religion in which family and children, and the promise of children, plays a big role,” he said. “Think of God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah: ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.’”

Archbishop Gomez also made reference to the Gospel story of Mary visiting Elizabeth, where the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb.

“An unborn child was the first to bear witness to Jesus! God loved us so much that he entered into this world as each one of us did — through the womb of a mother.”

“Jesus Christ took our human nature and spent nine months in the womb!” he underscored. “Why would he do this? To show us that human life is sacred. To show us that every life is precious to God.

To show us that each of us is a child of God who is loved in a special way by our Father in heaven.”

The archbishop explained that this is why Christians have been defending the right to life “from the very beginnings of the Church” and “why we defend for the right of every child to be born.”

“This is why we defend the rights of the old and the sick to be cared for with love and compassion until their natural death,” he added. “This is why we strive to preserve the mystery of marriage as the union of man and woman in the plan of God.

“And this is why we strive for justice for the immigrant and the worker; for the imprisoned, the hungry and the homeless.”

“This is who we are as Catholics,” Archbishop Gomez concluded. “We are a people of life and for life.”