One area in which the young of our world seem to be actually teaching their elders is the respect for human life from conception to natural death. That will be on display most strikingly Jan. 23, as millions of young people turn out from coast to coast to march and pray on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
For years now, the organizers of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., have found that the numbers of youthful attendees have grown exponentially.
“I used to go to the March for Life with my parents in the 1980s,” Maria McFadden Maffucci, editor of Human Life Review, comments in a page-one article in this issue, “and there weren’t all these young people. When I was in college, I was alone. It was considered nerdy to be pro-life. But now you see Union Station awash in young people trying to get fast food after the march.”
That’s not all. The march itself and the rally that precedes it, the Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the night before the march, and Masses on the morning of the march, at the shrine and other venues, are all jam-packed with college students, as well as elementary and high-school students. And ancillary events are well-attended by the young. This year, 2,000 of them have registered to attend a Jan. 22 conference sponsored by Students for Life of America and the Alliance Defense Fund with the theme “Envision … a World Without Abortion.”
In places from San Francisco to Dallas to Connecticut, the public will see a similar pro-life witness on the part of thousands of young people.
The fact is: This generation has already learned the “profound sense of justice with respect for their neighbor” of which Pope Benedict speaks (see above). They know that their neighbor includes the unborn because youth have a deep sense that they have grown up in a world where an unborn child could suffer the injustice of being killed before having a chance to take a breath. They are the survivors.
Generation Life also has experienced the common commitment to truth and reason that builds bridges connecting disparate cultures, another theme in Benedict’s World Day of Peace message. They may be of different denominations, they may be from various ethnic backgrounds, they may be believers or atheists — but they have seen the ultrasounds; they have heard the biological explanations, and they know that they too were embryos which developed into fetuses which developed into babies.
Mother Teresa famously warned that there can be no peace in the streets if a society allows abortion in the womb.
Generation Life got the message. They are already working for the justice that is a prerequisite for peace in the world.