On Jan. 22, the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, pro-life advocates and faithful alike gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for a joyful yet somber Mass celebrating the overturning of Roe last year as a result of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health while also memorializing those millions of innocent preborn lives lost to the evil of abortion.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrated the sacred liturgy. Beyond just recognizing the dignity of the most vulnerable in the womb, he related the culture’s widespread acceptance and defense of abortion to the fact we have forgotten that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
“Every human being, whether they know it or not, whether they believe it or not, is created in the image and likeness of God,” the archbishop said in his homily. “Every human being: that includes our enemies, those who persecute us, those who have fallen away from the Church, those who are listening to all the ideologies out there, those we hate us. Yes, we are called to love them, because that is what Jesus Christ taught. It is recognizing the dignity of every human being.”
He implored Christians to lead by example when it comes to recognizing the inherent dignity in every human being; Christians must help those who do not see their own dignity to recognize it.
“Whether it be the homeless, the immigrant, the woman who is pregnant outside of wedlock, the prostitutes or the imprisoned, or the murdered: we are called to see their dignity, because they themselves do not see it,” he said.
This lack of dignity is especially prevalent among women, archbishop explained. Amid the onslaught of social media, the barrage of images and beauty products sold to women and the influence of celebrities, many women have bought into the lie that they must look a certain way in order to be beautiful, which strips them of their dignity.
“My daughters, you are beautiful,” Archbishop Aquila urged. “You are beautiful in the eyes of God. Do not listen to the lies of the culture that take away your dignity as a woman.”
He emphasized the role men play in this stripping of dignity, saying: “We as men must examine our lives for how treat and look at women.”
In the post-Roe cultural landscape, there is an opportunity for the Church and pro-life movement to accompany women with unexpected pregnancies and support them, Archbishop Aquila stressed. Locally, this work is carried out daily by places such as Marisol Health, Bella Health and Wellness, Gabriel House and Smith Road Women’s Shelter, but it is not confined to these places.
“We too must be those who help women in crisis pregnancies,” the archbishop said. “We are called as a Church and as a people to care for women, not to condemn them, but to treat them with love an respect, no matter what they have experienced.”
This love can only be shared if we first receive it from God and remember that we “first belong to Jesus Christ,” the archbishop stressed. It is in his love that the world’s problems — including the evil of abortion — will be solved.
“My sisters and brothers, receive his love for you,” Archbishop Aquila concluded. “It changes everything. He and he alone is the answer to all of the world’s problems.”