At a Jan. 21 Mass mourning the deaths caused by the legalization of abortion in the U.S. 39 years ago, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles urged Catholics to build a culture of life.
“We can never give up until our world comes to know the truth,” he said, noting that the humanity of the unborn is not a simply a “religious” or Catholic truth, but “a truth of biology, a truth of science.”
During his homily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Archbishop Gomez said that the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1973 defied another “great truth” that our nation was founded on – that all men and women are created equal and are born with God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“The Supreme Court, in effect said that our rights do not come from God but instead are bestowed by the government,” he said.
The archbishop's comments come one day after the Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Obama administration would not expand a religious exemption for employers who object to its requirement for health insurance plans to cover sterilization and contraceptives – including abortifacients – free of charge.
Archbishop Gomez warned that if our rights do not come from God, then they are threatened by the “random whims” of those in political power.
He drew attention to the fact that slavery was also once upheld by the Supreme Court.
“Slavery was evil when a majority in this country held that it was good. It was wrong even when the Supreme Court said it was right.”
The archbishop's remarks touched on the day's Gospel reading from the book of Mark which told of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt and the slaughter of the first born children, known as the Holy Innocents, by King Herod.
He invoked the prayers of the Holy Innocents for the state of California and the United States and said that Herod still exists today in the injustice done to the unborn and families.
“King Herod is a symbol for all those rulers and forces in our world that are afraid and jealous of God . . . all those who seek to cast out God from the world he created an to erase the memory of him from society.”
The protection of human life and the family, he added, is vital for civilization because “in the child and the family we see the love of God.”
He encouraged those in attendance to be “guardians of the light of life” just as St. Joseph was when he responded to the voice of God telling him to flee into Egypt.
“We need to tell the world of the good news of this Child – that the Son of God became a child of Mary so that every mother's child can become a child of God.”