Cardinal Raymond Burke says that the pro-life marches taking place across America this week "are a most important witness to the respect for the inviolable dignity of every human life."

"It is heartening to note the increased participation in the pro-life marches," the head of the Vatican's highest tribunal, the Apostolic Signatura, told CNA Jan. 23.

"Surely, the witness of the pro-life marches gives occasion for all citizens in the nation to consider their fundamental duty as citizens to promote the respect for human life and to foster human life in our society."

From coast to coast, pro-life marches and rallies in America continue to mark the week of Jan. 22 as the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade – the Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized abortion throughout the nation. San Francisco's Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 26 will be attended by Archbishop Carlo Viganò, nuncio to the United States.

The March for Life in Washington, D.C. occurred Jan. 25 and drew hundreds of thousands of participants.

Pope Benedict himself has shown support for the rallies, tweeting Jan. 25 that "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life."

Cardinal Burke noted that the "greater the participation in the marches, the stronger the message is to our government that its citizens, those whom the government serves, desire most of all that the laws of the nation foster the common good by protecting all human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death."

The Wisconsin native, who served as archbishop of St. Louis before being called to Rome, also addressed the devastating effect that legalized abortion has had on the people of America.

The more than 50 million deaths in the wake of Roe v. Wade "is a great scourge in the United States of America and must be repaired at the earliest possible time," he urged.

"In addition to the destruction of the innocent and defenseless human lives, women who have had abortions suffer greatly for the rest of their lives."

"A woman, therefore, who has procured an abortion, will have understood that she has committed a grave sin, not only against the innocent human life conceived in her womb, but also against her own very person and identity," Cardinal Burke reflected.

He also addressed the effect that the cultural acceptance of abortion has had on the way women are treated in American society.

"The loss of respect for woman in our society and the ever greater incidence of sexual promiscuity are all products of the loss of the respect for the inviolable dignity of the innocent and defenceless life of the unborn. One of the most deadly products is the multi-million dollar business of pornography on the internet."

Cardinal Burke further said that abortion is an attack on the family.

"Abortion represents, of course, an attack on marriage because a man and woman become one flesh for love of each other and for the sake of the procreation and education of human life made in God's own image and likeness. The practice of abortion attempts to deny the essentially procreative nature of the union of man and woman in marriage and, therefore, does a great violence to the family."

Cardinal Burke commended "most highly" the American bishops' efforts to transform the country into "a civilization of life and love."

"Prayer, in all of its forms, is of course the first and most important instrument for the conversion of hearts and for the transformation of our society," he noted.

He also discussed the importance of explaining truth and goodness in overcoming the scourge of abortion. Cardinal Burke said, "the teaching of the natural moral law and conscience, that is, the moral truth known by right reason and confirmed and fully expressed in Divine Revelation" is also central.

"The Catholic Church, in particular, has a most serious obligation to give witness in the world to the truth of the natural moral law and to work for the salvation of the world through the transformation of the culture of death into the civilization of life and love," he concluded.