Message by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family on the Occasion of the National March for Life

Monday, April 28 2003

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) would like to invite all Canadians to pause and reflect for a moment on the occasion of the National March for Life, whose theme this year is Life: The Only Choice! This March gives us all an opportunity to appreciate the priceless gift of life and to make known our commitment to ensure that human life is respected and protected.

Each day we are called to make choices in favour of life. As Christians, we are called to be like Jesus in the world: to give life “abundantly” in a thousand and one ways, and to safeguard, protect and celebrate the dignity of our own lives and the lives of others. On this day of the National March for Life, our voices join with the voices of all those who defend and celebrate life – at all stages of its development – in order to affirm that we must always choose life.

Each decision we make in our lives, each choice, shapes us, both as humans and as a society. We regularly make decisions that affect our own lives and the lives of others. What sets us apart as humans is this ability and freedom to choose. But the fact that we can choose doesn’t necessarily mean that we will choose well. In fact, having the ability to choose does not determine in any way the morality or the value of the choice we make. The Catholic tradition has always insisted on the fact that we must choose what is good.

Although decision-making affects all aspects of our life, there is one area that eludes the decision-making process: the beginning of our life. We did not choose the moment or the place of our arrival into the world. Ultimately, we believe that we have both the freedom and the responsibility to choose and promote human life at all stages – from conception to death – and in all circumstances.

This choice for life grows out of an underlying belief in the inestimable value of all human life. We proclaim that all life is good. As Christians, we believe that life comes from God. Through the prophet, Jeremiah, God tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jer 1:5). We believe that from the beginning the life of every human being is part of God’s plan: “his gift, his image and imprint, a sharing in his breath of life…. The sacredness of life gives rise to its inviolability, written from the beginning in man’s heart, in his conscience.”1 This is why we must unconditionally choose life.

Choosing life means being attentive to the people around us and defending and caring for people in all circumstances, especially the most vulnerable, the most fragile. Choosing life means putting in place policies that help people to balance family and work responsibilities and that promote a family-centred approach.

Choosing life means demanding the right to life for unborn children as well as psychological, social and financial support for pregnant women. Choosing life means protecting the smallest among us – the human embryo – who is part of the human family, who is one of us. Choosing life means supporting and being present to those who are disabled, elderly, ill or suffering. It also means respecting the life and dignity of those who are dying and accompanying them until the very end.

Choosing life means first and above all being at the service of life. “We need to ‘show care’ for all life and for the life of everyone. Indeed, at an even deeper level, we need to go to the very roots of life and love.”2

1.John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae (On Human Life), 1995, no 39-40.
2.Ibid., no. 87