ROME, Italy — Throngs of marchers took to the streets of Rome on Mother’s Day to commemorate Italy’s fifth annual March for Life, a pro-life event affirming the universal right to life in opposition to state-sanctioned abortion.
According to figures released by city authorities, the event drew a crowd of more than 40,000 marchers, including many young people, families, bishops, priests, religious and even Cardinal Raymond Burke, a regular. The march was organized, according to the official website, “to bear witness to love for life, from conception to natural death, without compromise.”
The demonstrators came from all over Italy, from Bolzano to Palermo, from Trieste to Lecce, in more than 60 buses, and many more arrived to the capital by train or by car. There were also numerous participants from abroad, hailing from Romania, Ireland, France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Malta, Croatia, Slovenia, the United States, Canada, Australia and various other countries.
The three-hour procession under a bright Roman sun began near the Vatican on the Via della Conciliazione and ended at La Bocca della Verità, where pro-life national spokesperson, Virginia Coda Nunziante, addressed the crowd, saying that that all the “symbols, flags, banners and signs paraded during the March are a sign of life of people who did not give up, and who expect to win.”
“Joan of Arc said that we are asked only to fight: it is God who gives the victory,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Pope Francis gave his blessing to the pro-life marchers, reminding the crowds “how important it is to work together to defend and promote life.” The Pope has repeatedly voiced his opposition to abortion, which he has denounced as “false compassion” that results from “the selfishness of a culture that does not love life.”
At the end of Sunday’s march, Coda Nunziante said: “Our categorical rejection of any compromise is not just about abortion, but extends to all forms of violation of the moral law, because this moral law, the natural and divine law, knows no exceptions.”
“We know what and how many aberrations threaten us today,” she said, “starting with the madness of gender, which in a sense is even more serious than abortion, because abortion destroys physical life, whereas gender ideology corrupts the spiritual life of our children, destroying their innocence and educating them to perversion.”
In closing, Coda Nunziante appealed to all the mothers of Italy and the world to “stand up to this culture of death, and stand up to this dictatorship of relativism and nihilism.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter: @tdwilliamsrome