Pope Francis surprises attendees of Italy’s March for Life

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Pope Benedict XVI never flew to America to participate in the March for Life. But Pope Francis might.

Life Site News is reporting that after delivering his weekly Regina Coeli address this past Sunday, Pope Francis surprised the 40,000 or so participants in Italy’s third annual March for Life by greeting them as they gathered just outside St. Peter’s Square following the march.

Stephen Driscoll Pope

Stephen Driscoll / CNA

The organizers of the event did not know the Holy Father would meet with them, but were delightfully surprised when they saw the popemobile heading their way. “It was a great joy for us because we didn’t expect this at all,” said event organizer Virginia Coda Nunziante. “It was extraordinary because I met the people who unexpectedly saw him coming.”

The aim of the march, according to NC Register, is to affirm the sanctity of all human life and to urge others to denounce all legislation that is against the natural law.

The march was intentionally held on Sunday, May 12th (when Italians celebrate Mother’s Day) to highlight the fact that since abortion became legal in Italy in 1978, more than 5 million unborn children have been aborted.

Pro-life activist Lila Rose, founder and director of Live Action, spoke at the event. She told ZENIT, a Catholic news agency, that “the energy and the enthusiasm of the people here, to remove abortion from Italy, and make it a country that protects all human rights, is a beautiful thing to see.”

“It’s not just here in Italy, it’s not just Rome, it’s not just Italians, it’s not just Europeans: it’s people from all over the world,” she continued. “We’re marching together in solidarity for the protection of the weakest.”

Former Archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Raymond Burke, describes his experience with the march in this video released by Catholic News Service

As for those who think Pope Francis might attend next year’s March for Life in Washington, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. I’m sure he’s got more important things to do. Then again, he’s shown us that he’s not afraid to do things his predecessors have not. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Stephen Kokx is a freelance writer and adjunct professor of political science living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. His writing on religion, politics and Catholic social teaching has appeared in a number of outlets, including Crisis Magazine, The American Thinker and his hometown paper The Grand Rapids Press. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, and is a graduate of Aquinas College and Loyola University Chicago. Follow Stephen on twitter @StephenKokx

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