insidethevatican - Jan 25, 2010
A Leader Emerges
In America, the annual March for Life has become an international event. At the dinner following the march, the keynote address was delivered by a powerful new voice on the American scene. But first, Haiti...
By Robert Moynihan, reporting from America
Tragedy in Haiti
Benedict XVI has written to Haitians to say the Church will do everything possible to contribute to the country's reconstruction following the terrible January 12 earthquake.
The Pope wrote to Haiti's president, René Préval, and the head of the country's bishops' conference, Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haitien.
Both messages, released Saturday by the Vatican press office, affirmed the Pope's sorrow for the quake victims and his nearness to the survivors.
The Haitian authorities have reported 111,500 people have died thus far, with another 193,891 injured, and some 3 million people displaced.
"I pray that the spirit of solidarity will live in the hearts of all and that calm will reign in the streets," Benedict wrote, "so that the generous aid that is arriving from all countries will bring relief to all and the people who today have lost everything will be comforted in knowing that the entire international community is taking care of them in concrete ways."
In Haiti yesterday, January 23, a funeral Mass was celebrated for Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, who died when the impact of the quake hurled him from a balcony. Also remembered was Msgr. Charles Benoit, the vicar general, whose body was pulled lifeless from the cathedral debris.
In a message, Chicago Cardinal Francis George, the US bishops' conference president, told Haitians, "The Church in the United States stands with you. In our prayer, we recall that Jesus, too, wept before the tomb of one whom he loved. With you, we recall in trust that He is the resurrection and the life, offering Himself to us and calling us to Himself, even in our darkest hour."
Huge Pro-Life March in Washington DC Ignored By Media
It was a dramatic sight: tens of thousands of Americans -- and foreigners -- marching peacefully through the streets of Washington DC on behalf of life on Friday, January 22.
It took about two hours for all the marchers to make the hike from the center of the Mall to the Supreme Court building, about 50 abreast across the main avenues of Washington. Some think there were half a million people present.
In America, the annual January 22 "March for Life" in Washington has become well known for two things.
First, it is big -- of the largest public gatherings in the country, year after year, with crowds numbering at least 200,000.
Second, it is ignored -- the country's mainstream media consistently downplay the size and significance of the March. Sometimes they don't mention it at all. Or, if they do mention it, they give "equal time" to the 250,000 marchers and a group of 40 or 60 opponents of the March for Life who also turn out each year.
But media silence cannot fully blot out reality.
And the reality is that, despite inadequate reports of its existence, one of the largest mass movements in America is continuing, and even growing, after 37 years.