California Catholic Daily exclusive.
Saturday’s 14th Annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco left organizers and attendees walking on air. Tens of thousands turned out, the weather was clear and the commitment of President Donald Trump to the pro-life cause, more a hope than a fact in 2017, has been amply demonstrated.
Pro-Life hero David Daleiden attended Saturday’s Walk as a member of the crowd. Daleiden, who has the entire abortion industry playing defense, was at his 10th Walk for Life. He may have best captured the mood of the day in an interview with the National Catholic Register: “These marches feel like victory marches now, for the first time, because we’re winning.”
He went on to say, “We don’t have political power in San Francisco… All we have is the power of the Spirit that comes through in an achingly beautiful way. That’s what I love about the Walk for Life.”
The Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral was celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and concelebrated by nine bishops, and many priests of the Archdiocese, and beyond. The Walk for Life West Coast Mass is probably the most attended of the year at the Cathedral, Christmas and Easter included. Not only was every pew taken, photos from the event show at least four rows of young people, joined by some not so young kneeling on the stone floor behind the last pew.
The invocation at the Walk rally was given by Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West of the Orthodox Church of America. His Eminence said: “We have come not to condemn others but rather to affirm the sanctity of every human life, particularly the unborn. We have come to affirm the primacy of divine law over human law.”
Archbishop Cordileone then introduced Joseph Scheidler, the grandfather of America’s pro-life movement, and the recipient of the Walk’s annual St. Gianna Molla Award for Pro-Life Heroism. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Scheidler bracketed his talk with two Shakespeare quotes. He began with “The time is out of joint” from Hamlet, illustrating how our culture has fallen. But he closed with the famous speech from Henry V, and noted its relevance to those who have fought against great odds to end the evil of abortion: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”
Terry Beatley, founder of the Hosea Initiative, spoke next. She chronologically detailed the conversion of Dr. Bernard Nathanson from the founder of NARAL to a champion of life. Mrs, Beatley said “The bomb for Dr. Nathanson was ultrasound…It’s a story that every American needs to know. The guy who founded NARAL said ‘Game Over’.”
Dr. John Bruchalski, a one-time abortionist who founded the pro-life Tepeyac Family Center in Chantilly, VA, who told the crowd “In this sanctuary city also known for bridge-building, we are all stating loudly that we want our neighbors to consider the womb a sanctuary for the unborn members of our human families.” Dr. Bruchalski also challenged young people who may be considering the vocation of medicine “I want all the young people here… as a doctor who knows that abortion hurts women—we need you. We need you to enter and return medicine back to the pro-life movement.” He described his own experience: “My conversion, my change of heart happened because people like you praying for people like me.”
The Reverend Childress sent Walkers on their way. He denounced the lies that have been part and parcel of the ‘pro-choice’ movement and said that “fake news is coming down …the pro-lifers have been fighting fake news since its inception!…when they say ‘that’s not a baby, when they say that’s not the gift of God, when they say there’s no such thing as the sanctity of life’…that’s fake news!”
He compared the pro-life movement to the children of Israel “Just before the children of Israel broke out, it got hard. They had a rough pharaoh (Gov. Brown), they had magicians and wizards (Nancy Pelosi)…They had those people, warring against the community…but guess what? When your time comes, it just comes!”
Walk for Life organizers and attendees used social media to crack the media blackout. Walk co-chairs and speakers were interviewed by ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. At least two helicopters provided aerial footage of the entire Walk. The Associated Press article covering the Walk was published in newspapers coast to coast, and included one of the day’s more memorable quotes, from Walk co-Chair Eva Muntean: “’We’re here to proclaim that abortion hurts women. We’re here to take back the narrative that abortion is a right and personally, I’m here to take back pink,’ said a pink-jacketed Eva Muntean, co-chair of the Walk for Life West Coast.
Walkers proceeded joyfully down Market Street. When counter-demonstrators appeared, groups of young people would move from one side of the Walk to the other and out-chant the opposition. The only organized opposition was in the half-block between Mason and Cyril Magnin Streets, where perhaps 100-150 counter demonstrators gathered. SFPD kept the Walkers safe. As David Daleiden said “While 10 years ago, the walk was “like running the gauntlet”, now they can’t turn out significant numbers of people to support taxpayer-funded abortion.”