CNA Staff, Jan 21, 2021 / 12:45 am (CNA).- As the United States undergoes a transition in leadership, the Archdiocese of San Francisco will host a webinar this week discussing the future of the pro-life movement.
The webinar takes place on Jan. 22 with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco; Marjorie Dannenfelser, founder and president of the Susan B Anthony List; and Charles Camosy, associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University.
Moderated by J. A. Gray, a former editor at First Things and New Oxford Review, the webinar will discuss how the pro-life cause will move forward in 2021.
“I think this will be a very lively and inspiring webinar – a chance to hear from Archbishop Cordileone on what he sees as the way forward, ‘being a light in the midst of this darkness; a light being a witness to the sanctity of human life,’ as he said on Jan. 9 during a Mass for life and prayer walk to a Planned Parenthood clinic,” Valerie Schmalz, the archdiocese’s director of Human Life and Dignity, told CNA.
Prior to the event, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption will have a live stream Mass for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which will be celebrated at noon by the archbishop. Other parishes throughout the archdiocese are encouraged to offer a noon Mass or the regular weekday Mass for that intention as well.
“By offering Mass in each of our parishes on this day for this particular intention, we will pray together but in safer smaller gatherings for the restoration of the right to life for all, from conception to natural death, on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion throughout the country,” the website reads.
During the webinar, Archbishop Cordileone will converse with both Dannenfelser and Camosy. Schmalz said the presenters will discuss the next steps in establishing a “society where all human life is cherished and protected.”
She said Dannenfelser has advocated for a greater representation of pro-life women in politics and helped elect 18 new pro-life women to the incoming House of Representatives, also removed 10 pro-abortion lawmakers from their seats in the House.
“Susan B. Anthony is just one of the most powerful forces for pro-life in the country,” she said. “[Dannenfelser] really comes out of the pro-life feminist movement.”
“Women are empowered and they’re making a difference in the pro-life arena. That is what’s so great about what she’s accomplished this election cycle is she has gotten pro-life, articulate women into Congress.”
Camosy, who last year left the Democratic Party over the issue of abortion, served as a board member for the Democrats for Life for years. In his book “Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People,” Camosy offers insight into how a progressive stance would promote pro-life issues, Schmalz said.
“This will be an opportunity for Marjorie Dannenfelser and Charles Camosy to articulate what they believe is the ‘action plan’ for life in the next two years, with an administration and a majority of Congress that embrace the abortion agenda,” she said.
She noted that while the incoming administration has some laudable stances, including its opposition to the death penalty, it is also “extremely invested in abortion and making it legal.”
Schmalz said she believes that there are challenges ahead for the pro-life movement, noting that it has recently become more challenging to purchase pro-life and religious liberty ads online. She said the pro-life movement will need to respond with creativity and ingenuity.
Schmalz stressed that in the current political environment, charity is particularly important for the pro-life movement.
“A big question will be how the pro-life movement can counter inevitable efforts to tar pro-life advocates with the awful actions of the rioters who descended on the Capitol. The riots have accelerated and are being used to justify a polarization of our society and are fueling a campaign to marginalize many, including pro-life and religious freedom advocates.”
“We’ve been drawn to such chaos right now … You look at the screen and you see this stuff happening and you just want to cry. It’s horrible,” she said. “So, as pro-life people, we have to do everything peacefully and with charity, don’t get caught up in the polarization.”