By Ann Schneible
ROME, APRIL 27, 2012 (Zenit.org).- An entire generation in Italy has been lost since abortion was legalized in 1978, a law which has claimed the lives of more than 5 million unborn children. On May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Rome will host its first March for Life to protest the legalization of abortion in Italy.
The March will begin at 9:30 am at the Colosseum, and will continue through Piazza Venezia, Largo Argentina, and then conclude at Castel San Angelo. Afterward, Angelo Cardinal Comastri will celebrate Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at 12:15 pm.
ZENIT recently spoke with Virginia Coda Nunziante, one of the March’s organizers. Nunziante belongs to the Associazione Famiglia Domani, an association dedicated to the defense of the family.
History of March for Life in Italy
The inspiration for this year’s March for Life in Rome comes from the March which is held every year in Washington D.C. “We have been participating for many years at the March for Life in Washington,” Nunziante explained, “and we saw how important that was; always, year after year, more and more crowds, and many young people, and especially the result it had on the national level, and on the political level.”
“We then also participated in some European Marches – in Paris, in Brussels – and in fact, Italy was one of the only countries that didn’t have a March for Life.”
Last year, a small March for Life was held in the north of Italy near Lake Garda, with very positive reception. “We decided then to do it the following year, this year, in Rome, because it’s the capital of Italy and because in all countries usually the March is in the capital, and also because to give a sign to our government, to the politicians, and to the civil society. That’s why we decided to do it in Rome this year.”
Program for the March for Life
A year of planning has gone into this year’s March for Life, which has had the support of more than 120 various associations, as well as many members of the Roman Curia.
Again, in keeping with the model set by Washington D.C.’s March for Life, the actual March will be preceded by an evening vigil with Eucharistic Adoration (from 9:00-10:30pm) at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, over which Raymond Cardinal Burke will preside. “We are very proud of that because we know how Cardinal Burke followed and participated in the Washington March. It is a great privilege for us to have him,” Nunziante said.
Also on the day before the March, Regina Apostolorum university will host a congress at which many Italian leaders will speak in defense of life.
The Colosseum was chosen as the starting point of the March largely for its historical significance, Nunziante explained. “It is the first place where the innocent were killed, because the first martyrs were there.”
Already a large number of participants are expected from across the country. To date, at least 50 charter buses are due to arrive in Rome, bringing people from throughout Italy to participate in the March.
Abortion in Italy
Since abortion was made legal 34 years ago, Nunziante said, “a whole generation has disappeared.”
“What we would like to say,” explained Nunziante, “is that it is not only that we are in favor of life, but also that we are against abortion… We do not accept this law of abortion; we would like to change it to eliminate it.”
“This is something that we cannot accept,” she continued, “so now it’s time to say no. We would like to respond to the Pope’s last address to American bishops who were here on their Ad Limina visit in January. He said: The Catholic should go in the public place again. We do not have to leave the public square to our enemies, because they are always in the public square. Catholics have to reconquer the public square.”