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Cardinal Wuerl celebrates Mass to mark 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Saturday - 1/26/2013, 9:04am  ET

March for life
About 30 pro-abortion rights demonstrators met an estimated 600,000 anti-abortion rights advocates on the steps of the Supreme Court -- where the court case legalizing abortion in 1973 was decided and where the March for Life traditionally disbands. (WTOP/Natalie Plumb)
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Natalie Plumb, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated Mass at the Verizon Center on Jan. 25 with an estimated 15,000 people.

The Mass was held just a few hours prior to the 40th Annual March for Life, an event that takes place on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Wuerl describes the significance of this year's march as "an enormous sign of hope."

WTOP: Why is March for Life so important?

Wuerl: Abortion is not solely a matter of religious faith. Abortion is a matter of something that comes right up out of our human nature: We should love the children we generate, not kill them. I think we need to be saying that across every culture across every part of the world. This is not a specifically religious issue. This is a human issue.

WTOP: What about the HHS Mandate?

Wuerl: We're very hopeful that as time goes on and our conference continues to work with the administration that something will be worked out that will allow us to continue to function as we always have: as a free entity, freely exercising our ministry in our country.

WTOP: What will happen if it does go forward? Has there been discussion about what will happen?

Wuerl: We take this one day at a time, and I'm hopeful that we're going to be able to resolve this.

WTOP: There's only so much that you can do. You've been marching for decades and decades now. What more can you do to change things?

Wuerl: Each passing year we have more and more young people saying, "This is the right thing to do; that abortion is not the answer to our problems." So sometimes it's a matter of patience. It's 40 years since that decision; they wandered in the desert for 40 years before they came to the Promised Land. You never put time limits on God's plans. But you just keep doing the best you can do.

WTOP: What's your favorite part of the March for Life rally?

Wuerl: My favorite part of the rally obviously is the celebration of Mass. But probably for me, when, at the end of Mass, we start introducing those future priests and future religious - all these young people who stand up and say, "I'm going to be a priest; I'm going to be a religious" and you hear thousands of young people applauding them. That's an exciting time.

Correction appended: An earlier version of this story stated an inaccurate estimate of the number of people who attended Mass at the Verizon Center.

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