Americans United for Life President & CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest is in Rome this week where she is participating in events celebrating the pro-life legacy of Pope John Paul II. Below you will find updates from her time in Rome.
Speech at the Building a Global Culture of Life Conference
On Friday April 25, Dr. Yoest delivered her speech entitled “Be Not Afraid” at the Building a Global Culture of Life: The Legacy of St. John Paul the Great at the UN conference. The conference was sponsored by C-Fam and the Alliance Defending Freedom. Below is an excerpt:
In the airport on the way to this conference, a group of students were wearing t-shirts proclaiming “Be Not Afraid.” If we are to talk of being inspired by Pope John Paul II, there can be no better tribute than that of young people carrying forward his inaugural admonition on their backs. Be Not Afraid. It is a simple anthem. A powerful one that has particular resonance for our conversation today about Pope John Paul second’s legacy in defending life.
The Pope’s first words to the faithful were these:
“Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development… Be not afraid!”
One of Pope John Paul second’s great legacies was his focus on the nature of the State and its potential to confine – even destroy – human freedom, human dignity and, at its worst, human life.
And so his inaugural words to us here, coming from Isaiah, are intrinsically words of comfort appropriate to a weary movement looking for courage to persist and endure in the face of entrenched opposition: Fear not, for I am with you, I will strengthen you with my strong right hand.
But in this context, in which the Pontiff goes on to indict the State, the words challenge us as well. Be Not Afraid! Do not fear to challenge the state when it works to destroy life.
Dr. Yoest’s Easter Message: Inspiration for LIFE
This Easter, as I’m preparing to travel to Rome for an international pro-life conference, I find myself drawn to the Pieta, perhaps Michelangelo’s most famous work, that is on display in the Vatican.
It occurs to me that in that extraordinary work, we can be inspired for life, and the potential that all of us born and unborn carry in us.
The anguished face of Mary, holding her son Jesus, crucified and dead, reminds us that motherhood does hold sorrow and difficult days. But Mary’s most difficult day was not the end of the story. It was not the only day of her motherhood. Easter is a celebration of life, of Jesus raised from the dead with a message that we have hope and a future. Mary’s love for her son, physical even spiritual, is mirrored in the passion that we can have for own children, no matter what comes.
And you can’t always imagine, in those dark days, how brighter days lie ahead.
More updates including videos and photos will be added as Charmaine continues her travel in Rome.