Hundreds of pro-life supporters, including many East Tennessee Catholics, turned out for a rally and the annual March for Life sponsored by the Knox County chapter of Tennessee Right to Life.
Nearly 500 people attended the rally Jan. 24 at the Tennessee Amphitheatre on the World’s Fair site, and more than 400 marched several blocks to a Clinch Avenue abortion facility, where they were greeted by a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace.”
Paul Simoneau, director of the diocesan Office of Justice and Peace, said the Diocese of Knoxville and Bishop Richard F. Stika “very much promote the sanctity of life.”
“And it’s from that principle of the sanctity of life that all other principles of the social teachings flow. If we get this wrong, then nothing else works, so the sanctity of life is by far the most important principle of the social teachings because it gives us a better understanding of how our social principles are to be lived out,” he said.
Mr. Simoneau was joined by Lisa Morris, a Sacred Heart Cathedral parishioner, and Brother Craig Digmann, who is with the Glenmary Missioners at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Church in Maynardville and St. John Paul II Catholic Mission in Rutledge. Brother Digmann was accompanied by parishioners of those churches.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett read a proclamation declaring the week of Jan. 24 Sanctity of Human Life Week in the county.
Stacy Dunn, executive director of the Knox County chapter of TRL and vice president of the state TRL, gave a closing talk with the theme “love always protects.” She referenced Jan. 22, 1973, the day of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in every state.
Mrs. Dunn, who is a member of Holy Ghost Church with her family, thanked state legislators for their efforts in passing a required 48-hour waiting period before an abortion and other measures.
“Because we know that if given the truth about her baby and time to consider, a confused and frightened young woman will often choose life for her baby,” she said.
Mrs. Dunn also thanked pastors for continuing to trumpet the sanctity of life and the need to end abortion in their homilies.
“Abortion supporters can’t understand why after 43 years we would still be working and praying for an end to abortion,” she said. “They find it hard to believe that abortion is still being talked about from the pulpits by faithful pastors who are teaching their congregations the truth about abortion and extending mercy and compassion to those hurting in their pews,” she said.
“It is shocking to them that after 43 years you still come out to memorialize the children, to pray for their mothers and fathers, and to say that this is not over because love always protects,” she added.
And she closed by thanking those who turned out for the march and others who continue to support the pro-life movement who “are making a difference.”
“The latest available statistics show that abortion numbers in 2014 were at the lowest point since 1973 here in Tennessee. Lives are being saved,” Mrs. Dunn said.