An early Mass at St. Rose of Lima Parish in North Buffalo celebrated two important tenets of the American Catholic faith, as Bishop Richard J. Malone observed the Fortnight for Freedom and Rosary Novena for Life Saturday morning.
During his homily, Bishop Malone noted the similarities in both issues, calling abortion "an erosion of the broad, common commitment to the right for life. It's unthinkable that we have that now. Along with that, we face challenges to our right of religious liberty."
The bishop said both issues impact another right of Americans, the pursuit of happiness.
"You can't be happy if you're not alive," Bishop Malone said. "You can't be happy - truly happy - if you're not free."
Some people are inconsistent on the issue themselves, according to the bishop, noting that he once saw somebody's car with bumper stickers to "Save the Whales" and "Vote Pro-Choice." He also read a recent New York Times article that profiled a lawyer pursuing human rights for monkeys.
"I'm not anti-monkey," Bishop Malone quickly added, to laughs. "I'm an animal lover."
The bishop also praised this week's Supreme Court decision that said keeping a protest "buffer zone" around abortion clinics is a violation of free speech, but also encouraged Catholics to be peaceful protesters.
The Fortnight for Freedom is a two-week observance of prayer, marriage and religious liberty. It began in 2012 following the Obama administration's decision to force religious institutions to pay for contraception coverage in their employee's health insurance plans. Bishop Malone encouraged Catholics to learn more about the issues at the Fortnight website.
"The issue is to be able to run our institutions without having to have insurance plans that force us to pay for things we find morally objectionable," Bishop Malone said. "That's the issue."
Following the Mass, the bishop, parishioners and other pro-lifers walked to a nearby abortion clinic to pray for the unborn, mothers, fathers and the ultimate end of abortion.
The bishop also recognized the Fortnight for Freedom during a Saturday 4:30 p.m. Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.