By Ernest Ohlhoff
National Right to Life Director of Outreach
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., of Boston has been elected as the new chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He received 149 votes while Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit received 84 votes.
The Cardinal’s strong pro-life commitment is reflected in the mission of the Pro- Life Office in the Archdiocese of Boston which is committed to helping build a culture of life in the Archdiocese. It provides direct services through its Pregnancy Help crisis pregnancy center and its Project Rachel post-abortion ministry; educational outreach and training through its Respect Life Education program; and support to parish and diocesan pro-life activities consistent with the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Referring to a homily delivered at a Vigil Mass of Nascent Human Life on November 27, 2010, Cardinal O’Malley said that Pope Benedict XVI “has asked us to begin this Advent Season in prayer for the unborn, for nascent life. It’s an act of solidarity and in the whole world an act of witness of the sacredness of human life; a central theme in our Catholic Faith.”
He continued, “[T]he hallmark of the pro-life struggle must be love and compassion, but we must try to bring the light of reason and faith to help people to understand how sacred human life is and our obligation to protect it particularly when it is the most vulnerable.”
Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley was born June 29, 1944 in Lakewood, Ohio, and was raised in Western Pennsylvania, where he entered a Franciscan seminary. At 21, he was professed into the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and at 26 he was ordained a Catholic priest. Since his ordination to the episcopacy on August 2, 1984, he has served as the Bishop of the dioceses of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands; Fall River, Massachusetts; and Palm Beach, Florida.
Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Boston in July 2003. Pope Benedict XVI named him a Cardinal in 2006.