Cardinal Raymond L. Burke delivers the English language keynote address on June 15 2013 for the Evangelium Vitae weekend in Rome. Credit: David Uebbing/CNA.

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke delivers the English language keynote address on June 15 2013 for the Evangelium Vitae weekend in Rome. Credit: David Uebbing/CNA.

VATICAN, June 15, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News).- Participating in the political process in favor of human life is a part of the New Evangelization, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said as he kicked-off a pro-life weekend at the Vatican.

“While the transformation of hearts is the most fundamental means of new evangelization regarding human life, Catholics and all persons of good will must be attentive to all laws, which safeguard the dignity of human life,” Cardinal Burke said June 15 at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.

The morning of formation was part of a weekend dedicated to celebrating Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium vitae.” It was attended by about 140 people, many of whom were from the United States.

Cardinal Burke, who runs the Church’s highest court, began his talk by focusing on how the Gospel of Life is intertwined with evangelizing and the Year of Faith, which the Church is currently celebrating.

When he came to the topic of the law and protecting life, Cardinal Burke mentioned Pope John Paul II’s statement from “Evangelium vitae” in which he said, “I repeat once more that a law which violates an innocent person’s natural right to life is unjust and, as such, is not valid as a law.”

In this context, the cardinal underscored the “irreplaceable role which law plays in culture” and urged Catholic families to get involved in political life, saying, it “is essential to the cause of life.”

A second area for involvement that Cardinal Burke highlighted was the importance of “developing and supporting truly pro-life and pro-family media, and organizing public manifestations.”

“The culture of death advances in good part because of a lack of attention and information among the public,” he stated.

The importance of public demonstrations in favor of life was also recently endorsed by Pope Francis, the cardinal noted, when he sent a message to the second annual March for Life in Rome.

After Cardinal Burke’s remarks and a short break, the crowd heard from Professor Francis Beckwith of Baylor University and Robert Royal, president of the Faith and Reason Institute.

Professor Beckwith of Baylor University spent his time demonstrating how the arguments put forth in an article for the journal Ethics backing post-birth abortion actually showed there is a dormant understanding of the sanctity of life.

Panelist Robert Royal from the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. said in his remarks that he believes the current culture requires Catholics to be active in proposing their faith but also in building “communities of protection” where the faith and virtue is taught.

The Evangelium vitae weekend continued after the talks with a Holy Hour at Santo Spirito in Sassia parish. Participants from all the language groups will take part in a candlelight procession down Via della Conciliazione, the street that leads to St. Peter’s Basilica, on the evening of June 15.

The events will finish with a June 16 morning Mass with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. (David Uebbing)