While I encourage you to read the whole speech (here), here are some noteworthy excerpts:
...What a beautiful mission we have: to bear witness, even to the point of some suffering, to the truth of the innate value of human life, and the dignity of every human person. In persevering in this sacred work we bring glory to the Eternal Father who has created us, to His Son Jesus who lifted up our flesh in the Incarnation, and redeemed us through His own dying and rising. We want to be moved and docile to the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us for a supernatural work – dare we say it?, a BATTLE wherein we already know the final outcome – namely, that Christ has indeed already conquered sin and death, and life will be victorious!
Be careful of this last point, the “battle.” There are some who don’t want you to know we are in a battle, even while they themselves never cease to attack. Friends, when we do get attacked and clobbered, then let us know that Christ has gone before us. He told us, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world’” (Jn 16:33)...
...What we believe – what has been entrusted to us about life - must be taught. We must be patient and persevering teachers of these basic truths, in what we say and how we act. We somehow have to get across, first and foremost, that there is such a thing as objective truth; that there is such a thing as right and wrong. This is no easy task in a culture of “choice;” in a society that values a kind of personal dogmatism – whatever I think is true, is “true” FOR ME! This becomes very threatening when those who have a voice can determine what happens to those who do not. Even within the community of believers, we must be careful of the notion of “subjective conscience,” because an ill-formed conscience can give license to destructive tendencies within our lives, and can even cause people to neglect, or take advantage of others – particularly those who are vulnerable. We must teach, and we have a Holy Mother, the Church, from whom we take our lead...
...we must act against what is clearly evil. We must take this responsibility. It is possible to commit sins of omission where there is grave responsibility. The US bishops, for more than thirty years have held a strategic principle that Roe v. Wade must be overturned. Why is this? Because it is a grave evil that has become a fundamental element of law in our country. It must be opposed. We always seek to do it legally, but with the fervor of American freedom, and the fiery insistence born of the Holy Spirit. We must overturn unjust laws. Obviously and with great urgency, we must change a law that exposes human life to the terror of abortion. It seems a long road. Progress is so slow. Through many courageous and hard-fought battles we have put in place – particularly in the States – some small but important limits on abortions: waiting periods, parental notification requirements, use of ultrasounds, alternatives counseling, etc. We have also been able to establish limits on tax dollars used for abortion, and conscience protection for individuals and, for example, for our Catholic Health Care institutions.
Before I go further, it is very important to note: We, the Catholic Church, continue to do MORE than any other private institution – bar none – to support life at every stage. We do more to help the poor, the sick, the hopeless, certainly women in difficult pregnancies and those with young families. We will never stop doing these things. We must not. We will do them out of a conviction about the dignity and value of every human person, and out of a motive of love of Christ. But these things are NOT enough! We have to stop evil where we can. We must defeat or overturn destructive laws. As private citizens, we have to support elected officials who support life and defeat or remove those who boldly declare a pro-choice, anti-life agenda.
Because the efforts to dislodge what is evil are so arduous – we know that evil will not give up without a fight; It shouldn’t surprise us that certain groups – even those under the banner of “Catholic,” have set a different agenda, one that while supporting a public work of assistance to those in need, nonetheless chooses not to address unjust and destructive laws that take their daily toll of thousands of human lives. They seem to tolerate and even support, at times, a program that systematically continues its clearly declared strategy to remove all limits on access to abortion. They say, “Let us forget about Roe v Wade – concede it, because we have not yet been able to defeat it. … Let such evils run their course. We will try to do some good and this will be enough.”
I assure you, evil and selfishness looks for us to drop our guard. The Freedom of Choice act has not been enacted; but piece by piece all its elements are finding their way into our law. The efforts that had been won painstakingly over the last generation – limits on abortion that can be shown, statistically, to reduce the number of abortions in our country by hundreds of thousands per year - are today being nullified. We must do much charity, much work in mercy, and develop more safety nets for those who are in need. But, at the same time, we must work for the change of what is unjust. Our first call is to provide and protect justice – and the primordial human right is life – for those who are most vulnerable, who have no voice of their own. We will act with respect and we will not ever, ever, resort to violence, but we must not cease to work actively against evil, anymore than we would abandon the initiatives of active charity that mark the work of Jesus Christ. You and I must do these things. I am counting on you!...