Flipping the Fear about Preaching on Abortion

Early in my work at Priests for Life a woman wrote, “I can’t help but think that if twenty years ago I heard a sermon in my Church against abortion, I would have found the strength to keep my baby instead of killing my baby.”

Since then, countless women, as well as men, have said the same. One day after Mass someone said, “Father, I had an abortion, and when I hear it spoken in Church, it does hurt – but please, keep preaching about it, because I gain great comfort in knowing that as a result of that preaching, someone else in the congregation will be spared having to go through all the pain that abortion itself brings.”

Many priests are afraid to preach about abortion, and many of the laity ask me why. Fear, ultimately, is irrational; it is the abandonment of the help that comes from reason.

Yet one of the most frequent answers priests will give to the question of why they don’t address the issue is, “I don’t want to hurt those in the congregation who have had abortions.”

Priests spend years of prayer and effort to develop the compassionate heart of a Good Shepherd, who tends to the wounds of the flock, applies the healing balm of God’s love and mercy, and never does anything to hurt the flock.

But that should lead to preaching about abortion, not silence about it. The reason? Silence hurts the flock. One reason silence hurts is that it does not interpret itself. The priest may indeed have the best of intentions for keeping silent about abortion, but the woman or man sitting in the congregation and suffering from his/her involvement in abortion does not know those intentions. The fact that nothing is said about abortion may lead such a man or woman to conclude one of three things:

a) Father doesn’t know about the pain I have from my abortion;

b) Father knows my pain, but doesn’t care;

c) Father knows and cares about my pain, but there’s no hope. Nothing can be done to heal it.

The fact, however, is that we do know, we do care, and there is hope and healing. Therefore we speak! We speak about abortion, which is devastating individuals and families more than anything else. We speak about its pain, and we extend the urgent invitation to healing, mercy, forgiveness and peace.

Apostolates of Priests for Life like Rachel’s Vineyard (the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion) and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (whereby those who have had abortions and have found healing speak out about it) can assist the priest to convey effectively the message of healing. Then all the rest that we say about abortion will be better accepted, and more will avoid the pain to begin with.

It’s time to flip the fear of preaching about abortion into a fear of what will happen if we don’t.

Let Us Pray for All Mothers

This weekend we observe Mothers’ Day. It is an opportunity not only to thank our Mothers and to thank the Lord for them, but also to pray for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. So many are already mothers and are just finding out that they are carrying their child within them. They need our encouragement and support, no matter how unplanned, surprising, or shocking the pregnancy may be to them or to us. The fact that motherhood begins before the mother realizes it reminds us of Jesus’ words, “It was not you who chose me; it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit that will last.” God’s choice always comes before ours. When He chooses that someone is to be a mother, let us respond with joyful support.

Christ Reconciled Humanity to God

Matthew’s Gospel tells us that when Jesus rose from the dead, there was a great earthquake. In the Old Testament, earthquakes are a sign of the coming of God, the breaking in of the new age in which God’s kingdom will flourish.

That is what happens, of course, at the Resurrection. A new chapter of history now begins, in which the risen life of Christ is accepted by believers, who live this newness of life, reconciled and redeemed by the blood of the Cross.

In this new chapter of history, humanity is reconciled with God, and human life is raised in Christ to the heights of glory. God’s victory over death continues to grow.

It is therefore an age in which we have more reason than ever to respect and protect human life.

Fr. Pavone on Passage of No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Fr. Pavone today hailed the House’s 251-175 vote to approve H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

“The American public has for decades opposed the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions,” said Fr. Pavone. “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act simply codifies the longstanding will of the people. Today’s vote once again shows why the House of Representatives is, indeed, the People’s House.”

“At a time when every government expenditure is being questioned, subsidizing the already profitable abortion industry cannot be justified morally or fiscally,” added Fr. Pavone. “It’s now up to the Senate to show whether it represents the American people or a business that destroys over a million lives a year.”

We Must Also Run

On the morning of Jesus’ Resurrection, there was a lot of running taking place. The women, having seen the empty tomb, ran back to the disciples. Peter and John, having heard the women’s story, ran toward the tomb.

And in the end, of course, all the Apostles ran into the world to announce this greatest news of history.

We, too, must run. The victory of life over death is definitive, and yet it is still unfolding. We fight the power of death as we defend human life, especially the unborn. It is time to run, to announce the Gospel of Life with vigor, and to intervene to save the unborn with urgency.

Fear paralyzes and slows people down, but confidence in the victory of the Risen Christ causes us to run and fulfill our mission.

The Source of Human Dignity

On May 1st Pope John Paul II was Beatified. This step was taken not because of the profound impact of his pontificate, the multitude of his writings, or the depth of his knowledge of theology. Rather, his beatification is because he lived in a faithful and heroic way the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love, and provided a model for us to imitate. The Vatican spokesman who served under Blessed John Paul II added that the key to his effectiveness was that he firmly believed that each person was created in God’s image and likeness, and that this was what attracted people to him. Having worked under him myself in Rome, I was privileged to see close-up that he was indeed the Pope of Life.

John Paul II: The Pope of Life

Washington, DC – Fr. Pavone, who worked under Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in the Pontifical Council for the Family in the late ‘90’s, released the following statement prior to Sunday’s beatification ceremony:

“John Paul II was the Pope of Life and will be remembered as such through the centuries. The Church’s beatification of him on May 1, recognizing the exemplary way in which he lived the Christian virtues, is also an opportunity for all of us to absorb and apply his teachings more profoundly. He called us to build a Culture of Life with a sense of urgency and confidence. ‘The outcome of the battle for life is already decided,’ he declared at World Youth Day in Denver, yet we have to work to bring that battle to its completion. ‘Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life,’ he warned.

“The worldwide ministry of Priests for Life rededicates itself today to the task of reminding the whole Church that, as John Paul II taught, there is no task more fundamental than defending the very right to life, on which every other right depends.”

Joining in this commitment is the National Pro-life Religious Council, a coalition of many Christian denominations working to end abortion. In a statement also issued today, this Council declared:

“Pope John Paul II was a gift not only to the Roman Catholic community, but to the entire Body of Christ, as he pointed to Christ as the only source of life and hope for the human family. His courageous challenge both to the Church and to the State to defend the most vulnerable among us echoes the historic Christian teaching that life comes from God, belongs to God, and goes back to God.

“The National Pro-life Religious Council calls upon all Christians to recognize again that it is our discipleship of Jesus Christ, rather than any ideology or political platform, that impels us today and always to defend life and to eliminate from our midst the scourge of abortion. We thank the Lord for giving us such a powerful example of that commitment in Pope John Paul II.”

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Father Pavone released the following statement in advance of the May 4th vote on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”

“The pro-life movement has another opportunity this week to take a giant step forward to protect the unborn by urging support for House Resolution 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Americans do not – and have never wanted – to pay for the killing of children.

“To every legislator that votes against this bill, we will send women who have suffered from the abortions they had, and they will ask, Why would you want to fund my pain?

“Then we will urge the voters to elect public servants who can tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public.”

God Chooses Us Through Baptism

On Easter, many throughout the world are baptized into the Church, and those already baptized renew the vows of their baptism.

By baptism, we are immersed in the new life of Christ, and welcomed into the community of those who believe in the Catholic Faith. Thanks to baptism, God looks at us through the eyes of His Son, and says, “You are my child; you died on the cross, therefore you will rise from the dead.”

Baptism is a sacrament of welcome. God chooses us long before we choose, and all the chosen welcome each other. This is the exact opposite of the mindset of abortion, which ignores God’s choice, and says that we can choose not to welcome children into the community.

Let’s thank God for baptism, and for life!