Your Reward is Great in Heaven

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
So many pro-life leaders I know, including myself, have been falsely accused in public of advocating or even doing violence. Pregnancy centers, which compassionately serve parents and their babies every day, have been falsely accused of deceiving the public. Activists who try to change the laws have been falsely accused of opposing democracy.
The litany goes on and on, and proves that pro-life people are living this beatitude. They should rejoice, for their reward in heaven indeed is great. The children, who cannot know how much pro-life people love them, cannot repay them. They will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.

Rhetoric vs. Reality

The Eighth Commandment declares, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Everyone has a right to his good name and reputation, and this commandment forbids us to lie about what someone has or hasn’t done, or about who someone is.

The Culture of Death violates this commandment in a profound way. By allowing court decisions like Roe vs. Wade which says, “the word person…does not include the unborn,” society bears false witness against the unborn. It is a lie.

Abortionists go even further and call our unborn brothers and sisters names like “parasites,” or “products of conception” or “medical waste.” They bear false witness.

And anyone who says an abortion is justified is bearing false witness by denying that the child has the right to be protected from the abortionist’s knife.

Healing is the First Priority

Hundreds of people in our nation have worked in the abortion industry, whether in Planned Parenthood or in any of the many independent killing centers, and have stopped doing so because of a moral conversion. We at Priests for Life minister to many of them. And what is the first thing that they need? They need healing. The guided effort to face what they have done and to find spiritual and psychological wholeness must be their first activity and responsibility. Only after this crucial process and careful discernment with the help of the pro-life community should those who so desire begin to share their story on the speaking circuit. Let’s pray for all those who have performed abortion, and for their healing and peace. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.

Breach of the Seventh Commandment

The Seventh Commandment declares, “You shall not steal.” Whenever we violate the right to life, we steal. We rob the person of what is his – the recognition of his rights, the protection of his life.

Actions like abortion also rob God Himself of what is His. Once when I was praying at an abortion facility with a group of people, and one man had his toes over the property line, a clinic worker shouted, “Get your feet off our property.” I responded, “And when are you going to get your hands off God’s property?”

God alone has dominion over human life. When an abortionist reaches into the sacred space of the womb to rip the child apart, he is stealing from the Almighty, and is also robbing society of the respect it owes to life.

We Must Address the Bioethical Issues of Our Day

After his conversion from being a pro-abortion leader to being a pro-life activist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson began talking about the new bioethical challenges of our day. Before “stem cells” hit the headlines, he was predicting that they would be the subject of daily news stories. He became a bioethicist and urged the Church to be at the forefront of these issues, so that it would not be caught asleep again, as he said it was when he launched the abortion rights movement.

Now is the time to heed fully his warning, and to cast aside our fears of dealing with issues like stem cells, genetic engineering, and tampering with the biological basis of our species. Let’s encourage study and prophetic teaching by clergy and laity alike on these bioethical issues.

God’s Mercy is Infinite

In light of the passing of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the pro-life movement continues reflecting on his life. I will never forget the workshop at which I introduced him at the 1994 Human Life International Conference in Irvine, CA. He was supposed to talk about chemical abortion, but at the last minute decided instead to speak of his spiritual journey. At the end of the talk, he said that he was standing on the brink of conversion to the Catholic Church. The room exploded. People were leaping into the air. He said that he hoped God could forgive him, and I said, ‘Dr. Nathanson, He already has,’ and I reminded him of that exchange just a week before he died. Many have turned away from the abortion industry; let’s encourage them to trust in God’s mercy.

The Church Must Remain Vigilant

One of the many lessons from the life of former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who died in February, is the key role of the Church in ending abortion. He said that he and his colleagues who started the abortion rights movement would never have gotten away with what they did if the clergy had been united, purposeful, and strong. He said that he stole the abortion issue from the Church and caught the Church asleep. That’s why, once he became a pro-life advocate, he gave such great support to the ministry of Priests for Life, which he called the Paul Revere in the pro-life movement. He wanted to make sure that the Church was not asleep again about the bioethical challenges of our day. So let us be awake, informed, and vigilant.

The Abortionist and the Priest

On February 21, 2011, Dr. Bernard Nathanson died. As he said, he “uncaged the abortion monster” in the United States. As he describes in his book Aborting America, he and his colleagues launched the abortion rights movement and organizations, feeding false statistics to the media about the numbers of women dying from illegal abortions.

Dr. Nathanson ran the largest abortion clinic in the Western World and was responsible for some 75,000 abortions. He even aborted his own child.

He eventually became pro-life through the evidence of science, and then through the love of the pro-life movement, came to faith. He was baptized into the Catholic Church by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1996.

Among the many lessons we can draw from his life is how he, as a founder of the abortion movement, viewed the Catholic Church. After becoming pro-life, he would give talks entitled “How the Abortion Issue was Stolen from the Church.” He said the Church was asleep, and he did everything possible to marginalize its teaching authority by driving a wedge between bishops and laity on this issue.

Speaking to clergy, he maintained, “We would have never gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful, and strong.” That is why he had such a high regard for Priests for Life. In an interview with me in 1999, Dr. Nathanson said the following:

“Well, you know Priests for Life is an extraordinarily fine group. I don’t say that in order to make anybody feel better or flatter anyone. It’s an unusual and a very unique group in that most of the priests whom I have encountered across this country and indeed around the world, shy away from the subject of abortion. They somehow want to keep it under the rug and only pull it out when they’re ordered to. In my own experience as a Catholic convert for the last several years, I’ve attended a great many Masses and listened to a great many homilies and I believe in three years I’ve listened to only one homily on the subject of abortion and that was here in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Other than that, priests seem not to want to talk about it and Priests for Life is the Paul Revere of this whole gestalt. That Priests for Life are riding around trying to galvanize the rest of the clergy into getting engaged in what is one of the most appalling revolutions of the 20th Century and I am enormously grateful to them and I admire their work enormously. But unfortunately, I believe that there are not enough, that Priests for Life should have a staff twenty times what it has now.”

In the latter part of his life, Dr. Nathanson became a bioethicist, and often expressed to me his concern that the Church not be caught asleep again on the new bioethical issues. Let’s honor him and make sure we are awake and vigilant!

Today is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

Today, pro-abortion activists observe the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. They want to make into heroes the people who get paid for killing babies. Former abortionist Dr. Tony Levatino provided this comment on today’s observance: “Eight years of performing abortions affirming a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ Over 1200 innocent children in five years of private practice shredded in suction machines and dismembered in late-term abortions. Hundreds of dead little faces staring back at me. Dozens of women who chose abortion assuming that they would be able to become pregnant at some later date who found out differently as the years rolled by. A National Day of Appreciation for what I did? No thank you.” Let’s pray today for all abortionists, that they may experience repentance, conversion, and new life.

A Modern-Day St. Paul

The life of ex-abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who died in February, teaches us about what abortion does to the doctor. He was responsible for some seventy-five thousand abortions. He ran the largest abortion mill in the Western world in New York City. He even aborted his own child. He said that when he finished that procedure, he had no feelings whatsoever of pain, regret or sadness, but only the feeling of technical satisfaction for a job well done.

Those who kill these children dehumanize themselves. Their hearts and consciences become dull. At one point, Dr. Nathanson began to see the contradiction between aborting babies on one floor of the clinic, and saving babies of the same size and age on another floor. Human reason began to shine through, and he eventually became pro-life.