STEUBENVILLE, OH--More than 200 students filled the J.C. Williams Center with a buzzing anticipation on Tuesday, October 3. After a lengthy flight delay, their nationally known priest-hero had arrived on campus. Moments later when he entered the center at 10:15 p.m., the Franciscan University students greeted Father Frank Pavone with a rousing ovation.
In a talk co-sponsored by the College Republicans and Students for Life, Pavone spoke of the necessity of electing virtuous public officials. He also gave a testimony about his experience watching Terri Schiavo die of thirst while a vase of flowers filled with water sat by her bedside.
"Terri wouldn't have been killed if 42 million babies hadn't been killed first," Pavone said. He pointed out that it is a "strong myth" that "we can deprive the unborn of protection and keep it for ourselves."
According to Pavone, the controversial 1973 Supreme Court abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, established a new kind of government: one that is not from God. In very strong words, he told students, "The Church says these are no laws at all. These laws have absolutely no authority over us, and we must disobey them."
If a politician turns away from helping babies, Pavone said, that politician is rendered "incompetent" for public office. Pavone called to mind public officials who insist that education and health care are fundamental rights, but do not recognize the right to life.
Pavone made some practical points for students hoping to elect pro-life candidates. "In an election, one thing is counted: How many for this guy and how many for the other?" He encouraged students to pursue voters who would not normally vote rather than spending all their time trying to change the mind of one or two who are opposed. "Leave them alone until after election day," he urged listeners.
Despite projections, Pavone expressed optimism for the upcoming month: "We are going to take another step forward in this election for the culture of life." Pavone pointed out that a foundation is being built, saying that the Supreme Court is closer to recognizing the rights of children than if the last presidential election had gone the other way.
Before closing the night, Pavone encouraged the students, reminding them that Jesus Christ, who makes all things new, is their reason for confidence.
After another standing ovation and a question-and-answer session, about 75 students registered to vote. He also encouraged vocations to Priests for Life and to his new community dedicated to pro-life work, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. The new group is open to the laity as well.
Afterward, Pavone expressed gratitude for the convictions of the students. "The obvious dedication to the cause of life is tremendous encouragement because the future and present of the pro-life community is here," he said.