I consider myself to be staunchly pro-life, especially in my opposition to abortion. Nevertheless, my personal pro-life stance was missing something: Action!
My perspective changed last September after Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, presented a weekend of pro-life workshops for seminarians here at St. Meinrad School of Theology. Actively protecting pre-born children from the culture of death is a top priority for me now that I understand the terrible damage abortion does to babies and their mothers.
This occasional series of articles entitled "Pro-Active Pro-Life" is just one way I am living out my new commitment.
There may be many reasons we avoid publicly defending the pre-born. Perhaps the perceived power of the pro-abortion opposition intimidates us. We may fear that our actions will offend others, especially women who have been deceived by the empty promises of the pro-abortion movement and suffered through an abortion. Maybe we don’t believe we can make a difference. In light of these misconceptions, let me offer a few simple things that anyone can do to start defending life. Today.
Learn about the damaging effects of abortion on babies and mothers - Two must-see websites are Priests for Life (www.priestsforlife.org) and LifeNews.com (www.lifenews.com). Spend a few minutes at Priests for Life, and you’ll learn a ton. You can subscribe to e-mail updates on both sites.
Refuse to use the deceptive language of the pro-abortion movement
Radical pro-abortion activists have desensitized our culture into the numbing acceptance of killing pre-born children by the words they use. The call pre-born babies "the pregnancy" or "mass of tissue." They call their abortuaries "clinics." Abortion mills are not clinics; no lives are saved, no diseases are cured. They prefer to speak of "choice" and "reproductive rights," instead of "killing." The words we use are critical if we want to speak the truth and expose the evil of abortion.
You may already be praying to end offenses against life.
Add a prayer of repentance for yourself and for all Christians who have remained silent for too long. Pray for women who are considering abortion or who have suffered through an abortion. Pray for pre-born infants who are threatened by, or have been killed by abortion. And, pray for the conversion of abortion providers and others who support or carry out abortion.
Take a public stand
The Priests for Life website has a link: "Parishes Matched to Abortion Mills." Click there and follow the links to find the freestanding abortion mill closest to your parish. Then go. Go and pray the Rosary outside the abortion mill with a friend or two or more. You don’t have to "protest." Your mere presence is a powerful and effective witness. Women and their babies need your prayers, and they need to see that you care.
There are 11 freestanding abortion mills in Arizona and about 90 Catholic parishes in the Phoenix Diocese. That means more than 16 parishes per abortion mill. We have never been better poised to put an end to abortion in our own back yard.
So, let us pray. Actively!
John Lankeit is a seminarian of the Diocese of Phoenix studying at St. Meinrad School of Theology.