THE SUNDAY TIMES
A top aide to the national director of "Priests for Life" urged the nearly 350 anti-abortion activists Saturday, to "put the abortion issue first when looking at any candidate."
Janet A. Morana, personal assistant to the Rev. Frank Pavone, was the principal speaker Saturday during Pennsylvanians for Human Life's 19th annual "Respect for Life Prayer Breakfast."
"If you are a Christian and that candidate is a Christian, they cannot take a pro-abortion stand and claim to be Christian," she said, "That is scandalous to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Ms. Morana is one of 40 lay or clerical staff members of Priests for Life, based in Staten Island, N.Y. According to its mission statement, it provides training to Roman Catholic Church priests and deacons "who give a special emphasis to the 'life issues,' especially abortion and euthanasia, in their ministries."
She told the audience at Genetti Manor, Dickson City, that it is their job to convert people who support abortion rights into abortion opponents.
"Not everyone who is in the pew with us on Sunday is with us on this issue," Ms. Morana said.
"We want to bring our Christian values into the political system, engaging them into realizing that life is the most important issue," she said. It's an issue that does not belong to any single political party, she added.
One religious leader expressed impatience with the political process.
"I thought this would end a long time ago," said Archbishop Herman, who heads the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church of America.
The archbishop said he doesn't know if President George W. Bush is paying "lip service" to their cause or if he will take action. He told the audience they must "be willing to stand up and make sure that he does not forget what he has promised."
Speakers were also critical of the mainstream news media. They said the recent anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C. and other abortion-related issues received sparse coverage.
But the audience was brought to its feet by Margee Reedenbach of Scranton, who was not a scheduled speaker. Monsignor John Esseff brought her to the podium to tell the story of her 5-year-old son, B.J.
She said doctors urged her to terminate the pregnancy when they determined early in the pregnancy that the baby would be born with spina bifida. She said some of the predictions about B.J. never materialized; he said hello to the audience.
"His legs don't work, but his heart works fine," she said.
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