GREENWOOD - "We need to preach to the choir. All the people that come to church need to go out and be the leaven of life."
That was the message spoken at all Masses by Augustinian Father Walter Quinn from Priests for Life at a pro-life weekend at Our Lady of Lourdes Oct. 27-28.
Priests for Life is a national ministry that speaks about the church's teachings on abortion and euthanasia and works to strengthen pro-life efforts.
At an evening presentation on Oct. 26, Father Quinn said the organization encourages and motivates priests and laity on a local, state and national level. Since joining the group in 1999, the cleric has traveled almost every weekend telling of his involvement in the pro-life movement since the late '60s, long before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. He has led parish groups to the annual March for Life in Washington and is the founder of several still-active pro-life groups at the parish level.
"Abortion is the greatest moral problem today; bar none." he said. "Abortion is the deliberate, willful taking of human life. It is the most basic right to life issue, and therefore the most important."
"America will not stop abortion until America sees abortion," he said.
"We haven't seen it yet. The principle that allows terrorism is exactly the same. The taking of life before birth is another form of terrorism."
The Augustinian priest recited some statistics to illustrate the enormity of this crusade. In the United States, he said, there is one abortion performed every 20 seconds. That amounts to 4,400 abortions every day or 1.3 million a year.
"We are tinkering with our identity as a free nation. The noble experiment of our founding fathers has become an experiment on the people instead of by and for the people," he said.
In addition to abortion, assisted suicide is also a well-funded anti-life effort around the country, said Father Quinn. "The house is on fire, and many do not smell the smoke. They are still asleep, oblivious. Just like the people below the deck of the Titanic."
However, he again emphasized that, "Abortion is the American holocaust. We're walking the same path as the Nazi Holocaust."
The priest said the Nazis regarded themselves as visionaries and agents of progress, while today some people say killing the unborn will help population growth and reduce childhood birth defects.
Father Quinn noted, "We're accelerating the inevitable. The 'slippery slope' is enlarging the circle. Once barriers are eroded, abortion expands."
He quoted Pope John Paul II, who has said that all must be aware to restore the culture of life.
"Unfortunately," said the Priests for Life representative, "there is too much apathy and complacency in the land. We need to overcome lethargy in this country and unite and get involved. It is in our best interest to defend the lives of everyone. The question is not when human life begins, but what is the value of human life."
He told listeners that in 1809 Thomas Jefferson wrote that the care of human life, and not its destruction, is the first and only tenet of good government.
"Therefore, pro-abortionists reject the principles of the Declaration of Independence. We really should charge them with that," stressed Father Quinn.
He claimed that the abortion industry operates on lies, and he urged parishioners not to stand aside while another human being is killed. "We all need to unite and speak out with one resolve for life. Freedom carries the ability to choose between two roads. We must find the road that leads to human life. We need to work to bring about a transformation in this land."
The speaker then showed a video on life in the womb, which followed the development of a fetus from four through 12 weeks.
"People can deny what they hear, but not what they see with their own eyes," he said. "I truly believe if most people saw this [video], we'd be on third base heading to home."