Point Lookout - "Let's not be silent or indifferent," said Augustinian Father Walter Quinn, echoing the words of Pope John Paul II in his letter, "The Gospel of Life" ("Evangelium Vitae"). Father Quinn spoke at all the Masses this past weekend at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church here representing Priests for Life. "Silence gives consent," he added.
Priests for Life was started in 1991 to help priests around the world spread the gospel of life to their people. The mission of Priests for Life is to unite and encourage all clergy to give special emphasis to the life issues in their ministry.
Father Quinn, a member of the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, Pennsylvania, travels throughout the nation preaching on abortion and euthanasia to groups of priests and laity. "I am convinced that the main focus of the gospel of life reaches people in and through the Church at the parish level," he said in an interview before the weekend.
"This is the most important moral problem we are facing," he said, describing abortions. "The clergy are the prophets of God. We need to wake up God's people of the world."
Father Quinn said he receives an ovation from the people more than 70 percent of the time he speaks. "People really want to hear about these topics," he said after Mass.
Father Quinn said that Priests for Life encourages everyone to "stand up and be counted," to protect and defend human life including that of the unborn and the elderly. "There is nothing that destroys human life more than abortion," he told the parishioners, noting that 4,400 abortions are performed each day -- one every 20 seconds.
"God is certainly not pleased," he said, referring to the statistics.
Promoters of legal abortion argue that people are given a choice to make a decision on their own. "A choice to do what?" Father Quinn said. "They haven't really said anything."
When thinking about a "choice," Father Quinn said, one must see if it is right or wrong, good or bad.
Priests for Life, now with three full-time priests in addition to the director, Father Frank Pavone, offers assistance to priests and laity in a variety of ways. Training and individual assistance is provided for priests to help them preach more effectively against abortion. Video and audio tapes, newsletters, and bulletin inserts are available as pro-life resources for clergy and laity. The organization also provides pro-life groups with links to the clergy.
Priests for Life has staff available 24 hours a day to assist people looking for alternatives to abortion or those in need of healing or consolation following an abortion. The toll-free telephone number of Priests for Life, headquartered in Staten Island, is 888-PFL-3448.
"Forgiveness is instantaneous, but healing takes a long time," he said.
'Go strengthen your brethren'
Priests for Life speak to parishioners who attend Mass each Sunday. When people ask "Why are we preaching to the choir?" Father Quinn said, he responds, "What we do here in church should not stay in the church."
He noted that almost 70 percent of all Catholics do not attend Sunday Mass regularly. "We want the people who do come to church to become more knowledgeable," he said, and spread the news to those outside the doors. "Go strengthen your brethren," he challenged the parishioners.
"We believe in God, an almighty God of Life."