The Rev. Father Frank Pavone believes abortion may be "the most divisive issue" in modern America.
"It is a certain kind of divisiveness, too," he said Thursday, one in which "both sides are expressing themselves in terms of absolutes. For people who are hard-core pro-choice, there is no way to compromise. Similarly, on the pro-life side, the right to life is absolute. With the kind of positions these are, sometimes we find the dialogue has broken down. People say there is no compromise, so why bother talking? That's a big division."
Priests for Life, the organization headed by Pavone, tries to "cross over the divide" by dialogue. He has met, for example, with representatives of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.
"I can approach you with respect, and listen to you, and try to understand what you say and what you do," Pavone said. "I see great value in that talking avoids the problem of demonizing the person on the other side. It's to say 'at least if we disagree, let's know what we disagree about, and what we agree about.' It's a fascinating process, the dialogue."
Pavone has been full-time with Priests for Life since 1993. He has written numerous pieces on the subject, travels the country regularly, and hosts a series on the Eternal Word television network.
Pavone embraced the cause in 1976, when he attended a pro-life rally on a cold day in Washington.
"The more I came to know, the more I said this is a problem, and a problem that deserves attention," he said. "By 1993, 1 wanted somehow to devote all my energy to this cause.
"I haven't ever gotten tired of it, or felt it was overwhelming," Pavone said. "I know we're involved in an historic thing. When you see a cause of human rights and justice, the cause itself spurs you on."