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Advent: A Beacon of Hope for Pro-life Causes

By CHRISTIE L. CHICOINE

CS&T Staff Writer

The Catholic Standard and Times

Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

December 18, 2003

Advent is an appropriate time to address the atrocity of abortion, according to the pastor of Maternity B.V.M. Parish.

"As we look to Christmas and sing, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ we all give oohs and aahs over that little Baby born in a stable," said Father George A. Majoros. "Where would we be if Mary had an abortion? There would be no chance of salvation, no mercy of God, there would just be death, destruction." Advent, he added, "is all about being awake" and prepared. "We need to restore marriage and family life. What better way than to protect the innocent, the babies? We need to be challenged from our complacency."

Father Majoros did just that by inviting a representative of Priests for Life to deliver the homily Dec. 6-7 at Maternity’s seven weekend Masses.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Staten Island, N.Y., Priests for Life offers assistance to clergy in addressing abortion and euthanasia, as well as training and resources to the entire pro-life movement.

In his homily on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, Augustinian Father Denis G. Wilde, a priest associate of Priests for Life currently in residence at St. Katherine of Siena Parish in Northeast Philadelphia, appeared to hold the congregation in the palm of his hand.

Father Wilde cited some startling statistics, telling the congregation that in America a baby is aborted every 23 seconds. Approximately 48 percent of abortions are repeat procedures, "second abortions or more." In fact, some 43 million babies have died since Roe vs. Wade was legalized on Jan. 22, 1973.

Father Wilde stressed that the killing of an unborn child is a mortal sin and not solely a woman’s issue, nor is it an issue to be decided between a woman and her doctor — "as if the doctor is the most important ‘other’ of that woman."

At the end of his homily, he received a round of applause.

A member of the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, ordained in 1970 and who served on the faculty at Villanova University from 1977 to 1998, Father Wilde asked the assembly to remove the term "pro-choice" from their vocabularies. Instead, he asked them to "invoke the honest word — pro-abortion, because the choice is always about the killing of the unborn. When a person says they’re pro-choice, (ask) what’s the choice for? Make them spell it out. As long as we don’t spell out evil, it becomes somewhat acceptable. When we spell it out, it can never be acceptable."

A case in point, continued Father Wilde: "Can you imagine the candidate for office who says, ‘I’m here to tell you that I will support a woman’s right to kill her child up until the time of birth, including the time of birth, for any reason whatsoever?’ Think they’re going to get elected? They’re not going to get elected, because it’s a horrific thing." The term pro-choice "buries the truth," he said.

In addition to encouraging involvement in pro-life grassroots efforts, Father Wilde strongly advised Catholics to have on hand contact information of sites that provide alternatives to abortion. "You never know … who’s going to confide to you, ‘I know somebody who’s going to have an abortion … and I’m really plagued with not knowing what to do about it.’ You should be able to steer them in the right direction (and show them) there is hope."

While Father Wilde said there’s no reason for an abortion, he also told the congregation that compassion was needed to adequately assist women who have had an abortion. "There is no sin that is so great that God cannot forgive it if one wants to be forgiven."

He noted that pro-life issues now extend beyond the womb, threatening our whole society. "We now see it in euthanasia, assisted suicide and the removal of feeding tubes from people who want to have that nourishment. Who’s making the decision here? God is the decider." Unfortunately, he said, some insist on "playing God."

But Advent is a beacon of hope for pro-life causes. "In the season of Advent, we see days getting shorter, nights getting longer. There is a lot of darkness around us, but in that darkness we have candles. Those candles are there to remind us of the light of Christ. … We’re anticipating. It’s the white candle that reminds us of the birth of Jesus Christ."

Among those assembled for the liturgy were the Montvydas family of four, soon to be five — David and Nicole, both 31; sons Thomas Luke, 3, and Daniel, 1; the couple’s third child is due in July. "If there’s any issue in the Church that’s more important than abortion, I don’t know what it is," said David. "It’s the only thing I worry about when I vote," added Nicole, who happily shared the fact that her unwed birth mother chose life and adoption for her.

Both David and Nicole commended Father Wilde’s homily, saying they felt that many are uninformed about abortion and its consequences. "People need to hear (pro-life talks) more often," David said. Nicole agreed. "There needs to be a lot more information out there — detailed, as gruesome as it may be — but detailed information about what exactly is involved in an abortion. I don’t think young girls understand exactly what they’re doing when they make the decision (to abort)."

Nicole reflected on the ultrasound she recently received. "I was less than eight weeks pregnant and saw the baby’s heart beating. That’s absolutely amazing that you can see the heart beat so early. I think it’s beautiful. It just blows my mind that (some) people don’t believe it’s a child."

For more information on how to be an advocate for life, contact Priests for Life at (888)PFL-3448 or check out the Web site www.priestsforlife.org.

Contact Christie Chicoine at (215) 587-2468 or cchicoin@adphila.org

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org