Father Pavone, Priests for Life Founder,
Sees End to Abortion
By JULIE MICKLES
The Catholic Commentator
Diocese of Baton Rouge
January 21, 2004
Speaking over spontaneous bursts of applause, Father Frank
Pavone, founding Director of Priests for Life and president of the
National Pro-Life Religious Council,
addressed a standing room only crowd at the 11th annual Bishop's Respect Life
Rally Jan. 11 at the Catholic Life Center.
"We are not working for victory. We are working from victory,
" Fr. Pavone exclaimed.
"Christ has won the victory over death for the church so that
we can fight for life."
Fr. Pavone, who also serves on Dr. James Dobson's
Focus on the Family Institute, gave hope to the audience by announcing his
belief that the end of legalized abortion in the United States is at hand.
"This is not a 100-year plan," he said.
"We are going to see the end in our lifetime."
He acknowledged that those in attendance were already
"committed to work every day to end abortion." But, he encouraged them to do
He quoted Dr.
Bernard Nathanson, a former abortion activist who became Catholic in 1996.
Nathanson once told Priests for Life, "We would never have gotten away with what
we did (legalize abortion) if you had been united."
Fr. Pavone said prayer has had a miraculous effect on
abortion. Half of the freestanding abortion facilities in the country have
closed in the last 10 years. He said an increase in adoration brought this
about. Almost the same number of 24-hour adoration chapels dedicated to abortion
was opened as the number of abortion clinics that closed during this time
period, according to Fr. Pavone.
Fr. Pavone also credited public witness as a very powerful
force in the war against abortion. He said that former abortion clinic workers,
who are now Pro-Life, report that the number of patients seen at abortion
clinics dropped off any time anti-abortion protesters picketed outside. However,
Fr. Pavone was adamant in saying that violence against abortionist was not an
acceptable deterrent to abortion.
Fr. Pavone told the audience the next time someone in the
Pro-Choice movement asks how Pro-Life advocates can think so little of the
pregnant woman's plight the correct response should be "we are pro-women."
He explained that the Pro-Life movement supports women in a
manner not seen in Pro-Choice organizations. Pro-Life does not falsely lead the
woman to believe that abortion is a simple way to get rid of an inconvenience.
And when a woman has an abortion and is left to deal with the emotional burden
of ending a life, it is the Catholic Church, through
Project Rachel, that reaches out
a healing hand.
"We stand for the woman, before and after the abortion," he
"It's not about love the baby and forget about the mother. Why
can't we do both?" he asked. "We can and we must do both."
He said he actually knew of a woman who had 22 abortions. "The
doors of the church are still open to her," he proclaimed.
Project Rachel gives women a place to grieve, to ask for
forgiveness and to return to wholeness in Jesus Christ. Fr. Pavone said this
service is vital since women who have chosen abortion have no place to grieve in
a society that believes since it wasn't a life, there is no loss.
He cautioned the audience against passing judgment on women
who have made the choice to have an abortion. He said that regardless of the
horror of their act, they must be forgiven.
"We ask 'how can someone do this?' Well, are you and I
unfamiliar with temptation?" he asked.
Even St. Paul professed doing things he knew to be wrong.
Women who have chosen abortion were simply tempted to take what they thought was
the easy way out, Fr. Pavone explained.
Prior to Fr. Pavone's speech, Bishop Robert W. Muench gave a
welcome address thanking all those in attendance for their dedication to putting
an end to abortion.
"When God gave us life, He made us a living extension of
Himself," the bishop said. That "living extension" must be treated with respect
in all aspects, he said.
During Fr. Pavone's address, children 12 years and younger
were taken to another part of the building where they enjoyed activities based
on the "Gospel of Life" theme.
Following Fr. Pavone's address, everyone came together for the
living rosary. The Rally also included a pro-life skit presented by Teens for
Life, a group of pro-life high school students and displays from various