FORT WAYNE - "'Pro-choice' sounds very fair, very appealing, very American, but you haven't said anything until you finish the sentence - that it's a choice to kill. America won't stop abortion until America sees abortion."
Those insights were presented recently by Father Walter J. Quinn, OSA, a priest associate with Priests For Life, a national Catholic organization dedicated to the church's teachings on the sanctity of human life. Father Quinn visited Fort Wayne May 22-26, hosted by the pro-life committee of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish and the pastor, Father David Voors.
Father Quinn had dinner May 22 with area pro-life leaders, where he learned about work being done by local parishes, Allen County Right to Life and A Hope Center crisis pregnancy facility.
He visited two Catholic schools - St. Aloysius in Yoder and St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne - on May 23. At each school, students and teachers were shown the week-by-week development of an unborn child. Afterward, Father Quinn answered questions.
The priest gave a presentation that evening at Our Lady of Good Hope, including an overview of the pro-life movement.
Father Quinn joined people from various parishes May 24 as they prayed the rosary outside the downtown abortion clinic. He voiced encouragement that property next door is being renovated to house a pro-life Women's Care Center. That evening, Father Voors hosted a dinner for Father Quinn and area priests.
In his homilies at all Sunday Masses at Our Lady of Good Hope, and the Sunday evening Mass at St. Charles Borromeo, Father Quinn stressed the need for everyone to pray and become more educated on abortion and euthanasia. He said they are "the most fundamental life issues" among many, including capital punishment, health, housing, jobs, contraception, murder, violence, child abuse, premarital sexual activity as normative in our society, gay rights, drugs and the poor.
"These issues are not all equal in nature, application, importance, gravity or magnitude. They each have to be dealt with. However, no earthly value is more important than human life itself, and if one must choose between protecting these lesser human values, which depend upon human life for their very existence, and life itself, then human life must always take precedence," he said.
Father Quinn pointed out striking similarities between slavery, Nazi Germany and abortion. In each case; governments wishing to suppress a class of people chose to define them as subhuman and, therefore, without rights. This social engineering was then formed into law. Slavery and lynching were deemed "racial choice"; extermination of Jews was justified as "political and religious choice"; abortion is hailed as "reproductive choice."
Pope John Paul II has spoken of the duty of all Catholics to actively be involved in restoring the protection of all human life. This includes political involvement, Father Quinn said. Too many Catholics have voted their politics, party lines and pocketbooks instead of what is moral and just, he said. Too many politicians claim private vs. public morality. There is no such thing -- there is only one truth, he said. No one can support politicians who support abortion and still remain a Catholic in good standing.
Father Quinn explained that women do not have abortions because of "freedom of choice" - they do so because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. There are thousands of people across the nation waiting to help anyone facing an unexpected pregnancy. They offer any support needed -- monetary, physical, emotional -- in order to enable women to choose alternatives to abortion.
He reminded the congregations that the Catholic Church holds out forgiveness to those involved in abortion. "The church will never reject, condemn or cast out anyone who has had abortions," he said.
In the sacrament of reconciliation, forgiveness is immediate, although healing from more than 150 possible complications of abortion may take years.
Priests For Life offers a wealth of information on its Web site, www.priestsforlife.org.