SAN FRANCISCO-Eternal Life, a Kentucky-based pro-life group, brought two of the brightest lights in the American Church to San Francisco in late July to spell out the positives and negatives in today's troubled world.
"Make a Moral Miracle Happen" was the theme of the daylong conference which drew a crowd that was estimated by cathedral officials at 900. Many came from as far away as Sacramento, Napa, San Jose, and Santa Cruz.
An eminent theologian and author, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., spoke on ''Christian Morality and Sanity Today,'' and followed this up with "The Eighth Beatitude in the Age of Martyrs.''
After a noon Mass concelebrated by the cathedral pastor, Fr. Milton T. Walsh, with 10 other priests, Fr. Frank A. Pavone, president of Priests for Life, led off the afternoon talks with a detailed examination of abortion in today's America.
The day began with a prayer walk from St. Mary's to a nearby abortion mill on Bush Street. More than 300 persons participated in this peaceful activity. A small band of San Francisco pro-lifers has been praying and counseling at this facility for years.
The decline of Christian morality, Fr. Hardon warned in his talks, has brought us to the most serious crisis in world history. This has occurred, he said, because of "the loss of sanity" by the millions who have embraced and practiced contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. Returning to Christ's teachings is the only way to restore sanity to mankind, he added. His definition of sanity is "the ability to recognize and accept the truth" —''a conformity of the mind with reality. "
The new paganism, he said, is the desire to do your own thing.
America needs more bishops like St. John Fisher who stood up to King Henry VIII and paid with his life, Fr. Hardon declared.
Fr. Pavone, whose New York based Priests for Life group has grown phenomenally in the past several years, spoke eloquently on the gains made in the battle against abortion.
"We proclaim the message of life with great confidence and great humility,'' he exulted. "The victory has been won, we are working from the victory of the cross and applying it to society. God will have His way. Pro-abortionists want us to shut up and to go away.
They know we have the power of truth. We're not trying to impose our beliefs on anyone; we're upholding the very basis of civilization and we must be tireless spokesmen for life."
This is no time to slow down, he reminded his listeners, who included most of the leading right-to life leaders of the Bay Area.
Fr. Pavone urged pro-lifers to continue their prayers for the unborn, to write to their legislators and judges, and to picket abortion mills. ''We have a commission to proclaim the word," he said. "We have the victory and now is the time to take our message to the streets."
The day concluded with vespers and benediction.
Cosponsors of the program were the Respect Life Office of the archdiocese; the Council of Catholic Women; the Union of Holy Name Societies; the Legion of Mary; the Knights of Columbus; Catholics United for the Faith; the Life Legal Defense Foundation; Kolbe Academy; Marlo Academy; Youths for Life; St. Raphael Ministries; and Women for Faith and Family. Mary Ann Eiler coordinated the event for the cathedral.
Eternal Life director William J. Smith, who came in from Bardstown, Ky., announced that similar programs will be held on Oct.14th in Sterling, Mich., and on Nov. 18th in Ashland, Ky.