By Peter Rosengren
Each year somewhere in the vicinity of 80,000 abortions are carried out in
Australia. In the United States, the figure is 4,000 a day.
Worldwide, the figure is something like 10 million a year, while the last
twenty years have seen over 100 million people perish in the womb - possibly as
many as 200 million. Nobody knows the precise figures because there are just too
many to count.
But it is not all going one way. Father Frank Pavone, national director of
the US organization, Priests for Life, has a full-time job travelling the United
States and occasionally visiting the rest of the world, spurring priests and
laity on in the defence of unborn life and against euthanasia.
In Perth last week he was speaking to both groups to reinvigorate the efforts
of those who have decided that this issue is important enough to do something
about. And, as ever, he was issuing an open invitation to everybody else to join
the ranks. His message: the war is not over yet.
"My message ....is that we have no more urgent moral problem to rectify than
that of the killing of human beings - whether they be the unborn, which of
course is the primary problem - and also the threats against those who are too
ill to be considered by some people to be equal to the rest of us," he said.
Society's value on human life was the critical issue of the day.
"If, as is the case in abortion and euthanasia, we start saying certain
people do not have the right to life or certain people are not equal to others,
well then, we undermine the foundation on which everything else stands," Fr.
Speaking to priests as a priest, Fr. Pavone said he often quoted Dr. Bernard
Nathanson, the architect of abortion in the United States who just this year
converted to Catholicism.
"He addressed a group of clergy in New York a few years ago and after he
described all the strategies that he and his friends used to get the abortion
movement started, he looked at us and said, "We would have never gotten away
with what we did if you had been united, purposeful and strong" -- 'you' being
the clergy," Fr Pavone said.
"And I say to the priests today that the promoters of abortion, and we can
include euthanasia, will still not get away with what they're doing if we become
more united, purposeful and strong," he said.
And he said that the Church was the biggest threat to the abortion industry.
"They know that the biggest obstacle in their way is the Church - the Church
which has stood for two thousand years, precisely for the dignity of the human
person - and the Church shows no signs of going away," he said.
"So I say to the priests, at the moment when not only the Church, but
civilization itself, needs us the most, let's not back away in cowardice. We
need to keep proclaiming this. Another thing I say to them very strongly is: we
are the ones who are the defenders of women," he said.
On Thursday, December 28, Archbishop Hickey will celebrate Mass in reparation
for abortion at St Mary's Cathedral in Perth at 7:30 pm. Human Life
International, which organized Fr. Pavone's visit to Australia, has asked that
people attending Mass donate baby clothes to help mothers of the unborn.
The Mass will be preceded by a pro-life Rosary at 7:10 pm.
Priests for Life in the News