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The Catholic Exponent
Youngstown, OH

Oct. 4, 1996

You're making major progress, priest tells pro-lifers

BY Lou Jacquet

MASSILLON - There have been many glorious days in the history of St. Mary's Parish here, but surely few more energizing than one witnessed by a packed house Sept.29 for the 4 p.m. Mass celebrating pro-life efforts.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was the principal celebrant with nearly two dozen diocesan priests concelebrating. Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life was the homilist.

In his remarks, Father Pavone noted that the failure of the U.S. Senate to override President Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Sept. 26 was "troubling, distressing, and a sad moment, but one filled with hope." The procedure is so abhorrent and the failure of attempts to revoke it so disturbing that one is tempted, he said, to ask, "Is what is going on in America right now really real?"

He first heard about the procedure in 1993, he said, but this vote brought it to the attention of the American people "as never before. The battle we are in about this issue is a fraction of the larger battle between truth and falsehood, sin and grace, right and wrong."

The day will come, Father Pavone said, when those who support abortion "will grow weary of their covenant with death, and then they will go in search of those who remember; they will go in search of those who can remind them of what they have forgotten - that yes, we have a life; yes, we have our freedom and our choices and our bodies. But they have forgotten why. We will remind them. We have our choices and our bodies and our lives so that we may freely choose to give ourselves away in love, as Jesus did. There is the meaning of life, there is the meaning of the Eucharist, there is the meaning of salvation. People of life, priests of God, be encouraged. We must rise to the challenge and we will."

"Error flees in the presence of truth," he added. "Sin flees in the presence of grace, death flees in the presence of life and in the presence of the people of life," Father Pavone said. "Take and proclaim the Gospel of life, brothers and sisters, because the victory is already in our hands. It is here at this altar this afternoon. It is here in the One who says to us, 'This is My Body, given up for you so that you may rive, so that you may have the gift of life."'

Bishop Tobin thanked Father Pavone for "re-enlivening our spirits; your presence today allowed that to happen."

Referring to Pope John Paul II's encyclical, "Evangelium Vitae," Bishop Tobin noted that the Holy Father had reminded believers that "with humility and gratitude...we are the people for life... that is how we present ourselves to everybody." He likened the challenge of living the Gospel and continuing the pro-life struggle today to what the Apostles faced when they took the message of Jesus beyond their community. "We need to be messengers of life for our society and nation," he said.

Following the Mass, Father Pavone spoke with the Exponent about the status of the pro-life movement in the United States. The mood among Catholics, he said, is mixed. "I see a little bit of everything. There are people, first of all, who still have no idea what is going on about the partial-birth abortion situation, for example. Then there are those who are aware of what is happening but feel that there is nothing that they can do about it. You also have a large group of people in the pro-life movement who may be tired and may be weary, but they know that we cannot go back. It is imperative not only to keep going but also to find new ways to move ahead."

In his work, Father Pavone said, he tries to give people a sense that there is definitely something they can do. "We are not only on the winning side, but we are in fact winners, because the abortion mentality is so filled with contradictions. The industry itself is so corrupt on the inside that it is eventually going to collapse of its own weight. So many of those who provide abortions, for example, are into it precisely because they don't have licenses or privileges to practice any other form of medicine. You are really dealing with the bottom rung of the ladder when it comes to physicians [who do abortions]. Ultimately, this movement is going to destroy itself. So I give a very positive message when I travel the country, and I find that this kind of confidence is catching on, even though we have come through very difficult times."

Asked about the argument, prevalent among abortion advocates, that the RU486 pill will change the abortion debate and make it "easier" for a woman to have an abortion, Father Pavone said that such analysis belies the fact that this procedure is much more complicated than many people believe.

"RU-486 will not change the debate over abortion. Part of what is being said is more the wishful thinking of the abortion industry. There are several reasons. The abortion drug technique RU-486 is not as simple and private as is popularly believed. It requires getting to the facility where these drugs are administered. It is not the kind of drug that could be bought at the store and taken home. In countries where it is used, such as France, Britain and Sweden, the drugs are only administered in a particular place. The pills are counted. The places which administer the drug have to have emergency medical equipment on hand for possible side effects. A woman has to return several times to make sure that things are going as planned. Interestingly, only about 25-30 percent of women who get abortions in those countries choose this method. There seems to be worry about die side effects of the chemicals and so forth. It's only 'effective' in a very small window of pregnancy."

In other words, lie said, "as long as abortions are legal there will always be surgical abortions. If the pro-abortion people feel they are going to so vastly privatize this that we will not be able to counteract it, they are very much mistaken. Even if RU-486 were to replace surgical abortions, which seems impossible, if proponents can find out where these drugs are administered, so can we, and we would be there to tell women about the alternatives. We will still be having peaceful demonstrations in the streets."

MASSILLON - There have been many glorious days in the history of St. Mary's Parish here, but surely few more energizing than one witnessed by a packed house Sept.29 for the 4 p.m. Mass celebrating pro-life efforts.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was the principal celebrant with nearly two dozen diocesan priests concelebrating. Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life was the homilist.

In his remarks, Father Pavone noted that the failure of the U.S. Senate to override President Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Sept. 26 was "troubling, distressing, and a sad moment, but one filled with hope." The procedure is so abhorrent and the failure of attempts to revoke it so disturbing that one is tempted, he said, to ask, "Is what is going on in America right now really real?"

He first heard about the procedure in 1993, he said, but this vote brought it to the attention of the American people "as never before. The battle we are in about this issue is a fraction of the larger battle between truth and falsehood, sin and grace, right and wrong."

The day will come, Father Pavone said, when those who support abortion "will grow weary of their covenant with death, and then they will go in search of those who remember; they will go in search of those who can remind them of what they have forgotten - that yes, we have a life; yes, we have our freedom and our choices and our bodies. But they have forgotten why. We will remind them. We have our choices and our bodies and our lives so that we may freely choose to give ourselves away in love, as Jesus did. There is the meaning of life, there is the meaning of the Eucharist, there is the meaning of salvation. People of life, priests of God, be encouraged. We must rise to the challenge and we will."

"Error flees in the presence of truth," he added. "Sin flees in the presence of grace, death flees in the presence of life and in the presence of the people of life," Father Pavone said. "Take and proclaim the Gospel of life, brothers and sisters, because the victory is already in our hands. It is here at this altar this afternoon. It is here in the One who says to us, 'This is My Body, given up for you so that you may rive, so that you may have the gift of life."'

Bishop Tobin thanked Father Pavone for "re-enlivening our spirits; your presence today allowed that to happen."

Referring to Pope John Paul II's encyclical, "Evangelium Vitae," Bishop Tobin noted that the Holy Father had reminded believers that "with humility and gratitude...we are the people for life... that is how we present ourselves to everybody." He likened the challenge of living the Gospel and continuing the pro-life struggle today to what the Apostles faced when they took the message of Jesus beyond their community. "We need to be messengers of life for our society and nation," he said.

Following the Mass, Father Pavone spoke with the Exponent about the status of the pro-life movement in the United States. The mood among Catholics, he said, is mixed. "I see a little bit of everything. There are people, first of all, who still have no idea what is going on about the partial-birth abortion situation, for example. Then there are those who are aware of what is happening but feel that there is nothing that they can do about it. You also have a large group of people in the pro-life movement who may be tired and may be weary, but they know that we cannot go back. It is imperative not only to keep going but also to find new ways to move ahead."

In his work, Father Pavone said, he tries to give people a sense that there is definitely something they can do. "We are not only on the winning side, but we are in fact winners, because the abortion mentality is so filled with contradictions. The industry itself is so corrupt on the inside that it is eventually going to collapse of its own weight. So many of those who provide abortions, for example, are into it precisely because they don't have licenses or privileges to practice any other form of medicine. You are really dealing with the bottom rung of the ladder when it comes to physicians [who do abortions]. Ultimately, this movement is going to destroy itself. So I give a very positive message when I travel the country, and I find that this kind of confidence is catching on, even though we have come through very difficult times."

Asked about the argument, prevalent among abortion advocates, that the RU486 pill will change the abortion debate and make it "easier" for a woman to have an abortion, Father Pavone said that such analysis belies the fact that this procedure is much more complicated than many people believe.

"RU-486 will not change the debate over abortion. Part of what is being said is more the wishful thinking of the abortion industry. There are several reasons. The abortion drug technique RU-486 is not as simple and private as is popularly believed. It requires getting to the facility where these drugs are administered. It is not the kind of drug that could be bought at the store and taken home. In countries where it is used, such as France, Britain and Sweden, the drugs are only administered in a particular place. The pills are counted. The places which administer the drug have to have emergency medical equipment on hand for possible side effects. A woman has to return several times to make sure that things are going as planned. Interestingly, only about 25-30 percent of women who get abortions in those countries choose this method. There seems to be worry about die side effects of the chemicals and so forth. It's only 'effective' in a very small window of pregnancy."

In other words, lie said, "as long as abortions are legal there will always be surgical abortions. If the pro-abortion people feel they are going to so vastly privatize this that we will not be able to counteract it, they are very much mistaken. Even if RU-486 were to replace surgical abortions, which seems impossible, if proponents can find out where these drugs are administered, so can we, and we would be there to tell women about the alternatives. We will still be having peaceful demonstrations in the streets."

Priests for Life in the News

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