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The Criterion, Indianapolis

May 7, 1999

National Priests for Life director says abortion attacks God

Pontifical Council for the Family official urges Christians to work to defend life daily

By Mary Ann Wyand

Christians are called to constantly promote the sanctity and dignity of life, Father Frank Pavone told pro-life supporters during his May 1-2 visit to Indianapolis.

The national director of Priests for Life, based in Staten Island, NY, also serves the universal Church as an official of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family.

At the start of a busy weekend of pro-life networking, Father Pavone told Catholics gathered for the monthly archdiocesan pro-life Mass May 1 at St. Andrew the Apostle Church that the pro-life movement is, "a cause that demands our urgent attention" because "we are made in the image and likeness of God, and we belong to him."

Abortion "attacks the image of God, the image of Jesus Christ," he said in his homily for the eucharistic liturgy on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. "We're talking about an act of violence, about tearing a human body apart."

Christians "are called to share with God in the work of caring for his creation," Father Pavone said. "When we fight against abortion we are preserving the foundation of the house of God."

There is much pro-life work to be done daily, he said. "But never lose hope, never doubt for one moment that you are helping make a difference in the fight for life."

After the liturgy, Father Pavone led the gathering in prayer outside the Clinic for Women on East 38th Street. As dozens of pro-life supporters prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, a woman hurriedly entered the abortion clinic.

On Saturday afternoon, Father Pavone conducted a pro-life leadership workshop at the Archbishop O'Meara Catholic Center. Later, he delivered the homily during a Mass at Holy Rosary Parish and again during two Masses there on Sunday.

"We have destroyed more lives through abortion than during wars," Father Pavone told Holy Rosary parishioners and guests during the Tridentine Mass on Sunday.

"'This is my body,' the words Jesus used to save the world and teach us the meaning of love, also are used by abortion advocates to promote freedom of choice and abortion on demand," Father Pavone said. "Women get abortions because they feel they have no choice. But we are people of life, and we are called to stand with Jesus, to stand with life. We are obligated to help the helpless and save the defenseless. We can save lives by offering help" to women considering abortion.

During a speech at St. Monica Parish on May 2, Father Pavone endorsed the Indiana Citizens for Life Media Project, which raises funds to buy television advertising time for pro-life commercials.

In the fight to end abortion, pro-life supporters cannot overlook "the obvious power of the media and the necessity of using the media to convey the pro-life message," he said. "It is absolutely essential that the pro-life movement use every available media outlet."

Abortion has "a devastating effect on our entire, society," Father Pavone said. "It is much more than the destruction of a baby's life. It is much more than the destruction of the [aborted] child's mother and father. The woman is always harmed by her abortion. It is also extremely harmful for the surviving children of the mother who has had an abortion."

Abortion advocates "think you can separate the mother and child," he said. "Pro-life supporters know you can't. The pro-life movement is pro-woman. We say, 'Let's love them both.' Love is indivisible. You can't love one without loving the other. You can't help one without helping the other. You can't hurt one without hurting the other. You can't support women's rights and at the same time allow the closest, deepest, most intimate of human relationships -- that between a mother and her own child -- to end while [the baby is] still in the womb."

The goal of the pro-life movement is "ending abortion, not limiting abortion," he said. "We must never lose sight of our goal to end abortion, to eliminate it, to obliterate it. Either we end abortion or it will end us."


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