On Sunday August 14, Bishop James Sullivan of Fargo, North Dakota led the "Walk With Christ for Life" to North Dakota's only abortion mill, the Fargo Women's Health Organization. Accompanied by cross, candles, incense, holy water, vested priests and deacons, and over 1000 of the faithful, the bishop carried the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance through the streets of Fargo. A temporary altar was set up on the street in front of the abortuary, and the faithful adored the Lord, heard exhortations from the bishop, and received benediction.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, travelled to Fargo from New York for this occasion. At a press conference held at the bishop's residence, Fr. Pavone stated that by coming he wanted to show the solidarity of Priests for Life with what Bishop Sullivan was doing, and express the gratitude priests have for the leadership that bishops like Bishop Sullivan demonstrate in the fight against abortion.
At the same press conference, Bishop Sullivan and Fr. Pavone responded to comments that the abortion clinic administrator had made about the diocese being "irresponsible" for holding the procession at a time when tensions are heightened by the recent killing of an abortionist in Florida. Bishop Sullivan pointed out that the procession would be totally legal and peaceful. Fr. Pavone added, "My response to the charges of being irresponsible is,
No. 1, it is irresponsible to kill children, and No. 2, knowing that children are being killed, it would be irresponsible for us not to come out."
Both the bishop and Fr. Pavone repeated the promise that any woman from anywhere in the country can turn to the Catholic Church for help if she is pregnant and in need. Abortion is never her only option.
At the abortion mill there was a deep spirit of prayer and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, with no disruptions at all. The bishop prayed that the mill, a "slaughterhouse," would be closed permanently.
At a talk given to pro-lifers the following day in Fargo, Fr. Pavone pointed out that abortion supporters will increasingly try to keep pro-lifers off the streets by making them feel guilty for inciting a climate that leads to violence. He said, however, that pro-lifers need to be on the streets more than ever before, to save babies and educate the public. "Abortion continues not because peaceful means don't work, but because not enough people use them. Direct peaceful action does save lives. Our top priority is to recruit people to do it," he said.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life can be reached at....
August 22, 1994
Letter to the Editor:
The August 21 column of John Murphy is a good example of a pro-choice person who has little or no understanding of the pro-life movement. He writes that "the only pressing reason" that the August 14 peaceful, prayerful, pro-life march was held at that time and place "was to take advantage of the climate created by recent violence."
How about the pressing reason of injustice? Is it ever the wrong time to speak up for innocent, helpless people being killed? How about the pressing reason that abortion exploits women, for whom we also stand up? Then there are those other pressing reasons of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly.
Furthermore, the comment that "clinic workers . . . cannot be persuaded' is not true. I can introduce Mr. Murphy to many who have been persuaded.
Finally, my remarks to the City Commission cannot fairly be described as "demanding concessions with threats." The right of pro-lifers to demonstrate in a residential area is not a "concession"; it is a right they have and will fight for. Regarding "threats," the only one I will make is this: peaceful pro-life demonstrators will never disappear, until abortion does.
Fr. Frank A. Pavone
Priests for Life
August 27, 1994
Carefully note the latest tactic of the pro-abortion movement. They cannot deny that pro-lifers are peaceful, and that unfortunate incidents of violence are starkly at odds with our 21 year track record of non-violence.
So they blame us for what we say, instead. The statement issued by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League subsequent to the recent shooting objected to our calling abortionists "baby killers," and implied that this fuels the violence.
Being peaceful does not satisfy the pro-abortion forces. They are not so much disturbed by our actions as by our message. They do not only want us to denounce violence. They want to re-define violence. "Violence" to them is whatever contradicts their ideas. To express disagreement with the actions of abortionists or women who go to them is called "harassment." The only way to please the pro-abortion forces is to shut up.
But we do not have to please them. The content of our message is the same as it always was: Life is sacred, and we are ready to help women in need. Abortion does in fact kill babies, and we do in fact peacefully save them. If pro-abortion people get upset with that, the problem is on their side, not ours.
Fr. Frank A. Pavone
Priests for Life