Solidarity with Women
Janet A. Morana
Associate Director, Priests for Life
"Solidarity with women" is the effort of Priests for Life to respond to
the call that the Holy Father makes when he writes in Crossing the Threshold
of Hope, "Therefore, in firmly rejecting 'pro choice' it is necessary to become
courageously 'pro woman,' promoting a choice that is truly in favor of women…The
only honest stance…is that of radical solidarity with the woman" (p.206-207).
Likewise, in Evangelium Vitae 99, the Holy Father calls for a "new
feminism" whose purpose is "to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of
women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination,
violence and exploitation."
This is a task for everyone, women and men alike. The basis of our solidarity
with women, as well as with unborn children, is our common humanity, not our
Through its "Solidarity with Women" effort, Priests for Life has faithfully
reflected this call of the Holy Father, and this inherent demand of being
pro-life. In thousands of parishes around the nation over the past decade, the
priests of our organization have preached, and have trained countless other
priests to preach the following theme: To be pro-life is to be pro-woman. We
do not say, "Love the baby and forget about the mother." Rather, we say, "Why
can't we love them both?" We can and we must. To harm one is to harm the other;
to love and serve one is to love and serve the other. The destinies of mother
and child are inextricably bound to one another.
Through its "Solidarity with Women" effort, Priests for Life has
revealed, through TV and radio shows and in full-page ads in papers such as
USA Today, how women are deceived, exploited, and killed by the abortion
industry. Our Defending Life program continues to be the platform for
countless women to speak to hundreds of millions of people worldwide about the
pain that comes after abortion, and about the healing the Church offers.
Through its "Solidarity with Women" effort, Priests for Life has spent
millions of dollars promoting awareness of pregnancy assistance centers and
post-abortion healing programs, and has directly assisted these centers to
become better known in their communities. For years, we have called upon pastors
to place as a permanent item on their parish bulletin cover the phone numbers
for local alternatives to abortion.
Through its "Solidarity with Women" effort, Priests for Life has brought to
the attention of countless people in the general public that abortion harms
women. Through our suggestion, the "Life Chain" began using the sign, "Abortion
Hurts Women," and we have likewise trained activists who pray at abortion mills
to read aloud the names of women killed by abortion, and call upon the abortion
industry to express some regret for the loss of those lives. We have also
assisted many women to sue the abortion industry for physical and emotional
damages, and have helped attorneys find specialized training in abortion
Through appearances on college campuses, pro-life conventions, and television
programs like Hannity and Colmes and The O'Reilly Factor, Priests
for Life has spread the pro-woman message and argued that if feminism rightly
rejects the exploitation of women by men, it should likewise reject the
exploitation of children by women. Priests for Life has educated clergy and
laity alike that those who founded the "women's rights movement" in this nation
Through our website, we maintain the largest collection of post-abortion
testimonies on the internet (www.priestsforlife.org/postabortion), and assist
numerous post-abortion ministries to develop healing programs.
One of our latest efforts is to co-sponsor the "Silent No More Awareness
Campaign" (www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org). Throughout the country, women who
have found healing after their abortion are speaking out, revealing abortion for
the harmful, empty promise that it is. In June of this year, we brought such
women before a special gathering of members of the US House of Representatives
in Washington. We will continue to give them opportunities to speak out from
coast to coast. In the month of September, we are organizing events at which
women gather publicly with their signs that say "I Regret My Abortion." We also
invite pastors to hold healing services in October. More information is on our
Our efforts in "Solidarity with Women" have only just begun. "Pro-woman" is
not simply a project, strategy, or package for the pro-life message. Rather,
it is that message. Whenever someone speaks up for the equal dignity of the
unborn child, that person is advancing the status of women. Whenever someone
reveals the horror of abortion, that person is counteracting the exploitation of
women, so many of whom are deceived into thinking that abortion is no horror at
all. Whenever the pro-life message is advanced, women are ennobled. For that we
will continue to work, and in that we rejoice!
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray
the Liturgy of the Hours:
September intention: For blessings upon all pro-life organizations.
October intention: That parish pro-life organizations may grow in numbers and
Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
Our Holy Father's recent encyclical on the Eucharist reminds us that this
central mystery of our Faith has a foot in both worlds, and calls us to be, at
the same time, citizens of heaven and citizens of earth. "Certainly the
Christian vision leads to the expectation of "new heavens" and "a new earth"
(Rev 21:1), but this increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility
for the world today. I wish to reaffirm this forcefully at the beginning of the
new millennium, so that Christians will feel more obliged than ever not to
neglect their duties as citizens in this world" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia,
This is one of the most practical and important lessons in Catholic
spirituality, and is often summed up succinctly in the phrase, "in the world
but not of the world." But why is it that the one who awaits the world to
come should not just sit and wait? Why is our effort to improve this world not
what a Jehovah's Witness once told me, "like washing windows on the Titanic?"
The reason is beautifully explained in Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution
on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), n. 39. While we are not
to confuse earthly progress with the growth of God's Kingdom, we are also not to
see them as disconnected. Through our cooperation with God's grace, we are able
to bring about some good in this world. We can work for a more just society, for
racial reconciliation, for better working conditions, and for the defense of
unborn children. We can elect public officials who respect life and work for
peace with justice.
The full flowering of God's Kingdom is not in an endless increase of these
fruits of our labor; it is, rather, in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. At
every Mass we say, "we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior."
Yet when He does come, the good we have worked for on earth will not disappear.
Rather, it will be taken up and purified by Christ,, and made into a lasting
element of the world to come.
The prayers of each Mass help us avoid the two extremes of thinking we build
heaven on earth, or just sit back and wait for heaven to replace earth. At the
offertory we pray, "Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which
earth has given and human hands have made, it will become for us the Bread of
life." In other words, we don't make the Body of Christ, but we do
make the bread. We don't sit back and wait for the Body of Christ to be
dropped on the altar from the sky. Rather, we present to God the work of
human hands, and then his Spirit transforms it.
Similarly, we work to renew the earth, and his Spirit transforms the fruits
of our work at the end of time.
In short, we are called to exercise Eucharistic citizenship!
(As a way of exercising this citizenship, we ask you to participate in the
National Christian Voter Registration Sundays, that have been announced for
November 9, 2003 and January 18, 2004. Help your congregation to register to
vote. See www.priestsforlife.org/vote for more details.)
Bulletin Insert in Spanish
"Oposición al aborto y a la eutanasia no excusa indiferencia hacia los
que sufren a causa de la pobreza, la violencia y la injusticia. Cualquier
política por la vida humana deberá resistir la violencia de la guerra y el
escándalo de la pena de muerte. Cualquier política de la dignidad humana deberá
seriamente dirigirse a estos problemas: racismo, pobreza, hambre, empleo,
educación, vivienda y cuidados de la salud. Por tanto, los católicos deberán
participar con entusiasmo en abogar por los débiles y marginados en todas esas
áreas. Las autoridades públicas que son católicas deberán tratar todos esos
asuntos mientras que tratan de edificar normas uniformes que promueven el
respeto por la persona en todas las etapas de su vida. Pero estar en to
"cierto" en tales asuntos nunca puede ser una excusa para una mala decision con
respecto a ataques directos a una vida humana inocente. En verdad, el fallo
en proteger y defender la vida en sus etapas de más impotencia hace que otras
posturas "correctas" en asuntos que afectan a los más pobres a indefensos de la
comunidad humana se vean con sospecha." (Obispos de EE.UU., 1998, Vivir El
Evangelio De La Vida, n. 23)
Remember: The Bishops' Pastoral Plan Calls For Pro-life Intercessions at
Every Mass. Samples at www.priestsforlife.org/prayers
You can sponsor this newsletter for the priests in your diocese or state!
Contact Jerry at 540-785-4733 for more details.
Our Latest Product!
The "Silent No More Awareness Campaign,"
co-sponsored by Priests for Life and NOEL, is spreading the word that women do
regret their abortions, and is empowering those harmed by abortion to let their
voices be heard. Now, new products are available to help you join that effort.
Static stickers and car magnets bear the Silent No More Awareness message, as
does a new lapel pin. The butterfly logo represents the transformation that many
women have experienced as they move from a cocoon of silence into a life of
freedom from fear and guilt. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call
888-PFL-3448, ext. 237 for ordering details.
You can sponsor this
newsletter for the priests in your diocese or state! Contact Jerry at
540-785-4733 for more details.