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Homily: Let's Love them Both

-- Fr. Frank Pavone

Brothers and sisters, you and I are here, worshipping at this Mass today, precisely because we believe in God, we acknowledge Christ as Lord, and we worship the Holy Spirit. God, from the beginning of Scripture to the end, is the God of life. He speaks of himself as the Living God. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the Life." The Holy Spirit, as we say in the Creed every Sunday, is the Lord and Giver of Life. Therefore we, the people of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are by that very fact the people of life.

To stand with Christ is to stand for life and to stand for life means that we stand against whatever destroys life. There is nothing in our society that destroys more human life than abortion -- nothing at all, no crime, no disease, no natural disaster, no war. If you look at all the American casualties that we have incurred from all the wars that we have ever fought in our nation's entire history, you will see that we destroy more human lives by abortion in one year than we have destroyed by all the wars of our nation's history put together. There's an abortion in our country every 26 seconds, 3300 a day.

My dear friends, the irony of this is that some promote this activity under the slogan "freedom of choice". But the women getting abortions do not do so because of freedom of choice; they do so because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. I speak with them everyday. They feel trapped, abandoned, desperate, afraid and sadly they feel that there is no one they can turn to except the abortionist.

I want to give you good news today. The Church and the pro-life movement want to give you good news and the good news is that there are other people ready to help, that there are better choices better than abortion. The women of our country deserve better choices than that and we are ready to provide them! On behalf of tens of thousands of people working everyday and every night throughout our land to provide these alternatives, I want to make you a promise today. Any woman form this community or from anywhere in the country, whatever her religion or ethnic background -- if she is pregnant and in need she can come to us and she will be given all the assistance she needs for herself and for that child. I'm talking about the payment of all her medical bills, a place to live if necessary, legal advice and counseling, job and education opportunities, assistance to keep and raise that child, or to make an adoption plan, and any other need she has. People are ready to provide that help. Let no one ever feel that the only way to solve a problem is to have her child destroyed. We can do better than the destruction of 3300 children a day. There are better ways to solve the problems of an individual and of a nation.

The sad thing is that so many who need this help don't know it's there. But that's where you come in. Each one of you can save someone's life by spreading the good news that there are alternatives to abortion. And today I am giving you a simple way to do that. As you leave Church today you will be able to take these brochures that I have prepared called, "You Can Save Someone's Life Today". On here you will find 55 practical suggestions of legal, peaceful, effective things that we can all do to help bring an end to abortion. At the top of the sheet you will find a list of telephone numbers that can be called anytime of the day or night, from anywhere in the country, and people can find the assistance I am speaking about. Included among these numbers is my own phone number. If anyone needs this help and is not getting it, I want to hear about it personally.

My friends, there are some people that only you can reach, some abortions that only you can stop, and some lives that only you can save. Children are alive today because people like you in Churches like this all over the nation took this piece of paper home, read it, and then when they heard of someone who was pregnant and in need, they spoke up and said, "Don’t have an abortion…There's better help available!" And so I entrust this tool to you today, to save lives.

And not only do we reach out to those tempted to have abortions -- we also reach out to those who have had abortions. To them we say, "The doors of the Church are open." We will not reject or condemn or cast you out. We want to welcome you back to the peace, the mercy, the forgiveness of Christ. Whether you've had one or two or five or ten -- I even know of someone who had twenty-four abortions -- but do you know that even she can be forgiven. When she turns away from her sins, she will be welcomed back and be given again the peace of Christ. So let no one despair. We're not against you; we're on your side.

To be pro-life means to be pro-woman. It doesn't mean that we love the babies and we forget about the mothers. What it means is very simple: Why can't we love them both? Protect them both? Welcome and care for them both? We can and together we will.

I ask you today, don't let yourselves be fooled by slogans. Some people talk about "safe and legal abortion" because they think that making it legal has made it safe and therefore to keep it safe we must keep it legal.

Well, first of all, safe for whom? It's never safe for the child. The very purpose of the procedure is to destroy the child.

But what many people don't realize is that it isn't safe for the mother either. And that's true not only because of the over 150 physical and emotional complications that can result from this procedure. (I could talk to you all day and night just about the women who have come to me suffering from abortions they had as long ago as fifty years.)

But it's also unsafe for women for another reason and most people don't know this. The legal abortion facilities in our country are the most unregulated surgical facilities in the nation. Unregulated. You can find animal hospitals and veterinary clinics that are cleaner, safer and held to higher standards than many abortion facilities. I know this especially because I have a number of friends who used to run these facilities and who used to perform abortions themselves, and have now stopped. Some of them speak publicly. Let me tell you what many of them say. They say, "In our facilities we never sterilized the instruments. We didn't do that because it would have taken too long. We just wanted to do more and more abortions." Women are injured, even killed -- and these things are being covered up; we're not hearing about them.

But my dear friends, if anyone is concerned about women's rights and women's health, as we all should be, then they need to take a long, hard and honest look at what's really going on inside of these legal abortion facilities. They claim to exist for the sake of the health and safety of women but in reality are destroying the health and safety of women along with the lives of their children. It's time to take an honest look at what's really happening. Don't let anyone make you think that legal automatically means safe; it doesn't.

And don't be fooled by that other slogan, "pro-choice." It sounds great, except that if you don't talk about what the choice is, you haven't really said anything. Is a particular choice right or wrong, is it good or bad, should it be allowed or prohibited? Doesn't that depend on what you're choosing? Do I have the right to choose to walk outside and smash your car? Of course not -- because my choices end where your rights begin. And therefore the law protects your car against anyone's choice to smash it.

Now what is the choice when it comes to abortion? Some people say it's the choice of whether or not to have a child. Certainly, the choice of whether or not you're going to become a mother or father is your choice -- it is not mine to make for you, nor is it the government's to make for you -- it's yours. And we can all understand that there are circumstances in which some people should not have a child.

But isn't there a big difference between the choice of whether or not to have a child and the choice of whether or not to kill a child. When we talk about abortion, we're not talking about children who might come into the world, we're talking about children who are already in the world. The question is not, "Should I bring a child into the world?" The question is, "May I throw a child out of the world?" Today, as we have this Mass, there are 3300 children already living and growing in their mother's wombs and are scheduled to be destroyed tomorrow. And we know where it's going to happen and when it's going to happen and who is going to do it. And they have no legal protection.

What is our response? I was preaching about this one Sunday in a Church in Florida, right near the beach. And after the Mass, I decided to take a little walk over to the beach -- and the first thing I saw was a big sign that was posted there by the local authorities. Do you know what it said? It said, "Do not touch the sea turtles or their eggs; they are protected by local, state and federal law". Well… I'm glad the sea turtles are protected. But if in this country we do not have the right to choose to smash the egg of a sea turtle, why do have the right to choose to smash a baby???

My brothers and sisters, what do we, who say that we believe in the Lord of Life, what do we who say we believe in God the Creator of all things, what do we as the people of God do in the face of this tragedy? I can tell you this much, we cannot remain silent. We cannot say this is someone else's problem.

Sometimes people say to me, "Well Father, I'm beyond childbearing age, I'm too old for this, abortion is not my concern." Well you can certainly be too old to have a child but you can never be too old to save one; you can never be too old to love one -- and that's what this is about. This is about saving lives. Don't let anybody ever tell you that this is none of your business.

The Holy Spirit who comes to us makes us one body. As a matter of fact in a few moments I will pray over the bread and wine and ask the Holy Spirit to come down and to change that bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Then, after the consecration, there's another prayer and it calls down the Holy Spirit upon all of you and the prayer says, "Lord make your people into one body, one spirit in Christ". So what does this mean? It means that I have to have as much concern and care and love for you as I have for a part of my own body. It means that even if we might not know each other's names or have ever seen each other's faces, it means that we have responsibility for each other, not because we choose but because of who we are. The responsibility we have for each other, in other words, is there already. It's not there because we want it to be there. It's there because God has made us one family; Christ has made us one body. We are responsible for each other.

Now people understand this when it comes to the latest victim of crime on the streets. People say, "Oh, isn't that terrible, we have to bring an end to crime!" Or the last person who overdosed on drugs in our community, we say we have to stop that. Or somebody who has been abused at home, we say let's bring an end to child abuse. Do you know that child's name? Is that your child? Even if it's not, we know we have concern, don't we? We still want to stop the child abuse. How about the last person that's been blown apart by a bomb in some senseless war someplace in the world? We want that to stop. We don't know who those people are but we're still responsible for them, aren't we? They're our brothers and sisters.

Some people say, well this is none of your business. Well, wait a minute, what is our business? Isn't it the business of love? And doesn't love mean that when another person is in need or in danger we try to help them, and if we can't help them, then at least we speak up for them? At least we recognize that they are our brothers and sisters. And so if we understand that we need to intervene for the drug victim or the crime victim or the war victim why should it be so hard to understand that we have to intervene for the abortion victim, the most helpless children in our world?

Let us not be afraid, let us not be indifferent. You know my friends, our religion is not meant to turn us in on ourselves. Our religion is not meant to wrap us up in our own world. We come here to worship Christ but then He sends us out and He says go into that world and make it better and make a difference. That's part of worshipping Him.

And so tonight, tonight I urge you, I encourage you, I beg you, get actively involved in the effort to stop the killing of these children by abortion. Again I refer you to the sheets that carry many practical suggestions and I want to finally encourage you with these words that were written by a nine year old girl. She writes:

"Dear Christian, I was very much looking forward to my life in this world. I wanted to have dolls, ride a bike, go to the circus and see the zoo. I looked forward to celebrating Christmas and receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. I'm very sad that I never got to do any of these things. My mommy did not let me be born. But I just have one question. Why didn't any of you help me? I wish you had. No one heard my crying voice. From, an unborn baby."

My friends, you and I have heard those crying voices, and I am confident that we will respond. Thank you and God bless you.

Priests for Life
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