Cardinal O'Connor

Priests for Life

Statement of Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Today is a sad day for the Church as we mourn the passing of one of her greatest bishops, John Cardinal O'Connor. Every bishop takes a motto, and the Cardinal's is "There Can Be No Love Without Justice." This, indeed, was the theme of his life on earth. He both preached and lived "love" not as some vague abstraction or spiritual entity separate and disconnected from the things of this world. His, rather, was a practical and involved love, which had as its centerpiece the dignity and rights of the human person. He was an advocate for the unborn, the infirm, the immigrant, the worker, the victims of prejudice, hunger, and violence. And he did all this because he was clearly focused on and motivated by the Gospel of eternal salvation as taught by the Catholic Church. Some may be confused by what they see as "dichotomies" in the Cardinal's life. He passionately condemned the act of abortion, yet reached out to women of every age, religion, and ethnic background to give them help in crisis pregnancies. He taught clearly that homosexual activity is a sin, yet opened the State's first AIDS-only unit and personally tended to AIDS patients. These are not dichotomies at all. It all made sense to the Cardinal. What held it all together was the dignity of the human person. That dignity demands that we offer the person the full truth about the meaning of their lives, their freedom, their choices, and that we ourselves respond to that truth by serving their needs. I am particularly grateful to Cardinal O'Connor because he ordained me to the priesthood and authorized me to lead the Priests for Life movement. While a day of sadness, this should also be a day of commitment. The Cardinal constantly urged us never to be discouraged in carrying out the mission of the Church. Led by his shining example, let us redouble our efforts to bring that mission to its fulfillment. Memories of the Cardinal Funeral Homily by Bernard Cardinal Law Cardinal's Legacy Felt at Funeral Mass