I was standing in the vestibule of the Church before Mass. A woman walked in,
took a copy of the bulletin, and said under her breath, "I'll take this to read
in case they talk about abortion." I did in fact preach on abortion quite
strongly that day. A few days later, I received a letter... not from the woman,
but from two other parishioners. The letter read,
"Hi! I'd like to begin this letter by thanking you for last week's homily. I
was deeply moved and so was my younger brother, Paul. Although, we are both
young, I'm 17 and he's 12, we've been taught about how precious life is. But we
did not fully understand what goes on in abortion, till your homily... We both
would like to get on the mailing lists of pro-life organizations, if possible...
See you at the next Mass Father Frank!!"
St. Paul summed it up well. "Proclaim the word. Be persistent whether it is
convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience
and teaching" (2 Tim. 4:2). The sanctity of life and the truth about abortion
are certainly aspects of the "Word" that the priest is to preach. Some say,
"Abortion has no place in Church." Then what does? Are people who worship God
supposed to be blind to injustice? Are believers supposed to be unconcerned
about what goes on in the world? Abortion kills 1.6 million babies in America
every year. In Church we say we believe in "the Lord, the Giver of Life." Church
is the place to talk about things that concern God, and God cares about the
destruction of 1.6 million babies a year! The Bible says that those who worship
God but do not act to correct injustices are not pleasing God at all (see Amos
5:21-27, and Isaiah 1:10-17).
Suppose for a moment that a clinic were set up in your neighborhood at which
eight year old boys and girls were routinely killed every day. What would you
do? What would you expect the Church to do? Morally speaking, every abortion
takes the life of one who is as much of a person and has as much of a right to
life as an 8 year old or any other human being! So many in our society who know
this are wondering why we priests don't talk more about it and take more action
to get our parishioners involved in the effort to save these babies and give
their mothers life-giving alternatives. Many priests do, but far too many still
"The greatest lies are told in silence." To be silent on abortion is not to
be silent; it is, rather, to shout the message, "Don't be all that concerned
about this!" And to the women in the congregation who have had abortions, the
silence says, "Your pain doesn't matter, and what you did is no big deal."
St. Paul asks, "If the trumpet sounds an uncertain call, who will get ready
for battle?' (1 Cor. 14:8) In the battle for life, it is not a matter of "We
win" or "They win." If pro-life doesn't win, nobody wins! It is time for
all priests to take courage and to lead the way to victory for the pro-life
movement! It is time for all parishioners to encourage their priests more than
ever to speak the truth about abortion clearly and without compromise!
This is the purpose of "Priests for Life," a movement that aims to unite
priests in a common commitment to defend the sanctity of life, to provide them
with resources, suggestions for homilies and activities, and to introduce them
to other priests active in the pro-life movement. As a national effort only a
few years old, Priests for Life welcomes input from clergy and laity alike, and
is ready to assist any individual or group in their pro-life work. I have been
privileged to serve as the Director since 1993, succeeding Fr. Lee Kaylor who
founded it. Three other priests have been given permission so far to make it
their full time ministry. There are fifteen bishops on the Board of Directors.
You may write to "Priests for Life, P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, New York
As some pro-lifers have pointed out, unless we speak out fearlessly and act
decisively against abortion, one could very well put up this sign at our local
abortion mills: "Babies Killed Here with the Gracious Permission of the Local
Fr. Frank Pavone
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