Monuments to the Unborn

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
July 06, 1998

In my pro-life travels throughout the United States, one of the recurring privileges I have had is to bless memorials to the pre-born children who are in danger of abortion or who have been aborted. Most of these memorials, of all sizes and shapes, have been made possible by the generosity of local councils of the Knights of Columbus. Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant recently reported that the number of such memorials is up to 1200.

These memorial stones, which began at a suggestion of Cardinal O’Connor, have a threefold significance.

First of all, a memorial stone is set up in memory of a person. The stones give witness to the forgotten person, the "stranger in the womb," as Pope John Paul II called the unborn child in his most recent visit to the United States. The Roe vs. Wade decision states that "the word person, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, does not include the unborn." The memorial stones cry out that the unborn are indeed persons. Things can get thrown away and forgotten; the dignity of persons, however, requires that they be remembered, especially if others have thrown them away.

A second significance of the stones is that they provide a place to grieve, particularly for the mothers and fathers of aborted children. One of the most difficult aspects of post-abortion grief is that there is no body to hold or to see. The grief the parent feels is, furthermore, not generally acknowledged as legitimate. After all, this mother has been told that abortion is her right and choice. As such mothers and fathers become more and more aware of how wrong that mentality is, however, they need an outlet for their grief, and they need something physical on which to focus that grief. The memorial stones tell them that their grief is legitimate, and that others share their sorrow.

Finally, as a third significance, the stones symbolize us, who bear witness to the sanctity of life. Scripture tells us we are "living stones." We are to do with our words and our actions what the stones do silently. We are to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and to do it with a determination which, like the stone, is unshakeable.

Next time you have a free afternoon, seek out the memorial stone to the unborn which is nearest to you. Spend some time looking at it, praying, and pondering its threefold message.

The Lord Himself, when some complained about the testimony which the disciples bore to Him, said that if they were silent, the very stones would cry out. Some in our society complain about the proclamation of the pro-life message. Some are silent when they should speak up. But the Lord’s words are being fulfilled; the stones are crying out.

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