The Guadalupan Appeal

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
June 21, 1999

In January of this year, Pope John Paul II visited Mexico, as an appropriate follow-up to the Synod on America held last year in Rome.

This October 27-31, representatives from the Vatican will again come to Mexico -- not with the Pope, but with a message no less urgent than his.

A team of international organizations, in union with various Vatican offices, will convene in Mexico City for "The Guadalupan Appeal," a pro-life event which will encompass both a theological Congress and a devotional pilgrimage at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Participating organizations include the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Italian association "Difendere la vita con Maria," Priests for Life, Sacerdos, Kirche in Not, the World Union of Catholic Doctors, the International Union of Catholic Jurists, and others.

Experts in medicine, law, theology, and bioethics will give presentations on the dignity of the human embryo, and why it is critical that every human person be protected from the moment of fertilization. One of the themes will be the proper care of the mortal remains of aborted those that have often been found outside US abortion mills.

Yet the event goes far beyond intellectual presentations; its aim is to fulfill the Holy Father's call for "a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life" (EV 95).

A key moment of the Guadalupan Appeal will be an Act of Consecration to the Mother of God. In The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II points to the significance of "Mary's experience as the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for" (EV 102). Our Lady of Guadalupe, furthermore, is the Patroness of the Unborn. One reason for this, of course, is that she carried the Unborn Christ, welcoming His life in circumstances that could not have been more unexpected or confusing.

Another reason is that she is the sign of hope for God's people. Abortion is not only a sin against life; it is a sin against hope. The new parents may well acknowledge that the unborn child is human, but they see no way to ensure a safe and happy life for that child and themselves. So they despair, and their despair turns to violence (though a hidden and decriminalized form of violence).

So it was in the days of the Aztec Indians among whom Our Lady appeared, giving her image on Juan Diego's tilma. The Aztecs at that time were practicing human sacrifice. They did so because of despair. They thought God would turn against them. Their mythology spoke of cycles of destruction of the human race by the power of the gods.

Into this worldview comes the Virgin, carrying a God so much on our side that He becomes one of us! Despair flees, and human life is welcomed again.

So will she do again in our day.

Priests for Life
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