"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy” (Lk. 15: 4-5).
The clergy are ordained to shepherd the flock of God. We proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel of Life and the Gospel of Mercy.
A shepherd knows his sheep; he knows what helps them and what harms them. He feeds them with what is good and keeps them from what is evil. And he binds up all their wounds.
Christ Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and we strive to be shepherds after His own heart. Today, we shepherd our people amidst a culture of death, the most destructive aspect of which is abortion.
Shepherding the flock includes teaching them the truth about abortion, strengthening them to avoid it, and healing those who have done it.
We who reject abortion do not reject those who have had abortions. Rather, we embrace them with the love of Christ and lead them to his mercy and peace.
Why are some shepherds silent?
There are many fears that keep clergy from preaching clearly about abortion. In my book, Proclaiming the Message of Life, I discuss many of them.
One is I don’t want to hurt those who have had abortions.
Regarding this, we have to realize that silence does not help those who are already hurting. They may think we don’t care. They need to hear, rather, that hope and healing are available. And those who have not yet been wounded need to be strengthened to avoid the same mistake.
Another fear is, I don’t want to be political.
But dealing with abortion is not simply “political;” it is pastoral. It’s about welcoming life, keeping the commandments, loving our neighbor, and stopping a holocaust.
Examine the other reasons why some clergy do not address abortion in the book found at www.ProclaimingTheMessageOfLife.com.
How do we lead them to life?
Women don’t get abortions because of “freedom of choice,” but rather because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. The Church fosters authentic freedom, and replaces despair with hope by showing all people that there are better choices than abortion. Publicizing resources like www.PregnancyCenters.org and national hotline numbers like 1-800-712-HELP (4357) is a good start.
How do we heal the wounded?
* Share with your congregation the easy-to-use website www.AbortionForgiveness.com, at which, by using a ZIP code, they can find for themselves or for a friend the nearest ministry for healing after abortion. Use the bulletin, pulpit announcements, parish website and social media platforms, mailings, posters, signs, and other creative ways.
* Join our expert team, as well as other clergy from across the nation, for our regular training seminars about preaching the healing message and counseling moms, dads, grandparents, other family members and friends who are grieving a child killed by abortion. Sign up below or at www.ProLife.Church.
* Read the books of our pastoral team about healing and pastoral care after abortion. See www.ProLifeProducts.org.
* Utilize the prayers in the booklet In the Heart of His Mercy: Prayers to Heal the Wounds of Abortion.
* Read or watch the testimonies of those who have had abortions (see www.AbortionTestimonies.com). Our Silent No More Campaign helps those who have found healing to discern whether they should share their stories of the devastating experience of abortion and the healing they found in Christ. These testimonies teach all of us how these mothers and fathers are hurting and how we can help them. Their testimonies constitute a form of evangelization, as they proclaim the mercy of God that is available for all, no matter what their sins.
* Share with us your own homilies about forgiveness and healing after abortion, as a way of encouraging other priests and deacons.
Join us for Ongoing Training
All priests, deacons, and clergy of all denominations are invited to join in our clergy seminars, which explore more details of both the theory and practice of the Church’s pastoral response to abortion. Sign up below. We conduct these seminars on a regular basis. For decades, Priests for Life has gone into dioceses at the invitation of the bishop to do clergy training days. Now, of course, we can present these trainings virtually, which will allow more clergy to attend.
Our seminars cover preaching and teaching on abortion, leading people to alternatives, healing the wounds, and mobilizing our congregations with concrete action.
We have guest presenters, including experts in abortion recovery like our own pastoral associate Dr. Theresa Burke; Dr. Martha Shuping (psychiatrist); and key researchers like Dr. David Reardon, Dr. Vincent Rue and others. The healing ministry we do is not just for the Moms and Dads, but for grandparents, siblings, the whole family, friends, and also the abortionists who repent.
There is much to do. Let’s do it together!
The Good Shepherd Project Brochure (the text of which is above) is to give to your clergy to make them aware of this project.
The vast majority of pro-life activists are motivated by their relationship with Christ. That’s why people need to hear from their spiritual leaders about abortion. This brochure gives some practical steps you can take to help your priests and deacons become stronger advocates for the unborn.
This non-denominational brochure is geared towards non-Catholic clergy and gives some practical steps you can take to help your pastor become a stronger advocate for the unborn.