"The Time to Choose."
That is the motto for Priests for Life, and the message Fr. Dennis Wilde delivered to an audience of approximately 250 at Tuesday evening's Pro-Life Dinner held at the Delphos Knights of Columbus.
"These are words that fetter or words that free," Fr. Wilde began. "This is the basic message that we try to get through to not only Roman Catholic priests but Protestant ministers, rabbis, all religious leaders. With 18-19,000 parishes in the Church in the United States, that could be a tremendously active pulpit. Some of the works we've seen from fellow priests and bishops are heartwarming."
Fr. Wilde noted that the group is involved in preaching, visiting high schools and conventions and using radio and literature to spread its message.
"We are a support group for the Pro-Life movement. The movement is a mosaic of the crucified and risen Christ," he continued. "Right now, our main focus is 500 strategically placed billboards in major cities like New York and L.A. It's hard to get the message out through the secular media, with its different agenda. The message? 'Hurting After Abortion? The Doors of the Church are Open'."
The group invites those facing problem pregnancies, as well as those dealing with the aftermath of abortion, to come home.
"We want to show hurting souls the love and mercy of God. Once they experience this, it opens up a world they've lost or never had," he said. "Satan tries to tell them that they cannot be forgiven; we tell them they can. This is a liberating message. It also says that without life, the other freedoms - liberty and pursuit of happiness have absolutely no meaning."
Fr. Wilde noted that the four full-time priests doing this apostolate are on the road two out of every three weeks.
"We always need prayer. We never want this to become our work; it is God's," he stated.
Fr. Wilde told the story of a Chinese philosopher that was asked the question: 'How would you conquer a city?" His answer: "Change the language."
"Jesus came to bring the message of agape - love - in a radical way. He changed the mindset of the people of His time through the Cross," Fr. Wilde continued "Today, the struggle is the other way.
Basically, what you have is immoral humanists that have changed the language in order to promote a culture of death, especially with abortion. They do this in three ways: One, they neutralize evil (such as gay rights) and then accuse the good of attacking others; two, they demonize or belittle the good; three, they victimize the perpetrator."
He explained that this is part of political correctness. He also commented on catchphrases of the abortion industry to justify its promotion of death.
"They use code words like, 'We have to kill the fetus for the life (or health) of the mother.' It's amazing that our billboards speak to the mother," he continued. "They evade or beg the question. You've also heard sayings such as 'You're trying to force your beliefs on others,' or "You're just a man, what would you know about it?', which is absolutely irrelevant to morality. Or this, 'If you outlaw abortions, they will still go on.' With this logic, why outlaw rape and murder since they still go on'? They dehumanize by calling the baby a fetus. They use ad hominem (to the man) arguments, attacking the messenger instead of answering the message.
Fr. Wilde also said the thought that partial-birth (or late-term) abortions are necessary for health care is a lie and that more women die now through safe, legal abortion than in those back alleys.
Fr. Wilde explained the biggest cop-out of all.
"This is the 'personally opposed but...' argument in the name of tolerance. St. Paul talks about tolerance - true charity -in terms of carrying each other's burdens," he commented. "Just put in slavery or arson instead of abortion. One deals with liberty, the other happiness. Why do we have it so wrong on life? This happened in Nazi Germany. It meant killing the insane, gypsies, Jews, Christians, anyone deemed subhuman or not worthy of life. If our leaders are so wrong on the most basic issue of all - life - it makes one's claims to rightness suspect on any other issue."
Fr. Wilde noted how abortion has changed our landscape.
"The Supreme Court in 1973's Roe v. Wade dreamt up a Constitutional right to abortion for any reason at any time. Abortionists claim only for three months but it is the entire pregnancy," he said. "It violates God's law, which makes it no law. I would point out that the effects are seen in our public schools which have denied God His place.
When He is taken out, a vacuum exists; it will be filled, even by Satan. Look at the school shootings. These kids have been told to ignore the truth and they've lost their conscience. St. Paul's letter to the Romans says that God gave men over to their folly (confusion)."
Fr. Wilde spoke to the mantra of the abortion industry: Freedom of choice.
"Do you know what THE CHOICE always is'? To kill the unborn baby," he pointed out. "It's also about so-called self-autonomy, with God having no place. It becomes rights versus the right. This is what temptation is; it looks and sounds good but it does not conform to reality."
In this battle, he acknowledged that either one remains silent or one gets actively engaged in persuasion.
"We all need to know the truth. It goes like this: Our attitudes spawn concepts, which create slogans, which lead to pitfalls, which end in building ourselves back up," he explained. "When we broaden our vision, it leads to action.
"There are certain reasons we fail. We need to do this work but we have to be alert to these assumptions to avoid them: the other person, perhaps good, thinks in the same way as far as moral principles; agreement is always possible; the person wants an honest argument; the other side wants information but I guarantee that Planned Parenthood and others want to hide the truth; arguments involve too much passion, and the situation is too complex."
Fr. Wilde answers that passion is good but we are to always remain charitable.
"Let the light of Christ shine. St. Paul uses reprove, rebuke encourage and build up," he said. "I also ask two questions: Is it a human being? Is it OK to kill that human being? Then, you can handle it. We are vessels of truth: the truth is on our side. We emphasize charity, tact, clarity and fact. This is a work of apologetics, not apologizing."