Church the key in prolife struggle: US priest

Peter Rosengren

Document Publication: The Record (Australia)

Publication Date: December 14, 1995

Each year somewhere in the vicinity of 80,000 abortions are carried out in Australia. In the United States, the figure is 4,000 a day.

Worldwide, the figure is something like 10 million a year, while the last twenty years have seen over 100 million people perish in the womb - possibly as many as 200 million. Nobody knows the precise figures because there are just too many to count.

But it is not all going one way. Father Frank Pavone, national director of the US organization, Priests for Life, has a full-time job travelling the United States and occasionally visiting the rest of the world, spurring priests and laity on in the defence of unborn life and against euthanasia.

In Perth last week he was speaking to both groups to reinvigorate the efforts of those who have decided that this issue is important enough to do something about. And, as ever, he was issuing an open invitation to everybody else to join the ranks. His message: the war is not over yet.

"My message that we have no more urgent moral problem to rectify than that of the killing of human beings - whether they be the unborn, which of course is the primary problem - and also the threats against those who are too ill to be considered by some people to be equal to the rest of us," he said.

Society's value on human life was the critical issue of the day.

"If, as is the case in abortion and euthanasia, we start saying certain people do not have the right to life or certain people are not equal to others, well then, we undermine the foundation on which everything else stands," Fr. Pavone said.

Speaking to priests as a priest, Fr. Pavone said he often quoted Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the architect of abortion in the United States who just this year converted to Catholicism.

"He addressed a group of clergy in New York a few years ago and after he described all the strategies that he and his friends used to get the abortion movement started, he looked at us and said, "We would have never gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful and strong" -- 'you' being the clergy," Fr Pavone said.

"And I say to the priests today that the promoters of abortion, and we can include euthanasia, will still not get away with what they're doing if we become more united, purposeful and strong," he said.

And he said that the Church was the biggest threat to the abortion industry.

"They know that the biggest obstacle in their way is the Church - the Church which has stood for two thousand years, precisely for the dignity of the human person - and the Church shows no signs of going away," he said.

"So I say to the priests, at the moment when not only the Church, but civilization itself, needs us the most, let's not back away in cowardice. We need to keep proclaiming this. Another thing I say to them very strongly is: we are the ones who are the defenders of women," he said.

On Thursday, December 28, Archbishop Hickey will celebrate Mass in reparation for abortion at St Mary's Cathedral in Perth at 7:30 pm. Human Life International, which organized Fr. Pavone's visit to Australia, has asked that people attending Mass donate baby clothes to help mothers of the unborn.

The Mass will be preceded by a pro-life Rosary at 7:10 pm.

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: