FATHERS, LET'S FACE OUR FEARS ABOUT ABORTION
Fr. Frank A. Pavone
Priests for Life has been receiving a lot of input from reasons some have
for not being more involved in the fight Let's try to address them.
1. The question to
ask here is, "Why was I ordained?" If we were ordained to shepherd
our people, to lead them, then our concern becomes helping them see
and practice the truth. We are not to be led around by any factions
either on the "left" or on the "right." Rather, we are to lead our
people to truth. If in doing so we are labeled, so what? If people
can influence us by labels, isn't that weakness on our part? What do
we do when they "label" us simply for being a priest or a Catholic?
2. From one perspective,
there is no ground for this fear. We address many issues. The real
fear is, "What will happen if I address abortion even once?" From
another perspective, there IS only one issue, because if there isn't
LIFE, then there and no people to discuss them.
3. No. The
law does not forbid us from speaking on public policy issues. Mr.
Mark Chopko, General Counsel for the USCC, reminds us that
"participation in the public debate on important issues inevitably
overlaps with positions taken by certain candidates. Nonetheless,
issue-oriented speech is protected First Amendment... even within the
section 501 (c) (3) regulatory work." (Memorandum, June 26, 1992).
4. We preach on abortion
to SAVE such women, and to protect other women from making the same
mistake. A letter we received from a woman who had an abortion urges
us NOT to fear speaking out. "I can't help but think that if I heard
in church that abortion was wrong. . . I might have chosen to keep my
baby instead of killing my baby." As we condemn abortion, we also
proclaim forgiveness and healing. Experts in post-abortion healing
tell us that it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that the woman "stop using
the mechanisms of defense, such as denial, self-repression, and
rationalization of abortion. (Dr. Philip Mango, "The Consequences of
Abortion and Their Treatment," August 1990). She must face the fact
that her baby was killed. We can help on the path to healing by
proclaiming the truth about abortion and the reality of forgiveness.
When we address abortion, it tells her, "We care." Our silence tells
her, "We don't care."
We will deal with other fears in future newsletters. The bottom
line in all of this is the fact that lives are on the line. Is a baby's
life worth the price I may pay for addressing abortion?
Fr. Pavone is the National Director of Priests for Life, P.O.
Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314, an association of Catholic
priests who give special emphasis to promoting and defending the
sanctity of human life. (See PFLINFO.TXT in Clergy and
Religious Forum library, subject area 1 for more information.)