Fathers, Let's Face Our Fears About Abortion
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.)