Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fr. Frank Pavone: Risk

An 11-year old girl who is a supporter of Priests for Life sent me the following email very recently: "My mother and I are taking a bus and will be coming to the March for Life. My teacher said that I will receive zeroes on any work that I miss and it can't be made up. I told her missing a day at school in order to stand up for life is more important and I'm willing to suffer the consequences."

That’s what the pro-life movement needs most – people who say, “I’m willing to suffer the consequences.”

The children living and growing in the womb right now endure a great risk without having chosen it. They live in a place that has become more dangerous than any battlefield or terrorist target, and their lives hang in the balance at every moment. They did not choose this risk; someone else chose it for them.

We who defend these children have to choose to accept a share in that risk. That is solidarity. We bear willingly the risk that they bear unwillingly. Many ask what they need to do to stop abortion. But most know the answer already. They see the next step they can take, but are just trying to muster up the courage to do it. Risk is involved, and there’s no way around it. We’re afraid to speak and to act. Perhaps it’s because our pastor is not supportive, or we might get in trouble at our job; perhaps it’s because family and friends may not like our pro-life stance, or because it may lose business or votes; perhaps we fear it will impact our health. We make a continuous calculus in our minds and hearts, and often end up in paralyzed inaction.

We are always told of reasons why we can’t speak up against abortion. If we speak in Church, we’re told it’s too political; if we speak in the political arena, we’re told it’s too religious. If we speak in the media we’re told it’s too disturbing; in the educational realm, it’s too disruptive. On the public streets, it’s too distressing for children; in the business world it’s too controversial, in the family it’s too divisive, and in social settings it’s just impolite. So if abortion is wrong, where do we go to say so?

The answer is that we have to stop looking for a risk-free place to fight abortion, and speak up in all those arenas! There is a calculus in the heavens that says, “Greater love than this nobody has, than to lay down his life for his friends.” If we want to protect the unborn, then let’s be willing to give our lives for them. Let’s stop counting the cost for ourselves if we speak up and start counting the cost for them if we are silent. The pro-life movement does not need a lot of people; it needs people who are willing to take a lot of risk.


~ Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life

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