“Are We Guilty? On Unity in the Pro-Life Movement” This was syndicated from Fr. Stephen Imbarrato’s blog for Priests for Life.
One would think that the entire pro-life movement would have united around the efforts to close down PLANNED PARENTHOOD. I organized, led, and/or spoken at 3 rally events over the last month or so sponsored or organized through efforts of Students for Life (SFLA) and have lead numerous other local Planned Parenthood protests leading up to the national protest August 22nd sponsored by many groups.
But in these events, instead of total unity, I see the division and the non-cooperation among us. Anyone paying any attention can see it. I don’t get this. Is it because of abortion victim imagery? If so, what an irony considering the Planned Parenthood videos, which should be uniting us, are incredibly graphic and hard to watch. Or is it a “not invented here” mindset? Well, if true, this is just turf protection and nothing more than putting our ministry or organization and our strategy or tactics before saving babies! Yikes! How are we going to explain that to Jesus?
The pro-life movement is moving toward the out and out protesting of pre-born child killing in this country. That should not divide us but unite us. Everything we do for life, whether we rally, march, walk, pray, counsel, or witness, we should do in protest of our brothers and sisters in the womb being slaughtered. Every aspect of pro-life work is necessary. It is a mosaic that must be whole and complete to show its true beauty. When pieces are missing out of the mosaic, even a few pieces, it becomes worthless…visibly scarred.
Showing what Planned Parenthood is doing is not wrong. Showing the slaughter of our little brothers and sisters is not wrong. It is necessary and it is as necessary as every other and any other aspect of pro-life ministry.
I am post abortive. I am guilty of an abortion many years ago that wounded a woman for whom I professed loved and killed 2 babies for whom I was responsible. In healing, I have prayed and counseled at abortion mills for decades and I have done post-abortion healing ministry for almost 20 years. But I also protest baby killing using abortion victim imagery. I didn’t t like it at first and I don’t like it now. But I do it! It was hard to be reminded of what I had done. It is still hard to think of it and see it. But I suffer it for the greater good…to end the baby killing in our country.
I have been friends with Fr. Frank Pavone for 15 years and have had an association with Priests for Life for that entire time. Now I am on their priestly staff…a natural fit. Why? Because of what I know and have become convinced of over these many years. Fr. Frank and Priests for Life understand the desperate need for healing in this country and in our movement. Check out not only Rachel’s Vineyard and The Silent No More Awareness Campaign! We all need healing! No one in this country is doing more to heal our woundedness than Fr. Frank and Priests for Life. However, no one has been a greater promoter of the use of abortion victim imagery over the years than Fr. Frank and Priests for Life. Who has not used Father Frank’s quote, “America will not reject abortion till it sees abortion.” Who can dispute this?
I find it no small coincidence that although I have only recently joined Priests for Life, over 10 years ago when I was still a deacon, Fr. Frank and I did a segment on his Defend Life series about post-abortion healing AND the use of abortion victim imagery.
So in my mind, if Priests for Life sees the need for abortion victim imagery, post-abortion healing, and protecting pre-born child killing using every means, method, tactic, and strategy available, then I see not a contradiction, but a necessity.
Fr. Frank in his recently released book, “Abolishing Abortion” talks about healing and repentance. He clearly lays it out that repentance begins within ourselves. Amen. None of us are doing enough to end the child killing in this country…none of us. Add to that the lack of unity among us, a case could be made that we are all guilty of this nightmare continuing.
It is time to repent and it is time to unite. It is time to truly embrace that the Holy Spirit is One, but with many gifts. I trust that people who do pro-life ministry do so because they are called by the Holy Spirit. Let’s stop focusing on what other people are doing or not doing and focus on what Jesus is calling each of us to do while we respect that others may be called to doing something different according to their gifts.
It is time to stop rejecting the bloody, gory scene of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion. Rather, it is time to embrace its agony because it is how Christ chose to unite us and save us. Not only are we called to gaze upon the bloody sight of Christ’s death, we are also called to climb up and embrace Him. This is why I embrace the mosaic of a pro-life protest movement that includes the use of abortion victim imagery.