January 22, 2014

Praying for the Unborn

Today here in Rome it's the feast of St. Vincent Pallotti, founder--you guessed it--of the Pallottines. His obligatory memorial creates the potentially confusing liturgical situation of suppressing the optional memorial of his namesake, St. Vincent, deacon and martyr.

But I can't forget that as folks wake up at home in the States, it's neither the feast of one Vincent nor the other, but the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. May I remember in prayer today first of all the unborn who find themselves in danger and for their parents. May I pray for all who by prayer, work, and witness seek to defend the right to life of our sisters and brothers not yet born.

May I pray for the grace of conversion for our culture and our Churches, that our hearts might be softened toward all human life from conception to natural death: the child, the elderly, the foreigner, the sick, the abused, the imprisoned, those suffering from the many forms of poverty, but especially for the unborn because they, unlike the others, enjoy no legal protection and even more, because the disposability of their lives has become--in our tragic confusion--something even to rejoice in.

In my time as a parish priest I received the occasional criticism. Most were easily dismissed either as someone's misunderstanding of Church teaching or my intentions, but some stuck with me. One of these latter is the lady who came up to me after Mass and said,

"You're a good priest, Father Charles, but you're not pro-life enough."

So just as it has become part of my ordinary intentions that the Lord would let me know what I can do in reparation for the crimes of my brother priests who have sexually abused children, today, as I join my prayers to everyone praying at home, I also pray the Lord that he would let me know how I can be more pro-life.


Silvana rscj said...

She probably meant you didn't preach enough hellfire sermons denouncing abortion and condemning those who'd had one. And I would hope you wouldn't ever do that: because who knows what woman might be sitting in the pews full of guilt and shame and longing for forgiveness? Your rousing homily might tick all the pro-life boxes, but would it help this woman know God's loving, merciful embrace?

Stick with being "quietly" pro-life and less quietly pro-love!

Anonymous said...

As someone who is post-abortive, I can tell you that preaching hellfire won't work but neither will silence. For lack of a better analogy, it's like the kid who gets sick and is either scolded by the parent for not washing his hands often enough or is otherwise ignored by the parent and left to heal on his own. What we need is to have our wounds acknowledged and attended to. I greatly admire our Pope Francis precisely because he sees the role of the Church as one of a field hospital in the midst of war. We know what we did regardless of the rationalizations that led us to that sacrificial altar at the expense of our children. What we need is a message of hope that we can indeed be forgiven and loved.

Louis M said...


If you preached *one* pro-life sermon, that would be one more than I've ever in person have heard a priest preach.


PS Keep up the great work!