I have been called a fanatic many times. Some consider me such because of my vocation as a priest. Many more have called me a fanatic because of my focus on the pro-life cause. I’ve prayed and demonstrated before abortion centers. I have preached and spoken and written about this issue. Since 1973 I have worn a bracelet on my wrist bearing the date of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that, for all intents and purposes, permitted abortion in our country for any reason at any stage of life. That decision was issued on January 22nd of 1973. The bracelet also has symbols inscribed; the alpha and the omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, are on either side of a symbol that stands for life within woman. Since the alpha with the omega is a sign representing God, the symbols serve as a constant reminder to me that only God has a right to determine when life begins and when it ends. I have worn that bracelet for 32 years now, through 32 years of unparalleled legalized bloodshed, and I will not remove it until that holocaust is stopped.
Although I have been called a fanatic, as I think about it my sense is that, if anything, I have not been sufficiently devoted to this cause. It is true that, particularly in my role as pastor, there are many great needs that call for my attention. But when I think of the whole realm of social justice causes and the many areas of service, I cannot find one more fundamental, more direct assault upon everything I know and believe, than this state sanctioned slaughter.
I am haunted by questions of how I would have responded had I lived in the midst some of the other great social justice travesties of history. How would I have acted if I had lived in the time of slavery? What if I had been pastor of a church in a place where slavery was practiced? Would I have been willing to be considered a fanatic there as I expressed my opposition?
How would I have acted had I lived in Germany during World War II? What if I knew, as many did, what was happening to all the Jewish people and many others who were being transported into the Day after day they came, old and young, healthy and lame, laity, priests and sisters, but especially Jews, while all that ever left the camp was the constant sickening sweet effusion that wafted skyward from the chimneys and covered the sun? Would I have been willing to speak knowing that my fate would have been mingled with theirs?
Many don’t really know what is happening. There is a great conspiracy of silence and of double-speak. We don’t address such things in the media or among polite company. Therefore many do not know. But I know that an unborn child is not at any point just a blob of tissue, like a hangnail. This new life is a separate, self-directing, totally unique, human life. I know that this new slaughter of the innocents is happening in numbers that boggle the imagination. More than 11,700 in Dallas every year, 3,600 a day in the U.S. alone, one out of every four children conceived, are ruthlessly torn in pieces from the haven of their mother’s wombs and thrown in the garbage. I know—and I cannot make believe that it is otherwise.
I also know of the sheer panic many women experience when they learn that they are carrying a child they did not expect. I have walked with them as they struggled with what they feel is the loss of their dreams in the midst of a culture that sees children as burdens and often resents their intrusions upon our plans. I have also spoken with many who long years after choosing an abortion still feel the pain of their decision every single day.
This convinces me in my fanaticism that we have to do better in supporting women who face a crisis pregnancy. We must tell them the truth about abortion, as some are doing through sidewalk counseling outside the abortion centers. We need to let them know that there are other options besides killing. Help and support is available through services such as those offered at crisis pregnancy centers. We need to be there to assist post-abortive women and men, who also suffer the pain and guilt, to find healing through retreats such as Rachel’s Vineyard. And we need to continue to work to change laws that give a cloak of respectability to this ghoulish violence directed at our most helpless brothers and sisters.
It is hard being considered a fanatic, but it is even harder to be silent.
Submitted by Msgr. Mark Seitz
Pastor, St. Rita Catholic Church, Dallas, Texas
August 22, 2006
Labels: Sidewalk Counseling stories
Operation Outcry (www.operationoutcry.org) is a non-profit project of the Justice Foundation dedicated to ending legal abortion by exposing its lies and offering the real truth of the devastation in the lives of thousands of women, men and families who have participated in an abortion. Operation Outcry uses the testimonies of women who have suffered from the trauma of abortion to help uncover the truth that abortion “strikes at the heart of a culture: the family.” Operation Outcry also utilizes prayer, a 24-hour hotline for hurting women and others, and training of individuals to speak in public venues and collect affidavits for the effort to end both the suffering and tragic consequences of abortion by ending abortion itself.
The Justice Foundation (www.txjf.org) was formed in 1993 to “protect the fundamental freedoms and rights essential to the preservation of American society.” It is a public-interest litigation firm and represents clients pro-bono.
There were about 20 people or more at different times on the conference call. The call was moderated by Rhonda Arias, the Texas State Leader of Operation Outcry. The call began with an opening prayer led by Caron Strong, the National Director of Operation Outcry and then a scripture reading by Ms. Arias.
At that point, Allan Parker was introduced and began to speak.
Allan told us about the lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Doe v. Bolton case (410 US 179 (1973). Doe v. Bolton is the decision by the high court which overturned the abortion law of Georgia in 1973 following the Roe decision. Together, Doe and Roe recognized abortion as a constitutional right.
The Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Doe v. Bolton case was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 31st. The case was then docketed on August 2nd and the Supreme Court will conference and discuss their docket between now and September 25th. On that date, they will have their formal conference and begin the selection process for cases to be heard. Mr. Parker said that we will know sometime in the first week of October whether the high court will take the appeal.
Mr. Parker stated that although Roe v. Wade was not chosen, he feels highly optimistic that the Court will hear Doe v. Bolton. According to Mr. Parker, “for the first time, we will have thousands of affidavits from women documenting the pain, anguish and regret that abortion has caused them.”
Another topic of the conference call was the need for a Texas abortion ban. Mr. Parker said that Texas should pass a ban on abortion following the lead of South Dakota and Louisiana. There are two types of bans: an immediate ban on abortion, making it illegal in our state, and a trigger ban which is a ban that would immediately go into effect when Roe and Doe are overturned.
We also heard from Molly White with Operation Outcry regarding the need for a letter-writing campaign by individuals touched by abortion. Ms. White recently met with Texas House of Representative Phil King, R-Weatherford. It was a short meeting, but a fruitful one, according to Ms. White. She talked to Mr. King about pro-life issues and a ban on abortion in our state. She said that he “seemed intrigued” and wanted Ms. White to come up with a plan of action and bring it to him. Ms. White also spoke with Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life, about his thoughts on an abortion ban. He is also very supportive of an abortion ban in Texas.
Finally, we heard again from Rhonda Arias with some action points on the letter writing. Ms. Arias believes that there needs to be common ground with all pro-life groups, and it needs to be “grassroots” in order to be effective. Ms. Arias said, “We have more unity than we might recognize . . . and we agree that it is the women’s voices that will make the difference.” She further stated that we must take our message to our legislators and “God will show us the rest of the way.” In order to bring our united voices to the forefront, each post-abortive woman needs to write a letter to her state representative and state senator asking for a commitment on an abortion ban, and giving our testimonies on how abortion has hurt us and, ultimately, all women and families. “The power is in our testimonies,” says Ms. Arias. She urged us to write these letters in our own handwriting and send them to our legislators and even follow-up with them, encouraging them to take a stand today for the lives of our future generations.
Submitted by Caryn Stevens
Director of Abortion AfterCare Healing Ministry
August 8, 2006
Teresa and I were about to leave at 11:00 am and closed with some final prayers when we saw a car pause waiting for traffic to pass. This car was turning into the center we decided to stay. We both approached the car and gave them our information. I looked up and saw another car that was turning in and told Teresa to keep talking to the people in the first car and I'll get the second car.
It turned out that the woman driving was coming for an abortion and her friend was in the passenger seat. The child belonged to her friend and she lit up when I asked her about him. They were both Christian and I said to her friend, "You must know what a great blessing children bring to our lives."
She nodded and pulled out some paper by her seat. It was an Internet printout of aborted babies. She said she had been showing it to her friend and brought her son in the car with her to try to stop her friend. At this time a car was honking from the street to go into the clinic, so I told them they could park and come out and talk to me some more. With a last thought I blurted, "The White Rose is just 10 min away and you can follow me there if you like."
The Holy Spirit did some serious action that morning because I have never asked for someone to follow me, and that day I did. We got them checked into the White Rose, we talked/prayed some more, and Teresa and I went out to lunch to celebrate!
The next story is a bit different. A very young couple parked at the abortion center and the girl came over to me a little curious about what we were doing. I told her about the White Rose next door. The guy was dawdling at the car getting dressed, pulling his shoes and belt on.
He looked over at us sarcastically and I asked her if that was the father. She looked at him with a similar look and nodded. There was tension between them and it was apparent. He called her back over and she started walking in with him. I called out that, "No one has the right to force her to do this, this was her baby. Her baby to love." She stopped ,looked at him and said, "You hear her? You're taking me over to that clinic and we're goin now!"
He kind of slunk around just following her, trying to be cool as she walked back over to me. I walked them into the White Rose, spoke to her and then spoke to him more after she had gone in.
It's been a very growing and prayerful summer!
Submitted by McKenna
Catholic Pro-Life Committee Sidewalk Counseling Summer Intern
August 8, 2006
Labels: Sidewalk Counseling stories
© 2007 Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas. All rights reserved.