4/22/2008
The Mercy Pope John Paul II
From the Director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee's Abortion AfterCare-Healing Ministry, Caryn Stevens. Caryn responds to Pope Benedict's address to a Vatican conference on the after-effects of abortion and divorce:

Pope John Paul II, the Great Mercy Pope, reached out to post-abortive people in paragraph 99 of Evangelium Vitae, urging them to not give in to despair, to "not lose hope." John Paul the Great encouraged those who had abortions to face what they had done, with honesty and understanding, and to ask for God's forgiveness and peace. He invited them to come back home!

Then, he says something so radical, at least to those who made the grave mistake of abortion . . . he says that "as a result of our own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life." I remember when I first read these beautiful words in the Abortion AfterCare-Healing brochure; I could hardly believe what I was reading! Not only could those of us who traveled down this tragic path be forgiven, but we could be among those who now fight for LIFE! We could stand with pro-lifers without being viewed as hyprocrites or outsiders. We who have sinned can be forgiven AND can now speak up for the unborn, and bring healing to our wounded sisters and brothers.

Now, Pope Benedict XVI is reaching out to the post-abortive, but this time, the focus is on the Church. He states that "the Catholic Church has an obligation to minister to women who have victimized by abortion." He says that "the Gospel of love and life is also always the Gospel of mercy . . ." The Pope of Charity and Hope directs the Church, you and me, to reach out and minister to those hurting from abortion, and to understand how abortion devastates women, men, families and societies. He tells us that abortion leaves an "unhealed wound" in the souls of the post-abortive, that millions of women are left "physically, emotionally and spiritually wounded" after abortion, and that "Catholics must reach out to them."

Certainly, the woman or man who has experienced abortion can witness to its devastation and ill effects. It is these sisters and brothers, once healed, who can help reach out to the suffering and take up the Pope's directive with a deep sense of conviction and passion. However, Pope Benedict challenges the whole Church to step up and take action to help these "walking wounded," to understand the deep scar that abortion has left on society, and to help those suffering from abortion to become the new defenders of LIFE!

Abortion affects us ALL, not just those who participate in it. We must work together as a Church to bring the message of healing and hope to the post-abortive if we truly want peace in the world and an end to the evil that is abortion.

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