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News and commentary from the Pro-Life Action League
News and commentary from the Pro-Life Action League
Last week, Pope Francis made what I consider to be the most profound pro-life statement of his pontificate to date by praying at a gravesite in South Korea where abortion victims are buried. The cemetery is on the grounds of Kkottongnae Home, a Catholic charity that serves the elderly and disabled.
The Holy Father’s visit to this cemetery for the aborted unborn comes only a month before the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children is set to take place here in the United States, of which the Pro-Life Action League is a major sponsor.
On Saturday, September 13, solemn memorial services will be held at more than 40 gravesites throughout the United States where abortion victims have been mercifully interred by pro-life activists. Vigils will also be held at dozens of other memorial markers dedicated to these children.
As one of the main organizers of this event, I find it both gratifying and inspiring to see Pope Francis doing exactly what thousands of pro-life Christians—both Catholic and Protestant—will be doing in just a few weeks: mourning for the victims of abortion, right where their tiny bodies are buried.
The power of this kind of pro-life witness was illustrated in some of the mainstream media coverage of the Pope’s visit to the grave. The ABC News story on the visit actually used the words “aborted children” to describe who was buried there! [Continue reading ...]
Eric Scheidler visits the Catacombs of Callixtus, June 2014
If you ever visit the ancient Christian catacombs scattered about the outskirts of Rome, you’ll see countless small tombs dug into the walls, only a foot of two across. These are the burial places of infants, cast out of their pagan homes and left to die of starvation and exposure. Though abortion was practiced in the ancient world, this form of infanticide was a far more common way to get rid of an unwanted child.
Many of these rejected children were rescued by Christians, nursed back to health and given homes, in obedience to Christ’s command to serve the least of his brothers and sisters. But all too often, the only act of love the early Church could offer these children was to bury their little bodies and offer prayers of mourning for them.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to visit the Catacombs of Callixtus while on a pilgrimage to Rome with my wife April. As we walked through the cool, musty corridors of the underground complex, I was struck by the thought that we Christians today are carrying on this work of mercy—rescuing the bodies of abandoned, unwanted children and giving them the only gift we can, the gift of a proper burial.
Again and again, pro-life activists have found the bodies of these children in trash dumpsters, or on the loading docks of medical waste facilities. And just like the early Church, they have spoken out against the injustice, solemnly buried the victims, and mourned over their bodies.
These burial places can be found throughout the United States. In all, there are some 43 gravesites of the aborted unborn, from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, where four aborted children are buried to the grave of over 16,000 abortion victims at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Los Angeles.
But however staggering the numbers of children buried at some of these sites may be, they represent only a tiny fraction of the more than 56 million babies killed since the U.S. Supreme Court stripped unborn children of legal protection.
That’s why it’s so important that we visit these gravesites. So very few abortion victims have been buried. Those who have been deserve the special attention of pro-life Christians.
And that’s what the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children is all about. Solemn memorial services will be held simultaneously on September 13 at the gravesites of aborted children, as well as at other makers set up in their memory across the country.
I invite you to check out the list of gravesites and memorial sites to see if there is a Day of Remembrance memorial service scheduled in your area. If not, you may wish to consider organizing one.
Early Christians were despised for trying to rescue abandoned infants, and burying those they couldn’t save— just as Christians today are despised for trying to save babies from abortion, and mocked for burying them.
So when we visit the gravesites of aborted children on September 13, we’re not only standing in solidarity with the victims of abortion. We’re standing in solidarity with the early Church, whose profound faith in the Gospel is shown so profoundly in those tiny tombs dug into the walls of the catacombs.
What will history record of our faith? That’s up to us.
It’s up to you. Plan to join the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children on September 13, and please help spread the word about this important day of prayer and mourning. You will be blessed.
Cemetery for Aborted Children in Kkottongnae, South Korea [Photo via Catholic News Agency]
Over the weekend Catholic News Agency announced that Pope Francis will visit a “Cemetery for Aborted Children” at the Kkottongnae Home for the Sick during his trip to South Korea later this week.
As a Catholic and as a pro-life activist who is assisting with the preparations for the second annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children on September 13, I was doubly thrilled to see, yet again, the Holy Father leading by example. Clearly, he understands the importance of visiting — physically, in person, visiting — sites that serve as memorials to aborted children, and so must the rest of us.
The motivation for the National Day of Remembrance is inspired by the words of Jesus, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” and the realization that we have an obligation to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters who have been killed by abortion. [Continue reading ...]
On this day in 1968, Pope Paul VI, of happy memory, issued his landmark encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which reiterated the Catholic Church’s 2,000 year old teaching that artificial contraception is sinful.
At the time, and perhaps even more so 46 years later, many people — Catholic and otherwise — are gobsmacked that at precisely a time when the winds of change were gale force, the Church vowed that she would cling to such an allegedly “outmoded” view of sexual morality.
Yet, the fact that Paul VI would reiterate the Christian condemnation against contraception is hardly a surprise, considering that no pope has the authority to change Church doctrine, much less natural law.
I first read Humanae Vitae during my sophomore year in college. I was prompted to do so because at the time, I had what might be called “issues” with the Church’s teaching against contraception. I had always been strongly against abortion, but I also believed that birth control could be helpful to the pro-life movement’s goal of eradicating abortion. (That, and at the time, I gullibly believed that “overpopulation” was a problem.) [Continue reading ...]
On our website is a page that addresses the most common objections we hear during our “Face the Truth” Tours, when we show pictures of abortion victims out on the streets—as we’re preparing to do at 24 sites in and around Chicago starting this Friday.
But in this post I’d like to focus on another objection that I must admit I find it hard to get my head around. Namely, the charge that showing abortion victim photos in public is uncharitable—and yea, even un-Christian—especially because of the supposedly damaging effects it has on children.
Personally, I find it understandable that the average secular person might get angry upon seeing a display of pictures of abortion victims.
But I’m gobsmacked when Christians try to claim that showing the victims of abortion in an effort to awaken people’s consciences is actually contrary to our faith.
As Christians, we know that on that first Good Friday, Our Lord Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be mercilessly scourged, crowned with thorns, and forced to stumble — battered, bloodied, and grotesquely ignominious — through the streets of Jerusalem before being nailed to the Cross. It’s surely safe to assume that there were children among the crowds that day — these were public streets, after all, and the city would have been teeming with families who had come there on pilgrimage for Passover. [Continue reading ...]
Here at the Pro-Life Action League, we often receive inquiries about pro-life ministries or devotions from people around the world.
But the post on our blog that has received more comments than any other over the years is a post about the “Rosary of the Unborn,” a rosary produced by Holy Love Ministries in Elyria, Ohio that claims to bear certain promises from the Blessed Virgin Mary through messages given to purported visionary Maureen Sweeney Kyle.
Specifically, Maureen was allegedly promised that “. . . each Hail Mary prayed [on a Rosary for the Unborn] from a loving heart will rescue one of these innocent lives from death by abortion.”
It’s not hard to see why people of faith, especially Catholics, would be attracted to such promises. But the sad truth is that the Church has declared that these promises do not have a supernatural origin.
Since we continue to receive inquiries about this devotion, we thought it would be helpful to link our readers to our exhaustive examination of the Rosary of the Unborn and the Catholic Church’s response to it. [Continue reading ...]
Pro-lifers pray the Way of the Cross on Good Friday at Planned Parenthood, Aurora, IL [Photo by Matt Yonke]
For the last seven years, the Pro-Life Action League has called on pro-lifers to join in a “Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion” on Good Friday at their local abortion facility.
This year, the event drew record participation with services held in 45 cities in 25 states!
We at the League have always found this service to be a great blessing and an anchor of our Holy Week reflections, so we’ve been thrilled to see others around the country sharing this experience. [Continue reading ...]
Indeed He is risen!
During this Easter Week, we take special consolation in the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. Not only is it the central event of our faith life, but it also provides us with great encouragement in our ongoing battle against abortion.
By conquering death, Jesus has also conquered abortion. As a result, we know that the outcome of the struggle that we carry on — this seemingly endless conflict between life and death — has already been decided.
We have, so to speak, been allowed to read the book’s final chapter before we actually get to it. We know that in the end, Life will be victorious.
From time to time, all of us need to remind ourselves of this, lest we lose heart.
During Holy Week last year, Relevant Radio’s Sheila Liaugminas interviewed Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler about the Good Friday Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion, which is being held again this year outside abortion clinics across the country. (See the list of locations here.)
In the course of the wide-ranging interview, Eric also shared his thoughts about one particular Gospel passage that we as pro-lifers should spend some time reflecting on:
I think that the guiding Gospel passage for me as a pro-life activist…is Jesus with the Samaritan woman [John 4:4-42]. Here is Our Lord stopping along the way, to reach out to somebody from an outcast group, the Samaritans. He was not afraid to speak to her about her sin, He was not afraid to expose her to her own sin, but all of it done through tremendous gentleness, through intimacy, through a one-on-one conversation, finding her where she is, speaking to her in language she understood, and filling her heart with a sense of her own worth and hope so that she not only felt like she was loved and cared for and would receive the waters of eternal life, but she felt inspired to share that good news with her whole community, running out to tell everyone about it.
We have to be Christ at the well with that Samaritan woman in these kinds of encounters that we have at the abortion clinics.
You can listen to the entire interview below.
It was my great honor to speak at a rally yesterday held outside the Supreme Court as oral arguments were being heard in the Sebelius v Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v Sebelius HHS Mandate cases. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are challenging the mandate, enacted under Obamacare, which compels them to provide free abortion-inducing drugs through their employee health plans.
Other speakers at the rally included Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, Lila Rose of Life Action and Meg McDonnell of Women Speak for Themselves, and several more articulate, outspoken women. The only men to speak were Fr Frank Pavone and me—a point I remarked on in my comments, which you can hear in full in the above video.
After declaring that women’s wellbeing is especially important to me as the father of six daughters, [Continue reading ...]