In one of my many leisurely conversations with Canadian psychiatrist and pro-life researcher Dr. Philip Ney at his beautiful Mount Joy campus, he told me what he has done when speaking at pro-life banquets. At a certain point, while sharing his message with the audience who are seated at their dinner tables, he tells them to get up and literally march around the room.
After all, he explains, he is talking to them about the greatest human emergency that there is — the holocaust of abortion. To bring people to an awareness of this emergency, but then to leave them passive, without rousing them to concrete action, is not only inadequate, but downright harmful.
At various key moments in our struggle against abortion, something happens that gives the American public a chance to see abortion — and the abortion industry — for what they are. The veil is lifted off of the corruption and horror of these atrocities, which continue not because the American people support them but because abortion industry hides them. This lifting of the veil happened during the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Many realized, during those weeks, that “legal abortion” does not mean “safe abortion.”
Now, with the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, a similar phenomenon kicks in, whereby many realize for the first time that abortion is not the serene and innocuous thing that slogans made them think it was, and that Planned Parenthood is not the caring, service-oriented organization that its marketing masters make the public think it is.
But it is not enough that jaws drop or that eyes that have long slumbered suddenly open to a glaring light. Things can easily go back to normal, and slumbering eyes can all too easily slumber again. And if they do, then as Scripture says, “the last condition of that person is worse than the first” (Mt. 12:45). It is easier to come to repentance when the lie that one once embraced is first exposed as a lie, and the evil that one once thought was good is first exposed as evil. Here’s why.
When the human conscience is presented with an atrocity, a voice of protest arises within us. “No, that cannot be!,” it exclaims. “Something has to be done to stop it! I need to resist it!” That voice of protest, which is the same as conscience, arises both when an evil threatens oneself or somebody else.
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At that point is the moral fork in the road. Either one gives outward expression to that inner voice, and speaks up and acts to stop the evil, or one must make an excuse as to why he/she failed to do so. If the protest remains internal and an excuse is made for not acting, then more excuses need to be made for continued failure to act. In this case, excuse piles upon excuse, and in the process, the inner voice of protest becomes harder to hear. The conscience goes back to sleep.
And because so many excuses and rationalizations have piled up, the next time the light pierces the darkness to try to awaken the conscience, it encounters not only the slumber, but the excuses, and so it takes more to rouse the conscience.
Meanwhile, all of these excuses, in the face of atrocities that demand a response from the human conscience, do damage to us. We end up tolerating evil in a way that contradicts our own human dignity, and we therefore dehumanize ourselves in the process. Again, “the last condition of that person is worse than the first”.
We are in a brief window of opportunity now to rouse ourselves and our fellow citizens to action. People need to be brought into active involvement in the pro-life movement — any facet of the movement that they are drawn to. They need to pick up the phone and communicate with their state and federal elected representatives. They need to speak up on their social media platforms and by commenting on news stories online. Pastors need to preach about abortion; legislators need to vote to end it. We have to act. To do so will strengthen that normal, healthy, human voice of protest within us (and now outside of us). To fail to act will only dehumanize and harm us.
LifeNews.com Note: Father Frank Pavone is the national director for Priests for Life.