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Published on Apr 22, 2015
Priesthood and pro-life ministry are essentially linked, because as Evangelium Vitae says, "The Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel" (EV #3). Defending the dignity of the human person is not a task "added onto" our ministry, but rather one that flows inseparably from its very heart.
Christ gives Himself away on the cross and in the Eucharist, and there we find the meaning of love: I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. This is the exact opposite of abortion, which says, I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself. The same words that Jesus and His priests use to proclaim love are used by defenders of abortion: This is my body. Some control their bodies so others die; Christ gives His Body away, so others live.
Those who live the consecrated life bear witness to the words of St. Paul: "You are not your own." They declare that their lives, their choices, their bodies belong to God, and that true freedom consists in union with him, not in asserting our own will.
In her pro-life commitment, the Church does not point fingers of condemnation, but rather extends hands of mercy and hope, to lift out of despair those who think they need to have an abortion, as well as those who have already had abortions. We at Priests for Life operate Rachel's Vineyard, the world's largest ministry for healing after abortion, and have helped people who have had as many as 25 abortions. Evangelium Vitae expresses the commitment of the Church to bring forgiveness and healing to such people. Priests and religious are a sign and an invitation to that reconciliation and mercy. The healing extends not only to the mom and dad, but to the whole family, to friends, and even to the abortionists. And those who have had abortions can, as Evangelium Vitae says, by their own testimonies of pain and healing, be the most eloquent voices on behalf of life.