“Total freedom is doing what we ought to do rather than what we want to do.”
-Fr. Avelino Gonzalez
Hundreds gathered in front of the Washington, D.C., Planned Parenthood clinic yesterday to pray for the unborn and promote life. The day began with a “Witness to Life” Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral celebrated by Fr. Evelio Menjivar. Afterwards, participants processed to Planned Parenthood and joined an estimated two hundred Christendom College students from Front Royal, Virginia.
During the Mass for life, Fr. Evelio stressed that Christians must not remain spectators to a country threatened by terrorism, immigration conflicts, loss of the traditional family, and disrespect of the unborn. Rather than blaming events on today’s culture, Catholics hold an “obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of our society.” Father emphasized the sacredness of human dignity – from conception to natural death – while asking Mass participants, “will you help put a stop to this…will you stand up for [the unborn]?”
Fr. Evelio never promised the fight would be easy.
At the clinic, the demonstrators recited hymns and chanted the rosary. Pro-life sidewalk counselors approached women entering the clinic to offer pro-life pamphlets and suggest options besides abortion.
Several “pro-choice clinic escorts” guarded the Planned Parenthood entrance as the pro-lifers gathered and knelt. While some escorts appeared courteous and respectful, others made degrading comments about the demonstrators:
“When you tell someone to f*** off, you think they would leave you alone,” one escort commented as a sidewalk counselor attempted to speak with a woman entering the clinic.
Another referred to the Christendom students, saying, “These are all freshman? When I was a freshman, all I wanted to do was sleep [around].”
The most popular comment to the women clientele concerning the pro-life counselors was, “I’m really, really sorry – they’re trying to harass you.”
The things worth fighting for often appear as the most difficult things for which to fight. When climbing a mountain, we can’t predict the precise number of steps to take. We don’t know what obstacles – what jumps – we may face. But we do have faith that the view is worth the hike, even if we haven’t yet seen the summit.
As Christians, we believe in the human dignity – the importance – of each individual as a child of God. This belief extends in a special way towards the protection of the weak and vulnerable unborn child. As Christians, we also believe Christ triumphs in the end. The question is how we journey to the finish – the question is will we dare to play a role?
Will we kneel down to stand up?