Being Pro-life in New Mexico: Governor Susana Martinez’s Political Star Has Burned Out!

July 26th, 2016

By Fr. Stephen Imbarrato: The Protest Priest
Pastoral Staff; Priests for Life

July 24th, 2016

Albuquerque, NM– Recently the Albuquerque Journal ran an article pointing out how the political fortunes of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez have taken a downturn in the last 4 years. Indeed, 4 years ago, Governor Martinez was a bright star in the Republican party as the first female, latina governor. She still is the head of the Republican Governors Association, but clearly she does not have the political profile she enjoyed even a year or two ago. (See Cosmopolitan article here) Are Anti-Abortion Activists Determined to Topple Their Pro-Life Governor?

I would like to posit what happened to Governor Susana, her fall from grace, and offer two key considerations:

  1. Governor Martinez put her national political aspirations before the needs of the good people of New Mexico.
  1. In seeking such aspirations, she refused and failed to live up to her self-proclaimed mantle of being “pro-life and pro-family.”

It has been clear for the last several years, maybe for as long as she has been Governor, that Martinez has been advised by her handlers to avoid the hot button social issues, in particular abortion. She followed this advice in spite of the reality that New Mexico has, for as many years as her tenure, had the reputation of being the “Abortion Capital of the Southwest” and the “Late Term Abortion Capital of the Country.” Even pro-abortion advocates proudly call New Mexico the least restrictive, most woman and abortion friendly state in the country.

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A little over one year ago a young woman came to Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque from the United Kingdom to abort her child 32 weeks into her pregnancy. And indeed she did. Just months ago, a woman from Texas came to Albuquerque to abort her twins 35 weeks into her pregnancy, a double abortion that Southwestern Women’s Options was more than willing to perform for tens of thousands of dollars. Thank God she went home and delivered the twins less than 2 weeks later.

Investigations by the Center for Medical Progress and LiveAction have exposed heinous activities by Planned Parenthood. Most recently taxpayer funded University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options have come under scrutiny for various activities by the US Congressional Select Committee on Infant Lives which was spurred on by information provided by national pro-life groups Operation Rescue and LiveAction as well as locally by ProtestABQ and NMAFL.

And where has Governor Martinez been during her tenure as “pro-life governor of New Mexico?” Well myself and other pro-lifers met with her and her chief of staff a year after she took office and laid out the whole New Mexico abortion situation and cartel for her. What has she done since then? The good Governor has not only taken no executive or administrative action, she has not shown any leadership in helping pass pro-life legislation. On the contrary the Governor has been completely silent particularly on abortion as well as other social issues (same sex marriage and doctor assisted suicide); the most forceful (and now infamous ) quote of her tenure being, “if legislation protecting a fetus gets to my desk, I will consider signing it.” (emphasis mine) Protest ABQ Forces Silent Susana To Stammer Out Her Pro-Life Position

What has prompted such silence, inaction, and half heartedness on the Governor’s part? Clearly, it has been her penchant to follow bad advice related to her aspirations for higher, national offices. Her lack of focus and concern for the issues facing the people of New Mexico caused her to make poor political choices. Her most glaring, long term failing has been her silence and being completely dormant regarding New Mexico’s abortion problem. This has cost her not only any reputation she may have had as being pro-life, but has exposed her nationally as being weak and lacking any leadership on the issue of pre-born baby killing.

New Mexico still has the same abortion reputation as it did 7 years ago. The only difference is that today Governor Martinez has lost any credibility nationally on social issues, particularly abortion.

Let this Be a Lesson for the Future

“Those who hear the word of God and do not act on it are fools who have built their house on sand. The rains and the floods came and the wind blew and beat against it and it came crashing down.”

The last three governors of New Mexico have clearly had higher political aspirations while they were in office. Gary Johnson is now the national standard bearer of the Libertarian Party. Bill Richardson always maintained a high national profile especially with the Clintons. Likewise, Governor Martinez believed she could achieve long-term national prominence as New Mexico Governor. The significant problem in all of this is that NM has been and remains near the top of just about every “worst list” in categories related to economics, quality of life (especially for children), crime, and education. Again, New Mexico has always had its reputation for abortion. No effective pro-life, abortion restricting legislation has passed in decades in New Mexico in spite of the fact that every surrounding state has had significant success in these areas. How do these New Mexico governors, particularly “Silent Susana,” think their records deserve national recognition? The people have finally caught on.

Future candidates for governor of New Mexico take heed! The days are over when the people of New Mexico are going to tolerate a governor who has their eyes, heart, and mind elsewhere. I, for one (and I know many others) am dedicated to insuring that any future gubernatorial candidate is focused on the problems of our state and I, as many others do, believe and am convinced that problem number one is the unbridled, unfettered, unregulated, tax-funded pre-born baby killing cartel in this state that attracts clients here from all over the country and the world. Abortion has been and is one of New Mexico’s cottage industries. The reality is, though, that “abortion is bad business” for New Mexico.

Any future candidate for governor is going to have to forthrightly declare that they understand the serious and sorry reputation we have relative to pre-born child killing and then clearly delineate how they intend to change this unacceptable and deplorable situation.

The most prominent names being brought up as candidates for governor is Catholic Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas and self proclaimed pro-life Republicans Lt Governor John Sanchez and Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry.

I expect (and so do many others) that any Catholic running for Governor will abide by their Catholic faith which states that every procured abortion is inherently evil. Someone like Balderas cannot declare themselves Catholic, support abortion, and expect to get elected. As for “self proclaimed pro-life” candidates? The days are over in New Mexico where words without actions suffice. Catholic and pro-life candidates must declare their pro-life policies; what legislation they intend to support and what executive and administrative actions they plan to take. I (and many, many others) will accept nothing less.

Governor Martinez’s effective term has almost expired and her political career seems to be gasping for air. New Mexico cannot afford another “Silent Susana.” As Abel’s blood cried out from the earth for justice, so does the blood of the aborted pre-born babies of New Mexico cry out for justice. We want a governor who cares about the pre-born babies of New Mexico (and the many, many women being wounded). The next governor will have to show concern for New Mexico’s reputation as “late term abortion capital of the country” and will have do something about changing that reputation.

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Lenten Mission

February 27th, 2016

I am giving a Lenten Mission this coming week here in ABQ at the Shrine of St Bernadette on Indian School between Eubank Blvd and Juan Tabo Blvd.

 

Here is the schedule!

Sunday Night February 28th; 7 pm conference: The Prodigal Son; the merciful Father!
Monday Night February 29th; 7 pm conference: Lenten Mercy in Scriptures.                          Veneration of a Relic of True Cross
Tuesday Night March 1st; 7 pm conference: Lenten Mercy in the Saints.                                Healing Oil of Padre Pio
Wednesday Night March 2nd; 7 pm conference with Eucharistic adoration: The Eucharist; source of our salvation!

Conferences will last 1 hour including questions and answers.

Divine Mercy Chaplet will be recited at 6:30 pm each night. Confessions also at 6:30 pm and throughout the night. Come join us. Everyone is welcome!

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Fr Imbarrato in Washington DC this week

February 23rd, 2016

Fr Stephen Imbarrato, Priest Associate of Priests for Life, is planning a few events this week in the Greater Washington DC area and is inviting everyone in the area to join him. Here is the schedule.

This Wednesday Evening 2/24: 6 pm – 7 pm; Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood is hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at the Arlington Rooftop Grille (2424 Wilson Blvd Arlington, VA.) We will have some signs. Feel free to bring your own (and bring a large bag of Doritos or a Lamborghini if you own one!). Seriously we will have signs or please make your own Planned Parenthood sign.

This Thursday 2/25: Father Stephen will lead 2 prayers vigils!!!!!!
Noon (12 pm – 1 pm) at the DC Planned Parenthood 1225 4th St NE, Washington DC: This is the new under construction mega PP! Please join us during your lunch period to pray that this killing center is never completed.

6:00 pm- 7:00 pm: Steps of the Supreme Court: With important cases coming up in March including our Priests for Life case against the HHS Mandate, the Texas Abortion bill case, and in light of the Court vacancy from the death of Justice Scalia, constant pray at the Supreme Court is imperative. Join us Thursday evening.

We are also planning an additional protest tomorrow, Wednesday 2/24 during the day in Vienna, Va. of the contractor who is building the Planned Parenthood in DC…a Catholic man who is denying his faith and his Bishop. If you can join us, please email me frstephen@priestsforlife.org or Larry Cirignano at larryvote@gmail.com and we will give you the time and place. PLEASE JOIN US!

If you have any questions about any of these events or need more info, please email us at  frstephen@priestsforlife.org or Larry Cirignano at larryvote@gmail.com.

Thank you! God bless you, and I hope to see you this week.

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My Full Post-abortion Testimony; Silent No More!

January 19th, 2016

Within a few years after Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in our country, I was away from the sacraments and the Catholic faith, living with a woman outside of marriage. It wasn’t long before she let me know that she was pregnant with my child. On a positive note, I did not ask her as many men do when given news such as this by their mate, “how did that happen” as if they weren’t there when the pregnancy happened. I knew I was responsible. On a negative note though I did as many men do in these situations. I did not tell her that I would stand by her and our child and that she should have the baby. On the contrary, I told her that I would support her in whatever decision she made and then I preceded to tell her all the reasons why the timing of the pregnancy was not good. I reminded her that we just started living together, that we had expenses such as car payments, rent, and the such, and that I was still going to school…all the worldly reasons why it was not a good time to be responsible. Of course, I concluded, though, with, “But it is your decision and I will support you in whatever decision you make.”

Clearly I told her it was her responsibility; not mine. In hindsight, years later I realized that she had the abortion for me. After all, women are intuitive and I am sure she thought, “well, if he wants me to have the baby, he would just say, ‘have the baby and we will work it out regardless of the difficulties.’ Since he didn’t say that and gave me all the reasons to not have the baby, he must not want to have the baby.”

So she aborted the baby…for me. She never said then it was for me, but it was for me. I didn’t even go with her. Of course back then, there was no real pro-life movement. It was simple medical procedure in my mind. Again in hindsight, I realize that I was just exhibiting more cowardly behavior and rationalizing later on that maybe if I went with her, I would have stopped her or rescued her at the last minute, taking her out of the abortion center. Maybe, but in hindsight, I doubt it. Maybe I really didn’t even want to be in that position of responsibility. After all, a lack of responsibility seemed to be my character at the time.

Regardless, it wasn’t long after the abortion that I began to realize that she had changed. I asked her about this change of personality and she had no hesitation in telling me that what we did was wrong; that the abortion was wrong. To be honest, I told her, I felt guilty too and that she was right.

I then made arrangements for us to go to confession and see a priest friend of my family. We actually, after the confession, if I remember correctly, started living the faith again, but that was short-lived and we fell back to where we were before. After a few years, we parted amicably.

Fast forward over 25 years (shortly after 2000) and I am not only now in the seminary, but through my pro-life work (which I started in the 1990s), I am sidewalk counseling in front  of the same abortion mill where she had gone for her abortion decades before. It is interesting that upon going there for the 1st time to counsel, I did not remember ever being there before and that is how I came to realize she had gone alone, by herself, that day. This is significant because, in my experience, I have rarely if ever encountered a woman come to an abortion facility completely alone…there is always someone with her.

Yet, here I was, my 1st year in the seminary, in front of Metropolitan Medical Associates in Englewood NJ, sidewalk counseling women and their accomplices as I had been doing for over a year. This one particular morning, I was speaking to a young man and I was telling him what I had told many men I have encountered outside of abortion mills who had related to me that they told the woman that they would support them in whatever decision they made. “She is having this abortion for you and unless you go in and tell her you don’t want her to have the abortion, she thinks you want her to have the abortion…so she is doing this for you.” I have actually, in the many times I have said this, had 2 men going in and save their babies. On this occasion, something different happened. I heard a voice inside of me say the same words that Nathaniel said to David to convict him of his deadly sin, “You are that man.” At that instance, I realized that this is exactly what I had done to my girlfriend decades before.

Being convicted now, not just of killing my child, but also wounding my girlfriend, I discussed all of this with my Spiritual Director. I asked him if I could look my girlfriend up and apologize to her for my sin. I felt I could do this prudently as we still had mutual friends and I, through them, had some knowledge of her situation in life. My spiritual director gave me permission and after sending her a letter asking her to meet to catch up, and her agreeing, we met for lunch.

I had not seen her in years. She knew I was in the seminary.  At lunch I immediately told her why I reached out to her…to discuss something unresolved from our relationship of many years before. She said there was nothing resolved and that we parted well. I then told her it was about the abortion and that I needed to apologize to her for not standing by her and not standing up for our baby. I told her that I came to know that she had not wanted to have the abortion and that she did have it for me. Her eyes began to tear up and I knew immediately that I was correct and that she had needed to hear this…maybe had even waited to hear this for years. I continued to tell her everything I had come to understand including that our baby was in heaven. I told her, hoping she would not mind, that I named our baby Mary and that it brought me comfort over the years to be able to ask Mary for her intercession and help. At that point she said, “We have two babies in heaven.” Startled and not being able to think of anything else, I responded, “you had two abortions?” She answered, “No, I never told you, I was pregnant with twins.”

Immediately I realized a few things. She had carried this secret for years, obviously in guilt. And how difficult this must have been for her and how much more difficult the abortion must have been for her. There were no ultrasounds in those days. Everyone who does our ministry knows a couple of things. There is a doctor’s assistant to every abortion who is charged with reassembling the baby on a table nearby to make sure all the baby parts are extracted from the woman’s womb. This meant that the day of the abortion, my girlfriend must have heard the doctor or nurse say at some point that there are two babies. The other fact that is consistent even to this day; women who find out they are carrying twins are jarred into a reality that keeps them from going through with the abortion and that most facilities will not abort knowing there are twins because of liabilities.

Knowing all of this had even a greater impact on me and I immediately realized that Our Lord had His hand in all this. I also realized that I now needed to heal from my complicity in wounding my girlfriend and in the death of my 2nd child whom we named Thomas.

In conclusion, it is important to point out a few things. First, I started giving my post abortion testimony a few years before I entered the seminary and well before apologizing to my children’s mother. Thus my story evolved over the years. When I met with my girlfriend, I asked her permission to tell this story and she readily said yes if it would save babies (which it has) and if it would help others come to healing (which it has). She asked, of course, that I be discreet in telling the story which I have tried to be.

Second, men encounter different situations as to women having abortions. Some abortions happen against the wishes of the man. This is devastating to the men I have counseled, but it is also not the most common circumstance. There is also the situation where the man does not find out about the abortion until after the fact. This is also very difficult and also relatively uncommon. Other men forcefully make the woman have the abortion…most devastating for the woman and a serious issue for men who subsequently come to conversion. In my experience, the most common abortion scenario is what I did….persuading the woman in her weakness to have the abortion. This is the most common example of what Norma McCorvey spoke about when she said, “Women do not have abortion because of choice. They have abortion because they feel they have no choice.”

When I tell my story as I did at the foot of the Supreme Court, January 2005, as the 1st male witness of SilentNoMoreAwareness, I always identify with “Everyman” and apologize to all women who have suffered from abortion especially those who are victims of men who have done what I did. It is so important that men stand up for women and their babies and, when prudent, apologize for not being real men. Of course, we must always insure, in a desire to apologize, that we do not impose on these women and their lives.

Next it is important for people to understand that as much as I am a priest now, this occurred years, decades, before I entered the seminary. Being complicity in an abortion is an impediment to ordination as a priest. However, it can be dispensed. If you are a man discerning the priesthood and you have experienced an abortion, please see your spiritual director.

Finally, this common scenario regarding abortion; how I failed my babies and what I did to their mother and how I did it, I refer to as the “sin of Adam.” Adam was present when Eve was tempted and confused by the evil one, the serpent. At no time did Adam stand up for Eve, protect her, confront the evil one, or remove her from the danger. Yet when God comes to find them after the sin, Adam blames God and Eve for the sin. “The woman you sent me gave me the fruit to eat.” He did not take responsibility for not protecting the “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” Then he blames Eve and insults God. This is what is happening in the vast majority of abortions. Men are not standing up for their women and babies and then washing their hands of any guilt. We must not be Adam. We must recognize that we are called to “lay down our lives for our friends” and when we fail, we need to seek mercy and healing in Our Savior, Jesus.

If you or anyone you know is suffering directly or indirectly from an abortion, contact Rachel’s Vineyard. www.rachelsvineyard.org

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Kansas Defunds Planned Parenthood; Where is New Mexico?

January 18th, 2016

WHAT ABOUT NEW MEXICO, GOVERNOR?????
How many states have now defunded Planned Parenthood? 6? 7? More?
According to an article in the Daily Caller (see link below), “Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (who is receiving an award this Friday at our Priests For Life Washington DC Prayer Memorial) announced Tuesday at his State of the State address that he ordered the Kansas health secretary to stop all Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood.”

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Meanwhile in my home state of NEW MEXICO, our Governor, Susana Martinez, who says she is pro-life, continues to show she is more concerned about her political future than the babies who are dying in her state…complete silence and complete inaction…no investigation of Planned Parenthood, no influence on the Regents of University of New Mexico (UNM is the heart of the abortion industry in NM), no concerns about the abortion industry in her state at all.

I cannot, for the life of me, after 5 years of her silence and inaction, understand how there are pro-lifers in our state of NM who still support her. This is madness! Look around and see what other pro-life governors are doing! Then look at our state, the Late Term Abortion Capital of the Country, and recognize the silence and inaction for what it is! COMPLICITY! Our Governor is complicit! She is condoning what is going on in our state. And more and more pro-lifers are criticizing me for trying to hold her accountable? Criticizing me for stating that we should be proposing pro-life legislation that does not include rape, incest, and health exceptions? Criticizing me because I think that the Governor should use her bully pulpit to decry the expansion and tactics of the NM abortion industry? Because I think she should be calling on the Regents of UNM to investigate the abortion industry which they are condoning and fostering…with NM tax dollars?

The 2016 NM legislative session is starting! There are bills being proposed that finance reproductive health. (SB 26; SB 28). There is a bill that “seems” to set up another legislative hoop for pro-life legislation to jump through. (HB 102). These must be defeated if they are as they seem.

Where is the pro-life legislation? If there is ANY non-finance legislation on the call…even one non-finance bill…it should be a 20 week abortion ban with no exceptions! It should be introduced and passage should be demanded by the Governor, by every pro-life activist and legislator, and by every Catholic legislator and leader in the state. It is time for action and the time for silence is over! We need to stand up for our brothers and sisters in the womb and stop putting politics before their precious lives!

http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/13/kansas-gov-defunds-planned-parenthood/

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Pro-life 2017; Will We Be Accountable?

December 7th, 2015

A few months ago, during the 1st Republican Primary debate, while the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling baby body parts were the talk of the news, the Republican candidates were running all over each other trying to convince conservative voters who was the most pro-life candidate. Now only 4 months later, after the Colorado shooting, even though most evidence points to only a coincidental association to Planned Parenthood, the candidates, for the most part, have little or nothing to say about their pro-life positions. Yes, it looks like a bill defunding Planned Parenthood will reach the President’s desk and yes, the political environment has helped that along. However, the atmosphere and the rhetoric is clearly different.

That being said, I have no doubt that as the primary season continues toward actual elections, the rhetoric will heat up again. The Republican candidates know they need pro-lifers to win the Republican primary and they will again run over each other to get our vote. Those who don’t preach the pro-life message will lose.

I, as well as others, have concerns though. Will the eventual nominee truly be the best pro-life candidate? Regardless of who the candidate is, will the pro-life community in this country unite behind the nominee in the general election? Pro-life unity will be necessary for any Republican candidate to win the general election. The tone of the nominee regarding pro-life issues will be a major determinant of the amount of pro-life unity and the strength of the vote we provide.

There is though one other concern, if I may be allowed to look ahead to 2017 and beyond. If the Republican candidate wins the general election, backed by a unified pro-life community, will he or she live up to the rhetoric and promises made in the primary season and general election? It is important that the pro-life community be cognizant of what is said and what is promised. It is most important that we be prepared to hold the new President accountable for everything they have said and have promised and we need to do so from their first day in office. I think the days of being patient should, at that point, be over. If a pro-life Republican gains the Presidency, it will be with a strong, unified pro-life vote. We need to then be unified in demanding, not just words, but actions from day one. The current President has given us an example of how much a President can protect and promote pre-born child killing on demand. We need to expect and demand the same tenacity from a pro-life President to defend and protect life, restrict, reduce, and even end pre-born child killing during their tenure. Can this be done? I say, yes! I believe that we can actually end pre-born child killing in the next President’s 1st term, regardless of they be Democrat or Republican. To do so, the pro-life movement needs to be totally unified and we will need to increase our collective will. But I believe it can be done and I believe we can do it.

We are in a blessed time in the pro-life movement. At no time in recent memory have our issues been more in the forefront of the nation’s consciousness. We must not allow Planned Parenthood’s push back because of the CMP videos followed by the Colorado shooting to deter us in any way. We must not allow the abortion industry’s disingenuous claims of violent inducing rhetoric (for their actions are violent) affect us at all for we know the truth. I believe the time is right for us to call for “sustained national protests” of pre-born child killing in this country. I believe it is time that the pro-life movement become a protest movement. We know our protests are always peaceful and prayerful. We must continue these peaceful and prayerful protests and increase them. Some groups are already doing continuous protests of pre-born child killing using images and signs as well as varied methods  to lead the way. Sustained national protests will unify the pro-life community and show our candidate how serious we are. The beauty of using images and signs to tell the message is that we are verbally silent and prayerfully peaceful, yet the nation sees the truth of the violence we want to end and they see how serious we are about ending it.

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A Priest Forgiven

November 5th, 2015

I write today as a priest who was guilty of an abortion decades ago. No sooner had I heard about Pope Francis’ letter giving universal faculties to priests to absolve the sin of abortion and lift any excommunication, did I find myself being interviewed on the radio and being asked curious questions about the Pope’s letter.

Is this a new teaching? Is the Church finally forgiving people who have been guilty of an abortion? Later in the day, I was able to read some of the media headlines and I understood why these questions were being asked. A Yahoo headline read, “Pope tells priests to pardon women who have had abortions.” MSNBC reported, “Pope says priests can allow this Catholic sin.” The general comments I heard from people on and off social media could be summed up with, “How could the Church be so against abortion that it would refuse mercy to people for this sin.” It is almost as if in one single day we entered an abyss in which the Church was void of mercy when, in reality, the Church is all about mercy…and I am a living example of how the Church, continuing the work of Christ on earth, extends God’s mercy to all who seek His mercy.

In the 1970s, long before I became a priest, I encouraged my girlfriend to have an abortion. Guilt followed almost immediately as did the confession of our sin to a priest. Our healing came much more slowly and we eventually parted ways. Thirty years later, in the seminary, while counseling a young man about his complicity in his girlfriend’s abortion, I realized I was “that man.” Prudently, I was able to seek out my girlfriend and apologize for hurting her and not being a real man decades before. It was only then that I found out the abortion involved twins. She had held that secret until the day I apologized to her, opening up a flood of grace in her healing process and mine.

You may ask, “How does a man guilty of such a sin become a priest?” Well, it is because the Church is, as it should be and as Jesus is, merciful. Yes, the Church wanted to be sure that my former girlfriend and I were sufficiently healed and that she was aware and approved of my becoming a priest. And yes, such a sin is an “impediment” to ordination as a priest, but, as with many circumstances within the Church, after due investigation, a dispensation can be obtained. I was a recipient of such a dispensation. Likewise, a woman desiring to enter religious life as a nun could also receive similar mercy. This is only right and just. The Church is called to be merciful as Christ is merciful. These acts of great mercy in no way diminish the Church’s correct and moral teaching that abortion is a very grievous sin. As the Church teaches and has always been the case, all sins are forgivable if one seeks forgiveness and is truly repentant. Pope Francis says as much in his letter allowing all priests to forgive abortions in confession and giving them the faculties to lift any excommunication to “those who have procured [abortion] and who, with a contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”

Of course, people do need to understand that in the United States, priests have already had this merciful power from the Church for a long time. The Pope’s letter is just reinforcing what I and many other Catholics already know: The Catholic Church is all about forgiveness, all about mercy. It is in this mercy, that people find their way to true healing and peace.

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© FATHER STEPHEN IMBARRATO is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. He serves full-time as a priest-associate of Priests for Life, the Catholic Church’s largest pro-life ministry. For more information on Father Stephen and Priests for Life, visit www.PriestsForLife.org. For more commentary from Priests for Life about the Pope’s action, see www.JubileeOfMercy.net.

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Are We Guilty?

September 1st, 2015

 

One would think that the entire pro-life movement would have united around the efforts to close down PLANNED PARENTHOOD. I organized, led, and / or spoken at 3 rally events over the last month or so sponsored or organized through efforts of Students for Life (SFLA) and have lead numerous other local Planned Parenthood protests leading up to the national  protest August 22nd sponsored by many groups.

But in these events, instead of total unity, I see the division and the non-cooperation among us. Anyone paying any attention can see it. I don’t get this. Is it because of abortion victim imagery? If so, what an irony considering the Planned Parenthood videos, which should be uniting us, are incredibly graphic and hard to watch. Or is it a “not invented here” mindset? Well, if true, this is just turf protection and nothing more than putting our ministry or organization and our strategy or tactics before saving babies! Yikes! How are we going to explain that to Jesus?

The pro-life movement is moving toward the out and out protesting of pre-born child killing in this country. That should not divide us but unite us. Everything we do for life, whether we rally, march, walk, pray, counsel, or witness, we should do in protest of our brothers and sisters in the womb being slaughtered. Every aspect of pro-life work is necessary. It is a mosaic that must be whole and complete to show its true beauty. When pieces are missing out of the mosaic, even a few pieces, it becomes worthless…visibly scarred.

Showing what Planned Parenthood is doing is not wrong. Showing the slaughter of our little brothers and sisters is not wrong. It is necessary and it is as necessary as every other and any other aspect of pro-life ministry.

I am post abortive. I am guilty of an abortion many years ago that wounded a woman for whom I professed loved and killed 2 babies for whom I was responsible. In healing, I have prayed and counseled at abortion mills for decades and I have done post abortion healing ministry for almost 20 years. But I also protest baby killing using abortion victim imagery. I didn’t t like it at first and I don’t like it now. But I do it! It was hard to be reminded of what I had done. It is still hard to think of it and see it. But I suffer it for the greater good…to end the baby killing in our country.

I have been friends with Fr. Frank Pavone for 15 years and have had an association with Priests for Life for that entire time. Now I am on their priestly staff…a natural fit. Why? Because of what I know and have become convinced of over these many years. Fr. Frank and Priests for Life understand the desperate need for healing in this country and in our movement. Check out not only Rachel’s Vineyard and Silentnomore, but Shock Waves! We all need healing! (www.silentnomoreawareness.org/shockwaves/) No one in this country is doing more to heal our woundedness than Fr. Frank and Priests for Life. However, no one has been a greater promoter of the use of abortion victim imagery over the years than Fr. Frank and Priests for Life. Who has not used Fr. Frank’s quote, “America will not reject abortion till it sees abortion.” Who can dispute this?

I find it no small coincidence that although I have only recently joined Priests for Life, over 10 years ago when I was still a deacon, Fr. Frank and I did a segment on his Defend Life series about post abortion healing AND the use of abortion victim imagery.

So in my mind, if Priests for Life sees the need for abortion victim imagery, post abortion healing, and protesting pre-born child killing using every means, method, tactic, and strategy available, then I see not a contradiction, but a necessity.

Fr. Frank in his recently release book, “Abolishing Abortion” talks about healing and repentance. He clearly lays it out that repentance begins within ourselves. Amen. None of us are doing enough to end the child killing in this country…none of us. Add to that the lack of unity among us, a case could be made that we are all guilty of this nightmare continuing.

It is time to repent and it is time to unite. It is time to truly embrace that the Holy Spirit is One, but with many gifts. I trust that people who do pro-life ministry do so because they are called by the Holy Spirit. Let’s stop focusing on what other people are doing or not doing and focus on what Jesus is calling each of us to do while we respect that others may be called to doing something different according to their gifts.

It is time to stop rejecting the bloody, gory scene of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion. Rather, it is time to embrace its agony because it is how Christ chose to unite us and save us. Not only are we called to gaze upon the bloody sight of Christ’s death, we are also called to climb up and embrace Him. This is why I embrace the mosaic of a pro-life protest movement that includes the use of abortion victim imagery.

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