(LifeSiteNews) — In late June, pro-life activist priest Fr. Fidelis Moscinski was sentenced to six months in prison after having been found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act for blocking access to a New York abortion facility during an independent one-man rescue mission in July 2022.
Fr. Fidelis and his fellow Red Rose Rescuers risk years of prison time in court cases around the country simply for being the last line of defense for the unborn. They are the proverbial canary in the coal mine, the first wave of pro-lifers facing harsh sentencing guidelines from increasingly punitive federal and state Justice Departments who view pro-life activity as criminal behavior.
LifeSiteNews’ Jim Hale sat down with Will Goodman, one of Fr. Fidelis’ closest Red Rose Rescue associates, to find out compels the Franciscan priest to put his personal freedom and safety on the line in order to protect the unborn, and why he’s willing to go to jail.
“Father is a man of great courage. And during these times we really need that,” Goodman began. “As a Franciscan religious, as a Catholic priest, he bears witness to the courage of Christ.”
“I’ve seen it where they’ve come up with bullhorns, full blast, right in his ear, and he maintains his peace. He continues in prayer and he keeps his focus,” Goodman said.
Peaceful pro-lifers saddled with draconian sentences
“I speak of Father as having a shepherd’s heart. We hear in Scripture of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. He doesn’t run for fear of the wolves,” Goodman said.
“In our time, Fr. Fidelis is not running from the wolves who are in the DOJ, or the Attorney General’s office of the state of New York,” he continued. “Father continues to love and serve consistently. I couldn’t be more edified by his example, and I’m humbled to try to follow him in this mission.”
“Last year in August, he and I with Matthew Connolly were serving a 90-day sentence in New York, and subsequent to that there’s been a lawsuit in which the Attorney General for New York has said that Red Rose Rescue is a terrorist group, involved in terrorist activities, assaulting and harassing women,” Goodman explained. “The present Department of Justice has been very aggressive through their civil rights division to go after peaceful pro-lifers and try to saddle them with draconian sentences.”
‘We’re there to serve those children at the last minute when all else has failed’
Pressed on whether Red Rose Rescue tactics might be less helpful to the pro-life movement than they once were, Goodman said, “Our mission isn’t to help the movement. It’s to help the babies.”
He elaborated, paraphrasing Fr. Fidelis:
What if we or one of our loved ones was in immediate danger of being killed by dismemberment, painful dismemberment. Would we not want the full measure of protection to be afforded to us? Would we not want that one that we love so much to be protected by people who are willing to give all?
So what Father Fidelis shows is he’s not about the politics. He’s not about a movement per se. He’s all about serving these pregnant mothers and loving these children and sacrificing for them so that their lives may be saved.
What we’ve seen through Red Rose Rescue is that abortion centers have closed. Mothers have chosen life. And there are babies alive today because of their work.
This isn’t to diminish the great work of the pro-life movement, of course. But the reality is that we’re there to serve those children at the last minute when all else has failed. And so that’s what Father does. I think he might say, as long as a child is in danger, there will be a need for rescuers.
Facing a maximum of 11 years in federal prison for peacefully praying
Goodman told LifeSiteNews that he will be in the Washington, D.C. area on August 9 for another FACE and conspiracy trial.
“We’re facing a maximum of 11 years in federal prison for peacefully praying in an abortion center.” It’s just another of “three or four different FACE cases going on right now of different rescue groups.”
Goodman asked for prayers that our Lord might use the trials “as an opportunity to bring about constitutional personhood protection for the pre-born, that they might get due process, that their equal rights might be established, and that mothers could be protected from the violence of abortion.”
Editor’s note: This article was updated August 3, 2023.