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Fr. Pavone and other Catholic leaders respond to Italian bishop who criticized pro-lifers

“When somebody says that the Church has ‘concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia,’ I take it as a compliment for the success of ministries like Priests for Life," said Fr. Pavone.
Mon May 26, 2014 - 6:40 pm EST

ROME, May 26, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Responding to a high-ranking Italian bishop who distanced himself from those who pray rosaries outside of abortion centers, the head of Priests for Life did not shrink from open criticism.

Responding to the recent remarks by Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the Italian Bishops Conference, Father Frank Pavone said they underline the critical importance of vigorous pro-life efforts.

“When somebody says that the Church has ‘concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia,’ I take it as a compliment for the success of ministries like Priests for Life, which have called and will call upon the clergy, and indeed the entire Church, to sound the alarm about these atrocities more loudly and clearly than ever. Nor will we stop calling for that until the killing stops,” Pavone wrote in comments published by Catholic columnist Matt C. Abbott.

Bishop Galantino had said: “In the past we have concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia. It mustn’t be this way because in the middle there’s real life which is constantly changing.”

“I don’t identify with the expressionless person who stands outside the abortion clinic reciting their rosary, but with young people, who are still against this practice, but are instead fighting for quality of life, their health, their right to work,” the bishop added.

Father Pavone’s strongest comments, verified with him by LifeSiteNews, came in response to Bishop Galantino’s call for the church to “listen without any taboo to the arguments in favour of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality."

Pavone said, “I conclude, therefore, that he would not be opposed to open conversation about the scandal of silence in the face of the greatest holocaust the world has ever known – that of abortion.”

“In the annals of history, any failures of the institutional Church in regard to the sex abuse crisis – and those failures are not to be minimized – will nevertheless pale in comparison to the failure to stand up, preach vigorously, and mobilize courageously to end child-killing in the womb,” the priest added.

Meanwhile pro-life advocates in Italy continue to demand a correction or clarification from the high-ranking Italian bishop.

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A statement from the group NO194, which is seeking a referendum to overturn Law 194, Italy’s abortion law, said that Bishop Galantino’s comments “directly concern our organizing committee” and the event the group held in November of 2012, a 9-hour prayer vigil outside 20 hospitals where abortions are committed.

“I beg to observe to Msgr. Galantino that his statements are at odds with the encyclical Evangelium Vitae of the saint John Paul II,” says the statement. The encyclical, the group adds, specifically urged Catholics “to oppose laws” that violate the principle of the sacredness of human life.

Peter Guerini, national president of the Committee of NO194, denounced Galantino’s attack on the “alleged lack of expression of the faces,” as “contemptuous” and “sarcastic” and “little in conformity with the office of bishop.” The group concludes by urging prayer for Galantino.

Marco Tosatti, a “Vaticanista” journalist with La Stampa newspaper covered the group’s response and added, “I checked in yesterday’s news to see if there was any clarification or explanation by Msgr. Galantino but I did not find any.”

After blogging about the incident and inviting the archbishop to retract, John Smeaton, the director of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said in an interview that such comments have a far-ranging effect in politics. Smeaton told Michael Voris of Church Militant TV that although the pro-life movement around the world is not going to be deterred by the comments of “ill-informed clerics,” there is a real concern because “when these sorts of statements are made, there’s a change in the moral landscape worldwide.”

Other prominent Catholics remarking on Bishop Galantino’s “gratuitous remark” include prominent US canon lawyer Ed Peters. “I worry when ranking prelates disparage the simple and prayerful piety that some lay faithful show even before the Gates of Death,” said Peters on his famous blog.

Recalling that he prayed his “first rosary outside an abortuary in 1978,” Peters notes that he has “been screamed at by clinic personnel, cursed at by passers-by, drenched in the rain, had a brick tossed over a wall at me, and once watched a driver gesture the ‘trigger finger’ at me.” Peters apologized if his “expressionless demeanor at prayer outside an abortuary has ever embarrassed anyone.”

He concluded, “It’s just that I am still fazed at the very thought that, hardly 20 paces from where I stand, a baby is being sliced to ribbons.”


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