Pro-Life Examination of Conscience
Questions to help me defend life more effectively
Rev. Frank A. Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Am I fully convinced that every abortion, at every stage of pregnancy, is the destruction of an innocent human life, which has the same value as my life, my parents? lives, my children’s lives? Do I foster and nourish this conviction by reflecting often on the tragic loss of life occurring daily around me? Do I ever allow myself the thought that someone else’s abortion is “none of my business?” Do I sometimes think that I have “more important” things to do than to save innocent lives? Do I believe I am responsible for my preborn brothers and sisters and accountable to God for what I do to save them? Do I have the courage to remind myself of the horror of abortion by actually looking at the pictures of aborted babies?
Do I pray daily and explicitly for an end to abortion? Do I pray for the babies, the mothers, the abortionists, the legislators, the media, the clergy, and the whole pro-life movement? Do I fast or make other significant sacrifices for this cause? Or do I believe the fight against abortion can be easy and convenient? Am I too afraid of displeasing others, and do I think I need to be liked to be successful? Am I willing to undergo financial loss, ridicule, or other sacrifices, to save a child’s life?
Do I see the link between abortion and other assaults on human life and dignity? Do I acknowledge that progress in any arena for the defense of life facilitates progress in all the other arenas?
Do I have faith that God is the Lord of Life? Do I believe the whole struggle is in His hands, and that He has already conquered evil, falsehood, and death? Do I trust Him? Do I ask His guidance? Do I keep my eyes on Him, or do I allow discouragement by focusing only on the problem and myself?
Am I learning more about abortion and about the pro-life movement? Do I read good pro-life books? Do I subscribe to at least one pro-life publication so that I can be well informed on the issue? Do I escape from taking action by thinking that prayer alone is enough? Am I developing all the talents God gave me so that I can use them to advance the Culture of Life?
Do I speak up in defense of life? Do I make full use of the opportunities I have, such as wearing pins or using bumper stickers or decals? Do I write letters to the paper or to legislators or to doctors? Or do I allow a lack of self-confidence to paralyze my activity? Do I only do what’s comfortable, or do I try to discover what activities will be most effective? Do I gladly participate in projects that need to be done, even if I don’t particularly want to? Do I try to come up with new ideas for pro-life work? Do I suggest these ideas to others?
Do I take proper care of myself, physically and spiritually, so that I can be more effective in my pro-life work? Do I rest when I need to?
Do I foster unity in the movement? Do I encourage my fellow pro-lifers? Are all of my efforts guided by charity? Do I allow unhealthy competition between pro-life persons or groups? Do I foster collaboration, without demanding uniformity? Do I follow the advice or direction of those who bear responsibility for pro-life projects or groups? Do I seek the advice and input of others in the movement, especially of those more experienced than I?
Do I try to grow in compassion for women who are tempted to have abortions or who have had them in the past? Do I try to understand their situation and learn more about their needs? Do I help women find alternatives to abortion? Do I inspire hope in women I know who have had abortions? Do I help them find forgiveness and healing? Do I foster charity in thought, word, and deed toward those who disagree with me, or who perform or promote abortion? Am I fully committed to non-violence in this struggle?
Am I ready from this day forward to be a better pro-lifer? Am I ready to launch out with new strength, generosity, and determination to bring an end to abortion, without counting the cost to myself? Am I grateful enough for the gift of life to work to give life to others? Do I thank God for the privilege of being part of the pro-life movement?