The Pope's message, addressed first to the Catholic bishops of the United States, was released in Washington during a prayer vigil at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, as pro-life activists gathered on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision.
The Pope spoke of the "force of destruction" that was unleashed by the Supreme Court decision, and emphasized that the consequences have been particularly harmful to women-- especially the women who now live with "the deep sorrow and regret" they feel after having aborted a child.
The Holy Father said that in order to overcome these destructive forces, pro-lifers must pursue an educational campaign, emphasizing the negative effects of abortion. At the same time he urged action to provide counseling, encouragement, and help to women facing problem pregnancies.
The acceptance of abortion, the Pope continued, has also resulted in a general decline in respect for life, producing new threats to those who are elderly or infirm. When innocent people can be killed under the sanction of law, he pointed out, the distinction between good and evil is erased, and the society plunges into moral chaos.
The Holy Father issued a special appeal to young Americans, saying that they represent the hope for the nation's future. He urged them not to be fearful, but to act boldly in defense of life.
The annual March for Life began in the Ellipse before the White House where the tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered before they walked to the Supreme Court. Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Missouri, spoke to the crowd, showing them an ultrasound image of his unborn grandchild and saying: "If we'd had this kind of technology that literally demolishes the artificial reasoning of the Roe vs. Wade decision, then I wonder if they would have made the same decision."
Nellie Gray of National Right to Life acknowledged that after 25 years the fight against abortion was far from over, but said pro-lifers would never give up. "In 1973, it seemed that feminists (and) abortionists expected pro-lifers to grumble a bit over Roe vs. Wade and then go away," Gray said. "We have endured for a quarter of a century. Pro-lifers will never go away."
Pro-abortion groups tried to deflect criticism of the practice, calling on pro-life advocates to join them in ending abortion by promoting contraception, a tactic which pro-life groups say has only increased abortion rates, not reduce them. "The pro-choice movement is going to be speaking up and speaking out," Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in an interview before a breakfast rally Tuesday. "To those who oppose abortion, my message is, 'Join with us to prevent the need for abortion.'"
Pope John Paul also recalled the US anniversary in a message to US bishops read at a vigil held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Wednesday night. "The 25th anniversary of the decision ... is a call to people of good will to reflect seriously on the devastating consequences of that step," he said. "Now is the time for recommitment to the building of a culture of absolute respect for life from conception to natural death."
Speaking at a luncheon held by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), Gore suggested increasing family planning funds by $15 million to $218 million as way of building a common ground. "Let us try to join hands on a cause that unites us, the need for more and better family planning," he said. "Let us appeal to the common sense of the American people from all political persuasions; let us pound home the point that the single most effective way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies."
Gore also proposed to expand the administration's commitment to family planning abroad and to invest more in research into better contraception. He drew only tentative approval from the abortion rights audience when he suggested more education in sexual abstinence. NARAL also announced a new ad campaign entitled "What's life without a choice?", a response to a recent pro-life television campaign that proclaimed "Life, what a beautiful choice."
I never could understand how people could rationalize the killing of the unborn. One of the arguments used to be that "the tissue" was not human life. My answer: Dogs have dog offspring, cats have cat offspring and humans have human offspring. Fertilized eggs are living because they multiply and grow. Inanimate objects such as rocks, do not grow. They are inanimate. They do not have life. What grows in the womb of a woman IS human life because she is human and the cells within her multiply and grow. It is contrary to human development that a woman would have a dog, or cat or frog as offspring.
Letís be honest. The moral conscience of so many people today is in a state of darkness. This is due in part to the fact that many Catholics (about 40 years and younger) have NOT been adequately taught their Faith. They, therefore, cannot have the basic principles needed to understand that to hold a Pro-Choice position is immoral. Many Catholics unwittingly think that the free will of people needs to be respected and therefore synonomize the terms Free Will and "Pro Choice."
The truth is that God did NOT give us free will in order to choose evil. How could God be an All-Good God if He were to say to us in effect: "I give you free will in order that you may choose evil over good!" NO! God would not be an All-Good God if He paved the way for us to or gave us "permission" to do evil. Remember, sin offends God. How could God say: "You may offend Me!"
This is where so many Catholics are so ill-informed. God gave us free will to choose good; to choose between goods; in order that we would choose to love and honor Him. God did not want to FORCE us to love Him. He wants us to love Him of our own choosing.
Pro-Choicers do not apply their position to other moral matters. I never hear a pro-choice person say that they want to respect the "right" of someone to burn down their house or burglarize their house or kill their pet, or embezzle their business, or put a bomb under their car. Why not! Isnít that part of their understanding of why people have free will? The complete application of THEIR understanding of free will does not apply in those matters, but they rationalize their position with regard to abortion. A baby is so easy to exterminate. We are so much more powerful than they are. They are so little and defenseless that their existence doesnít matter. A baby would upset my lifestyle. I prefer to be selfish and think of MYSELF instead of THE OTHER PERSON.
In Cuba Our Holy Father said that when a society affirms abortion, it deadens its conscience. This condition will lead to other and continued grave injustices. Letís pray! God bless!
Today Haven is Executive Director for the "Seeds of Hope" program - a Catholic Education campaign within the "Hearts on Fire" program of the Archdiocese - where Haven is in constant contact with the Archbishop in working together to better Catholic School Education through tuition assistance for inner-city parochial schools and parishes, allowing them to remain solvent and viable in giving all children the treasure of a solid Catholic upbringing. "Itís a known fact," states Moses, "that Catholic schools are thriving in the suburbs and barely surviving in urban areas. Through Seeds of Hope we are playing a necessary social and economic role for Catholics in the inner city. This program, while not the total solution, addresses the issue to assure a positive education. And education is the answer to giving structure at an early age where these kids will have an alternative to the drugs and crime scene. Through Seeds of Hope we can infuse those areas with sound education and hope that these kids and their families can be viable, responsible citizens who can go on to greater things." Like his namesake of Old Testament times, this modern Moses is helping lead his people out of bondage to the promised land of confidence, self-assurance, self-esteem, and self-reliance where they can be well-educated young men and women who will become the cornerstone of responsible, moral leaders of tomorrow - both in society and in the Church. From this program already the seeds of vocations are being planted, thanks to the nurturing of the Archdiocese and the experience and total commitment of this former pro who has become an even greater role model after retiring his NFL uniform.
Havenís "Egypt" was South Central Los Angeles where, as the oldest of six children, he grew up in the Watts area, known for its urban upheaval, crime and poverty. But, unlike many of his neighbors, Haven and his siblings were blessed with dedicated and solid Roman Catholic parents who realized the importance of the Catholic faith through education. Through their unwavering sacrifice, all six Moses children received twelve years of Catholic education. "Because of my parents, all have grown up for the better and helped contribute to their Church and society," beams Haven. After eight years at St. Leoís school in Watts, Haven matriculated to Fermin Lasuen High School in San Pedro. This Catholic prep school is named for the Franciscan priest who assisted Blessed Junipero Serra in establishing the California missions. It was at Lasuen High where football beckoned Haven. There he attracted some attention by college recruiters but, after graduation, opted to stay close to home by enrolling in junior college for two years. It was at LA Harbor JC where he caught the eye of two well-known "prophets" of the game - Don Coryell and John Madden. Coryell, recognized as a genius of the modern passing game, would go on to coach the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers during the era of "Air Coryell." At the time he was recruiting Haven he was head football coach at a Division II school, building a powerhouse down south in San Diego called San Diego State. Madden, who everyone knows went on to coach the Oakland Raiders to victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl XI in Pasadena in 1977 and then to even greater recognition as the "voice" of CBS and FOX teaming with play-by-play pro Pat Summerall of Dallas, was the assistant coach for the Aztecs. In fact, over the years San Diego State, rather than Akron, Ohio, should really be called the "cradle of coaches" and the font of success stories. One of those success stories is Haven Moses who went on to star for the Aztecs from 1966 to 1968 where they only lost one game and were National Division II champs both years, soundly defeating a powerful Montana State team quarterbacked by Dennis Erickson, now head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, and the next year knocking off, in the playoff Camellia bowl, San Francisco State, who were led by signal caller Bob Toledo at quarterback. Toledo is now head coach of the UCLA Bruins. In 1968 Haven was rewarded for his efforts with the recognition of being proclaimed "All-American," the first modern Aztec player to receive such an honor which garnered him the golden opportunity of being picked ninth overall in the NFL draft, taken as the Buffalo Billsí number one draft choice. However, before he joined the Bills he had some unfinished business. That, of course, was to ask a classmate - someone special he had met - to share the rest of his life with him. Her name was Joyce, and today she shares the same name as Haven - one she has happily carried for thirty years as his wife and mother of their two sons, now 25 and 22 respectively. Haven and Joyce made sure both boys received the same sound Catholic education they were afforded.
At Buffalo Haven was teamed with a quarterback who would go on to even greater prominence in national politics - one Jack Kemp. Kemp writes in this year's Super Bowl program that during the "1960ís the American Dream was only a distant hope for many of my African-American teammates and friends. Pro football had given many of us a magnificent opportunity, but other segments of Americaís society still were trapped in ignorant and hateful habits of thought and behavior that precluded too many from being seen and treated as equal." As a young black growing up in Watts and then experiencing life in the NFL, Haven saw this firsthand, but his Catholic upbringing saw him through it and propelled him to do all he could to give the good and the bad to God and let Him guide. "The fame, the pressure, the good, the bad, I never thought of situations like that," recalls Haven. "Because of my upbringing I was able to keep everything in perspective. I looked at every situation as Godís way of testing our faith. God puts you there for a reason. By drawing on your faith you can gain that inner strength and a peace and tranquility settle in that canít be described." Though Haven excelled as a wide receiver for the Bills, it wasnít until he joined the Denver Broncos that he finally reached the NFL promised land - the Super Bowl in 1978. Haven and his teammates lost to the Cowboys twenty years ago in Denverís first of four Super Bowls. Though it had to be disappointing to Haven, it wasnít the end of the world. Because of his faith and education he knew God had a reason. There are so many parallels to sports and life," Haven explains, "that enable you to rise above it all. Athletes, especially today, are elevated to a plane that is unreal. Theyíre human beings who work in a pressured environment that cause them to respond to responsibilities - not always in the way that we want kids to imitate. In the Seeds of Hope program I tell the kids that if they want to pattern their life after someone, first see if their personal life matches with their professional life. For young people today role models canít be those bigger-than-life images of these sports heroes, but rather people who are there for you everyday - the parents, relatives, priests and nuns who are instrumental in your daily lives."
That is great advice from one who lives what he preaches. Havenís own role models were always his parents, along with priests and nuns who guided him along the way. He keeps everything in perspective, and he daily calls on Jesus and His Blessed Mother for that inner strength for They are the focal point of his faith. The fatherly role-model of St. Joseph is another who Haven draws strength from, as well as his patron saint St. Christopher who he attributes to always protecting him. With someone like Haven Moses to emulate the children of urban Denver have a bright future ahead of them.
God works in strange and mystical ways and Haven truly feels he was led to Denver for a special reason. "Not just the fact my wife and I wouldnít live anywhere else, but I truly believe God chose Denver geographically as the center of family values. We have just the right environment for this to take place. Like a rock, thrown into a pond, the ripple effect spreads evenly across the water. This area is all about family. That ripple effect is having an impact with such a positive response in Denver and reaching out farther and farther to show how we can all work together perpetuating our faith and reinforcing the good in man. If more can do this the young men and women of today will grow to be the future role models with a strong sense of values and morals." Havenís assessment ties in with the fact that the Rocky Mountain area has been the seedling area for such movements as Bill McCartneyís Promise Keepers - an evangelical Protestant movement geared for husbands and fathers. In addition, many messengers and visionaries have revealed, through private revelation, that Denver would become the hub of a revival of family values. Haven Moses is playing a major role in fulfilling these prophecies. This renaissance comes from dedicated leaders like Haven who, having retired from the Broncos, went to work for Corporate America. After fifteen successful years with this company, he was asked to begin Seeds of Hope. "I jumped at the opportunity," exudes Haven, "Here was an opportunity to take my experiences and apply them again. Everyone needs to be repotted, to learn and to grow. Though we all strive to get a formal education, we can never stop learning. Every day is a reinforcement, each experience elevates us to the next level."
Come this Sunday, while the Archbishop sits with Pat Bowlen praying and hoping fervently for a Broncos victory at Qualcomm Stadium, Haven will be watching on TV with Joyce and her parents in San Diego. Oh, Haven had a ticket to the game, of course, but he donated it to his good friend Chuck Muncie, the former Charger great. It wasnít for Chuck himself but rather for some lucky young inner-city youth who might not have been able to experience the big event first hand had it not been for the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation and the generosity and kindness of Haven Moses. But then, what else would you expect from someone who has given so much to the youth? Maybe a Broncos victory?!? "That would be great!" enthuses Haven as he concludes our phone call to pick up Joyce so they can catch their plane to San Diego for the weekend festivities and, more importantly, to be with family.