You will remember when Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life dragged the naked corpse of a baby onto a consecrated altar, in order to bully Americans into voting for Trump. I guess he wasn’t quick enough to snag the thousands of fetal remains recently discovered in the house of a late-term abortionist; but he’s doing the next best thing: Name the Aborted Babies is up and running on the PFL site:
“Along with bestowing a name . . . ” What gives anyone that right? Are these babies pandas at the zoo, to be “adopted” by critter-loving fans? Or maybe Pavone will offer a certificate of authenticity for only $29.99, so you can proudly display the name of your very own aborted baby in beautiful calligraphy. Suitable for framing, great as a Christmas present.
This is grotesque. The grotesquerie never ends.
Naming is an act either of authority, or of ownership — the act of a parent, or of an owner. You don’t get to name a baby unless you’re the parent; and you don’t get to name anything else unless it’s something that can be owned. So what does this mean, for strangers to name unborn babies they’ve never met, who do have parents? Who gave them that right? The abortionist who collected their little bodies apparently saw them as trophies, as something to collect. And now the second wave of vultures descends to squabble over their bodies again.
You cannot restore dignity to unborn babies by treating them like objects, or like trophies, or pets, or mascots, or props. You don’t treat them like objects when you want to kill them, and you don’t treat them like objects when you want to show how pro-life you are. You don’t treat them like objects, because they are human. That’s all there is to it.
But Fr. Pavone, who never met these children and has no idea who they are, will offer you the chance to name them, and all you have to give him in exchange is your email address. No doubt a respectful 24 hours will pass before you start getting appeals for money to reelect Trump in the name of your very own dead baby.
With our evening prayers, we recite the prayer written by Fulton Sheen: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.” It’s a little chewier than I normally get in prayer, but I do it as a tiny act of penance, for the sake of all those unborn babies. “Spiritually adopting” an unborn baby means pledging to pray for him; and praying for a child means turning him over to the Holy Spirit.
So pray, yes, pray for these poor babies. Pray for them as individuals, known and cherished by their Father in Heaven. And pray for their parents. Pray for the mothers — some of whom have surely repented and named their own babies themselves.
But do not dare to let yourself think of these children as something you can have, something you can get a piece of while this story is still hot on social media. They are not yours. They are real people, not gimmicks to inflate a political mailing list. It is grotesque.
I don’t fault well-meaning pro-lifers who are in agony thinking of those poor children held captive by a ghoul. They read about an outrage, and they want to do something, and this feels like doing something. I don’t fault people looking for something meaningful to do in the face of evil.
But I do fault Fr. Pavone, and everyone who works with him. His work is a lucrative, scandalous scam. and he should be forced to retreat from the public eye. He is grotesque.
Related reading: The Scandal of the cross, and the scandal of Fr. Pavone
For my series covering pro-lifers actually serving the vulnerable, see:
photo via Wikipedia (public domain)