STATEMENT OF THE COMMUNITY OF FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE RENEWAL
September 15, 2017
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a Catholic Religious Institute of Pontifical Right existing in various dioceses throughout the world, offers the following statement on the occasion of the “Red Rose Rescues” which have occurred on September 15, 2017. Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, a professed member of the community, in partnership with other pro-lifers, participated in a rescue at Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, 101 S Whiting St. #215, Alexandria, Virginia.
An essential part of our work of evangelization and care of the poor is our public and prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. We recognize that the human right to life is the foundation of a just and peaceful society. Furthermore, we recognize that those whose right to life is denied them, for whatever reason, are truly poor and most in need of Christian service and the saving power of the Gospel.
Through our prayers, public witness, and solidarity with the unborn, the elderly, and all those whose lives are threatened by death as the proposed solution to problems, we seek to uphold the right to life and the dignity of every human being. We try to accomplish this within a variety of apostolic works and commitments including supporting crisis pregnancy centers and homes for expectant mothers, prayer and counseling at places where abortions occur, spiritual retreats for those who have been affected by abortion, and providing programs for inner-city youth.
The Constitutions and Directory of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal provides that “with appropriate permissions, the friars do not hesitate to participate in acts of conscientious objection to actions that attack the inviolability of human life and seek to break the common bond of human solidarity.”
In this regard we recall the clear teaching of Pope John Paul II in The Gospel of Life who reminds us that abortion is a crime which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. “They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: “the midwives feared God” (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for “the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev 13:10). (Cf. The Gospel of Life, n. 73).
Therefore, remembering the pro-life witness of many who tried to rescue unborn children and their mothers from abortion, especially the inspiring activity of Bishop Austin Vaughn, Bishop George Lynch, and our own Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR we fully support our confrere, Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR as he joins with others in the “Red Rose Rescue.” He, along with other individuals in a number of U.S. cities, has sought to persuade mothers seeking abortion instead to choose life for themselves and their babies. They have reached out with love and compassion and offered life-affirming alternatives, abiding in solidarity with the innocent unborn babies scheduled to be aborted.
Finally, as disciples of Jesus Christ and followers of St. Francis of Assisi, we call upon all people to acknowledge, respect, and zealously defend the right to life of our unborn brothers and sisters, to reach out to mothers and fathers in crisis pregnancies, and work together to build an authentic culture of life.