by Marc and Julie Anderson
OVERLAND PARK — Moving Forward in Hope.
That was the theme of the presentation Catherine Hadro, founding host and editor of EWTN’s “Pro-life Weekly,” a television show dedicated to the pro-life cause, delivered at Holy Spirit Church in Overland Park on July 12.
The night before, Hadro spoke at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, to a local chapter of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP), a national organization for professionals in their 20s and 30s that “equips them to live their Catholic faith through everyday work, and to perform all work with excellence for the glory of God.”
The two events were aimed at encouraging Catholics to move forward in hope in light of the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, but especially as the state prepares for the Aug. 2 vote on the “Value Them Both” amendment.
“What a historic time in the pro-life movement right now,” said Hadro as she opened her main talk. “Can we just take a pause and reflect on the fact that after nearly 50 years the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade less than three weeks ago? No longer does our nation legalize the killing of the unborn. Our nation is free from the shackles of Roe v. Wade.”
Acknowledging the decision is “not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning,” Hadro said that “there is still so much work to do.”
Reflecting on what’s next, Hadro said, “We all know this is not the end of the pro-life battle. We now have 50 different pro-life landscapes, and it really does differ state by state.”
Discussing the upcoming vote on the “Value Them Both” amendment, Hadro said it’s a critical moment to try and reverse a “so-called nearly unlimited constitutional right to abortion in your state constitution. This is the first time that abortion will be on the ballot since the Dobbs Supreme Court ruling.”
The nation, she added, is “paying attention” and “money has been pouring in from the abortion lobby” to try and persuade people to vote against the amendment.
In addition to speaking on the amendment, Hadro outlined tips for sharing the pro-life message, something she said all baptized Catholics are called to do.
First, she said, Catholics should pray, so as to “be anchored in peace” and that “peace is the language of the Lord.”
Additionally, Hadro said Catholics should “lead with love.”
“Anytime there is a major injustice, it’s human instinct to want to put the blame onto someone else. . . . The blame lies with the evil one, which means our message, our tone, needs to be one of love and mercy first. Because, again, you’re going to be an ambassador for the pro-life movement and the church on this issue, and Our Lord is a lord of love and mercy.”
Hadro said she tries to remember the victims of abortion, not just the babies, but mothers and fathers, too. Still, she told both groups, it’s not always easy.
In 2019, a photo she posted garnered more than 12,000 comments, most of which were hateful. She cried to her spiritual director who said, “Catherine, I need you to have the resilience of a saint right now.”
That, Hadro said, taught her an invaluable lesson about putting on the armor of God, just as St. Joan of Arc did.
“We have to be prepared to put to death our reputation and desire to be approved by others,” she said.
Hadro also told both groups it’s important to brush up on the issues surrounding abortion from reputable Catholic apologists such as Lila Rose, president of Live Action, and Stephanie Gray Connors of Love Unleashes Life.
Finally, she issued the YCP group two challenges, one of which focused on reading sacred Scripture.
“I challenge you to read the daily Gospel before you read anything else,” she said. “Anchor yourself in Christ first. Because when you speak with the Prince of Peace, that peace will abide in you the rest of the day and you can better bring peace into the world.”
To those gathered at Holy Spirit, Hadro challenged them “not only to strive for saintliness” and to speak up in mercy and love, but to get involved at local pregnancy resource centers by volunteering time, providing material need or gathering donations of diapers, clothes or formula.
At the end of both talks, Hadro cited a Harvard/Harris poll conducted in late June which found that 72% of Americans support banning abortion after 15 weeks, and 49% support banning it after six weeks, statistics which bring her hope.
“I have so much hope for our nation when it comes to the life issue,” she said.
Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.
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