by Marc and Julie Anderson
OVERLAND PARK — In his keynote address to the standing-room-only crowd of nearly 300 at the National Right to Life convention’s prayer breakfast held here on June 29, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann called on the pro-life movement to take action — and in a distinctly Kansas fashion.
The movement, he said, needs to model the quest of Dorothy’s traveling companions in “The Wizard of Oz” — and, like the Scarecrow, look for its brain; the Tin Man, discover its heart; and the Cowardly Lion, find its courage.
The archbishop was the keynote speaker of the ticketed event, which also featured Doug Keck, president and chief operating officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network.
“We need to ramp up our educational efforts,” said the archbishop of the first component, “and we need to use all of our creative energy to help us to present the pro-life message in its most compelling way.
“We need to know this issue inside and out and understand the arguments that are used to confuse people and to make them think that, in order to survive as a culture, we need the opportunity to kill our own children. This is craziness. It is madness. And yet, we have a whole culture that this has been perpetuated in now for 45 years.
“And we need to use our brains as best we can . . . to open minds and hearts to the truth of the sanctity of each and every human life.”
Next, said the archbishop, there is a great need for crisis pregnancy centers and a culture of willingness by families to adopt children with special health care needs or children from within the foster care system — both of which will help children to be born, but also to thrive and reach their God-given potential.
“This gives the pro-life movement credibility in everything else that we do. So, we need to have an even larger heart,” he said.
And, like the lion in the classic story, the archbishop said, we need courage.
“We need to be unafraid against the sometimes seemingly overwhelming odds against us. We know that we’re up against an almost billion-dollar industry that’s involved with killing children and, in some cases, selling their body parts. And this industry will do anything it can not to be threatened,” he said.
Toward the end of his remarks, the archbishop emphasized prayer.
“Most of all, we need to pray,” he said. “We can’t succeed in any of this unless God is leading us and guiding us. And we understand it’s really his work that we’re about.”
In conclusion, the archbishop pointed to Sts. Peter and Paul, whose feasts were celebrated that day, reminding those gathered of St. Paul’s conversion.
“He exemplifies to us that, really, we don’t have any enemies. We just have brothers and sisters who are confused — whom we need to try to help to know the truth so that they not only respect life, but know God’s love for them.”
Hosted by Kansans for Life, the three-day national convention began on June 28 and ran through June 30. More than 100 pro-life leaders were featured, including Bobby Schindler, brother of the late Terri Schindler Schiavo and president of Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network; Sheryl Crosier, mother of Simon, the inspiration behind the nation’s first parental medical rights bill passed in Kansas in April 2017; Nancy Valko, an advanced legal nurse consultant who writes and speaks about medical ethics and the fine line between “the so-called right to die” and “the duty to die” creeping into the nation’s health care; and Sue Ellen Browder, author of “Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.”