"America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion"

Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

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Friday, May 13, 2011


George Offerman

The arrests were the centerpiece of the weekend

Many pro life organizations came for the speech, and the media was already in place, due to the arrests. I had clarification of this because there were relatives of mine who happen to be in Denmark for this weekend, and saw me getting arrested on the news over there. I had several friends record the news over the weekend, and they covered many differing news outlets, and the arrests were shown for nearly four days. Many remarked how the most vivid image of the arrests was Fr. Weslin and him being carried off by the Notre Dame police. It was very shocking to the sensibilities of the faithful, and it was this event more than anything else during the weekend that triggered the response it got.

There were many pro life groups extremely critical of the arrests and of Randall Terry, and wanted to distance themselves from this event. However, it became such a magnet for bringing legalized child killing front and center, these same groups then jumped at the chance to get involved and are taking credit for the publicity this event received that they had little to do with creating. This was done while still condemning the tactics used by Randall Terry and the Insurrecta Nex team and many of these same groups who then called Randall Terry a ‘show hog’ for garnering the majority of the attention with the arrests, are now saying they were the main reason for the extensive coverage this event received.

What these groups don’t seem to understand is that arrests take the center stage due to the unjust nature of them. Signs, although important, do not garner attention from the media because signs are used in many locations, and frankly, are not newsworthy. When people are willing to put comfort, convenience and their good names on the line for a cause, others want to know about it. And despite the fact the pro life media resents the mainstream media, the mainstream media knows what is news, and know how to exploit a story for their benefit. The mainstream media, through their actions, made the arrests the centerpiece, because they know their audience, and know this is newsworthy. Randall Terry was not a ‘show hog’ and didn’t coerce any of the MSM to follow the story, the MSM did this all on their own because they know what is newsworthy, and the arrests met that criteria. The plane and the 2 mile long sign holding chain did not.

The aftermath of the arrests

Long after the speech and commencements and after the cameras were all shut off and packed away, 88 peoples’ lives were changed in a significant and an inconvenient fashion. We were now left in limbo by Notre Dame not letting go of the charges, and not attempting to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges. We were chastised by many in the pro life movement, who accused us of seeking attention, and the purists and legalists were all defending the nebulous ‘trespassing’ charges, while ignoring the fact pro Obama supporters freely were walking around as we were being arrested. The alumni association, the Sycamore Trust, also discovered that two very controversial groups represented by the homosexual contingency were let go and not prosecuted for the exact same reasons we were arrested.

Notre Dame outright lied about this, as well as released public statements about our motives and intentions ‘to bring about chaos and possible violence’ as their reason to continue their pursuit of charges. We, as defendants, had to remain silent as we were openly slandered by Fr. Jenkins and Notre Dame, as commenting would have jeopardized our cases. Too many of the prolifers jumped on this bandwagon, and soon the ‘what you know that ain’t so’ crowd took control of the dialogue in condemning what we did. What was and still is true about us was we went on with peaceful intent to pray the rosary on a Catholic Campus to protest an abominable act that needed to be rectified. Most were grandparents and others who had never done anything like this before, and they have been misaligned by the university, many in the pro life movement, and most of the MSM.

Thank God for many of the worker bees and the few pro life organizations that had the integrity to back us up. Lifesitenews.com immediately jumped on this by starting a petition to have the charges dropped, and received over 17,000 signatures. Many of the ND alumni also came to our aid and began to publicly denounce ND and stopped donating to the school. Tom Dixon and the Thomas More Society represented us pro bono to negotiate for us. Overall, we did get the support from those who understood the need to protest this very unjust event, and did not get hung up on the ‘legalese’ of this, which many used as an excuse to do little to nothing. Shame on them.

Peace be with you

The vast majority of the ND 88 I had contact with stated they were there out of conviction, and many were willing to go to jail if necessary. The one thing our critics will never understand about this is the level of conviction each had when going on campus and the peace of mind most reportedly had before, during and after the arrests. There is no need to explain to the critics why we did what we did. We followed the orders of the Master, and if that is not clear by now, then it never will be. I know that I was at peace about going to jail, even up to one year if necessary. This life will be over soon enough, and there will never be another chance to do what is true and what is asked of all of us by our Savior. I am grateful, in the words of Fr. Weslin that I was ‘found worthy in the Master’s eyes’ to participate in this unjust event. That’s good enough for me.

As this chapter wraps up, those I continue to keep in contact with see what we did as the right and holy thing to do. There will be more battles that will require even more of us, and Notre Dame was simply a warm up exercise. We are constantly being called by the Master to reach beyond what we think we are capable of, and our only job is to respond in the positive: “Here I am lord, send me Lord”. What is next is more important than what was, and as far as I’m concerned, the ND 88 is finished. We may have a reunion some day, but we already lost one of our members, and some of the 88 have already declared they have no interest in attending any reunion.

Our prayer is that our efforts were not in vain, that they conveyed meaning, and started a process in which the Christian community was given a clear wake up call to get off the couches and kitchens across this great nation, and do something about the legalized child killing fields that are so prevalent. We will soon see if the ND 88 had this effect, and if so, real change will sweep this country and we will right a very evil wrong in our history, and thereby save ourselves and this country from judgment.

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