IN THE SPOTLIGHT – ROBERT OUELLETTE
Question 1: How did you get involved in the pro-life movement?
Answer 1: First of all, on a deeper level, I would say I got involved in the pro-life movement at the moment of my conception! I was given life by God through my parents and began the great adventure of life! I was extremely fortunate to have been given life and then brought to Church by my parents, to have received the Holy Sacraments and to have gone to a Catholic School. Along the way, I met many wonderful men and women of God who taught me a love for Christ and the Holy Faith! More specifically, though, after a time away from my faith and around the end of my high school career, I began to rediscover the good Lord and, through some wonderful Christians, became involved in the pro-life movement. In fact, the pro-life movement was an animating principle in my rediscovery of the love and mercy of God! I witnessed truth and charity being courageously lived out by brave men and women who stood peacefully and prayerfully in front of hospitals, on busy street corners, in parks, and in front of politicians' offices and offices of abortionists. All in the name of millions of innocent and helpless babies who have no voice and also in the name of the many lives of women and men that abortion destroys physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I began to read many books on this, the most important of social justice issues in the Church and in the world, and began again to find purpose and meaning in a cause that was worthy of serving and sacrificing for. Due to so many wonderful people, women and men of faith, farmers, religious sisters and priests, lawyers, teachers/professors, mothers, homemakers, businessmen, brave politicians, leaders and everyday people serving the "Gospel of Life," my life was transformed. Many people do not understand that standing up for the truth, being radical as Jesus was radical, is one of the most attractive evangelical tools in the Church. People of all ages are not drawn to lukewarmness or watered-down versions of Christianity but to the authentic proclamation of the Gospel, as witnessed by the Saints! Being pro-life is "countercultural" and is what taught me at a young age that, as Christians, we are "in the world but not of the world." Being pro-life, the first and most important of human rights by which all other rights are based (read St. Pope John Paul II's encyclical The Gospel Of Life/Evangelium Vitae) is based in truth, justice and authentic Charity, which lays down one's life for the good of the other (especially the eternal good). This, of course, was demonstrated for us by our Lord on the cross! As a result of my renewed faith, I went on to get my Theology degree at the Franciscan University of Steubenville with a major in Systematic Theology and a minor in Human Life Issues as well as my master's degree in Theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary majoring in Moral Theology. Degrees, however, are only as good as the faithfulness of the person possessing them, and I pray daily for the grace to remain faithful and for forgiveness for my many failings and sins. Since then, I have been very active in the pro-life movement in various capacities, particularly (along with my passionately pro-life and wonderful wife, without whom I could not have done anything), becoming the father of nine children. I am so blessed and in awe that God gifted me with such a wonderful Christian woman who shares my faith and values and who has gifted me with so many wonderful children. I also became involved in teaching Catechetics in multiple Dioceses along with Marriage Preparation courses (all with a pro-life focus). I attended many pro-life talks and dinners, Life-Chains, Mothers Day walks, and pro-life retreats and prayed in front of abortion mills, hospitals, doctors' offices and more, both in the U.S. and Canada, with so many brave and holy witnesses. As anyone that has been in the pro-life movement long enough can attest, we have been fiercely and irrationally insulated, hated, mocked, threatened, and assaulted, and I even had someone jump the sidewalk with their car and attempt to run me over. All for the God-given right to publicly protest and pray for the lives of babies, women and men and to be the voice of the voiceless. This, of course, is to be expected as witnessed by our Lord and Saviour Christ Himself, who was hated first, not to mention the innumerable number of Saints and Martyrs who have been persecuted for the Holy Faith throughout the centuries. A large part of my pro-life ministry has been as a High School Religion teacher and Department Head, in conjunction with some very holy Campus Ministers, teachers and other staff, all labouring daily for the dignity of life. I have consistently taught the dignity of human life from womb to tomb in over 25 years of being in education, often under very difficult circumstances. As we continue to see not only the relentless slaughter of the child in the womb internationally, and the destruction of family, marriage, womanhood and especially motherhood, the time is ripe for Christians and all people of good will to heroically, peacefully but firmly stand up against this most grave of evils, in a culture that is attempting to completely silence the truth. This will, however, come at a cost, as living the faith always does. It is not an option, however, to do nothing and commit the greatest sin of omission, not only to those millions of children being butchered each year but also to all of the souls who may be spiritually murdered because they participated, even only with their silence, in this historical movement of death. This tyranny of blood, as we can now see unfolding rapidly in Canada, is now reaching its deadly claws out to the sick, the elderly, the disabled and even the depressed through the Euthanasia movement, taking the very same political, economic and ideological roads as the abortion movement did back in the '60s and '70s. I am ever so grateful to those who came before me in the pro-life movement and the many blessed souls who witnessed to me God's command that we care for the most vulnerable members of our society. "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me." Matthew 25:40. Certainly we cannot turn a deaf ear to our helpless brothers and sisters in the sacred sanctuary of the womb nor to the countless souls being lied to by the "father of lies," who Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning." (John 8:44)
2- Any advice for someone who wants to be pro-life but is scared?
What can people do to be more active in the movement to change minds and hearts? For anyone wishing to become more active in the pro-life movement and to make a difference in this seemingly impossible undertaking, I would offer the following direction. First, the most important thing that we can do is to deepen our Faith lives and grow in the knowledge and understanding of the authentic Gospel and Faith. I realize that I may be preaching to the choir here, but I believe that this is literally the very foundation of the pro-life movement. Without God as our centre and as the one who is the basis for all objective truth, both in the material and spiritual world, we are reduced to just one of many opinions, to moral relativism and eventually to anarchy. We are in a culture war and a very aggressive assault on truth itself! The truth about the nature and the dignity of the human person, male and female, made in the image of God, firmly rooted in the Divine Revelation as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It is society's lack of belief in this fundamental principle that enables us time and time again throughout history (communism/fascism/totalitarianism) to justify title waves of human death and destruction, all in the name of progress! As it is often proclaimed, "if God is dead, then anything is permissible." Today once again, in the name of politics, freedom (which is actually license to sin), convenience, luxury, pleasure, power and politicized/weaponized false science, humanity is being told to turn a blind eye to the murdering of innumerable human beings, our brothers and sisters, God's very children. At the root of these movements is a diabolical attack on God the Father Himself, a form of "deicide" perpetrated willingly, though often unwittingly, by the masses of misinformed and wandering souls. "For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The truth about the human person is that what we believe or choose not to believe in society has overwhelming ramifications on our actions, both individually and socially, and dramatically alters the lives of millions of people. That being said, the beginning of the pro-life movement MUST BEGIN ON OUR KNEES in daily, continuous and fervent prayer and fasting! It is also necessary that we reclaim the true power of the Holy Bible through daily reading and meditation on the infallible and inerrant Word of God as well as by reading the treasures to be found in the writings of the Saints. We must avail ourselves regularly of the grace of God found in the Church and the Sacraments for the purpose of being made holy. "Be therefore holy as your Father in Heaven is holy." Matthew 5:48! To become a Saint is not the destiny of the few but is the call of God for all of the Baptized, what the Church calls the "universal call to holiness" and it is necessary in order to enter into Heaven, for "nothing impure will enter in it." Revelation 2:27. Only when we truly put Jesus Christ at the very centre of our lives will we begin to be truly Christian and pro-life and truly transform hearts around us, one person at a time. The beginning of the transformation has to be our own daily conversion and complete surrender to God in obedience and humility! Jesus set the world on fire by forming and sending Holy Spirit-filled disciples who boldly and at a great cost, spread the Gospel of truth and of everlasting life to the ends of the earth. Be sure to attend a Church/Liturgy/Mass/Service where the faith of the Apostles is being unapologetically proclaimed and where the Pastor is not afraid to speak the truth, even the uncomfortable ones. There are so many ways that you can practice your faith and spread the faith and the Gospel of Life. Some people are called to be leaders and activists, others organizers and fundraisers and still others teachers, preachers and catechists; others may be called to get into politics, news agencies, or pro-life organizations; others are called to be prayer warriors, to raise their children and grandchildren with pro-life values, to donate time, talent or treasure to pro-life organizations and life-friendly news agencies or to support shelters and homes for women that assist women in crisis pregnancies. Sometimes we are called to simply speak up when we are given a chance to witness to the dignity of the child and of all human life with family members, coworkers, and friends. We can write letters to editors, politicians, school boards and principals, attend prayerful and peaceful walks and pro-life demonstrations, go to pro-life dinners and talks and stay educated and informed by GOOD pro-life news outlets, websites and books. We can put up a pro-life sign on our lawn, a bumper sticker on our cars, wear pro-life t-shirts, support pro-life businesses and politicians who bravely support truth, and so much more! As a wise man once said, we are to "take up and occupy space" and fight the culture war, for as it has also been said, "evil only succeeds when good people do nothing." We must never become discouraged in our efforts and in the real battle against the forces of evil, even when it appears that the world has gone to hell in a handbasket and that things seem to be getting worse, sometimes very close to home! Remember that the victory was already won on the cross of Calvary by Christ, and this victory literally emerged from the tomb on Easter Sunday! "Oh death, where is your sting!" Remember the lessons of history, where tyrant after tyrant, evil after evil, movement after movement, all eventually came to an abrupt end and were sent back to hell where they originated from! The enemy knows very well that he is defeated, and his time is limited, and he is trying to drag as many down with him as he can. Be courageous, stand firm, "hold your ground," and listen to the words of our beautiful Saviour: "In the world, you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33. Every time we love God above all, and we do even the smallest act of love toward another human being for the love of Jesus (Little Flower), we are lights shining brightly in the darkness. "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5