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Legatus conference rejuvenates pro-life advocates

Legatus members find that the pro-life movement is coming together like never before. . . 

Kathleen Eaton has been working full-time in the pro-life movement for nearly 30 years. But even with her depth of knowledge and experience, Eaton says she left the annual Legatus Pro-Life Conference full of enthusiasm.

“I came back from the conference on fire for my ministry and the issue of life,” said Eaton, who runs a number of crisis pregnancy clinics and shelters in Southern California.

Legates like Eaton from across the country received in-depth education on the pro-life movement’s challenges during the three-day conference held in Washington, D.C. Attendees not only heard from pro-life experts, but they also attended a special Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Fr. Frank Pavone

Fr. Frank Pavone

The May 6-8 conference began with Mass and a reception at the Hilton Washington. Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute gave the opening address on the “legal and political conspiracy to impose abortion on the world.”

Many attendees said that one of the highlights was a panel discussion with prolife leaders like Janet Morana (Priests for Life), Fr. Thomas Euteneuer (Human Life International) and Eric Scheidler (Pro-Life Action League). They discussed bringing the pro-life message to the grassroots.

“I realized that our battle won’t be fought in Washington,” Eaton said, a member of Legatus’ Orange Coast Chapter. “It has to be grassroots, fought in our communities and our churches.”

Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse

But Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes, a member of Legatus’ Toronto Chapter, said pro-life legislation has to accompany grassroots change.

“The law is the great educator,” he said. “In a new poll, over 90% of women said they wouldn’t have an abortion again if it were illegal.”

Delegates also attended the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on May 8. The keynote speakers were U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Archbishop Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court.

The archbishop discussed the Notre Dame scandal in his address.

“The profound granting of an honorary doctorate at Notre Dame University to our President who is as aggressively advancing an anti-life and anti-family agenda is a source of the gravest scandal,” he said, referring to Notre Dame’s May 17 commencement. “Catholic institutions cannot offer any platform to, let alone honor, those who teach and act publicly against the moral law.”

The entire Legatus event was geared toward enhancing members’ understanding of the complex issues facing Catholic leaders in our day, said Laura Sacha, Legatus’ conference director.

“Members have their own chapter experience, which is essential,” she explained. “But our conferences allow them to learn from and network with like-minded leaders from across the country. Everyone who attends our summits and conferences grows from the experience and goes away more excited about being Catholic.”

Patrick Novecosky is the editor of Legatus Magazine.