Undo the Devil’s Work

To say that only Christ in and through His Church can ultimately conquer abortion is not a pious platitude, nor is it a fancy way of saying, “Jesus, help us fight abortion.” Nor is it an elitist way of excluding from the cause of life those who have different religious affiliations.

Rather, it is to say something about the very nature of Christ and the Church, and about the reasons why abortion and contraception, which are fruits of the same tree, continue as they do.

There are many ways to express the purpose of Christ’s mission in the world. St. John in his first letter sums it up by saying, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). What “works of the devil” does Christ destroy? Christ Himself tells us that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). In the same breath, Our Lord calls the devil a liar and a murderer. Lies and murder go together.

The only way abortion can continue on such a horrible scale is for it to be covered in lies, sugarcoated with denials and distortions of truth. Among the lies that have sustained abortion are the ideas that the unborn baby is not really a baby, that abortion is good for women, and that we can deprive the unborn of protection but keep it for ourselves.

Christ has come to destroy the works of the devil. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). He is the Way to salvation precisely because He is the Truth, shattering the devil’s lies, and because He is the Life, undoing the devil’s work of death.

When we take a pro-life stance, we will be fighting the devil, like it or not. Although his kingdom has been defeated and his power is limited, he still “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil will try to discourage and distract us. His favorite approach with good people is not to tempt them to do wicked things, but to tempt them to do good things, which, while good in themselves, distract us from the necessary things.

In fighting the devil, we should never address him directly. Leave that to Jesus. Rather, pray to the Lord to rebuke the devil. Be immersed in God’s Word, because it is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17).

Be close to the Mother of God. Because she gave birth to Christ, there is nobody besides Christ that the devil hates more. Precisely because of her unique closeness to Jesus, we should be close to her, especially through the Rosary. Take refuge in the sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist, for there we encounter the only Savior, Jesus Christ.

That’s where we need to start. Let’s pray that our priests be spiritual fathers bringing forth many children who will work hand in hand with all people to build the culture of life!

Fr. Frank Pavone


Father Frank A. Pavone is an American Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist. He is the National Director of Priests for Life and serves as the Chairman and Pastoral Director of Rachel's Vineyard.

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  • Thank you Father.

  • Psalm 57

    They dug a pit before me; They themselves have fallen into the midst of it

  • noelfitz

    Somrtimes I think that in America the pro-life position is considered in too narrow a way, focusing on contraception and abortion.

    The battle against contraception has not been very successful. In 1993 over 80% of Catholics in a US survey believed one could use artificail contraception and be a good Catholic.

    Christ cam so that we might have life to the full. Thus if one is pro-life must one be against the death penalty, against incarcerating over 2 million people in the US, and denying adequate health care to over 60,000,000 Americans?

    Can one be pro-life and not actively campaign against human gamete donation and embryonic stem-cell research?

    I have read in CE that the principal issue in Catholic Theology is abortion.

    Abortion is wrong, condemned by the fourth commandment. However Christ, and the Jews of his time, had a larger view.

    “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

    The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version, Mt 22:36-40 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989).
    See also Mk 12.28—34; Lk 10.25—28.

    You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’
    The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version, Mk 10:19 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989).
    See also Mt 19.16—30; Lk 18.18—30.

    God bless,

  • Cooky642

    Noelfitz, I think I have to disagree with you, at least in detail. Certainly, the death penalty, incarceration of criminals, the denial of health care, and any embryonic tomfoolery are issues about which we should be concerned and willing to fight–and vote!–for justice. However, abortion stands alone as the willful, intended MURDER of the innocent and helpless. I agree with Father that this HAS to be the defining issue for us.

  • SolaGratia


    The Magesterium must find a way to better communicate Church teaching to the average person in the pew – I don’t know of anyone who will dispute that. But Mother Teresa was right when she asked how we can stop people from killing each other while allowing a woman to kill her very own baby in her womb.

    If we cannot respect the life of an innocent, helpless baby in the womb, there certainly isn’t a hope of generating respect for the life of a cold-blooded, serial murderer.

    I am currently trying to reclaim my backyard landscaping from almost 2 yrs of neglect due to a complicated pregnancy & birth so weeds are very much on my mind right now. Pluck a weed out at its root – the place where it began – and then you generally have a better chance of snuffing out its offshoots.

    I hope I am misunderstanding you, but your reply smacks of the seamless garment theory which has often been used to suggest that pro-lifers must fight all the pro-death weeds at the same time to be truly pro-life. As if we could fight the culture of death on all fronts at the same time? A recipe for exhaustion and risk of despair – that serves the enemy, not the Church. We need to put our physical, spiritual & emotional energy where it will have the greatest effect. For most of us, that means the abortion/ contraception battle.