(Life Site News) A New Jersey judge convicted a Catholic priest and two others Friday of “defiant trespass” for their attempts last September to save women and children from abortion at a Montclair abortion center.
Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, told the court before being sentenced that he considers the verdict “invalid.”
“As a Catholic priest I say to this Court that abortion is murder and no law or court decision can make legitimate what is intrinsically evil,” Moscinski said.
“Legalized abortion is an abomination in the eyes of Almighty God.”
Judge Nicholas Brindisi convicted Moscinski, Matthew Connolly, and Will Goodman on the misdemeanor charge of defiant trespass and fined them $200 each, as well as ordering them to pay court costs and a victim surcharge, resulting in a total of $364.
However, Brindisi dropped the charges against Patrice Woodworth and a woman who identifies herself as “Baby Jane Doe” after witnesses the prosecution needed to testify against them did not show up.
All five were arrested September 29 at the Pilgrim Medical Center in Montclair about an hour after they entered the abortion center’s waiting room to offer roses and support and alternatives to abortion to women there as part of a Red Rose Rescue.
Red Rose Rescues are inspired by Canadian activist Mary Wagner and are something of a revival of the early “Rescue” movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s, where pro-life advocates non-violently placed themselves between the abortionist and the mothers seeking abortion, in an attempt to take onto themselves the violence intended for the unborn child. Many babies were saved in this way.
READ: Pro-life activists enter late-term abortion facility in attempt to save babies
After President Bill Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in 1994, making it a federal crime to physically block women from obtaining abortions, the number of “rescues” dropped drastically.
Moscinski explained the rationale for Red Rose Rescues in his statement.
“I, and the other defendants in this case, were justified in our attempts to save the lives of preborn children who were in imminent danger of death through abortion September 29, 2018 at the Pilgrim Medical Center,” he said.
“In finding me guilty this Court has refused to recognize the humanity and value of preborn children. Since I stand here in solidarity with them may God give me the grace to bear witness on their behalf,” the priest said.
That was echoed by Goodman, an itinerant full-time pro-life missionary, who also made a statement to the court.
“On the day we entered the killing facility — we came in peace. In a place of death, we tried to bring life. In the darkest place in Montclair, we sought to bring the light of hope,” Goodman said.
“There are many outcasts in our society, those who are forgotten, abandoned, ignored. Red Rose Rescue has a sacred mission to love those in our nation who are not loved,” he added.
“The little children hidden in their mother’s womb are part of today’s outcasts. They have been forgotten by the judicial branch, abandoned by the executive branch, and largely ignored by the legislative branches of government.”
“Baby Jane Doe” was represented at the trial by attorney Vincent Sanzone Jr., while Woodworth and Moscinski were represented by Andrew Schafly. Connolly and Goodman were represented by David Oakley.
Schafly “argued very well that the police officer” who took the stand “could never actually show that somebody in authority ever asked anybody to leave,” and “nobody from the abortion clinic was there to testify,” said Monica Migliorino Miller, cofounder of Red Rose Rescue, who was present at Friday’s trial.
“Unfortunately, the judge still convicted” the three men, Miller told LifeSiteNews.
Moscinski, Goodman, Connolly, and Woodworth will also stand trial March 26 for a December 21 Red Rose Rescue in Trenton, New Jersey.
They were also arrested this Tuesday, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, at Capital Hill abortion center in Washington, D.C. They were released later that day and have a status hearing April 18.
Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, Lauren Handy, and Bud Shaver were also arrested Tuesday at Washington Surgi-Clinic. They have a status hearing May 14.
READ: Judge’s ruling against ‘Red Rose Rescue’ activists at abortion facility ‘troubling’
Imbarrato, a member of LifeMinistriesUS, spent seven days in a D.C. jail in July 2018 for trespassing at Capital Women’s Services as part of a Red Rose Rescue.
“I’m fully prepared to go back to jail for as long as Our Lord wants me in jail to be a greater voice for the babies,” he told LifeSiteNews on Tuesday.
Moscinski and companions are also prepared to go to jail, but the Franciscan priest said in his statement that because the verdict is invalid, he would consider any jail sentence “illegal.”
Similarly, “nobody is paying any fines,” Miller told LifeSiteNews.
“The case is going up on appeal,” and the judge has stayed the sentence pending appeal, she said.
Here is Fr. Moscinski’s statement in full:
In finding me guilty this Court has committed a serious error.
I, and the other defendants in this case, were justified in our attempts to save the lives of preborn children who were in imminent danger of death through abortion on September 29, 2018 at the Pilgrim Medical Center.
A unique human individual begins to exist at the moment of conception. In a sane, civilized society that new human being would have his or her right to life clearly recognized in the law. But we do not live in a sane, civilized society. Since Roe v Wade in 1973, we live in a nation that has permitted the lega destruction of millions of innocent children.
As a Catholic priest I say to this Court that abortion is murder and no law or court decision can make legitimate what is intrinsically evil. Legalized abortion is an abomination in the eyes of Almighty God.
Now is the time for all of us to repent of our complicity in this national evil. It is time to seek forgiveness from God, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is not too late to turn away from sin and begin to respect the gift of life and the laws of God.
In finding me guilty this Court has refused to recognize the humanity and value of preborn children. Since I stand here in solidarity with them may God give me the grace to bear witness on their behalf.
I consider this Court’s judgement of me as guilty invalid and therefore any subsequent incarceration illegal.
Here is statement by Will Goodman in full:
Thank you, your honor. I begin by offering mercy and saying that I forgive the abortion staff workers, the police officers, the prosecutor, and you too.
On the day we entered the killing facility—we came in peace. In a place of death, we tried to bring life. In the darkest place in Montclair, we sought to bring the light of hope.
There are many outcasts in our society, those who are forgotten, abandoned, ignored. Red Rose Rescue has a sacred mission to love those in our nation who are not loved. The little children hidden in their mothers’ womb are part of today’s outcasts. They have been forgotten by the judicial branch, abandoned by the executive branch, and largely ignored by the legislative branches of government.
On September 29, 2018, we defendants came in peace, and with a solemn commitment to non-violence and the common good in the spirit of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and St. John Paul II of the Polish Solidarity Movement. We assisted patients of all ages at this abortion facility with empathy. I spoke for quite awhile with a young Hispanic father and shared pregnancy resource information. He seemed very happy to talk. Many patients this day received life-giving resources. They welcomed our assistance. But we were also present as patient advocates for another set of individuals who were there, namely, the frail defenseless children threatened with painful dismemberment. They are slain for money. And I firmly believe that these patients also wanted our peaceful assistance.
On this day, as always, we showed respect to those who worked at this facility which kills little ones. We showed respect to all the members of local law enforcement. But most of all—we offered aid, love, and kindness to the mothers and fathers being exploited by the abortion industry. We offered them concrete help with their pregnancy, and the gift of a red rose, a universal sign of love and the sacredness of human life. They received these gifts with graciousness and even smiles of gratitude.
Our experience with Red Rose Rescues has shown that over 50% of abortion-tempted mothers turn away from the violence of abortion through the charitable and compassionate outreach of our coalition. We are not protestors. We are not trespassers. We are rescuers. We hear and heed the call of Proverbs 24:11 to “rescue those being taken to slaughter; hold back those tottering towards destruction.”
+God bless you.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Life Site News and is reprinted here with permission.
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