Diocese to set up new project across from abortion clinic

.- Officials of the diocese of Tulsa say they may set up a memorial garden for the unborn on a half-acre lot the diocese purchased a few months ago, across the street from the Reproductive Services of Tulsa.

Another option is putting up a building that would offer adoption services.  "Anything we do will be prayerful and peaceful," John Johnson, chancellor of the diocese, told The Tulsa World. A final decision on the use of the land has not been made.

Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, who said a rosary for life on the property Saturday, said it was important to note that the land will be used for spiritual purposes.

"This is not a political thing," he told The Tulsa World. "Our message is that life is sacred from the moment of conception, and that we have to be consistent. We cannot simply stand by and allow abortions and say nothing.

"For us, to say nothing would be terribly wrong…We always deal in the present. We don't judge people. We take them as they are," he said.

The diocese has a ministry to help women, Catholic and non-Catholic, dealing with emotional wounds after an abortion, he underlined.

He said groups have been praying regularly for years near the clinic, sometimes in the street, or standing on the curb, or staying in their cars, without blocking anyone or confronting them.

Tim Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, told The Tulsa World that the new project across the street will continue to be non-confrontational.

"Our hope is to collaborate on an ecumenical basis with others who are supporting life, to come up with a plan to make a more prayerful atmosphere here," he said.

"This gives us a place where we can hold prayer, and support of life,” he said, “and a place to offer support for people that might otherwise choose abortion."

Reproductive Services executive administrator Linda Meek, who has been at the clinic for 16 years, said she has no problem with the diocese buying the land as long as they remain peaceful.

Meek said abortions have decreased in recent years.

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