Christendom College mourns the passing of pro-life hero Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League. Scheidler, who passed peacefully on January 18 after a battle with pneumonia, was awarded Christendom’s Pro Deo et Patria medal in 2007 for his tireless work on behalf of the unborn.
“Joe was a real hero,” said College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. “His courageous stand for the sanctity of life and opposition to the evil of abortion was an inspiration to me and countless other pro-lifers throughout his fruitful apostolate. He was a man of deep faith and prayer and will be sorely missed. May God rest his soul.”
Scheidler and his wife, Ann, founded the Pro-Life Action League in 1980, and he could often be found in the streets of Chicago peacefully protesting against the evils of abortion. In 1985, his book CLOSED: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, was published, serving as a handbook for all pro-life groups on how to peacefully protest against abortion.
For 28 years, Scheidler fought a lawsuit from the National Organization for Women, making a record three trips to the U.S. Supreme Court along the way. He and his co-defendants ultimately won the case and were deemed completely innocent.
Christendom honored Scheidler for his heroic witness in 2007, when he also gave an address to that year’s graduating class.
“Usually I’m picketing in protest of pro-abortion speakers at universities this time of year,” Scheidler said at the beginning of his address to the graduates. “It’s nice to finally be invited to speak.”
“To wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “But as we wait, we must be militant—fighting for the truth.”
Scheidler included many stories from his involvement in the pro-life movement, which illustrated his message to the graduates that in order to wait in joyful hope one must have faith, hope, and charity. “I would have quit this business that I’m in a long time ago if I didn’t believe in miracles,” he said. “You need to have faith.”
Scheidler was known as the “Godfather” of the Pro-Life movement and will be sorely missed.
May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen.