Archive for June, 2008

A Moving Funeral

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Hundreds of people gathered around me, as the little children’s casket was placed next to the open grave into which it would shortly be lowered.

I prayed the words of the Church’s liturgy, “Tender Shepherd of the flock, Rachael, Joshua, Victoria, Adam, Mary, Jacob, and Grace now lie cradled in your love…. Comfort us with the hope that these children live with you and your Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.”

The crowd responded with a vigorous “Amen!”

Four people who had helped to rescue the bodies of these children from the garbage dumpster outside the abortion clinic where they had been killed then came forward. They took the casket and lowered it into the grave. Each of us then took a handful of dirt and put it into the grave.

Children then released a beautiful white dove, who flew into the blue, sunny sky to the applause of all who were gathered.
It was a powerful morning in Detroit on Friday, June 27, at the Assumption Grotto. Bishop John Quinn celebrated a beautiful funeral Mass for these aborted children (as well as three additional children who had died from miscarriage). They all fit in the one small white casket, which was in the center aisle of the Church.

In his homily, the bishop praised the tireless work of pro-life activists. We then all processed to the cemetery next to the Church, where I conducted the graveside service.

I preached about the lesson from Deuteronomy 21, where we learn that there is no such thing as the “private” shedding of innocent blood. Whenever someone is murdered, that is everyone’s concern, and everyone must answer for it. Therefore God commanded that when a body was found slain out in the country, there should be a public ceremony, and the people should ask forgiveness, even if they did not do the killing.

So we had a public funeral, and we did ask forgiveness, for not having done more to stop the abortions of these children.
Funerals like this should be held, they should be public, they should be massive. After all, the killing of these children takes place in publicly advertised abortuaries, and is sometimes paid for by public funds. We have no reason to fear publicity and media for carrying out the corporal work of mercy of burying the dead, and restoring in some way the dignity of which these children were robbed when abortion dismembered them.

On July 27, I will be entrusted with two more aborted children, and that same day will conduct another burial at 3pm in Hanceville, Alabama at Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. All are invited to come.

On Saturday July 12, I will have a more joyful event, to which I also invite you. At 8am at Notre Dame Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I will baptize two babies who were saved from abortion outside a local killing center!

People of Life, let us together protect the living and honor the dead!

Click here for photos of this funeral.

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Aborted Babies to be Buried

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

This Friday, June 27, at the Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit, there will be a Funeral Mass and Burial for aborted babies that were retrieved in April 2008 from the trash dumpster behind the Women’s Advisory abortion clinic, Livonia, Michigan (see www.prolifesociety.org).

The burial will be at 10am at the Assumption Grotto Parish,13770 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, 10:00am. The main celebrant will be Bishop Daniel Flores, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. The burial service will take place immediately after Mass in the Grotto cemetery. Fr. Frank Pavone will deliver the graveside eulogy.

Please send this notice to your email lists. Invite your friends and family. Spread the word. This is a unique and rare pro-life event. (Though it is the second aborted baby burial in two months here in Michigan!)

You may also wish to attend our press conference. Citizens for a Pro-life Society is holding a press conference on the morning of the burial, Friday, June 27th, at the abortion clinic where the babies were killed, namely at Women’s Advisory, 27549 Six Mile Road in Livonia, 8:00A.M. All the media will be invited. Our goal is to expose the atrocity of abortion, that human beings are in fact murdered in abortion and their bodies thrown into the trash. We will discuss how Woman’s Advisory dumped bio-hazard waste and the patient records issue. We will also discuss abortionist Reginald’s Sharpe’s revocation of his license last year for a botched 3rd trimester abortion and the newly proposed Michigan state legislation: The Human Treatment of Miscarried and Aborted Babies Act. Feel free to show up for this on-the-side-walk event. We will have 7 coffins representing the aborted babies that are being buried.

Fr. Frank and Priests for Life invite all pro-life people to take part spiritually in this funeral. “Abortion is too abstract,” Fr. Frank stated. “Amidst the din of political, philosophical, and religious arguments, we too easily lose sight of the fact that we are talking about real people. Funerals bring us back to reality. Burials awaken consciences. Through Friday’s ceremony, we restore some measure of the respect that should have been given these babies when they were alive in the womb. Let’s honor them together, and allow them, though dead, to speak to our nation and rouse the conscience of our citizens and leaders!”

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Monday, June 16th, 2008

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, therefore, marks its 60th anniversary, and provides us an opportunity to examine some themes in the Declaration which deserve special emphasis.

The Declaration asserts, “[E]veryone has the right to life” (Article 3). This, of course, is the most fundamental right, since no other rights can be exercised if one does not exist. Yet this insight of common sense is easily forgotten these days. The Secular Humanist Manifesto II (1973), for example, lists many “rights,” including “the right to suicide,” but not the “right to life”!

The Universal Declaration, furthermore, refers to human rights as “equal and inalienable,” and declares that human beings have “inherent dignity” (Preamble). This is a key theme. In other words, governments can neither bestow nor remove human dignity from a human being. Governments, rather, exist to preserve and protect rights that are inherent, that is, rights which reside by definition within the human being precisely because he or she is a human being, and not because he or she has earned or been awarded those rights by some outside entity.

Article 6 of the Declaration says that everyone has the right to be recognized as a person before the law. This, of course, was directly contradicted by the holding of the US Supreme Court, Roe vs. Wade, when it said, “[T]he word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.”

In articles 18 and 19, the Universal Declaration asserts the right of each person to freedom of religion and opinion on various matters, and the right to exercise that religion and express that opinion. Later in the Declaration, however, Article 30 rightfully states, “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” For example, if I claimed to practice a religion that required me to kill another human being every Sunday as part of the worship service, although I have freedom of religion, I do not have the right to destroy the life of the other human being.

This applies also to abortion. The right to life, which is inherent and incapable of being annulled by any government, may not be trampled upon in the name of religious freedom. It is a favorite position of the defenders of abortion to claim their “right to believe what they want” and to “have their own opinion” about the status and value of the child in the womb. But the right of someone to live cannot fall simply because someone else’s belief does not recognize that right.

Sixty years after this Universal Declaration, let us renew our efforts to bring all nations to a strong respect for each person’s inherent rights, most fundamentally the right to life.

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Election Related Conference Call on June 25

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Friends,

You are invited to join me by phone and/or internet on Wednesday, June 25 from 9 to 10pm Eastern Time for a teleconference that will inspire and equip you to make a difference in this year’s national elections, and to awaken the conscience of Americans about abortion.

We will discuss and launch the special project called “Is This What You Mean?”, that has already educated hundreds of thousands of Americans and has challenged pro-abortion politicians.

We will give you practical tools to use at the local level to advance the Culture of Life in this election in proven ways!

You won’t want to miss this opportunity and we don’t want to miss out on having you participate!

Once you sign up at www.priestsforlife.org/conferencecall/index.aspx, we will send you details on what number to dial for the call, and how to also listen over the internet, where we will guide you to specific documents and templates that will help you understand and implement these activities!

God bless you, and I look forward to talking with you on the 25th at 9pm ET!

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director

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Will the Church Help?

Monday, June 9th, 2008

As the election season intensifies, we all have an important duty and opportunity to inform one another about the candidates. One of the best places for news about candidate statements on life issues is www.lifenews.com. My friend Steve Ertelt does a good job of providing news coverage and commentary on what the candidates are saying and doing about abortion.

We will be providing guidance also at our election website, www.politicalresponsibility.org.

The Church, too, in her various parishes and schools, and vehicles of communication, has a marvelous opportunity to inform voters about where candidates stand on key issues. Unfortunately, most of these Church institutions do no such thing. Either they are not aware that they can do so legally, or they are advised not to do so, “just to be careful.”

Voter education material, if distributed by Churches, has to be provided in a non-partisan manner. There is plenty of guidance on how to do that, and we reference some of the sources at www.politicalresponsibility.org/.

But let me ask a question about this exaggerated need to “be careful.”

About what do we have to be more careful, preserving our institutions from legal entanglements or preserving our nation from total moral collapse?

Even if the danger on the part of our institutions were to risk losing their tax-exempt status – which, by the way, is not at all the danger – then that would still not measure up to what we risk losing in the cultural battles that will be impacted by this election.

Yet what we often see is a willingness to do nothing to alert our people to the candidates’ positions, just so that no questions will be asked, no challenges made, no inquiries conducted about whether we were good boys and girls in the eyes of the IRS.

Can we please end this silliness and get down to fulfilling our serious duty to sound the trumpet and equip  the Christian people with clear knowledge, so that they can go into battle and change this nation for the better?

Blessings,

Fr. Frank

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A Statement from Priests for Life at the Outset of the General Election Season

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

With the primaries now behind us, the general election season is underway. As we have done in the past, and as we do all year long, Priests for Life will again be very vocal in the coming months about the responsibilities we all have “to participate in building the culture of life” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n.34).

The voters will hear from us, the candidates will hear from us, and the message will be clear: “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed” (US Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, n.28).

At the outset of this general election battle, we have some questions for several groups of people:

1. To candidates whose position is that abortion should remain legal, we offer the following quotes from abortionists, medical textbooks, and court documents, and we ask, “When you say the word abortion, is this what you mean?”

“[T]ypically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece…” (Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.)

“A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…” (From the medical textbook Abortion Practice – Dr. Warren Hern, p.154, describing legal activity.)

“For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely re-moved.”  (US Supreme Court, Gonzales vs. Carhart, 2007, describing legal activity).

“Question: Can the heart of a fetus or embryo still be beating during a suction curettage abortion as the fetus or embryo comes down the cannula?  Answer: For a few seconds to a minute, yes.” (Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Harlan Raymond Giles, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.)

2. To candidates who oppose abortion, we do not merely want to hear that you believe it is wrong. Rather, we ask, “What specifically will you do to advance the protection of children threatened by the violence of abortion?”

3. To voters who do not consider the political process helpful, or who are not enthusiastic about the candidates, we ask, “When you are troubled by the outcome of the election, or by the laws passed and court decisions issued by public officials who should not be in office in the first place, whose responsibility will that be?”

4. To those outside the Church who think the Church should keep her mouth shut about political matters, we ask, “Since when do you get to decide which citizens should have more of a voice in the public process than other citizens?”

5. To those inside the Church who are so cautious about political matters that they don’t take any risk or initiative on anything related to elections, we ask, “When a party that is committed to closing your Churches rises to power, can we come back to you then and count on you to say something? Exactly how bad do things have to get in order for you to find your courage?”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, pointed to the statement of Pope John Paul II in the “Gospel of Life” which states that when a state makes abortion legal, “the disintegration of the State itself has already begun” (n. 20). “That sounds like more than just a single issue to me,” Fr. Pavone stated, “and our organization doesn’t intend to sit on the sidelines and watch it happen.”

Fr. Pavone will announce, in the coming weeks, a series of conference calls and web seminars that will enable interested citizens to engage the political process to advance the culture of life. To sign up to receive such announcements, visit www.PoliticalResponsibility.org.

Fr. Frank

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Undo the Devil’s Work

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

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.

Fr. Frank Pavone, M.E.V.

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