Archive for August, 2008

“Above My Pay Grade”

Monday, August 25th, 2008

 We were recently treated to the remark by Barack Obama that the question of when a baby receives human rights was beyond his pay grade. At the public forum at Saddleback Church, he said: “… whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity … is above my pay grade.”That, of course, is exactly what the Supreme Court said in Roe vs. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in American throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Faced with a question it found too uncomfortable, the majority said the following:

We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer” [410 U.S. 113, 159].

So what are we to think of those who speak this way? Is it vice or virtue? Do they display a careful effort not to play God, or a cowardly unwillingness to assert the rights of their fellow human beings?

Some say that the government should not be involved in the personal, private decision of abortion. They don’t know how right they are. The government got “too involved” in the abortion decision when it legalized it. Despite its profession of ignorance about whether what is aborted is in fact a human life that has already begun, the Court nevertheless declared, “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn” [410 U.S. 113, 158]. What part of the pay grade of government is the right to define the boundaries of human rights or the limits of protection for the human family? Since when does the government get involved in deciding who qualifies for human rights?

Claiming ignorance about who has human rights is a frightening abandonment of responsibility. Some may think it’s an effort not to “play God,” but it is actually just the opposite: the claim to be God. We may claim not to decide, but in practice, we cannot escape deciding: either every human being will be protected, or we will start deciding whom to exclude.

This gives rise to two thoughts, one from common sense and one from Scripture. Common sense tells us that if someone is hunting and doesn’t know whether what’s moving behind the bush is a bear or a man, he should refrain from shooting until he is sure. Doubt, in other words, leads to an abundance of caution, not an abandonment of it.

Scripture, moreover, tells us that the man who committed the first murder claimed ignorance about the one he had killed. “Where is your brother?” God asked Cain. “I don’t know” was his answer. It was a lie, and it doesn’t allow either Cain or the Supreme Court or anyone else to escape their responsibility to protect their vulnerable brothers and sisters.

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Various Thoughts….

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Friends,  

·         A lot of great things are happening this summer. For one thing, we’ve simplified our internal structures so that we can use our energies and resources even more effectively to bring about an end to abortion. The enemy knows we’re closer than ever to the victory, and so he tries to throw every obstacle in the way. But it’s not going to work. We’re moving full speed ahead to the full victory of complete protection for our unborn brothers and sisters.

·         We now have a pro-abortion Catholic running for Vice-President. This is going to intensify once again the often bitter dispute not only about whether such Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion, but also about the scandal resulting from the position they take. So many people make significant sacrifices to live their Catholic Faith. Then these public hypocrites come along and throw key tenets of the Faith out the window, but want to be known as “practicing Catholics” anyway. There should be outrage, and there will be.

·         We were also treated to the remark by a public official that the question of when a baby receives human rights was beyond his pay grade. That’s what the Supreme Court said, too, in Roe vs. Wade, declaring that the judiciary was “not competent to speculate as to the answer” to the question of when human life begins. This gives rise to two thoughts, one from common sense and one from Scripture. Common sense tells us that if someone is hunting and doesn’t know whether what’s moving behind the bush is a bear or a man, he should refrain from shooting until he is sure. Doubt, in other words, leads to an abundance of caution, not an abandonment of it. Scripture, moreover, tells us that the man who committed the first murder claimed ignorance about the one he had killed. “Where is your brother?” God asked Cain. “I don’t know” was his answer. It was a lie, and it doesn’t allow either Cain or the Supreme Court or anyone else to escape their responsibility to protect their vulnerable brothers and sisters.  

Blessings!

Fr. Frank

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Norma McCorvey

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Friends, 

It was ten years ago this week that I had the joy, along with Fr. Ed Robinson of Dallas, of receiving Norma McCorvey into the Catholic Church and bestowing on her the Sacrament of Confirmation. 

(Norma was the “Jane Roe” of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout pregnancy.)

Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America (then Operation Rescue National) had reached out to her in love and gentleness, and brought her to the point where she willingly accepted baptism at his hands in 1995. What a glorious victory for the Gospel of Life! 

Then, three years later, she was ready to enter the Catholic Church. I was serving in Rome at the time, at the Pontifical Council for the Family, and I remember the email she sent me requesting a rosary. That was the point at which it was clear to me that she was going to enter the Church. 

I had not asked her to do so; I had simply invited her to join me at various events when I was in the Dallas area, and had answered all her questions about the Faith (such as, “Father, is there such a thing as a born-again Catholic?” Of course, my reply was “Yes!”) 

You can read more about Norma and her story at www.priestsforlife.org/testimony/normamaster.htm.

Blessings,
Fr. Frank

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What is the Priority?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Friends, 

Thanks for coming to my blog. 

I want to think out loud with you for a while. When I first met with Cardinal O’Connor to discuss my doing Priests for Life work full time, I said to him, “Your Eminence, I don’t want to move papers, I want to move people.” I began traveling full-time and visiting all the pro-life groups around the country. I prayed with them at the abortion mills, preached in the Churches, and spoke at their banquets. 

I still do, and love every moment of it. 

As organizations grow – and we are now the largest Priests for Life group in the world – people start getting a lot of ideas about how to “institutionalize” them. The larger you get, the more options you have: build this, build that, do this project, get that status. 

As I often say, the devil doesn’t tempt good people to do evil things. He tempts good people to do good things – so many good things, in fact, that they fail to do the essential things. 

Friends, the commitment I’ve made from Day One of this ministry – and the same commitment I have today – is that we will remain focused on our one simple mission, which is to end abortion. I want our resources to go to getting our priests on the road, meeting other priests and showing them how to preach on abortion. I want our energies directed to initiatives like the 40 Days for Life which we are helping to kick off in so many communities from coast to coast and in which we are getting the Churches involved. I want our funds to help the woman who calls our toll-free number looking for an alternative to abortion or healing after abortion. I want our efforts geared toward winning elections! 

If we can do this with fewer buildings than we have, then that’s what we should do. If we can do this will less bureaucracy, then that’s what we should do. 

Every day, I pray to the Lord to help me keep my energies laser-focused, and frankly, that has been a key ingredient to our success. Focus on the mission, period

Day by day I’m involved in reviewing everything that we are doing and planning, so that I can make sure that focus is maintained, and that we make the smartest use of our resources. That means a willingness to change plans at times, to go in new directions, to adapt in any way necessary to stay on the path that leads straight to the goal of ending abortion

I know you are with me on that path! Let’s walk it joyfully! 

Fr. Frank

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TheCall!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Friends, 

This past Saturday, August 16, I spoke at “TheCall,” a massive gathering of mostly young people on the Mall in Washington DC. They came from every part of the nation, and from various denominations, and were there from 10am to 10pm in an unceasing chorus of prayer, praise, repentance, and intercession. There was song and Scripture, sharing and mutual encouragement. It was a real moment of grace for those present and for the nation. 

In my remarks, I drew attention to the fact that abortion is the overriding issue of the day. In fact, a major segment of the day was devoted to the theme of pro-life. In my remarks and in my prayer, I invited all those present to lift up to the Lord all those who are captive to despair, either because they feel they must abort, or because they already did. We prayed for them, both the mothers and the fathers.

I preached that our message to those who are far off  is not condemnation, but rather an urgent call to come back to the cross, and to be washed in Jesus’ blood, a single drop of which can cleanse the world of all its abortions.

This is at the heart of our ministry. The blood of Jesus pours down from the cross, and speaks more eloquently than the blood of the children that was shed. “Come to the cross!” is our message to the world, and to those suffering the pain of abortion. The young people – and the not so young – who were at “TheCall” heard that message. May each of us proclaim it more loudly than ever! 

Fr. Frank

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Feast of the Assumption

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like every Feast, it is a celebration of Jesus Christ. This feast shows us that because of her unique role as his mother, Mary received from Jesus a full share, body and soul, in his victory over death. Mary shares this victory now, because in the human family, which God decided to join, there can be no closer bond than mother and child. They belong together; their destinies are intertwined.

That is one of the central messages of the pro-life movement. To love and care for a mother necessarily means protecting, loving, and caring for her child. Mothers can never benefit from the destruction of their children. 

Another profound lesson this Feast brings to our struggle against abortion is the significance of the body. The feast is a reminder that in Christ, we all will share resurrection of the body. Mary was assumed into heaven not only in spirit, but in her body, because the body is just as much a part of any person as the soul. Mary’s Assumption is a sign that God ultimately saves us — and will raise us — in body and in soul. 

Some who justify abortion say they don’t know if the child has a soul. But that’s beside the point. What matters is that the child has a body, and when we know that abortion destroys the body, we have all the information we need to know it’s wrong.

May you have a happy Feast of the Assumption!

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Killed in Darkness, Remembered in Light

Friday, August 1st, 2008

On the afternoon of Sunday, July, 27, 2008, close to five hundred of the faithful filled the tremendous Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament that Mother Angelica built in Hanceville, Alabama. They were gathered for the funeral of three children – Karen Esther, Enoch, and Rebekah.

The three children were all in the same small white casket. All had been killed just weeks earlier by abortion, and discarded in the trash outside of an abortion mill in Livonia, Michigan. Dr. Monica Miller, Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, transported the children to Alabama.

I conducted the funeral ceremony. Mother Angelica’s community of sisters sang. The People of Life prayed, worshipped, mourned, and rejoiced in the hope of resurrection. As they honored the dead, they recommitted themselves to protect the living.

I have done funerals like this in various parts of the country. It was especially important, however, that this funeral took place at Mother Angelica’s Shrine. I remember when she first told me, years ago, that at the heart of her vision for that Shrine was the unborn child. This was to be a place dedicated to the Divine Child, and a place where children in the womb – so easily forgotten and discarded in this culture of death – would be remembered and celebrated.

That’s what we did on July 27.

I reminded the congregation of the funeral that Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago conducted back in 1988, when he buried two thousand aborted babies. When asked about the legal implications of the burial, he responded that such concerns paled to insignificance in comparison to the evil of taking innocent human life. He said he was doing a corporal work of mercy – to bury the dead.

That’s what the People of Life do. They protect the living, and they bury the dead. They are not ashamed or afraid to honor in public those who are dishonored in secret by the hidden violence of abortion. By gathering in large numbers to bury aborted children, and by letting as many people as possible know about it, they make up in some small way for the callous disregard in which these children are held by many in our society.

That’s why the 16,500 babies found in a large container in the Los Angeles area in the mid-1980’s had to wait for three years before they were buried, as abortion supporters launched a legal battle to block the burial. They did not want society to acknowledge in any way that there was any humanity there to be honored. Just throw them away – and the more secret, swift, and private the better. So the abortion advocates believe.

But the Church believes different, and as we believe, so we worship. The congregation – including children holding their parents’ hands – filed by the casket, which was open, and viewed the remains of these babies. There were tears of sorrow, but full of hope.

Each person left that church more committed than ever to bring the killing to an end.

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