The Feast of All Saints’ Day

This Sunday, the Church observes All Saints’ Day, and many of those saints were martyrs.
But what is the difference between martyrdom and suicide?

It is the difference between giving and taking.

In suicide, one takes his own life, pretending to be the master of it.

In martyrdom, one realizes that only God is master of his life, and therefore that he cannot hold on to that life at the cost of betraying God. Martyrdom is the very opposite of suicide, because the martyr declares that God alone is Lord of Life, and that being faithful to Him is worth any price, including death.
As we honor the martyrs and all the saints, let’s recommit ourselves to building a world that acknowledges God alone as the Master of life and death.

–Fr. Frank

Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Those who work for justice will always be persecuted by those who foster injustice. Those who work to preserve the most basic justice, that is, protecting the right to life, are persecuted all the time, by both believers and non-believers. They are accused of having a narrow focus and a lack of compassion, while in reality they are focused on the most broad-based right of all and have compassion for the most vulnerable of all.

Because they know this, pro-life activists can be at peace in the midst of the persecution. They need not be distracted, nor should they ever doubt themselves. The ridicule they endure is a promised blessing from above, the blessing of suffering for doing what is right.

–Fr. Frank

Fr. Pavone on President Obama’s Promise Not to Fund Abortion in “My Plan”: It Depends

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, responded today to President Obama’s statement to Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) that when he said in his September speech to Congress that “our plan” would not use federal dollars to fund abortion, he was not referring to any of the bills pending in Congress.

“Every time the President has spoken of not wanting to fund abortion in ‘his’ health care plan, no one has really known what measure he was talking about,” said Fr. Pavone. “Now we know from his conversation with Congressman Stupak that the President’s ‘plan’ has never seen the light of day. Or maybe, to paraphrase former President Bill Clinton, it depends on what the word ‘plan’ means.”

Mercy Shall Be Theirs

Blessed are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs. At the heart of our religion is the cry for mercy that we direct to the Lord. His mercy does not only mean his forgiveness for the wrong we have done, but also means his protection for us from the power of our spiritual and physical enemies.

But when we seek and receive his mercy, we also incur the duty to extend that mercy to our brothers and sisters who depend on us to protect and rescue them.

Those who need our mercy the most are the children in the womb. They have been deprived of the most basic protection of their lives. Blessed are they who show mercy. Blessed are they who speak up for these children and work to end abortion.

–Fr. Frank

Pregnancy Resource Centers: Turning Despair to Hope

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

One of the most encouraging facts about the pro-life effort in our country is that there are far more pregnancy resource centers (over 2300) than there are abortion mills (about 740).

The centers used to be called “crisis pregnancy centers” and were often advertised with the promise of “free pregnancy tests.” Now, the more common term is “pregnancy resource centers” (PRCs), and the range of services provided goes far beyond pregnancy testing, and includes the services of fully licensed medical clinics.

Moreover, these centers do not just operate on their own with the support of their local communities. Rather, there are large well-organized networks of pregnancy centers, united by a commitment to professional standards of care, expert training programs, and joint efforts to make sure everyone knows exactly where to turn for alternatives to abortion.

All this is good news for the pro-life movement, and to help spread that good news, a report was recently compiled by several of the leading pregnancy resource networks and organizations that foster them. Called “A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life,” this pregnancy center report for 2009 was prepared by Heartbeat International, Care Net, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, LIFE International, and the Family Research Council. The corresponding website is

As the report states, “PRCs serve some 1.9 million people each year with pregnancy assistance, abstinence counseling and education, community outreach programs and referrals, and public health linkages….Every day in the United States pregnancy resource centers assist an average of 5,500 Americans, female and male, young and old, with sexuality-and-pregnancy-related concerns.”

Twenty-nine of every 30 people engaged in pregnancy center work are volunteers, involved with lay and peer counseling, medical services (including ultrasound and STD testing), center upkeep, fundraising, parenting classes, and programs for healing after abortion.

The pregnancy center networks Heartbeat and Care Net operate the “Option Line,” a telephone hotline by which the caller is connected with the center closest to where he/she lives. At Priests for Life, we promote this hotline, 1-800-712-HELP, and its corresponding website,, in all our public outreach.

Even the secular world is recognizing the impact of this movement. In January 2008, on the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, Nancy Gibbs of Time magazine cited the “evidence that the quiet campaign for women’s hearts and minds, conducted in thousands of crisis pregnancy centers around the country, on billboards, phone banks and websites, is having an effect” in reducing abortion rates, which are down by one third from their U.S. high.

And on September 19, 2008, the White House honored the selfless volunteers who work in the pregnancy centers. Dr. Joxel Garcia, who was the Assistant Secretary of Health, bestowed awards in the name of the President on over 150 volunteers and 56 pregnancy center organizations.

We should honor them too, and the best way we can do that is to make sure that everyone knows about their services. Let’s spread the word vigorously!

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Peace is more than the absence of war. The foundation of peace is justice, that everyone’s rights are protected and everyone’s dignity is recognized. Peace means that our relationships with God and one another are what they are supposed to be.

To fight abortion, therefore, is one of the ways that we work for peace. Abortion completely oppresses and diminishes the rights of the child who is killed. Rather than fostering right relationships, it destroys them, starting with the most basic relationship between a mother and her own child.

A peacemaker seeks out the most vulnerable in society, and urges the rest of society to welcome them. Let’s build peace by advocating for the unborn and stopping the violence of abortion.

–Fr. Frank

Blessed Are The Pure of Heart

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. This beatitude impels us to ask ourselves what our deepest longings and desires are, what motivates our choices, and how consistently we want to do what is right. The pure of heart seek to please God before they please themselves, even at the cost of great sacrifice.

Having a pure heart protects us from the temptations of the culture of death. Meeting the needs of a vulnerable child in the womb requires a new and selfless center of gravity. We put the child first and our own plans and conveniences last.

And when we speak up for that child, we stop worrying about the criticism we might receive. The pure of heart don’t care about that. They only care about doing what’s right.

–Fr. Frank

Between Now and Election Day

Between now and Election Day, pro-life people should focus on gathering the “low-hanging fruit.” Winning elections for pro-life candidates is not so much a matter of converting people, but of counting them. So many people who are already converted, and think the way we do, are not paying attention to off-year elections, or are going to forget to vote, or are going to need a ride to the polls, or are simply not going to know who the pro-life candidates are. Each of us can change that if we simply reach out to those who think as we do, and make sure they vote.

If you had to gather as many oranges as possible in an hour, you wouldn’t spend time climbing to the top of the trees. You’d grab the low-hanging fruit that is easier to reach. So it is with votes.

–Fr. Frank

Blessed Are They Who Hunger and Thirst for Justice

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice; they will be satisfied. This beatitude speaks to the heart of the pro-life movement. We seek justice first of all by seeking to be right with God and in all our relationships. And we seek justice by seeking to protect the rights of all, especially the weakest among us, our brothers and sisters in the womb. We are blessed not merely by believing they have a right to life, but by feeling the hunger and thirst, the longing and yearning, that they be protected and that this right be recognized and secured by law.

We also seek justice by working to extend healing and forgiveness to all who have been involved in abortion, that they too will be right with God and know his peace.

–Fr. Frank

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. We are blessed, indeed, if we mourn over our sins, and over the evils in the world, like the daily killing of children by abortion. When is the last time we shed tears over the shedding of blood, and wept for the lives of these babies killed and moms and dads wounded? Let us pray for the gift of those tears!

Let us ask the Lord to give us a broken heart over abortion. That’s where pro-life activism begins, because when our hearts are broken, they are humble. They are also open to the grace God wants to give us to do our part in ending this evil. And he will also give us comfort, as he brings justice to the earth.

–Fr. Frank