New York, NY – A non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to fostering active participation of citizens in the political process has announced a series of “Voter Registration Sundays” for 2010. The groups, called the “Vote Pro-life Coalition” are urging pastors of all denominations, as well as leaders of other organizations, to give their people the opportunity to register to vote at Church services and other gatherings.
The designated weekends are March 14, May 23, July 4, and September 12.
“Enabling people to register to vote is a noble way to exercise and foster responsible citizenship,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, which initiated the Coalition. “This activity on the part of Churches and other tax-exempt entities is fully permitted by civil law and fully consistent with the Gospel mandate to change the world. The purpose of our coalition is to motivate and encourage leaders to engage in activities like this. We will provide helpful guidance, but our goal is that the Churches and organizations themselves actually carry out the work.”
The website www.PoliticalResponsibility.com will provide resources, including voter registration guidelines, dates, and requirements for each state.
Among the members of this growing Coalition are American Values, Anglicans for Life, CatholicVote.org, Citizens for a Pro-life Society, Gospel of Life Ministries, The Heidi Group, The Justice Foundation, Life Coalition International, LifeNews.com, National Clergy Council, National Pro-life Religious Council, Operation Outcry, Priests for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and Wallbuilders.
Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented today on the case of a 26-year-old woman who held a knife to the throat of a pro-life sidewalk counselor outside a Duluth, Minnesota abortion clinic, then changed her mind and decided not to abort.
“This case illustrates what is true across the board about those seeking abortions and even those performing abortions: they are conflicted and ambivalent. Despite any effort to appear sure of what they are doing, they aren’t. Despite the rhetoric about ‘freedom of choice,’ they resort to abortion because they feel they have no freedom and no choice,” Fr. Pavone asserted.
“And the lesson for pro-life activists is that what often presents itself as anger and upset is often the first stage of conversion. We should not be afraid of these reactions.”
Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented today on the prospect of the Virginia legislature permitting the abortion business Planned Parenthood to profit from the sale of state license plates.
“Approval of a measure that benefits Planned Parenthood financially not only puts more money into the killing of children and harming of women by abortion, but also funds one of the largest criminal conspiracies in the nation,” Fr. Pavone asserted. “We at Priests for Life have helped reveal the fact that Planned Parenthood puts minors in danger by covering up child abuse and statutory rape. Not only should they not benefit from specialty plates; they should be closed altogether.”
The movement to keep abortion legal has resorted for decades to the word “choice.” Recently, for example, abortion advocates have lobbied for a specialty license plate in Virginia that reads, “Trust Women – Respect Choice.”
But they neither understand the issue, nor practice what they preach.
They fail to understand that women do not get abortions because of freedom of choice, but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice.
Abortion advocates also oppose measures that would enhance the choices of women – such as the pro-life specialty license plates, which fund alternatives to abortion. These advocates also oppose measures that would inform the woman’s choice by giving her information about the risks of the abortion procedure and the development of her child. And they want us to think they respect choice.
Across the United States, more and more states are offering residents the option to have pro-life specialty license plates. The pro-abortion groups feel threatened by this, and so try to stop the plates from being approved. Having failed to do that time and time again, the abortion advocates now are trying to have pro-choice plates made. Yet such plates have failed to be very popular.
In Virginia, the abortion advocates’ proposed plate reads, “Trust Women – Respect Choice.”
Of course, the call to trust women misses the point entirely. If trusting women means the law should allow them to kill their unborn child, why does trusting women not mean the law should allow them to abuse their born child? The pro-life position is not about a lack of trust; it’s about protecting basic human rights.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
In Matthew 5:3-12 we read the Beatitudes, which give a blueprint for Christian spirituality and therefore for the spirituality of being pro-life. In this and following columns, let’s reflect on how each beatitude illumines and strengthens our pro-life commitment.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” When the Lord speaks about the poor in spirit, he is speaking about those for whom there is no help or hope but God Himself. God is the only hope for any of us. But when we have a lot of possessions, friends, and earthly protection, we are tempted to think that those are the things on which our spirits can ultimately rely. But that is an illusion. “Only in God be at rest, my soul; from him comes my help and salvation” (Psalm 62:1). Today, nobody is more unsafe and unprotected than the child in the womb. Their plight makes even God ask, “Can a mother forsake her child?” (Isaiah 49:15) Yet the psalmist declares, “Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10). The unborn are the poorest of the poor, and God calls us to acknowledge and bless them.
“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.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek person knows that God is the source of all he needs. Although he develops his human skills and asserts himself as necessary, the Lord’s servant never believes he has to hurt another to get what he needs. The meek are strong and secure in their dependence on God. They will have a healthy ability to fight for their rights, but will not do so with an anxious need to dominate. In the Lord, they know they will inherit the earth.
The Culture of Death, on the contrary, is built on the idea that sometimes you have to do violence to advance your rights, your career, or your freedom. The violence of abortion is seen as a path to fulfillment.
We will continue our reflections on the Beatitudes in the next column. Meanwhile, those who want to nourish their pro-life spirituality with reflections like this for every day of the year can obtain my book Pro-life Reflections for Every Day at priestsforlife.org/store.
This column can be found online at www.priestsforlife.org/columns/document.aspx?id=2871
Sunday is Valentine’s Day, when many messages of affection are exchanged. It is therefore a good day to reflect on how holy human affection is. The emotions and attractions God has given us are not bad. But they are given to us to be governed by reason and grace. If we do not govern them, or if we always let them have the last word in our decisions, we will end up going against reason and grace alike. A culture of life is a culture that avoids two extremes – one, which looks down on all affection and thinks that the only good things are the things of the spirit; and the other, which allows the emotions to run out of control, with no discipline. On this Valentine’s Day, may God give us understanding, balance, and grace.