Archive for March, 2010

Celebrating The Annunciation

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Today, the Church throughout the world celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation. This solemnity marks the moment when God Himself became an unborn child. At that moment he also began redeeming the unborn child — and all of us who once were unborn children. Never can the unborn be considered too small to be significant or to possess rights, for God Himself was that small. In many countries, today’s Feast is observed as a special Day of Life, even by decree of the government. At www.priestsforlife.org, you will find special prayers you can use in your homes and Churches as you observe this feast. Let us all renew our commitment to the lives of the unborn, and to Jesus, whose image is in each one of them.

–Fr. Frank

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Embrace Life At Every Stage

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

The service that the Church carries out to humanity embraces life at every stage and in every circumstance. Our “ethic of life” is indeed consistent, because love is indivisible. To fail to respect a human life at any stage of its development is to break the principle that holds it sacred at every stage of its development.

That is why one may never use our duty to life at one stage as a justification for destroying it at another. Some have tried to do this in the health care debate, by their willingness to expand child killing in the process of helping adults get medical treatment. This approach is self defeating, because as soon as we tolerate the killing of children, we undercut every rationale to provide health care to both children and adults.

–Fr. Frank

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Abortion Is Not Health Care!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Despite the views of some in political office, abortion is not an aspect of health care. In fact, this destructive and violent act does not even deserve the name “Medical procedure.” After all, a medical procedure is supposed to help the body to do what it is trying to do, but is having trouble doing. Abortion is just the opposite: it stops the body from doing what it is supposed to do and is doing very well. And in stopping the life of the child within by an unnatural and cruel method, it introduces numerous complications for the health of the mother. Abortion is not health care, it is not respectable, and it deserves the same kind of rejection by society as slavery, segregation, and terrorism.

–Fr. Frank

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I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life- Part 9

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

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Fr. Pavone on Health Care Vote: It’s Our Move

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

“You can’t pass the right kind of laws without the right lawmakers in office,” Fr. Pavone said. “America has spoken to its lawmakers about their concerns. The lawmakers have spoken back. Now it’s our move again. This law will be challenged in many ways. And it’s time to prepare for November’s elections, so that the changes the American people see fit to make can be made.”

“Yesterday I was privileged to deliver a homily at a prayer service held in the Capitol for members of Congress,” Fr. Pavone added. “I spoke about the fact that authority and power mean service, and that the people whom the legislators serve are not their people, but God’s people. We govern ourselves; our voices matter. Thank God that when legislators take public policy the wrong way, there are ways to remedy that. Let’s get started.”

This Wednesday night, March 24, Priests for Life and the other groups who are part of the “Vote Pro-life Coalition” will host a national teleconference as a follow up to this health care vote. Experts from Focus on the Family and National Right to Life will share their perspectives on what happened, and the November elections will be discussed. Sign up for the teleconference, which you can follow either by phone or computer, at www.priestsforlife.org/conferencecall.

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He Suffered for the Sake of Human Life

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The Passion of Christ was far more horrible than most of our crucifixes portray. As we reflect on how much he suffered, we also reflect on why. He suffered for the sake of human life. Christ Jesus came to rescue the human life he had created, to snatch it from the kingdom of death and bring it into his kingdom of life. And he includes every human being of every age. I ask you to remember this Lent that Jesus endured his Passion for every unborn child in the womb. He endured every pain that the unborn might be saved as well as the born. When you pray the Stations of the Cross or the sorrowful mysteries, or watch the movie of his Passion, ask for the grace to inconvenience yourself a little more for the unborn.

–Fr. Frank

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Fr. Paul Marx’s Passing and the Health Care Reform Vote

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Brothers and Sisters,

I just learned with sorrow of the death of one of the world’s greatest pro-life advocates, Fr. Paul Marx, OSB.

Fr. Marx was, first and foremost, a priest who was not afraid to be a prophet. He knew that his mission in bearing witness to the Gospel and in fostering love of God and neighbor compelled him to speak up for our smallest neighbors, those in the first moments and weeks of life. He undertook countless initiatives, made seemingly endless trips, gave innumerable talks, wrote a warehouse of articles and books, and inspired countless people in the effort to build a Culture of Life.

I first came to know Fr. Marx through his founding and leadership of Human Life International and the remarkable conferences he held for pro-life advocates around the world. He was always a clear reminder to his brother priests that we should never be afraid to speak about abortion, contraception, and the beauty of human sexuality as taught by the Church. All of us at Priests for Life are grateful for the strong encouragement he gave to our ministry. We will pray not only for the repose of his soul, but for the continued fruit of his labors in the minds and hearts of so many people and in the policies of so many nations.

Speaking of the fruit of his labors, we are at a pivotal moment this weekend with the health care vote, and I invite you to read, spread, and quote from my open letter to Congress. Here is the link, and below is the text.

On Sunday morning, March 21, members of Congress and their spouses will hold a prayer service in the US Congress, and I have been asked to deliver a homily. The purpose of this gathering is not political or legislative, but rather religious: to express our dependence upon God as a nation. In the early days of our Republic, prayer services were held in Congress. Many have long since forgotten that, and Sunday’s service will be a reminder that worship is not incompatible with the legislative chambers of our government. Please pray along with our lawmakers, that they will have wisdom, especially as they cast the important vote on health care reform, and in all the other decisions they need to make.

Many thanks!

Fr. Frank Pavone

National Director

Open Letter to Congress: The Health Care Vote and Abortion

March 20, 2010

Dear Members of Congress,

As you prepare to cast your vote on health care reform, abortion again has emerged as a momentous and defining issue in this debate. Some consider it a distraction or an unwanted obstacle to authentic health care reform. But the fact is that the abortion debate is bigger and more important than the health care reform debate, and the apparent inability of our nation to avoid wrestling with the abortion issue is another sign that until we resolve the abortion debate the right way, we will not be able to make the progress we need to make on health care or any other matter of social justice or human rights.

Today, therefore, along with countless other Americans, I urge you not to try to look beyond the abortion debate, but to look at it directly, to wrestle with it honestly, and to realize that it is the question that surpasses all others, because it involves the principle that underlies all others.

As a public servant, you are responsible to know the difference between serving the public and killing the public. The first responsibility of government is the protection of human life. To fail to do this is to fail to serve. To violate the right to life is to fail to protect every human right, including health care.

The service that we are all called to carry out to humanity embraces life at every stage and in every circumstance. To fail to respect a human life at any stage of its development is to break the principle that holds it sacred at every stage of its development.

That is why one may never use our duty to life at one stage to justify destroying it at another. Some have tried to do this in the health care debate, by their willingness to expand child killing in the process of helping adults get medical treatment. This approach is self defeating, because as soon as we tolerate the killing of children, we undercut every rationale to provide health care to both children and adults.

Despite the views of some in political office, abortion is not an aspect of health care. In fact, this destructive and violent act does not even deserve the name “medical procedure.” After all, a medical procedure is supposed to help the body to do what it is trying to do, but is having trouble doing. Abortion is just the opposite: it stops the body from doing what it is supposed to do and is doing very well. And in stopping the life of the child within by an unnatural and cruel method, it introduces numerous complications for the health of the mother. Abortion is not health care, it is not respectable, and it deserves the same kind of rejection by society as slavery, segregation, and terrorism.

We who are part of the vast pro-life movement in America call upon you, our legislators, and all our fellow citizens to listen carefully to what the practitioners of abortion say about the procedure itself.

Abortionist Martin Haskell, in describing, under oath, the suction curettage abortion procedure, said , “The fetus passes through the catheter and either dies in transit as it’s passing through the catheter or dies in the suction bottle after it’s actually all the way out” (1).

The same abortionist describes the D and E procedure by saying, “We would attack the lower part of the lower extremity first, remove, you know, possibly a foot, then the lower leg at the knee and then finally we get to the hip … Typically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece…” (2)

Abortionist Warren Hern writes in his medical textbook Abortion Practice, “A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…” (p.154).

We ask you, our legislators: When you say the word abortion, is this what you mean? Is this the kind of activity you want to fund?

We in the pro-life movement also listen to and give voice to the women and men who have lost children to abortion. Their experiences, shared through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, draw attention to the physical and psychological damage abortion does. These are voices we cannot ignore.

Some prefer to ignore, trivialize, or relativize abortion. Others, represented by the pro-life movement, declare not only that it is wrong, but that it is a show-stopper, a deal-breaker.

It is a show-stopper precisely because the principle it breaks is the show-starter for every effort and struggle on behalf of human rights, including the great experiment in freedom and self-governance that is the United States of America.

As Pope John Paul II explained, “The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (3).

The United States Catholic bishops expressed it this way: “Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. … But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the “temple of the Holy Spirit” — the living house of God — then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand” (4).

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, when he was Archbishop of Chicago, explained “the consistent ethic of life,” showing that issues like health care are connected to issues like abortion and every other issue. He also explained, “A consistent ethic of life does not equate the problem of taking life (e.g., through abortion and in war) with the problem of promoting human dignity (through humane programs of nutrition, health care, and housing). But a consistent ethic identifies both the protection of life and its promotion as moral questions” (5) He also said, “The fundamental human right is to life—from the moment of conception until death. It is the source of all other rights, including the right to health care” (6).

Today, you stand again in the crosshairs of this debate whether you choose to or not. Some will continue to dismiss our concerns. Others will echo them, declaring that we can no more pay for the destruction of innocent children weeks after their life begins than we can do so years after their life begins.

Today, you have the opportunity to decide whether you will contribute to our nation’s blindness about abortion, or whether you will be part of a new awakening, by which our nation will see the abortion debate as the civil rights issue of our time and again apply its founding principles to its youngest citizens.

Fr. Frank Pavone,
National Director, Priests for Life
President, National Pro-life Religious Council

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) Christifideles Laici, 1988

(4) Living the Gospel of Life n. 23, 1998

(5) A Consistent Ethic of Life: Continuing the Dialogue, The William Wade Lecture Series, St. Louis University, March 11, 1984.

(6) The Consistent Ethic of Life and Health Care Systems, Foster McGaw Triennial Conference, Loyola University of Chicago, May 8, 1985.

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National Organization of Women Religious Join Bishops in Rejecting Senate Health Care Bill

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Washington, DC – The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), a canonically approved organization of U.S. major superiors representing over 100 communities of women religious (http://www.cmswr.org/member_communities/membercommunities.html)
responded today to the Catholic Health Association, Network, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious who have directly opposed the US bishops’ position on the health care bill currently before Congress.

The CMSWR statement declares the Senate health insurance bill unacceptable based on the legislation’s expansion of abortion funding and its inadequate protection of health care workers’ right of conscience.

Given the dire circumstances that passage of the Senate bill would bring upon our nation, Priests for Life is reprinting and circulating the CMMWR’s important statement below.

Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious
P.O. Box 4467 • Washington, D.C. 20017-0467
Telephone: (202) 832-2575 • FAX: (202) 832-6325 • E-mail: cmswr@ix.netcom.com

March 18, 2010

In a March 15th statement, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on behalf of the United States Bishops in opposition to the Senate’s version of the health care legislation under consideration because of its expansion of abortion funding and its lack of adequate provision for conscience protection. Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Church’s position on critical issues of health care reform.

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the second conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, finds the provision of the bill to include expansion of abortion funding and fails to include conscience protection. We believe the bill needs to include the Hyde Amendment as passed by the House in November.

Protection of life and freedom of conscience are central to morally responsible judgment. We join the bishops in seeking ethically sound legislation.

Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan, R.S.M.
President
On behalf of the Membership of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious

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St. Joseph, A Model for All Fathers

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of her patron, St. Joseph. Though not the biological father of Jesus, who was born of a virgin, Joseph was his protector and the faithful husband of Mary. Joseph is a model for all fathers today. Essential to fatherhood is the protection of one’s children. One of the main reasons for abortion is that the mother does not experience the supportive, faithful encouragement of the baby’s father. Often, the only “choice” in the matter is the abortion that the father forces on the mother. At other times, fathers tried to stop the abortion. But the law excludes them from the final decision about the abortion. Men do suffer grief after the abortion of their child. Healing programs are available for these fathers. Contact priestsforlife.org for more information.

–Fr. Frank

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Fr. Pavone to Nuns: Right to Life at Heart of Social Justice

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Washington, DC – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today responded to the letter from several dozen leaders of women’s religious congregations who expressed support for the Senate health care bill.

“First of all, contrary to its claim, this statement does not represent 59,000 nuns; it represents the approximately 59 nuns who signed it. Secondly, while the bishops’ analysis of the health care bill relies on the expertise of legal analysts, it is not clear what expert analysis these signers have relied on. Third, it is absurd to advocate social justice while risking the expansion of a holocaust. The right to life is at the heart of social justice. We can’t pursue one by sacrificing the other,” Fr. Pavone said.

Earlier this week, Priests for Life called upon all clergy and religious to visit the local offices of their US Representatives, and to echo to them the bishops’ call to reject the bill in its present form. In the light of this letter from women religious, Priests for Life will redouble its efforts to bring the voices of millions of Catholics to this debate in the days ahead.

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