The Holy Father has created a new Vatican office called the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The term “New Evangelization,” of which Pope John Paul the Second was very fond, means that the unchanging Gospel of Christ has to be reannounced in those parts of the world where, although the faith has been rooted for a long time, secularism has made people forget its meaning. In starting this new Council, Pope Benedict said that some of the things whose meaning we forget are birth, life and death. The practice of abortion is a perfect example of that. If we forget God and His love for humanity, we forget why we have to love humanity. As this Council for New Evangelization begins, let us become the People of the New Evangelization, announcing new respect for life.
Archive for October, 2010
The Holy Father has announced that on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, that is, Saturday, November 27, he will hold a Vigil of Prayer for the Unborn Child. This will be a worldwide prayer initiative which he is inviting bishops to likewise hold in their own dioceses. The Pontifical Council for the Family and the Congregation for Divine Worship are sponsoring this effort, and Priests for Life will promote it around the world.
This is a very appropriate effort because in Advent we reflect on Mary’s “yes” to a pregnancy she neither planned nor anticipated. We also reflect that God Himself became an embryo and a fetus in the womb of Mary. The God who lived in the womb expects us to recognize and defend life in the womb.
Fr. Frank Pavone, speaking on behalf of Priests for Life and the National Pro-life Religious Council, issued the following statement today regarding the death of Dr. Mildred Jefferson:
“Dr. Mildred Jefferson was a constant inspiration to me both before and after I became National Director of Priests for Life. In recent years, I especially enjoyed talking with her about the history of the movement and the strategies for the future. She always spoke about the movement with a fresh enthusiasm, vision, and readiness to carry out the work. She did not carry her many years of service as a burden, but as a source of strength! May we all drink of that same spirit!
Moreover, her passing should remind us of our duty to reflect on and record the history of our movement, and pass it on to the younger generations of pro-life activists. Those who have brought the pro-life movement to where it is now will not be with us forever, and their wisdom is a treasure which we should explore while we still have the opportunity to do so.”
Many states have begun early voting for this year’s elections. As our bishops have said, “Every voice matters in the public forum; every vote counts.”
We need to use our vote to advance the culture of life. Sometimes candidates for local office say that their positions on big moral issues like abortion don’t matter. But they do, because they measure a person’s character. Besides, those in local office tend to move up to higher office.
And if a politician can’t respect the life of a little baby, how’s he supposed to respect yours?
Don’t miss out on voting. Learn who is running, and where they stand on life issues. And call your friends and those in your Church groups, and remind them to vote as well.
Advocates of abortion have always tried to hijack the language and concept of freedom. The reality of killing a child has been camouflaged in the words “freedom of choice.” Yet Scripture makes clear the real meaning of freedom. In Exodus seven sixteen, God has Moses tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” But here, and in the following chapters, this command in its fullness is, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Freedom has a content. It is not a cloak for whatever we want to do; it is a road to serve the Lord. And the service of the Lord means there are some things we always choose and some things that we always reject. The service of the Lord is a way of life – indeed a narrow way. Yet to follow it is freedom.
The following article appeared in The Washington Times on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.
It is dismaying to hear some pro-life politicians calling for a “truce” on social issues like abortion – possible White House contenders Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour among them. Their suggestion is that it’s more important to do whatever is necessary to get elected than to worry about issues that appear to be intractable.
This tactic is akin to the pro-life and pro-abortion movements agreeing to disagree, an option often considered a reasonable one. It does not require that either side change its views, but simply agrees to allow the different views, and the practices that flow from them.
Sorry, but this is a proposal we in the pro-life movement can’t accept. There can be no truce.
First of all, to ask us to “agree to disagree” about abortion is to ask us to change our position on it. Why do we disagree in the first place? When we oppose abortion, we disagree with the notion that it is even negotiable. We do not only claim that we cannot practice abortion, but that nobody can practice it, precisely because it violates the most fundamental human right, the right to life. To “agree to disagree” means that we no longer see abortion for what it is – a violation of a right so fundamental that disagreement cannot be allowed to tamper with it.
To “agree to disagree” is to foster the notion that the baby is a baby only if the mother thinks it is, that the child has value only if the mother says it does and that we have responsibility only for those we choose to have responsibility for.
Certainly, there are many disputes in our nation about which we can “agree to disagree.” Various proposals, programs and strategies can be debated as we try to figure out how best to secure people’s rights. But these legitimate areas of disagreement relate to how to secure people’s rights, whereas the abortion controversy is about whether to secure or even recognize those rights at all. We can agree to disagree whether certain government programs should be allowed, but not whether acts of violence should be allowed. “Agree to disagree” seems like a neutral posture to assume, but it neutralizes what can never be neutral; namely, the right to life.
Furthermore, the abortion dispute is not merely about conceptual disagreement – it’s about justice. It’s about violence, bloodshed and victims who need to be defended. In the midst of a policy permitting thousands of babies a day to be killed, to “agree to disagree” means to cease to defend the absolute rights of these victims.
We don’t fight oppression by “agreeing to disagree” with the oppressor. It is precisely when the oppressor disagrees that we have to intervene to stop the violence. The fact that the oppressor does not recognize the victim as a person does not remove our obligation to the victim. In the face of injustice, we are not simply called to disagree with it, but to stop it.
Worse even than the notion of agreeing to disagree is the suggestion that abortion is irrelevant as an issue in the 2010 elections because it is “settled law.” No issue is less settled than abortion. More importantly, America’s courts and legislatures have a history of changing “settled law.”
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1856) is the most commonly cited instance. The slaveholder’s right to property eclipsed and subsumed the slave’s right to freedom. But the Constitution eventually was amended to correct the error.
Decisions like Lochner v. New York (1905) show us another error: Employers’ right to contract eclipsed and subsumed the workers’ rights to humane conditions and hours. These abuses were corrected by subsequent Supreme Court decisions like Muller v. Oregon and Bunting v. Oregon.
The “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) sanctioning segregation was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education some 58 years later.
Erroneous decisions like Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) institutionalized child labor. But this was overturned 23 years later by United States v. Darby. A new development – a “pedagogical moment” – occurred here in constitutional law. The question was whether constitutional rights applied to children, too. The answer was yes.
Many reversals of Supreme Court cases came about when new evidence made it clear that someone’s rights, not previously recognized, were being violated. Thus, Louis Brandeis brought forward the facts about how workers were being harmed.
We are now witnessing the same trend regarding children in the womb. Evidence that has been around for quite some time demonstrating their humanity, and their inalienable right to life, is finding its way into legislatures and courts.
With hundreds of embryological studies, and massive evidence of the harm abortion does to women, such evidence, combined with new legal concepts, can challenge Roe v. Wade in the same way its erroneous ancestral decisions were challenged.
The day after Roe v. Wade was decided, the New York Times headline read, “Supreme Court settles abortion.” It has remained the most unsettled issue on our national landscape.
I’d like to share with you today this inspiring testimony that came to me in a recent email:
“I have a dear friend who is very ‘pro-choice’ and I said: ‘Do you think there should be any restrictions on abortions?’ The answer was no. I happened to have my laptop available and said: ‘Have you ever seen what an abortion looks like?’ The answer was: ‘No and I don’t believe it’s a baby until at least the 3rd trimester.’ I accessed your website and showed her the pictures. She was rightfully and truly horrified about what this REALLY looks like. And, she started to cry. She isn’t ‘pro-choice’ anymore.”
You can do the same for your pro-abortion friends. Show them the pictures of abortion at priestsforlife.org.
A Charlottesville Presbyterian pastor has made a shocking claim: Decisions to abort a child can be guided by the Holy Spirit.
First of all, the Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life. He gives us the strength to choose life, not the permission to take it.
Secondly, this pastor’s claim is a blatant abandonment of responsibility, not really any different from the claim, “The devil made me do it.” Each of us is responsible for the good we choose and the evil we choose. No matter who tells us that it’s OK to kill a baby, our duty is to say No.
This pastor reminds us that there are many false prophets in our midst, using words of faith to justify child killing.
It’s amazing how many things are blamed on the Holy Spirit.
A coalition of pro-life groups has responded to the assertion of some pro-life candidates that in this year’s elections, the social issues like abortion should not be a focus of attention, but rather issues like jobs and the economy.
The Vote ProLife Coalition, organized by Priests for Life, points out that abortion is always a critical election issue, because if the government can take one’s life, it can take one’s job and money, too. There is no issue more fundamental or non-negotiable than abortion.
There can be no truce, and no “agree to disagree” position, because when someone is perpetrating violence, we don’t sit back and agree to disagree with the perpetrator; rather, we stop the perpetrator. Therefore, whether politically convenient or inconvenient, we call for an end to abortion.
The Feast of St. Gerard Majella is approaching. He is the patron saint of pregnant mothers, of childbirth, and of unborn children.
Priests for Life invites you to join a special novena in his honor. At the priestsforlife.org website, you can download a prayer to St. Gerard, and give to us any prayer intentions you have for couples who are seeking to conceive a child, or for women having difficult pregnancies, for those who have lost children, or who have special prayer intentions for their living children.
All of our priests will remember those intentions during this novena, leading up to St. Gerard’s feast day on October 16th.
Many miracles have been worked through the intercession of St. Gerard, especially in regard to pregnancy and childbirth. Please join the St. Gerard Majella novena, at priestsforlife.org.