In 1959, the United Nations issued the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. This document states that, “…the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” This was incorporated into a treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states in Article 6: “Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.” To us in the pro-life movement, the next steps are obvious. The language of these declarations and treaties needs to be brought to its consistent and logical conclusion. The violence of abortion, which denies the child’s right to life and kills the child, is in fact prohibited by the language of these documents.
Rome – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said in a statement today that the life of Dr. Bernard Nathanson is one of the most remarkable stories of God’s mercy and power.
“My own life has intersected with his since the mid-80’s, and our last time together was just last week” Fr. Pavone explained. “Years ago, Dr. Nathanson said, ‘I uncaged the abortion monster in the United States,’ and then he told us priests that he and his former colleagues ‘would never have gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful and strong.’ That assertion is at the core of our ministry at Priests for Life.”
Fr. Pavone continued, “I will never forget the workshop at which I introduced him at the 1994 Human Life International Conference in Irvine, CA. He was supposed to talk about chemical abortion, but at the last minute decided instead to speak of his spiritual journey. At the end of the talk, he said that he was standing on the brink of conversion to the Catholic Church. The room exploded. People were leaping into the air. He said that he hoped God could forgive him, and I said, ‘Dr. Nathanson, He already has.’ And I reminded him of that exchange just last week.”
Dr. Nathanson appears in the introductory video of Priests for Life. “He called Priests for Life the ‘Paul Revere’ of the pro-life movement, and said that he was always immensely grateful for our work, because though he caught the Church asleep on the abortion issue in the late 60’s, he believed the Church could be re-activated to build the Culture of Life. In memory of Dr. Nathanson, we will redouble our efforts to do just that,” Fr. Pavone concluded.
This week, three members of the Priests for Life Pastoral Team are in Rome for the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Fr. Frank Pavone, who is a member of the Academy, along with Dr. Theresa Burke (Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard and fulltime Pastoral Associate with Priests for Life) and Janet Morana (Executive Director of Priests for Life) will participate in the meeting from this Thursday to Saturday. The Assembly, bringing members from around the world, will focus, among other themes, on post-abortion trauma and healing. The Pontifical Academy for Life, which engages in research on life issues at the service of the Holy See, has asked Dr. Theresa Burke to give the presentation on what the scientific literature says about the damage abortion does.
Fr. Pavone stated today, “Priests for Life has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Academy for Life over the years. The research that our own Pastoral Team collects and carries out has been helpful to individual diocesan bishops, Episcopal conferences, and to the Holy See, and we are happy to continue that tradition! In all the meetings we are having with Vatican officials this week, moreover, the work of Rachel’s Vineyard, which operates under the umbrella of Priests for Life, is a topic of conversation, as we continue to bring the Lord’s healing to countless men and women who have lost children to abortion around the world.”
The General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life will conclude on Saturday with a meeting with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
Fr. Pavone announced today that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, has officially joined the Advisory Board of Bishops for our organization. “Priests for Life, as a recognized private Association of the Faithful that is both national and international in scope, is not under the auspices of any one diocese,” Fr. Frank explained. “The priests assigned to our ministry belong to a variety of dioceses and religious congregations, and the programs we operate function in dozens of countries, the latest of which is Austria, where Cardinal Schönborn has enthusiastically welcomed our apostolate.”
The Advisory Board of Bishops has functioned, since the start of Priests for Life, as a resource for the organization to facilitate communication with the bishops around the world and to be a sounding board for advice and encouragement.
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement following the Feb. 18 House vote to defund Planned Parenthood:
“It usually takes the law a while to catch up with reality. Since 1991, the pro-life movement has been sounding the alarm that the entire abortion industry, including but not limited to Planned Parenthood, is full of lies, corruption, and abuse. It is nothing short of a criminal conspiracy. Yet even if that were not true, no government funds should be used for the killing of children.
“Now that the House of Representatives has voted to defund Planned Parenthood, it is the Senate’s turn to do the same. It is time for the people to make history and defy the notion that they cannot get the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood. It is time for our citizens to speak with an unprecedented, unified, and loud voice: No more money to the most corrupt organization in America!”
Singer and song writer Dan Hill wrote a song in 1989 called “Unborn Heart.” Part of the lyrics read as follows: “Soon you will hear the beating of an unborn heart, this is the answer you have been searching for so hard. And for the first time in my life I felt the wave of love so deep as I listened for the unborn child’s heartbeat. Now we all know how crazy this world can be sometimes and I lay awake at night and wonder how a child survives beyond the danger and the strangers and the inhumanity. Lord, give us strength to someday find a world that lives in peace.” This song has inspired me over the years in my pro-life work. May more songs sing of the unborn.
As illustrated by the outcome of this afternoon’s vote, members of the newly-elected House of Representatives are moving forward with various bills to defund the abortion industry. The argument here is not simply that we should not be forced to pay for things with which we disagree. The argument is that we should not pay for the killing of children. Remember, many of the most ardent supporters of abortion admit that it kills a child. Our government, indeed our civilization, is built on the premise that life is to be protected, not destroyed.
The recent revelations about Planned Parenthood’s willingness to cover up sexual exploitation build on revelations uncovered many years ago. Life Dynamics called hundreds of Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide. The caller, posing as a minor made pregnant by statutory rape, was consistently taught how to lie so that the abortion clinic would not have to report the incident.
As I always say, you can’t practice vice virtuously. Planned Parenthood carries out, justifies, defends, and even celebrates the horrifying dismemberment of children in the womb. After doing that, they are hardly going to have much of a conscience left in regard to any other kind of right and wrong. If one devalues the child in the womb, one will devalue the child outside the womb. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.
It’s always good when we can see pro-life convictions expressed in the entertainment industry. One example stretches way back to the year after Roe vs. Wade. In 1974, Seals and Crofts produced a song called Unborn Child. The lyrics read in part: “Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your mama is planning to do. You still are clinging to the tree of life, but soon you’ll be cut off before you get ripe. Momma, stop, turn around – go back!” Let’s pray that more songs will reflect the pro-life message.
The Lord’s Prayer concludes with the words, “Deliver us from evil.” In asking this, we are not asking to be delivered from some vague force or bad luck. Rather, we are asking to be delivered from the influence and power of a real person, the Devil, also known as the Evil One. His kingdom of death has been defeated, and so his power is limited, but he still seeks to lead us astray. When we pray to be delivered from the Evil One, we are praying to be delivered from the culture of death, and to stay faithful to Christ’s Kingdom of Life. We are praying that we will not be deceived by the false promises of the Evil One, who presents abortion as a solution to a problem, though it is no such thing.