The Abortionist and the Priest

On February 21, 2011, Dr. Bernard Nathanson died. As he said, he “uncaged the abortion monster” in the United States. As he describes in his book Aborting America, he and his colleagues launched the abortion rights movement and organizations, feeding false statistics to the media about the numbers of women dying from illegal abortions.

Dr. Nathanson ran the largest abortion clinic in the Western World and was responsible for some 75,000 abortions. He even aborted his own child.

He eventually became pro-life through the evidence of science, and then through the love of the pro-life movement, came to faith. He was baptized into the Catholic Church by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1996.

Among the many lessons we can draw from his life is how he, as a founder of the abortion movement, viewed the Catholic Church. After becoming pro-life, he would give talks entitled “How the Abortion Issue was Stolen from the Church.” He said the Church was asleep, and he did everything possible to marginalize its teaching authority by driving a wedge between bishops and laity on this issue.

Speaking to clergy, he maintained, “We would have never gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful, and strong.” That is why he had such a high regard for Priests for Life. In an interview with me in 1999, Dr. Nathanson said the following:

“Well, you know Priests for Life is an extraordinarily fine group. I don’t say that in order to make anybody feel better or flatter anyone. It’s an unusual and a very unique group in that most of the priests whom I have encountered across this country and indeed around the world, shy away from the subject of abortion. They somehow want to keep it under the rug and only pull it out when they’re ordered to. In my own experience as a Catholic convert for the last several years, I’ve attended a great many Masses and listened to a great many homilies and I believe in three years I’ve listened to only one homily on the subject of abortion and that was here in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Other than that, priests seem not to want to talk about it and Priests for Life is the Paul Revere of this whole gestalt. That Priests for Life are riding around trying to galvanize the rest of the clergy into getting engaged in what is one of the most appalling revolutions of the 20th Century and I am enormously grateful to them and I admire their work enormously. But unfortunately, I believe that there are not enough, that Priests for Life should have a staff twenty times what it has now.”

In the latter part of his life, Dr. Nathanson became a bioethicist, and often expressed to me his concern that the Church not be caught asleep again on the new bioethical issues. Let’s honor him and make sure we are awake and vigilant!

Christ Suffered for the Sake of Human Life

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.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life Leads Covert Mission to Rescue Baby Joseph

STATEN ISLAND, March 14, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — Under cover of darkness, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, arrived in Ontario, Canada, Sunday night to rescue Baby Joseph Maraachli from the London Health Sciences Center. For two weeks, doctors at the hospital in London, Ontario, have been delaying the baby’s transfer to a hospital where efforts to save his life will not be officially labeled “futile.”

“I knew, after this dragged on day after day, that I needed to be here myself to get Baby Joseph to safety,” said Father Pavone. “He needs to be in a hospital that cherishes life over the bottom line. After around-the-clock negotiations, this really became a race against time.” Father Pavone was accompanied by Priests for Life staff, who were there to ensure the transfer proceeded smoothly.

Baby Joseph and his father, Moe Maraachli, were flown with Father Pavone to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo., on a specially equipped air ambulance provided by Michigan-based Kalitta Charters, and sponsored and paid for by the New York City-based Priests for Life.

“If there is a chance this boy can live, we have to explore every option,” said Father Pavone, who was to arrive back home in New York earlier today after weekend speaking engagements in Cleveland. Instead, he flew to Detroit and then on to Canada, vowing not to leave the country until he had Baby Joseph and his father with him.

“Priests for Life staff toiled through the night for many nights, working in concert with dozens of people to make this possible,” Father Pavone said of the nighttime rescue mission. “Now that we have won the battle against the medical bureaucracy in Canada, the real work of saving Baby Joseph can begin.”

Father Pavone said Baby Joseph’s transfer was accomplished through the efforts of a number of people, including his parents; family spokesman Sam Sansalone; family attorney Claudio Martini; Bobby Schindler of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Dr. Martin McCaffrey, a neonatologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Medical School; the Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., and attorney CeCe Heil from the American Center for Law and Justice, also in D.C. Father Frank also thanked the many other Canadian pro-life groups and individuals who have been consistent and heroic in their advocacy for Baby Joseph and for all the vulnerable.

“We are united across national boundaries to continue to work together for a Culture of Life,” Father Pavone said.

SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center opened in 1956 and was named in memory of Cardinal John Glennon, Archbishop of St. Louis from 1903 until his death in 1946. The hospital was a fulfillment of Cardinal Glennon’s vision of a health-care facility open to all children in need of medical care. The hospital is part of SSM Healthcare, which is run by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. The system has 19 acute-care hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Join Us in Praying for Life this Lent

As we make our Lenten journey, I invite you to join with me and thousands of others in a Lenten Prayer for Life. You will find it at Lent is a season in which we prepare to celebrate Christ’s total victory over death, and our share in His life by baptism. Death was not part of God’s original plan for us. Scripture says that God created all things that they may have life, and that He does not rejoice in the destruction of the living.

Standing with Christ in His new life means standing against whatever destroys life.

The Lenten prayer for life renews us in our commitment to be the People of Life. It can be prayed each day by families, school classes, parishes, and individuals.

Download the Lenten prayer for life at

Today is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

Today, pro-abortion activists observe the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. They want to make into heroes the people who get paid for killing babies. Former abortionist Dr. Tony Levatino provided this comment on today’s observance: “Eight years of performing abortions affirming a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ Over 1200 innocent children in five years of private practice shredded in suction machines and dismembered in late-term abortions. Hundreds of dead little faces staring back at me. Dozens of women who chose abortion assuming that they would be able to become pregnant at some later date who found out differently as the years rolled by. A National Day of Appreciation for what I did? No thank you.” Let’s pray today for all abortionists, that they may experience repentance, conversion, and new life.

Priests for Life Looks Forward to a “Lent for Life”

New York, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced yesterday at the beginning of Lent that the Priests for Life family of ministries is looking forward to a very fruitful season for Life.

“We are beginning this week by sharing with every priest in the nation our resources for preaching, including those found at, which show them how to tie in the powerful Lenten themes with the urgent need to defend the unborn. We also have a coordinated prayer campaign taking place in thousands of parishes and schools nationwide, using prayers found at

“Our Pastoral Team, including our priests as well as people like Dr. Alveda King and Dr. Theresa Burke, will speak in dozens of cities and conduct numerous media interviews.

“Our Silent No More Awareness Campaign, co-founded by Janet Morana, our Executive Director, will have gatherings across the nation, including at the office buildings of the US Senate where we are coordinating particular efforts to impact the vote on defunding Planned Parenthood by using the voices of women who were harmed at Planned Parenthood.

“Our priests will speak at many events for 40 Days for Life, a campaign that credits Priests for Life with a large reason for its growth.

“Our media outreach marks this Lent with a new set of episodes on our EWTN program Defending Life, the world’s largest, longest-running TV and radio program on abortion, now in its 18th season. We also mark this week the start of a brand new show, The Catholic View for Women, co-hosted by Janet Morana, Teresa Tomeo, and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez.

“We recommend as Lenten spiritual reading my book Pro-life Reflections for Every Day, as well as the regular You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter updates that I will provide during Lent for pro-life activists. Our clergy webcast on March 21 will help priests to lead their people into a pro-life Lent, and later in the month we will convene a Summit meeting of national pro-life leaders to chart a course of greater collaboration to hasten the day of victory.

“In short, this Lent will be a major boost to the pro-life movement in our country,” Fr. Pavone concluded.

New Series The Catholic View for Women to Premiere

Staten Island, NY – A new era in women’s programming begins Friday, March 11th with the debut episode of The Catholic View for Women. Designed as an authentic Catholic alternative to secular discussion shows, the show is aiming for today’s active, involved women.

“As hard as it apparently is for most television shows to realize, the view of millions of women goes beyond the mirror – it even goes beyond Manhattan,” says Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and co-host of The Catholic View for Women. “We will be talking about the real world where real women face real issues.”

In addition to Janet, co-hosts of the six-episode miniseries are Teresa Tomeo, host of the Catholic Connection show on EWTN Global Catholic Radio, and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, Executive Director of Los Angeles Pregnancy Services.

“On The Catholic View for Women our feminism will fully embrace life, not self, and our makeovers will start at the foot of the cross, not 5th Avenue,” said Teresa Tomeo.

“Anyone tired of the same old view should tune in and give us a look. You’re going to like what you see,” added Astrid Bennett Gutierrez.

Shows will air Fridays at 3:00 am and 6:30 pm Eastern on EWTN starting March 11th. To learn more about the show, link to it on Facebook, and send viewer feedback and ideas, visit

To Dust We Shall Return

Today, Ash Wednesday, we receive the ashes that remind us of the power of sin and death, which return us to the dust from which we came. Yet we wear the ashes in the form of a cross, professing that Christ has conquered death and restored life. We repent of all sin, and prepare to renew the vows of our baptism at Easter, when many will be baptized for the first time.

In other words, Lent prepares us to share the victory of Life and to live as the People of Life. Lent is the time when we learn more deeply why we are pro-life. Turning away from sin means we put God above our “freedom of choice.” Believing in the Gospel means we believe in life, and reject the forces of death, including abortion.

Pope Benedict: Abortion Does Not Resolve Anything

Pope Benedict said the following words in February regarding abortion as he addressed an audience I attended with the Pontifical Academy for Life: “Doctors cannot fail to defend against the deception of the conscience of many women who think they will find in abortion the solution to family, economic, social difficulties or to the problems of health of their children. Especially in this last situation, the woman is convinced, often by the doctors themselves, that abortion represents not only a licit moral choice, but that in addition it is a necessary “therapeutic act.”

He also said doctors are to: “Continue affirming that abortion does not resolve anything, but that it kills the child, destroys the woman and blinds the conscience of the child’s father, often ruining family life.”

We Must Minister to Those Suffering from Abortion

At the end of February I was with the Holy Father as he addressed the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Academy had addressed the theme of post-abortion healing. The Pope said, “It is necessary to provide the necessary help to women who sadly have already taken recourse to abortion, and who now experience all its moral and existential tragedy. There are many initiatives, at the diocesan level or through individual volunteer entities, which offer psychological and spiritual support for a complete human recovery. The solidarity of the Christian community cannot give up this type of co-responsibility.”

Among those presenting at the Academy’s meeting was our full-time Priests for Life Pastoral Associate Dr. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, which is one of those initiatives to which the Pope was referring.