Archive for September, 2011

My Statement to Pro-Choice Politicians: Clean Up Your Act

Monday, September 19th, 2011





WASHINGTON, DC – Father Pavone today urged voters to put the life issue first when evaluating candidates for election.

“When I preach – and help other priests to preach – the clear message that candidates and parties must defend life, some – including clergy – complain to me that my message hurts their favorite candidate or party. My response? ‘Go tell your favorite candidate or party to get the babies’ blood off their hands and clean up their act regarding defending life. Then my words won’t hurt them anymore.’ ”

Father Pavone pointed out that the positions of political parties also are important for voters to understand. Throughout the election season, voters can find information relevant to the elections at politicalresponsibility.com.

Voters who aren’t sure the life issue is the most important issue for a candidate should consider a candidate’s position on terrorism.

“What if a candidate supported terrorism,” Father Pavone asked. “Would citizens say, ‘Well, I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your health care plan? Maybe we can work together on some social programs. After all, terrorism isn’t the only issue.

“The heart of what is ‘social’ is that it respects the other person – and that means allowing them the right to life.”

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A Pro-Life Position is “Good Politics”

Monday, September 19th, 2011





A new CNN/ORC International poll that showed a majority of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in some or all circumstances should serve as a wake-up call to political candidates who believe they have to pander to a pro-choice constituency, according to Father Pavone.

The Sept. 9-11 telephone poll of 1,038 voters revealed that 41 percent of respondents said abortion should be “legal in a few circumstances,” and 21 percent said it should be “illegal in all circumstances.” Only 25 percent said it should be “legal under any circumstances.”

“This poll echoes earlier surveys, dating back five years, in pointing out that at a majority of Americans feel that abortion is very often not justified,” Father Pavone said. “Those poll respondents also represent voters. They are a silent majority that will vote for candidates who embrace a pro-life position.

“Politicians who say they personally oppose abortion but want to see it remain legal have to get off the fence once and for all and declare that abortion is an evil Americans will no longer tolerate,” Father Pavone concluded. “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s good politics, and Priests for Life is engaging the mechanism to mobilize those voters.”

Visit politicalresponsibility.com to keep abreast of political developments.

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Priests for Life announces new Pastoral Consultant, Fr. Anthony Mastroeni

Monday, September 19th, 2011





Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that yet another priest is being added to the Pastoral Team of Priests for Life. Fr. Anthony Mastroeni, a priest of the Diocese of Paterson, NJ, will be a Pastoral Consultant, providing part-time help to the ministry of Priests for Life. He is a professor, a moral theologian, and a highly respected advocate of Church teaching and of the Culture of Life.

“I have known Fr. Mastroeni from long before I became a priest,” Fr. Frank pointed out. “In fact, he was one of my professors of moral theology, and I credit him with many of the insights that have shaped my own teaching and preaching.”

Priests for Life will announce more information about Fr. Mastroeni in the coming weeks. He joins the other Pastoral Consultants on the team: Msgr. Michael Mannion and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato. Serving on the Pastoral Team full-time along with Fr. Frank are also Fr. Denis Wilde, OSA, Fr. Walter Quinn, OSA, Fr. Victor Salomon, and Fr. Scott Daniels, OP.

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Political Parties and Skull Cracking

Monday, September 19th, 2011





Whether it’s an election year or not, I see to it that Priests for Life echoes loud and clear the duty of citizens to inform themselves about where the candidates stand on the issues. This evaluation starts, of course, with where they stand on violence against human beings, because if public servants cannot tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public, they don’t belong in public office.

What if a candidate supported terrorism? Would citizens say, “Well, I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your health care plan? Maybe we can work together on some social programs. After all, terrorism isn’t the only issue.”

The parallel, of course, is abortion. “Typically, the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece” (Baby-killer Martin Haskell, in 1999 Court testimony in Wisconsin, regarding legal abortion). How can anyone make the case that this skull-cracking, which is still legal, is less violent than terrorism? How can anyone make the case that we can tolerate it while we work with the candidate on “social” programs? The heart of what is “social” is that it respects the other person – and that means not cracking their skull. We fight terrorism, and rightly so, but when we allow abortion at the same time, the evil we fight becomes merely a reflection of the evil we do.

And it’s not only the position of the candidates that matters. It’s also the position of the political party to which the candidate belongs. Elections bring not only candidates, but parties into power. How can the position of those parties on key issues not matter as we evaluate whom we will support?

Many will support a particular party because it’s a family tradition (or a Church tradition?), or because they are in bed with leaders in that party who support their social programs in exchange for their silence on baby-killing. That’s often the reason for the perplexing spinelessness often observed among Church leaders on the abortion issue.

In an interview conducted by Gianni Cardinale and published in October of 2008, now Cardinal Raymond Burke observed, “At this point, the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a ‘party of death’ due to its choices on bioethical issues.”

Not only is this an accurate observation, but it’s perfectly legitimate to say, even in Church. I know, because Priests for Life passed IRS scrutiny on these points. After all, it is a spiritual work of mercy to “instruct the ignorant.” That’s why at Priests for Life we have information both about candidates and political parties, and how to evaluate them. See priestsforlife.org/candidates.

When I preach – and help other priests to preach – the clear message that candidates and parties must defend life, some – including clergy – complain to me that my message hurts their favorite candidate or party. My response? “Go tell your favorite candidate or party to get the babies’ blood off their hands and clean up their act regarding defending life. Then my words won’t hurt them anymore.”

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What Bothers Me the Most

Monday, September 19th, 2011





Well, friends, here in Amarillo I am working hard at my computer on various pro-life projects as I await further instructions from the diocese. Nothing yet, but being I take my “traveling office” with me to four states a week, there’s never a “nothing to do” moment.

It’s so encouraging to see so many people on the same page with me, loving and respecting the Church and, out of that very love and respect, supporting the pro-life mission we are all engaged in together. Amidst the many expressions of support, many say to me that they are praying for me “in this difficult time.”

But what’s difficult about it?

Sure, it’s distressing to have to endure false suspicions, inaccurate media reports, and disruption to a mission which is at the core of my life. That’s all the temporary distress of what’s happening in these days.

But that’s nothing compared to the distress I experience every day because my unborn brothers and sisters are being butchered by abortion. Tears, sleepless nights, anger, righteous indignation – this and more come to me each day because something is happening to the youngest members of the human family. “Typically, the skull is brought out in fragments, rather than as a unified piece,” said abortionist Martin Haskell in 1999 court testimony, describing legal abortion.

This is not happening to strangers. It’s happening to my brothers and sisters.

That’s what bothers me. That’s what makes my days difficult, every day, long before this current problem and long after.

The images of their mangled bodies accompany me to sleep and greet me when I awake; the cries of their silent voices mingle in my ears with the voices of those who speak to me; their aggrieved rights come to the forefront of my mind when anyone’s “rights” are discussed.

That, above all else, is what constitutes “a difficult time” for me.

The consolation is that there are things I can do to stop this holocaust; things we can all do together.

I’m sitting here in Amarillo right now because I’m a faithful and obedient priest, as I promised to be long ago, but there’s a more fundamental reason I’m sitting here, and it’s for the children that nearly everybody forgets and ignores. I’m here because cooperating with Church authority at this moment is the best way to preserve the mission I lead to save these children, a mission aimed precisely at increasing the Church’s awareness of and response to this holocaust.

But let’s be clear: nobody needs anybody else’s permission to save a human life, to rescue a child from dismemberment and decapitation. In fact, to fail to do so is to fail miserably as a priest, as a Catholic, as a Christian, and as a human being. God deliver us from that fate.

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Message from the Pastoral Team of Priests for Life/Gospel of Life Ministries

Monday, September 19th, 2011





Priests for Life/Gospel of Life is a family of ministries serving the pro-life movement worldwide. We
are proud to be guided by the leadership of Fr. Frank Pavone and are confident in his ability not only to
continue to lead our ministry family but also to resolve any misunderstandings that may exist with other leaders
in the Church.

We want to assure the people who support us and the pro-life public in general that all of us continue to
be at your service as we grow the ministries we represent: activating the Churches, training priests, deacons,
seminarians and laity, working with lawmakers in the US and worldwide, educating and mobilizing voters,
reaching minority communities, raising up prayer campaigns, activating youth, producing media broadcasts,
teaching pro-life spirituality, bringing hope and healing to those who have had abortions, giving voice to the
testimonies of those who have been healed from abortion, and much more.

Together, we represent the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church. Recently, we created
together an international association called “Gospel of Life,” given the fact that our work has expanded to
dozens of countries. “Gospel of Life” includes Priests for Life and the other ministries mentioned below.
We are grateful for the immense grassroots support we enjoy and for the guidance and endorsement of
the bishops around the world who are associated with our efforts and invite us into their dioceses. United with
each other and the whole pro-life movement, both within and beyond the Church, we will reach the goal of
ending abortion and building a culture of life.

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Three Great Intercessors

Monday, September 19th, 2011





I am now in Amarillo – as obedience requires — for my temporary visit as matters with my bishop are worked out. The expression of support from pro-life leaders and activists has been constant and strong. They know that as large ministries in the Church grow, they inevitably have times of conflict with local Church authority. As long as the situation is handled with humility and obedience, combined with an unwavering commitment to the mission at hand, it works out in the right way. In this case, it will make Priests for Life and the whole pro-life movement much stronger, and will confirm me in the permanent, lifelong commitment I have to spend every moment of my time and every ounce of my energy defending the unborn from abortion.

Along with all the prayers that are being offered, I know we are all benefiting from the prayers of three people in particular, who are interceding from heaven: Blessed John Paul II, Blessed Mother Teresa, and Cardinal John O’Connor.

I knew all three of them personally. Each of them helped me to shape Priests for Life into what it is today. Each of them taught me how to be a pro-life leader and a faithful priest. Each of them gave me immense personal encouragement through our conversations, through the doors that they opened for me and the ministry, and through the guidance they gave.

May everyone in the Church, clergy and laity alike, learn from their total commitment to ending abortion, and follow their example in striving for that goal.

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Diocese of Amarillo Issues Clarification Affirming Fr. Frank Pavone’s Good Standing and Character

Friday, September 16th, 2011





Amarillo, TX – The diocese of Amarillo yesterday stepped forward to state publicly that Fr. Frank Pavone is a priest of good standing in the Catholic Church, and that there are no claims at all being made that he did anything wrong.

Reports in the last couple of days may have led some to the opposite conclusion because the bishop wants more information regarding the finances of the ministries Fr. Pavone heads, but there is a difference between wanting more information and claiming that someone did something wrong, and the diocese wanted to stress that distinction. There is no suspicion of wrongdoing.

The letter from the Amarillo Diocese is available at http://www.priestsforlife.org/update/amarillo-clarification.pdf

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Clarification of Misreporting of Facts in Media

Thursday, September 15th, 2011





On September 13, 2011, it was widely misreported in various Catholic and secular media that the Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo, had “suspended” Rev. Frank Pavone, a priest of his diocese, and put him “on leave.”

This is absolutely false.

Father Pavone is and has been a priest in good standing. Moreover, the canonical language of “suspension” in this regard is a mistake. Father Pavone has not in any way incurred any ecclesiastical penalty. Nor is Father Frank under the threat of any penalty.

I want to point out that in a Catholic News Service story dated September 14, 2011, Msgr. Harold Waldow, vicar for clergy in the diocese of Amarillo, confirmed Fr. Pavone’s good standing:

“Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, said Msgr. Harold Waldow, vicar for clergy in the diocese.” Msgr. Waldow told CNS Sept. 13 that Bishop Patrick J. Zurek only suspended Father Pavone’s ministry outside of the diocese because the well-known pro-life priest is needed for work in Amarillo.

Yesterday, Father Pavone — as a priest in good standing — celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Amarillo, Texas.

Fr David Deibel, JD, JCL
Chief Canonist
Priests for Life

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We Must Each Take Up Our Cross

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011





Saint Paul declared that he never wanted to boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself indicated to His followers that they were to take up their own cross each day, and Saint Peter declares that Christ suffered for us to leave us an example, that we might follow in His footsteps.

Christians venerate the Cross, not because Jesus is still on it, but because it is the instrument by which He saved the world and by which we take hold of that salvation.

This means that the Cross is also the instrument for ending abortion and building the culture of life. Practically, that means that it is silly to seek to escape controversy and criticism. When we plan pro-life projects, let’s plan to embrace the Cross.

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