Archive for September, 2011

Official Statement of Fr. Frank Pavone

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has issued the following statement:

“For the past several years, my Ordinary, the Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo, has given me permission to do the full-time pro-life work that I have done since 1993. In 2005, I made a public promise in a Church ceremony in Amarillo, presided over by a Vatican Cardinal, that this full-time pro-life work would be a lifetime commitment. That’s a commitment I promise to fulfill without wavering.

“This past week, however, I received a letter from the Bishop insisting that I report to the Diocese this Tuesday, September 13 and, for the time being, remain only there.

“I am very perplexed by this demand. Despite that, because I am a priest of the diocese of Amarillo, I will be obedient and report there on the appointed date, putting the other commitments that are on my calendar on hold until I get more clarity as to what the bishop wants and for how long. Meanwhile, I continue to retain all my priestly faculties and continue to be a priest in “good standing” in the Church. The bishop does not dispute this fact. Rather, he has said that he thinks I am giving too much priority to my pro-life work, and that this makes me disobedient to him. He also has claimed that I haven’t given him enough financial information.

“Now, although Bishop Zurek is my Ordinary, he is not the bishop of Priests for Life. Each of our staff priests has his own Ordinary, and the organization has an entire Board of Bishops. We keep them all informed of our activities, and of our financial audits.

“I want to say very clearly that Priests for Life is above reproach in its financial management and the stewardship of the monies it receives from dedicated pro-lifers, raised primarily through direct mail at the grassroots level. To this end, Priests for Life has consistently provided every financial document requested by Bishop Zurek, including annual financial audits, quarterly reports, management documents—even entire check registers! In fact, on June 20, 2011, Priests for Life received the results of its independent audit examination for the year ended December 31, 2010. The organization’s auditors issued an unqualified audit opinion indicating that the financial statements “present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Priests for Life, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America”. This marks the tenth consecutive year that the organization’s auditors have provided a ‘clean’ audit opinion, when reporting on the respective year’s financial statements. Priests for Life has been completely transparent with Bishop Zurek and any other bishops who have requested information regarding our management and finances. Indeed, we have 21 bishops and cardinals who sit on our Advisory Board, and they are kept fully informed about our finances.

“Therefore, in the interest of preserving my good reputation as well as protecting the valuable work done by the Priests for Life organization, I have begun a process of appeal to the Vatican. This process aims to correct any mistaken decisions of the bishop in my regard and to protect my commitment to full-time pro-life activity for my whole life. We are very confident that the Vatican will resolve this matter in a just and equitable fashion. Because of this confidence, we are not currently making any changes in any positions at Priests for Life, or in any of our projects and plans.

“I also want to point out that, according to the canon law of the Catholic Church, because I have begun this process of appeal to Rome, the Bishop’s order that I return to Amarillo has been effectively suspended. Nevertheless, because of my great respect for this Bishop and my commitment to be fully obedient at all times, I am reporting to Amarillo this Tuesday, in hopes that I can sort this problem out with the Bishop in a mutually agreeable and amicable way.

“I would like to note that, unlike other organizations, which have sometimes been critical of the Church hierarchy or other institutions within the Church, Priests for Life has always remained 100% supportive of the Bishops, never criticizing any Church official, and always acting as a megaphone for the Bishops’ pro-life statements. Moreover, we serve dioceses and their priests and laity without asking for any speakers’ fees, and distribute millions of pieces of pro-life literature to dioceses completely free of charge. We do not seek parish collections, and we work to reinforce in each diocese the local pastoral plan which the bishop wants to implement for pro-life activities.

“We are committed to going forward with that same spirit, regardless of the recent action taken by Bishop Zurek.

“In the interest of full transparency, I would like to make it known that I do not receive any salary or financial remuneration from either the Diocese of Amarillo or from Priests for Life. Priests for Life, as a Private Association of the Christian Faithful, does provide for my residence and the expenses associated with the ministry, but these expenses are very small. Though, as a diocesan priest, I have never taken a vow of poverty, I have basically chosen to live in that fashion in solidarity with the pre-born children we are trying to protect—who are the poorest of the poor.

“I want to be clear that I do not harbor any ill will towards the Bishop of Amarillo, nor do I foster suspicions about his motives. I am merely confused by his actions. It is impossible for me to believe that there is no place in the Church for priests to exercise full-time ministry in the service of the unborn. We do it for the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the imprisoned. But where in the Church is the place where a priest can exercise the same kind of full-time ministry for the children in the womb? That is the question that is at the heart of my own calling.

“I am confident that we will be able to resolve this difficulty soon, without any harm to either my own reputation and without any slowdown of the valuable pro-life work we do at Priests for Life.”

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Pro-Life Work is a Vocation

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Doing pro-life work is not simply a response to a cause or a movement, an ideology or a political platform. It is a vocation, a charism of the Holy Spirit. The Christian pro-life commitment is a spirituality, which has particular characteristics and virtues, and which shapes the particular strategies and tactics that the pro-life activist carries out. This spirituality, taught by Priests for Life, roots the activist in his or her faith in God, and ensures that pro-life activism will lead the activist back to God. It helps us keep our balance amidst the conflicting emotions we have in the pro-life battle, as we deal with successes and failures, as we rejoice in the gift of life and mourn the taking of life. Learn more about this pro-life spirituality at priestsforlife.org/missionary.

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Post-abortive father, adoptive father, priest: Priests for Life welcomes Father Stephen Imbarrato

Monday, September 12th, 2011

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Priests for Life’s newest pastoral consultant, Father Stephen Imbarrato, knows first-hand the joys of fatherhood, and the regret of lost fatherhood. As a single father, he adopted a son from Colombia in 1987, but years before that, he was complicit in his girlfriend’s abortion. Later they would learn she had been carrying their twins.

Shortly after the Silent No More Awareness Campaign was founded in 2003 to give post-abortive women a public platform to talk about how abortion had harmed them, Father Imbarrato, then a seminarian, contacted co-founders Janet Morana and Georgette Forney and described his own remorse and regret.

“So, with permission from the seminary, at the 2004 gathering, he was the first man to give testimony,” recalled Mrs. Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life. “I remember how powerful his statement was: ‘How small of a man was I that I put pressure on my girlfriend to have an abortion.’ It was the first time a man had publicly apologized to the women, and the reception of his testimony was tremendous.”

Ordained in 2005 and now a priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM, where he founded Project Defending Life, Father Imbarrato has joined Priests for Life as a part-time pastoral associate.

“I am happy to welcome Father Imbarrato to our Pastoral Team,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “Along with our other priests, he will work, on a part-time basis, networking priests and traveling and speaking for the cause of life. In his work with us, one of Father Stephen’s special tasks will be to promote Eucharistic processions at abortion mills.”

In addition to Father Pavone, the full-time priests on the pastoral staff include Father Denis G. Wilde, O.S.A., Associate Director; Father Victor Salomón, Director of Hispanic Outreach; Father Scott Daniels, OP, and Father Walter Quinn, O.S.A. Monsignor Michael Mannion, a priest of the Diocese of Camden, NJ, is a part-time pastoral consultant.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life Now an International Association

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The Pastoral Team of Priests for Life announced today that it has formed an International Private Association of the Faithful called the Gospel of Life Association. Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, explained, “Priests for Life has for some time now been a family of ministries. As we have grown and diversified, the work of these ministries has also increasingly become international. Twenty years ago, Priests for Life was established as a Private Association here in the United States. Now we felt it was appropriate to establish the same kind of association internationally, and to have our various branch ministries formally ratify their intent to be such an association.”

The benefit of an association is that the groups work with a more deliberate emphasis on the fact that pro-life is a spirituality, not simply a cause. The Association is guided by special bylaws that express the cohesion of the ministries as a family of believers.

Along with Priests for Life, the ministries are Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, Rachel’s Vineyard, Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Seminarian Life Link, Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, Life on the Line, Prayer Campaign, Deacons for Life, Hispanic Outreach, African American Outreach, Political Responsibility and Stand True Youth Outreach.

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Plus Nine Campaign

Monday, September 12th, 2011

On the island of Malta, where unborn children are still protected, there is a campaign called “plus nine.” The idea is to make people aware that their unique and individual lives began not on the day of their birth but on the day they were conceived. That is the day they began to exist. Through this effort, the plus sign, and the number 9, are placed in as many places as possible, to make people think of this simple, powerful concept, which is based not simply on religious belief, but on biological fact. Some observe this fact by celebrating not only their birthday, but their “FirstDay,” nine months earlier. Indeed, the children in the womb are real people. Through simple efforts like “plus nine,” we can help people realize that it is wrong to kill them.

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Fr. Frank Announces Further Initiatives of Vote Pro-life Coalition

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Fr. Pavone has indicated that the Vote Pro-life Coalition, called together by Priests for Life and consisting of over three dozen national groups, has designated “Voter Registration Sundays” for 2012. The Coalition asks organizations, parishes and dioceses to begin learning how to conduct a non-partisan voter registration drive, and to begin planning now to give their people the urgent invitation and opportunity to register to vote. The dates of the Voter Registration Sundays are May 27 (Pentecost, when we rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit to send us forth to renew the earth), July 1 (Sunday closest to Independence Day), and September 9, 2012 (Sunday closest to Patriot Day).

“The elections of 2012 will be crucial to restoring protection to the unborn, and every day between now and November 6, 2012 my colleagues and I will do all in our power to see to it that the elections advance the cause of life,” Fr. Pavone said. “One of the most important things our coalition groups are doing now is to urge their members to pay attention to the candidate debates and get to know those who are presenting themselves for the highest office in our land.”

Among the groups in the Coalition are: American Values, Americans United for Life Action, Anglicans for Life, Ave Maria School of Law, California Civil Rights Foundation, CatholicVote.org, CEC For Life, Citizens for a Pro-life Society, Christian Coalition of America, Coming Home, Crossroads Pro-Life, Democrats for Life, Expectant Mother Care, Faith and Action, Faithful Catholic Citizens, Good Counsel Homes, Gospel of Life Ministries, The Heidi Group, Heartbeat International, Human Life Alliance, The Justice Foundation, Life Advocacy Resource Project, Life Coalition International, Life Issues Institute, LifeNews, Life Site News, National Clergy Council, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), National Life Center, National Pro-life Religious Council, One More Soul, Operation Outcry, Operation Rescue, Priests for Life, Pro-Life Action League, Rachel’s Vineyard, Susan B. Anthony List, Wallbuilders.

For more information on the coalition, visit VoteProLifeCoalition.com, and for election-related information and activities, visit PoliticalResponsibility.com.

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Remembering 9/11

Friday, September 9th, 2011

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked our land in an event that we should never forget.

We lament the loss of thousands of lives, and the destruction of our buildings, yet earthquakes or tsunamis can also cause the same damage.

What makes terrorism different? The evil of September 11 was that some human beings had a blatant contempt for the right of other human beings to live.

As we fight terrorism, the evil we fight is a reflection of the evil we do. The same contempt for human life is found in every abortion clinic. What moral difference does it make if a victim is five feet tall or five inches tall, or if the instrument of death is an airplane or surgical forceps?

As we recall September 11, let’s resolve to defend all life.

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Today is the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We rejoice that this woman was chosen by God to be His own mother.

In our day, we need Mary’s presence and example more than ever, because so many mothers are afraid to be mothers, and so many opinion-makers in our society have forgotten what motherhood really means.

Let’s honor Mary today by offering special prayers for all who are pregnant and afraid, especially those tempted to abort their child. Pray that they find new hope and strength in the one who said “Yes” to God’s plan.

Pray also for those who have aborted their children. Pray that on this day, Mary herself will comfort them, and point them to her Son, in whom there is forgiveness and life.

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New Season of “Defending Life” Premieres Tonight

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

STATEN ISLAND, NY – The 19th season of Defending Life, hosted by Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, Executive Director, will begin airing tonight, Sept. 8th, at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the world’s largest religious cable network. Reaching some 150 million TV homes in 144 countries and territories, and 250 million potential radio listeners worldwide, Defending Life, airing since 1995, is the longest-running and farthest-reaching series on abortion ever produced by either side of the abortion debate.

The show will be repeated at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturdays, and also can be heard on EWTN Radio Fridays at 1 a.m., Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 a.m.

Topics to be tackled this season include: “Lessons Learned from Baby Joseph;” “What Happens When Roe v. Wade is Overturned;” “Stop D&E Abortions,” and “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood.” The season will conclude with a discussion of the importance of the 2012 elections.

“These 13 shows give a realistic look at the many dimensions of the tragedy of abortion and at the progress which the pro-life movement is making to counteract it,” Father Pavone said. “Much work remains to be done, and the goal of our series is to activate and train people to do that work.”

For more details, visit www.priestsforlife.org/defendinglife.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Saturday is World Suicide Prevention Day

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Experts in Finland report that the risk of death from suicide within a year after an abortion is more than seven times higher than the risk of suicide within a year after childbirth.

Sometimes the mother sees suicide as the only way of being reunited with her child, and escaping the daily pain that the abortion brings. I deprived my child of life, she thinks, and therefore I don’t deserve my own.

But while abortion ends the life of a child, God’s powerful grace enables the life of that mother to go on. As she regrets striking out at the life of her child, she also realizes that she has no right to strike out at her own life.

Both lives belong only to the Lord.

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