Archive for April, 2012

Changing Hearts and Minds

Monday, April 30th, 2012





I received the following e-mail from someone who visited the Priests for Life web site and saw the pictures of aborted babies.  She wrote:

OH MY GOSH.  I just read your entire web page.  OH MY GOSH is all I can really say out loud.  I have seen articles and read about abortions before – but I still felt like it was the woman’s decision.  My mind was changed TODAY because of your web site.  I can’t tell you how much you touched me and turned me around in a full circle.  Thank you.  I will definitely share this message with other women I know.” 

Invite others to view these images at priestsforlife.org.  You may e-mail and print them. Nothing is more effective to end abortion.

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This Sunday is “Vocations Sunday”

Friday, April 27th, 2012





This Sunday is “Vocations Sunday.” We pray that many will hear the call to the priesthood, the call to devote themselves fully to the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, which is the Gospel of Life.

Many young people today are finding their vocation precisely because of the Church’s witness to the sanctity of life amidst the holocaust of abortion.  Responding to a vocation requires counter-cultural service, which is precisely the context which the pro-life movement offers. Devoting oneself to the defense of life provides a powerful seed-bed for the flowering of priestly vocations, just as a response to a priestly vocation is necessarily a commitment to the defense of life.

Let us pray today for many “good shepherds,” and let us encourage those who have already accepted that call.

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Obama Lawyers Desperately Try to “Dismiss” Lawsuit

Thursday, April 26th, 2012





 

Staten Island, NY — Priests for Life announced late yesterday that the Obama Administration’s lawyers are trying desperately to “shut down” the lawsuit that’s been filed to stop ObamaCare from violating the conscience and morals of America’s Catholics.

The lawsuit, Priests for Life v. Sebelius, seeks to permanently block the implementation of the HHS mandate that imposes clear violations of conscience upon any and all citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.

“Since the HHS mandate directly affects Priests for Life – and every U.S. citizen – through compulsory funding of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, our lawsuit is 100 percent legitimate,” says Priests for Life’s lead attorney Charles LiMandri.

LiMandri elaborates: “And yet, the Obama lawyers are trying to say that we don’t have ‘standing’ because the abortion mandate ‘doesn’t go into effect’ for PFL for several months.  This is a thoroughly ridiculous and embarrassing argument for Obama’s attorneys to make.  It shows how desperate they are to dismiss our lawsuit – even to the point of resorting to outrageous arguments such as the ones they’re using now.”

LiMandri points out that the HHS ‘Abortion Mandate’ forces Priests for Life to either pay for abortion-causing pills… promote them… or be heavily fined if their employee health-care plan doesn’t comply with the audacious dictatorial decrees of ObamaCare.

“According to the ObamaCare law as it’s written, Priests for Life would be fined as much as $100 per day, per employee.  This could cost Priests for Life over $1 million a year in fines.  We’re not going to accept this at all.”

Priests for Life is preparing its response, which must be filed with the court by April 30, with the assistance of the American Freedom Law Center.  The group’s attorneys are working overtime to respond so quickly.

Fr. Frank commented, “As our attorneys do their work, I ask our supporters to join in our prayer campaign and our Citizens’ Amicus brief.  Of this I am confident: We will prevail, life will prevail!”

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The Nine Lawsuits for Religious Freedom: A Brief Rundown of the Arguments

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012





There are now nine lawsuits, including one brought by Priests for Life, which have been filed in federal district courts around the country challenging the Obama administration’s HHS mandate that requires employers to provide coverage for activities that many of them believe people should not do.

There is value to having multiple lawsuits, because, having been introduced in different judicial jurisdictions around the country, some may be victorious and others not, hence setting up a federal conflict that the Supreme Court is more likely to address.

There are similarities and differences in the legal arguments of the nine lawsuits.

First Amendment – Religious Liberty

The first and most obvious objection to the mandate is that it infringes on the free exercise of religion which the Constitution guarantees to every American.  The mandate forces health insurers, employers, and employees to violate their own religious faiths by providing or purchasing items and services that their faiths strictly prohibit.  Moreover, it penalizes the practice of religion by imposing hefty government fines on employers who stop providing employee health insurance rather than deny their beliefs.  This is exactly the type of government behavior that the First Amendment was designed to prevent.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

A second argument is that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  This 1993 law stops the federal government from restricting religious belief unless it can show a “compelling government interest” for doing so.  Providing subsidized abortifacients, birth control, and sterilization hardly seems to be a “compelling government interest” to interfere in religion.

First Amendment – Free Speech

Another common cause of action in the nine lawsuits is that the Obamacare mandate violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.  Not only does the mandate force employers and employees to pay for objectionable items and procedures, but they also have to fund education and counseling for those same things.  In other words, people of faith would be forced to endorse with their involuntary financial contributions speech that contradicts their beliefs.

Administrative Procedure Act

The lawsuits by Priests for Life and others also allege that the Obama administration’s actions in putting forth the mandate for abortifacient/contraceptive coverage did not follow proper government procedures.

Overburdening State Medicaid Programs

The lawsuit brought by seven states, Bruning v. Sebelius, adds that state Medicaid programs will be overrun with new enrollees because of the mandate.  The states argue that religiously affiliated employers will either stop offering health insurance or, because they cannot afford the government fines for not offering employee health insurance, shut down completely.  The result of either action will be more people without health insurance, which under Obamacare, will mean more people moving to Medicaid coverage.  The increased financial strain on state budgets will be enormous.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has pointed out that the courts are likely the best defense against the HHS mandate.  May God give success to the efforts of Priests for Life, other religiously affiliated employers, religious individuals, states, and even a private commercial business who have all brought suits to stop this mandate.

For more information on the mandate and the lawsuits, see priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate.

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Fear of Hurting Those Who Have Had Abortions

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012





Many ask why pastors do not preach more about abortion.  One reason that some give is that they do not want to hurt the people in the congregation who have had abortions.

Now it is certainly true that there are people in the congregation who have had abortions, and it is also true that they have pain.

But if they are in pain from their abortion, and the pastor is silent about the topic, what are they to think?  They could conclude that the pastor doesn’t know about their pain, or doesn’t care about it, or that though he knows and cares, there is no hope.

But none of these is true.  He does know, he does care, and there is hope – and that is precisely why he needs to speak up.

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Why Don’t More Pastors Preach about Abortion?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012





Why don’t more pastors speak out against abortion?  Some of them actually do not know how to connect the issue with the Scripture readings.  They know that the readings are supposed to be the basis of their homilies, but they do not find many references to the unborn child or to the killing of such children.

But the themes of pro-life are on every page of Scripture.  Homilies are not simply Scripture lessons.  Rather they apply the great Biblical themes to the day-to-day challenges that believers face as they live their lives.

So, for instance, the Bible is clear that only God has dominion over human life – He made it, He cares for it, He owns it.  That is why no human being can own or kill or devalue it.

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Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Saturday, April 21st, 2012





Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  When the Lord speaks about the poor in spirit, He is speaking about those for whom there is no help or hope but God Himself.  God is the only hope for any of us, but when we have a lot of possessions, friends, and earthly protection, we are tempted to think that those are the things on which our spirits can ultimately rely.  But that is an illusion.  “Only in God be at rest, my soul; from Him comes my help and salvation.”  Today, nobody is more unsafe and unprotected than the child in the womb.  Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.  The unborn are the poorest of the poor, and God calls us to acknowledge and bless them.

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Fr. Pavone to LCWR: Priests for Life will work “side by side” with women religious to proclaim a pro-life message

Thursday, April 19th, 2012





STATEN ISLAND, NY — Father Frank issued the following comment today on the Vatican’s assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR):

“As a pro-life ministry dedicated to fully activating the Church to end abortion and euthanasia, Priests for Life is grateful to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the assessment it has issued of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and in particular for pointing out the problem of silence regarding abortion and the right to life.”

Following a two-year investigation into the LCWR, the Vatican concluded, in part, that, “while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death.”

Responding to that finding, Father Pavone said, “Priests for Life has the highest regard for the women religious in the Church and the consecration they have made to God of their lives.  We want to work side by side with them and support them in the pro-life dimensions of their life and ministry.  We therefore encourage the LCWR and all its members to make the right to life a clear and constant aspect of the message they proclaim to the world.”

Father Frank concluded: “As we have often pointed out, the very act of consecrating one’s life to God strikes at the heart of the culture of death.  While the culture of death proclaims, ‘I have the right to choose,’ the religious life proclaims, ‘My life and choices belong to God, and there is where I find true freedom.’ ”

You can read the statement from the Vatican here.

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Five Years Ago Today

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012





 

On April 18, 2007, the United States Supreme Court upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion.  In that decision, Gonzales v Carhart, the court described another abortion procedure that remains legal throughout America.  It is called the D and E procedure.

Here are the exact words of the Supreme Court:

“The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix…, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix.  The friction causes the fetus to tear apart.  For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman.  The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.”

Let us continue to work to raise awareness about this gruesome procedure.

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It is Time to Run

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012





 On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, there was a lot of running taking place.  The women, having seen the empty tomb, ran back to the disciples. Peter and John, having heard the women’s story, ran toward the tomb.

And in the end, of course, all the Apostles ran into the world to announce this greatest news of history.

We, too, must run.  The victory of life over death is definitive, and yet it is still unfolding.  We fight the power of death as we defend human life, especially the unborn.  It is time to run, to announce the Gospel of Life with vigor, and to intervene to save the unborn with urgency.

Fear paralyzes and slows people down, but confidence in the victory of the Risen Christ causes us to run and fulfill our mission.

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