Archive for March, 2013

Pope Francis’ Lesson to Bishops

Monday, March 25th, 2013

The first appearance of Pope Francis to the world contained a critically important message for every bishop in the world — a lesson made all the more important by the way that the Second Vatican Council stressed the importance of bishops.

The Pope, before bestowing his blessing on the crowd, the city, and the world, bowed before the faithful of the whole world and asked them to bestow their blessing, via their prayers, on him.

Now Pope Francis is quite aware of the distinction between the hierarchy and the laity. He knows the difference between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the laity.

But what he is doing here is affirming another equally important truth. It was expressed in this way by Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church:

“There is, therefore, one chosen People of God: ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5); there is a common dignity of members deriving from their rebirth in Christ, a common grace as sons, a common vocation to perfection, one salvation, one hope and undivided charity.” (Lumen Gentium, 34).

In his document for the Jubilee Year, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Blessed John Paul II wrote the following words, on the same theme:

“While the wisdom of the law, by providing precise rules for participation, attests to the hierarchical structure of the Church and averts any temptation to arbitrariness or unjustified claims, the spirituality of communion, by prompting a trust and openness wholly in accord with the dignity and responsibility of every member of the People of God, supplies institutional reality with a soul.” (n. 45)

The “wisdom of the law” says the Pope is the Pope, and the bishop is the bishop, and they have specifically outlined jurisdiction and authority.

But communion means that each member of the flock they shepherd has an equal dignity and a shared responsibility. The bishop (and Pope) are not just called to govern; they are called to trust. They are not just called to make decisions; they are called to be open about those decisions and how they reached them.

Now let’s go back to the Pope’s first appearance after being elected. He did not simply ask the people to pray for him. He put that in a doctrinal and spiritual context — very briefly, but very clearly and profoundly. And it reflects exactly what we read above from the Second Vatican Council and from John Paul II. Notice how he mentions the trust, and the mutuality of the journey we are on. Here’s what Pope Francis said:

“And now let us begin this journey: Bishop and people. …. A journey of brotherhood, of love, of trust between us.  Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.  And now I would like to give the blessing. But first, first, I want to ask you a favor. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord that he bless me – the prayer of the people, asking a Benediction for their Bishop. Let us say in silence this prayer, of you over me.”

Then he bowed before the world, and stood in that bowed position for a silent pause of prayer.

“The prayer of the people … you over me.” The Pope, from his first moments, is teaching a powerful lesson about communion, about the relationship between the hierarchy and the rest of the Church. Love, brotherhood, trust, a journey of brotherhood and mutual sharing of spiritual goods.

May this truth be reflected in the relationship of every bishop with his people, and of every priest with his parish!

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Pope Francis met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI today at Castel Gandolfo.

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Pope Francis with Pope Benedict

This is an amazing sight which nobody in the world has ever seen before: a Pope embracing his predecessor.

Let’s continue to pray for these two leaders in the faith. Please be sure to pledge your prayers at PrayerCampaign.org, where you can also send a message to Pope Francis.

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Pray Together

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North Dakota

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

north_dakota2STATEN ISLAND, NY — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement after the North Dakota Legislature today passed a bill that defines life as starting at conception. The bill will be sent to Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

“Three cheers for the North Dakota legislature! And to those who claim this bill violates Roe, we say, We know. That’s why we’re passing it, because it’s time for Roe to go.”   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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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

 

satan

This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“Do you reject Satan? And all his empty promises?” (Sacramentary, Renewal of Baptismal Promises) 

Reflection: Lent is a time to pray for the catechumens of the Church, who are preparing to be baptized at Easter. When they are baptized at the Easter vigil, the rest of us will renew the vows of our baptism. In these vows, we reject the empty promises of the devil.One of those empty promises is abortion. How easily people are deceived that the choice of death somehow solves a problem!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the power of baptism in my life, by which I am able to affirm life each day against the power of death!

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Isn’t that the truth?

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

“It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about….Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.”

So spoke Pope Francis at the Mass for his installation on March 19.

He spoke of the protection of children, and obviously, therefore, he spoke of the only appropriate response to children in the womb: protect them, especially them…protect them because they are the weakest, protect them because they “are often the last we think about.”

Isn’t that the truth?

“The last we think about.”

How many cry out against violence, but support the legality of abortion? How many call for equal rights, but forget to include the unborn?

Then, he speaks of the “Herods who plot death.” Among these, of course, are the abortionists. They train for death, they develop the techniques of death, they sell death.

While the Pope is reminding the world of this, and while he is speaking about these Herods, one of them is on trial in Philadelphia.

In early 2011, Philadelphia prosecutors arrested abortionist Kermit Gosnell, his third wife, Pearl, and eight of his other employees. As the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, “Most of them have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify.”

Guilty, that is, to murder, to the killing of live babies outside the womb by snipping their spines with scissors, and of a mother who had undergone an abortion.

The Grand Jury issued a stunning and horrifying report not only about this, but about the filthy and dangerous conditions of Gosnell’s abortion mill, and about the irresponsible failure of the state to act sooner.

The Grand Jury found that Gosnell operated a “criminal enterprise” that involved “routinely and deliberately” killing babies born alive.

Out of 9 workers charged, 8 plead guilty.

Again, to quote Pope Francis, “Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.”

Lord, have mercy, and let your mercy manifest itself in our loud voices and effective actions for life and justice.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

babies (2)

This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Matthew 18:5).

Reflection: How do we welcome Jesus? His answer is, by receiving a child. The Lord identifies himself with the helplessness of a child, and with the relationship of giving that a child brings forth. The first “receiving” of the child is from the parents, but it does not stop there. We are all called to “receive” every child who is conceived.

Prayer: Lord, as you bring forth new life each day into our world, bring it forth also in our hearts, and enable us to receive every life, knowing that thereby we receive you. Amen.

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“A Slap in the Face” to Christ and the Unborn

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today after receiving confirmation that Vice President Joseph Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi received Communion during the Installation Mass for Pope Francis.

“At a Mass during which our new Pope emphasized the duty public officials – and all the rest of us – have to protect the weakest among us, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have the audacity to receive Communion while publicly renouncing their responsibility to protect the weakest among us.

“Some Church leaders mistakenly think we are advocating the use of the Eucharist as a ‘weapon.’ In fact, we are defending the Eucharist from being used as a political tool. These politicians have no respect for what the Eucharist means: an integral, consistent union with Christ and with all our brothers and sisters. To receive Christ while rejecting the unborn is a slap in the face to both.”

Father Pavone is the president of theNational Pro-life Religious Council and national pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

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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Great News: Action Item Victory!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Friends,

Just yesterday morning, we sent out an action alert to our Priests for Life Family, alerting all of you that we have evidence that an abortion mill in Birmingham, AL is operating in violation of Alabama state law, and urging you to contact the State Department of Health to have them investigate this facility.

Take a look at this link. www.abc3340.com/story/21725850/health-department-opens-investigation-into-new-woman-all-women

As the news is reporting, the state is responding! Thank you for responding as well!

Let’s keep up the pressure, and let’s look forward to celebrating the permanent closing of this killing center!

For this and other action alerts, see Priestsforlife.org/alert.

God bless you!

Fr. Frank

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Flight into Egypt 01

This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“Arise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt” (Matthew 2:13).

Reflection: St. Joseph is the just man who was entrusted with the care of Jesus and Mary. Joseph is a model for all fathers in his example of faithfulness and protection for his family. Thousands of times a day, children are aborted, not because of a choice of the mother, but because of the choice of a father, who fails to show that faithfulness and willingness to protect the child he has helped conceive.

Prayer: Lord, bless fathers. When their child is unexpected, may they welcome that child and encourage the child’s mother to say yes to life. Amen.

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Fr. Pavone Calls for Probe of Alabama Clinic

Monday, March 18th, 2013

newwomanSTATEN ISLAND, NY — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, called today on the State of Alabama to investigate the New Woman All Women facility in Birmingham. In May 2012, it lost its license to operate as an abortion facility. (Alabama law requires abortion facilities to be licensed by the state.)

Evidence uncovered by eyewitnesses, clients, and the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), however, indicates that the facility continues to commit abortions, and hence is in violation of the law.

“The abortion industry is again acting in character. When you kill babies, you don’t care when someone tells you to stop. You can’t practice vice virtuously,” Fr. Frank said. “The abortion lobby always thinks it is above the law. We therefore call for a thorough investigation of the New Woman All Women facility by the State of Alabama, and strong action to enforce the law.”

Priests for Life is collaborating in this effort with the Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) for Life and Operation Rescue.

Rev. Terry Gensemer of CEC for Life said, “CEC For Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation, Operation Rescue, Priests for Life, and the community of Birmingham would like to know exactly how the Department of Public Health justifies not only allowing a facility without any license to continue illegally advertising as an abortion provider, but also explain how that facility is now blatantly offering abortions to patients.  If New Women All Women is no longer a licensed abortion provider, then what is abortionist Bruce Norman doing here with a full parking lot on a Saturday morning?  And why isn’t Public Health doing anything to stop it?  These are questions we need answered, and we need them answered now.”

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue also commented,, “New Woman All Women owner Diane Derzis has shown a gross disregard for the law and the lives of women by illegally operating this dangerous abortion mill.  Only a term in jail will stop criminals like this from continuing to endanger the public.  We call for Derzis and her associate, Bruce Elliot Norman, to be charged for deceptive practices and illegal abortions.  Read them their rights and take them away!”

Derzis is also the owner of the last abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. That clinic is not in compliance with new state law and could close.

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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