Archive for September, 2013

Blessed John Paul II’s Canonization Will Strengthen the Pro-Life Movement

Monday, September 30th, 2013
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Father Frank Pavone, right, National Director of Priests for Life, concelebrates Mass at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II and several American archbishops.

STATEN ISLAND,  NY  — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today about the impending canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II:

“I am delighted that the date has now been officially set for the canonization of Pope John Paul II. When I worked at the Vatican I was privileged to be in many meetings with him, along with other pro-life leaders from around the world. He is a gift to the Church in so many ways, and what we celebrate in a special way at Priests for Life is that he is the Pope of Life. His canonization will strengthen for the Church the significance of the pro-life writings he left us – especially Evangelium Vitae – and of the pro-life initiatives he took.”

Following his appointment in 1997 to the Pontifical Council for the Family, Father Pavone lived and worked in Rome for two years. He still travels frequently to Rome, and is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The Vatican announced this morning that Blessed Pope John Paul and Blessed Pope John XXIII will be canonized on the same day, April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday.

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

Monday, September 30th, 2013

human_rights_first

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

“The Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel” (John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.2).

Reflection: Some who preach the Gospel think that pro-life activity is a “hobby,” added onto the Gospel. It is not. It is as integral to the Gospel as any cause or activity could be. The Gospel is all about the redemption and exaltation of the human person, and the marriage of humanity and divinity, in and through Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we never lose our awe at the destiny your Gospel announces for humanity. Amen.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Declaration of Independence and American Flag

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

“Take warning, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear…” (Psalm 2:10-11). 

Reflection: Pro-abortion politicians say, “The government should not be involved in a personal decision like abortion.” But the government got “too involved” in abortion when it claimed to have the authority to authorize it. The Declaration of Independence says government exists to secure the rights already bestowed by the Creator. Some say it is none of the government’s business to prohibit abortion. Actually, it is none of the government’s business to permit abortion.

Prayer: Instill in our civic leaders, O God, the proper fear of your kingship. May they realize the limits of their authority. Amen.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

gavel

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

“Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations”
– The Gospel of Life, 20

Reflection: Simply because a law may be passed “in the proper way” does not automatically mean it is legitimate. Authentic law serves the good of people, and the protection of their rights.

Prayer: Lord, may legislators and judges see the foundations of authentic law.

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Priests for Life Asks D.C. Federal Court to Halt Enforcement of Obamacare “Contraception Mandate”

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC)   has asked a federal court to halt enforcement of the Obamacare contraceptive services mandate against Priests for Life.

On Sept. 19, AFLC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to halt the enforcement of the recently announced regulations. The motion and accompanying memorandum of law are part of AFLC’s federal lawsuit filed last month on behalf of Priests for Life, an international, Catholic organization; Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life; Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and a pastoral associate and director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life; and Janet Morana, the executive director of Priests for Life.

The lawsuit challenges the new regulations announced by the Obama administration this past June that allegedly “accommodate” religious objections to the contraceptive services mandate for “eligible organizations.”  However, the regulations still require certain non-exempt religious employers, including Priests for Life, to provide insurance plans that promote and facilitate the use of contraceptive services.  Priests for Life’s sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit it from providing any support for the use of contraceptive services—the very services mandated by the government as a matter of federal law.  The lawsuit and recently filed motion allege that the contraceptive services mandate places a substantial burden on Priests for Life’s sincerely held religious beliefs and the government does not have a compelling reason for doing so in violation of the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Father Pavone expressed Priests for Life’s and his commitment to this fight for religious freedom. “We have been battling the HHS Mandate in court since February of 2012, and as we take this next step, we as an organization — and the plaintiffs in their individual capacities — renew our determination not to accommodate to this injustice.  And we are confident that the court will uphold our position.”

According to the motion filed by AFLC, the contraceptive services mandate will apply in full force to Priests for Life’s health care plan on January 1, 2014, thereby necessitating the request for an immediate injunction.  Absent an injunction, Priests for Life will be presented with a Hobson’s choice: either drop its health care plan altogether and face the consequences for doing so or refuse to cooperate with the government mandate and be subject to crippling fines of $100 per employee per day.

Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC, commented: “As a religious organization whose primary mission is to promote the culture of life, Priests for Life has and will continue to suffer irreparable harm from the mandate.  The so-called ‘accommodation’ for certain non-exempt religious employers announced by the Obama administration is no such thing.  Under these revised regulations, because Priests for Life provides its employees with a health care plan, the mandate forces Priests for Life to provide the means and mechanism by which contraceptive services are provided directly to its plan participants and their beneficiaries, which is unacceptable to Priests for Life because it violates its sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Muise continued, “The use of contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients is prohibited by Priests for Life’s religious convictions.  And this is true whether the immoral services are paid for directly, indirectly, or even not at all by Priests for Life.  Contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients are immoral regardless of their cost.”

Throughout the process of amending the regulations, the Obama administration has refused to provide a broad exemption from the contraception mandate for religious employers such as Priests for Life, claiming that such an exemption “would lead to more employees having to pay out of pocket for contraceptive services, thus making it less likely that they would use contraceptives, which would undermine the benefits [of requiring the coverage].”  According to the government, “Employers that do not primarily employ employees who share the religious tenets of the organization are more likely to employ individuals who have no religious objection to the use of contraceptive services and therefore are more likely to use contraceptives.  Including these employers within the scope of the exemption would subject their employees to the religious views of the employer, limiting access to contraceptives, thereby inhibiting the use of contraceptive services and the benefits of preventive care.”  Consequently, as the Obama administration has made clear, the ultimate goal of the contraception mandate is to increase the “use of contraceptive services” by compelling access to these services—a goal that is contrary to the very purpose and mission of Priests for Life.

David Yerushalmi, co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC, commented: “There is no doubt that the contraceptive services mandate threatens the very existence of Priests for Life as an effective, pro-life organization.  The First Amendment exists to prevent exactly this type of tyrannical overreach by the federal government.”

The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius; the U.S. Department of the Treasury and its Secretary, Jacob Lew; and the U.S. Department of Labor and its Secretary, Thomas Perez.  Each department has a role in enforcing the challenged mandate.

To see the motion for a preliminary injunction and supporting statements from the plaintiffs, go to PriestsForLife.org/hhsmandate

The American Freedom Law Center is a national Judeo-Christian law firm that fights for faith and freedom.  It accomplishes its mission through litigation, public policy initiatives, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  The web site can be found at  www.americanfreedomlawcenter.org.

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

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

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

“Do not use your freedom as a means to cover up wrongdoing” (1 Peter 2:16).

Reflection: The public debate should not be whether the bishops will allow politicians to receive communion, but whether the politicians will allow children to be slaughtered. When we read the descriptions of what the abortion procedure does to little babies, we understand that the core question is not whether these politicians are good Catholics, but whether they are decent human beings.

Prayer: Lord, I pray today for every leader, every politician, and every person who remains blind to the evil of abortion. Stir their consciences, and enable me to be a light in the darkness. Amen.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

mother_teresa2

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

“The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion” – Mother Teresa (Nobel Peace Prize Lecture). 

Reflection: You have heard people say that being wrong on abortion outweighs being right on other issues, and that is correct. The full truth is, if you are wrong on abortion, you can’t be right on other issues. To permit abortion, but then to cry out for the right to work, housing, education, health care, and peace, is to say that these other rights belong to some people but not to all.

Prayer: Lord, forgive our nation for allowing all the rights of the unborn to be taken away. Amen.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Monday, September 16th, 2013

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

“The winds blew and buffeted that house. And it collapsed with a great crash” (Matthew 7:27).

Reflection: Pro-abortion politicians will say to us, “Abortion is just one of many issues; I embrace a consistent ethic of life.” The foundation of a house is only one of many parts of the house, but it is essential in order to build the other parts. That is why the bishops teach that the right to life is the foundation of all human rights, and that our priority must be fighting abortion.

Prayer: Lord, you warned against building our house on sand. May the right to life itself shape all our efforts for justice. Amen.

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Renewed Priests for Life Pro-Life Training Announced

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Presentations include Archdiocese of Chicago, EWTN, and the Vatican

This week and next, Priests for Life is announcing new efforts in the pro-life education of the clergy and laity. Building on the work of the last two decades, Priests for Life will present renewed initiatives to train people how to live out their commitment to protecting human life. “The pro-life effort is not simply a cause, a movement, or a political position,” explained Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “All that has its place. But pro-life is, at its core, a spirituality. The Gospels and the teachings of the Church not only teach us why we are pro-life; they teach us how to live it. There are specific virtues we need, and these virtues shape pro-life activity and strategy.”

Priests for Life just produced new programs for EWTN which reflect this spirituality, and this week Fr. Frank will present it, at the invitation of the Vatican, to a conference of jurists sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family.  Then, at the end of the week, Fr. Frank will again present this approach in Chicago.

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Respect Life Office, with the blessing of His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., has invited Fr. Frank to lead a special leadership retreat for Parish Respect Life Coordinators to help them spiritually and mentally prepare for Respect Life Month and another great year of pro-life parish ministry.

“Several years ago, I went to a pro-life retreat that was led by Fr. Frank, and since then, I have wanted to provide this type of experience to all of our Parish Respect Life Coordinators” said Margie Breen, Director of the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago.    “I first came to know of Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life from Father’s appearances on several different EWTN shows.  First, it was Father asking people to view the horrible abortion pictures on his Priests for Life website that got me involved in the pro-life movement.  Second, I credit Father for my full time pro-life ministry.  It was during one of his EWTN homilies that he asked people to leave their current full time work and find ways to work full time in the pro-life movement.  I stepped out in faith, and God opened the doors to my current ministry as Respect Life Office Director.  The road hasn’t been easy, but it never is when you are working to fight one of the worst injustices of our time.  I am grateful to Father Frank and Priests for Life for their important ministry!,” Margie concluded.

Fr. Frank explained, “This retreat will be designed to impart the pro-life spirituality on which we have trained activists around the world for years. It is a spirituality based on the teaching, life and example of three pro-life icons whom I was privileged to know personally and who shaped profoundly my own vocation to pro-life activism: Blessed John Paul II, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Cardinal John O’Connor, who ordained me to the priesthood and gave me permission to devote myself fulltime to the defense of the unborn.”

Fr. Frank added, “From its inception, Priests for Life has had a close and fruitful relationship with the Archdiocese of Chicago. When Cardinal O’Connor released me to be the first full-time director of the organization, Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago permitted Fr. Jim Heyd to be the Associate Director. Cardinal George later permitted Fr. Heyd to work with us full-time. On many occasions over the years, the Archdiocese and its parishes have welcomed Priests for Life. Now, with the exemplary work of Margie Breen, and under the inspiring leadership of Cardinal George, the Archdiocese continues to advance the pro-life cause, and I am honored to assist in that effort.”

To hear some of Fr. Frank’s training seminars in pro-life spirituality, www.priestsforlife.org/audio/retreatsandseminars.htm Stay tuned to PriestsForLife.org for more announcements about these efforts.

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Fr. Pavone Calls on Clergy to Pray for Former Abortionists

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

NEW YORK, NY– Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today:

“This weekend, in a private retreat, former abortion clinic workers will seek spiritual and psychological healing. Along with several colleagues, I will again be privileged to minister to these individuals, who once made their living by killing children but who now have repented and seek forgiveness.

“I ask my brother priests, and clergy of all denominations, to pray to Christ the Healer in these days, that those who come to seek this healing will have the courage to undertake the arduous task ahead of them. We will assist them to face up with complete honesty to the evil they have done, and at the same time to more deeply perceive the full weight of God’s mercy. These individuals will be asked to remember the number of lives they have taken, and to begin to re-humanize each of these children, claiming responsibility for them, apologizing for each one of them, and commending them to the Lord. They will also pray for the mothers, fathers, and families who have been damaged by the abortion that they provided.

“Many years ago, Dr. Philip Ney developed the Society of Centurions for former abortionists and their staff who repent of killing the innocent, just as did the Roman Centurion at Jesus’ crucifixion. At various times and in various locations around the world, Dr. Ney conducts Centurion gatherings, leading men and women through an intensive process of healing. The work I will do this weekend is based on the insights and research Dr. Ney provides. We look forward to preparing many men and women to take advantage of the powerful encounter that these meetings with Dr. Ney provide.

“As he has pointed out, the better we can understand why a person becomes an abortionist, and then how a person comes to leave that dark industry, the better we can understand how our whole society has gotten enmeshed in the culture of abortion, and how it can again become free.”

For information, visit www.SocietyofCenturions.com.

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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