On this day, April 30, in 1991, Priests for Life received its official recognition from the church as a Private Association of the Faithful. In a letter issued by Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco, the goals of the organization were praised and its bylaws recognized.
In the church, associations are brought about in two ways. Either the faithful, that is, members of the church, form the Association on their own initiative, or the hierarchy establishes it on their initiative. In the case of Priests for Life, it was the former. Because of the urgent nature of the pro-life battle and the opportunity that they saw, priests and laity took the opportunity to create an Association which would support primarily the clergy but also the whole church and the urgent task of bringing an end to abortion.
Since its recognition by Archbishop Quinn in 1991, Priests for Life has been repeatedly praised the recommended by members of the hierarchy throughout the world, including by various agencies of the Vatican. This is not hard to understand, given the centrality of the church’s mission in defense of life, and especially given the pontificate of St. John Paul II, who emphasized in so many of his talks and writings that the right to life is the most basic and fundamental right, and the condition of all other rights, and that therefore its defense is a priority.
Over these two and a half decades, Priests for Life has not only grown but also diversified in its mission and structure, and is now a family of ministries, touching on every major aspect of the pro-life effort. In recent years, Priests for Life has worked with the Vatican and with Cardinal Timothy Dolan to expand its canonical structure to accommodate the broader range of activities that it has undertaken with great fruit. This process is continuing, and we look forward to an even more effective service to the church and to the unborn in the years to come.