Happy New Year! – And Why Were These Words of the Pope Omitted?

Happy New Year, everybody! I remembered you all at Mass on New Year’s Day, praying for your intentions, your families, and for the victory of Life!

One of the resolutions I made for 2015 is to share more with you directly on this blog, to which I will also link from my main Facebook page (Facebook.com/FatherFrankPavone) which I invite you to like if you haven’t already, and from the other social media platforms I use. I want to share with you by means of this blog more of what I do each day, to give those who follow our work more of an inside view to what it is like, and also to share with you more frequently than my regular columns allow my thoughts on various issues, developments, and so forth as they impact the battle to protect children in the womb.

I hope you all had a good celebration of the holidays. Of course, the Christmas – New Year’s celebration continues all the way through January 11, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which marks the conclusion of the liturgical Christmas season.

Yesterday, for New Year’s Day, I was here in my New York office and spent a full day of quiet work at my desk in my room, organizing many tasks for the month ahead, doing a lot of scheduling, organizing files for upcoming projects, doing some writing, and preparing for meetings I’m having this week with staff and other pro-life leaders.

Today, the staff are here, and I am engaged in various meetings with them regarding projects we are carrying out, for instance, Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion, about which we have a press conference next week in Washington DC.

Something I wanted to bring to your attention is the address that Pope Francis gave on Christmas day at noon during his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and to the world) blessing. He mentioned the babies in the womb, and his exact words in that section of his address were as follows:

“The Child Jesus. My thoughts turn to all those children today who are killed and ill-treated, be they infants killed in the womb, deprived of that generous love of their parents and then buried in the egoism of a culture that does not love life; be they children displaced due to war and persecution, abused and taken advantage of before our very eyes and our complicit silence. I think also of those infants massacred in bomb attacks, also those where the Son of God was born. Even today, their impotent silence cries out under the sword of so many Herods. On their blood stands the shadow of contemporary Herods. Truly there are so many tears this Christmas, together with the tears of the Infant Jesus.”

Now the broadcast of this involves a feed that comes from the Vatican, whereby you hear the Pope speaking in Italian, and then you hear a translator, who has the text in front of him, saying it in English. Interestingly, when it came to this particular paragraph, the translators skipped the words about the babies in the womb and about the modern day Herods and about the generous love of parents and the culture that does not love life. I could tell the translator was skipping something. Later, when I obtained the text of the talk from the Vatican website, I went back to the audio recording that I myself was making at that very moment that I was listening to it, and noticed in fact, the glaring omission. The rest of the entire talk was perfectly conveyed and nothing was missing.

Just amazing.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

“Life is always a good. …Why is life a good?… The life which God gives man is …a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory” (John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.34).

Reflection: Abortion advocates say that the embryo or fetus is “just a collection of cells.” But this is no argument at all. The same can be said of you and me. If someone does not see the dignity of the human person, their view of people is just reduced to cells.

Prayer: Fill us with wonder, Lord, at your glory shining through every human life. Amen.

Lawsuits against HHS mandate continue with Obama re-election


STATEN ISLAND, NY — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, welcomed news that the first lawsuit filed against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate will be heard by a federal appeals court.

The suit, brought by Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, will be heard Dec. 14 by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia.

Priests for Life’s lawsuit, filed in February, was the fourth of some 30 actions that challenge the constitutionality of the mandate.

“A different outcome on Election Day, followed by the elimination of this mandate, would have resolved the problems these lawsuits seek to correct. Now, however, they are more important than ever,” said Father Pavone. “This administration is on a collision course with the Catholic Church, and with anyone who treasures the religious liberty guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. It’s encouraging that the Court of Appeals has decided to hear the Belmont Abbey suit, and I’m confident Priests for Life’s suit also will have its day in court and that we will prevail.

“Meanwhile, we invite all citizens to express their solidarity with us by signing the “Citizens’ Amicus Brief” at www.priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/amicus-brief.aspx.”


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.

Father Scott Daniels makes TV debut tonight on “Defending Life”

Father Scott Daniels, O.P., a pastoral associate for Priests for Life, will have his television debut tonight as the new season of “Defending Life” kicks off on EWTN.

Father Daniels has been passionate about pro-life issues since his seminary days in the 1980s. Since 2009, when he was granted permission to work full-time as a priest associate with Priests for Life, he has been traveling across the country, leading pro-life parish weekends, teaching school children and speaking at pro-life events.

Tonight’s show will focus on ways to evaluate candidates for political office.

“I am thrilled to have an opportunity to co-host ‘Defending Life’ on EWTN,” Father Daniels said. “Television gives us a unique opportunity to go into people’s homes to tell the truth about the issues that really matter. With Election Day less than three weeks away, what matters now is choosing the right candidate.”

Mrs. Morana agreed. “Voters must make sure they know how every candidate for every office feels about abortion,” she said. “The life issue is the most important at every level of government, because without the right to life, the rest of our rights are meaningless.”

The show can be seen on EWTN every Thursday at 11 p.m. and every Saturday at 2:30 a.m. It can be heard on EWTN Radio every Friday at 1 a.m., Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 a.m. (All times Eastern). The series also will feature Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, as co-host, along with Fr. Denis Wilde, OSA, associate director.

For more information about “Defending Life, go to www.priestsforlife.org/defendinglife.


Can the Government Veto a Sermon?


Lots happening this weekend… It’s Respect Life Sunday (and we have resources at ProLifePreaching.com), it’s Life Chain Sunday (and I’ll be participating in one in Detroit… I hope all the Life Chain organizers are ready to collect names, numbers, and emails of the participants to help engage them throughout the year!), it’s the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization (Priests for Life was pleased to send input to the synod on the connections between new evangelization and the pro-life movement) – but what I want to focus on for a moment here is that it is also “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”

Here’s the question: May the government filter, edit, or veto the contents of a sermon?  No court has ever heard a case regarding whether the Internal Revenue Service can do so. Yet every day – and especially in these weeks prior to an election – preachers act as if their sermons have to be vetted and approved by the IRS.

Indeed, the IRS issues guidelines saying that in order to retain its tax exemption, Churches and other organizations set up as “501 (c)(3)” entities must avoid any intervention in a political campaign.

But this restriction is not in the Constitution. In fact, it only goes back to 1954, to a provision that has no legislative history and has never been challenged in court.

And the result of the restriction, and the ambiguity often surrounding it (because the IRS says that all the “facts and circumstances” have to be taken into account to determine exactly when a preacher has “crossed the line,” therefore meaning in practice that you may not know that you’ve crossed the line until after the fact), what in fact happens is that speech is chilled and pastors do far less than they are able to do.

Since 2008, therefore, pastors across the nation have begun to rise up with a simple message: No government interference in the pulpit! They have decided, on a designated weekend, to preach sermons outside the usual restrictions of the IRS, and have sent those sermons to the IRS. The hope is that this will lead to a court case that can clarify whether the restrictions are in fact even constitutional.

In 2008, some 33 pastors did this. The IRS did not respond.

In 2009, some 84 pastors did this. Again, only silence from the IRS.

In 2010, a hundred pastors engaged in this project. The IRS raised no complaint.

Last year, 539 pastors sent in their sermons challenging the IRS restrictions. And nothing but silence came from the IRS.

This year’s numbers will surpass all the previous years.

It seems clear that the IRS does not want the 1954 restrictions subjected to court scrutiny. We will report more of what happens as a result of this Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Stay tuned!

Fr. Frank



Today’s Pro-Life Reflection










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

“In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the “common home” where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members” (John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.20).

Reflection: Some see laws permitting abortion as a minor flaw; the Pope is saying here that they change the very nature of the state.

Prayer: Lord, free us from the tyranny of governments that think they can dispose of human life. Amen.

Today’s Pro-Life reflection













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

“She was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).

Reflection: Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 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.

Prayer: Mary, pray for all who are pregnant and afraid, especially those tempted to abort their child. Pray that they find new hope and strength to say “Yes” to God’s plan as you did. Amen.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

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

“You will be doing well if you truly observe the sovereign law…’You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (James 2:8).

Reflection: Some prominent politicians claim that it is not their business to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of America. That’s true. But none object to enforcing laws against stealing. Why isn’t that an imposition or religion, given the fact that the Bible and the Catechism tell us not to steal? The reason, of course, is that you have a right to your possessions, not because you are Catholic, but because you are human.

Prayer: Lord, help us distinguish between religious beliefs and moral laws rooted in our nature. Amen.

Fr. Pavone: Nellie Gray was “a tireless warrior for the unborn”

Fr. Frank & Nellie Gray at the 2012 March for Life

Miss Nellie Gray, Founder of the March for Life, has died.“Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. In 1976, when he was a senior in high school, Father Pavone went to the March for Life with his mother and grandmother. Although he had been quietly considering the priesthood before that, the March cemented both his vocation and his passion for pro-life issues.

“Every year since 1974, Nellie Gray has mobilized a diverse and energetic army for life,” said Father Pavone, who has attended every march since his first one. “Her own commitment to the cause never wavered. She was a tireless warrior for the unborn and her motto was ‘no exceptions.’ “

After his ordination in 1988, Father Pavone was assigned to a parish in Staten Island, NY. Every year he led a busload of parishioners to the March for Life. He took over as national director of Priests for Life in 1993, and the following year, attending the event in his new capacity, Miss Gray invited him to say the opening prayer at the March for Life Convention that annually precedes the March.

In 2008, the National Pro-Life Religious Council, which Father Pavone serves as president, presented Miss Gray with its Pro-Life Recognition Award. Later that day, Miss Gray tripped and fell on the stage at the opening rally for the March and had to be taken to the hospital with a head injury.

“As a colleague in national pro-life leadership, Nellie was always an inspiration to the rest of us,” Father Pavone said. “Her devotion was on display that same year, 2008, when, despite being in the hospital during the March for Life, she nevertheless was present at all all-day meeting of national leaders the very next morning, with a patch on her head.”

Every year since its founding in 2003, Miss Gray invited the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to stand on the rally stage holding signs that said, “I Regret My Abortion,” and she arranged for a larger group of post-abortive men and women from Silent No More to be in the vanguard of the March.

Dee Becker, Nellie, Georgette & Janet

“We are so grateful that Nellie Gray shared our vision of Silent No More, and recognized that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice,” said Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More. “Every year more women and men come to march and to share their testimony. Nellie Gray helped make that possible for us.”

Miss Gray is also credited for realizing that African-American pro-life leaders had to become more vocal and visible in the fight for life.

“Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice,” said Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life. “She was a visionary.”

Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministry and director of Youth Outreach for Priests for Life, said: “My heart is broken by the loss of Nellie Gray, a true pro-life hero and role model. At the same time I celebrate that Nellie is with our Lord who she loved so dearly. I have had the honor of working with Nellie for years and every time I March in DC in January, I know she will be watching over us and praying for us. Nellie Gray, I will miss you dearly.

The 2013 March for Life will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, and the 39th anniversary of the March.

“It was an anniversary that broke Nellie Gray’s heart every year, and every day,” Father Pavone noted. “In January we will march in her memory, in her honor, to save the unborn children to whom she dedicated her life.”

To offer your spiritual bouquet, your promise of prayers and to share your memories of Nellie go to http://www.priestsforlife.org/data/prayer_request.aspx.

Priests for Life Welcomes Day of Life Celebration; Pilgrimage to Rome Planned









STATEN ISLAND, NY – Priests for Life will lead a pilgrimage to Rome in 2013 to help celebrate “The Year of Faith.” The group will be at the Vatican on June 16, which the Vatican has announced will be a day dedicated to the Gospel of Life. Special events in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI are planned on that special day.

“This initiative of the Vatican is an exciting development which will give believers around the world the opportunity to express, in union with the Holy Father, that our proclamation of the Faith cannot be credible without a vigorous defense of human life,” said Father  Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “The Faith tells us that our destiny is to be on the throne with Christ (cf. Rev. 3:21). We cannot persuasively offer this promise while ignoring those who are thrown in the garbage.”

The June 11-18 pilgrimage will be led by Father Pavone, along with Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life; Catholic author and journalist Teresa Tomeo, and Catholic tour guide leader Steve Ray.

“Priests for Life invites all who are committed to the cause of life to join us on our 2013 pilgrimage to Rome. We also will advocate that this day of life be an observance of the Church each and every year,” Fr. Pavone stated.

Anyone who would like to be part of the pilgrimage is asked to go to www.priestsforlife.org/pilgrimage/index.aspx