Father Frank on Passing of Father Norman Weslin: “Our Loss is Heaven’s Gain”

Father Norman Weslin, left, founder of the Lambs of Christ, with Father Frank.

Father Frank issued the following statement today after learning of the death of Father Norman Weslin, a pro-life activist and founder of the Lambs of Christ.

“Our loss is Heaven’s gain,” said Father Pavone, who worked closely with Father Weslin over the last three decades. “Father Weslin’s commitment to unborn children was so profound that he spent time behind bars on many occasions. He told me in 2001, while awaiting sentencing on a federal charge, that he wasn’t ashamed to be arrested because Jesus and the Apostles all went to jail. He believed that a priest’s place was not behind his people, lending encouragement, but out in front leading the way.”

Father Weslin served for 20 years in the U.S. Army. During his military career, he met and married his wife, Mary. They adopted two children and became active in the pro-life movement. When she was killed in an accident in 1980, he turned their home into a refuge for women facing unplanned pregnancy, and he joined the priesthood. He was ordained a missionary priest of the Oblates of Wisdom in 1986.

“We will miss his passion and his witness,” Father Pavone said. “But we are sure he is being welcomed with open arms by the unborn children he championed and fought so tirelessly to save.”

Resources for Building a Culture of Life

In their pastoral plan for pro-life activities, the Catholic bishops of the United States have asked that at every Mass a prayer be offered for the defense of human life.

To help parishes fulfill this request, Priests for Life prepares an entire set of Prayers of the Faithful for each Sunday of the year, based on the readings for that Sunday.

Among these petitions each week is a prayer for an end to abortion and other forms of violence, and for the growth of a Culture of Life.

We also provide homily hints and bulletin inserts for each Sunday.

You can find these resources at priestsforlife.org, and we also provide them weekly via email.

Help your pastor today by bringing him these weekly pro-life resources for the liturgy. Visit priestsforlife.org for information.

Catholic Group Responds to Obama’s Desperate Attempt

Staten Island, NY — Priests for Life, a New York-based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, today announced that their attorneys have responded to the Obama Administration’s desperate attempt to “shut down” the group’s lawsuit that’s been filed to stop ObamaCare from violating the conscience and morals of Americans.

Recently, Obama’s lawyers sent a letter to the court announcing its intention to file a motion to dismiss — claiming erroneously that Priests for Life does not have legal “standing” to bring the lawsuit, and that the organization hasn’t been “injured” yet because the regulations won’t take effect until January.

Priests for Life lead attorney Charles LiMandri argued that the government is simply wrong.  He wrote in his response, “Priests for Life has standing, its claims are ripe for review, and this court is ‘obliged’ to address the merits of each.”

LiMandri quotes Thomas v. Union Carbide Agric. Prod. Co., 473 U.S. at 581 (1985)—a case whose precedence applies here: “One does not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief.”

The lawsuit that scares the Obama Administration, 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 LiMandri.

LiMandri points out that the HHS ‘Abortion Mandate’ forces Priests for Life to either pay for abortion-causing pills…promote them…or be penalized 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 would cost Priests for Life nearly $2 million a year in fines, and we’re not going to accept this at all.”

Priests for Life is leading the way with this legal challenge of the constitutionality of ObamaCare based on religious freedom issues.

Fr. Frank states, “We urge our Priests for Life family and all concerned Americans to pray for the success of this legal battle.  In my travels across the nation, I see the strength and faith of the American people, and I know we will prevail.”

This Sunday is “Vocations Sunday”

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.

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

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.

Baptism Is a Sacrament of Welcome

On Easter, many throughout the world are baptized into the Church, and those already baptized renew the vows of their baptism.

By baptism, we are immersed in the new life of Christ, and welcomed into the community of those who believe in the Catholic Faith.  Thanks to baptism, God looks at us through the eyes of His Son, and says, ‘You are my child; you died on the cross, therefore you will rise from the dead.’

Baptism is a sacrament of welcome.  God chooses us long before we choose, and all the chosen welcome each other.  This is the exact opposite of the mindset of abortion, which ignores God’s choice, and says that we can choose not to welcome children into the community.

Let’s thank God for baptism, and for life!

Remembering the Pope of Life

On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II was called from this world to the next.

John Paul II was the Pope of Life. He provided the Church and the world with profound reflections about the origins of human life in the loving mystery of the unity of man and woman. He wrote about love and responsibility, and he called the Church to understand that God’s choice comes before our choices.

He provided the pro-life movement with the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, the Gospel of Life. In it, he declared that the attack on children in the womb is an attack on God Himself, and that when the state no longer protects these children, the disintegration of the state itself has begun.

May the example and teaching of John Paul II hasten the Culture of Life.

Super Tuesday and Being Human

I write on the day before Super Tuesday, but my reflections here pertain to the entire election season of 2012, and in fact, of every election cycle.

If you look at the writings of the Catholic Church regarding political responsibility, you often see reference to what is important to “Catholic social teaching” and a “Catholic conscience,” and, of course, that is important to understand, especially for Catholics.

But it is important for us as Americans to also understand the American basis of our social conscience and political responsibility, and, moreover, for us as human beings to understand the purely human basis of the same things.

We are Americans, and as such, we have the right, duty, and privilege to take part in a political process that gives us a voice, not only in who will be elected, but also in who will be on the ballot. Hence, primaries and caucuses are as important to participate in as the general election. To fail to participate in elections is to cheapen the precious freedom, not only given to us through the commitment of our Founding Fathers, but preserved for us through the commitment of the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country. So many of them went to war; many did not return. Many are still in harm’s way today. The least we can do to honor their sacrifice is get out of our house and vote. The least we can say in the pulpits is that “it’s Election Day and we should vote.”

As Americans, moreover, we acknowledge the Creator as the source of our right to life, a right that the government exists to secure (see the Declaration of Independence). So I have less and less patience for anyone who is going to dispute in any way that the protection of human life is and will always remain the fundamental issue for the political community — and this applies to every election, every year, on every level of government. Again, this flows from what we know as Americans, not just as Catholics.

Then there is the purely human dimension. With all due respect to the Church to which I belong and to which I am loyal, it is from my human nature and the commonsense embedded in it that I come to the conclusion that we have an abortion holocaust on our hands, and that nothing else is taking more life than this act of violence. The alarm going off in the minds of millions (mine included) over abortion was not set off by the Church, nor can it be turned off by the Church. And that alarm, for so many of us, is primarily what impels us to go to the voting booth, both in the primaries and in the general election.

Ultimately, the motivation to be politically active is not so much about philosophy, theology, or morality as it is about arithmetic. What’s counted in the end is not opinions or reasons, but votes.

Reflecting on Catholic Schools Week

Catholic schools, of every educational level, face many challenges to maintain their Catholic identity. Ironically, sometimes those challenges come from the members of their own faculty. Sometimes these individuals simply do not believe what the Church teaches or refuse to accept the demands of the moral law.

There’s an old saying, “Nobody can give what he does not have.” Catholic schools exist to impart the Catholic faith and to form strong disciples of Christ. If a faculty member objects to some particular demand of the faith, it makes no sense for them to be in a position in which they are expected to pass it on to our children. For the good of the Church and of the students, they should find another job. Let us pray for strong Catholic schools and faculties.

Please take a moment to check out my Birthday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

Obama Tampering with Conscience

In March of 2010, I had the opportunity to preach to members of Congress and their staff who were gathered at the worship service held inside the Capitol just prior to the vote on Obamacare. In that sermon, I told them that Christianity transforms politics and government, because every human being in Christ has access to God as His son or daughter. Therefore the voice of the people matters, representative government makes sense, and power becomes service, authority becomes a duty to protect human rights.

It’s a message President Obama and his Department of Health and Human Services still don’t get. As the National Catholic Reporter recently reported:

“The Obama administration has turned down repeated requests from Catholic bishops, hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to revise its religious exemption to the requirement that all health plans cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge.

“…Under the plan, after Aug. 1 of this year, new or significantly altered health plans will be required to provide all FDA-approved contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, without co-pays or deductibles as part of preventive health care for women.”

Some 200,000 comments were received from the general public regarding this. Rather than making any accommodation to those who object, the Administration arrogantly announced “that nonprofit groups that do not provide contraceptive coverage because of their religious beliefs will get an additional year ‘to adapt to this new rule.'”

An additional year to do what?

No, we don’t need an additional year nor an additional moment to adapt, study, consider, weigh, balance, or decide whether we are going to pay for the killing of human beings. The answer is no. Keep your year, and give us back our freedom of conscience!

The day before the Administration made this announcement, the Pope addressed a group of American bishops who were making their regular, obligatory visit to update the Pope. He mentioned the “worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.” That’s what the President and his team are doing. Go ahead, worship in whatever Church you want, he tells us, but if you run a hospital or other entity, you have to do it our way.

The US bishops have written in Living the Gospel of Life that Roe vs. Wade poisons our entire society. This latest inflexibility in the face of conscience is a good example of that. It is, after all, about abortion. Its fanatical advocates will stop at nothing to expand it, including throwing religious freedom and the Church itself out the window.

What this also tells us is that elections matter. It would be wise for the Church, in tackling this problem, to plan what we are going to do regarding the elections, rather than spending all our energy trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube after it’s been scattered all over the room. Let’s elect more public servants who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public.