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.

Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries Congratulate New Cardinals

Father Pavone issued the following statement today to congratulate the new Cardinals named by Pope Benedict XVI.

“On behalf of the international association of Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries, and our entire pastoral team, I want to congratulate the new Cardinals, but more importantly, assure them of our union with them in the defense of our unborn brothers and sisters, “usque ad sanguinis effusionem” (that is, unto the shedding of our blood, which is what the bright red color of Cardinals signifies).”

Remembering the Holy Innocents

This Feast of the Holy Innocents leads Christians to reflect on the tragedy of abortion, and today leads many to pray in front of abortion facilities, where innocent blood is shed. Just as Christmas should be celebrated every day in our hearts, so the Feast of the Holy Innocents should be celebrated every day. Our hearts should be broken as the bodies of these babies are broken, and the souls of those who kill them are weighed down with the burden of guilt and despair. Yet we are the people of Life, and we bring into this world the hope that comes from the birth of Christ and from the birth of every baby. We bring the hope of forgiveness and the determination to work daily for an end to the modern-day slaughter of the innocents.

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

Truly He Taught Us to Love One Another

The Christmas song “O Holy Night” includes the following words: “Truly he taught us to love one another. His law is love, and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease.” This is a reminder that as we celebrate Christmas, we renew our commitment to ending all oppression, particularly of those who are most oppressed, the children living before birth within their mothers; children who have been deprived of legal protection, and are oppressed by the mythology of choice. In the name of the newborn Christ, the oppression of our unborn children will cease. May Christmas give us the strength to be silent no more, and more active than ever in the pro-life cause.

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

Join Us In Prayer

Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the unborn. Priests for Life has therefore composed a special prayer novena to prepare for her feast day. This novena for life begins on December 4th and can be found at priestsforlife.org. The prayer asks for renewed hope, because Mary points us to Christ, who has conquered death. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image ended the practice of human sacrifice among the Aztecs. The novena asks that the human sacrifice of abortion end through her intercession. It asks that we may have compassion for all those tempted to abort or who have had abortions. Please join this novena at priestsforlife.org, and invite your family, pro-life group, school and parish to take part in it as well.

Must-have pro-life book: Ending Abortion; Not Just Fighting It is a collection of lifesaving and informative pro-life essays from Fr. Pavone. Click here to order your signed copy today.