Fr. Pavone to receive Henry Hyde Award from American Catholic Press

 

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will be honored with the 2012 Henry Hyde Award at the annual benefit dinner of the American Catholic Press (ACP). The dinner will take place Oct. 26 in Flossmoor, Ill.

The award named for the late chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a longtime advocate for the unborn, grew out of another award, the Gratiam Dei Award, bestowed annually by the ACP and awarded to Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde in 1998. Subsequent honorees included Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League and Norma McCorvey, the “Janet Roe” of the Roe vs. Wade decision. After Rep. Hyde’s death in 2007, the organization decided to dedicate a second award, in his name, to those who work tirelessly in the pro-life movement.

“The prestigious Henry Hyde Award will be presented to Father Frank Pavone, who has advocated the pro-life cause for many years,” said Father Michael Gilligan, executive director. “Father Frank is known nationwide through publications, articles, media, and public speaking. His non-profit organization, Priests for Life, is wholly dedicated to the pro-life cause.”

The Cleary Family of Chicago will be this year’s recipients of the Gratiam Dei Award for their decades of service to area schools and churches and their support of ACP.

American Catholic Press was incorporated in 1972 as a not-for-profit. Its publications include the Leaflet Missal, “Parish Liturgy” magazine, “Diocesan Dialogue” and numerous books, all aimed at promoting liturgical renewal of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. The annual benefit dinner helps to fund ACP’s ongoing commitment to provide Leaflet Missal prayerbooks to shut-ins.

“I am honored to be receiving this award named for a man whom I was privileged to know personally, and with whom I discussed the cause of life numerous times,” Father Pavone said. “Congressman Hyde inspired me and millions of others. He was not simply a politician, but a statesman, and embodied the kind of people we need to elect to public office.”

For information on the benefit, go to www.americancatholicpress.org

 

 

Can the Government Veto a Sermon?

Friends,

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.

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.

Alveda King: “Occupy” movement must turn away from violence

ATLANTA – Dr. Alveda King, fulltime director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, said the Occupy Wall Street movement must embrace prayer and disavow violence if it hopes to emulate the 20th century Civil Rights Movement.

“The whole Civil Rights movement was founded in prayer, in crying out to God in peace,” Dr. King said today during an interview on “Fox & Friends.” “This movement is not peaceful,” she said of Occupy Wall Street.

Dr. King, the niece of Rev. Dr. Martin King Jr., was invited on the show to discuss comments made by Rev. Jesse Jackson last week in Atlanta, comparing the two movements and insisting that Martin Luther King would have supported Occupy Wall Street.

“Rev. Jackson knows this is not the model my uncle upheld, or that my father, Rev. A.D. King, upheld,” she said. “The people who came out are hurting, they need answers. They need help, not to be incited to violence. They need a leader who is going to lead them peacefully.

Calling him “a civil wrong leader on this point,” Dr. King said, “Rev. Jackson needs to revisit his 20th century history.”

Dr. King also noted that the pro-life movement has adopted the prayerful, peaceful model of the Civil Rights movement as it works to end abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and killing of embryos for their stem cells.

To see the “Fox & Friends” interview, please click here: http://bit.ly/toi1by

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.

Alveda King “deeply saddened” by the loss of Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth

ATLANTA – Dr. Alveda King, full-time director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, today commented on the passing of civil rights leader Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth.

“Dr. Shuttlesworth was a giant among Servant Christian Leaders. When our home was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, Dr. Shuttlesworth was a source of comfort and encouragement to our family. He will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Shuttlesworth, who died Wednesday at the age of 89, worked alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 to organize demonstrations against segregation in Birmingham. Earlier, he was one of four founding ministers of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

“My father, Rev. A. D. King, worked very closely with Dr. Fred. The staunch and courageous preacher and civil rights giant is credited as being part of the coalition that gave us the ‘Ten Commandments of the Civil Rights Movement,’ which stressed non-violence, prayer and sacrifice.

Go to priestsforlife.org/africanamerican/non-violence.htm and scroll to the bottom to see the “Ten Commandments of the Civil Rights Movement” from the text “New Day in Birmingham.”

Priests for Life mourns the passing of Rev. Howard Creecy

ATLANTA — Dr. Alveda C. King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, today mourned the passing of the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“Howard will be sorely missed. He was a man of integrity and deep compassion,” said Dr. King
Rev. Creecy, 57, died Thursday, July 28, at his Atlanta home. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
He was elected to lead the SCLC in January, when Bernice King, the daughter of SCLC co-founder Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., declined the position. A third-generation preacher, he also was the senior pastor of Olivet Church in Fayette, Ga.
When he assumed the SCLC post, Rev. Creecy acknowledged that internal divisions had troubled the 54-year-old organization in recent years. His goal was to get past those divisions and move the organization forward with a clearly defined mission.
SCLC spokesman Maynard Eaton told Reuters that Rev. Creecy “saved this organization. It was on the brink of disaster. He became this organization’s lifeline with his charisma and his preacher passion.”
Dr. King was looking forward to working with Rev. Creecy to raise awareness of the devastating impact of abortion on the African-American community.
“Howard and I spoke just a few weeks ago at a women’s conference honoring both our mothers. He stopped me in the hallway and said, ‘Alveda, we should meet soon. I am with you in the fight for life.’ He went on to say that he had attended a pro-life prayer meeting with Dr. Billy Graham, and had also participated in Operation Rescue pro-life rallies.”
Isaac Newton Farris Jr., a nephew of Martin Luther King Jr., has been named interim president, the organization said.
Rev. Creecy is survived by his wife, Yolanda Grier Creecy, and two children. The funeral will be Saturday at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Honoring Martin Luther King

Today our nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for the equal dignity of every human life against the evil of segregation. “If we are to have peace on earth,” he wrote, “we must be concerned about…the sacredness of all human life. Man is a child of God, made in His image, and must be respected as such.” When we truly believe this, he continued, “we won’t kill anybody.” Many who knew Dr. King assert that if he were alive today, he would be with us in the pro-life movement. We should note that in Dr. King we honor a man who broke the law and was thrown in jail, because he was opposing a law that was unjust. It’s a good reminder, especially for those who think that no law should ever be broken.

Father Pavone to Join King Family at Commemoration

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, will be a guest of the King family Monday at a celebration of the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church. This year marks 25 years since the designation of Jan. 15 as a federal holiday set aside to honor and remember the non-violent civil rights activism of Rev. King.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. was an advocate for the oppressed, and no one is more oppressed than the 52 million unborn children who have been killed in the womb,” said Father Pavone, who will join Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, executive director, at the service.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Commemorative Service will take place at 10 a.m. Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church. On Sunday at 11 a.m., Father Pavone will preach at the Believers Bible Christian Church, 3689 Campbellton Rd., Atlanta.

Last year Priests for Life launched Pro-Life Freedom Rides for the Unborn to raise awareness of the high rate of abortion in the African-American community. The rides, which began with a trip from Birmingham to Atlanta in July, helped solidify ties among a coalition of pro-life African-American leaders from across the country who are committed to ending the genocide of black babies.

“Certainly in this decade America has become pro-life,” Dr. King said. “We are moving toward a victory. My uncle would always say, ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ And the truth for life is arising for America.”

Since he took over as national director in 1993, Father Pavone has transformed Priests for Life into an internationally recognized organization that fights for the rights of unborn children, and of their mothers and fathers, and has become a family of ministries serving the Church worldwide. Priests for Life is the largest ministry in the Catholic Church working to end abortion and euthanasia.

Priests for Life empowers priests, seminarians, deacons and lay leaders to become more effective champions of life. Priests for Life also operates the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion – Rachel’s’ Vineyard. In partnership with Anglicans for Life, Priests for Life also coordinates the worldwide Silent No More Awareness Campaign, whereby those who have been healed give public witness about how abortion hurt them.

The Center Against Forced Abortions

What happens in a legal abortion clinic if a girl comes to get the abortion because she is being forced, but she is too scared to say anything?

The Center Against Forced Abortions, a new initiative in the pro-life movement, is distributing a letter, prepared by Life Dynamics, that can be sent to an abortion mill warning them against performing an abortion on a particular person who is being forced. Clergy or pregnancy center counselors who encounter such girls can assist her and have her sign the letter, which alerts the clinic that she is under duress, and that when she arrives she may not be in a position to say so. If the abortion is performed anyway, the clinic can be subject to various forms of criminal prosecution and/or civil liability.