Some pastors hesitate to address the abortion issue because they are afraid of controversy and opposition from their congregations. This is precisely where we need to strengthen their hearts, however, and remind them of the words and example of St. Paul, who declared that the word must be preached in season and out of season, whether convenient or inconvenient. A pastor is appointed by God to proclaim His word; He is not appointed by the people to tickle their ears. Moreover, on the abortion issue, most of the public is with us. This is increasingly true, as statistics show more and more people identifying themselves as pro-life. If people object to the pro-life message, they are the ones in the minority, and they should be told as much. It’s time to stand boldly for life.
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.
Many ask why pastors do not preach more about abortion. One reason that some give is that they do not want to hurt the people in the congregation who have had abortions.
Now it is certainly true that there are people in the congregation who have had abortions, and it is also true that they have pain.
But if they are in pain from their abortion, and the pastor is silent about the topic, what are they to think? They could conclude that the pastor doesn’t know about their pain, or doesn’t care about it, or that though he knows and cares, there is no hope.
But none of these is true. He does know, he does care, and there is hope – and that is precisely why he needs to speak up.
Why don’t more pastors speak out against abortion? Some of them actually do not know how to connect the issue with the Scripture readings. They know that the readings are supposed to be the basis of their homilies, but they do not find many references to the unborn child or to the killing of such children.
But the themes of pro-life are on every page of Scripture. Homilies are not simply Scripture lessons. Rather they apply the great Biblical themes to the day-to-day challenges that believers face as they live their lives.
So, for instance, the Bible is clear that only God has dominion over human life – He made it, He cares for it, He owns it. That is why no human being can own or kill or devalue it.
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).”
Often those who defend abortion, knowing that they do not have any valid arguments, resort to blanket criticism of priests for abusing children. What these abortion supporters don’t seem to realize is that by supporting the killing of children, they weaken their argument against the abuse of children. After all, it’s the same victim. The Church, and so many people of good will, oppose both the abuse and killing of children – and of anyone else as well. The argument of pro-life people is one of consistency and inclusion. The tragedy of Roe v Wade is summarized in its line that “the word person does not include the unborn.” Let’s oppose the killing of every and any innocent human life, and call on our opponents to stop being selective in their opposition to evil.
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.
Each Nov 1 the Church observes All Saints’ Day, and many of those saints were martyrs. But what is the difference between martyrdom and suicide? It is the difference between giving and taking. In suicide, one takes his own life, pretending to be the master of it. In martyrdom, one realizes that only God is master of his life, and therefore that he cannot hold on to that life at the cost of betraying God. Martyrdom is the very opposite of suicide, because the martyr declares that God alone is Lord of Life, and that being faithful to Him is worth any price, including death.
As we honor the martyrs and all the saints, let’s recommit ourselves to building a world that acknowledges God alone as the Master of life and death.
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 copy today.
At Priests for Life, we are committed to training seminarians to be strong and effective pro-life advocates. In fact, many of these young men have found their vocation precisely through the pro-life movement.
You can play a role in forming our future priests by encouraging seminarians you know to take advantage of the special resources and training we provide. Visit PriestsforLife.org and help us form tomorrow’s pro-life priests!
Dr. Alveda King and I will be guest speakers at the 2011 Night Vision Music Festival taking place July 8th and 9th in Montrose, Colorado.
Prior to the Festival Dr. King and I will be speaking at a pastor’s luncheon in Montrose. If you are a pastor or priest and would like to attend the luncheon on July 7th, please RSVP with your name, church name, and position to email@example.com by Friday, July 1st.
Night Vision is a two-day free festival that features activities for all ages including: a comedy tent, worship, kid’s corner, workshops, carnival riders, and as the event finale, fireworks! Admission is free, but parking, food, beverages are not included.
For more information this event, please visit www.NightVisionPHM.com.
Fr. Pavone expressed sadness today at the death of Fr. Richard Hogan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul who was released in 1995 to be the full-time Associate Director of Priests for Life. He served in that capacity for five years. He was the first priest, aside from Fr. Pavone, to be given permission to serve Priests for Life as his full-time ministry.
Fr. Hogan was a scholar and author, and wrote on the theology of the body and the philosophical and theological thought of Pope John Paul II, especially as it relates to the cause of family and life.
Fr. Pavone stated, “Fr. Hogan gave witness to the Church’s teachings on life in a persuasive and compassionate way. He enjoyed traveling and speaking on the Priests for Life mission, and was convinced that the Church is the key to resolving the problem of abortion. In particular, his willingness to serve this mission full-time, and the willingness of his Archbishop (who at that time was Most Rev. Harry Flynn) to allow him to do so, was a sign to the Church that saving the unborn is important enough for us to invest money and manpower into that specific mission.
“With the passing of Fr. Hogan, it is my prayer that we will continue to see more priests and deacons seek and receive permission to minister to the unborn on a full-time basis. Moreover, we renew the call for lay people to devote themselves full-time to the pro-life cause,” Fr. Pavone said.
For more information about Fr. Hogan and about Priests for Life, visit www.priestsforlife.org.