Archive for the ‘Conscience Rights’ Category

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Friday, December 14th, 2012

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

“Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51).

Reflection: Though he was conceived of a virgin, Jesus nevertheless lived as a son in a human family. The family is the sanctuary of life. The family, above all, is where life is to be welcomed, no matter how fragile or inconvenient it may be. One of the many reasons why the Church sees abortion and euthanasia as pre-eminent issues is because these crimes are committed by one family member upon another.

Prayer: O Holy Family, bless our families, and lead us to a Culture of Life. Amen.

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Equal rights of all human beings

Friday, December 14th, 2012

prolife3So did you see the letter that Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, wrote to President Obama yesterday asking him not to nominate her for Secretary of State? In the first paragraph, she praises the “vision and leadership” of the President, and the Administration’s “successes,” including, in her words, “our bold defense of the equal rights of all human beings regardless of their race, religion, economic status or whom they love.”

This made me wonder if Susan Rice has her countries confused.

The Obama Administration, whether at the U.N. or anywhere else, does not defend the “equal rights of all human beings.” First of all, the reference to equal rights “regardless of…religion” is laughable in the light of the Administration’s ongoing attack on religious freedom. “Regardless of…religion” should mean even religions that would prohibit employers to offer coverage of abortion-inducing drugs in the health insurance plans they offer to employees. Yet instead, the Administration is attempting to force such people to violate their religion – including us at Priests for Life, which is why we launched one of the first lawsuits against the HHS and its unjust mandate.

But even more fundamental than the right to religious freedom is the right to life.

And the Obama Administration fails miserably here as well. The defense of legal abortion is, by definition, a defense of the proposition that Roe vs. Wade made that “the word ‘person’…does not include the unborn.” The first of the “equal rights of all human beings” is the right to life. Every other right depends on it. Equality is not equality if some human beings – those living in the womb – are not recognized and protected as equal.

Susan Rice has been criticized for a lot of things. Unfortunately, she just added to the list. She is apparently unable to tell the difference between a “bold defense of the equal rights of all human beings” and a bold denial of them.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Friday, November 16th, 2012

“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.

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Lawsuits against HHS mandate continue with Obama re-election

Friday, November 9th, 2012

 

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.

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

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

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.

 

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

Friday, October 12th, 2012

 

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

 

 

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Can the Government Veto a Sermon?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

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

 

 

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Monday, September 10th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Stand Up for Freedom at NYC site where Bill of Rights was adopted

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

NEW YORK, NY — Students of American history know that on April 30, 1789, at the site of what is now the Federal Hall National Memorial, George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. But this Wall Street monument to liberty is famous for much more.

In 1735, newspaper editor John Peter Zenger was tried and acquitted there on charges of sedition after exposing government corruption in his paper, the New York Weekly Journal.

In 1765, the Stamp Act Congress was assembled there to protest taxation without representation.

And on Sept. 25, 1789, the First Congress met there to adopt the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

On Friday, June 8, a cross-section of Americans who cherish their First Amendment rights will gather at noon outside Federal Hall to protest a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to curtail religious liberty.

The Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally will be one of 150 such rallies to take place simultaneously across the country in protest of a Health and Human Services mandate that would force employers to include coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs in the health insurance plans they offer. The mandate is in direct violation of the moral law.

“This is an assault on the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech granted to all Americans by the First Amendment,” said Father Frank Pavone. The Staten Island-based ministry is organizing the New York City event.

“The Administration is offering some groups a year to ‘adapt’ to the rule. But you don’t ‘adapt’ to injustice. You oppose it. We are opposing it in the courts, because Priests for Life launched the fourth lawsuit against this mandate back in February,” Father Pavone said. “This Friday, we will oppose it also in the streets, as we help to organize and promote these rallies nationwide.”

Friday’s NY City rally is the second one at the site. More than 1,200 people attended the first Stand up Rally on March 23.

Speakers on Friday will include Dr. Alveda King, full-time director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.; Father Agustino Torres of the Franciscan Friars; Chris Bell, founder of Good Counsel Homes, and Dr. Anne Nolte of the St. Gianna Center for Women’s Health.

“Anyone who cares about the rights that my Uncle Martin died for should make time to come to this rally,” Dr. King said. “What’s at stake here goes way beyond contraception.”

Federal Hall National Memorial is at 26 Wall Street. To find a rally elsewhere in the country, please send an email to rally@priestsforlife.org or call 347-286-7250.

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Priests for Life applauds latest lawsuit against HHS mandate

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Number of lawsuits, including that of Priests for Life, now Nine

New York, NY — Father Frank hailed the newest lawsuit — the ninth to be filed against the Health and Human Services mandate on contraception, sterilization and abortifacients — as another sign that opposition to this unjust mandate has just begun.

O’Brien vs. Sebelius is a lawsuit brought by an individual or private employer not affiliated with any religious institution or organization.

“We are very happy that a private business owner recognizes that this mandate affects virtually all health care plans and all employers, across the board and across the country,” Father Pavone said. “In our own lawsuit, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, which was the fourth of the nine filed so far, Priests for Life is opposing this mandate as employers, not as a religious group. Religious freedom is not a right just of religious groups; it’s a right of every American.”

Attorney Charles LiMandri filed the Priests for Life suit Feb. 15 in Brooklyn Federal Court. The suit seeks injunctive relief from the HHS rules – first on behalf of Priests for Life, and then extending universally since all organizations and companies will be affected by the tyrannical HHS decree.

Fr. Pavone observed, “Priests for Life is fighting this mandate on all fronts: mobilizing the Churches, educating the public through the media, supporting legislative solutions, organizing nationwide rallies for religious freedom to take place this Friday in over 100 cities, and being among the first to challenge the mandate in Court. We are grateful for Cardinal Dolan’s recent remarks pointing to the importance of the lawsuits as perhaps the best way of solving this problem.”

See here for the full text of the Priests for Life lawsuit.

To read a summary of all nine lawsuits currently pending, visit: priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/hhs-lawsuits.pdf

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