No Compromise: The Mandate Has to Go, Period.

Many have asked me whether I think that the President’s announced “accommodation” regarding the HHS mandate for health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization is acceptable.

Absolutely not.

As many Catholics and non-Catholics point out, the principal problem is that the mandate is still in place. The President’s February 10 announcement changed none of that. What remains is that all employers — not just religious ones — have to provide health insurance for their employees, and all health insurance plans have to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization.

It’s a fiction to say that the insurer, not the employer, is now the one offering this coverage. It is an illusion to think there is any moral difference introduced by the February 10 “accommodation” of the Administration.

As Peggy Noonan wrote, “The short-term White House strategy is to confuse and obfuscate, to spread a thick web of untruths about the decision and let opponents exhaust themselves trying to fight from under the web.”

Simply put, freedom of conscience — which belongs not just to religious people but to every American — demands that people should “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions” (Respect for Rights of Conscience Act).

Apparently, more will be coming out from the Administration, during the year that it is giving to non-exempt religious groups to “adapt” to the mandate. But we don’t need a year, nor do we need a moment, to determine what we are going to do, or to “adapt” to the mandate. The mandate is unjust. You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it.

That’s why Priests for Life is launching a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration to block the enforcement of this mandate on us, and to declare it unconstitutional.

That is also why we are garnering support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467).

This is why we are also helping to organize public rallies, protests, and acts of civil disobedience.

As an organization of Catholic clergy, as a corporation that employs 60 people of various religious backgrounds, and as a ministry whose very purpose is to protect and promote Church teaching about the specific practices at issue in this HHS mandate, we are particularly well-positioned to fight against this intrusion on the rights of conscience.

Moreover, we are convinced that the current mandate, if allowed to stand, paves the way for mandated coverage of abortion on demand, and we see no reason why those pushing for the mandate would not want that in the long run. If the HHS can add at any time to the list of “preventive services” for women, and argues that these services are cost-effective, how could they not argue for health insurance policies to cover abortion, as less expensive than childbirth?

As John Allen said, “There’s no room for compromise on this. The mandate has to go.”

Keep up with details at:

Priests for Life vs. HHS Lawsuit: Full Speed Ahead

National Webcast and Prayer Effort Announced

New York, NY – Father Frank reiterated today that the lawsuit he announced last week against the HHS to block enforcement of the mandate requiring objectionable services to be included in health insurance is moving ahead at full speed.

“The so-called ‘accommodation’ announced on Friday by the President changes nothing,” Father Pavone explained. “The moral problem remains, the coercion remains, and therefore our legal challenge remains. We want the mandate rescinded, period.”

Priests for Life will release more information regarding its legal action this week. In the meantime, Priests for Life is organizing a national webcast for Wednesday night, Feb. 15, featuring Congressman Chris Smith as well as leaders of the National Right to Life Committee (David O’Steen, Ph.D., Executive Director, and Douglas Johnson, Federal Legislative Director) to discuss the Obama mandate and the action that can be taken. Charles LiMandri, the attorney for Priests for Life in regard to the federal lawsuit, will also be a presenter.

At the end of the webcast, Priests for Life will also launch a national novena of prayer, to last from Feb. 16 through the 24th. Churches and individuals are urged to participate, and more information will be available on the webcast. Sign up at

Update on the HHS Mandate Situation

Well, the events of the last couple of days have been pretty hectic, with what we and many others have been doing in response to the Obama administration trying to force the payment of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization on those who object.

As you may have seen, we at Priests for Life have launched a federal lawsuit against the administration to block enforcement of this policy and have it declared unconstitutional.

Last night, I was with Sean Hannity, who invited a group of religious leaders to discuss this issue. We taped a special edition of Hannity which will air tonight (Feb 10) at 9pm ET. Tune in! One of the questions he asked us is whether we would be willing to go to jail rather than go along with this policy.

Then, the events of today, and the so-called “accommodation” by the Obama administration, have raised many questions.

But don’t be fooled. It isn’t a reversal and doesn’t solve the problem.

First of all, as Congressman Chris Smith points out, if an organization is paying a health insurer and then the insurer is paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, then we as an organization are still paying for them!

Secondly, religious freedom is not just for religious groups; it is for every American. This is not just a problem affecting Catholic or other religious entities. It affects everyone. Employers have consciences, even if their corporation isn’t a religious entity.

And health insurers have consciences, too. How does a requirement that they pay for abortion-inducing drugs respect their freedom of conscience?

We’re still going full speed ahead with our lawsuit. Stay tuned for more details, and please support our efforts with your prayers and donations!

Two Burning Issues

Friends, as you may know, you can always find key action items right on the front page of our Priests for Life website ( in the large ACTION box. In recent days, other leaders and I have been kept particularly busy with concerns on two fronts. One has been the Susan G. Komen Foundation, about whom we have raised the alarm for years concerning their donations to Planned Parenthood. When they recently announced their decision not to donate to Planned Parenthood, that abortion monster of a law-breaking corrupt organization turned on them with meanness and intensity. What hypocrites the organizers of Planned Parenthood are. They will take money from anyone, but as soon as someone expresses concern because they are under investigation (through every fault of their own), they turn on them, bully them, criticize them, and threaten them. I just have one thing to say to Planned Parenthood at this point in time: go away, so we can have a better world.

The other matter, of course, has been the current Presidential Administration’s callous disregard for the rights of conscience, through its HHS ruling about requiring religious institutions to cover the cost of abortion-inducing “contraceptives.” Wow. It used to be the other side that held up freedom of conscience. How things have changed, and the Church and her leaders are rising to the occasion.

Here my thought is this: why wait until the toothpaste is all over the room before we decide it’s better kept in the tube? So many who would not lift a finger to help us in the recent Presidential elections are now trying to work wonders to undo one of the consequences of the election — consequences that could have been avoided had more Churches spoken up, registered voters, and not chased out of the parking lot those who were distributing information about the harmful positions of the candidates. Maybe we will learn this time. There’s another election in November, after all!

One more item: you may have heard recently of the death of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former Archbishop of Philadelphia. He was a delightful man, and gave much encouragement to Priests for Life over the years. He led the bishops’ pro-life committee for some years, and had a deep love for the unborn. May the children give him a warm welcome in God’s Kingdom!

Blessings to you today, and thank you all for your good wishes on this, my Birthday! — Fr. Frank

The March

Last weekend was extremely powerful. I am always more energized than exhausted after spending the day greeting the participants in the West Coast Walk for Life, which took place on Saturday, January 21, and then taking the redeye flight to Washington DC to spend all of Sunday and Monday greeting the people taking part in the national March for Life.

So many of you were there and were able to tell me of your daily prayers for me and of the concern you have for me. You were encouraged by seeing that I am in great health and great spirits.

But more important even than that is being in great focus. So many people over recent months, and in the March for Life days, have said things to me like, “I know this has been a painful and difficult time, for you to be asked to stay for a while in Amarillo. I know this is a burden for you and it must be frustrating, but we are with you and it will work out.”

This is always a consolation, knowing that whatever difficulties we have, we are not alone, and as I said to thousands of people, I really appreciate the support and prayers. Keep them coming!

But what I want my friends and foes alike to understand is that my greatest burden is not the events of the last few months, nor the limitations on my travel, nor the false things said about me in the media. There is one single thing that gives me more pain than anything, and that is the ongoing slaughter of my brothers and sisters by abortion.

So many of you share that pain, and carry that burden. Day by day in our country, thousands of children are ripped apart, dismembered, decapitated, killed, and thrown in the garbage. The law permits it, the courts justify it, and so many are silent about it.

That’s what’s painful. That’s what keeps me up at night. That’s what makes my heart break. It’s abortion, not a decision by Church authorities.

And isn’t that what I’ve been saying all along, from the first day when, at the 1976 March for Life, as a high school senior, I decided to get involved in the pro-life movement? Isn’t that the same thing I’ve been saying from the first day Cardinal O’Connor authorized me to lead Priests for Life and Bishop Yanta received my promises to spend the rest of my life defending the lives of the unborn? Isn’t this what the Church means by saying that no right is more fundamental than life, and that abortion deserves urgent attention and priority? Isn’t this what the depths of the human heart and conscience say when, faced with the gruesome reality of abortion, they cry out in pain and demand that the killing stop and that justice prevail?

My friends, the alarm of conscience is sounding. If something is going to bother us, let it be abortion, and let our every action be focused on stopping it.

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.

Time to Face the Music

Abortion carries a built-in stigma, and there’s nothing that the pro-abortion forces can do about it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. Recently, a team of researchers announced they are beginning a study that seeks to reduce the stigma associated with abortion. In their preliminary report, this group said that the many laws being passed in the states to regulate or restrict abortion make abortion look bad. Moreover, they say that all the baby pictures in our culture likewise give abortion a bad name.

Of course, they have it backwards. States are restricting abortion precisely because Americans are uncomfortable with how easily one can commit the act. And as for baby pictures, unless you deny that a baby is a baby, you’re not going to be able to make killing that baby an attractive option.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In a few days we will celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like every Feast, it is a celebration of Jesus Christ. This feast shows us that because of her unique role as his mother, Mary received from Jesus a full share, body and soul, in his victory over death. The feast is a reminder that in Christ, we all will share resurrection of the body.
Mary has it now, because in the human family, which God decided to join, there can be no closer bond than mother and child. They belong together; their destinies are intertwined.
That is one of the central messages of the pro-life movement. To love and care for a mother necessarily means protecting, loving, and caring for her child. Mothers can never benefit from the destruction of their children.

The Transfiguration

One day, the Lord Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, and was transfigured before their eyes. His clothes became as bright as the sun, Moses and Elijah were seen speaking with him about his upcoming passion, and the Father’s voice was heard declaring that he was his Son.
All this was a sign to those apostles that they should not be troubled by the events that would unfold. The betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus were to fulfill the Father’s plan for our salvation.
The Transfiguration is also a sign to us. Circumstances can make us forget that every human life is part of the Father’s plan, and that the glory of God is to be seen in every person, no matter how burdensome, unplanned, or ill that person may be.

Blessed Are the Pure of Heart

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. This beatitude impels us to ask ourselves what our deepest longings and desires are, what motivates our choices, and how consistently we want to do what is right. The pure of heart seek to please God before they please themselves, even at the cost of great sacrifice.
Having a pure heart protects us from the temptations of the culture of death. Meeting the needs of a vulnerable child in the womb requires a new and selfless center of gravity. We put the child first and our own plans and conveniences last.

And when we speak up for that child, we stop worrying about the criticism we might receive. The pure of heart don’t care about that. They only care about doing what’s right.