Supreme Court Order in Priests for Life vs. HHS (Part of Zubik vs. Burwell).. Further Comments from Priests for Life

Janet HHS sister

“We are encouraged by today’s development. The Supreme Court could have ruled against us, but evidently the Obama Administration did not succeed in persuading them to do so. A split Court could also have let the lower court’s negative ruling stand, but again, they did not see fit to do that. Instead, the Supreme Court, upon receiving further briefings, vacated the lower court rulings, and offered the parties an opportunity to work out a mutually acceptable solution in the lower courts, that will both allow the government to pursue its objectives and allow us to practice our faith. We are committed to continuing that process in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.”

 

Read the entire Statement from Priests for Life: http://www.priestsforlife.org/pressreleases/5715-supreme-court-order-in-priests-for-life-vs-hhs

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection: Eliminate Abortion

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“Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity” – Evangelium Vitae, 9

Reflection: If we ask, “How can we eliminate capital punishment?” The answer is, “Eliminate abortion.” After all, as long as we try to solve problems by throwing away the innocent, it is quite hard to convince people that we don’t solve problems by throwing away the guilty.

Prayer: Lord, we confess that so often we think that the way to fix people’s problems is to throw people away. Free us from that way of thinking. May we protect the innocent, and may we not fail to recognize the dignity even of the guilty. Amen.

National Voter Registration Sunday is June 29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 23, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK, NY — The first of three National Voter Registration Sundays will take place this Sunday, June 29.

Voter Registration Sundays are promoted by Priests for Life and other national pro-life and pro-family organizations to encourage pastors and church attendees to do what they are legally entitled to do – conduct non-partisan voter registration drives.

While the official days of these registration efforts this year are the Sundays before and after Independence Day – June 29 and July 6 — and the Sunday before 9/11, Sept. 7, churches, prayer groups, and Bible studies can register voters on any day of their choosing.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented on the importance of registering voters in time for the November elections.

“It’s mid-term election season, and the importance of an active and informed electorate is greater than it has ever been. The moral direction of America is largely in our hands. Our duty is not only to convert minds and hearts; it is to change laws and policies. And we do that by electing those who share our convictions about what those laws and policies should be.

“The first thing to do, practically, is to register to vote, and to call upon our pastors to have non-partisan voter registration drives in our parishes. Then we have to look closely at the races in our states, and find out who can, in our judgment, best advance the Culture of Life.”

For a list of Vote Pro-Life Coalition partners and to find practical suggestions on helping to get out the vote, go to VoteProLifeCoalition.com

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.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

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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

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26)

Reflection: It is only of God that the word “create” is used, because only he is the one who can bring life out of nothing. The sanctity of life has its root in the unique relationship that human beings have with their Creator. Life is sacred because it comes from God, belongs to God, and returns to God.

Prayer: Thank you, Father of Life, for creating me. Thank you for creating every human being, born and unborn, healthy and sick. Thank you for life. Amen.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

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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.

Equal rights of all human beings

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.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

“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.

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.

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.

“She was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).

Reflection: Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, chosen by God to be his own mother. In our day, we need Mary’s presence and example more than ever, because so many mothers are afraid to be mothers, and so many opinion-makers in our society have forgotten what motherhood really means.

Prayer: Mary, pray for all who are pregnant and afraid, especially those tempted to abort their child. Pray that they find new hope and strength to say “Yes” to God’s plan as you did. Amen.