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 you when men revile you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
So many pro-life leaders I know, including myself, have been falsely accused in public of advocating or even doing violence. Pregnancy centers, which compassionately serve parents and their babies every day, have been falsely accused of deceiving the public. Activists who try to change the laws have been falsely accused of opposing democracy.
The litany goes on and on, and proves that pro-life people are living this beatitude. They should rejoice, for their reward in heaven indeed is great. The children, who cannot know how much pro-life people love them, cannot repay them. They will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, was formally welcomed on Thursday as a Member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. The Academy, which was established by Pope John Paul II and initially led by Dr. Jerome Lejeune, engages in research on life issues at the service of the Holy See and the Universal Church.
Fr. Frank and Priests for Life have collaborated with the Academy for many years. Last year, Fr. Frank was named a member of the Academy, and on Thursday, His Excellency, Most Reverend Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, formally welcomed Fr. Frank as a member at the opening session of the Academy’s 17th General Assembly, and bestowed on him the pin with the insignia of the Academy. Among those present were the President Emeritus of the Academy, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, who said that his recent elevation to the College of Cardinals was a sign from Pope Benedict XVI of the importance of the work of the Academy and of the pro-life movement in general.
This Assembly, which includes Academy members from around the world, will continue meeting on Friday and Saturday, and will conclude with an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Sessions will include presentations on the topics of Umbilical Cord Blood Banks, and also Post-Abortion Trauma. Among the presenters will be fulltime Priests for Life Pastoral Associate Dr. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, and among the special invited guests present at the Assembly is Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
Other members of the Academy from the United States include, among others, Dr. John Haas, Carl Anderson (Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus), Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, SV (Superior of the Sisters of Life), Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Dr. Joanne Angelo, and Dr. Fran Hogan.
On September 21, 2010, the Holy Father announced officially the creation of a new agency at the Vatican called The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The term “New Evangelization” refers to the need to re-announce the Gospel in those parts of the world where, although the Church has been established for a long time, society has become secularized and people have drifted from the Faith. It is not a new message that the New Evangelization brings, but rather a new vigor, new methods, and new applications to the problems of today.
Indeed, widespread legal abortion is one of those problems. In his decree establishing this new Pontifical Council, Pope Benedict said that there are many factors in the modern world that have affected people’s faith, including
“the expanding possibilities with regard to life and individual freedom, …. All of this has not been without consequences on the religious dimension of human life as well. … [T]here has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable such as … a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law. Even though some consider these things a kind of liberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole architect of his nature and destiny, finds himself deprived of that which is the very foundation of all things…. (Decree Ubicumque et Semper).
Certainly this describes the Culture of Death. “Individual freedom” is distorted to the point where it becomes an enemy of life, and therefore of freedom. A “loss of the sense of the sacred” in regard to “birth, death, life in a family” includes all the confusion that a culture of abortion introduces into the joys and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. The human being “wishing to be the sole architect of his nature and destiny” is a great description of the ultimate meaning of “pro-choice,” and, of course a disconnect from “a natural moral law” accounts for the widespread action of legislatures and courts that think they can make legal an act of violence.
Then the Pope goes on to say,
“[A]t the root of all evangelization lies not a human plan of expansion, but rather the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has wished to give us, making us sharers in His own life” (ibid.)
Indeed, evangelization is all about the proclamation of life – a life which God gives first by creating us, and then offering us a share in His own divine nature. Evangelization, the announcement of the Gospel, is the announcement that the destiny of the human person is to sit with Christ on His throne (cf. Rev. 3:21). It is in that very proclamation that we find the obligation and privilege of defending the human person. Indeed, we the People of Life are the People of the New Evangelization!
BALTIMORE, MD — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented on the election of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz as vice-president.
“Priests for Life congratulates Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz on their new responsibilities. Those responsibilities constitute a special form of service to their brothers and sisters.
“It is important for the faithful to understand that the role of President of the USCCB is not to be ‘the leader of Catholics in the United States.’ Each diocese has its own bishop, and that bishop reports to the Pope. The local bishop is the leader of Catholics in his diocese. The USCCB is a tool that assists collaboration, sharing, and certain joint activities.
“Both Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz have been unequivocal in their defense of the unborn, which for our ministry is the primary focus. They have welcomed and encouraged the work of Priests for Life, and for that we are grateful.”
The Holy Father has created a new Vatican office called the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The term “New Evangelization,” of which Pope John Paul the Second was very fond, means that the unchanging Gospel of Christ has to be reannounced in those parts of the world where, although the faith has been rooted for a long time, secularism has made people forget its meaning. In starting this new Council, Pope Benedict said that some of the things whose meaning we forget are birth, life and death. The practice of abortion is a perfect example of that. If we forget God and His love for humanity, we forget why we have to love humanity. As this Council for New Evangelization begins, let us become the People of the New Evangelization, announcing new respect for life.