Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Friday, December 14th, 2012

HolyFamily333

 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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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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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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Priests for Life and Fr. Pavone declare “Beginning of the End” of the HHS Mandate

Monday, July 30th, 2012

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, released the following statement today regarding the preliminary injunction issued in a lawsuit filed by a private company against the Health and Human Services contraception mandate. The ruling marks the first legal victory over the mandate.

 “This decision marks the beginning of the end of the unjust and unconstitutional HHS mandate. Even though the Aug. 1 deadline for compliance is still in effect for organizations like Priests for Life, it’s good news that the suit filed by the owners of Hercules Industries has been successful in holding off, at least temporarily, this mandate that is so clearly a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our country.This gives us reason to be optimistic as our own lawsuit progresses.

 “But no matter what happens, there is no way we will comply with a law that calls for us to violate our consciences by paying for contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services.”

In Newland vs. Sebelius, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled on July 27 that the constitutional and statutory rights of the plaintiffs – siblings who own a heating and air conditioning company – would be harmed by enforcement of the HHS mandate. Judge John L. Kane also found that Hercules likely would prevail in its claim that the mandate is a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In his ruling, the judge noted that Hercules’ owners, William Newland, Paul Newland, James Newland, and Christine Ketterhagen, run their company according to Catholic principles and teachings, even when those religious, ethical and moral teachings impact their profits.

Fr. Pavone added, “Priests for Life is proud to be in the company of the Newlands and so many others who are not willing to set aside their deeply held beliefs, or their legal rights, even when threatened with economic catastrophe. We are confident that our lawsuit, filed Feb. 15, will protect us from the imposition of more than $1 million a year in fines.

“In addition to pressing on with our legal action, Priests for Life will also help once again to organize nationwide rallies for religious freedom, to take place on Saturday, October 20.”

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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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“The Lord watches over the stranger” (Psalm 146:9).

Reflection: The Statue of Liberty is a strong symbol of the welcome our nation has given to people from around the world. On its base are the words of Emma Lazarus, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This welcome can make no sense if we are afraid to welcome the children in the womb. America is a haven for those escaping oppression in far-off lands. Why should it be land where we oppress the unborn by the violence of abortion?

Prayer: Lord, fill our hearts with a spirit of welcome, for born and unborn alike. Amen.

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Let Us Give Thanks For Our Nation and For Our Faith

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

This week we observe Thanksgiving Day. We rejoice in the God who has given us life and freedom. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were godly men, who understood their dependence on God and the fact that He was the source of all their blessings. The single most frequently used source for their ideas and writings was the Bible, and they taught that the nation they were founding could never survive without the worship of God and adherence to His law. They did not believe in the kind of separation of Church and state that some espouse today; in fact, the phrase is found nowhere in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. Rather, the Declaration declares our dependence upon God four separate times. Let us give thanks for our nation and for our faith.

Great tool for planning your pro-life activities: The 2012 Priests for Life calendar is a great way to keep pro-life front and center in your home throughout the year. Click here to order yours today.

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Following the Lord to Freedom

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Advocates of abortion have always tried to hijack the language and concept of freedom. The reality of killing a child has been camouflaged in the words “freedom of choice.” Yet Scripture makes clear the real meaning of freedom. In Exodus seven sixteen, God has Moses tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” But here, and in the following chapters, this command in its fullness is, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Freedom has a content. It is not a cloak for whatever we want to do; it is a road to serve the Lord. And the service of the Lord means there are some things we always choose and some things that we always reject. The service of the Lord is a way of life – indeed a narrow way. Yet to follow it is freedom.

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.

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Eliminating the “Need” for Abortion

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

We sometimes hear from those on the other side of the pro-life battle that they want to work together with us to “reduce the need for abortion.” It is part of our pro-life mission to reduce the numbers of abortions, and in fact our goal is not just to reduce but to end it. We have to start by making it clear that there is no need for abortion in the first place. No abortion is necessary, neither medically, nor morally. Women get abortions not because of freedom of choice, but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. Yet when the People of God provide better choices, the way is clear to help both mother and child. Yes, we will reduce abortions, but let’s never imply there is a need for abortion.

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Silent No More Campaign Member at Summer of Mercy 2.0

Friday, August 5th, 2011

GERMANTOWN, MD. – Kelly Stauffer, who underwent a late-term abortion at the age of 14, will be a featured speaker this evening at 7 p.m. as the Summer of Mercy 2.0 continues outside the office of LeRoy Carhart.

Ms. Stauffer is a member of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, the largest mobilization of men and women who speak out about their abortion experience. In her testimony, she will describe her experience as a young, pregnant teenager whose parents turned to the late-term abortionist George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, to end her five-month pregnancy.

Her ordeal lasted five days, and immediately after the abortion, she said during an earlier protest outside Carhart’s office, “I knew I had killed my own child.” A downward spiral followed, with countless visits to therapists and prescriptions for anti-depressants that did not help. Ten years after the abortion, she found a therapist who diagnosed the source of her pain and recommended she attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat to find healing.

Now 29, married and the mother of a toddler, Ms. Stauffer said her abortion experience “still hurts.”

“Many defend legal abortion using the slogan ‘freedom of choice,’ ” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard and of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. “The irony of course is that women seeking abortions do not do so because of freedom of choice. They do so precisely because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. Kelly Stauffer’s story is a poignant example of that.”

Father Pavone, who delivered the keynote address on the opening night of the Summer of Mercy 2.0, urged anyone who is able to attend the remaining days of the rally to make plans to do so. Carhart closed his office this week to avoid the protests, and organizers are hoping to keep the abortion mill shut for another week at least. Large turnouts over the weekend can help make that a reality.

Summer of Mercy 2.0 participants gather outside Carhart’s clinic at 8 a.m., noon and 7 p.m. for formal prayer and worship, and to hear from nationally known speakers. Smaller groups maintain vigil throughout the day.

“We are really encouraged by the participation from the local churches. Men and women who have never stood outside an abortion clinic before are bringing their families to the streets to stand for life,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, a key organizer of the event. “It is great to see so many new people being brought into the movement and activated.”

To see a video of Ms. Stauffer’s Silent No More testimony, go to www.silentnomoreawareness.org/video/video.aspx?testimonyid=5116

For information about the Summer of Mercy, visit http://summerofmercy.com

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