Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

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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Changing Laws and Public Policies

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ending abortion does not just mean changing hearts and minds; it means changing laws and public policies. In two short, powerful brochures — in English and Spanish, Fr. Frank Pavone gives you what you need to talk about the relationship between the civil law and the moral law, and the responsibilities of public officials to defend human life. “Caesar Must Obey God” shows why public servants cannot kill the public they are called to serve, and “Religious Beliefs, Abortion, and the Law” gives the answer to the charge that we are imposing our beliefs on others. Don’t miss out on these resources for yourself and your parish, especially at election time!

You can order these and many other resources at priests for life dot org slash store, that’s priests for life dot org slash store.

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What Kind of Religious Freedom Do We Want?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

We are living at a time when the Church in the United States must vigorously defend herself against attacks on religious freedom. In particular, the government is trying to force believers to violate their consciences when it comes to what kind of services their companies’ health insurance policies will cover. Priests for Life is proud to have launched one of the first lawsuits against this unjust mandate of our government, and we are confident we will prevail.

Yet part of defending religious freedom is defending a clear understanding of what it is. We don’t only have to defend it against the government; we have to defend it from misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

And one of the most dangerous misunderstandings is to confuse religious freedom with relativism — to think, in other words, that it’s simply the idea that “you can practice your religion if you let me practice mine,” because, after all, one religion is as good as the next.

But it’s not. There is such a thing as religious truth, and moral truth, and we are capable of knowing them.

At the core of authentic religious freedom is the conviction that human persons, because of their dignity, must seek the truth and embrace it freely — not the idea that such truth does not exist or is a product of one’s own making.

Put another way, freedom does not create truth; it is meant to lead to truth.

Professor Janet Smith wrote recently,

“Bishop William Lori argued that making Catholics fund contraceptives, abortifacient contraception and sterilizations is like making kosher delis serve pork. Actually, it is more like making all of us, and particularly the Anti-Smoking League, fund cigarettes.

“Jews do not argue that eating pork is something no one should do, but Catholics do argue that using contraception is something no one should do; among other reasons, the Church condemns it as against the natural law; it is against the health of women, the health of relationships and the health of society.”  (National Catholic Register, March 12, 2012)

This is a critically important point. Many are fond of saying that this fight isn’t about the issues of contraception and abortion. On the other hand, it cannot be disconnected from them. The other side doesn’t disconnect them.

Abortion advocate Patricia Baird Windle declared that abortion is part of her religion. ” You practice your religion and let me practice mine. My religion is a holy ritual of child sacrifice,” she has declared. Ginette Paris wrote the book The Sacrament of Abortion. And when the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law was passed in 1994, it included not only abortion clinics but also houses of worship. In the days of Operation Rescue, when pro-life activists blockaded abortion clinics, some abortion advocates retaliated by blockading Churches. They were returning insult for insult, for to them, the clinic is their place of worship.

So let’s be sure we’re clear about what kind of religious liberty we want to defend: one that serves the truth about life!

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The Final Goal

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No law can legitimize an act of violence like abortion. At the same time, lawmakers who want to restore protection to the unborn are usually limited in how much of that protection they can restore right away. Certain laws can restore some protection now, but leave many babies unprotected. Most people understand that it is morally acceptable to pass such laws, even though they are still short of the final goal. However, certain conditions must be fulfilled in order to support such laws morally. For one thing, the law has to accomplish the maximum amount of protection that is possible at the moment. We must never aim lower than what we have the legislative support to achieve now. Furthermore, legislators must make it known that in the end, no law can permit even a single abortion, and that the final goal is to protect every child.

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Roe vs. Wade

Monday, July 9th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did Roe vs. Wade say about abortion in the latest stages of pregnancy?

“For the stage subsequent to viability the State may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary for the life or health of the mother”  Note that Roe vs Wade prohibits no abortion at any time during pregnancy. An abortionist may kill a healthy baby of a healthy mother right up to and including her delivery date.  And since the Court has such a broad definition of “health,” even if a state wants to ban abortions in the final months, it cannot do so effectively.  As the University of Detroit Law Review pointed out in a 1990 article, “The Supreme Court’s decisions…allowed abortion on demand throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy” Indeed, Roe vs. Wade is extreme.

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Our Government Pays no Heed to the Constitution

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The Supreme Court today officially declared that our current government pays no heed to the Constitution.  Neither the President, nor Congress, nor the Supreme Court appears willing to protect life or liberty.

“If ever there were a time in history when the American people needed to be informed voters on Election Day, this is it.”

Priests for Life filed a lawsuit in February against the Health and Human Services mandate that all employers provide contraception to their employees free of charge. That lawsuit will continue.

“Priests for Life will remain vigilant on the issue of contraception,” Father Pavone said. “The mandate is a brazen attack on our religious liberty. Today’s ruling on Obamacare was a setback, but it is not the end of the battle.”

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