Today’s Pro-life Reflection: Future of Humanity

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“Although faith provides special light and strength, this question arises in every human conscience which seeks the truth and which cares about the future of humanity” – EV 101 

Reflection: Jesus, the Bible, and the Church teach that stealing is wrong. Therefore, do the laws that prohibit stealing impose a religious belief on the rest of us? Of course not. But some argue that a law protecting the unborn would impose religion. They think freedom of religion should allow child-killing.

Prayer: Lord, you have blessed human conscience with the ability to perceive that killing children is wrong. Increase the moral strength of your people, that this evil may end. Amen.

Waiting For Obama On Religious Liberty – Priests for Life is ready to reach a solution, as the Supreme Court directed.

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The Supreme Court could have settled the question of whether federal bureaucrats may issue punishing, perhaps incapacitating, fines to faith-based organizations that refuse to participate in what we believe to be evil. Instead, the justices sent all of the cases in Zubik back to the four federal circuit courts that heard them first. The high court also asked those appeals courts to step away momentarily and give the two sides time to resolve the case on their own.

What will the administration do now? The White House’s latest “accommodation” proposal for religious nonprofit charities, schools and other organizations did not satisfy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The proposal and each of its previous versions required faith-based groups seeking an exemption from the mandate to submit a form to an authority. Without this initiating action, abortion-causing drugs would not be made available to our employees. The basic requirement that we be complicit in the provision of abortifacients and other life-denying drugs, devices and procedures was a part of every government proposal. When we responded that we are forbidden by our faith to take part in this scheme—the government effectively retorted, “So what?

But both sides in Zubik have told the Supreme Court that a solution is theoretically possible.

For instance, the administration could, for once, actually listen to the Zubik petitioners—and to the scores of other faith-based groups that have lawsuits pending in lower courts—and propose a solution that does not hijack our health-insurance plans. The administration could, for example, make abortifacient/contraceptive coverage available to religious nonprofit employees through the ObamaCare exchanges, Title X (the federal program devoted to family-planning services), or separate arrangements with our own or another insurance company. In other words, don’t involve us, or the health-insurance plan we offer our employees, in the effort to expand coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.

The administration might be tempted to come up with a proposal that satisfies only those groups that have third-party insurance coverage—and not those that self-insure. This wouldn’t be acceptable, because self-insurers underwrite their own health-insurance plans and are, practically speaking, their own insurance companies. A government “accommodation” that offered as its only option a requirement that insurers of religious nonprofit groups offer the employees of those groups separate plans for abortifacients and contraceptives would still force self-insured religious groups to violate their faith.

Read the entire article in The Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/waiting-for-obama-on-religious-liberty-1465163311

Fr. Pavone: Anti-coercion bill in Michigan is pro-woman

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“We know through our decades of work with our Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign ministries that many women are coerced into abortion. Where is freedom of choice when women are forced by parents, boyfriends or husbands to end the life of the child they are carrying?

Read the entire Press Release: http://www.priestsforlife.org/library/5729-fr-pavone-anti-coercion-bill-in-michigan-is-pro-woman

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

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“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

Fr. Pavone: Ample evidence to probe sale of baby parts

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“Former prosecutors testified before a Congressional committee today that there is ample evidence to warrant further investigation into the abortion industry’s longtime practice of harvesting and selling aborted babies’ body parts.  I would add that there’s a moral imperative that our nation put a halt to this horrendous practice that exploits women and treats non-consenting humans like lab rats.”

 

Where Wisdom Lies

Fr. Frank Pavone with Troy NewmanTroy Newman and I have worked closely together for many years as colleagues in national pro-life leadership. We have collaborated on many projects, including behind the scenes advice and encouragement on many undercover projects, including the most recent one of Planned Parenthood. Troy is completely committed to the principles at the foundation of our movement, including that of non-violence. Those who see him as an enemy do so not because he is some kind of violent fanatic, but precisely because he is effective at what he does, namely, researching the weaknesses of the abortion industry and then using the legal system to make them accountable for their unscrupulous and dangerous practices.

Troy is not being allowed in Australia not because there’s something wrong with him, but because there’s something wrong with those who are denying him entrance. And we’ve seen this pattern in other countries too. What tremendous tolerance these governments show to viewpoints and activities that might rip the mask off their mindless devotion to keeping the status quo on the greatest holocaust of human history.

Added to the completely baseless blocking of his international travel is the attempt to prevent him from traveling within the United States. That is simply outrageous, and an immediate correction and apology is needed on the part of whoever made that attempt. The Australian government, needless to say, has no jurisdiction here. Moreover, the American authorities have some explaining to do when they start limiting the movement of their own citizens. And those of us in pro-life leadership will be particularly vigilant regarding any attempt to limit our freedom because some people give too much credence to the smears and slanders that are regularly leveled against us because of our role in leading the movement against abortion. I know what those smears are like, having been the object of public protests organized by sitting government officials, leaders of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Catholics for Choice, and other groups who have accused me of fostering violence.

But as the Lord said, time will prove where wisdom lies.

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.

Changing Laws and Public Policies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.