Archive for the ‘Political Responsibility’ Category

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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Religious Freedom and Voter Guides

Monday, June 11th, 2012





Priests for Life is proud to have assisted the process by which Americans from coast to coast organized rallies for religious freedom on Friday, June 8. These rallies, along with our lawsuit (and 22 others) against the HHS mandate, will bring about a change.

In making that change, we have to be clear that our religious freedom must be comprehensive, rather than selective. It applies across the board. The US bishops have written in their recent statement on religious liberty:

“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?”

When I read this, one of the things I think about are the spiritual works of mercy, among which is to “instruct the uninformed.” We share information that will help our brothers and sisters carry out their God-given mission in life.

And one of the ways we do that in an election year is to share information about the candidates and where they stand on the issues.

That is why this year, once again, Priests for Life has produced a voters’ guide for the Presidential race, and we are organizing teams of people nationwide to distribute these guides everywhere: on the street corners of their communities, in their organizational meetings, at the workplace, through social networking, and more. (You can sign up at PoliticalResponsibility.com).

The bishops have also said in their document, “We need, therefore, to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened.

Let me, then, speak frankly right here and now, and say that when citizens are intimidated from sharing voter guides with their fellow citizens, that is an infringement of their religious liberty. After all, spreading this information should not be understood only as a partisan activity. It is also an activity motivated by faith, by the awareness that we have a responsibility to the common good to share information that will help others fulfill what the bishops have identified as a moral and spiritual responsibility, namely, “to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n. 34).

We cannot do that unless we know where the candidates stand on the issues, and there is no moral or legal reason not to spread that information.

Among the attorneys who advise us at Priests for Life are James Bopp, Jr. and Barry Bostrom, who are among the nation’s leading experts on tax law and on what Churches are allowed to do regarding elections. In a letter (full text found here), they advised us as follows:

“…[T]he distribution of campaign material by others in the church parking lot will not jeopardize the church’s tax exempt status. The mere permission of distribution of campaign materials by others in the church parking lot is not regulated by the Internal Revenue Code. The Code and its regulations are designed to limit only the activities and expenditures of non-profit organizations. Distribution of campaign materials by others outdoors, in a public parking lot, is not an activity or expenditure of the church…

Let us, indeed, defend our religious freedom, first and foremost by exercising it, by speaking freely and boldly, and by making a difference in this year’s elections!

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Priests for Life supports ban on gender-specific abortion

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012





Washington, DC — Fr. Frank issued a statement today in favor of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives this evening.

The measure would outlaw any abortion performed because of the gender of a baby.

“This is one of those measures that drives home the point that abortions in America can be performed for any reason whatsoever. People often react in horrified unbelief that there even is such a thing as sex-selection abortion, but the existence of legislation to stop it can awaken the consciences of many. Let’s pass this law, and let’s use the vote of our Representatives on this bill as an election issue,” Fr. Pavone said.

It is estimated that 163 million women are “missing” because of sex-selective abortion around the globe.

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May 27 is the first Voter Registration Sunday!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012





STATEN ISLAND, NY — Priests for Life is calling upon all people of faith to register as many Americans as possible to vote in the upcoming elections.

To encourage religious leaders of all denominations to become involved in this vital effort, Priests for Life has designated this Sunday, May 27, as the first of three Voter Registration Sundays.

“Assisting people to register to vote is one of the best ways to exercise our citizenship,” said Father Frank. “Non-partisan voter registration is both legal and appropriate for Churches to do, because it is a way to assist members of the congregation to exercise their faith in day- to-day life, and to take advantage of the freedom God gives us in this country.”

Visitors to priestsforlife.org/vote will find all the information and materials they will need to conduct a successful registration drive. July 1 and September 9 also have been set aside as Voter Registration Sundays. Priests for Life has spearheaded this effort by forming the “Vote Pro-life Coalition,” in which dozens of national organizations pursue the same goals related to non-partisan political involvement.

“Voter registration drives fall within the activities that are permitted to tax-exempt organizations and churches,” said Father Pavone. “The only thing standing in our way is not the IRS, but our own fears.”

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Super Tuesday and Being Human

Monday, March 5th, 2012





I write on the day before Super Tuesday, but my reflections here pertain to the entire election season of 2012, and in fact, of every election cycle.

If you look at the writings of the Catholic Church regarding political responsibility, you often see reference to what is important to “Catholic social teaching” and a “Catholic conscience,” and, of course, that is important to understand, especially for Catholics.

But it is important for us as Americans to also understand the American basis of our social conscience and political responsibility, and, moreover, for us as human beings to understand the purely human basis of the same things.

We are Americans, and as such, we have the right, duty, and privilege to take part in a political process that gives us a voice, not only in who will be elected, but also in who will be on the ballot. Hence, primaries and caucuses are as important to participate in as the general election. To fail to participate in elections is to cheapen the precious freedom, not only given to us through the commitment of our Founding Fathers, but preserved for us through the commitment of the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country. So many of them went to war; many did not return. Many are still in harm’s way today. The least we can do to honor their sacrifice is get out of our house and vote. The least we can say in the pulpits is that “it’s Election Day and we should vote.”

As Americans, moreover, we acknowledge the Creator as the source of our right to life, a right that the government exists to secure (see the Declaration of Independence). So I have less and less patience for anyone who is going to dispute in any way that the protection of human life is and will always remain the fundamental issue for the political community — and this applies to every election, every year, on every level of government. Again, this flows from what we know as Americans, not just as Catholics.

Then there is the purely human dimension. With all due respect to the Church to which I belong and to which I am loyal, it is from my human nature and the commonsense embedded in it that I come to the conclusion that we have an abortion holocaust on our hands, and that nothing else is taking more life than this act of violence. The alarm going off in the minds of millions (mine included) over abortion was not set off by the Church, nor can it be turned off by the Church. And that alarm, for so many of us, is primarily what impels us to go to the voting booth, both in the primaries and in the general election.

Ultimately, the motivation to be politically active is not so much about philosophy, theology, or morality as it is about arithmetic. What’s counted in the end is not opinions or reasons, but votes.

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The Purpose of Primaries

Monday, January 30th, 2012





One of the great things about our American system is that voters not only select which candidates get elected to public office, but also which of those who want to be candidates actually end up on the ballot. In other words, we get to create the choices we will have on Election Day.

That’s what primaries are all about. Primaries are elections which take place before the general Election Day. The dates of primaries differ in each state. When you vote in a primary, you have a wider range of choices, and are therefore more likely to find a candidate with whom you agree on more issues.

For those in Florida, be sure to vote in tomorrow’s primary if you are eligible. This is your chance to choose the person you want to be the Presidential candidate. And for those in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, you also have an important runoff election tomorrow. Find more details about these and other election–related events at politicalresponsibility.com/presidential-election-process.htm.

Let’s not just settle for the choices we’re given on Election Day. Let’s help create those choices in the primaries! Find out more at politicalresponsibility.com.

Please take a moment to check out my Birthday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

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A Time to Begin Anew

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012





The New Year gives us the chance to look beyond the mistakes and sins of the past, and the opportunity to do even more good in the future.

This year provides us an opportunity to advance the pro-life cause since we will elect a President and many other leaders. It is critical that from this day forward we devote all the energy we can to making Election Day a day when more pro-life men and women than ever become our elected leaders! While politics should never be seen as our salvation, it is nevertheless an essential element of our progress that public servants work to restore protection to the unborn.

Visit priestsforlife.org to learn how you can help! Happy New Year!

Please take a moment to check out my Birthday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

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Christmas Has Prepared Us For Elections

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012





We have just concluded the Christmas season, and find ourselves immersed in the election season.

And so it should be. Christmas is actually the best preparation for elections. It is the feast of God becoming human, and thereby joining all humanity to Himself. Each person, in Christ, has immediate access to God, and has a new dignity even beyond that received in our creation.

Because of this, politics is transformed, because if each person is a child of God, then the voice of the people matters, and the people should participate in both choosing and influencing their leaders. Nobody can be dismissed or treated just as a statistic or a cog in a wheel. Even more, no ruler can justify discrimination, subjection, or oppression.

A Pythagorean writer once expressed the role of civil authority this way: “The monarch has an irrepressible authority (and is therefore not limited by consent); he is a living law; he is like a god among men.”

The coming of Christ among us has changed all that; He has transformed authority into service, and subjected power into respect for the rights of the people, starting with life itself.

That is why our Founding Fathers spoke of inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, rights that precede the existence of government and are bestowed by the Creator Himself.

We are at an important juncture in Elections 2012. Those who pay attention to politics are coming to a point of decision regarding which candidate they will support and work hard for over the coming months before Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. Many of us in leadership are meeting in these days and discerning the current shape of the race.

Many of us have formed a “Vote Pro-life Coalition” (VoteProLifeCoalition.com), which in the coming months will educate voters, call on Churches to observe Voter Registration Sundays (May 27, July 1, and Sept 9), conduct prayer campaigns (including a nine-week novena from Tuesday, Sept. 4 to Tuesday, Nov. 6), and much more.

We will have a presence on the road at multiple events, on television and radio, on the internet and social networking, in the Churches and on the streets of America. We will be relentless in the message that while there are many important issues, there is one overriding and foundational issue, that of life itself. Problems like abortion, which deny and attack that foundational right and gift, therefore deserve, in the words of the Catholic bishops, “urgent attention and priority” (Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities, 2001).

Among other key issues, of course, is the defense of marriage and religious liberty, but in order to enjoy the gift of marriage or liberty, one must first be alive! Indeed, the first criterion of public servants needs to be that they can tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Otherwise, they do not belong in public office.

So, let the battle begin! Let the People of God arise and get busy as faithful citizens!

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Abortion: the ultimate form of child abuse

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011






Often those who defend abortion, knowing that they do not have any valid arguments, resort to blanket criticism of priests for abusing children. What these abortion supporters don’t seem to realize is that by supporting the killing of children, they weaken their argument against the abuse of children. After all, it’s the same victim. The Church, and so many people of good will, oppose both the abuse and killing of children – and of anyone else as well. The argument of pro-life people is one of consistency and inclusion. The tragedy of Roe v Wade is summarized in its line that “the word person does not include the unborn.” Let’s oppose the killing of every and any innocent human life, and call on our opponents to  stop being selective in their opposition to evil.

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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Father Pavone hails House passage of the Protect Life Act

Monday, October 17th, 2011





WASHINGTON, D.C. – Father Pavone issued the following statement about Thursday’s 251-172 vote for the Protect Life Act in the House of Representatives.

“On its way to being passed by the House, the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358) was described by its detractors as a waste of time, a distraction that took the focus off the economy, and a death sentence for women facing life-threatening pregnancies.

“It is none of those things.

“Saving lives is never a waste of time, and this bill, at its core, is about saving lives, but it also represents the majority of the American people who do not want their tax dollars paying for abortion. Those who voted against the bill contradicted the wishes of their constituents, and should be held accountable in the elections.

“Repairing the economy and creating jobs is crucial, but it has never been and will never be as crucial as preserving the right to life. The right to life is the foundation on which all our other rights are built. We must protect life first, and then look for solutions to our other problems.

“As for the claim that the Protect Life Act would leave pregnant women bleeding to death on emergency room floors, that is pure theatrics.

“The American people know what the Protect Life Act would and would not do. It would prohibit their tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions, and it would protect the conscience rights of medical workers who oppose abortion. It’s a good bill, a necessary bill, and the House took an important first step in passing it.”

Father Pavone urged supporters to make their views known to their senators.

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