A Very Eventful Week

March 24th, 2014





No week in the pro-life effort is ever boring, but this week is particularly chock-full of significant events and activities

Tomorrow, for instance, I will be at the Supreme Court together with many other pro-life leaders and activists to rally in support of all those who object to the unjust HHS mandate, as the court hears oral arguments in two cases regarding the rights of for-profit businesses against the mandate. You can see my press release and commentary on this in recent posts below.

While this case has to do with businesses, there are other cases, among which we at Priests for Life have one of the leading ones, that represent the religious and nonprofit world vis-à-vis the mandate. We too have approached the Supreme Court, asking them to hear our case, with which the case of the Archdiocese of Washington has also been consolidated. On Friday, March 28 the Justices will take into conference our request and we will know within a few days whether the high court will hear these cases.

All at the same time, we have tomorrow, March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, which is also observed in many nations as the Day of the Unborn Child, because it was on this day that Jesus, the Son of God, took on our human nature within the body of the Virgin Mary. Jesus was an unborn child. The feast of the Annunciation is a wonderful opportunity for us to review our awareness that the unborn truly are our brothers and sisters

Because of the significance of this day, it was also the date of publication of one of the most important documents of the pontificate of John Paul II, soon to be canonized, namely, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae). The document was published in 1995, and therefore tomorrow is its 19th anniversary. We at Priests for Life are beginning a year-long preparation for the 20th anniversary of this very significant document.

Also later this week, we expect President Obama to meet with Pope Francis. This anticipated meeting has already drawn a lot of media commentary, to which I to have contributed. You will see my remarks on this blog in the coming days.

So let’s move forward with confidence, with joy, with new energy, as we build together the culture of life!

Fr. Frank

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Shocking Video: Millions Dead

March 24th, 2014





In this shocking video, Life Dynamics Inc., a national pro-life organization located in Denton, Texas compares unborn babies murdered inside American abortion clinics to those killed from American wars.

From 1973 through 2011, at least 55 million unborn children have been slaughtered in the womb in our nation.

Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics in explaining why they created this video said, “We did this video because it’s very easy to talk about 55 million dead babies but no one can fully wrap their minds around those numbers. This will help America understand just how overwhelming these numbers are and demonstrate the magnitude of abortion in the United States.”

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Just a Pinch of Incense

March 24th, 2014





W. A. Criswell, in The Offense of the Cross, points out,

“The Roman Empire was the most tolerant, the most liberal, the most wise, and the most accurate in its handling of the many provinces and religions of its empire of any kingdom that ever existed. Men could worship, have temples, and do as they pleased. And yet the Roman Empire and the Caesars persecuted the Christians. Why? For one simple reason: the Christian refused to compromise his faith with any other religion whatsoever.”

That refusal to compromise is seen in the response of the apostles themselves to the command not to teach in the name of Jesus: “We will obey God rather than men!” As it was in the beginning, so it is now. Christians in America face another one of those key moments – seen frequently in Scripture and Christian history – of conflict between the commands of civil authority and the demands of their faith. And believers of other traditions are standing with them as well.

The Obama Administration, implementing one of the provisions of “Obamacare,” has declared its intent and goal to increase access to various “preventive services” that include contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This is an open, publicly-announced plan. Numerous Americans, and the religious traditions they embrace, teach that such “drugs and services” are immoral to use. Therefore, they oppose this plan.

But the conflict goes deeper than that. If those believers are also employers who offer their employees health insurance, the Obama Administration is requiring them to cooperate in the plan by making coverage for those drugs and services an essential part of those health insurance plans.

And that’s where we say “No!” If the government wants to expand access to these immoral – and in some cases lethal – activities, it’s going to need to do it without us. We do not want to be involved.

And that is the argument regarding the HHS mandate, and the theme of the multiple lawsuits that have been introduced against it. We at Priests for Life filed the fourth of what are now dozens of such lawsuits launched both by religious groups and for-profit businesses.

On Tuesday, March 25, the Supreme Court is hearing two consolidated cases on behalf of two of those businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, run by believers who refuse to cooperate with the mandate. The Court will consider, among other things, whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to for-profit corporations to protect them from this mandate.

In a separate action, the Supreme Court is also being asked to take up the matter of the non-profit and religious entities who object to the mandate, and whose rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are not in doubt. We at Priests for Life have petitioned the Supreme Court to hear our case, and this Friday, March 28, the Justices will consider whether or not they will do so.

The claim that the government is making is that it is in fact exempting the religious groups like Priests for Life from following the mandate. In fact, President Obama himself addressed this in his February 2 interview with Bill O’Reilly. The President said, “Here’s the way this thing works. All they have to do is sign a form saying they don’t — they are a religious institution —And — and they get what they want.”

In other words, the form we are being asked to sign states that we object to the mandate because of our institutional religious convictions. Then, our insurance policy will not have to include coverage of the objectionable drugs and services.

At first glance, that sounds quite reasonable to sign. But what the government says further is that upon us signing the form, and receiving the names of our employees on the plan, they will make separate provision to cover the objectionable drugs and services. In other words, by signing the form, we are still part of implementing the plan to provide access to those drugs and services. The form is an authorization; our employees are covered precisely because they are our employees. It’s not a matter of who pays for it; it’s a matter of being the gateway to the immoral activities.

President Obama, in his O’Reilly interview, seems to indicate that he understands this. He said, “The problem is they don’t want to sign the form — Because they think that that somehow makes them complicit.” Exactly right. And Mr. President, that’s not only what we and the other religious plaintiffs think; that’s precisely what our religion teaches. And the freedom to follow that teaching is precisely what you and the law need to respect.

All this may seem like a big deal to be making over the signing of a form. But to go back to W.A. Criswell, he points out, “When the Christians were invited just to bow down before the Roman image, their lives could be spared if they would merely take a pinch of incense and put it on the fire that burned in the presence of the image of the Roman Caesar. The Christian died rather than compromise with a pinch of incense.”

Whether it’s about government incense or a government form, we will obey God rather than men.

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Fr. Pavone to Pray and Speak at Supreme Court on Tuesday

March 24th, 2014





Priests for Life awaits response from Court re HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON, DC – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will join other Americans concerned about the right to life and religious freedom at a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday morning, March 25, when the Court will hear oral arguments in regard to the HHS Mandate. Further Supreme Court action on this matter is expected on the 28th in regard to Priests for Life.

The rally for religious freedom will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. ET.

Planned Parenthood is also expected to bring people to rally in favor of the mandate.

The oral arguments in the consolidated cases of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods will begin inside the court at 10 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m.

Priests for Life has been urging people to join a novena of prayer during these days for the reversal of the mandate. The prayers for each day can be found at www.PrayerCampaign.org.

“This is a moment of Biblical proportions,” Fr. Pavone explained. “Scripture, and all Christian history, are filled with moments of conflict between civil authority and people of faith. At every point, those people are called to obey God rather than man.

“We at Priests for Life also have a lawsuit against this mandate, and in fact were among the first to file one. We too have a petition to the Supreme Court to hear our case, and the Justices will consider whether they will do so this Friday, March 28,” Fr. Pavone commented. “The case being heard on Tuesday concerns the rights of for-profit businesses; in our case, the Court would be considering the rights of non-profit religious entities. Obviously, the Court eventually needs to address both.”

In its petition to the Supreme Court on behalf of Priests for Life, the American Freedom Law Center points out, “this challenge goes to the very core of Priests for Life’s reason for existing as an organization. Consequently, Petitioners are well situated—and perhaps best suited—to challenge the mandate and its application to non-exempt, nonprofit religious organizations.” The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has also consolidated the case brought by the Archdiocese of Washington and its related institutions together with that of Priests for Life.

Fr. Pavone concluded, “In the end, the matter is simple: We love our faith; we love our country, and we want to be able to do both at the same time.”

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

March 21st, 2014





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

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Matthew 18:5).

Reflection: How do we welcome Jesus? His answer is, by receiving a child. The Lord identifies himself with the helplessness of a child, and with the relationship of giving that a child brings forth. The first “receiving” of the child is from the parents, but it does not stop there. We are all called to “receive” every child who is conceived.

Prayer: Lord, as you bring forth new life each day into our world, bring it forth also in our hearts, and enable us to receive every life, knowing that thereby we receive you. Amen.

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Decision expected soon on Priests for Life’s petition to bring HHS challenge to Supreme Court

March 20th, 2014





NEW YORK, NY — Priests for Life will likely know by the end of the month if the U.S. Supreme Court will review its challenge to the contraceptives mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

“Our petition for review with the Supreme Court is scheduled to go to conference on Friday, March 28,” said Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center. “We will likely know the outcome within a couple of days.”

The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear the case against the HHS mandate on behalf of for-profit business corporations. If the petition of Priests for Life is successful, it would bring before the Court the question of how the mandate impacts religious, not-for-profit groups.

“We’re hopeful that our case will be accepted because our objections to this unjust mandate stem not only from our personal convictions, but from the very purpose of our organization,” Fr. Pavone explained.

Father Pavone noted that if the Supreme Court denies the petition, it would not impact the Priests for Life lawsuit currently in the D.C. Circuit, and the organization would still be able to seek review in the Supreme Court after the circuit court rules.

“As we have said since this unjust mandate was announced more than two years ago, we will not obey it and we are confident we will prevail in court,” Father Pavone said.

Find out more details about the Priests for Life case at www.priestsforlife.org/HHSMandate 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

March 20th, 2014





passion_of_the_christ_by_saviourmachine

“And so Pilate…handed him over to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).

Reflection: The Passion of Christ was far more horrible than our crucifixes portray. He suffered to rescue the human life he had created, to snatch it from the kingdom of death and bring it into his kingdom of life. Let us remember this Lent that Jesus endured his Passion for every unborn child in the womb. He endured every pain that the unborn might be saved as well as the born.

Prayer: Lord, I am so afraid to suffer. Lessen my fear, and increase my courage, that I may suffer with you for the sake of life. Amen.

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“Being Pro-Life is a verb, not a description!”

March 19th, 2014





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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

March 19th, 2014





stjospeh

“Arise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt” (Matthew 2:13).

Reflection: St. Joseph is the just man who was entrusted with the care of Jesus and Mary. Joseph is a model for all fathers in his example of faithfulness and protection for his family. Thousands of times a day, children are aborted, not because of a choice of the mother, but because of the choice of a father, who fails to show that faithfulness and willingness to protect the child he has helped conceive.

Prayer: Lord, bless fathers. When their child is unexpected, may they welcome that child and encourage the child’s mother to say yes to life. Amen.

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Today’s Pro-Life Reflection

March 14th, 2014





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

“Anyone who wishes to follow me must deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24)

Reflection: The traditional practice of “giving something up for Lent” is a practice of self-denial. It means we say no to ourselves and yes to God and others. This reverses the pattern of sin, which says yes to ourselves and no to God and others.
In our culture, the most violent no to God and others is abortion.

Prayer: Lord, as I practice self-denial, I offer my sacrifices for the children. May all say yes to you and yes to the unborn. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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