One group that's taking Church teaching on abortion (and euthanasia) into the public square is Father Frank Pavone's Priests for Life. Concerned about the disconnect between many Catholics (politicians and voters alike) and the Church's positions on life issues, Father Pavone is launching a million-dollar ad campaign to educate faithful and non-faithful alike. "I want the public to understand abortion as it is," he told Gustav Niebuhr of the New York Times, "as an act of violence." In a full-page ad in the Times on July 21, he and 45 other priests proclaimed: "We will not be intimidated, nor frightened into complacency, by those in the government and the media who would prefer us to keep silent behind the walls of the Church sanctuary." Inspired by two recent Bishops' statements, "Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics" (1998) and "Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium" (1999), the priests pledged "to repeat these teachings throughout this election season and throughout the year, from thousands of pulpits all across America, using print media, radio, television and the Internet."
It didn't take long for Catholics for a Free Choice president Frances Kissling to weigh in. On July 24 the Times ran her letter to the editor re the Priest for Life story: "After nine years of organizing," she wrote, "the group has attracted only 6,000 of the nation's almost 55,000 Catholic priests." La Quisling is slipping. By her own logic, one would think she would now want to boast about her own membership numbers. Not so. When we called and asked how big the organization was we got a runaround and a "we'll get back to you." Exactly what we expected. For years, CFFC has gotten most of its funding from big-deal foundations pursuing the Holy Grail of global population control. Their website is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Latin countries, still largely Catholic, are a big target. It's an old story that never gets told in the mainstream press. But that may soon change. Just today a letter arrived from the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, announcing plans for an ad campaign of his own: "We'll blast our message all over the planet, letting everyone know just how illegitimate this group is." You go, guy!