November 23, 2001
[Excerpt of article on Address to Catholic Businessmen and women]
By Jennifer Del Vechio
Indianapolis, Indiana -- Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests
for Life, said local business leaders are a witness to Christ in the world and
show that the "concept of our faith is not disconnected from our life."
Father Pavone spoke Nov. 16 in Indianapolis to the Catholic business guild
Civitas Dei, an organization dedicated to integrating their Catholic faith with
their vocation in business.
Father Pavone said, "to me the role of a pro-life leader is something that is
non-negotiable to my priesthood."
Already, the organization has four other full-time priests, and is known for
reaching out to women considering abortion and using extensive media campaigns
to promote the pro-life cause. Founded in 1991, Father Pavone was given
permission by the late Cardinal John O'Connor to head the organization in 1993.
Since then, it has expanded to include four full-time priests and 30
full-time lay staff members with offices in New York, California, Minnesota,
Michigan, Rome and Washington, D.C.
It also has launched a $12 million media campaign that included billboards,
television and newspaper ads and a weekly pro-life television series. Father
Pavone said that organizations like Civitas Dei could help contribute to such
campaigns not only with their resources but also with their witness to the
He called on business leaders to lend their skills to a movement that is
primarily made up of volunteers and does not possess the advanced marketing,
staffing and debate skills that the pro-abortion side uses.
"The witness to the Gospel are people like you." he said. "It has never
before been more true that unless we get back to the roots of what it means to
be human, we will no longer survive:"
Father Pavone said the pro-life position must be articulated on rational
grounds and that all the evidence-medical, philosophical, etc.- is on "our
However, the battle is with those who in the face of that evidence still say
that "I have my beliefs and you have your beliefs," and that in America we can
believe what we want, he said.
Still, Father Pavone thinks the media campaign is reaching those people who
won't listen to the evidence. He cited the high number of pro-abortion
literature and letters the organization is receiving after many of the media ads
in favor of stopping abortion hit the newspapers and television.
One of the most important tools the pro-life movement has is the First
Amendment, said Father Pavone.
Unfortunately, it is not used enough to get the message out about abortion,
Already, Priests for Life has started discussions with television producers
about showing an abortion on television.
"We are going to make a public issue out of the question," he said.
As for those who think it would be too graphic, Father Pavone said, "Is there
any reason why the pro-life movement should be exempt from the principles of
It is when "disturbing images of injustice" have been shown that people begin
to wake up and see the injustice, he said.
Not until people saw the abuses against blacks, such as when they were
sprayed with hoses or attack dogs were released upon them, did people take
action, he said.
The problem is that many people fear the persecution when speaking out
against abortion -- from priests who fear complaints for preaching against
abortion to lay people who fear losing friends over their stance against
"We can't think about what people think of us as the messenger," Father
Pavone said. "We have to care about what people think of abortion."
In the end, the pro-life cause will win, Father Pavone said, and the landmark
case allowing abortion, Roe. v. Wade, will be overturned because
Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church and that
evil does not have the last word.
"Go forth with confidence," he said. "We are not working for victory. We are
working from victory."