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CRITERION

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 pro-life cause.

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 side."

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, he said.

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 social reform?"

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 abortion.

"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."

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org