One of the fastest growing right-to-life organizations in the country is Priests for Life, an independent group that is seeking to recruit additional clergy into the battle against abortion.
Although the Catholic Church has long been the undisputed leader in this monumental struggle, far too many bishops and priests have been sitting on the sidelines and letting too few lead the charge. It's not that these clerics are "pro-choice," but rather, they are reluctant to articulate their views or they think that the so-called seamless garment relieves them of any personal responsibility to step up to the front lines.
Founded several years ago in San Francisco by Fr. Lee Kaylor, Priests for Life has chapters in 20 cities and reaches 20,000 priests through an excellent newsletter. PFL works with 34 other national pro-life organizations and is cooperating with Sisters for Life in New York.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Port Chester, N.Y. is the organization's current president, having been released from his pastoral duties by John Cardinal O'Connor to work full-time on this apostolate. He has met with interested groups in New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Birmingham, Montgomery, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and has given two pro-life retreats in San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif.
Priests for Life is not funded by any diocese or lay organization and relies solely on individual benefactors. It offers videos for priests and lay people to motivate them to defend the unborn, full-page bulletin inserts on abortion and euthanasia, and assistance in setting up training sessions.
"The point of Priests for Life," Fr. Pavone said recently, "is not to imply that some priests are called to be actively pro-life and others are not. We are not trying to let priests off the hook. The point is just the opposite. Priests for Life means that to be a priest means to stand for life, to defend the dignity and sanctity of human life. This is an essential aspect of the priesthood. No priest is exempt. Priests for Life seeks to help all priests grow in this aspect of their ministry.
"With the cooperation of priests and laity, this pro-life war will be won, "he added. "Imagine the vast structure of the Catholic Church in the United States. We have over 19,000 parishes and over 9,000 schools. If we can infuse these structures with the pro-life spirit and message, imagine the impact that is possible."
For additional information, write to Priests for Life. P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, N.Y. 10314, or call 888-PFL-3448.