Fr. Pavone hopes to inform and encourage
Robert Delaney of The Michigan Catholic
Published October 6, 2006
Detroit - Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of
Priests for Life, will seek to arm pro-life activists with information about the
stem-cell research issue and encourage them to do their duty as faithful
citizens in the upcoming election when he addresses the Right to Life of Lapeer
annual banquet, Wednesday, Oct. 18.
The banquet is among local events being held
marking October as Respect Life Month.
"Our call to faith is also a call to faithful
citizenship, as the U.S. bishops have said," Fr. Pavone said in a Sept. 28
He said he also hopes to equip pro-life activists
with the information they need to be informed participants in the public
discussion of the bioethical issues concerning stem-cell research and cloning.
"We're not talking about the Church opposing all
scientific research, there are 10 distinct and different issues here, and the
Church supports nine of the 10. So, there are many positive things to say – it's
only that form of embryonic stem-cell research that takes the life of the embryo
that it opposes, as well as questions about the possibility of harm and of
consent," Fr. Pavone said.
His aim will be to give those who attend the
banquet "some practical ideas – some concrete, practical help – about presenting
the message," he said.
Besides working and providing a voice for all
Catholic priests who support the pro-life cause through Priests for Life, Fr.
Pavone last month became the moderator general of a new priestly society, the
Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.
With many similarities to a religious order, full
membership in the society is open to priests, permanent deacons and lay
missionaries, "who renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God" so they
can devote themselves fully to the mission.
In discussing the issue of support for pro-life
candidates, Fr. Pavone said he will try to clarify the Church's position: "The
Church formulates principles, but how we apply those principles can become
But to the basic question of "Do we have a duty
to support candidates who support human life?" Fr. Pavone said, "The answer is
While much remains to be done, pro-life activists
should nevertheless take encouragement because of the progress that has been
made, Fr. Pavone continued.
"We see gains politically – more and more voters
say pro-life issues are influential or determinative in their voting. And over
the last 12 years or so, half of the free-standing abortion clinics in the
nation have closed," he said.
Catholics might ask whether they could have done
more – or could be doing more – but, Fr. Pavone said they can be proud that the
message from the Church "has been consistent and clear."