Priests for Life, a national organization directed by a New York priest, may become an international organization as a result of recent talks at the Vatican.
Father Frank A. Pavone, director of the organization, met with Pope John Paul II and Vatican officials to discuss ways to further its growth.
Father Pavone concelebrated Mass with the pope Nov. 21 in the pontiff's private chapel. In a private audience later, the pontiff praised the work of Priests for Life. "God bless you and your apostolate for life," he told Father Pavone.
The Port Chester-born priest also met with Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a member of Priests for Life's board of directors.
Priests for Life is an association of priests, deacons and lay auxiliary members who make a special commitment to spread the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life. There are about 3.000 members in the United States.
"We had preliminary discussions regarding ways to internationalize Priests for Life," Father Pavone told CNY. The Pontifical Council for the Family, which directs policy on life issues for the entire Roman Catholic Church, is so happy with the progress we have made here in America that it wishes to see Priests for Life expanded to every country in the world.
"We've already had a lot of international growth. Canada has an organization, and there have been inquiries from a number of other countries. The Rome trip only increased the interest of the Vatican. We talked about how the organization might be coordinated from Rome.
He also met with officials of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Vatican congregations for the clergy, for bishops and for the doctrine of the faith. "The response I received from these Vatican departments was overwhelming," Father Pavone said.
Father Pavone gave the pope an audio tape entitled "Renewed by the Gospel of Life—A Weekend Pro-Life Retreat," which he had preached in 1994, and a photograph of a priest surrounded by a large number of babies saved from abortion by pro-life efforts