Few in the general public can appreciate the complexities and demands of serving in public office. It always looks easier to solve the problems of one's district, state, or nation from a vantage point outside of elected office than from within it. As members of the clergy whose work includes ministering to those in public office, we at Priests for Life have some appreciation for these complexities and difficulties, and I wish to assure each of you, and your families, that you are remembered in our prayers.
Priests for Life is a national association which assists the clergy to deal with the abortion issue. Our staff regularly travel the nation, meeting with priests in every state to equip them to address pro-life issues more effectively. Our outreach extends to every priest in America and to tens of millions of citizens, of many professions and creeds, via our media work.
In this context, I write to you, whatever your religious beliefs might be, to ask you to look anew at the most fundamental political question, which is, "Who belongs to the political community?" To govern effectively, one must first know whom one governs. The biggest possible mistake would be to overlook an entire segment of the public one professes to serve.
That is the problem with abortion. Roe vs. Wade declared, "The word person as used in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, does not include the unborn." Those who persist in supporting the "choice" of abortion persist in narrowing the circle of welcome and protection which our nation affords. Moreover, they contradict the fundamental principle of human equality contained in the Declaration of Independence. Those who claim to be Christian face an irreconcilable contradiction when they embrace a "pro-choice" position, because abortion, as an act of violence, can never be compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who also claim to be Catholic and pro-choice face a clear contradiction with the definitive teachings of the Catholic Church.
We appreciate the complex and often agonizing effort that many lawmakers undergo in attempting to clarify both their personal and public positions on the abortion issue. We seek to be of service to any lawmaker who wishes to discuss these issues in strict confidentiality.
In the next few months, Priests for Life will make extensive public commentary on the abortion issue insofar as it relates to the upcoming elections. We will make it clear to voters that the right to life is the most fundamental issue in any campaign. Our message, from coast to coast, will reflect fully the teachings which the United States Catholic Bishops enunciated in their November 1998 document, Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, and in their 1999 statement, Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium. We will be happy to make complimentary copies of both of these documents available to you.
Our sincere hope is that each and every elected official will be able to see beyond politics, in order to carry out his/her responsibility to defend human life and reject the error that government is authorized to take the right to life away. Once again, be assured of our prayers and best wishes.
Fr. Frank Pavone