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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 10, Number 1
2000

 

Message from the Director: Pregnancy Hotline numbers

Help for Preaching

Bulletin Inserts

A Useful Resource

Priests for Life welcomes "Faithful Citizenship"

Continued reflection on the Crucial Importance of the Abortion Issue

Addition of New Priest Signals Rapid Expansion of Priests for Life

Raw Judicial Power

Life-Giving Alternatives

General Intercessions for the Sundays of Lent

Fetal Parts

Message from the Director Pregnancy Assistance Numbers

One of our goals at Priests for Life, a very simple and basic one, is to see to it that every member of the clergy in America -- and everyone else for that matter -- has as much information as possible regarding where a person can turn for assistance in handling a pregnancy in a way that respects life. For that reason, our website, www.priestsforlife.org, contains information about nearly every Pregnancy Assistance Center in the nation.

Also for that reason, we publicize national hotline numbers, and invite clergy to publicize either these or any other number of their choosing, so that people in their parishes know where help is available. One suggestion is to place one such number as a permanent item on the cover of the parish bulletin.

If you have ideas and suggestions about how to promote alternatives to abortion, you won't find anyone more eager to hear them than we are. Contact us!

Following are a few national hotlines. There are many other numbers, most of them more local, that can be used. Priests for Life is making only one comment about these hotlines: They provide alternatives to abortion. And we are making one other comment about what pro-life people should do: We should find a number we are comfortable promoting, and not rest until everyone in our reach knows about it!

Pregnancy Hotline 800-848-LOVE

Nurturing Network 800-TNN-4MOM

Bethany Christians Services 800-238-4269

Several Sources Foundation 800-NO-ABORT

America’s Crisis Pregnancy Helpline 800-67-BABY-6

Birthright 800-550-4900

Good Counsel Homes 800 723-8331

Carenet 800-712-HELP

Catholic Home Bureau 212-371-1000 Exts. 2117 and 2187 (In New York, 1-800-592-HELP)

Help for Preaching

"Preaching on Abortion," a 44-page booklet for clergy, is now available from Priests for Life. Positive in tone, and rooted in Scripture, the booklet is a practical help for priests, deacons, and any teacher of God's word who wants to address the issue of abortion. The booklet is written based on the experience that Fr. Frank Pavone and the other full-time priests of Priests for Life have had in preaching on abortion in all 50 states every day for the past six years. It addresses topics such as the links between priesthood and pro-life ministry, the Consistent Ethic of Life, how to speak to children and to the elderly about abortion, and concrete "points of entry" into the topic of abortion from the Scriptural, doctrinal, and seasonal angles. You won't be disappointed with this resource. Priests and ministers are welcome to send us their own input for the future revision of this booklet. The text is also available on our website on the page www.priestsforlife.org/preaching/preach1.html.

Bulletin Inserts

  • The Alan Guttmacher Institute, which favors the "freedom to terminate unwanted pregnancies" (Mission statement), states that 12%, that is, 164,400 of the 1.37 million abortions that occurred in 1996 occurred after 12 weeks of pregnancy. It further indicates that some 13,700 of these abortions took place at 21 weeks or more (Source: Website of the Alan Guttmacher Institute). Babies delivered at this stage of development have been known to survive.
  • Some people say that the assertion, "Life begins at conception" is only a "religious belief." Yet the following quote is found in a book about how to perform abortions: "Conception is the only occasion in the whole course of events when something happens during a brief moment of time that is truly 'momentous'…How different is the fetus ten minutes before parturition and ten minutes after; that is, different in a way that would affect its value?" (Second Trimester Abortion: Perspectives After a Decade of Experience, Berger et al., eds., p. 215).
  • Some who defend abortion claim that one is "truly human" only when able to reason, to choose, and to be creative. Yet a book about how to perform abortions contains this quote: "Surely embryos and fetuses do none of these things. In fact, neither do newborns, and there's the rub. Presumably it would be equally as acceptable to destroy newborns as fetuses, since both are in the same prehuman boat" (Second Trimester Abortion: Perspectives After a Decade of Experience, Berger et al., eds., p. 215). Think about it.
  • More people than ever are coming forward to talk about how they regret having an abortion. Here are some quotes from actual testimonies, provided by a national research project: "It affected my relationship with my children because I emotionally pushed them away - I felt I didn't deserve them"; "I would go to the cemetery wondering what they did with my baby"; "Initially I also felt a sense of relief that it was all over. But it was a strange brand of relief that did everything relief should, except make me feel any better." If you need help, call 1-800-5-WE-CARE (National Office of Post-abortion Reconciliation and Healing).

A Useful Resource

The Human Life Review is the only publication of its kind: a scholarly quarterly devoted entirely to the life issues. Now in its 25th year, it has been called "indispensable" by many in the pro-life movement. You may write for a free sample copy or a subscription ($20 per year) to: the Human Life Review, 215 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016; or visit their website at www.humanlifereview.com

Priests for Life welcomes the recent statement of the United States Catholic Conference, "Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium." It's text, as well as a multitude of statements on the dignity of life by the Holy Father and by Bishops around the world, can be accessed through our website, www.priestsforlife.org, on the page "magisteriumteachings.html."

Continued reflections on the Crucial Importance of the Abortion issue:

A minister recently used this comparison for a fellow-pastor who was reluctant to do much about abortion, because, he said, "My mission is to proclaim the Gospel."

Suppose you knew that at a given moment, a father was taking his child to "The First Church of the False Gospel," and another father was about to kill his child.

If you were able to intervene, to which situation would you direct your attention first?

In attempting to save the child's life, one does not deny the critical importance of raising that child in the truth of the Gospel. But error in religious matters can be dealt with throughout life. One needs a life to begin with.

It is a strange concern, indeed, that addressing abortion somehow "intrudes upon" our mission of evangelizing. Evangelium Vitae points out that because life belongs to God, "whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself" (EV 9). Quoting Vatican II"s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, John Paul II later says, "'By his Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every person' (Gaudium et Spes, 22). It is precisely in the "flesh" of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ" (EV 104).

 

ADDITION OF NEW PRIEST SIGNALS RAPID EXPANSION OF PRIESTS FOR LIFE

In September of 1999, Fr. Frank Pavone announced the exciting news that yet another priest has joined the ranks of our organization as a full-time priest associate. Fr. Walter J. Quinn, O.S.A., has been released by his Ordinary, the Very Reverend John Deegan, Prior Provincial of the Augustinian Order, St. Thomas of Villanova, to devote 100% of his time to Priests for Life.

The addition of Fr. Quinn to the Priests for Life staff brings the number of full-time priests in the association to five! Assisting the priests is a rapidly growing, nationwide lay staff of 23.

Fr. Quinn brings to Priests for Life nearly four decades of experience in the priesthood. Born August 8, 1930 in Lansdowne, PA, he attended West Catholic High School in Philadelphia, and then the Wharton School of Finance & Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1952 with a BS in Economics. He was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War, and for a time worked in industrial sales before being ordained in 1961.

Fr. Quinn has served as an Augustinian Priest in many parishes throughout the Northeast, including Our Mother of Consolation, near Philadelphia, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, in the Bronx, Our Lady of Good Counsel, in Staten Island, and Immaculate Conception, in the Albany Diocese, to name but a few. He has been actively involved in pro-life work since the late 1960’s, and has founded pro-life organizations in Philadelphia and New Jersey. He was also recently appointed by Bishop Colin Campbell, of the diocese of Antigonish, to be spiritual director of the "United Hearts of Jesus and Mary," an international lay organization that has chapters in the U.S., Canada, England and Ireland.

Fr. Pavone, who has headed Priests for Life since 1993, said: "We are thrilled to have Fr. Quinn as part of the Priests for Life team. Together with Frs. Hogan, West, Wilde and myself, Fr. Quinn will be traveling the country, teaching, training, motivating and encouraging his brother priests to speak up for Life.

"Even more exciting, though, is what all this indicates for the future. There is a specific charism in the Church, a charism for the defense of human life. That charism is fittingly embodied in a number of institutional structures. If it is in accordance with God’s will and the desire of the Church, Priests for Life could provide a natural launching point for an eventual Religious Order or society of priests dedicated to pro-life ministry."

 

Raw Judicial Power

Many are familiar with how Justice Byron White described Roe vs. Wade in his dissent: "an exercise of raw judicial power."

A couple of decades later, we can see clearly how "judicial power" has kept abortion going time and again, including by decisions which even allow partial-birth abortion to continue, contrary to the will of the people expressed through bans on the state level.

This raises in the minds of more than one legal expert the question about how to restore a balance of powers among the three branches of government. An excellent, succinct review of the matter, along with a concrete proposal, has been made by Thomas A. Glessner in "Curbing Raw Judicial Power: A Proposal for a Checks and Balances Amendment," published in the Regent University Law Review (Volume 11, Number 2, 1998-99). Mr. Glessner asserts, "I suggest we are indeed in a constitutional crisis if we accept the idea that the US Supreme Court is the final and exclusive interpreter of the Constitution…Nowhere in the Constitution is it acknowledged that the 'reasoned judgment' of the Supreme Court is superior to the 'reasoned judgment' of the elected officials of the people or of the people themselves."

 

Life-Giving Alternatives

The bulk of the time, energy, and personal resources of the pro-life movement are spent in providing alternatives to abortion, providing real choices to girls who feel they have no choice. Planned Parenthood, the largest single abortion-provider in the US, receives one-third of its total revenue from government grants and contracts. At the same time, however, the nation's crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies rely on contributions from concerned citizens to run their shoe-string budgets.

A bill has been introduced to correct this situation by establishing an $85 million formula grant program to provide pregnant women with assistance through these various centers. The bill is the Women and Children's Resources Act, HR 2901, introduced by Representative Joseph R. Pitts of Pennsylvania, and in the Senate (S. 1605) by Senator Rick Santorum.

It really is about time.

The courts have maintained that the government, in allowing abortion, is not required to favor it, but rather is free to encourage childbirth over abortion (see, for example, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, 505 US 833, 886). And as far as the Church is concerned, our response to the abortion tragedy is not, and has never been, simply to say, "This is wrong, don't do it." Instead, we say, "We are with you, and we will give you the strength to do what is right."

We encourage you to obtain more information about this bill and to do all you can to support it.

 

General Intercessions for the Sundays of Lent

Ash Wednesday falls on March 8, 2000. The following General Intercessions are suggested for the Sundays of Lent this year (based on the readings for Cycle B).

First Sunday of Lent:

That God, who made a covenant with Noah that earth's creatures should not be destroyed, will give us the strength to protect all life, we pray to the Lord

Second Sunday of Lent:

That Christ, who revealed his glory to the apostles, may reveal to us the sanctity of every human life, we pray to the Lord

Third Sunday of Lent:

That legislators will enact policies that conform to the Commandments of God, the Lord of Life, we pray to the Lord

Fourth Sunday of Lent:

That God, who sent His Son to save the world, will bring repentance and forgiveness to all who have had abortions, we pray to the Lord

Fifth Sunday of Lent:

That God's people may oppose abortion by offering themselves to care for those who are pregnant and in need, we pray to the Lord

Passion (Palm) Sunday:

That the passion and death of Christ may help us find meaning in our suffering, we pray to the Lord

Fetal Parts

Priests for Life has known for some time of the grisly trade in baby parts taking place in abortion facilities throughout the nation. Through the efforts of our friends at Life Dynamics, Inc., the details of this trade have come to light. You may obtain from Life Dynamics (1-800-401-6494) copies of the actual order forms used. Some of the forms request that there be no abnormalities. Many mistakenly think that abortions in later stages of pregnancy are performed only in cases of fetal abnormality.

The following is taken from Life Dynamics' publication of this information:

"Fetal tissue wholesalers are companies which place employees in abortion clinics to harvest tissue, limbs, organs, etc. from aborted babies. This material is then shipped to researchers working for universities, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. Although it is against federal law to sell human tissue or body parts, these organizations have devised a system to circumvent this restriction. Technically, all fetal material they harvest is "donated" to them by the clinics. However, they do pay a "site fee" to the clinics for the right to access the tissue. The tissue is then "donated" to the researchers who in turn pay the wholesalers for the cost of retrieval. Profit is realized by the wholesalers' ability to set their own retrieval fees."

 

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