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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 3
May - June 2001

 

Articles

Aren't All Priests "for Life"?

Outreach to Seminarians

Deacons in the Service of Life

Book of Remembrance

Elections, Again!!!

Prayer Intentions

Can You Benefit From a Charitable Remainder Trust?

Letter from Fr. Lee Kaylor, Founder of Priests for Life

Words Are Not Enough

 

From the Director

Aren't all priests "for life"?

This is a natural question to ask upon hearing about our organization. There are several dimensions to the answer, and we present them to you here. In this issue, we also show you some of the wider aspects of the Priests for Life mission, which includes seminarians, deacons, and strong ecumenical ties.

In regard to our name, first of all, the title Priests for Life is intended to convey the truth that being for life is integral and essential to the life and ministry of every priest. This is not an association that seeks to be some sort of separate and elite group of priests who claim to be more pro-life than all the rest. Rather, it seeks to celebrate the dedicated efforts, so often hidden and unknown, of priests who heroically promote the culture of life across the nation.

Secondly, there are many orders and groups in the Church that highlight a facet of the Gospel to which all the rest of the Church is also called. Such highlighting is meant to be a stimulus to all to respond to a call that belongs to all. Therefore, the Sisters of Charity are not the only ones called to practice charity, nor is that what their name implies. The Blessed Sacrament Fathers do not pretend to be the only ones who worship the Blessed Sacrament. Examples can be multiplied. Priests for Life is another such example. It is precisely because all priests and all others as well, are called to be for life that this association exists.

It is helpful to reflect on the fact that there are groups called Doctors for Life, Nurses for Life, Pharmacists for Life, Lawyers for Life, Students for Life, Cops for Life, and countless others. But why, one might ask, should we need such groups? Aren't all doctors supposed to be for life? Yet the very reason we have a pro-life movement at all is because we have an immense tragedy on our hands, and need the skills of every profession to restore protection to all human life. In that light, it would be strange indeed if there were not a "Priests for Life!"

The purpose of Priests for Life is not to add another structure or organization to the pro-life effort. Its purpose, instead, is to infuse a structure that already exists, the Church, with the vigor, enthusiasm, and very best resources to carry out its mission of defending life.

Working in a positive spirit of collaboration with the hierarchy, we seek to spread their teachings and strengthen the pro-life effort in accordance with the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities. We trust that in carrying out this mission, you will feel free to call upon us. Our five full-time staff priests are ready to travel to your diocese or parish, or to assist you in other ways. Know that you are always in our prayers.

Fr. Frank Pavone

National Director

 

Outreach to Seminarians

As a result of a Priests for Life visit to Mt. St Mary's of the West Seminary in Cincinnati, seminarian Eric Bowman was inspired to begin an Internet-based effort to link and encourage seminarians in their preparation to celebrate, proclaim, and serve the Gospel of Life. Hence "Seminarian Life Link" was born. This effort works collaboratively with the already excellent mission of "Seminarians for Life," an organization based at Mt. St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Many of today's seminarians found their vocation through the pro-life movement. The active defense of the unborn requires the same kind of willingness to sacrifice oneself that is also necessary for a commitment to priesthood and religious life.

A program for seminarians that continues to nurture the pro-life dimensions of their preparation for ministry is not something that necessarily adds to an already demanding schedule. Rather, it is a question of fostering a deeper awareness of the relationship between the pro-life cause and the standard elements of a seminarian's life: prayer, study of the Scriptures and doctrines of the faith, preparation for preaching, and growth in the spirit of service.

Our Priests for Life staff is ready to serve the needs of seminaries by means of visits, special seminars, retreats, guest lectures, specialized reference materials, summer intern programs, and more. Please contact our Seminary Outreach office at Priests for Life, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314.

 

Deacons in the Service of Life

Since its inception, Priests for Life has had an active outreach for deacons and has welcomed them as members of the organization. So much of the material we have developed for preaching and ministry has an equal application and usefulness for deacons as it does for priests.

Through our "Deacons in the Service of Life" program, we invite deacons to be in contact with us for ideas and concrete assistance in developing pastoral programs on the parish, deanery, or diocesan level especially directed to the defense of human life.

The deacon, in a particular way, embodies the Church's commitment to practical charity. To serve the needs of our brothers and sisters presupposes an awareness of those needs. None of our brothers and sisters are in greater need than those whose very right to exist has been legally annihilated. The service of the unborn is as real and urgent as the service of the hungry, the homeless, and anyone who is marginalized.

For more information, contact us at "Deacons in the Service of Life," PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314.

 

BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE

You are invited to send us the names of children who have been aborted and whom you wish to memorialize. We will inscribe those names in our "Book of Remembrance", which is kept beneath the altar at our international headquarters in New York. Each time the Mass is offered on that altar, those children are again commended to the Lord.

You may send the names to Priests for Life, Attn: Elisa, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314.

You may fax them to (603)-908-2695 or email them to edestefano@priestsforlife.org

 

Elections, Again!!!

Fr. Frank Pavone

National Director, Priests for Life

The kind of election we had in 2000 taught us many lessons. One is that it is time now to start working on the elections of 2002.

While the Presidency was the central concern of this past election, the composition of the US Senate should be a key concern of the next one. One-third of the Senators are up for re-election, and this will involved Senate races in Colorado, Montana, Delaware, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Maine, Idaho, New Mexico, Illinois, Wyoming, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Kansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Oregon, New Hampshire, Alaska, Tennessee, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia, and Minnesota.

For the passage of laws that favor the right to life, and for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices who see the justice of our cause, the President cannot act alone. The Senate must vote in a pro-life direction. That will happen only if we vote in a pro-life direction when we elect our Senators.

Several steps need to be taken, starting today:

a) Pro-life candidates who have a likelihood of victory should be encouraged to run, and if there are none in a particular race, they should be sought and found now.

b) Voters should be informed now of the opportunities they will have to shape the composition of the Senate. Even if a Senate race is not happening in our state, we can influence people in other states.

c) People need education on the central importance of the right to life as an election issue. Whether the candidates themselves emphasize the issue or not, the voters need to know where the candidates stand on this "fundamental human rights issue" (US bishops, Resolution on Abortion, 1989). If candidates have not expressed themselves on the issue, they should be asked both privately and publicly.

d) Pro-life activists should not tire in speaking, teaching, and writing about the political responsibilities we have. There is time now to prepare new materials in anticipation of the elections of 2002, if we start right away.

e) Clergy should preach fearlessly about the political responsibilities of believers, and highlight what the bishops have said about the central importance of the right to life in evaluating candidates. The document Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics (1998) remains a key guide in this area.

f) Fervent prayer should be offered, publicly and privately, for all who hold or seek public office.

A commitment to the right to life is not identical to a commitment to any particular political party. No party perfectly embodies the Gospel, nor is our loyalty to party supposed to be stronger to our loyalty to our moral convictions. Candidates of any party can be pro-life. Throughout the changes that occur from candidate to candidate, election to election, and year to year, our message is always the same: No government has the authority to allow the destruction of innocent human life, and we have the solemn responsibility to choose leaders who recognize that.

Contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; email: mail@priestsforlife.org; web: www.priestsforlife.org

 

Prayer Intentions

You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the Liturgy of the Hours:

May intention: For an increase in the spirit of respectful dialogue with those who disagree with us on life issues.

June intention: For increased ecumenical collaboration in defense of life.

 

Can You Benefit from a Charitable Remainder Trust?

Giving Appreciated Securities to Priests for Life May Offer You Tax Advantages

If you are a benefactor of Priests for Life in your 50's or older, nearing or already in retirement, and if you currently own highly appreciated securities, you may wish to consider a charitable remainder trust in order to take advantage of significant tax benefits. Through a charitable remainder trust, you may receive:

Relief from capital gains taxes on the sale of contributed assets

An income stream for the rest of your life

A current-year income tax deduction

The potential to reduce estate tax liability

The ability to diversify your investment portfolio

The knowledge that you have given Priests for Life the financial assistance it desperately needs to fight abortion and euthanasia

A charitable remainder trust is created to provide lifetime or term income payments to you (and/or your family members) while the remainder is eventually payable to Priests for Life. Working in association with one of the most highly regarded financial institutions in the world, we offer comprehensive charitable remainder trust services that can help you gain all or some of the benefits outlined above. Experienced trust professionals will work with you, your attorney and tax advisor, to create a charitable remainder trust that meets your overall estate planning needs.

If you are in a financial position to assist Priests for Life in this way, we ask that you please consider setting up a charitable remainder trust with us this year. Our need has never been greater! For more information, please give Priests for Life senior vice president, Jerry Horn, a call at: (540) 785-4733.

 

 

Letter from Fr. Lee Kaylor, Founder of Priests for Life

Dear Friends and Members of Priests For Life,

I am grateful to Fr. Frank and Anthony DeStefano for allowing me the space to say thank you to all of you who have been so kind in sending the dozens and dozens of cards, letters, and notes as a result of Anthony's article on the founding of Priests For Life. I've received so much advice on what to do about my back injury ranging from apple cider vinegar to clinics and specialists around the country. I am profoundly touched and grateful for all of it! There is no doubt that PFL is a success today. It is a success because of the dedicated efforts of its staff, its supporters, and all who, in their love for life, are open to its message. The fact that I had a small role to play in the beginning is proof that clean water does flow through rusty pipes.

God reward you,

Fr. Lee

 

 

Words are not enough

Fr. Frank Pavone

I recently asked a representative of a major secular news network, "Why not show the American people what an abortion is?" He was intrigued by the question, and we had a good discussion about it. He suggested I should continue asking it, privately and publicly.

I intend to.

Ask any audience around the country whether they have seen any kind of surgery on television. Almost all will raise their hands. But if you ask that same audience how many have seen an abortion on those same networks, none raise their hands.

Yet abortion is the single most frequently performed surgery in America. Some claim it is legitimate medicine, and in fact an integral part of women's health. But look at it? Take it out from under the veil of euphemism and abstract language? No way.

Still, there is an even more fundamental and troublesome question to ask, and that is, Why do so many people who oppose abortion also oppose letting it be seen for what it is?

Certainly, showing images of an abortion, and what an abortion does to a baby, has to be done in ways that properly prepare the audience for what they are about to see, and place the matter in the context of the compassionate care which the pro-life movement gives to those who are guilty of an abortion.

Yet even with all that in place, there is still a great deal of resistance to the notion that we should expose the evil for what it is, bringing it into the light of day for the naked eye to see.

If we study social reform movements, we find that they always exposed the injustice they were fighting. The civil rights movement was galvanized, for example, when the 14-year-old boy, Emmett Till, was killed and thrown in the Tallahatchie River. Authorities wanted to bury the body quickly, but his mother insisted on an open casket funeral so the world could see what was done to her boy. Black Americans everywhere saw the mutilated corpse when the photo was carried in Jet magazine.

In the Library of Congress there is an exhibit of about five thousand photographs taken by Lewis Hine. He used these photographs to combat industrial exploitation of children. He said to those who complained, "Perhaps you are weary of child labor pictures. Well, so are the rest of us. But we propose to make you and the whole country so sick and tired of the whole business that when the time for action comes, child labor abuses will be creatures of the past."

Examples can be multiplied.

Is there something to be learned here by the pro-life movement? Is it time to re-evaluate our assumption that we need to be liked in order to be successful? Is it time to summon the courage to expose the injustice we are fighting, in the same way that successful social reform movements of the past have done?

Priests for Life, in conjunction with a number of other groups, is committed to helping our movement understand the history of social reform and the principles that can be learned from it. We are developing extensive materials and projects based on those principles.

 

 

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