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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 4
July - August 2001

 

Articles

Fr. Frank Pavone Honored by National Right to Life and Protested by Pro-Abortion Groups

Showing Abortion

Judicial Activism

Priest Profile - Fr. Samuel J. Aquila 

Rescuer of Elian Gonzalez Speaks Up for Life

Gearing Up for September!

Words of Encouragement from our Shepherds

Bulletin Insert

 

Fr. Frank Pavone Honored by National Right to Life and Protested by Pro-Abortion Groups

Fr. Frank Pavone received two special awards on April 25, 2001, which he accepted in the name of Priests for Life and the entire pro-life movement.

The National Right to Life Committee gave him its "Proudly Pro-life Award" at the annual Proudly Pro-life Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Previous recipients of the award include Cardinal John O'Connor, Mother Theresa, Congressman Henry Hyde, and others. Judge William P. Clark, a chief advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and one who held several key cabinet posts, introduced Fr. Frank at the banquet. In his introduction, Judge Clark mentioned the work Priests for Life did in preparation for the elections of the year 2000, and commented on how careful Fr. Frank was not to mention candidates' names, and yet to convey the message of truth and life. Many in politics, the Judge said, recognize the influence that Priests for Life had on the election.

During his remarks, Fr. Frank said that there is a justifiable fear in the ranks of the pro-abortion movement. Abortion facilities are closing, workers are leaving and becoming pro-life, doctors are increasingly unwilling to perform abortions, and opinion polls keep moving in our direction. Fr. Frank also called for attention to be given to the 2002 mid-term elections. "We need, and we will get, a pro-life Senate in the United States. For those who think we said too much in regard to the last election, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Meanwhile, over a hundred demonstrators gathered outside the Waldorf to protest Fr. Frank. Frances Kissling of "Catholics for a Free Choice" was there, and said to the crowd that "Priests for Life is a fringe group." [Note: Priests for Life asks, if we are a fringe group, why bother to protest us?] Others who spoke included local leaders of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and various other groups. A number of pro-abortion politicians were also present, including NY State Senator Eric Schneiderman, as well as the borough president of Manhattan, along with a NY mayoral candidate, and others. Senator Schneiderman had actually sent a letter to various pro-abortion activists, and also to the Honorary Committee of the Proudly Pro-life Banquet, denouncing Fr. Frank and Priests for Life as purveyors of violence.

"This is actually an old tactic," Fr. Frank said in response. "First of all, we have a very public record of rejecting all violence against abortion providers. With the high profile that our group has, our media work, website, and educational materials, it is not at all difficult to find out exactly where we stand on this subject. But that does not mean much to the pro-abortion groups. They essentially re-define the meaning of the word "violence" and claim that because of our "rhetoric" about abortion and abortionists, a climate conducive to violence is created.

If you read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, you will see that he had to respond to exactly the same charge. Yet just as this did not stop him from exposing the injustice and horror of segregation, neither will we be dissuaded from exposing the injustice and horror of abortion. The 9th Circuit Court actually issued a decision recently which contradicted the pro-abortion argument about "creating a climate of violence," pointing out that even if our speech against abortion led a third party to commit violence, it is still protected speech under the Constitution.

"In the end, those who think it is OK to kill abortionists to solve the problem of abortion are, essentially, pro-choice. After all, it is the pro-choice movement that has told us for decades that sometimes it is OK to choose to end a life to solve a problem."

Priests for Life is taking the offensive in response to these and other pro-abortion attacks. We are publicizing the deaths of women from "safe and legal abortion" and the unregulated, unsanitary conditions within so many legal abortion clinics. We are calling the abortion industry, and the pro-abortion organizations, which claim to be on the side of women, to denounce the actions of so many of their own who have maimed and killed women. What explains or excuses their silence? Why are they more protective of abortionists than of women?

 

 

Showing Abortion

Priests for Life continues to challenge the national and local media: Show the American people what an abortion is. There is no excuse under the sun for keeping secret what is the most common surgery in America, and at the same time the most divisive social problem. "We will not solve the controversy over abortion in this country until more people see what it looks like," Fr. Frank Pavone declared. "We are committed to making that happen. Among other things, this will help people to vote the right way next year in the midterm elections, when it will be critical to put in the United States Senate men and women who understand that abortion is a horror that words alone cannot convey."

The following excerpt from Mr. Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bioethical Reform is instructive:

The July 24/July 31, 2000 issue of U.S. News & World Report published the following account of World War II espionage:

Jan Karski never stormed a beach or flew an Allied airplane but he was one of World War II's great heroes. Disguised as a Nazi guard, the Polish courier [a member of the Jewish underground] sneaked into the Izbica death camp, then made a perilous journey to London to tell of the mass tortures and killing he had seen. He died last week at 86.

Newsweek, July 24, 2000, reported that Mr. Karski delivered to the Allies the "first eyewitness accounts" of the Holocaust but that his tale of horror was so sickening "Few could believe what he reported."

There was massive denial about the Holocaust among the Allies at the start of World War II and many would not allow themselves to believe that anything so monstrous could actually be happening. The same is true of abortion today. Unfortunately, Mr. Karski couldn't use a camera to make his astonishing accounts more credible. The April 3, 1995 edition of U.S. News & World Report, however, described the enormous difference a Holocaust photo could make: "Many GIs [who helped liberate the death camps] carried Kodaks and …Leicas, snapping scenes of horror like rookie police photographers. Without photographic proof, who would believe their tales?" The article goes on to report that:

The Post-Dispatch and the Washington Evening Star [newspapers] hurriedly assembled an exhibit of camp-atrocity photos entitled 'Lest We Forget.' Before moving to Boston and cities in the Midwest, the 12-foot-high photo-murals debuted at the Library of Congress. During the exhibit's three steamy summer weeks in Washington, almost 90,000 Americans turned out to gape.

 

  

Judicial Activism

Priests for Life has recently joined the "Coalition for Judicial Restraint." We are convinced that the best way to insure that Judges uphold the right to life is to enlist the support of as many Americans (and their representatives) as possible for Judges who interpret the Constitution rather than re-write it. To re-write it as circumstances suggest, and to invent all kinds of new rights, like the so-called right to abortion, means the end of our freedom. Instead, when Judges realize that the Constitution has a meaning which should not be transgressed, the creation of laws remains in the hands of the people, working through their legislative representatives.

We urge you to contact your Senators, and ask them to confirm only Justices who will strictly uphold the Constitution in its original meaning.

 

 

Priest Profile - Fr. Samuel J. Aquila

By Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director

Fr. Sam Aquila, Rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, has always been active in the pro-life movement. Born in 1950, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1976, and specializes in the area of Sacramental Theology. A true scholar, Fr. Aquila has served as a theological consultant to both Cardinal Francis Stafford, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome, and to the NCCB’s Committee on the Liturgy. He is fluent in all the Romance languages, and is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars as well as a founding member of the Society for the Catholic Liturgy.

Though Fr. Aquila has regularly taken part in pro-life Marches and Masses over the last 25 years of his priesthood, his greatest pro-life passion is reserved for the pulpit.

"I try to preach as much as I can about the Culture of Life," he says, " and the vast majority of people I have spoken to have given me very strong support. I try to give a lot of encouragement to the women in the pews who might be suffering from abortion; I urge them to come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that they can experience healing. I also speak often about Project Rachel in my homilies.

"It’s so important to give praise to these women and men who need healing," Fr. Aquila says. "We need a tremendous amount of openness in our communication with them. They have to be told that the Church is not going to be throwing stones at them; that there are all sorts of doors open to them to coming back to full communion with the Church. What we need most is compassion --- With the truth."

As Rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Fr. Aquila actively encourages the students to support the pro-life movement. But his most important duty, he says, is to help the men understand and recognize the profound influence their pro-life preaching can have on the people in the pews.

"I tell them all the time that they need to speak with courage and boldness about this issue," he says. "The people are hungry for that. If the people they are preaching to get upset, I remind them of Jesus’ statement in the Gospels, that his disciples have to be willing to take up their cross and expect persecution. In fact, that’s what the cross means today --- speaking the pro-life message."

Fr. Aquila encourages his brother priests around the nation to follow in the example of the Holy Father, John Paul II, and "Be not afraid."

"We’ve got to have the courage of Jesus Christ and the passion of Peter and Paul when we proclaim the Gospel of Life!"

Fr. Aquila can be reached at St. Joseph Vianney at: 1300 S. Steele Street, Denver, CO 80210; at (303) 282-3427; and by email at sjaquila@archden.org

 

  

Rescuer of Elian Gonzalez Speaks Up for Life

One of the newest advocates of saving the unborn is the man who saved Elian Gonzalez from the Atlantic Ocean. Recently interviewed by Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, Donato Dalrymple recounted how God used him to "pluck little Elian out of the water," and how God used Elian to bring him to a deeper spiritual life.

Donato was fishing with his cousin when he noticed an inner tube floating on the water, with what looked like a person hanging onto it. The boat moved on in a different direction, but Donato's conscience would not let him rest until he and his cousin went back to take another look at the tube, and found Elian.

"It was actually Elian who saved me," Donato says, "because I was out on the seas in my own life, and the rescue of Elian brought me back to a closer walk with God. God taught me that he could still use me to do some good."

It was Donato who was holding Elian in the famous news photo of a gun-brandishing US federal agent sent to physically remove the boy. The raid took place on April 22, 2000.

Recently spending time on a pro-life retreat offered by Priests for Life, Donato reflected on how followers of Christ are called to save the lives of their brothers and sisters. "The most vulnerable of all are the unborn," he said. "Just like I could not rightly ignore that boy in the inner tube, so none of us can ignore our brothers and sisters in danger of abortion. We all need to speak up for them and try to save them."

 

 

Gearing up for September!

Looking ahead to the opening of school let's not forget to educate our youth about the abortion issue. After all, it is their generation that is being destroyed by abortion on a daily basis. Priests for Life has some great resources for teachers, parents and children:

Speaking to Children About Abortion (brochure)

Teaching Children About Abortion (audio)

Challenge To Youth, Be Chaste Defend Life (audio)

Madonna of the Streets Bookmark (contains Crisis Pregnancy hot-line numbers)

To order these items email: orders@priestsforlife.org or call (888) PFL-3448, ext 237. You may also fax your order to us at 718-980-3900, or send it by mail to "Orders Department, Priests for Life, P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314"

 

 

Words of Encouragement from our Shepherds

"You can be confident that many priests will find the materials produced by Priests for Life to be useful tools for enriching their pro-life work in our parishes, schools and other ministries."

Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Archbishop of New York

"It takes great courage to confront the culture of death, and the work of Priests for Life has been a special blessing for priests across our nation. I know that priests speak out more boldly because of the courage you give them."

Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of Sioux Falls, SD

"Priests for Life instills courage in priests to proclaim vigorously the culture of life, while at the same time holding fast to their priestly instinctive compassion for all involved in abortion and euthanasia. The effectiveness of Priests for Life is demonstrated in the astonishing growth of the organization….Additionally, Priests for Life has the unique ability to provide connections among interfaith and secular pro-life movements."

Most Rev. Francis A. Quinn, Bishop Emeritus, Sacramento, CA

 

 

Bulletin Insert

*Two of the top 10 finalists of the Miss America Pageant in 1999 were Miss Connecticut, Sylvia Gomes, and Miss Wisconsin, Mary Louise Kurey. Both of them are outspoken advocates of the right to life and of the virtue of chastity. They believe that young people can say yes to what is right and good, and that the time is now to recognize abortion as something that destroys the future for all of us.

 

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