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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 5
September - October 2001

 

Articles

Bulletin Inserts

Pastoral Notes: Making Connections: A way to raise awareness of the harm of Abortion

Words from our Shepherds

Prayer Intentions

Words from other leaders

Words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Priests for Life Headquarters dedicated

Contraception and the Culture of Life: The Natural Family Planning Outreach Office

 

Bulletin Inserts

* Donato Dalrymple is the man who rescued Elian Gonzalez from the Atlantic Ocean. He now speaks up for the right to life. "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."

*Lisa is a young woman who has had nine abortions. She has sought and found forgiveness through the post-abortion healing ministry of the Church. On the road to healing, she has noticed that her own mind wants to forget the abortions. Yet she has also realized that to be healed, she has to face each one of them, and acknowledge the reality of each and every one of her children. She has done so, and now tells the Lord Jesus to take good care of them in the playground of heaven, to tell them she is sorry, and that she can't wait to see them some day.

 

Pastoral Notes: Making Connections: A way to raise awareness of the harm of Abortion

-- Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director

A key aspect of the healing of a woman who has had an abortion is for her to realize the connection between the abortion and other problems that have arisen, or have become worse, since her abortion. By understanding how the abortion is the cause of so many other problems, she can make more sense of her situation, and proceed along the path of healing. To fail to see this connection, however, is to continue the harmful process of denial, thanks to which the abortion can be isolated in a comfortable corner of the mind, and be considered as disconnected from her other concerns.

If this is true for an individual, it is also true for our entire society. There are connections between abortion and the other societal evils we deal with. To fail to see those connections allows people who regard abortion as evil to regard it as a purely private evil that does not require their attention. At the same time, it allows those who justify abortion to continue to justify it without too much mental consternation.

The challenge for us in the pulpit is not so much to convince our congregation that abortion is wrong as to convince them that it is any of their business. For some, the only way to appreciate that they have a duty to step in and actually try to stop someone else's abortion is to be made to appreciate that more is at stake than that person's abortion. Not only does the abortion take a life (a fact that, for some people, is still not enough to spur them to action), but it contributes to problems that they may have never thought as having a connection with abortion.

One of the many connected issues is violence among young people. Dr. Philip Ney, for example, has researched the psychological impact of the prevalence of abortion upon those who survive it. The sense of security, of the value of oneself, and of the intrinsic worth of one's life, is destroyed by the awareness that one could have been aborted. Our young people today, directly insulted by the assertion of Roe vs. Wade that "the word person…does not include the unborn," are being taught to see themselves -- and hence their classmates -- as disposable. Then we wonder why they shoot one another. Children will not stop killing children until parents stop killing children. And that will not happen until we start showing parents the connections.

 

Words from our Shepherds

"Thank you for the excellent publication Preaching on Abortion…The balanced and pastoral approach you bring to this topic is deeply appreciated and can be of great help to all of us priests in our efforts to proclaim the Gospel of Life and to speak out on the evil of abortion."

-- Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Coadjutor Bishop of Wichita

"The video Priests for Life: a Global Mission is a professionally produced product that explains the mission of this important group in clear and compelling terms. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will now have an additional outstanding tool that can be used by our local Priests for Life chapter in order to accomplish the overall goal of building a culture of life."

-- Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia

 

Prayer Intentions

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

September intention: For the continued growth of post-abortion ministries.

October intention: That Respect Life month may invigorate the pro-life efforts of all parishes and institutions.

 

Words from other leaders

"Many thanks again for your brilliant presentation on contraception at the breakfast-meeting organized by the Catholic men’s group of the World Bank-IMF. You captured the audience with your intelligence, persuasiveness, and clarity of concepts and words." -- Maurizio Ragazzi

"Thank you, my brother Priests for your courage and perseverance! I find your website most helpful in getting out the Gospel of Life. I especially like your bulletin inserts." -- Fr. Bill Kuchinsky

 

Words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God…Man is more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering. Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such….And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody."

-- from a Christmas Sermon on Peace, first delivered by Dr. King at Ebenezer Baptist Church and aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Christmas Eve, 1967.

 

Priests for Life Headquarters dedicated

Archbishop Renato R. Martino, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, presided on June 20 at a ceremony for the blessing of the John Cardinal O'Connor International Headquarters of Priests for Life on Staten Island. Among those attending were Msgr. Peter G. Finn, co-regional coordinator of Staten Island and pastor of St. Joseph-St. Thomas parish; Msgr. Thomas J. Gaffney, pastor of St. Charles parish, where the headquarters is located, and state Assemblyman Robert A. Straniere, R-Staten Island.

Priests for Life staff members read from the New Testament and excerpts from Pope John Paul II's encyclical "The Gospel of Life" and a 1984 speech by Cardinal O'Connor titled "Human Lives, Human Rights."

Archbishop Martino delivered the following address:

REMARKS OF

HIS EXCELLENCY ARCHBISHOP RENATO R. MARTINO

Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See

to the United Nations

at the Blessing and Dedication of the John Cardinal O'Connor

International Headquarters of Priests for Life

20 June 2001

Staten Island, New York

Dear Friends,

Believe me when I tell you that your work makes a difference in the international arena, where respect for human life in all its stages is threatened on a daily basis.

As we bless and dedicate the International Headquarters of Priests for Life, I wish to congratulate Father Frank Pavone, and indeed his entire staff, who devote so much of their time and energy to strengthening the Catholic witness to life in the world. Each of you here is committed to the cause of life, and I am personally very proud to be able to share in the blessing of this new facility which will serve the mission of Priests for Life.

The education of people of all ages, races, and creeds on the inestimable value of human life from conception to natural death is, I believe, one of the most critical needs of the human family today. In my capacity as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, I witness that need every day. As you know, the Holy See is proudly pro-life, but in defending life, my collaborators and I must often endure the insults of those who have given themselves to politically correct language, and even contempt for the truths about the human person that we are bound to uphold in the international arena. Indeed, life is a splendid and beautiful gift. All life has meaning. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of its precious value, And so, we must press onward, never wavering in our personal and corporate witness to life, which comes from our Creator.

We must do so, however, always striving for that consistent ethic of life which the Church teaches. Our voice must be heard not only in the fight against abortion, but in the fight against euthanasia and capital punishment as well. We can never condone the deliberate taking of a human life created in love by God and redeemed in Jesus Christ. Our striving for consistency in this regard is critical for the integrity of your message and the effectiveness of your mission. God bless you.

 

Contraception and the Culture of Life: The Natural Family Planning Outreach Office

Rev. Richard M. Hogan

The pro-life movement is more and more aware of the widespread tentacles of the culture of death. While the killing of the unborn is arguably the most horrendous evil promoted by the culture of death because of the numbers and innocence of those who die, there are other evils which need to be addressed and overcome before victory can be declared, e.g., euthanasia, cloning, in vitro fertilization. However, one of the most pernicious and dangerous of these other evils is contraception if only because of its widespread acceptance and use even among Catholics.

The Natural Family Planning (NFP) Outreach Office, founded by the Reverend Daniel McCaffrey in 1996 with the approval and the encouragement of Archbishop Eusebius Beltran of Oklahoma City, exists to promote the good news of Natural Family Planning to the whole world through both the spoken and written word. Through speaking engagements in parishes and through their writings, Fathers Daniel McCaffrey and Richard Hogan explain the harmful effects of contraception on individuals and marriages.  The Natural Family Planning office works in conjunction with physicians and NFP professionals to promote a safe, effective, and morally praiseworthy means for couples to achieve a pregnancy or to space their children.

The teaching of the Church regarding the spacing of children is often misunderstood. Many, many people both inside and outside of the Church believe the Church opposes any and all means of planning a family. Nothing could be further from the truth. The question is not whether couples should make decisions on the number and spacing of the children, the question is, How? NFP offers couples a stunning and modern method of choosing when to conceive their children. It gives couples of our era the means of knowing the very moment of their child’s conception. Who would not want to use such knowledge?

In promoting the Church’s teaching for NFP and against all means of contraception, Fathers Daniel McCaffrey and Richard Hogan employ the teachings of the Church found in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, On Human Life, of 1968 as well as the new, rich and very moving approaches found in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Family. Realizing that many Catholics have not been taught the reasons why the Church regards contraception as an evil, the priests of the NFP Outreach Office present the Church’s position with an awareness that many have developed practices contrary to the Church’s position. Fathers McCaffrey and Hogan employ a very "soft" sell, often mentioning that the laity have not heard the evils of contraception presented from the pulpit because the teaching of Pope Paul VI was rejected by many even before it was studied and understood. (An ad appeared in the New York Times opposing the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, On Human Life, even before the text of the Pope’s teaching was available in English.) The presentations of the NFP Outreach Office have often resulted in couples exploring the possibilities of NFP.

The NFP Outreach Office offers parish weekends and parish missions. The parish weekend includes a homily at all the Sunday liturgies and a Sunday afternoon session with presentations by one of the priests, an NFP teaching couple, a physician and an NFP witness couple. A parish mission includes speaking at all the weekend Masses as well as three or four additional sessions to be scheduled on weekday evenings.  The subject matter concentrates on the Theology of the Body or the Catechism of the Catholic Church, into which is weaved the NFP message.

If the NFP Outreach Office can assist you or your parish, contact us at www.nfpoutreach.org or at 1-888-637-6383.

(Fr. Richard Hogan was the second priest to be given permission by his Ordinary to serve Priests for Life on a full-time basis, and did so from 1995-2000. He continues to accept speaking engagements for the organization.)

 

Priests for Life
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Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org