Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 5
September - October 2001
Pastoral Notes: Making Connections: A way to raise
awareness of the harm of Abortion
Words from our Shepherds
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
* 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
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
-- Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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.)