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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 3
May-June 2003


Catholic Parishes to Pray for Closing of Abortuaries
More on the Doctrinal Note from the Vatican
Priest Profile- Msgr. Edward J. Kavanagh
Prayer Intentions
From the Abortion Providers…
For your parish bulletin
Bulletin inserts in Spanish
Spanish petitions for Easter Season
Calling all Priests
Free speech for Churches


Catholic Parishes to Pray for Closing of Abortuaries

There are only about 700 abortion mills left in the United States, and Priests for Life has now matched them up with the approximately 17,000 Catholic parishes on our database. The mission for each parish: pray for the closing of that mill.

Priests for Life has prepared a special prayer that can be recited publicly and privately in the parishes for this purpose (see below). We also urge the priests, deacons, catechists, and other pastoral ministers to come up with creative ways to assist their people to pray for this intention.

Taking the step of matching the parishes to the mills makes our prayer to end abortion much more concrete and specific. It drives home the point that the killing of children is taking place in specific places, at specifically scheduled times. In some cases, these places are within one's own parish boundaries -- an important fact, given the pastoral responsibility that priests and bishops have for all those within their parish or diocese.

Parishes will be able to find out what abortion mill has been matched to them by visiting our website, They will also be informed of the good news of the closing of those mills. Our Lord told us that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. It is the Church that takes the initiative, storming the gates of sin with the power of grace, the gates of falsehood with the power of truth, and the gates of death with the power of life. And the gates will not stand.

Prayer for the closing of the abortion mill:

Father, all life is in Your care.
You have entrusted us to one another,
that we may show our brothers and sisters
the same love You have for us.
We pray, then, for the least among us,
the children in the womb.
Protect them from the violence of abortion.
We pray for those that are scheduled to die at (Name the abortion mill assigned to you).
Save them from death.
Give new hope to their parents,
that they may turn away from the desperate act of abortion.
Grant conversion to the abortionist and to the staff.
Show us how we are to respond to the bloodshed in our midst,
And lead us to the day when this place of death
Will be transformed into a haven of life.
Guard us with your joy and your peace,
For in You, life is victorious.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

More on the Doctrinal Note from the Vatican

We continue here our commentary on the "Doctrinal Note On some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life," issued on November 21, 2002 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document states, "On the level of concrete political action, there can generally be a plurality of political parties in which Catholics may exercise – especially through legislative assemblies – their right and duty to contribute to the public life of their country. This arises because of the contingent nature of certain choices regarding the ordering of society, the variety of strategies available for accomplishing or guaranteeing the same fundamental value, the possibility of different interpretations of the basic principles of political theory, and the technical complexity of many political problems. It should not be confused, however, with an ambiguous pluralism in the choice of moral principles or essential values. The legitimate plurality of temporal options is at the origin of the commitment of Catholics to politics and relates directly to Christian moral and social teaching. It is in the light of this teaching that lay Catholics must assess their participation in political life so as to be sure that it is marked by a coherent responsibility for temporal reality."

In this paragraph, the Doctrinal Note makes a distinction between two things that are often confused: essential values and the variety of strategies that can be pursued to safeguard them. People with different political loyalties may fully agree on the value of feeding the poor, but have sharp disagreements about what particular strategy will accomplish that. Christian teaching permits the disagreement about the strategy, but it does not permit one to deny that the poor have a claim on our attention and our concrete efforts to assist them.

Let's pursue this line of thought a bit further. If a candidate or a party came along and claimed that the poor are not human beings and that they should be ignored, then one can say that such a position contradicts Christian teaching. But once one acknowledges responsibility toward the poor, the further question of how best to exercise that responsibility is a question of application rather than of principle, and one application over another cannot claim the same level of authoritative backing as the principle itself.

Moreover, even in the realm of principles and values, some are more fundamental than others. People have many rights. Some rights entitle them to goods which are means to an end. Property is an example. Other rights entitle them to goods which are ends in themselves, goods without which one cannot even be a person. These are called fundamental rights, and include, for example, the right to life and the right to commune with God.

The Vatican's Doctrinal Note calls for freedom in debating policies concerning how to preserve our rights. It also points out that policies which reject our fundamental rights may not be supported. The document states, "When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person. This is the case with laws concerning abortion and euthanasia…"

The public official who supports such destructive policies does not only contradict the Christian Faith, but also the very purpose for which his/her public office exists.

Priest Profile- Msgr. Edward J. Kavanagh

By Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director

In what many pro-lifers around the country are hoping will become a trend, Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento, California, called upon Gray Davis, the pro-abortion Catholic governor of the state, to stop receiving communion until he changes his position on abortion.

"Anyone-- politician or otherwise-- who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error," said Bishop Weigand, "and puts his or her soul at risk and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity…to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart."

The Bishop's forceful comments have caused a stir in the pro-life community, as well as in the secular media. They have placed him at the forefront of a growing movement -- long championed by Fr. Pavone and Priests for Life -- to hold Catholic politicians accountable for their stance on abortion.

The remarks were initially made by the bishop in order to defend one of his priests-- Msgr. Edward J. Kavanagh, pastor of St. Rose Parish in Sacramento and director of St. Patrick's Home for Children. Msgr. Kavanagh, a priest-member of Priests for Life, barred Governor Davis from setting foot in St. Patrick's Home back in December, when the governor asked to distribute Christmas gifts there.

"The governor has to repent first," said Msgr. Kavanagh, "and then I will allow him on this property."

Msgr. Kavanagh was born in 1925 in County Kilkenny in Ireland. He was ordained on June 6th, 1948 at St. Mary's Cathedral, and in December of that year was sent to the diocese of Sacramento and St. Rose's Parish, where he has been for the past 54 years!

Msgr. has been active in the pro-life movement since the 1960s. His work with orphans and poor children at St. Patrick's Home has made him even more sensitive to the plight of the most innocent victims of society-- the unborn. When Governor Davis asked to come to the Home in what amounted to a "slick publicity stunt," Msgr. Kavanagh immediately recognized the hypocrisy.

"Pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic are using the Church. We can't let them get away with that. The Church is not something to be used when it suits them.

"We in the clergy have got to stand up and be counted!" he emphatically continued. "We've got absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Our bishops will defend us. The sooner we priests stand up for the sanctity of life, the sooner abortion will be outlawed."

"It's important that we in the clergy affirm each other," said Msgr. Kavanagh. "I want to get Fr. Pavone out here to California to give a retreat for the priests of the diocese. Fr. Pavone is a great man, and we've all got to be on the same page when it comes to abortion. We've all got to work together to end this tragedy."

Bishop Weigand was quick to praise Msgr. Kavanagh for his actions. "Thank you, Msgr., for standing up for the unborn," he said, soon after the governor was barred from St. Patrick's. "Thank you for your dedication to the truth and for your pastoral concern for souls-- including the governor's."

We at Priests for Life applaud Msgr. Kavanagh and Bishop Weigand. These two pro-life heroes have demonstrated by their boldness and their fidelity to Church teaching that the Catholic Church does has the power to lead the pro-life movement to victory in this country! What we need more than anything else is for priests to have the courage to do what is right, and for bishops to have the strength to stand behind them.

Fr. Kavanagh can be reached at St. Rose Parish, 5961 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento, CA, 95824; (916) 421-1414.

Prayer Intentions

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

May intention: That people may have a greater awareness of the dangers of abortion.

June intention: For the success of efforts to represent the pro-life message in the secular media.

From the Abortion Providers…

Following is part of a description of the procedure that has come to be known as "partial birth abortion." You can find illustrations of it at

"…the surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening. The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents." -- Dr. Martin Haskell, "Dilation and Extraction for Late Second Trimester Abortion, Presented at the National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar, September 13, 1992, Dallas, Texas.

For your parish bulletin

If you enjoy the writings of Priests for Life, and think they can help your congregation, why not get them all, organized and laid out in camera-ready style…ideal for bulletin inserts, photocopying for study groups, or just personal reading…Order Life and Choice, Volumes 1 and 2, collections of Fr. Frank Pavone's columns on pro-life topics. Each column is 500 words in length, and eminently readable. We have a limited supply of these booklets, and they are quite popular, so please order them as soon as possible. Call 321-500-1000, ext. 237, email, or write to Priests for Life Orders Department, PO Box 236695, Cocoa, FL 32923.

Bulletin inserts in Spanish:

De acuerdo al sitio Web del Instituto Alan Guttmacher, 43% de las mujeres habrán cometido por lo menos un aborto antes de alcanzar la edad de 45 años. Esto significa definitivamente muchos abortos y mucho dolor. Las mujeres que sufren de los efectos post-abortivos y buscan consejería, pueden llamar al Centro Nacional de Reconciliación y Sanación post-aborto al 1-800-5-WE-CARE.

Algunos que defienden el derecho del aborto dicen que uno es "verdaderamente humano" solo cuando uno es capaz de razonar, decidir, y ser creativo. Sin embargo, un libro de cómo hacer abortos, contiene la siguiente cita: "Seguramente los embriones y los fetos no pueden hacer ninguna de éstas cosas. De hecho, tampoco los recién nacidos, he ahí el debate. Supuestamente, sería igualmente aceptable destruir tanto a los recién nacidos como a los fetos, ya que ambos están en la misma condición pre-humana". (Abortos de Segundo Trimestre: Perspectivas después de una década de experiencia, Berger et al., eds, P. 215)

Spanish petitions for Easter Season:

Domingo de Ramos

Que la muerte redentora de Jesús restaure en nosotros un profundo amor y respeto por la vida humana, por la que El mismo sacrificó su propia vida, roguemos al Señor...

Jueves Santo

Que nuestra gratitud por el regalo de la Eucaristía en esta noche, fortalezca nuestra solidaridad con los pobres que peligran por morir de hambre, los abandonados que peligran con la desesperación, y los no nacidos que peligran por el aborto, roguemos al Señor...

Vigilia Pascual

Que la luz de Cristo Resucitado siempre brille sobre los pobres, los enfermos, los oprimidos, y los no nacidos, roguemos al Señor...

Domingo de Resurrección

Que Jesús, quien conquistó el poder de la muerte, conceda a nuestra sociedad la firmeza para eliminar los males como el aborto, el suicidio asistido, y la pena capital, roguemos al Señor...

Reminder: The bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities calls for pro-life petitions at every Mass. You will find intercessions tailored for each Sunday of the year at

Calling All Priests

If you have not already signed the commitment pledge to preach on political responsibility, please do so and send it to us. The text is at

Free speech for Churches

The "Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act" (HR 235), a bill being introduced in Congress, would protect our freedom to determine the content of our preaching and teaching without fearing that we will lose our tax exempt status by doing so. It revises the IRS code accordingly. Since we are preachers of the Word of God, we have to have sovereign freedom in the pulpit. This proposed legislation is worth your attention. For more information, see


Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •