Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 13, Number 6
November- December 2003
Yes, it's legal to do voter registration!
Fostering Faithful Citizenship:
Statement for Priests to Sign
Rachel, Weep No More
Pro-life TV Shows
Priests for Life to Prepare General
Intercessions for Entire Liturgical Cycle
Intercessions for Advent in
From the Abortion Providers
A Travel Guide to Heaven
Priest Profile- Fr. Owen Kearns, LC
Yes, it's legal to do voter registration!
Our national voter registration effort is well underway, and hundreds of
Churches of all denominations have begun to implement this very simple process
to enable their people to vote. The project is carried out by having voter
registration forms available at a table at the back of church, and inviting
those who are not registered (or who are not sure if they are registered) to
fill out the form before they leave. Full details on how to do this are at
If you have legal concerns, we can connect you with attorneys who can
answer your questions. For starters, non-partisan voter registration drives
are perfectly legal for Churches to carry out.
The Office of the General Counsel for the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops says the following: "Both IRS and the Federal Election
Commission [11 C.F.R. §114.4(d)] permit Catholic organizations to sponsor voter
registration and get-out-the-vote drives, provided that no bias for or against
any candidate, political party, or voting position is evidenced. Such bias would
be indicated by distribution of partisan literature or materials indicating the
organization's positions in connection with the voter registration or
get-out-the-vote drives, by targeting registration or get-out-the-vote drives
toward individuals who support the organization's positions or a particular
candidate or party, by coordinating with candidates or their committees, etc.
Thus, voter registration or get-out-the vote efforts should not be conducted (1)
in cooperation with any political campaign, (2) according to the identity of the
candidates, (3) based upon a candidate's or party's agreement or disagreement
with the sponsoring organization's positions, or (4) in a manner targeting
members of a particular party. Targeting voter registration drives at
historically disadvantaged groups, whether based on economic status, race,
gender or language, generally should not be objectionable" ("Political Activity
Guidelines for Catholic Organizations," February 29, 2000).
The guidelines of the Internal Revenue Service indicate the following:
"…[A]ctivities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral
process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not
constitute prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan
manner" (Internal Revenue Service, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious
Organizations, July 2002).
It is our observation that much good fails to get done because of vague
hesitations and fears in the legal arena. For this reason, Priests for Life and
the Ave Maria School of Law sponsored, on June 17, 2003, a symposium for
attorneys and clergy entitled, The Church and Politics: Are We As Restricted
As We Think? National experts on this topic addressed the gathering. The
papers from the symposium can be read on our website at
www.priestsforlife.org/elections, and you can contact our orders department
(888-PFL-3448, ext. 237) for information on audio and video from the conference.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Too often, voters have little time to pay attention to politics. Although
they may be somewhat informed, they often oversimplify an election by putting
candidates into two categories, "good guys" and "bad guys".
Then, on Election Day, the "good guy" they would like to vote for may be
nowhere to be found. All the choices, they feel, are unsatisfactory. "Where did
these characters come from?" they may ask. "Can't we find anyone better?"
The answer is closer to home than we think.
One of the great things about our American system is that voters not only
select which candidates get elected to public office, but also which of those
who want to be candidates actually end up on the ballot. In other words, we get
to create the choices we will have on Election Day.
That's what primaries are all about.
Primaries are elections that take place before the general
Election Day. The dates of primaries differ in each state. (To find out the
dates of primary races in your state, visit the website
www.nass.org/Issues/04primaries.html.) Unfortunately, voter turnout for
primaries is usually less than 20%. What that means, of course, is that your
vote in primary elections carries even more weight, proportionally, than in the
In the primary, you are choosing who is going to be the candidate for a
particular party on Election Day. In some states, you have to be registered in
the party in whose primary you want to participate. In other states, you can
vote in the primary of a party in which you are not registered.
When you vote in a primary, you have a wider range of choices, and are
therefore more likely to find a candidate with whom you agree on more issues.
Remember, just because a person runs for a particular party, that does not mean
he or she agrees with everything the party stands for. People associate
themselves with parties for different reasons. In a primary, you get to help a
person become a party's candidate for the reasons that you agree with.
In the Hawaii Gubernatorial campaign in 2002, the only pro-life candidate in
either party was defeated in a primary, leaving general election voters with a
choice between two pro-abortion candidates. That's one example of why voters
need to get to the polls on primary day.
When a candidate does well in a primary, furthermore, it builds momentum for
his or her campaign. Donors take notice, and so does the media. Voters will also
be more encouraged to vote for the candidates that seem to have more support.
Our bishops have outlined our political responsibilities in their 1998
document Living the Gospel of Life. We're not supposed to sit back and
lament what our public officials do or don't do. We're supposed to get out there
and elect those who will do the job we want done. Let's not just settle for the
choices we're given on Election Day. Let's help create those choices
in the primaries!
Fostering Faithful Citizenship: Statement for Priests to
Many priests have signed the statement below. If you have not yet done so,
however, we publish it here again to give you the opportunity. The statement
will be used in a non-partisan way on our website and sent to media outlets
nationwide to express our common commitment to life.
You may mail it back to us or fax it to us at 413-803-0092. (Note: If you did
sign this but were unable to get through on our other fax lines because they
were busy, try this number.) God bless you!
-- Fr. Frank Pavone and Staff
"As Catholic priests, ordained to preach the Gospel of Life, Justice, and
a) affirm, in union with our bishops, that all citizens, particularly
Catholics, should exercise their duty to vote and should "embrace their
citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity
meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life" (US Bishops,
1998, Living the Gospel of Life, n. 34);
b) embrace a consistent ethic of life, which asserts that all life issues are
linked and important, and which acknowledges that "among important issues
involving the dignity of human life with which the Church is concerned, abortion
necessarily plays a central role" (US Bishops, 2001, Pastoral Plan for Pro-life
Activities, A Campaign in Support of Life); and
c) echo our bishops' teaching that "No public official, especially one
claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or
actively support direct attacks on innocent human life" (US Bishops, 1998,
Living the Gospel of Life, n. 32).
We are confident that the Lord of Life and Peace, who has conquered the power
of death, offers His people the grace necessary to build a Culture of Life.
Parish City, State
Rachel, Weep No More
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Dr.
Bryan Thatcher, MD, the founder and director of Eucharistic Apostles of the
Divine Mercy, have co-authored a booklet called "Rachel, Weep No More: How
Divine Mercy Heals the Effects of Abortion." The booklet combines an
understanding of the wounds of abortion with an appreciation of the fountain of
grace and mercy available in the Church and her sacraments. It is a booklet
you may want to give the person you know who has had an abortion. It is also
very fitting for parish bookracks. Suggested donation: $3.25. Order from Priests
for Life Orders Department, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Phone
888-PFL-3448, ext. 237; Fax 718-980-3853; Email Orders@priestsforlife.org
Pro-life TV Shows
Please announce to your parishioners that Fr. Frank Pavone's TV series
"Defending Life" airs on EWTN every Tuesday at 5:30pm, Wednesday at 5am, and
Fridays at 10pm (all times Eastern).
Priests for Life to Prepare General Intercessions
for Entire Liturgical Cycle
Priests for Life provides suggested petitions for the General
Intercessions at Mass based on the readings for every Sunday of the year, for
all three cycles, in English and Spanish. These can be found at
www.priestsforlife.org/prayers, and will be compiled in a small booklet (call
our office at 888-PFL-3448, ext. 237).
We have decided to begin a new project, and that is to prepare the entire
set of intercessions for every Sunday. In this way, you will find it even
easier to incorporate our suggested prayers for a culture of life. This effort
is conducted to fulfill the bishops' request in the Pastoral Plan for
Pro-life Activities (2001) which says, "Parishes should include in the
petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects
and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life"
(Section IV). Check out our website for these resources!
Intercessions for Advent in Spanish
Primer Domingo de Adviento, Ciclo C
Que el obsequio de la justicia transforme nuestra tierra, asegurando las
vidas de los pobres, los vulnerables, y los no nacidos, te lo pedimos Señor…
Segundo Domingo de Adviento, Ciclo C
Que la Iglesia pueda efectivamente ayudar a arrepentirse y sanar a los
que han cometido el pecado del aborto, te lo pedimos Señor…
Tercer Domingo de Adviento, Ciclo C
Que las parejas puedan vivir el gozo que viene con cada nueva vida, y
que en el gozo encuentren la fuerza para vencer las dificultades que enfrentan,
te lo pedimos Señor…
Cuarto Domingo de Adviento, Ciclo C
Que así como María ayudó a Isabel, que también nosotros ayudemos a las
embarazadas y les ayudemos a cuidar a sus niños aún no nacidos, te lo pedimos
Que el Nacimiento del Niño Jesús nos ayude a reforzar nuestra
determinación de acoger, cuidar y proteger la vida de cada niño, nacido y no
nacido, te lo pedimos Señor…
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the
Liturgy of the Hours:
November intention: That the children who are now scheduled to be aborted may
December intention: That God may give eternal rest to the women who died from
From the Abortion Providers…
"For first trimester abortions…the fetus can come through the suction tube
either intact or dismembered. While dismembered parts of the fetus are suctioned
out of the uterus, part of the fetus remains in utero and may be 'alive,'
which the experts define as having a heartbeat…At the end of the first trimester
and thereafter…[t]he fetus is usually removed in parts…" (Illinois: The Hope
Clinic v. Ryan, N.D. III., 995 F.Supp. 847).
A Travel Guide to Heaven
Priests for Life’s Executive Director, Anthony DeStefano, has written
a wonderful new book called A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN, which is being
published by Doubleday Books in the United States, and by a host of other major
publishers throughout the world. Congratulations, Anthony!
Priest Profile- Fr. Owen Kearns, LC
By Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director
Fr. Owen Kearns, a Legionary of Christ, was born in Dublin, Ireland. He
studied classical humanities in Salamanca, Spain, philosophy at the Gregorian
University, in Rome, and theology at the Angelicum University in Rome, as well.
Ordained in 1983, he has taught classical humanities and philosophy, and was a
vocation director for 16 years. He regularly conducts retreats for the clergy.
An extremely popular speaker, he is the co-host of the acclaimed television
program, "The Two Shall Be One," on the sacrament of marriage, which debuted on
EWTN in 2000.
For six years, Fr. Kearns has been the publisher of the NATIONAL CATHOLIC
REGISTER, an award-winning weekly newspaper, as well as the bi-monthly magazine
for parents, FAITH & FAMILY.
When Fr. Kearns was first appointed publisher of the REGISTER, the newspaper
was experiencing serious financial difficulties. Fr. Kearns began by totally
revamping the look and content of the paper, with the goal of making it
something Catholics could be proud of. "I believe that as a newspaper, we are
obligated to be as appealing, attractive and powerful as possible," says Fr.
Kearns. "As Catholics, we possess the fullness of truth- we shouldn’t put out
To say that Fr. Kearns has been successful would be an understatement. Since
he took over as publisher, the circulation of both periodicals has quadrupled!
More than just a brilliant publisher, however, Fr. Kearns is also a great
defender of the Faith- and a great champion of the pro-life movement. When he
became publisher in 1997, he promptly introduced an important new feature to the
newspaper: he directed that the entire back page be devoted solely to promoting
the Culture of Life! "I wanted to provide a forum where we could honor pro-life
heroes," he says, "so that they can better see their work as part of the New
"People are so hungry for the REGISTER today," Fr. Kearns continues. "The
reason is because we’re not afraid to risk challenging the culture. We want to
equip and inspire our readers to build up and support the pro-life movement in
"Our mission is to be the most reliable and in-depth source of information
for the Catholic community. And even more than that- we aim to be a force to be
reckoned with by the secular media."
We at Priests for Life have no doubt that Fr. Kearns will more than achieve
his objectives. We thank him for his integrity as a journalist and for his
fearlessness as a pro life leader.
To contact Fr. Kearns or for more information about subscribing to the
REGISTER, you can write to: The NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, 432 Washington
Avenue, North Haven, CT, 06473. Fr. Kearns can be emailed at
email@example.com The website address of the newspaper is:
You can sponsor this newsletter for the priests in your state,
diocese…contact Jerry at 540-785-4733 or write to Gifts Department, Priests for
Life, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314.