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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 6
November- December 2003

 

Yes, it's legal to do voter registration!

Primaries

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 Spanish

Prayer Intentions

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 www.priestsforlife.org/vote.

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.

 

Primaries

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 general election.

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 Sign

Dear Father,

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 Peace, we

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.

______________________________________ __________________________

Signed Date

______________________________________ __________________________

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 718-980-3900; 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 Señor…

Navidad
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…

 

Prayer Intentions

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 be protected.

December intention: That God may give eternal rest to the women who died from abortion.

 

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 anything second-rate."

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 Evangelization."

"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 America.

"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 editor@ncregister.com The website address of the newspaper is: www.ncregister.com.

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.

 

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