Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 15, Number 4
Fr. Mark Clarke, CMF joins Priests for Life for
As Priests for Life welcomes Fr. Mark Clarke CMF, we would like to take this
opportunity to introduce you to him. Fr. Mark is a Claretian Missionary, and has
been ordained a priest for just over two years. Throughout his formation, Fr.
Mark was very involved with respect life issues through study as well as
ministry, and has a burning desire to continue this ministry for life.
Fr. Mark's Masters Thesis focused on the U.S. bishops' treatment of the
abortion issue from 1990 through 2000. He focused not only on abortion in the
context of family, health care, justice and peace, and respect for life, but
also in relation to euthanasia and capital punishment.
"I view respect life ministry as very comprehensive -- to recognize the
inherent dignity of the human person and also the dignity of human sexuality,"
said Fr. Mark. "The focus of our work is not only on abortion, but also on
contraception and how that relates to the whole human person."
His ministry work has led him to forming a student respect life club with
students from Providence High School in San Antonio, Texas. The club's motto was
"Respect Life, Respect Yourself," and the students were taught the positive and
life-giving message of abstinence until marriage and the reality and
consequences of the culture of death related to abortion. The students
communicated this message to their peers through media, skits, art, and
involvement with pro-life activities. Fr. Mark also facilitated a parish respect
life program in Long Beach, California.
Of coming to work with Priests for Life, Fr. Mark "is excited and very
blessed to have this opportunity… to be with a very established and visible
organization." He is looking forward to learning as much as he can about the
pro-life movement as well as being able to preach and teach the message of the
Gospel of Life. Fr. Mark has desired to work with Priests for Life because he
recognizes his call to full-time respect life ministry.
To his fellow priests, Fr. Mark would like to offer the encouragement in
preaching the message of life. "Do not be afraid to communicate the truth and
beauty of this teaching," said Fr. Mark. "If in doubt, pray for the wisdom…of
the Holy Spirit."
Fr. Mark's complete biography is posted on our
web site. He will be based in Amarillo, Texas, and is available for speaking
Moral Guidance for End-of-Life Decisions
-- Fr. Frank Pavone
Following are some key concepts to keep in mind as you provide guidance to
others about end of life decisions.
Never to kill. The basic principle that we may not kill
the innocent is always in force. There is such a thing as a worthless treatment,
but there is no such thing as a worthless life. People always have to be given
humane care, such as nourishment and comfort care.
You've got to be there.
Questions about whether or not specific medical treatments are or are not
morally obligatory can usually be answered only when one has the input of
doctors who can give the medical details about the patient's condition, and
about the anticipated benefits and burdens of the proposed treatment. To say "I
don't want to be on a respirator" means one thing if it would only prolong
imminent death for months on end, and quite another if it would only be needed
for 48 hours after an accident, and one could be restored to normal health.
Resist the temptation to give an answer on the spot as to what medical
treatments should or should not be withheld.
"I wouldn't want to live like that." There are many people about
whom we can all say this -- and not just those who are ill. I wouldn't want to
live like the homeless, for example. But that does not give us permission to
kill, or even ignore, the homeless, nor does it give them permission to kill
A straw is "artificial." We all rely
on "artificial" things to sustain life and health every day. Many artificial
machines and processes went into getting the cans of vegetables into your
kitchen. The relevant moral distinction about what treatments are required is
not found in "artificial" vs. "natural," but rather in whether the treatment
will provide benefit without unreasonable burden.
The danger is not that we will be over-treated, but rather that we will be
under-treated. We already have the right to refuse medical treatment.
What we run the risk of losing is the right to receive the most basic humane
care — like food and water — in the event we have a disability. Our culture also
promotes the idea that as long as we say we want to die, we have the right to do
so. But we have a basic obligation to preserve our own life. A person who leaves
clear instructions that they don’t want to be fed is breaking the moral law by
You can't predict the future.
The reason you cannot indicate today what medical treatments you do or don't
want tomorrow is that you don't know what medical condition you will have
tomorrow, nor what treatments will be available to give you the help you need.
Living wills try to predict the future, and people can argue over the
interpretation of a piece of paper just as much as they argue about what they
claim someone said in private.
Will to Live, NOT Living Will. The better solution is to appoint
a health care proxy, who is authorized to speak for you if you are in a
condition in which you cannot speak for yourself. This should be a person who
knows your beliefs and values, and with whom you discuss these matters in
detail. In case you cannot speak for yourself, your proxy can ask all the
necessary questions of your doctors and clergy, and make an assessment when all
the details of your condition and medical needs are actually known. That's much
safer than predicting the future. Appointing a health care proxy in a way that
safeguards your right to life is easy. In fact, the National Right to Life
Committee has designed a "Will to Live," which can be found at
www.nrlc.org and which I
Send a message of comfort to Terri Schiavo's
Priests for Life maintains regular contact with
Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and her siblings, Bobby and Suzanne.
They are strong Christians with a beautiful, gentle spirit. If you wish to relay
a personal message to them, you can send it to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass it along to them myself.
Meanwhile, let us continue to commend Terri to the Lord, mindful of the equal
value of every life, no matter how prominent or obscure, healthy or sick.
Terri Schiavo and the Role of the Priest
-- Fr. Frank Pavone
As you may have seen in media reports, those who killed Terri were quite
angry that I said so. The night before she died, I said to the media that her
estranged husband Michael, his attorney Mr. Felos, and Judge Greer were
murderers. I also pointed out that contrary to Felos' description, Terri's death
was not at all peaceful and beautiful. It was, on the contrary, quite
horrifying. In my 16 years as a priest, I never saw anything like it before.
After I said these things, Mr. Felos and others
in sympathy with him began attacking me in the press and before the cameras.
Some news outlets began making a story out of their attacks and said I was
"fanning the flames" of enmity and hatred.
Actually, there's a simple reason why they are so angry with me. They had hoped
that they could present Terri's death as a merciful and gentle act. My words
took the veil of euphemism away, calling this a killing, and giving eyewitness
testimony to the fact that it was anything but gentle. Mr. Felos is a euthanasia
advocate, and like all such advocates, he needs to manipulate the language, to
sell death in an attractive package. Here he and his friends had a great
opportunity to do so. But a priest, seeing their work close-up and then telling
the world about it, just didn't fit into their plans.
One of the attacks they made was that a "spiritual person" like a priest should
be speaking words of compassion and understanding, instead of venom. I had, in
fact, reached out publicly with compassion to Michael Schiavo. But compassion
demands truth. A priest is also a prophet, and if he cannot cry out against
evil, then he cannot bring about reconciliation. If there is going to be any
healing between these families or in this nation, it must start with repentance
on the part of those who murdered Terri and now try to cover it up with flowery
Give us your views through our ONLINE POLL!
On our home page, www.priestsforlife.org, we
conduct an ongoing online poll. Each month, a different question is
posted, and you are invited to answer that one question with a "Yes" or "No"
response. It is very simple to do, and it enables us to get a sense of what our
web visitors think on a variety of topics related to the pro-life movement.
Please be sure to give us your opinion, and invite the other members of
your pro-life group to do the same!
Can you make a gift to enable us to send this newsletter to every priest
in your diocese? Call Jerry at (718) 980-4400
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the
Liturgy of the Hours:
July intention: For the advance of pro-life policies at the United Nations
August intention: That God may give eternal rest to the women who died from
Please help promote our Television and Radio
Tune in to see 13 new, powerful and informative
Defending Life shows!
The 10th Season on EWTN has begun!
Friday, 10 pm and Saturday, 2 AM (all times Eastern).
Visit www.ewtn.com for
Listen to Defending Life on the web at
www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/intro.asp. Search on "pavone."
Tune into Gospel of Life on the "Angel One" channel on the Sky Angel
Satellite System (www.skyangel.com)
- Monday at 3:30am, Tuesday at 2am, Thursday at 8:30am and Saturday at 7:30pm
(all times Eastern).
And on Catholic Familyland (www.familyland.tv)
(Sky Angel Channel 9717)
-- Sundays at 1:00am, Mondays at 9:00am
Thursday at 11:30pm (all times Eastern). For more info visit
Listen to Gospel of Life episodes on the web at
Want to ask your question on the air? Call 888-735-3448, ext. 301 and
leave your message any time.
Hear Fr. Frank's daily radio spots, as heard on EWTN Global Catholic
Radio, and on the Bott Radio Network, by clicking on
Please pass this information along to your friends and Pastors!
Priests for Life Advisory Board of Bishops
His Eminence Alfonso Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
His Eminence Renato Cardinal Martino
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput OFM Cap.
Archbishop of Denver
Most Rev. Edwin F. O'Brien
Archbishop of Military Services
Most Rev. John J. Myers
Archbishop of Newark
Most Rev. John F. Donoghue
Archbishop Emeritus of Atlanta
Most Rev. John W. Yanta
Bishop of Amarillo
Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. Ronald M. Gilmore
Bishop of Dodge City
Most Rev. Sam G. Jacobs
Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux
Most Rev. Emilio S. Allue
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Most Rev. Rene H. Gracida
Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
Most Rev. Paul V. Donovan
Bishop Emeritus of Kalamazoo
Most Rev. James D. Niedergeses
Bishop Emeritus of Nashville
Most Rev. James C. Timlin
Bishop Emeritus of Scranton
Most Rev. James S. Sullivan
Bishop Emeritus of Fargo
Most Rev. Francis A. Quinn
Bishop Emeritus of Sacramento
Most Rev. Albert H. Ottenweller
Bishop Emeritus of Steubenville
Most Reverend Juan Fremiot Torres
Bishop of Ponce
Most Reverend John Quinn Weitzel
Bishop of Samoa Pago Pago
Oración al Espíritu Santo, El Defensor
Espíritu Santo, Tú fuiste la promesa que nos hizo Nuestro
Señor Jesucristo, como el que abogaría por nuestras causas, el que hablaría por
nosotros en las alturas del cielo. "y Yo pediré al Padre y os dará otro
Paráclito, para que esté con vosotros para siempre..."(Jn. 14:16).
San Pablo nos enseñó que Tú intercedes por nosotros con
gemidos inefables (Rom. 8:26).
Te alabamos Señor por el regalo de la salvación, porque
sabemos muy bien que nosotros no nos podemos salvar a nosotros mismos. Hemos
pecado, y no podemos perdonarnos nosotros mismos. Necesitamos un Defensor.
Te rogamos, Espíritu Santo, que nos hagas cada vez más
concientes de aquellos que nos necesitan como sus defensores. Concédenos poder
escuchar el gemido de los más pequeños, de los hermanos y hermanas indefensos,
los que todavía se encuentran en el vientre de sus Madres, quienes no pueden
hablar ni defender ellos mismos, y que ni siquiera pueden orar.
Pope Benedict XVI on Respect for
"[The Pope] must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind
himself and the Church to obedience to God's Word, in the face of every attempt
to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism. Pope John Paul II
did this when, in front of all attempts, apparently benevolent to the human
person, and in the face of erroneous interpretations of freedom, he
unequivocally stressed the inviolability of the human being and of human life
from the moment of conception until natural death. The freedom to kill is not
true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery." -- from
the homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the Mass of Possession of the Chair of the
Bishop of Rome, Basilica of St John Lateran, Saturday, 7 May 2005.
Our Latest Product: Terri Schiavo's Final Hours: An
Priests for Life has produced an audio CD and a
brochure which relate Fr. Frank Pavone's account of the final hours of Terri
Schiavo's life, which he spent at her bedside. Not only does Fr. Frank tell us
what the euthanasia lobby does not want us to know, but he also gives
important reflections about what we do next, and some guidance on end-of-life
decisions. Order this important product below.
Please mail your order to:
Priests for Life P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314
Or fax it to (718) 980-3900 or Email:
___ I have made my check payable to:
Priests for Life.
___ I have donated online at
___ Please charge my contribution to my credit card:
Card #:__________________________________ Exp:____/_____
Other Priests for Life Products
___ Terri Schiavo's Final Hours: CD
and brochure, product 1772 for $10.00
Quantity ________ for total $____________
___ Prayer to End Abortion prayer cards:
Quantity ____25; ____50; ____75;____100; _____other (increments of 25)
@ $0.10 Each for total $______
___ Mass Cards - In Remembrance of the Deceased: product #1708
___ Mass Cards - For the Intentions of the Living:
product # 1732
___ Additional Donation $__________
Total Donation $___________