Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 16, Number 4
Table of Contents
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Founder, Missionaries of the Gospel of Life
Public opinion on abortion has been remarkably stable since Roe vs. Wade. (Most Americans reject legal abortion except in circumstances of rape, incest, and preserving the mother’s physical life and health.) Movement in public opinion has been in the pro-life direction, and the most visible movement came when the reality of partial-birth abortion first came to public light just over a decade ago. In that debate, what actually happens to the baby was the focus, rather than abstract arguments about “freedom of choice” and “Constitutional rights.”
Abortion supporters would have been well-advised to just let us ban partial-birth abortion and let it be forgotten. The more they fought to keep it legal, the more people rejected the “pro-choice” mindset. Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the partial-birth abortion case again, to determine if the federal law that President Bush signed to ban it is constitutional, we are poised for another burst of news coverage that can only be helpful to the pro-life cause.
Now that it’s too late to hide partial-birth abortion, pro-abortion groups want to do the next best thing: shift the focus of the argument from later abortions to earlier ones, and from partially-delivered babies to embryonic stem cells. Of course, the earlier in pregnancy an abortion occurs, and the smaller and less visible the baby is, the more people are willing to allow abortion. The pedagogical advantage we have in talking about partial-birth abortion is that people learn when they are led from the more obvious to the less obvious, from the concrete to the abstract, and from what is self-evident to what is reached only after a process of reasoning.
Notice how much of the pro-life conversation in our day is about stem cells, cloning, and morning-after pills. Don’t misunderstand me – these things must be addressed, and we at Priests for Life are addressing them. But don’t think that the shifting of the conversation is by accident or totally by the decision of pro-life leaders. The pro-abortion movement would much prefer that we talk about stem cells than partial-birth abortion, and we must not let them succeed in making the public forget that partial-birth abortion is still being performed without criminal penalties. The upcoming Supreme Court case on this procedure should propel us into action, talking about it constantly and demanding that candidates for public office declare where they stand on it.
Let’s be perfectly clear: The destruction of the tiniest zygote is just as wrong as putting scissors in the neck of a partially-born baby. But it is not just as obvious. If we want to rouse the public to action and change public policy, we must keep the primary focus where we have the psychological and pedagogical advantage – partial-birth abortion – and move from there to the less obvious issues.
President Bush has signed the law banning this procedure. Pro-abortion groups are fighting in court to keep it legal. The Supreme Court has decided to hear the case. Most Americans still don’t know this is even happening. This is a key opportunity to educate our neighbors about what the word “abortion” really means. Feel free to photocopy this page.
Priests for Life now operates the world’s largest outreach for healing after abortion. One aspect of this outreach is the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat program, which is under the umbrella of Priests for Life ministries. (Fr. Frank Pavone serves as Pastoral Director and Chairman of the Board, and the founders of Rachel’s Vineyard, Theresa and Kevin Burke are Pastoral Associates and employees of Priests for Life.)
Combining their many years of expertise in this area, Theresa and Kevin, along with Fr. Frank, have produced a curriculum that is used regularly to train clergy and seminarians. This curriculum covers such areas as the nature of abortion trauma, the psychological and spiritual dimensions of healing, proven approaches for preaching and counseling, how men affect the abortion decision and how abortion affects men, research into the extent of damage done by abortion on women and families, the power of post-abortion testimonies, and what the abortion industry itself thinks of “post-abortion syndrome.”
Dioceses, seminaries, and pro-life organizations worldwide invite Theresa, Kevin, and Fr. Frank to make these presentations. An outline of the curriculum, as well as more details about our outreach of healing after abortion, can be found at www.priestsforlife.org/afterabortion.
Medically accurate diagrams of two of the most common abortion procedures – Suction Curettage and Dilation and Evacuation – will educate and stir your friends and neighbors who aren’t sure where they stand on abortion. These diagrams, produced by a medical arts company, simply lay out the medical reality of abortion. Order them in 8 and ½ by 11 size, or in poster size.
-- Jim Pinto, Jr., Coordinator
Officially established as a Society of Apostolic Life by the Most Reverend John Yanta, Bishop of Amarillo, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life welcomes lay people of every vocation to be associated with its mission and to carry out pro-life work in accord with its spirituality.
One of the beautiful fruits yielding from the soil of this “Society of Apostolic Life” is the articulation and practice of a Pro-life Spirituality. See if these elements of spirituality resonate with you as they are with a growing number of servants of life throughout this country.
The spirituality of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life is: Biblical, Prophetic, Liturgical, Ecumenical, Eucharistic, and Marian. Let us reflect on the first two elements:
The Word of Life, found in the pages of the Sacred Text, is to be a constant source of meditation and instruction. The members are to be intimately familiar with the pages of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, and are to always deepen their ability to explain to others the Biblical message about the sanctity of life, as it is found in every part of the Bible.
Counteracting the culture of death demands a prophetic spirituality. Our teaching is not our own, and like the prophets, we nurture the spirit of humility and awe that God should deign to speak His eternal word through mortal, sinful instruments like ourselves. The Gospel, always respectful of culture and expressing itself in diversified cultural contexts, likewise challenges and transforms culture. The prophet does not tell the future as much as he tells the present, that is, interprets for people what God says about what is going on in the world. We speak the prophetic word that challenges society to recognize the unborn as brothers and sisters, and to therefore repent of practices and policies that destroy them or put them at risk.
On behalf of Fr. Pavone, Founder of this Society, I invite you to consider uniting with the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. For more information you may go to www.priestsforlife.org/missionary or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call Priests for Life 888.735.3448, ext.224
Jim Pinto, Jr.
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the Liturgy of the Hours:
July intention: That world leaders may understand that freedom depends upon the protection of life.
August intention: That pro-life activists who pray at abortion facilities may have courage and perseverance.
On April 1, 2006, Fr. Patrick Healy, S.S.J., began full-time ministry with Priests for Life and the newly-formed Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Fr. Healy is a member of St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart, The Josephites, a community of Priests and Brothers who serve the African-American community in the USA. Fr. Healy completed graduate studies for the priesthood at the Washington Theological Coalition and was ordained in 1976.
Fr. Healy brings to Priests For Life his long experience of 30 years as a Josephite Priest in parish work, having pastored many parishes across the country: in Houston, TX, at St. Francis Xavier and at Holy Family Churches; in New Orleans, LA, at Corpus Christi and St. David’s Churches and Schools; in California where he opened the first Josephite parish on the west coast, St. Brigid in South Central Los Angeles; in the Bahama Islands where he pastored 8 mission stations, traveling among the islands in his single-engine Cessna; in Pascagoula, MS, at St. Peter the Apostle Church and School; in Washington, DC, at St. Benedict the Moor Church and School; in Beaumont, TX, as pastor of two parishes, Our Mother of Mercy and Blessed Sacrament Churches.
From 1994 through 1998 Fr. Healy served as an Active Duty Army Chaplain to the 82d Airborne, Ft. Bragg, NC, and as Force Chaplain to a 10 Nation Peacekeeping mission along the Israeli-Egyptian border, Sinai, Egypt, where he also served as liaison to the Vatican Secretariat of State, Jerusalem.
Most recently, Fr. Healy has been director of the Josephite Hurricane Recovery Center, addressing the needs of 10 Josephite parishes, 9 schools, and thousands of displaced parishioners who were severely affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in September 2005.
Fr. Healy, a member of the Josephite General Council and local superior for members in Texas and California, is a board member of the Josephite Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage, Pro-Family committee and has been instrumental in organizing Pro-Life conferences from Louisiana to Washington, DC. He has now been granted a special assignment to work full-time with Priests For Life, and will be headquartered at our new center in Amarillo, TX.
Fr. Healy preaches on abortion and euthanasia throughout the nation, works with the seminarians of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, and promotes the Gospel of Life through the electronic media: radio, television and the internet. “The renewal of the Church in the modern world will be inspired by a renewed respect for God’s most precious gift of Life,” said Fr. Healy.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and Founder of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, said, “Fr. Healy has already been a tremendous asset to our ministry; we look forward to a long and fruitful future of laboring together in the pro-life vineyard.”
Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate, Priests for Life, and niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Our learning experiences in life shape our understanding and our methods of communicating with and relating to others in our world. As a post-abortive mother, who has spent over 20 years as an educator, with many of those years as a teacher, I find it natural to consider learning styles when seeking more effective ways to share the pro-life message. Learning styles are an integral part of working to share the “culture of life” in every community. Because I am an African-American woman, I am especially interested in reaching the people of my communities.
It has been said that African-Americans have a particular learning style that causes them to be global learners in that they want to see the big picture and not necessarily all the small details. They also tend to be better writers than speakers because they excel in non-verbal communication. In addition, they tend to use approximations frequently and focus better on a person rather than an inanimate object (Wilson, 2004). One of the characteristics of our African-American culture is an emphasis on visual learning. We are particularly impacted by visual imagery.
For many years, I have been an outspoken advocate for the unborn child, because in a culture of abortion, the child is like a slave. The new civil rights movement of our time is the pro-life movement, and as I seek to preserve the dream of my uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of my father, Rev. A.D. King (Martin’s brother), I ask the question, “How can the dream survive if we murder the children?” I grew up seeing these two great men fight for the equal rights of their people.
But equality is not something you can see. What you can see are people. My uncle knew that the ugly reality of segregation had to be seen visually by the American public. He therefore organized events at which the eyes of the media could broadcast the way our people were treated when water hoses and dogs were unleashed on their peaceful marches. People responded to those images, not simply to abstract concepts of “segregation” and “equality.”
Likewise, people – and especially African Americans – respond to the disturbing images of aborted children. Sure, some people get angry when we show them. But everyone who fights injustice has to be ready to pay a price. My uncle did, and so did my Dad. So does everyone who has the courage to show the ugly reality of abortion. Don’t be afraid to do so. Many people are grateful. As a woman who has had two abortions, I am grateful that the truth is being shown, so that others can avoid this pain in the first place.
For more information visit www.priestsforlife.org/images.
Priests for Life
PO Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-PFL-3448, (718) 980-4400
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