Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 17, Number 3
Table of Contents
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.
The victims of abortion are hidden. America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.
This is Baby Sarah, killed by abortion and retrieved from a dumpster. Though dead, she still speaks to our consciences.
This summer provides three special pro-life conference and retreat opportunities that will also give you an opportunity to interact with Priests for Life and Fr. Frank Pavone. All of these are open to priests, seminarians, and pro-life leaders and activists.
June 13-16: National Right to Life Committee Convention. Kansas City, MO (Hyatt Regency Crown Plaza). This is a large annual pro-life convention featuring top experts in various aspects of the pro-life movement. Fr. Frank will be presenting workshops entitled “The Church, The Media, and The State” and "Increasing Local Pro-Life Effectiveness in Pro-Life Religious Denominations." Register at www.nrlc.org/convention.
June 29 – July 1: Come Aside Retreat. Fr. Frank Pavone, Monsignor Michael Mannion, and Dr. Theresa Burke will present this retreat. Themed, “Celebrating our Gifts of Faith and Ministry as the People of Life,” this retreat will be held at the Malvern Retreat Canter in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It all starts on Friday, June 29 with an opening Mass at 5 PM (ET), followed by dinner, and concludes after midday lunch on Sunday, July 1. For more information, contact Dan@priestsforlife.org or by phone at 718-980-4400 extension 260.
August 15-21: This annual Pro-life Retreat and Conference will be held at the Bishop DeFalco Retreat Center in Amarillo, Texas. Fr. Frank Pavone will be joined by Bishop John Yanta of the Diocese of Amarillo, as well as Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Theresa Burke, and Janet Morana. The conference begins with Mass at 5:00 PM Central time on August 15 and ends with a closing Mass on August 21 at 7:30 AM. For more information, contact Dan@priestsforlife.org or by phone at 718-980-4400 extension 260. Those who want to discern a vocation to the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life are welcome to join in on this retreat as well.
Fr. Frank Pavone
At the time of this writing the Supreme Court had not yet issued its decision on the constitutionality of the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. The decision is expected soon, however, and we need to think ahead to how we will respond to the various possible outcomes.
At issue are actually two cases for which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on November 8. I was present in the court for the entirety of those arguments because I am involved with one the briefs that was submitted to the court. Both cases address, from various different angles, whether the bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in 2003 is constitutional. The arguments focused on a) whether, to be constitutional, this ban requires a health exception (which it does not have); b) whether the law is too broad, actually banning abortion procedures other than partial-birth abortion; and c) whether the law is too vague, not specifying clearly enough the particular action(s) for which a doctor could be prosecuted.
It is impossible to predict what the Supreme Court will say in its decision. Here, however, are some considerations for our response in a few different possible scenarios.
1. The Supreme Court says
the law is constitutional.
In this case, of course, an important victory will have been won. For the first time since Roe vs. Wade, the United States will have effectively banned abortion, albeit abortion by one particular method. Until this time, neither federal nor state legislatures have been able to do anything but regulate some of the circumstances under which the procedure was performed.
Of course, babies who would have been killed by partial-birth abortion could still be killed by other procedures. But the point of this victory is that it shows that we can in fact ban abortion. The ability of the government to ban all abortion – and that is a necessary goal of the pro-life movement – rests on its ability to ban abortion at all. To prohibit a particular abortion procedure is, if you will, like a legislative “stretch of the arms” after a long sleep, during which it did not touch the legality of abortion at all.
If the court gives deference to the findings of Congress that partial-birth abortion is not necessary for health reasons, this will provide momentum to establish further findings that can be used to close the “health exceptions” loophole in future abortion-related bills.
In the light of a favorable decision, we should push forward, without apology, toward protection for all children in the womb, and expose the horror of the other abortion methods as we did with partial-birth abortion.
The Supreme Court says the law is unconstitutional.
This scenario would require a vigorous response of outrage that our government cannot prohibit a procedure as barbaric as partial-birth abortion. Public education about the nature of the procedure should, in such a case, be redoubled. The concepts of “pro-choice” and of “Roe vs. Wade” should then be clearly and continuously linked with partial-birth abortion, because that essentially is what the abortion supporters will have asserted, that the “right to choose abortion” includes the right to choose partial-birth abortion. All but a small part of the public rejects partial-birth abortion. Should the procedure remain legal, we need to use that outcome to taint the slogans that otherwise may sound so benign.
An unfavorable outcome of this type would also provide an additional strong basis to fight against judicial tyranny. Most state legislatures, as well as the Congress and the President, have called for partial-birth abortion to be banned. The Supreme Court should not contradict such an obvious expression of the will of the people.
3. The Supreme Court asks Congress to revise the law in some fashion, or instructs the lower courts to reconsider some aspect of their decisions.
There can be various other scenarios in between simply upholding or striking down the law. The specifics of whatever the Court hands down should be studied carefully. If further Congressional action is required, an intensive lobbying effort needs to be launched.
In any outcome, prayer efforts should be organized in our Churches specifically addressing partial-birth abortion, letter writing campaigns should be mobilized, and public demonstrations should be held to express the will of the people.
Since 2003, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign has enabled thousands of women and men wounded by abortion to testify publicly to the harm abortion does and to the healing mercy of Jesus Christ. These testimonies have been shared at over 160 gatherings that have occurred in 44 states and 5 countries with more than 12,030 spectators having heard the truth about abortion’s negative effects. The Campaign has spread internationally as well.
Besides the gatherings on public streets and plazas, the women and men of the campaign are silent no more in various ways. They write up their testimony and share it on the internet and in letters to various publications. They appear on television and radio shows, and are invited to speak in the pulpits of Churches. They speak before legislative assemblies and in private meetings with politicians.
The testimonies of these courageous men and women are posted at www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org. You can read, listen to, or watch videos of them.
You can help this campaign by a) inviting those you know who have lost children to abortion to visit www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org; b) urging pastors to contact the campaign to have individuals share their testimony in Church; c) urging lobbyists to contact the campaign to have individuals share their testimony with legislators; d) being present at local gatherings as a prayer support; and e) assisting in organizing local gatherings in your community.
Here are some photos from this year’s gathering in Washington, DC.
|The Campaign is for men too.
Jonathan Flora, a Hollywood Producer, shares his testimony.
|More and more couples are stepping forward and proclaiming that they will be ‘silent no more.’ Giving their testimony here is Linda and Chuck Raymond.|
|Jennifer O’Neill, Celebrity Spokeswoman for the Campaign attended.||Women and men of the Campaign and onlookers stayed out in the freezing weather way past dark until all testimonies were given. Giving her testimony here is Gwen Johns, Regional Coordinator for the Campaign in Amarillo, TX.|
We are happy to announce that the newest season of our Defending Life Series is now airing on EWTN. These 13 new, powerful and informative shows have a brand new feature - From the Mail Bag - where Fr. Frank Pavone answers questions from the viewers. Watch on EWTN: Friday at 10:00pm and Saturday at 2:30am (ET). Listen on EWTN Radio: Friday at 1am, Saturday at 6:30pm and Sunday at 5am (All times Eastern). See www.ewtn.com for more information. The episodes are as follows:
Episode 1: Voting with a Clear Conscience (in ten easy steps)
Episode 2: Political Responsibilities of Christians
Episode 3: This is My Body. Explore with Fr. Frank one of the most striking and moving spiritual ironies ever.
Episode 4: Priests for Life Canada. Guest: Fr. Jim Whalen, National Director, Priests for Life Canada
Episode 5: The Silent No More Awareness Campaign in Canada. Guest: Angelina Steenstra, Silent No More Awareness Canada.
Episode 6: Missionaries of the Gospel of Life Lay Associates. Guest: James Pinto Jr., National Coordinator.
Episode 7: Christians Influencing Hollywood. Guest: Jonathan Flora, Hollywood Director and Writer.
Episode 8: Missionaries of the Gospel of Life: An Apostolic Society. Guest: Daniel Cochran, Seminarian.
Episode 9: Good Counsel Homes. Guest: Chris Bell, Founder and President.
Episode 10: Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
Episode 11: The Embryonic Moment. Fr. Frank explores how the status of the unborn is growing under the law.
Episode 12: Elections, Churches and the Law.
Episode 13: Responding to Common Arguments; What Is Priests For Life?
You can help us educate millions of Americans by announcing this TV series and its schedule in your parish bulletins, websites, and pro-life newsletters!
1. What is the mission of Priests for Life?
Our mission statement identifies four key goals of our activity:
a. unite, encourage, and provide ongoing training to priests and deacons who give a special emphasis to the "life issues", especially abortion and euthanasia, in their ministries;
b. instill a sense of urgency in all clergy to teach about these issues and to mobilize their people to help stop abortion and euthanasia;
c. assist clergy and laity to work together productively for the cause of life;
d. provide ongoing training and motivation to the entire pro-life movement.
2. How does this differ from
the Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-life Activities?
First of all, Priests for Life offers a unique priest-to-priest ministry of encouragement and networking around the country. By constant visits to local communities, our priests help their brother priests connect with a ministry that helps them communicate with priests in other parts of the nation on pro-life issues.
Second, with our large staff and outreach, we are able to reinforce the bishops’ teachings on life issues by bringing it to large numbers of people both inside and outside the Church. We are able to bring the pro-life message into arenas that the Church otherwise does not have the time, resources, or personnel to reach.
3. Do Priests for Life priests speak in parishes and give seminars and retreats?
Yes, the Priests for Life pastoral staff speaks in parishes, at diocesan events, in seminaries, and at pro-life events held by many organizations. We also conduct retreats for priests, deacons, seminarians, and lay people.
Priests for Life provides priests an opportunity to minister to the pro-life movement on a full-time or part-time basis. With the permission of his Ordinary, a priest may apply to us for such work, which would involve traveling to preach the pro-life message in parishes, at pro-life conventions and banquets; appearing on radio and television programs; training post-abortion counselors and pregnancy center volunteers; visiting elected representatives; helping other priests to present the pro-life message, and much more. Simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Among the seven priests who currently serve as Priest-Associates are the following:
Fr. Peter West, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has traveled the country with our ministry full-time since 1998.
Fr. Denis Wilde, OSA, an Augustinian priest and a professor at Villanova University, likewise travels the country full for Priests for Life. He gives special emphasis to post-abortion issues, as well as the use of music to communicate the pro-life message. He also presents classical piano recitals for the pro-life cause.
Fr. Dennis M. Weber, S.C. is a priest of the Servants of Charity, and serves Priests for Life on a part-time basis. His primary pro-life work has been in his ministry of serving persons with mental retardation. It is the recognition of the innate dignity of these persons made in God's image and likeness and the respect due to them that has further enkindled his desire to become more involved and committed to the pro-life movement in saving the unborn and especially in exposing the genocide of abortion of persons with genetic defects. He will be traveling around the country to raise awareness of the importance of ending abortion in America.
Booklet: The Church and Politics: Are We as Restricted as We Think?
On June 17, 2003, Priests for Life and the Ave Maria School of Law co-sponsored a symposium for clergy and attorneys entitled "The Church and Politics: Are We as Restricted as We Think?" This booklet contains the presentations that were given that day. Attorneys who spoke were James Bopp, Jr., of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom, Professor Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame Law School, and Charles Watkins of Webster, Chamberlain & Bean.
There is much that pastors can do to call their congregations to active and informed participation in the political process. In documents like Living the Gospel of Life (1998), the US bishops have articulated such a call with clarity and passion. At the same time, many pastors remain unaware of the extent to which they can speak and act in this arena, and often believe they are far more restricted than the law actually requires. Our hope is that these symposium papers will give pastors a broader understanding of the law in this area, and assist them to fulfill their mission with greater confidence.
You can now order at our new online store at www.priestsforlife.org/products! Or use the order form below.
Please mail your order to: Priests for Life P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Or fax it to (718) 980-3853; Or Email: email@example.com.
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Words from our Bishops for Fr. Frank Pavone's book: Ending Abortion; Not Just Fighting It
“Your recently published book, Ending Abortion, Not just Fighting It... will be very informative and a source of encouragement to all those seeking to protect human life.”
- Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
“I want you to know that we priests are so very proud of the work you are doing. Your leadership and guidance in the Pro-Life movement is truly an inspiration to us and for us.”
- Very Rev. E. Michael Camilli, M.S.C.
The Many Ministries of Priests for Life
Healing After Abortion
Washington DC Outreach