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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 1, No. 1


Letter to Priests

Blessed Margaret of Costello

Board of Advisors - 1991

Pro-Life Strategy for the '90s

Life Chains



Dear Brothers in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ,

Earlier this year I read a story about an artist in southern California who purchased a rat named "Squeeky" from the local pet store. It was his intention to place Squeeky between two sheets of canvas and then drop a concrete block on him from a third story window and then enter his "artistic" achievement in a local art show. Word of Squeeky's impending fate spread and on the day of his intended demise over 300 people showed up to rescue the life of the doomed rodent. Over 300 people! For a rat! I am glad to report that Squeeky's life was spared that day. Tragically the lives of 4,500 babies were not. No one showed up to save them as they were destroyed in their mother's womb. Why? Because abortion, which only 25 years ago was called "an abominable crime" by Vatican II, has taken on an air of respectability. The conscience of the nation has become anesthetized, and priests exercising their prophetic ministry in speaking out against abortion can sometimes feel like John the Baptist, "a voice crying out in the wilderness."

For this reason we have formed Priests for Life to assist priests in cooperating with their bishops in teaching and preaching on the life issues in accordance with the mind of the Church. Priests for Life seeks to build up and support an association of priests for whom the life issues are the focus of their personal sanctification and pastoral ministry. We strive to encourage each other as priests of Jesus Christ to live a daily commitment to holiness, and to help each other teach and preach in such a way that the faithful can form their consciences on the life issues in solidarity with the mind of the Church.

To serve the needs of busy priests PFL will publish a quarterly newsletter which will provide accurate information about the life issues and offer suggestions through articles and homilies on how to bring the good news of the Church's teaching to your people. We will also try to keep you informed about what is being done in the pro-life movement in other parishes and dioceses throughout the country. We look forward to building a network through which priests can be of real support to each other, so if you have any information, ideas, or sermons of your own you would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you. If you would like to join the work of PFL and receive our newsletter we would gratefully welcome your donation of $15.00.

Let us pray and work for the day when Americans will acknowledge that all of our cherished freedoms are built upon our first and greatest right --the right to life.

May Jesus be forever the joy of your life.

--Fr. Lee Kaylor

President, Priests for Life

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Blessed Margaret of Costello

Truly a "saint for our times'', little Margaret can be held up as a perfect example of today's ''throw away" children. Had she been conceived today there is little doubt that she would have been another victim of abortion for she had the great misfortune to be born completely blind, hunch-backed, a dwarf, with one leg shorter than the other and one very badly deformed foot. And as if that weren't enough, she has also been described as "quite ugly of face". This alone would have been more than any little girl should have had to endure, but for Margaret there was more to suffer. Her wealthy parents were so outraged that they should be given such a child that her father ordered her to he hidden from view and the family let it be known that their baby had died at birth. Unfortunately for Margaret, when she was six years old, she was seen by a visitor and it became necessary for her parents to take more drastic measures. Her father had a mason construct a cell on the side of the parish church deep in the forest, and after placing Margaret inside, ordered the mason to brick up the entrance! For the next 11 years, Margaret suffered the terrible pain of loneliness, extreme cold in the winter, and in the summer she must have felt as though she were sealed in a brick oven. Through all this torture, Margaret never lost her great love for Jesus, offering her suffering for the sins of her fellow man.

At the age of 17 her parents took her on pilgrimage to the city of Costello, to the tomb of a very holy monk, fully expecting Margaret to be healed. When that didn't happen, they simply walked away, leaving her in a strange city, helpless and blind, completely alone as she had been for most of her young life. She was found and befriended by street people who taught her how to beg. She slept in doorways and stables, often hungry, but always cheerful and loving. This "ugly little dwarf" was so filled with goodness that she soon won over the hearts of the entire city. Margaret became a Third Order Dominican and died at the age of 33. Her body is incorrupt and lies under the altar of the Church of St. Domenico at Citta-Di-Castella.

As an unwanted, deformed child could she not be considered patron of our movement? Someone that could be identified with the unwanted, less than perfect baby? The dirty, unkempt beggar on our city streets? The "inconvenience" to the yuppie couple, interested only in acquiring wealth and possessions? Could we not think of her as our "saint for life"?

--Patricia Kaylor

If you know of any prayers answered through the intercession of Blessed Margaret, please contact:

Priory of St. Louis Bertrand
1104 South 6th Street
Louisville, KY 40203

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Board of Advisors

Most Reverend John L. May

Archbishop of St. Louis

Most Reverend Daniel E. Sheehan

Archbishop of Omaha

Most Reverend John J. Myers

Bishop of Peoria

Most Reverend Rene Gracida

Bishop of Corpus Christi

Most Reverend Juan Fremiot Torres

Bishop of Ponce, Puerto Rico

Most Reverend Albert H. Ottenweller

Bishop of Steubenville

Most Reverend Paul V. Donovan

Bishop of Kalamazoo

Most Reverend James Timlin

Bishop of Scranton

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Bishop of Rapid City

Most Reverend J. Quinn Weitzel, M. M.

Bishop of Samoa-Pago Pago

Most Reverend George Lynch

Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Raleigh

Most Reverend John F. Donoghue

Bishop of Charlotte

Most Reverend Francis Quinn

Bishop of Sacramento

President: Fr. Lee Kaylor

Treasurer: Fr. Frank Filice

Secretary: Fr.. Bob Cipriano

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A Pro-Life Strategy for the Nineties

On August 13, 1990, His Eminence John Cardinal O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York came to San Francisco to celebrate the opening Mass and deliver the keynote address for the annual meeting of Diocesan pro-life representatives, which was sponsored by the National Council of Catholic Bishops Pro-life Commission.

Cardinal O'Connor stressed seven points (which taken together give us a pro-life strategy for the nineties) and told the assembly that soon they would be published in pamphlet form. The points are as follows:

1. Education: We are now the counterculture teachers of morality who must stress both Catholic values and the sanctity of every human life, as well as a more profound understanding of love.

2. Communications: Television and other forms of the media do not promote family values but do promote forms of pornography which devalue women and men; they refuse to publicize the pro-life message. In some ways, morality can be legislated: Seat-belt laws; laws against drunk driving. Internal communication problems within the Church need to be addressed. Priests must preach positively and clearly on pro-life issues.

3. Stand up for Life: We neither need to be apologetic nor defensive in our approach to pro-life issues. To stand up for life is a grace, a gift from God. We must speak out without shame.

4. Unity: The first result of original sin is divisiveness Adam and Eve are separated from God and from one another and blame each other. We are divided according to strategies and tactics and must work out our differences. We should accept legislation that curtails abortions (even if not eliminating it) while not giving it moral endorsement. We will work for full protection of the unborn.

5. Focus on Goals and Objectives: Pro-lifers need to focus their objectives. Although it is true that we cannot do everything we need to concern ourselves with a "consistent ethic of life." The pro-life movement needs to address many issues, such as nuclear war, AIDS, racism, the environment; but we remain unashamedly focused on the unborn for nothing is comparable to the sacredness of one human life.

6. The Value of Choice: Choice has been made the overriding cultural value in our country. If choice is so sacred, why has the father of the unborn child been excluded in abortion decisions? If we can choose to have an abortion and have the government pay for it, and if the value of choice is consistent, why can't we send our children to Catholic schools and have the government pay for it? But choice is not the preeminent value, life is, and only the living can choose. Moses said: "You have before you life and death, choose life."

7. Prayer: The foundation of all our action must be prayer. If we cut off oxygen from a flame it dies; if we cut off prayer from the soul, it dies. We must pray daily about human life issues. We must pray for them privately and liturgically. Life issues should be reflected in the Prayer of the Faithful at Mass.

From the thankful delegates, Cardinal O'Connor received a standing ovation --an ovation of sustained applause and of consenting voices of thankful hearts and grateful tears.

--Reverend Robert P. Cipriano, Associate Pastor

Saint Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco, California

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Life Chains

An estimated 4,000 pre-born babies killed each day in American --an incredible 26 million since abortion was legalized by the US Supreme Court in 1973.

Millions of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews have prayed and worked to end this continuing tragedy with little success. The pro-abortionists have gained the support of the media, the judicial system, and a majority of the nation's lawmakers. Thousands of major corporations and foundations contribute heavily to the abortion industry, most notably to Planned Parenthood, the world's leading provider of abortions.

The struggle goes on and those waging the war on behalf of the unborn continue to seek new ways to bring the message of life to the public. A relatively new weapon in the arsenal of the pro-lifers is the Life Chain.

Launched in California three years ago, the Life Chain provides an unusually powerful visual statement of unity by the Christian community that abortion is wrong and that the Church is opposed to the endless slaughter of innocent children. In the Life Chain thousands of persons of all ages, in the lawful exercise of their First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights, line the sidewalks of a busy city street holding identical signs reading 'Abortion Kills Children'.

This Fall Life Chains will take place in twenty-five California cities and in twelve other states across the country. Within the next few years, Life Chains stretching across America from the Pacific to the Atlantic are being planned. They will bring out millions of citizens expressing their love and compassion for the smallest of our brethren.

Successful Life Chains owe a great deal to the wholehearted and enthusiastic support of the clergy. Bishops and priests can exhort the faithful to join in these ninety minute pro-life demonstrations and when the clergy joins the Life Chain the effect is powerful. Archbishop Roger Mahony and one of his Auxiliaries, Bishop Carl Fisher of San Pedro, have participated in these gatherings in southern California.

Anglican Catholic Bishop James Mote of Denver has said we'll never stop abortion until we get millions of people into the streets calling for its end. Life Chains are a step in this direction.

Additional information about Life Chains may be obtained by writing:

Please Let Me Live
3209 Colusa Highway
Yuba City, California 95993

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Biologist Roman Vishniac believed that the science of life could never be taught by the use of dead organisms, so he devised a technique for photographing microscopic creatures alive and in their free swimming state. He wrote beautifully of an experience that touched him deeply and forever impressed upon him the sanctity of life

"I was watching a mosquito's head under 200 power magnification, and I was astounded by the loveliness of the eyes. Every one of the facets was burning in a wonderful color, like gold falling from a setting sun onto the windows of a castle in fairyland. It was so beautiful, that I loved this mosquito. But I watched too long. I had no water cell before the lamp, and I didn't realize the strength of the light. Suddenly it was killing him. One by one the colors of his eyes went out, like lights being turned off behind a shade, and through the microscope I saw the death of this mosquito. And I can tell you, it is such a terrible thing --death."

Why is death such a terrible thing? Because life, which is the opposite of death, is so rare. In fact it its quite possibly the rarest thing in the universe!

How big is big? Is a billion big? They say that a stack of one billion dollar bills would reach a height of 125 miles! Since the death of Jesus on the cross just slightly over one billion minutes have passed. Yet a billion is an extremely small number when one begins to contemplate the enormity of the universe. In just our Milky Way galaxy alone there are 100 billion stars, and there are at last count at least 10 billion other galaxies just like our own! To put it another way: there are approximately 10,000 grains of sand in a handful. America alone has 84,000 miles of coastline, more if you add in the thousands of miles of lake and river beaches. Yet there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world!

In all this unimaginably vast universe there is, as far as we know, only one infinitesimally tiny corner of the universe where is found that rarest of all phenomena --LIFE!

So precious, so fragile, so rare. Yet the fact remains that we Americans fling back into God's face the lives of over a million and a half unborn children each year. Ours is a society that is seriously toying with euthanasia as a public policy. The majority of Americans approve of capital punishment, and in some states people have even expressed a desire to see executions on TV. Why? A pro-abortion medical journal, California Medicine, explains why. The journal states that the Judeo-Christian ethic which held each life as sacred is collapsing. People are now more concerned about population, limited resources, material benefits, and a comfortable life style. So they have opted for abortion to solve these problems. The journal goes on to say, however, that since we haven't quite yet completely disposed of the old Christian way of thinking we have to deceive ourselves and pretend that abortion isn't really killing. According to the journal, "The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether intra or extra uterine until death." When even the pro-abortionists admit that abortion is the taking of a human life, how can any honest person go on pretending that it isn't?

The killing doesn't stop with the unborn. Babies who survive abortion or who are disabled are left uncared for and unfed until they die. The shadow of death has spread over the sick and the elderly. One hears these days of people arguing in courtrooms across the land for the "right to die", and the right to withhold even food and water from the seriously ill. Earlier this year an unemployed pathologist nicknamed "Dr. Death" created a do-it-yourself suicide machine and then helped a poor depressed woman suffering from Alzheimer's Disease to use it on herself! The Hemlock Society is pressing very hard for legalized assisted suicide, which has already taken hold in places like Holland where doctors now routinely kill between five and ten thousand patients annually.

Clearly human life is no longer regarded as sacred. Ours is becoming a culture of death. Teen suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents. So-called "slasher" horror movies comprise the largest section of any neighborhood video store. And psychologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the growing indifference of youngsters to violence and the suffering of others.

All of these attacks on life are usually cloaked in the language of compassion. But what it really veils is a fear of suffering. As Christians we believe that life, even when it touches upon suffering, is still worth living! Our suffering is not meaningless. It is part of life's pilgrimage. Generously endured for the love of others it has the power to shape us into the image and likeness of Jesus whose suffering saved the world!

From the abortionists one continually hears the tired old slogan, "Every child, a wanted child", suggesting that the pain of being unwanted is greater than the pain of being pulled limb from limb or scalded to death in the womb. Since when has "being wanted" become our criteria for deciding whether or not a life has value or meaning? If "being wanted" is the magic formula that confers dignity and worth upon individual human lives then I suggest that we are all in danger. The day may come for all of us when someone else in power (whether it be the State or our own family) decides that we are no longer "wanted".

The language of the pro-abortionists betrays their real agenda. Abortion is not an isolated phenomenon. It is only the major symptom of the moral disease eating away at the fiber of our society. That disease is nothing less than the direct assault on the very concept of the value and dignity of the individual human person. You see other manifestations of that disease everywhere in a society that cannot seem to find a solution to the tragedy of the homeless. You see it in the plight of the elderly living on cat food in the ghettos. You see it in the flashing red neon of the porno district where the sacred beauty of sexuality is reduced to the level of a toy and human beings become objects to be used for personal gratification and then thrown away.

Abortion is only the bloody red tip of the iceberg --the dehumanization of the human person in a society that seems to turn more and more to death to solve the problems of life.

What is our society's answer to rape--death!

What's is the answer to families sick with incest and abuse--death!

What's the answer to poverty--death!

What's the answer to sickness and aging--death!

What's the answer to mental retardation and physical handicap -- death!

What's the answer to violent crime--death!

All of our country's magnificent achievements will count for nothing if in the end we forget that all of our cherished rights are built upon the first and greatest of rights, the right to life.

If after 10, 000 years of searching for civilization, the only solution that society can offer to the problems of life is the abortionist's curette, the cyanide injection, and the gas chamber, then God help us!

--Fr. Lee Kaylor


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Priests for Life
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Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •