Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 5, Number 2
March - April 1995
I Could Smell the Babies Burning
Priests for Life: Active in Wichita
"Preach Forgiveness"-Bishop George Lynch
"Let's Face Our Fears, Part 6"
"I Could Smell the Babies Burning"
"I could smell the babies burning" are the exact words of Luhra Tivis, who
once worked for abortionist George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas. She was describing
the crematorium machine that the abortionist had on his premises to burn the
bodies of his victims, which included babies even in the third trimester of
pregnancy. Abortion is legal even at that late stage.
Luhra has left the abortion industry and is now a fearless spokeswoman for
the unborn babies. She said these words at a public conference of former
abortion providers sponsored by the Pro-Life action League in Chicago on April
Davis, another former abortion provider, administered six killing centers for
some twelve years. She left the abortion industry, and was baptized into the
Catholic Faith on April 2, 1994. She is working closely with Priests for Life.
This photo shows her at a Priests for Life meeting in Birmingham where she spoke
recently together with Fr. Frank Pavone. Joy's testimony is available from
Priests for Life for $4 (Ask for Tape TJ).
There are more and more abortion providers leaving the industry and exposing
its horrors. There have been four public conferences at which many of them have
spoken. You may obtain audio and videotapes of their revealing testimonies from
the Pro-Life Action League, 6160 N. Cicero, Suite 600, Chicago,Il 60646,
Our people have a right to know what goes on inside the abortion industry.
Let's inform ourselves and inform them.
From the Director
My brother priests,
Thank you for your commitment to teach and preach the dignity of human life.
Priests for Life is meant to help you in this aspect of your ministry. What's is
in this newsletter may address some of your concerns. If not, call me and tell
me what other ways we can help.
Priests for Life seeks to train every priest in the country to speak up
persuasively on abortion and alternatives available to pregnant women. We want
to put our materials on preaching, on alternatives to abortion, and on healing
after abortion, into their hands. We want to go to every city to meet them and
Please sign up for the 1995 Priests for Life membership, using the cut-out
form in this newsletter. Let's be more united than ever in defending the most
basic gift, LIFE.
Fr. Frank Pavone
Sign up for our monthly, camera-ready, pro-life bulletin insert, free of
charge. Call 540-659-4171.
Priests for Life Announces National Pro-life Television Series
Beginning in May of 1995, some 40 million homes in America will have access
to a 13 week series of half-hour shows on abortion, presented by Fr. Frank
Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. The series is called "Defending
Fr. Pavone filmed these shows at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)
in Birmingham, Alabama. EWTN is carried by cable stations across the country.
"Defending Life" will start airing Monday, May 1st. It will air four times a
week: Mondays 1:30 a.m. (all times Eastern), Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays
at 11:00p.m., and Thursdays at 6:00a.m.
The series covers the abortion procedure, laws on abortion, alternatives to
abortion, healing and forgiveness after an abortion, how to answer "pro-choice"
slogans, and Scripture's teaching on abortion. In one show Fr. Frank hosts a
moving discussion between a former abortion provider, a survivor of abortion,
and her mom who almost had her killed.
We ask interested groups to promote this series in their newsletters.
Pro-lifers can receive valuable information, and can also urge families and
friends to watch. EWTN may be reached at 1-800-447-3986. Priests for Life may be
reached at (718) 980-4400.
There is also a short-wave radio station, WEWN, which will broadcast an
expanded version of the series (26 shows) to a worldwide listening audience
starting in March. The radio station is at 205-672-7200.
This Number Saves Lives 1-800-848-LOVE
Twenty-four hours a day, every day, women in crisis pregnancies can call
1-800-848-LOVE (5683)from anywhere in the nation. Spread the word!
How to Talk About Abortion
A new audiotape on how to talk about abortion is available from Priests for
Life for $4. In a one-hour talk, Fr. Pavone explains how a change in language
helped start the abortion tragedy, and how a change in language can help to end
it. This tape is for both clergy and laity. An example: Abortion is not about
"bringing another child into the world." If a woman is pregnant, her child is
already in the world. Abortion is about killing the child! (Ask for
Priests for Life: Active in Wichita
Our membership grows and continues to reflect the reality of our title:
Priests for Life. So many priests are doing so much for the cause of life. Take
Fr. Jim Conley, for example, in Wichita, Kansas. He serves as co-ordinator of
pro-life activities in his diocese, and also as chaplain of the Newman center at
Kansas State University. Every Wednesday it is part of his scheduled activities
to be at a nearby abortion mill with a group of college students. For about 90
minutes, they pray the rosary and bear public witness to the sanctity of life.
Each month, Fr. Conley is also involved in the "Spiritual Resistance" program,
which calls all Christians of the area to come together for a Solemn Assembly of
prayer, worship, and teaching, and then to pray silently in front of one of the
killing centers the next morning.
Thank you, Fr. Conley, for being one of the many Priests for Life, and for
the example you give! Fr. Conley can be reached at 1810 No. Roosevelt, Wichita,
Many of our people are making living wills, and many others are confused.
These documents are unnecessary and dangerous. Treatment decisions cannot be
made when you don't know the disease or the available options! Contact us for a
packet of more information.
Priests for Life Tape Series
St. Joseph's Communications is promoting a prolife audiotape series by Fr.
In three one-hour talks, Fr. Pavone discusses the Scriptural teachings on
respect for life, the mission of Priests for Life, and practical things people
can do to end abortion. It is ideal for both clergy and laity. We will send you
an order form, or call St Joseph's Communications, 800-526-2151 or 818-331-3549.
If we can sell enough of these we are more likely to get further exposure
through the vast outreach of St. Joseph's Communications. Please promote
this series in your parish or school!
You Can Air Pro-life Videos On Your Local Cable Stations For Free!
To receive free videos and information about how to get them to air on your
local cable assess channels, please call Life Issues at 818-757-0381.
Homily Hints: Preach Forgiveness
by Bishop George Lynch
Probably all of us priests would like to think that over some period of time
we preach on all essential doctrines at the Church. We would not like to admit
even to ourselves that we neglected any Catholic teaching, even those on which
for whatever reasons it may be difficult to speak.
Very likely few priests deserve the criticism expressed by some pro-life
people that they seldom hear a sermon on the Church's teaching about abortion.
One Catholic lady expressed disappointment that at the Mass she attended on
Pro-Life Sunday the priest had said nothing on this subject. Perhaps the priest
had spoken on some other timely subject, but it is well that priests remind
themselves that Catholics expect to hear at least at times about this subject.
Such occasions as the Feast days of the Holy Family or of The Holy Innocents
(which come a few days after Christmas) or Pro-Life Sunday in October come
readily to mind.
Regarding the content of a sermon on abortion I would like to paraphrase a
suggestion made by another Bishop to a group of priests. He said it would be
well to keep in mind that during any Sunday sermon there may be in the
congregation a woman who has had an abortion or perhaps others with relatives or
friends whose families have been affected by this misfortune. The Bishop
expressed the opinion that emphasis should be given to the spirit of forgiveness
reflected in the example of Jesus as we extend the invitation to accept that
forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.
In any congregation listening to a sermon there may be some who would be open
to the suggestion that they encourage people in these situations to make an
appointment to speak to a priest (not necessarily of their own parish) about
this problem before receiving the Sacrament of Penance. This would be a
wonderful apostolate in which the Catholic laity can be helpful as priests
encourage a return to the practice of the Faith by those who have incurred the
excommunication of Canon 1398.
In the confessional or elsewhere as we priests speak to those affected by the
tragedy of abortion may we imitate the example of the gentleness of Jesus in His
conversation with the woman recalled in the Gospel of St. John (Chapter 8:
Jesus said to her: "Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?" "No
one, Lord," she replied. And Jesus said: "Neither do I condemn you. Go and now
sin no more".
Note: Women suffering from abortion can find help, and priests can find
resources for them, through the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation
and Healing, 1-800-5-WE-CARE.
Let's Face Our Fears, Part 6
We continue to address some obstacles to preaching on abortion:
1. Am I afraid of "political issues"? Is the killing of children
merely a political issue? In the moral and spiritual realm, how is abortion
different from the killing of 2 year olds? Do we have any less obligation to
speak up for our brothers and sisters before they are born than after they are
born? Does the fact that politicians talk about abortion require us to be
silent? It is amazing how the Church receives such praise for speaking up for
peace or for economic justice, which are also "political issues", but is subject
to different rules when it comes to abortion. Some clergy will be silent, saying
it is a political issue". Then, some politicians will be silent, saying it is a
"religious issue". If abortion is immoral, where do we go to say so?
Actually, abortion is many things. It is an issue of public policy, which we
have every right to shape. It is a moral issue, "the fundamental human rights
issue for all men and women of good will" (NCCB Resolution on Abortion, 1989).
It is a spiritual issue, confronting us with the challenge as to whether we will
peacefully co-exist with child-killing in our midst, or rather acknowledge God
as the Lord of Life and worship Him by defending life. If being afraid of
political issues is the problem, how much more should we fear spiritual ones, in
which the powers at war are much more awesome and the stakes much higher! But we
are priests. We do not undertake the task on human strength, but in the power
and authority of Christ. Hence, we do not let fear deter us.
2. Am I afraid of being confrontational? Being confrontational is not
the same as being uncharitable. Our Lord, who ate with sinners, also confronted
them. Love demands confrontation, because it cannot rest if the beloved is
entangled in evil. Love seeks the good of the beloved, and this means it has to
get tough at times to extricate the beloved from evil. Many think of the price
of confrontation, but forget that there is also a price to be paid for NOT
confronting. That price is that evil continues to flourish, relationships become
shallow and superficial, and true leadership vanishes because the leader is no
longer able to point out the right path, and will eventually lose the respect of
those who look to him for guidance.
3. Do I see the abortion issue as a lost cause and therefore a waste of
time? Abortion is a brand new cause every day. The cause is the life that is
threatened TODAY, the life that can be saved today. Each day in our country the
abortion "issue" is really 4400 "issues" -- real human children who have never
died before and who are scheduled for death. Each day it is a new tragedy,
demanding a new response. A lost cause? Why? Because we are no longer allowed to
speak up for the defenseless? Because we can no longer love the mothers of these
children and provide help for them? Because we can no longer help people see the
truth about how evil abortion is? Because we do not have God on our side?
Because a government that abandons its responsibility to defenseless children
has the last and definitive word? No, not for a minute is this a waste of time.
We have no reason and no right to declare this cause lost. It is not a question
of "pro-life" winning or "pro-choice" winning. The fact is that if pro-life
doesn't win, NOBODY wins! We are talking about the very existence of human
civilization! The error of declaring certain categories of people to be
"non-persons" has occurred before in history (Nazi Germany, slavery, etc.) and
has been corrected. It can, must, and will be corrected again. To resolve
anything less is not simply to abandon a "cause"; it is to commit suicide.
4. Am I afraid that in addressing abortion I am allowing a "personal
agenda" to intrude into the liturgy? If defending innocent children from
death and reaching out in practical charity to help pregnant women in need is
simply a "personal agenda," then what is the Church's agenda? Can it possibly
NOT include this?
5. Am I uncertain about the credibility of the teaching itself? All
the teachings of the Church hold together in an indivisible, living unity. We
will not see the full "credibility" of any of the teachings if we isolate them
from the whole, or eclipse the others. Is it difficult at times to observe the
teaching on abortion? Certainly. But we also have teachings about grace, about
the power of God, about dying to ourselves, about union with Christ, about
practical charity. The teaching is very credible, and will be so to our people
if we present it as part of a clear, vigorous exposition of the entire Catholic
faith, with no distortions or omissions, and if we place it in the context of a
life marked by charity, compassion, and deep holiness.
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