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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 5, Number 2
March - April 1995

Photo: Priests for Life at the March for Life (23878 bytes)Contents

I Could Smell the Babies Burning

Priests for Life: Active in Wichita

Living Wills

"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 3, 1993.

Joy Davis with priests (18981 bytes)Joy 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, 312-777-2900.

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 encourage them.

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
National Director



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 Life."

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 321-500-1000.

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 audiotape T2.)


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, KS 67208.


Living Wills

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. Frank Pavone.

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: 10-11):

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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