Welcome, Fr. Hogan!
Dear Brother Priests,
I am happy to inform you that Fr. Richard Hogan of the
Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has been given permission by his bishop to
work full-time with Priests for Life. This will greatly assist me and the entire
association as membership continues to grow and as speaking invitations arrive
literally every day in our office!
Fr. Hogan was ordained in 1981. He served as pastor of
Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, and among other writings has co-authored
Covenant of Love: Pope John Paul II on Sexuality, Marriage, and Family in the
Modern World. Thank you, Archbishop John Roach, for giving Fr Hogan this
appointment. Thank you, Fr. Hogan, for embracing this special apostolate!
My own travel schedule continues to be completely full, with
one or two trips a week to various parts of the country. I am grateful to the
pastors who, every weekend, have me preach at all the Masses in their parishes
and allow me to distribute to their people the Priests for Life handout, "What
We Can Do To Stop Abortion." I am grateful to the numerous pro-life groups,
crisis pregnancy centers, K of C councils, radio and television stations, and
high schools and colleges, that have had me speak on the pro-life message.
Central, of course, in all my travels is my contact with
priests and deacons. Recent clergy meetings have been held in St. Paul, MN,
Elyria, OH, Wichita, KS, Louisville, KY, Immaculate Conception Seminary (Seton
Hall, NJ), Norwalk, CT, Utica, NY, and numerous other places. The Archdioceses
of Newark, NJ and Philadelphia, PA, and the diocese of Syracuse, NY are among
the most recent dioceses who have officially begun the formation of Priests for
I am particularly pleased with the meetings I have had with
diocesan respect-life co-ordinators. In April I had the pleasure to speak to a
gathering of the co-ordinators from throughout New York State, at the invitation
of Msgr. Jim Lisante.
The Catholic papers, furthermore, have been most cooperative
in printing the materials we send them every month. (When you see items
published, we appreciate your sending a copy to our office.)
Pro-life retreats are another welcome activity. They give
pro-lifers a chance to refresh themselves in the spiritual foundations of their
pro-life work. Fr. Michael Mannion, who coordinated the annual Come Aside
Retreats, invited me to preach this year's retreat from July 7-9.
I am grateful for all that you do for the cause of life! God
Fr. Frank Pavone
It is necessary to more frequently address the problem of
euthanasia from the pulpit. Although there are more moral complexities here than
in the abortion problem, it is possible to make important distinctions and
exhortations within the parameters of a homily.
One of the key pastoral elements here is to deal with the
fear of pain and suffering. On the one hand we need to realize that
pro-euthanasia forces play on the fear of "unmanageable pain." The reality is
that modern medicine is quite capable of managing pain, and we need to reassure
people of that. At the same time we need to counteract the notion that suffering
is meaningless. We need to rediscover for ourselves, and preach to our people,
that our sufferings can be joined to those of Christ for the salvation of the
world, and that the suffering of others provide an occasion for care,
compassion, and love Were suffering meaningless, then Christ on the cross would
be an absurdity. Just as it is a contradiction for a follower of Christ to be
"pro-choice," so is it a contradiction for a follower of Christ to consider
Considerations of the value of medical treatments,
furthermore, must focus on the effectiveness or uselessness of the treatment
rather than on the effectiveness or uselessness of the person's life. An
inability to be productive or interactive does not reduce a person's value.
People never become "vegetables." The denial of a treatment should be the
judgment, "This treatment does not provide any benefit to this person." It
should not be the judgment, "This person does not provide any benefit to
society." These are two very different judgments which are too often mistaken
for one another.
Pregnancy: She is not "expecting" a
When a woman is pregnant, people often say she is "expecting
a child" or is "going to have a baby" or is "going to be a mother." We all use
these expressions from force of habit, and using them has no reflection on the
strength of our pro-life convictions.
Nevertheless, may I suggest that we no longer use these
phrases. They do not accurately describe what is happening.
A woman who is pregnant is not "expecting" a child. She
already has one. The child exists, is living and growing in her womb. She is not
about to bring the child "into the world." The child is already in the world.
The mother's womb is as much in the world as the mother herself.
The pregnant woman is not "going to be" a mother. She already
is a mother. By saying she is "going to be" a mother, we inadvertently reinforce
the notion that motherhood begins at birth. This reinforces the idea that the
child really is a child only at birth.
A pregnant woman is fully a mother. She does not have "half"
a child, or a child "on the way." The child is here, already in the world, fully
unique and in possession of the same dignity as every other person.
If our language reflects this reality, we will help the world
to understand that children in the womb are indeed members of the human family
--- right here and now!
Homily: ACCEPT THE WHOLE
By: Fr. Frank A. Pavone
Suppose that at Mass today, someone came up to receive
Communion and, when the priest said, "The Body of Christ," the communicant took
the Host, broke a piece off, and gave it back to the priest saying, "Amen,
Father, except this piece." This would not make sense, and we would be rightly
shocked. When we accept Christ, we accept the whole Christ.
To accept the whole Christ also means we accept all His
brothers and sisters. If we accept Christ, we also accept all those whom He
accepts. This is true even when those He accepts do not seem so acceptable to
us. Maybe they're different. Maybe they're annoying. Maybe they have offended
Or maybe they're just too small. A whole group in our society
today, the boys and girls in the womb, are often rejected. When their mothers
feel they cannot provide for them, many are led to abortion, without being given
other, better choices. Somehow we think we can love and accept the mother while
rejecting her child. Why do we do this? Christ accepts them both; Christ loves
them both. Why can't we? Why can't our society?
To accept Christ means to accept the whole Christ, to accept
and love all those He loves. If we support abortion, we are rejecting those whom
Christ loves, and in that respect, are rejecting Christ Himself! It is like
breaking off part of the Host and giving it back!
Love and acceptance are not always as easy and pleasant as
they sound. If we truly love our neighbor, we will begin doing more to eliminate
abortion. We never eliminate problems by eliminating people. We never serve
women by destroying their children. We never improve society by rejecting
society's future members. We never build up the Body of Christ by killing
Christ's future disciples. Yes, there is an alternative to abortion. It's
love...love that accepts and nurtures not only some people, but all. Amen.
Keep Reminding Your People
There are 4400 abortions daily in the USA, one every 20
seconds, through all 9 months of pregnancy.
EWTN Series Extended
EWTN will repeat the entire Defending Life 13-part
series on abortion during the months of August, Sept. and Oct., 1995. Times
(Eastern) are Mondays 1:30 a.m., Tuesdays 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays 11 p.m. and
Thursdays 6:00 a.m.
WEWN shortwave radio broadcasts an extended version (26
parts) of this series, and will also air another series by Fr. Pavone addressing
those who call themselves "Catholic" but "decide for themselves" what is right
and wrong. Don't miss it! Call 205-672-7200 for program details.
It's short notice, but the Apostolate for Family
Consecration, together with Priest's for Life, will offer a retreat for priests
from September 18-22, 1995 in Bloomingdale, OH. The focus will be Pope John
Paul's encyclical The Gospel of Life. Fr. Pavone, Fr. Hogan, and Jerry Coniker
will speak. Cost is $115. Call 1-800-FOR-MARY.
Here's the deal. You arrange to have a pro-life video
educational presentation at your parish or school, and Project Truth will
provide you with one of several top-quality pro-life videos free of charge. Call
Vicki at 201-947-3090.
New Priests for Life Audio Tape
"The Holy Spirit and Abortion." In this very scriptural talk,
Fr. Pavone explores why belief in the Holy Spirit demands a strong, active
opposition to abortion. Please order the tape by sending $4.50 to Priests for
Abortion: Ask the Right Questions
People do not merely give different answers to the question
of abortion. They ask entirely different questions, often without recognizing
the difference. Distinguishing the questions is a key point in pro-life
education and preaching.
The reasons many give in support of abortion, and the reasons
many obtain abortions, focus on the question, "Should she have another child?"
Issues such as partner support, maturity, and resources are discussed. When we
say "no abortion," they hear us saying, "Have a child no matter what." They
conclude we are unrealistic or insensitive to the real-life plight of the woman.
But the question here is NOT, "Should she have another
child?" Our answer to that question can sometimes be "no." The Church
acknowledges that there can be circumstances---medical, financial, and
social---in which a person should not have another child. (See Vatican II,
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #50). That concrete
decision, furthermore, is made not by Church or State, but by those who would
become the parents. (Such decisions must accord with objective reasons and with
the moral law. Contraception as immoral in all cases.)
The question at issue in abortion is not, "Should she have a
child?" If she is pregnant, she already has a child. The child exists.
He, she, is living and growing. There is no longer a question about whether this
child will come into existence. The only honest question or choice left at this
point is, "Will this child be cared for or will this child be killed?" That is
the question. While we can sometimes say that circumstances dictate not having
another child, we can never say that circumstances dictate killing a child.
Unless people distinguish the question of "having a child"
from "killing a child you have," they will not even begin honestly evaluating
abortion, and will argue past each other. Unless we distinguish these questions
in our preaching, people will not understand our real message. We are in fact
very sensitive to circumstances such as immaturity, or lack of resources to
raise a child.
Were the child born, however, would the problems of
immaturity or lack of resources disappear the day after birth? Yet on that day,
even the "pro-choice" person can see that killing the child is not justified.
What makes abortion different? What is the difference between killing the child
before or after birth to solve the problems? It's the same woman, the same
problems, the same child. There is no difference in reality. There is only a
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Help save babies by signing up with LifeLine today.
We invite bishops, offices of Continuing Education for
clergy, offices of the permanent diaconate, and seminaries to host a seminar for
clergy on abortion. You may request our free brochure which outlines the
seminars we offer. They can vary in length and in the particular aspect of
abortion they focus on.
After a speech, Pro-Life activist Penny Lea was approached by
an old man.
"I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered
myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the
stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this
country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really
taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?
A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday
morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the
wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed
cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train
was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!
Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread
to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin
to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We
could do nothing to help those poor miserable people, yet their screams
tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we
decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start
singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we
were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears,
we'd just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have
passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train
whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all
of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene."
A brochure, "Sing a Little Louder," is available from
Heritage House, 1-800-858-3040.