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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 5, Number 5
September - October 1995

Contents

Preaching to the Choir?"

Homily: Accept the Whole Christ 

From the Pulpit to the Street

Priest Profiles: Fr. Dominick O'Dwyer

School's Open: Time to Proclaim Life!

Homily: Abortion, the Opposite of Love

Same Old Issue?

Educational Points on RU-486

Fr. Pavone, along with the respect life co-ordinator of Orlando, Deborah Stafford Shearer, and a group of pro-lifers, were praying outside the facility. Helena, already inside, saw the peaceful prayers, and then saw the Roman collar, and said to herself, "There's a priest out there! What am I doing?!" She came back out, refused the abortion, received the help of local pro-lifers, and gave birth to Guadalupe. Fr. Pavone baptized the baby on August 6, 1995.

Fr. Frank baptizes baby Guadalupe

Photo: Fr. Frank baptizes baby Guadalupe (21120 bytes)

Fr. Frank with Helene,
Guadalupe's mother

Photo: Fr. Frank with Helene, Guadalupe's mother (19778 bytes)

Fr. Frank with baby Guadalupe

Photo: Fr. Frank holding Guadlupe (22155 bytes)

From the Director

"PREACHING TO THE CHOIR?"

 

My Brother Priests,

If we talk about abortion to our Sunday and daily Mass congregations, are we preaching to the choir?

In my first parish, someone told me, "Father, we aren't the ones who need to hear this. It's the people out there, who never come to Church, who really need to hear it." I answered, "Then go tell them." The person responded, "I don't know how." I said, "That's exactly why I preach about it so much!"

If people in our congregations know abortion is wrong, that is all the more reason to preach about it, in order to equip, empower, and encourage them to go out and change the rest of society! After all, these are the people most likely to do so! Preaching to the "choir" is as necessary as a choir rehearsal, so that the choir can then go out and sing the pro-life song to the rest of the world!

Furthermore, without practice the choir may forget the song. Every day, our people are hearing pro-abortion propaganda. They need us to counteract the lies and slogans on a regular basis.

When we say, "The Mass is ended; go in peace," we are not saying, "Please leave so we can lock the doors." We are saying, "Go! Bring to the world the truth and grace you have received here. Transform the world into the Kingdom of Christ!" We are giving the laity the commission which the Lord Himself gives them by baptism and confirmation (see Vatican II, Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, no. 3). Continue to nourish them with the pro-life message, so they can in turn nourish a starving world!

I am inspired as I meet so many of you in my travels through the country. I see so much fidelity and perseverance in bearing witness to the sanctity of life! It reminds me of what Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, that the world is tearing up the photos of what it means to be human, but the Church is keeping the negatives. Indeed, the day will come when the world will grow weary of its love affair with death, and will return to the truth. Let us be ready to present it!

Sincerely,

Fr. Frank A. Pavone

National Director

 

Homily: ACCEPT THE WHOLE CHRIST

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 us.

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.

 

 

From the Pulpit to the Street

Some people get nervous about taking the pro-life message to the streets.

In fact, the only ones who should get nervous are those who promote abortion, because our presence on the streets saves lives and educates the public.

Priests for Life encourages peaceful, legal street activity done in full co-operation with local authorities. We are grateful for the words of our bishops in their most recent document, "Faithful for Life: A Moral Reflection" (Fall, 1995) in which they say, "When those who adhere to a belief in the sacredness of life express that belief publicly by their words, public witness, and peaceful protest, we bishops are heard among them - as we have been heard on workers' rights, and civil rights, and in the struggle for peace - urging prayerful, nonviolent and even exemplary witness that respects every single human life."

That witness takes on a special dimension in October as communities throughout the nation take part in "Life Chain," a peaceful presence on the streets whereby people stand side by side, facing the street, and holding signs that say "Abortion Kills Children" and "Abortion Hurts Women," as well as several other sayings. The Life Chains last from one to two hours. Prayers are said during that time. No streets or sidewalks are blocked; rather, those passing by see a public expression of pro-life conviction. Life Chains can be big or small, can be held in front of the Church or along any public street. Just choose a day or time, notify the local police, and publicize it.

We especially encourage use of the "Abortion Hurts Women" sign. Many people who know abortion kills babies think it should still be legal "for the good of the woman." They forget that abortion is no good for the woman. We need to remind them.

Call to order Life Chain signs at 619-569-6644 (California distributor).

 

How often should I preach on Abortion?

May we answer with another question? If 4400 five-year old children were being legally killed in America every day, how often would you preach about that? Is abortion any better?

 

A Priests for Life Invitation

Priests for Life is an officially approved Catholic association of priests, deacons, and auxiliary members of the laity. Members make a special commitment to spread the Church's teachings on the sanctity of every human life from fertilization to natural death. Members benefit from contact with others throughout the country who have a similar commitment and much experience.

Priests for Life works closely with diocesan respect life co-ordinators and in accordance with local diocesan policies. The Board of Directors serve the organization with the permission of their Ordinaries.

Please join by sending us the following information:

 

Name__________________________________________

Address_______________________________________

City/State/Zip___________________________________

Diocese_______________________________________

Parish_________________________________________

Phone__________________________________________

Fax____________________________________________

E-Mail_________________________________________

 Priests for Life P.O. Box 141172 Staten Island, NY 10314

(718) 980-4400 * FAX (718) 980-6515

 

  

Priest Profiles:

Fr. Dominick O'Dwyer

Priests for Life is happy to highlight the pro-life work of another of our members, Fr. Dominick O'Dwyer (Archdiocese of Miami; class of 1966). Fr. O'Dwyer is pastor of St. Malachy Church in Tamarac, Florida. He is well known in his area for championing the pro-life cause.

Shortly after becoming pastor, Fr. O'Dwyer was asked what would be done with the old rectory building. Some parishioners suggested that it be used as a home for unwed mothers and their babies.

Fr. O'Dwyer's desire to reinforce the Church's teaching on abortion with the offer of practical assistance led him to say yes to this idea. The house now offers a place to stay for four women and their babies. Under the umbrella of the Catholic Community Services, these women receive counseling, job placement, and lots of love. This has been going on now for some seven years.

Besides the home, Fr. O'Dwyer has a billboard on top of the Church building. The board carries a pro-life sign which varies regularly. It is lit at night, so many people driving by can see the pro-life message.

Each year, St. Malachy's holds a "Salute to Life" luncheon and invites a national pro-life leader to address and encourage the local pro-lifers. (Fr. Pavone was the guest speaker last spring.)

Thank you, Fr. O'Dwyer, for your constant pro-life leadership! Thank you for being one of the many priests for life!!

 

School's Open: Time to Proclaim Life!

One is never too young to learn that life is precious. Children are very open to the pro-life message, and the new school year provides countless opportunities to proclaim the message. Here are three simple suggestions:

(1) Children LOVE the "Precious Feet" pin, that shows the exact shape and size of the baby's feet only 10 weeks after conception. These pins can be purchased from Heritage House (1-800-858-3040) and made available to the children. Selling the pins can prove to be a good fundraiser for the school. Consult Heritage House.

(2) Pro-life essay/poster contests can produce inspiring results. Have winning essays read in Church or put in the bulletin. Display winning posters in the Church vestibule. One poster from such a contest said, "Jesus did this so we wouldn't do this." On the left side of the page was Jesus on the cross. On the right was a baby on the cross.

(3) Have someone give a presentation on the pro-life movement to the school faculty, to assist them in dealing with questions that arise regarding abortion, euthanasia, and related issues.

 

Homily:

Abortion, the Opposite of Love

"Love" is probably the most misused, abused, and confused word in the English language. We use it to say, "I love ice cream. I love my dog. I love my friend. I love my mother. I love my wife. I love God." These all mean somewhat different things. The word "love" is further used to describe some actions that are not very good at all, like adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts.

A wise man was once asked, "If you could do whatever you wished, what would you do?" He replied, "I would restore words to their original meaning." Can we recover the original meaning of the word "love"?

Scripture does it for us. St. John tells us, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us" (1Jn.3:16). To find the meaning of love, we look to God. What Christ did for us teaches us that love means self-giving. He gave Himself away on the cross, that we might live. Every Mass reminds us of this, as He again says, "This is My Body given up for you; this is My Blood, shed for you." These are the words of self-giving; these are the words of love.

Are these not also the words that every mother and father is called to say to his/her child? "This is my body, my blood, my time, my resources, my life, given for you!"

Abortion is exactly the opposite of love. Love says, "I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person." Abortion says, "I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself."

The dynamic of abortion is reversed in our society by the dynamic of love. We teach the mother how to love the child she carries, and how to sacrifice herself for that child. We furthermore sacrifice our own time, resources, and lives to defend our youngest brothers and sisters.

Some say we "should not interfere" because a woman's choice of abortion is "none of our business." Is it any of our business that people are dying of starvation, or overdosing on drugs, or dying of AIDS, or being attacked on the street or abused at home? Is that any of our business, or should we "not interfere" and let people do whatever they choose?

Of course it is our business, because it is the business of love. Love says that whenever another human being is in danger or in need, we will help them, and if we cannot help them, we will at least speak up for them. But we certainly cannot ignore them.

Why is abortion different? Why should we think ourselves exempt from the response love demands for the youngest members of our human family, and for their parents who need our support?

The pro-life movement is a movement of love. If it isn't, then it is nothing at all. But if it is, then nothing will stop it, for "Love is stronger than death, more powerful even than hell" (Song of Songs 8:6). Even than abortion.

 

From Father Heyd

As of the end of July, I would like to inform our Priests for Life membership that I will be stepping down as Associate National Director of Priests for Life because of new responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Chicago; however, I will continue to be on the Board of Directors along with Fathers Frank Pavone and Richard Hogan. I will continue to head Priests for Life in Chicago. Thank you and God bless you.

--Fr. Jim Heyd

 

Same Old Issue?

It may bother some people that so much attention is given to the "same old issue" that we've been hearing about for over two decades: abortion.

It is not the same old issue. The 4400 babies who died today from abortion never died before. It is a brand new issue, a brand new tragedy, and it demands new concern, new compassion, and a renewed response.

Would we refuse to pray for new earthquake victims at Mass simply because there have been earthquakes before? The point is not that an earthquake is an earthquake; the point is that new people suffer, people who deserve our attention. Why is it somehow different when it comes to little children?

 

Educational Outreach

Priests for Life continues to develop educational material for the pro-life movement, including challenges to young people to be chaste and to defend life, explanations of how the Church's doctrines on the Blessed Virgin Mary relate to our pro-life commitment, and retreat reflections on the themes raised in the Pope's encyclical, The Gospel of Life.

 

EDUCATIONAL POINTS ON RU-486

By Fr. Frank Pavone
International Director
Priests for Life

Those pushing RU-486 are hoping to have it available in the United States sometime in 1996. It is currently in the process of testing and approval. There are some basic things we and our congregations need to know about it.

1. It is not completely accurate to call RU-486 an abortion "pill." It is, rather, a technique involving a combination of powerful synthetic steroids and arrangements for possible back-up surgery. RU-486 must be taken in conjunction with prostaglandins, which induce uterine contractions. In countries where it is used, women must agree to have a surgical abortion in the cases where this drug technique does not succeed in aborting the baby.

2. If RU-486 is permitted, it will increase the numbers of abortions and of abortion providers. The American people believe there are too many abortions as it is.

3. RU-486 has been known to harm and kill women. Its long-range effects on women and their born children are still unknown. They won't be known until at least a generation has passed. The New Republic in a 1986 article said that the entire first generation of users will be the guinea pigs. We may be dealing with a chemical time-bomb.

4. RU-486 has no proven purpose or benefit except to kill a developing child in the womb. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, upon investigating other claimed benefits of the drug, says that those claims are built on very shaky scientific ground.

5. RU-486 does not privatize or simplify abortion. In countries where it is used, multiple visits to the facility are required. The drug is not taken home, but administered only on the premises, where emergency medical equipment is ready to deal with side-effects. The woman must return 48 hours later to take the prostaglandin. Another visit is required to verify that the child is in fact gone.

6. Where does the child go? The RU-486 process makes this an open question. The child may be expelled at any time, any place, and the mother is more likely to see her tiny, dead baby. Edouard Sakiz, as president of the Roussel-Uclaf company that made the drug, says that using it is "an appalling psychological ordeal. It is not at all easy to use."

7. RU-486 will not replace all surgical abortions. One reason is that it can only be used in a small window of the pregnancy (5-7 weeks, or at most 5-9 weeks). In France, furthermore, only 25-30% of women seeking abortion choose the RU-486 method.

8. A major boycott of the companies associated with RU-486 has been launched by a coalition of pro-life groups. Furthermore, Dr. Richard Glasow has been hired by the Life Issues Institute to work full-time on the RU-486 issue. For more information on the issue or the boycott, contact Life Issues Institute 1721 W. Galbraith Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45239 Ph. 513-729-3600. Priests for Life also has a new video on RU-486, available for a $7 donation.

Let us educate ourselves and our people on this added threat to women and children. One nurse who took part in RU-486 testing saw the surgical dishes with the expelled embryos, and said, "It was like looking at a little row of people...It was very upsetting...I hope I never, never have to do it again." Don't we all?

 

Attention, Members:

If you are a priest or a deacon and have not filled out your Priests for Life Commitment pledge, please do so. Let us know if you need another copy (it was sent to members by mail.)

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Priests for Life
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