Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 5, Number 5
September - October 1995
Preaching to the Choir?"
Accept the Whole Christ
From the Pulpit to the Street
Profiles: Fr. Dominick O'Dwyer
School's Open: Time to Proclaim Life!
Homily: Abortion, the Opposite of
Same Old Issue?
Educational Points on RU-486
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
Fr. Frank with Helene,
Fr. Frank with baby Guadalupe
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
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
Fr. Frank A. Pavone
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
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
In fact, the only ones who should get nervous are those who
promote abortion, because our presence on the streets saves lives and educates
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
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
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:
Priests for Life P.O. Box 141172 Staten Island, NY 10314
(718) 980-4400 * FAX (718) 980-6515
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
(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.
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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?
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.)
[Return to top]
[PFL Previous Newsletters]