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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 6, Number 5
September - October 1996 

easternorthodoxv6n5.jpg (43490 bytes)Contents

The Biggest March Ever!

Religious Items

Abortion: The Inside Story

Homily Hints

Associate Director Visits New Orleans Chapter

Office Intentions

Priests for Life Announces: "FIRSTDAY PROJECT"

Partial Birth Abortion Tape

Leaders Endorse Our Work

My Body

Get Out And Vote

Reminders

 

The Biggest March Ever! 

Wednesday, January 22, 1997: Mark your calendars for Washington, D.C., where it is time to have the biggest March for Life we have ever had! It doesn’t matter how long we have been marching. What matters is that babies are scheduled to be killed today and tomorrow. This is a new tragedy that demands a new response and a new call to our government to do what it was established to do: to secure the God-given right to life! Call 202-LIFE-377.

Religious Items

Priests for Life recommends to all clergy and laity members the work of Al Brown Photo, a small, family-run business which produces handcrafted religious cards, as well as beautiful back-lit transparencies of stained glass windows. These images are ideally suited for the home, chapel or church, and are available at a fraction of the cost of genuine stained glass. For more information, write to : Al Brown Photo, 3597 N. Roberts Road, Bardstown, KY 40004.

Abortion: The Inside Story

"God....has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and given us the Ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:18).

Priests for Life has been privileged to extend the hand of reconciliation to a number of people who used to perform and promote abortion. Actually, hundreds are leaving the abortion industry and discovering the Lord Jesus Christ through His Church.

How does someone get into the abortion industry, and what makes them decide to leave? Hear the powerful testimonies on the videotape Abortion: The Inside Story, produced by Joe Scheidler’s Pro-life Action League and available from Priests for Life for $19.95. Call to order 888-PFL-3448.

Homily Hints

The Trinity, Grace, and Abortion

Homilies can be developed along several lines of thought by examining some aspects of the doctrines of the Trinity and Grace, and comparing them to the evil of abortion. This shows why abortion is unalterably opposed to the very foundations of the Gospel, and at the same time points a way to the solution to this problem.

The New Testament reveals the fact that the Persons of the Trinity have an intimate sharing of life with each other, and that furthermore, that life is passed on to us in a manner in some way comparable to what happens in the Trinity. In John 17: 20-23 we read, "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me."

The Trinity exhibits the ultimate realities of union and self-giving, which then, not by necessity but by God’s free decision, overflow into our lives. We are caught up in the life of the Trinity, the life of Grace. The Father loves us as He loves the Son. The Son commands us to love one another as He loves us (see Jn. 15: 12).

Just as the Father shows Himself to the Son, the Son reveals the Father to us. We read in Matthew 11: 27: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him." This knowledge, of course, is the eternal life (see Jn. 17: 3) which is Christ Himself.

The Lord makes the same connection when He speaks of the Eucharist in John 6: 57: "Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me."

The Holy Spirit is sent by both the Father and the Son. "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth" (Jn. 14: 16-17). "If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you" (Jn. 16: 7). He is sent by the Father and the Son because He proceeds from them both. The giving of the Spirit to us in history reflects the Trinitarian life of God beyond history.

So it is, in different degrees, with all creation Psalm 19 tells us, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Ps.19: 1). St. Paul teaches that God’s existence and basic attributes can be known by an examination of what He has made (see Rom. 1:19-20).

The natural relationship between father, mother, and child reflects God’s love and life. (We almost need new language to speak about this because having heard it so often, it takes extra effort to penetrate its meaning.) Marriage, parenting, and family life are strong and healthy when the members of the family give themselves away in love. Self-giving love gives life on a natural level, just as we have seen is true on a supernatural level.

Abortion contradicts this dynamic directly. Rather than a self-giving dynamic which fosters life, it is a self-asserting dynamic which fosters death. It does not and can never reflect the realities of grace and the Trinity. This is another reason why a "pro-choice Christian" is a total contradiction.

It is necessary to re-introduce into a culture of death the dynamic reflected in God Himself: to build a culture in which we give ourselves away in love. It is not enough to teach that abortion destroys a baby (though this is an essential message). We need to also teach that it destroys the very thing pro-choicers claim to defend: one’s personal fulfillment and pursuit of happiness. In claiming they have their "rights" and "choices," they have forgotten why. The "why" must be re-discovered, as those who can sacrifice themselves for others reach out to save these babies and concretely assist their moms and dads in need. That is the dynamic of the pro-life movement. That is also the reflection of what God Himself does. He who gives Himself away for us made us in order that we might give ourselves away for one another and for Him. That is why we have our freedom, and that is the only road to fulfillment.

 

Associate Director Visits New Orleans Chapter

Fr. Richard Hogan

On Saturday, June 8th, I flew from Minneapolis-St. Paul to New Orleans. I was met by Fr. Lance Campo who is the associate pastor at Immaculate Conception parish in Marrero, LA. Immaculate Conception is a very large parish with a parish grade school of nine hundred children and a parish high school of five hundred.

During my homily, I emphasized the lies behind the slogan "pro-choice." Every single time the mildest restriction is proposed in a legislature on abortion, someone will claim that the proposed law is "opposed to choice" or will "limit choice!" What nonsense! Choice is an act of the will. The will is an internal and autonomous power of the soul which no one controls except the individual. Aside from the individual, only God could possibly directly move the will, and He will never do that because that would be tantamount to taking personhood away from someone. We are persons because we have minds and wills. There is no way that an external reality (such as a civil law) can directly control choice. Otherwise the whole concept of civil disobedience through appeal to a higher law or power would be impossible. It would be impossible to ever make a choice against any law, including the commandments -- which we do every day by sin.

I also tried to underline the other lie behind the "choice" argument: that all I have to do is choose something and it is right. The pro-choice argument holds that any one of us can create our own reality simply by choosing something. The pro-choicers argue that it is choice that makes things right or wrong. If a woman chooses to have a baby while she is pregnant, that is right because SHE CHOSE IT. If she chooses to kill the child, that is also right because SHE CHOSE IT. If such a principle is followed to its logical conclusion, we would all become gods creating our own realities simply by choosing them. After mentioning how abortion hurts women, I concluded by asking the people to pray, to tell everyone they knew about the help for women through crisis pregnancy centers, to tell everyone about the mercy of the Church available to all Catholics in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to vote pro-life, and to support the work of the pro-life movement.

Fr. Lance and Fr. Al both commented on the homily (the pastor was out of town) and the people received it very well. While the schools were already closed for the summer, I was able to give a talk one evening to the pro-life group at Immaculate Conception. Fr. Campo is the chaplain to this group. The talk was on the Gospel of Life and its four central themes of the loss of the sense of God, the modern problem of understanding the proper relationship between freedom and truth, the problem of suffering, and the opposition between the culture of death and the culture of life. Even though the attendance was small, everyone there was very committed to the pro-life movement. More and more it is clear that the pro-life movement will prevail if we have people absolutely firm in their pro-life positions. The level of commitment to the effort is much more important than large numbers who are only marginally convinced of the truth of this war for the unborn. Of course, as we all know, the numbers of committed pro-lifers is growing.

One of the highpoints of my visit to New Orleans was meeting with the Priests For Life chapter. It is very well organized. On this occasion, the meeting was at St. Leo’s and chaired by the pastor, Fr. Roger Swenson. There were about ten priests present, about half the total membership -- that is rather impressive for the beginning of summer. The chapter sponsors life chain and other activities. They also occasionally draft letters as a PFL chapter commenting on various developments.

It is always uplifting to find PFL priests working in their own assignments to promote the work of pro-life. Let us all pray for all the priest around the country who are working, sometimes without recognition, for the pro-life movement.

Office Intentions

Priest for Life is grateful to Fr. John Owens from the Diocese of Bismarck, ND, for his suggestion that priests offer a special pro-life intention for each month while praying the Liturgy of the Hours. We will publicize the suggested intentions in our newsletter, and welcome your input.

September intention:

"That all of those who have submitted themselves to an abortion will seek reconciliation and peace for themselves and their family."

October intention:

"That political leaders who make laws affecting "LIFE ISSUES" will dwell on the many ramifications of bad laws and the denial of God’s dominion over life."

 

Priests for Life Announces: "FIRSTDAY PROJECT"

Every pro-lifer knows the answer to the question, "When does life begin?" It begins, of course, at fertilization -- that is simply high school biology.

Why, then, don’t we celebrate the beginning of our lives when they actually began?

It has been the growing conviction of a number of pro-life leaders that the practice of "Firstday" or "Lifeday" observances should be held, celebrating the actual beginning of one’s life, nine months before one’s birthday.

In fact, Life Expressions (1/800/736-LIFE) has even begun selling "Firstday" greeting cards!

It’s only logical! It may even make some people think! And it can be fun -- let the celebration begin!

 

Partial Birth Abortion Tape

Priests for Life is offering a one-hour audio tape, "The Partial-Birth Abortion Controversy: An Overview." (It may be obtained from us for $4.00). In this talk you will hear the reason why this method of abortion has received so much attention, and why that attention has helped the pro-life cause. You will hear what pro-lifers have done to stop this procedure, and what some have said and done to actually defend it.

Every direct abortion is equally wrong, and every pre-born child is equally deserving of protection. The partial birth abortion, however, has made an unusually effective psychological impact on the general public. If we respond effectively, we may be able to harness the energy of that impact to restore a sense of reverence for all life.

Ask for our tape today! (Orders: 888-PFL-3448 )

 

Leaders Endorse Our Work!

Our seminars have been very successful. For example, we have received the following endorsements among others:

"I feel confident in saying that, after 25 years of involvement in the battle for the sanctity of life, the seminar that features Father Frank Pavone is among the most helpful and informative....using common sense insights and theological principles, Father Pavone’s message crosses denominational, social and political lines."

Dr. Jean Garton, Litt. D.
Founder, Lutherans for Life

"The response to your message was tremendous. In fact, never before have we had a uniformly positive response to anyone speaking to the entire priestly community here in our diocese. This is a first!"

Kent Peters, Director
Office for the Social Apostolate
Diocese of Duluth, MN

 

"MY BODY"

  Some say,

"This is my body. I will control it, even if the baby must die."

The Lord says,

"This is My Body, given up for you, that you may have life."

Priests for Life has an audio tape and brochure which develops this powerful comparison.

(Order them from us for only $4.)

We even had DANA, the famous Irish singer, write a song about it!

 Get Out and Vote!

"Every citizen ought to be mindful of his right and his duty to promote the common good by using his vote." (Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #75).

"As citizens we need to face our own public responsibilities: to register and vote, to understand issues and assess candidates’ positions and qualifications; and to join with others in advocating for the common good." (US Bishops, Political Responsibility, 1995).

Reminders

* In 1997 we will begin our new training seminars for priests. We will come to your city. Call us for more information.

* December 9 is the National Night of Prayer for Life. Let your parish take part! Call 516-234-6921.

* Visit our website http://www.priestsforlife.org. We will post information for you about state or diocesan pro-life news and resources.

 

 

Board of Advisors of Priests for Life

His Eminence Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo

Most Reverend Charles J Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., D.D.

Most Reverend George Lynch, D.D.

Most Reverend James D. Niedergeses, D.D.

Most Reverend John Francis Donoghue, D.D.

Most Reverend John Quinn Weitzel, M., D.D.

Most Reverend Francis Quinn

Most Reverend Albert H. Ottenweller, D.D., S.T.L.

Most Reverend Daniel E. Sheehan, D.D., J.C.D.

Most Reverend James C. Timlin, D.D.

Most Reverend James S. Sullivan, D.D.

Most Reverend John J. Myers, D.D.,J.C.D.

Most Reverend Juan Fremiot Torres, D.D.

Most Reverend Rene H. Gracida, D.D.

Most Reverend Paul Donovan

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Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org