Fr. Pavone responds to State Sen. Schneiderman

Fr. Frank Pavone

Document Publication: Staten Island Advance - Staten Island, NY

Publication Date: May 19, 2001

Dear Editor,

If you read Senator Eric Schneiderman's letter about me, published in the May 17 issue, you see a classic example of how abortion-supporters deal with the abortion issue.

First of all, they use the same tactics that were used against Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the struggle to end segregation. He was accused of inciting violence, despite his very strong public articulation of non-violence. Yet as he pointed out, when there is injustice in the land, it needs to be exposed rather than hidden.

Priests for Life very successfully exposes the violence of abortion, and that's what makes people like Senator Schneiderman nervous. After all, either he succeeds in painting people like me as supporters of violence, or he stands exposed as one who supports an act of violence that goes by the euphemism of "freedom to choose."

A second favorite tactic of today's abortion-rights leaders is to attribute to an entire movement the guilt of a misguided few. The Senator mentions the "record" of violent acts committed against abortion clinics and their staff. Without hesitation, he then assumes that these are acts of the "anti-abortion movement." Apparently he is unaware that acts of violence have been carried out against abortion clinics by abortionists themselves and by disgruntled patients.

Closely following upon the general smear tactic is the tactic of "guilt by association." I have condemned violence in the strongest, clearest terms possible. But wait -- some of the people I know have been accused of promoting violence. See! I am not really sincere. This reminds me of an objection once raised to someone who ate with tax collectors and sinners.

Finally, the Senator is troubled by my statement that "breaking a law of trespass to prevent killing is perfectly justified." Does this mean that if he saw a child drowning in a swimming pool, he would stay away from the pool because of a "No Trespassing" sign?

I am a Catholic priest, and it is therefore my job to articulate the teachings of the Catholic Faith. I cannot imagine that anyone would expect any less of me. Sometimes those teachings are quite upsetting to others, especially in an age of abortion-on-demand. Yet what is ultimately at stake here is the freedom of religion, and the freedom to bear public testimony to its moral teachings. Senator Schneiderman's attacks on me constitute an attack on all priests, on all Catholics, and on our freedom. And thus do those who claim to be "pro-choice" contradict themselves.


Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: