In August of 1997, Fr. Frank Pavone taped the third set of the
Defending Life television series at the studios of the Eternal Word Television
Network, the world's largest religious cable network.
This set of 13 half-hour shows is an effective tool to educate the nation on
abortion, to motivate people to take the knowledge they have gained and to
become active in the pro-life movement, and to inspire and strengthen those who
are already active in defending life.
A description of the thirteen shows in the new series follows. The theme is
the tragedy of abortion. There are many life issues. The focus of Priests for
Life is abortion, which the US bishops have called "the fundamental human rights
issue of our day." Abortion claims more victims than any other tragedy, and its
victims are the most vulnerable and helpless among us.
As you will see in the description, some of the shows have guests, while
others are a teaching by Fr. Frank. A new element that has been added to every
show is a counter in the lower left of the screen, showing the number of
abortions being committed in the United States during the course of the
broadcast. The number increases by one every twenty seconds!
Another new element in many of the shows on this series is a concluding
segment in which Fr. Frank and Fr. Richard Hogan, Associate Director of Priests
for Life, share messages from other pro-life groups. Priests for Life invited
other organizations to send in a message about their mission and activities on
behalf of life. We received a great response from groups of many different
backgrounds, religious and otherwise! (We wish we could have fit all of them
Finally, many of the shows conclude with an actual close-up view, never seen
before, of a living child at only nine weeks after conception, waking up from
sleep in the womb!
Show One: Deacons for Life
In the first show, Fr. Frank interviews Deacon Keith Fournier, who has been
well known in Christian circles for his work in evangelization and ecumenism. He
is an attorney and an author, and assisted many Christians in the legal arena
through the American Center for Law and Justice.
In this segment, Fr. Frank and Deacon Fournier discuss the role of the deacon
in the Church and specifically in the pro-life movement. The diaconate is not
new. It is one of the three orders of clergy (deacon, priest, and bishop) that
have existed in the Church from the beginning. The Church is particularly
blessed to have the presence and activity of "permanent" deacons, most of whom
These men provide a special blessing to the pro-life movement. In the same
spirit by which Priests for Life has shown priests why the fight against
abortion is an integral part of their ministry, so now the association Deacons
for Life and Family will show the same to deacons.
The diaconate is a ministry of service. Deacons for Life and Family arises at
a time when, at the dawn of the third Millennium, there is a particularly urgent
need to serve the most vulnerable, whose very right to live is denied, and to
strengthen family life, whose very meaning is obscured.
By means of newsletters, conferences, educational materials, and personal
guidance and encouragement, Deacons for Life and Family will highlight the call
of the deacon to build the Culture of Life.
Show Two: The Pro-life Movement and Christian Unity
In this segment, Fr. Frank again speaks with Deacon Keith Fournier, focusing
this time on the call of the Church to ecumenism, and how that strengthens and
is strengthened by the pro-life movement.
Ecumenism is an integral aspect of Catholicism. The unity of His followers
was an explicit prayer of our Lord, and is an irrevocable goal of the Church's
activity. Ecumenism is not to be confused with a false "irenicism," which
pretends that there are no significant differences between Christian
denominations. It does, however, involve an effort to break down ignorance and
prejudice which so easily divide.
Fr. Frank and Deacon Fournier explain why the pro-life movement is the
greatest incentive for ecumenism in our lifetime, and how through the effort to
protect the unborn, including experiences of life in jail, Christians of
different denominations have discovered a new experience of unity.
They also give a word of encouragement to Christians who are in denominations
that do not hold a pro-life position: Be faithful to the truth and continue to
witness to the Culture of Life within your congregation!
Show Three: How Did We Get Into this Mess?
We know the evils in the world, including abortion. In this segment, Fr.
Frank takes us on a Scriptural journey which, from the beginning of the Bible to
the end, shows us how we arrived at the culture of death.
Scripture tells us that war broke out in heaven. The war essentially
consisted of a dispute over who is like God. That war continues on earth,
as Satan tempts us with the same lie he used in the Garden of Eden: you will
be like gods, knowing good and evil.
This is the temptation of "choice," that is, of thinking that we decide
the meaning of good and evil. In such a universe, nobody is safe if we
decide that they are not worth our love and protection.
The way out of the temptation is the way of the Lord Jesus, who humbled
himself and was obedient even unto death.
After this enlightening Scriptural lesson, Fr. Frank discusses with Fr. Hogan
the work of the following groups: American Collegians for Life, Collegians
Activated to Liberate Life (CALL), and the National Right to Life Committee.
Show Four: Where is Your Brother?
Named after one of Fr. Frank's most popular audio tapes, this show brings us
face to face with our obligations toward our brothers and sisters in the womb.
Fr. Frank compares two poems which read like exact opposites of each other.
One was written by a pro-lifer, and the other was presented at a conference of
The story of Cain and Abel then provides the context for God's question,
"Where is your brother?" It is a question that echoes through the centuries. It
was asked of the Supreme Court. It is also asked of each of us.
Fr. Frank also reflects on the meaning of "Love your neighbor as yourself,"
which provides the ultimate response to those who tell us to "mind our own
Following these reflections, Fr. Frank discusses with Fr. Hogan the work of
the following groups: Americans United for Life, Human Life International, Vida
Humana Internacional, and Libertarians for Life.
Show Five: A Pro-life Homily
This show can prove especially helpful for priests who want to know how to
preach on abortion. Fr. Frank presents here the basic elements of the pro-life
homily he has preached in every one of the 50 states: a) there are alternatives
to abortion; b) there is forgiveness after abortion; c) let us not be deceived
by pro-choice slogans.
Beyond being helpful to priests, this homily will assist those who are
confused about abortion, or who consider themselves "pro-choice," to see the
good sense of the pro-life position.
As a result of this homily, congregations around the country have responded
with applause, babies lives have been saved, priests have been encouraged to
speak out more, and pro-abortion people have been converted. One such person
told Fr. Frank after one mass, "I came in here today totally pro-abortion, but
in 10 minutes your homily changed my views completely."
After his talk, Fr. Frank discusses with Fr. Hogan the work of the following
groups: Family Research Council, The Christian Medical and Dental Society,
American Life League, The St. Antoninus Institute, and Pro-life Action
Show Six: Earth's Trash--Heaven's Treasure
Artwork can be a powerful medium for the pro-life message, as it is in this
show, in which Fr. Frank shows the viewers a painting called Earth's
He describes in detail the various features of the painting, which shows angels
picking up aborted babies from a dumpster outside an abortion mill, and then
transporting them into heaven.
In the heavenly scene, one observes a long line of angels, each holding one
baby. Each angel presents a baby to Jesus Himself, who names the child and then
releases him/her to play in heaven's playground.
The painting is very powerful, and is available from Priests for Life for
In this show, Fr. Frank also discusses with Fr. Hogan the work of the
following groups: Morality in Media, The Pope Paul VI Institute, Heritage House,
and Pro-life America.
Show Seven: The Holy Spirit and Abortion
In the Church's preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the year
1998 has been designated as a year of special reflection on and devotion to the
In this show, Fr. Frank puts our pro-life commitment in the context of what
the Church believes and teaches about the Holy Spirit. Equal to the Father and
the Son, the Holy Spirit has created all things. He is the Lord and Giver of
life. He is the Spirit of Truth, helping us to appreciate, among other things,
the value of the human person.
The Holy Spirit is the Consoler, reconciling those who are hurt by abortion.
He is also the Advocate, and as He pleads our cause in heaven, so we plead
the cause of the preborn on earth. He, the Spirit who is Love, reverses the
dynamic of abortion, which is the very opposite of love.
After these reflections, Fr. Frank discusses with Fr. Hogan the work of the
following groups: Carenet, Catholic Campaign for America, the Missouri Synod of
Lutherans, Presbyterians Pro-life, National Organization of Episcopalians for
Life (NOEL)*, and Women of Hope.
Show Eight: Reflections by Fr. Hogan
On this show, Fr. Frank Pavone speaks with Fr. Richard Hogan, the Associate
Director of Priests for Life. As a priest of the Archdiocese of St.
Paul-Minneapolis, Fr. Hogan has had the permission of his bishop since 1995 to
serve Priests for Life in a full-time capacity. He travels throughout the
country assisting the pro-life movement, and particularly the clergy, to deal
with the problems of abortion and euthanasia.
Fr. Hogan has done extensive work in the areas of catechesis, natural family
planning, and the thought of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. In this
segment, he explains how this Pope has brought about a new synthesis of the
Catholic Faith with the philosophy of our time, while neither watering down the
faith nor ignoring the way people think today.
Fr. Hogan also reflects on the question of why some priests do not preach
about abortion, and describes the reaction of people to his own pro-life
Faith for Today and Covenant of Love are two of Fr. Hogan's
books now available to the public.
Show Nine: Re-inventing the Pro-life Movement
Fr. Frank Pavone interviews Mr. Gregg Cunningham, the Founder and Director of
the Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR), about the need to re-invent the pro-life
Mr. Cunningham has been involved extensively with efforts within government
to stop abortion. He has been just as active in bioethical research and the
development of innovative projects that are yielding results which can only be
described as astonishing.
He describes the seminars offered around the country by CBR on pro-life
strategy, speaking, political action, and personal support raising for those who
wish to do full time pro-life work. Fr. Frank Pavone endorses these seminars
based on the personal experience of having taken them himself.
Listen as Gregg also shares his thoughts about silence in the Churches, and
about the need to engage people visually in order to push the abortion debate
forward in a society steeped in denial.
CBR can be reached at 818-360-2477.
Show Ten: Making Abortion Real
People will not be judged on how they felt about hunger, but on whether or
not they fed the hungry. Similarly, we will not be judged by our attitudes
regarding abortion, but by the actions we have taken to stop it.
In this segment, Fr. Frank Pavone interviews Gregg Cunningham, Director of
the Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR), about pro-life strategies that break
through the web of denial and indifference about abortion in this country.
CBR gives presentations on legal and medical campuses, and ends up with
students standing in long lines to tell the speaker that they now see the sense
of the pro-life position.
CBR has strategies for the Church, and also for the wider society, where
there is a need to bypass the "gatekeepers" who often try to shield their public
from the truth about abortion. Gregg describes the "big poster project," which
is waking people up in some unexpected public places.
Finally, he describes the actions one abortionist has taken to publicly
advertise baby killing activity at 37 weeks into pregnancy!
CBR can be reached at 818-360-2477.
Show Eleven: Jane Roe no More
In one of the most significant pro-life shows ever taped, Fr. Frank Pavone
interviews the woman who was the plaintiff in the US Supreme Court's abortion
decision Roe vs. Wade, Norma McCorvey.
She reveals, "I was desperately ashamed of being Jane Roe." She tells how,
while working in an abortion facility which was next to a pro-life office, she
was won over by the persistent invitations of a little girl and the Christ-like
forgiveness of Rev. Flip Benham, the National Director of Operation Rescue.
Norma reaffirms in this interview that she is 100 percent pro-life, and that
no abortion is ever justified. She further maintains that one cannot
consistently be a Christian and be pro-choice when the choice is the death of a
baby. She describes the pro-life work she does now in her new ministry, "Roe No
More," and shares her advice with viewers who may be tempted to have an abortion
or who have had one in the past.
Her new book Won by Love, and her video, Reversing Roe, tell
the story of her conversion.
During the interview, Fr. Frank blesses a cross Norma is wearing, a cross
that was made from a "pro-choice" bracelet that Norma wore in days that are now
Show Twelve: Lime 5, Exploited by Choice
Most people realize on some level that abortion is wrong, yet all too many of
them think that if it is kept legal, "at least it will be safe."
The book Lime 5 destroys that myth.
In this show, Fr. Frank Pavone gives viewers a glimpse into one of the most
important books pro-lifers can read. Lime 5, written by Mark Crutcher of
Life Dynamics, Inc., is a study of how dangerous the abortion industry is, and
how women obtaining legal abortions are deceived, injured, sexually abused, and
even killed. Every case in the book is documented, and the cases contained here
are only a fraction of those that have come to light.
You will learn of legal abortion facilities that function without sterilizing
the instruments, and without having emergency medical equipment on hand. You
will hear of abortion providers who have performed incomplete abortions, sending
the woman home with part of the baby still in her because she did not have
enough money up front.
But this book goes beyond lamenting these evils. It makes concrete proposals,
called A Contract With American Women, that challenge the abortion-rights
movement to care more about the woman than about protecting the abortionist.
Lime 5 is available through Priests for Life.
On this segment, Fr. Frank and Fr. Hogan discuss the work of the following
groups: Human Life Alliance, the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and
various state affiliates of the National Right to Life Committee: Iowa,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, and North Carolina.
Show Thirteen: We Believe in a Consistent Ethic of Life
Quoting from speeches of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Fr. Frank Pavone
explains the meaning of the consistent ethic of life.
The wide and complex range of threats against human life at all stages cry
out for a consistent ethic, that is, an approach that values and defends the
dignity of human life comprehensively, at all stages and in all
circumstances. The Church defends the human person on all fronts and understands
that progress in any one aspect of advancing human dignity assists that struggle
in all its other aspects. Likewise, the authenticity of our commitment to defend
life at one stage requires us to be concerned about that same life at all
The Cardinal has said, however, that this does not mean that every person or
group has to attempt to address every issue. That would be an unrealistic effort
to stretch our limited time and energies. Nor does it mean that all the "life
issues" are collapsed into one. Each issue has its own particular moral
characteristics. Yet our approach to life is consistent not only by virtue of
our attitude, but also on the level of moral principle: the killing of the
innocent is never morally permissible.
Later in this segment, Fr. Hogan again joins Fr. Frank to discuss the work of
other pro-life groups. Several Sources Foundation and Mercy Ministries are
highlighted this time.