Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 4
July - August 2001
Fr. Frank Pavone Honored by National
Right to Life and Protested by Pro-Abortion Groups
Priest Profile -
Fr. Samuel J. Aquila
Rescuer of Elian Gonzalez Speaks Up for
Gearing Up for September!
Words of Encouragement from our Shepherds
Fr. Frank Pavone Honored by National Right
to Life and Protested by Pro-Abortion Groups
Fr. Frank Pavone received two special
awards on April 25, 2001, which he accepted in the name of Priests for Life and
the entire pro-life movement.
The National Right to Life Committee gave him its "Proudly Pro-life Award" at
the annual Proudly Pro-life Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Previous recipients of the award include Cardinal John O'Connor, Mother Theresa,
Congressman Henry Hyde, and others. Judge William P. Clark, a chief advisor to
President Ronald Reagan, and one who held several key cabinet posts, introduced
Fr. Frank at the banquet. In his introduction, Judge Clark mentioned the work
Priests for Life did in preparation for the elections of the year 2000, and
commented on how careful Fr. Frank was not to mention candidates' names, and yet
to convey the message of truth and life. Many in politics, the Judge said,
recognize the influence that Priests for Life had on the election.
During his remarks, Fr. Frank said that there is a justifiable fear in the
ranks of the pro-abortion movement. Abortion facilities are closing, workers are
leaving and becoming pro-life, doctors are increasingly unwilling to perform
abortions, and opinion polls keep moving in our direction. Fr. Frank also called
for attention to be given to the 2002 mid-term elections. "We need, and we will
get, a pro-life Senate in the United States. For those who think we said too
much in regard to the last election, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"
Meanwhile, over a hundred demonstrators gathered outside the Waldorf to
protest Fr. Frank. Frances Kissling of "Catholics for a Free Choice" was there,
and said to the crowd that "Priests for Life is a fringe group." [Note: Priests
for Life asks, if we are a fringe group, why bother to protest us?] Others who
spoke included local leaders of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization
for Women (NOW), the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League
(NARAL), the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and various other
groups. A number of pro-abortion politicians were also present, including NY
State Senator Eric Schneiderman, as well as the borough president of Manhattan,
along with a NY mayoral candidate, and others. Senator Schneiderman had actually
sent a letter to various pro-abortion activists, and also to the Honorary
Committee of the Proudly Pro-life Banquet, denouncing Fr. Frank and Priests for
Life as purveyors of violence.
"This is actually an old tactic," Fr. Frank said in response. "First of all,
we have a very public record of rejecting all violence against abortion
providers. With the high profile that our group has, our media work, website,
and educational materials, it is not at all difficult to find out exactly where
we stand on this subject. But that does not mean much to the pro-abortion
groups. They essentially re-define the meaning of the word "violence" and claim
that because of our "rhetoric" about abortion and abortionists, a climate
conducive to violence is created.
If you read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, you
will see that he had to respond to exactly the same charge. Yet just as this did
not stop him from exposing the injustice and horror of segregation, neither will
we be dissuaded from exposing the injustice and horror of abortion. The 9th
Circuit Court actually issued a decision recently which contradicted the
pro-abortion argument about "creating a climate of violence," pointing out that
even if our speech against abortion led a third party to commit violence, it is
still protected speech under the Constitution.
"In the end, those who think it is OK to kill abortionists to solve the
problem of abortion are, essentially, pro-choice. After all, it is the
pro-choice movement that has told us for decades that sometimes it is OK to
choose to end a life to solve a problem."
Priests for Life is taking the offensive in response to these and other
pro-abortion attacks. We are publicizing the deaths of women from "safe and
legal abortion" and the unregulated, unsanitary conditions within so many legal
abortion clinics. We are calling the abortion industry, and the pro-abortion
organizations, which claim to be on the side of women, to denounce the actions
of so many of their own who have maimed and killed women. What explains or
excuses their silence? Why are they more protective of abortionists than of
Priests for Life continues to challenge the
national and local media: Show the American people what an abortion is. There is
no excuse under the sun for keeping secret what is the most common surgery in
America, and at the same time the most divisive social problem. "We will not
solve the controversy over abortion in this country until more people see what
it looks like," Fr. Frank Pavone declared. "We are committed to making that
happen. Among other things, this will help people to vote the right way next
year in the midterm elections, when it will be critical to put in the United
States Senate men and women who understand that abortion is a horror that words
alone cannot convey."
The following excerpt from Mr. Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bioethical
Reform is instructive:
The July 24/July 31, 2000 issue of U.S. News & World Report published
the following account of World War II espionage:
Jan Karski never stormed a beach or flew an Allied airplane but he was one of
World War II's great heroes. Disguised as a Nazi guard, the Polish courier [a
member of the Jewish underground] sneaked into the Izbica death camp, then made
a perilous journey to London to tell of the mass tortures and killing he had
seen. He died last week at 86.
Newsweek, July 24, 2000, reported that Mr. Karski delivered to the
Allies the "first eyewitness accounts" of the Holocaust but that his tale of
horror was so sickening "Few could believe what he reported."
There was massive denial about the Holocaust among the Allies at the start of
World War II and many would not allow themselves to believe that anything so
monstrous could actually be happening. The same is true of abortion today.
Unfortunately, Mr. Karski couldn't use a camera to make his astonishing accounts
more credible. The April 3, 1995 edition of U.S. News & World Report,
however, described the enormous difference a Holocaust photo could make: "Many
GIs [who helped liberate the death camps] carried Kodaks and …Leicas, snapping
scenes of horror like rookie police photographers. Without photographic proof,
who would believe their tales?" The article goes on to report that:
The Post-Dispatch and the Washington Evening Star [newspapers]
hurriedly assembled an exhibit of camp-atrocity photos entitled 'Lest We
Forget.' Before moving to Boston and cities in the Midwest, the 12-foot-high
photo-murals debuted at the Library of Congress. During the exhibit's three
steamy summer weeks in Washington, almost 90,000 Americans turned out to gape.
Priests for Life has recently joined the
"Coalition for Judicial Restraint." We are convinced that the best way to insure
that Judges uphold the right to life is to enlist the support of as many
Americans (and their representatives) as possible for Judges who interpret
the Constitution rather than re-write it. To re-write it as circumstances
suggest, and to invent all kinds of new rights, like the so-called right to
abortion, means the end of our freedom. Instead, when Judges realize that the
Constitution has a meaning which should not be transgressed, the creation of
laws remains in the hands of the people, working through their legislative
We urge you to contact your Senators, and ask them to confirm only Justices
who will strictly uphold the Constitution in its original meaning.
Priest Profile - Fr. Samuel J. Aquila
By Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director
Fr. Sam Aquila, Rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver,
Colorado, has always been active in the pro-life movement. Born in 1950, he was
ordained to the priesthood in 1976, and specializes in the area of Sacramental
Theology. A true scholar, Fr. Aquila has served as a theological consultant to
both Cardinal Francis Stafford, President of the Pontifical Council for the
Laity in Rome, and to the NCCB’s Committee on the Liturgy. He is fluent in all
the Romance languages, and is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars as
well as a founding member of the Society for the Catholic Liturgy.
Though Fr. Aquila has regularly taken part in pro-life Marches and Masses
over the last 25 years of his priesthood, his greatest pro-life passion is
reserved for the pulpit.
"I try to preach as much as I can about the Culture of Life," he says, " and
the vast majority of people I have spoken to have given me very strong support.
I try to give a lot of encouragement to the women in the pews who might be
suffering from abortion; I urge them to come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation
so that they can experience healing. I also speak often about Project Rachel in
"It’s so important to give praise to these women and men who need healing,"
Fr. Aquila says. "We need a tremendous amount of openness in our communication
with them. They have to be told that the Church is not going to be throwing
stones at them; that there are all sorts of doors open to them to coming back to
full communion with the Church. What we need most is compassion --- With the
As Rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Fr. Aquila actively
encourages the students to support the pro-life movement. But his most important
duty, he says, is to help the men understand and recognize the profound
influence their pro-life preaching can have on the people in the pews.
"I tell them all the time that they need to speak with courage and boldness
about this issue," he says. "The people are hungry for that. If the people they
are preaching to get upset, I remind them of Jesus’ statement in the Gospels,
that his disciples have to be willing to take up their cross and expect
persecution. In fact, that’s what the cross means today --- speaking the
Fr. Aquila encourages his brother priests around the nation to follow in the
example of the Holy Father, John Paul II, and "Be not afraid."
"We’ve got to have the courage of Jesus Christ and the passion of Peter and
Paul when we proclaim the Gospel of Life!"
Fr. Aquila can be reached at St. Joseph Vianney at: 1300 S. Steele Street,
Denver, CO 80210; at (303) 282-3427; and by email at
Rescuer of Elian Gonzalez Speaks
Up for Life
One of the newest advocates of saving the unborn
is the man who saved Elian Gonzalez from the Atlantic Ocean. Recently
interviewed by Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, Donato Dalrymple
recounted how God used him to "pluck little Elian out of the water," and how God
used Elian to bring him to a deeper spiritual life.
Donato was fishing with his cousin when he noticed an inner tube floating on
the water, with what looked like a person hanging onto it. The boat moved on in
a different direction, but Donato's conscience would not let him rest until he
and his cousin went back to take another look at the tube, and found Elian.
"It was actually Elian who saved me," Donato says, "because I was out on the
seas in my own life, and the rescue of Elian brought me back to a closer walk
with God. God taught me that he could still use me to do some good."
It was Donato who was holding Elian in the famous news photo of a
gun-brandishing US federal agent sent to physically remove the boy. The raid
took place on April 22, 2000.
Recently spending time on a pro-life retreat offered by Priests for Life,
Donato reflected on how followers of Christ are called to save the lives of
their brothers and sisters. "The most vulnerable of all are the unborn," he
said. "Just like I could not rightly ignore that boy in the inner tube, so none
of us can ignore our brothers and sisters in danger of abortion. We all need to
speak up for them and try to save them."
Gearing up for September!
Looking ahead to the opening of school let's not
forget to educate our youth about the abortion issue. After all, it is their
generation that is being destroyed by abortion on a daily basis. Priests for
Life has some great resources for teachers, parents and children:
Speaking to Children About Abortion (brochure)
Teaching Children About Abortion (audio)
Challenge To Youth, Be Chaste Defend Life (audio)
Madonna of the Streets Bookmark (contains Crisis Pregnancy
To order these items email:
or call (888) PFL-3448, ext 237. You may also fax
your order to us at 718-980-3853, or send it by mail to "Orders Department,
Priests for Life, P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314"
Words of Encouragement from our Shepherds
"You can be confident that many priests will find
the materials produced by Priests for Life to be useful tools for enriching
their pro-life work in our parishes, schools and other ministries."
Cardinal Edward M. Egan,
Archbishop of New York
"It takes great courage to confront the culture of death, and the work of
Priests for Life has been a special blessing for priests across our nation. I
know that priests speak out more boldly because of the courage you give them."
Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of Sioux Falls, SD
"Priests for Life instills courage in priests to proclaim vigorously the
culture of life, while at the same time holding fast to their priestly
instinctive compassion for all involved in abortion and euthanasia. The
effectiveness of Priests for Life is demonstrated in the astonishing growth of
the organization….Additionally, Priests for Life has the unique ability to
provide connections among interfaith and secular pro-life movements."
Most Rev. Francis A. Quinn, Bishop Emeritus, Sacramento, CA
*Two of the top 10 finalists of the Miss America Pageant in 1999 were Miss
Connecticut, Sylvia Gomes, and Miss Wisconsin, Mary Louise Kurey. Both of them
are outspoken advocates of the right to life and of the virtue of chastity. They
believe that young people can say yes to what is right and good, and that the
time is now to recognize abortion as something that destroys the future for all