Priests for Life Newsletter
Catholic Parishes to Pray
for Closing of Abortuaries
More on the Doctrinal Note from the Vatican
Priest Profile- Msgr. Edward J.
From the Abortion Providers…
For your parish bulletin
Bulletin inserts in Spanish
Spanish petitions for Easter Season
Calling all Priests
Free speech for Churches
Catholic Parishes to Pray for Closing of
There are only about 700 abortion mills left
in the United States, and Priests for Life has now matched them up with the
approximately 17,000 Catholic parishes on our database. The mission for each
parish: pray for the closing of that mill.
Priests for Life has prepared a special prayer that can be recited publicly
and privately in the parishes for this purpose (see below). We also urge the
priests, deacons, catechists, and other pastoral ministers to come up with
creative ways to assist their people to pray for this intention.
Taking the step of matching the parishes to the mills makes our prayer to end
abortion much more concrete and specific. It drives home the point that the
killing of children is taking place in specific places, at specifically
scheduled times. In some cases, these places are within one's own parish
boundaries -- an important fact, given the pastoral responsibility that
priests and bishops have for all those within their parish or diocese.
Parishes will be able to find out what abortion mill has been matched to them
by visiting our website, www.priestsforlife.org/mills. They will also be
informed of the good news of the closing of those mills. Our Lord told us that
the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. It is the Church that
takes the initiative, storming the gates of sin with the power of grace, the
gates of falsehood with the power of truth, and the gates of death with the
power of life. And the gates will not stand.
Prayer for the closing of the abortion mill:
Father, all life is in Your care.
You have entrusted us to one another,
that we may show our brothers and sisters
the same love You have for us.
We pray, then, for the least among us,
the children in the womb.
Protect them from the violence of abortion.
We pray for those that are scheduled to die at (Name the abortion mill
assigned to you).
Save them from death.
Give new hope to their parents,
that they may turn away from the desperate act of abortion.
Grant conversion to the abortionist and to the staff.
Show us how we are to respond to the bloodshed in our midst,
And lead us to the day when this place of death
Will be transformed into a haven of life.
Guard us with your joy and your peace,
For in You, life is victorious.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
More on the Doctrinal Note from the Vatican
We continue here our commentary on the "Doctrinal
Note On some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political
life," issued on November 21, 2002 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of
The document states, "On the level of concrete political action, there can
generally be a plurality of political parties in which Catholics may exercise –
especially through legislative assemblies – their right and duty to contribute
to the public life of their country. This arises because of the contingent
nature of certain choices regarding the ordering of society, the variety of
strategies available for accomplishing or guaranteeing the same fundamental
value, the possibility of different interpretations of the basic principles of
political theory, and the technical complexity of many political problems. It
should not be confused, however, with an ambiguous pluralism in the choice of
moral principles or essential values. The legitimate plurality of temporal
options is at the origin of the commitment of Catholics to politics and relates
directly to Christian moral and social teaching. It is in the light of this
teaching that lay Catholics must assess their participation in political life so
as to be sure that it is marked by a coherent responsibility for temporal
In this paragraph, the Doctrinal Note makes a distinction between two
things that are often confused: essential values and the variety of
strategies that can be pursued to safeguard them. People with different
political loyalties may fully agree on the value of feeding the poor, but
have sharp disagreements about what particular strategy will accomplish
that. Christian teaching permits the disagreement about the strategy, but it
does not permit one to deny that the poor have a claim on our attention and
our concrete efforts to assist them.
Let's pursue this line of thought a bit further. If a candidate or a
party came along and claimed that the poor are not human beings and that they
should be ignored, then one can say that such a position contradicts Christian
teaching. But once one acknowledges responsibility toward the poor, the further
question of how best to exercise that responsibility is a question of
application rather than of principle, and one application over another cannot
claim the same level of authoritative backing as the principle itself.
Moreover, even in the realm of principles and values, some are more
fundamental than others. People have many rights. Some rights entitle them
to goods which are means to an end. Property is an example. Other rights
entitle them to goods which are ends in themselves, goods without
which one cannot even be a person. These are called fundamental
rights, and include, for example, the right to life and the right to commune
The Vatican's Doctrinal Note calls for freedom in debating policies
concerning how to preserve our rights. It also points out that
policies which reject our fundamental rights may not be supported. The
document states, "When political activity comes up against moral principles
that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic
commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of
fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what
is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of
the human person. This is the case with laws concerning abortion and
The public official who supports such destructive policies does not only
contradict the Christian Faith, but also the very purpose for which his/her
public office exists.
Priest Profile- Msgr.
Edward J. Kavanagh
By Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director
In what many pro-lifers around the country are hoping will become a trend,
Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento, California, called upon Gray Davis, the
pro-abortion Catholic governor of the state, to stop receiving communion until
he changes his position on abortion.
"Anyone-- politician or otherwise-- who thinks it is acceptable for a
Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error," said Bishop Weigand, "and
puts his or her soul at risk and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a
person should have the integrity…to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until
he has a change of heart."
The Bishop's forceful comments have caused a stir in the pro-life community,
as well as in the secular media. They have placed him at the forefront of a
growing movement -- long championed by Fr. Pavone and Priests for Life -- to
hold Catholic politicians accountable for their stance on abortion.
The remarks were initially made by the bishop in order to defend one of his
priests-- Msgr. Edward J. Kavanagh, pastor of St. Rose Parish in Sacramento and
director of St. Patrick's Home for Children. Msgr. Kavanagh, a priest-member of
Priests for Life, barred Governor Davis from setting foot in St. Patrick's Home
back in December, when the governor asked to distribute Christmas gifts there.
"The governor has to repent first," said Msgr. Kavanagh, "and then
I will allow him on this property."
Msgr. Kavanagh was born in 1925 in County Kilkenny in Ireland. He was
ordained on June 6th, 1948 at St. Mary's Cathedral, and in December
of that year was sent to the diocese of Sacramento and St. Rose's Parish, where
he has been for the past 54 years!
Msgr. has been active in the pro-life movement since the 1960s. His work with
orphans and poor children at St. Patrick's Home has made him even more sensitive
to the plight of the most innocent victims of society-- the unborn. When
Governor Davis asked to come to the Home in what amounted to a "slick publicity
stunt," Msgr. Kavanagh immediately recognized the hypocrisy.
"Pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic are using the
Church. We can't let them get away with that. The Church is not something to be
used when it suits them.
"We in the clergy have got to stand up and be counted!" he emphatically
continued. "We've got absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Our bishops will
defend us. The sooner we priests stand up for the sanctity of life, the sooner
abortion will be outlawed."
"It's important that we in the clergy affirm each other," said Msgr.
Kavanagh. "I want to get Fr. Pavone out here to California to give a retreat for
the priests of the diocese. Fr. Pavone is a great man, and we've all got to be
on the same page when it comes to abortion. We've all got to work together to
end this tragedy."
Bishop Weigand was quick to praise Msgr. Kavanagh for his actions. "Thank
you, Msgr., for standing up for the unborn," he said, soon after the governor
was barred from St. Patrick's. "Thank you for your dedication to the truth and
for your pastoral concern for souls-- including the governor's."
We at Priests for Life applaud Msgr. Kavanagh and Bishop Weigand. These two
pro-life heroes have demonstrated by their boldness and their fidelity to Church
teaching that the Catholic Church does has the power to lead the pro-life
movement to victory in this country! What we need more than anything else is for
priests to have the courage to do what is right, and for bishops to have the
strength to stand behind them.
Fr. Kavanagh can be reached at St. Rose Parish, 5961 Franklin Blvd.,
Sacramento, CA, 95824; (916) 421-1414.
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray
the Liturgy of the Hours:
May intention: That people may have a greater awareness of the dangers of
June intention: For the success of efforts to represent the pro-life message
in the secular media.
From the Abortion Providers…
Following is part of a description of the
procedure that has come to be known as "partial birth abortion." You can find
illustrations of it at www.priestsforlife.org/partialbirth.html
"…the surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the
foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to
enlarge the opening. The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction
catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents." -- Dr. Martin
Haskell, "Dilation and Extraction for Late Second Trimester Abortion, Presented
at the National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar, September 13, 1992,
For your parish bulletin
If you enjoy the writings of Priests for
Life, and think they can help your congregation, why not get them all,
organized and laid out in camera-ready style…ideal for bulletin inserts,
photocopying for study groups, or just personal reading…Order Life and
Choice, Volumes 1 and 2, collections of Fr. Frank Pavone's columns on
pro-life topics. Each column is 500 words in length, and eminently readable.
We have a limited supply of these booklets, and they are quite popular,
so please order them as soon as possible. Call (718) 980-4400, ext. 237, email
firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Priests for Life Orders Department, PO
Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314.
Bulletin inserts in Spanish:
De acuerdo al sitio Web del Instituto
Alan Guttmacher, 43% de las mujeres habrán cometido por lo menos un aborto antes
de alcanzar la edad de 45 años. Esto significa definitivamente muchos abortos y
mucho dolor. Las mujeres que sufren de los efectos post-abortivos y buscan
consejería, pueden llamar al Centro Nacional de Reconciliación y Sanación
post-aborto al 1-800-5-WE-CARE.
Algunos que defienden el derecho del aborto dicen que uno es "verdaderamente
humano" solo cuando uno es capaz de razonar, decidir, y ser creativo. Sin
embargo, un libro de cómo hacer abortos, contiene la siguiente cita:
"Seguramente los embriones y los fetos no pueden hacer ninguna de éstas cosas.
De hecho, tampoco los recién nacidos, he ahí el debate. Supuestamente, sería
igualmente aceptable destruir tanto a los recién nacidos como a los fetos, ya
que ambos están en la misma condición pre-humana". (Abortos de Segundo
Trimestre: Perspectivas después de una década de experiencia, Berger et al.,
eds, P. 215)
Spanish petitions for Easter Season:
Domingo de Ramos
Que la muerte redentora de Jesús restaure en nosotros
un profundo amor y respeto por la vida humana, por la que El mismo sacrificó su
propia vida, roguemos al Señor...
Que nuestra gratitud por el regalo de la Eucaristía
en esta noche, fortalezca nuestra solidaridad con los pobres que peligran por
morir de hambre, los abandonados que peligran con la desesperación, y los no
nacidos que peligran por el aborto, roguemos al Señor...
Que la luz de Cristo Resucitado siempre brille sobre
los pobres, los enfermos, los oprimidos, y los no nacidos, roguemos al Señor...
Domingo de Resurrección
Que Jesús, quien conquistó el poder de la muerte,
conceda a nuestra sociedad la firmeza para eliminar los males como el aborto, el
suicidio asistido, y la pena capital, roguemos al Señor...
Reminder: The bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities calls for
pro-life petitions at every Mass. You will find intercessions tailored for each
Sunday of the year at www.priestsforlife.org/prayers/intercessionindex.htm.
Calling All Priests
If you have not already signed the commitment pledge to preach on
political responsibility, please do so and send it to us. The text is at
Free speech for Churches
The "Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act" (HR 235), a bill
being introduced in Congress, would protect our freedom to determine the content
of our preaching and teaching without fearing that we will lose our tax exempt
status by doing so. It revises the IRS code accordingly. Since we are preachers
of the Word of God, we have to have sovereign freedom in the pulpit. This
proposed legislation is worth your attention. For more information, see