Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 14, Number 6
October - November - December 2004
A single stop for election-related materials
Quotes from the Bishops’ Pro-life Office and the Vatican on Voting and on the
Number One Issue
A Seven-Point Plan for Churches
Historic TV Series Now Airing!
A Word about Literature Distribution
Faithful Christians, Faithful Citizens
A Single Stop for Election-Related Materials and
You will find the following and more:
*Statements of the Pope and Bishops on Political Responsibility
*What Churches and Pastors can do legally regarding Politics
*How to vote early (that is, cast your ballot before Election Day)
*Homily materials and bulletin inserts
*Audio of inspiring election talks
*Ways to persuade others to vote pro-life
*Positions of Candidates on many issues
Quotes from the Bishops’ Pro-life Office and the
Vatican on Voting and on the Number One Issue
Following are quotes taken from interviews that Priests for Life conducted
recently with officials of the Vatican and of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-life
Cathy Cleaver-Ruse, Director of Planning and Information, Secretariat for
Pro-life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Q. Is it true to say that our bishops teach that the priority issue is
A. "Sure, that's absolutely true. The Church has taught on this issue of
abortion and its immorality since the Apostolic Age. It's one of our longest
standing moral public policy issues and it is not like any other issue. There
are no instances where it is morally licit or justifiable. That sets is apart
from other issues like capital punishment, like just war theory and many other
social issues that are very, very important but don't have that kind of no
exceptions policy. Abortion is one of those fundamental issues. If the very
right to life is taken away then no other right matters."
Richard Doerflinger, Deputy Director, Secretariat for Pro-life Activities,
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
"What the Church has said is that because it is the first gift from a
loving God and the condition for all other human goods, all our other rights -
life itself has to be a top priority it is the most basic gift and if we lose
the right to live we lose everything else. Now within the whole network of
issues about life, the first priority has to be the right of each individual at
every stage simply to exist at all. To be inviolable. To be free from direct
attacks. So the church has said that issues that involve direct attacks on
innocent human life - and in our society today, obviously abortion which takes
over a million lives in the United States every year - issues like euthanasia
for the terminally ill are primary. They are the most basic threats to human
life because they are direct attacks on life because they attack innocent life
that's not doing anybody else harm or attacking anybody else and because they
are attacking life at its most vulnerable and defenseless - the very stages
where children and the elderly should be able to expect the respect and
protection of their families because it is where they are weakest and most
"What the Bishop's said in their 1998 document Living the Gospel of Life, was
that this whole edifice of human goods and ways of enhancing human life are like
a house but the other issues that enhance the quality of life for everyone are
like the walls of the house and protecting the inviolability of life itself from
attack is like the foundation. You cannot have a house anymore if you don't have
a foundation. It's meaningless to say we are going to enhance all these
qualities of human life and say that human life itself has no inherent worth.
Those have to primary. Everything else grows from that. We promote a consistent
ethic of life and at the same time there are priorities, some things are more
fundamental than others."
Quotes from the Vatican
"I consider the right to vote as essential in a democracy. If people
neglect that basic right I think it borders on the sinful. We have to take part
in our democratic process. If we are fortunate enough to have it we have to take
part in it." -- Archbishop John Foley, President, Pontifical Council for
Social Communications, Vatican City
"Party loyalty is and must be a secondary value, albeit important, often
very important, but nonetheless, secondary. Political parties have the
obligation to defend the common good, and where the political party no longer
defends the common good, but rather only ideological interests, then the members
of that party are obliged to vote against the party. They are obliged." –
Bishop Karl Romer, Secretary, Pontifical Council for the Family
"All of these [other fundamental] rights presuppose the right to life. If
the right to life is not defended, the defense of all these other rights is
useless. It becomes a lie, because it would mean that the defense to the right
to work, to society, etc. applies only to some, and not to all." – Bishop
Elio Sgreccia, Vice-President, Pontifical Academy for Life
A Seven-Point Plan for Churches
In these final days before our National Elections, here is a seven-point
plan of action for your Church. The pro-life movement is counting on you to do
you part, which only you can do – to reach the people only you can reach and
activate the voters that only you can activate. Thank you in advance!
Our Election website www.priestsforlife.org/elections contains the
information you need on all the following projects:
1. Prayer Novena for America: We are in the final part of our national prayer
campaign of nine weeks leading up to Election Day. Please sign up and commit to
prayers, Masses, Divine Mercy Chaplets, and days of fasting. The intention is
that believers will be active in voting, and that our nation will embrace a
culture of life. For more details, see the "Prayer Campaign" link at
2. Homily hints for the final Sundays before the Election: Utilize them and
share them with other pastors!
3. Bulletin inserts: We provide text boxes with quotations for use in your
bulletin. We also have prepared full-page inserts, such as the one on page four
of this newsletter. That insert is available as a pdf file on our website also.
4. Please Publicize our TV Shows on Elections 2004
Our special television programs about political responsibility are now airing
nationwide on two major Christian networks, EWTN and Sky Angel. These programs
are action-oriented and serve as an excellent way to both inform and
Please publicize these air times in your bulletin
EWTN – Wednesdays at 5am and Fridays at 10pm ET
Sky Angel (Angel One) -- Mondays at 3:30am; Thursdays at 8:30am;Saturdays at
7:30 PM ET
5. Study guide – We have prepared a study guide on the US Bishops’ document
Living the Gospel of Life, which provides clear teaching about our political
responsibility and the issues that matter most. Available online at
6. Alert your people about the positions of the Presidential candidates by
referring them to www.votinginfo.org – This is a special website that has been
prepared in accordance with all the legal guidelines that Churches are required
to follow, so that it is safe to promote it, publicize it in the bulletin, and
link to it from your parish website.
7. Church Voter Activation Plan – In the final days before the election, call
your parishioners and remind them to vote. Encourage early voting. (Our website
has information on how far before Election Day each state allows its residents
to vote.) If your people need assistance to get to the polls, arrange for car
pools or other transportation assistance.
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the
Liturgy of the Hours:
November intention: For hospital patients who are unable to communicate, that
they may be blessed with the loving companionship of others.
December intention: For survivors of abortion.
Historic TV Series Now Airing!
Spread the word … and set your VCR for 5am (EDT) on Wednesday or 10pm
(EDT) on Friday!
That’s when the next of Priests for Life’s six ground-breaking television
programs will air on Mother Angelica’s EWTN cable network.
This 6-part television series has the potential to change the political
landscape of America for generations to come!
Using the teachings of our U.S. bishops and the Holy Father, as well as
video-taped interviews with Vatican officials and members of the U.S. hierarchy,
every single one of these six half-hour programs can empower the Catholic laity.
Each program will, in its own unique way, give viewers the resources they need
to go to their fellow Catholics, quote to them the teachings of our U.S.
bishops, and show them that "the right to life is the fundamental civil
rights issue of our day" ... and that all other rights are based solely
on the primary RIGHT TO LIFE!
Again, the shows air every Wednesday at 5:00 AM (EDT) … with a repeat
showing every Friday at 10:00 PM (EDT)!
A Word about Literature
As Election Day draws near, many people
exercise their right and duty to inform their neighbors about the positions of
candidates. Such activity should be encouraged. It flows from the spiritual
works of mercy, which include instructing those who do not know things they
This activity may take the form of distributing literature throughout the
neighborhood, including to those who come to Mass. It should be noted that
citizens have the right to distribute literature on public sidewalks without
interference from other citizens, from the Church, or from law enforcement.
The right to make one’s message heard is unhindered, as long as one is not doing
violence, blocking traffic or pedestrian access, or disobeying relevant local
Both civil law and the Gospel open the door for citizens to undertake this
peaceful, educational activity. The First Amendment is a gift that should be
exercised freely. And when people respond to the Lord’s call to be active and
vocal, we their priests should never squelch those gifts, but rather stir up and
encourage them, as we have been ordained to do.
"Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts… We encourage
all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as
a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in
building the culture of life. (United States Bishops, "Living the Gospel of
Our bishops and the Holy Father have urged us to be faithful and active
citizens. As we approach our national elections, Priests for Life has prepared
resources to help you to carry out your civic responsibilities and to evaluate
candidates and issues in the light of the moral law. You will find these
(Or you can reach us using the contact
There resources will help you to
* Register to Vote
* Learn the positions of candidates on issues
* Understand why the Right to Life is the primary election issue
* Appreciate how close elections are, and that your vote does count
* Mobilize others to vote responsibly
* Vote Early
The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human
rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to
culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and
fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not
defended with maximum determination (Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici,
Contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel:
888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Please see specific resources you can order on the back of this flier. This
insert is also available for parish bulletins, free of charge.