Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 17, Number 1
Table of Contents
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as
you pray the Liturgy of the Hours:
January intention: That our youth may be healed of the wounds
of being abortion survivors.
February intention: For the seminarians and inquirers of the
Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.
join the Lay Missionaries of the Gospel of Life
Over seven hundred
individuals are now actively preparing for profession as Lay Associates
of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Embodying the mission and
spirituality of Priests for Life, this Society not only welcomes seminarians,
priests, and deacons, but welcomes lay persons. Members do the pro-life work
that they are already doing (whether full-time or part-time, and whether paid or
volunteer), but now do it in union with the spirituality of the Missionaries of
the Gospel of Life, and as members of an approved Society within the Church.
This provides opportunities to interact with other members nationwide.
For information on
how you can become a lay member, visit
Biblical launching points for Pro-life preaching
The sacredness of
human life is a theme that permeates Scripture. It is not difficult to preach on
this theme from any Biblical passage. Priests for Life offers to clergy an email
service by which they will receive an email containing homily hints relating the
Sunday readings to pro-life themes. (The email also includes general
intercessions and a paragraph for the bulletin. To subscribe, request it at
is no charge.)
The Bible clearly teaches that
abortion is wrong. This teaching comes across in many ways and for many reasons.
Some people point out that the word "abortion" is not in the Bible, and that is
true. Nevertheless, the teaching about abortion is there. This is the case with
many teachings. The word "Trinity" is not in the Bible, but the teaching about
the Trinity is there. In any case, a person who wants to deny the teaching about
abortion would deny it even if the word were there.
Preaching on abortion from
Scripture does not simply mean finding those passages which speak about the
unborn child; rather, it means showing how all the principle themes of the Bible
reflect the relationship between God and human life, and the duty we have to
respond to the lives of others with care and love. Some of those key themes and
the way they illumine our pro-life stance are as follows:
1. The Bible teaches that human life is different from
other types of life, because human beings are made in the very image of God.
The accounts of the creation of man
and woman in Genesis (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25) tell us this: "God created man in
his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them"
The word "create" is used three
times here, emphasizing a special crowning moment in the whole process of God’s
making the world and everything in it. The man and woman are given "dominion"
over everything else in the visible world.
Not even the original sin takes
away the image of God in human beings. St. James refers to this image and says
that because of it we should not even speak ill of one another. "With [the
tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are
made in the image of God . . . This ought not be so, brothers" (James 3:9-10).
The image of God! This is what it
means to be human! We are not just a bunch of cells randomly thrown together by
some impersonal forces. Rather, we really reflect an eternal God who knew us
from before we were made, and purposely called us into being.
At the heart of the abortion
tragedy is the question raised in the Psalms: "Lord, what is man that you care
for him, mortal man that you keep him in mind? . . . With glory and honor you
crowned him, giving him power over the works of your hands" (Psalm 8:5-7).
There is the key. Not only did God
make us, but He values us. The Bible tells us of a God who is madly in love with
us, so much so that He became one of us and even died for us while we were still
offending Him (see Romans 5:6-8). Those who believe in the Bible have to believe
that human life is sacred, more sacred than we have ever imagined!
2. The Bible teaches that children are a blessing.
commanded our first parents to "Be fertile and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Why?
God Himself is fertile. Love always overflows into life. When the first mother
brought forth the first child, she exclaimed, "I have brought forth a man with
the help of the Lord" (Genesis 4:1). The help of the Lord is essential,
for He has dominion over human life and is its origin. Parents cooperate with
God in bringing forth life. Because this whole process is under God’s dominion,
it is sinful to interrupt it. The prophet Amos condemns the Ammonites "because
they ripped open expectant mothers in Gilead" (Amos 1:13).
"Truly children are a gift from the
Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3).
3. The Bible teaches that the child in the womb is truly a
human child, who even has a relationship with the Lord.
phrase "conceived and bore" is used repeatedly (see Genesis 4:1,17) and the
individual has the same identity before as after birth. "In sin my mother
conceived me," the repentant psalmist says in Psalm 51:7. The same word is used
for the child before and after birth (Brephos, that is, "infant," is used
in Luke 1:41 and Luke 18:15.)
God knows the preborn child. "You
knit me in my mother’s womb . . . nor was my frame unknown to you when I was
made in secret" (Psalm 139:13,15). God also helps and calls the preborn child.
"You have been my guide since I was first formed . . . from my mother’s womb you
are my God" (Psalm 22:10-11). "God… from my mother’s womb had set me apart and
called me through his grace" (St. Paul to the Galatians 1:15).
4. Scripture repeatedly condemns the killing of the
This flows from everything that has
been seen so far. God’s own finger writes in stone the commandment "Thou shalt
not kill" (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) and Christ reaffirms it (Matthew
19:18 - notice that He mentions this commandment first). The Book of Revelation
affirms that (unrepentant) murderers cannot enter the kingdom of heaven
The killing of children is
especially condemned by God through the prophets. In the land God gave his
people to occupy, foreign nations had the custom of sacrificing some of their
children in fire. God told His people that they were not to share in this sin.
They did, however, as Psalm 106 relates: "They mingled with the nations and
learned their works…They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,
and they shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom
they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, desecrating the land with bloodshed"
(Psalm 106:35, 37-38).
This sin of child-sacrifice, in
fact, is mentioned as one of the major reasons that the Kingdom of Israel was
destroyed by the Assyrians and the people taken into exile. "They mutilated
their sons and daughters by fire…till the Lord, in his great anger against
Israel, put them away out of his sight" (2 Kings 17:17-18).
Notice that this practice was a
religious ritual. Not even for "religious freedom" can the killing of children
Life Present at Supreme Court for Partial-birth abortion arguments
On Wednesday, November 8, the US Supreme Court heard
arguments regarding the Constitutionality of the federal ban on partial-birth
abortion, signed into law by President Bush in 2003. Fr. Frank Pavone, along
with Pastoral Associate Paul Schenck were present in the Court for the oral
arguments, while our priests, seminarians, and members of our lay pastoral staff
prayed with several hundred people outside. Women from the Silent No More
Awareness Campaign spoke outside about how abortion harmed them. Dr. Alveda King
(niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life) was
In the course of the two hours of oral arguments, the Court
considered three key reasons why abortion advocates want the Court to strike
down the Federal ban on partial-birth abortion: a) the ban lacks a health
exception; b) the ban is too broad, that is, by its wording it actually bans
most if not all second and third trimester D&E (dismemberment) abortions rather
than just partial-birth abortion, and c) the ban is vague, and because the
language is not clear and specific enough, doctors won’t know if it really
applies to them.
Fr. Frank Pavone observed, “Having listened carefully to the
oral arguments and having read all the briefs, I don’t think the abortion
advocates made their case, and I don’t think a majority of the Justices think
they did either.” A decision in the case will come out sometime before the end
One of the most important admissions made in the arguments by
the pro-abortion side was that we really have no measurements about what kind of
a health need is met by partial-birth abortion. Their key argument, after all,
is that the procedure must be allowed for the sake of women’s health. They
admitted that the Court could ban this procedure if its health advantages were
minimal rather than significant, yet they could not establish, by statistical
measurement, the assertion that the health advantages of partial-birth abortion
In regard to safety, one of the key questions from Chief
Justice Roberts was that if, as the abortionists claim, partial-birth abortion
is safer because it requires fewer insertions of instruments into the woman’s
body, why would it not then also follow that the safest method is live birth
altogether, with the killing of the child outside the womb? The pro-abortion
side did not have an answer to that specific question, which proves the point
that Congress and the Bush Administration make, namely, that this procedure must
be banned so that society has a clear barrier against infanticide.
Isn’t it just amazing that in our highest court in this great
nation, this debate occurred today about the legality of “dismemberment” and
“pulling the arms and legs off” a child. In the end, it’s not a matter of which
version of killing should be used. It’s a matter of stopping the killing
Election Reflections: Pro-lifers still win
Once again, although pro-abortion political action committees
far outspent the pro-life ones, the results were the reverse of what one would
expect if money were the only factor. The pro-abortion “Emily’s List” lost most
of the races it endorsed, while the pro-life “Susan B. Anthony List” won most of
those it endorsed. The National Right to Life PAC also won most of those it
Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael campaigned against
candidates who had tried to protect Terri from killing by dehydration in 2005 –
but all of those pro-life candidates were re-elected.
Moreover, the Democratic Party (whose platform backs the
“right to choose” abortion) would not have taken control of Congress had more of
their candidates not presented themselves as pro-life.
Finally, the fact that the ban on abortions in South Dakota
did not pass does not mean the citizens take a pro-abortion position. Rather, it
reflects the fact that the American public believes there should be rape
exceptions to legislation banning abortion. In fact, there should not, because
abortion does not help the woman who has been raped. But polling shows it was
the lack of a rape exception, and not the ban itself, that caused many people to
vote against it.
Marches for Life
January 22 each year marks the date of the most tragic
Supreme Court decisions in history, Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, which in
1973 legalized abortion throughout pregnancy. The bishops of the United States
have called for the day to be observed as one of penance and prayer. One of the
ways to do both is to participate in the public marches that occur in many
cities, in order to express public opposition to these decisions.
January 20, the annual West Coast “Walk for Life” will take place in San
Francisco. See www.WalkForLifeWC.com for details.
On Monday, January
22, the annual March for Life in Washington, DC will occur. See www.MarchForLife.org. The pre-March
rally begins at noon. That morning, you are invited to join Fr. Frank Pavone and
clergy from many denominations for the National Memorial for the Preborn and
their Mothers and Fathers. This event is held in one of the prestigious rooms of
the US Senate from 8:30 to 10:30am. Individuals and groups are welcome. Let us
know if you are interested. More details will be posted at
buses for these events may request of Priests for Life some educational videos
to be shown on the bus, as well as prayer cards to end abortion. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many Ministries of Priests for Life
Healing After Abortion
Washington DC Outreach
Suggestions for Parish Activities as we observe another Memorial of Roe vs.
1. Commission your
Pro-life Group: Invite the members of the parish Respect Life Committee to be
together at one Mass, and bring them into the sanctuary for a special
commissioning and blessing. This will encourage them and show the whole parish
that this is a ministry integral to the Church. A suggested commissioning
ceremony can be found on our website at
2. Phone numbers
on bulletin: Place on the cover of the parish bulletin, as a standard item, a
phone number for alternatives to abortion and healing after abortion. More
information is available on our website at
and bulletin inserts: Use the General intercessions and bulletin inserts you can
www.priestsforlife.org/liturgy as a way of incorporating pro-life
themes into the daily life of the parish.
4. Promote the
Prayer campaign!! – Urge parishioners to pray daily for an end to abortion by
joining the National Prayer Campaign to End Abortion, sponsored by Priests for
Life and accessible at
www.PrayerCampaign.org. We will provide prayer cards for all your
parishioners free of charge.
5. Have a pro-life essay/poster contest in your parish
school. Post the winning posters in the vestibule, and have the essay winners
present their essays to the congregation after Communion.
6. Many options in the liturgy allow us to focus on abortion
and the unborn.
In particular, the mass “For
Justice and Peace” or “For the Progress of Peoples” has prayers that apply well
to our efforts to secure protection for the unborn. Likewise, the alternate
prayer for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time can be used at a mass for
The following Penitential Litany is especially suitable for
masses with a pro-life theme:
Lord Jesus, Victor over Death, Lord have mercy…
Lord Jesus, Giver of Life, Christ have mercy…
Lord Jesus, Coming in Glory, Lord have mercy
Priests for Life 2007 calendar
Keep the Priests for Life message on display in your home and
office throughout the year by means of the 2007 Priests for Life calendar.
Photos from our work and quotes from Church leaders appear on each month’s page.
As a bonus, the calendar has a special supplement at the end of pro-life
Our Lady of Guadalupe and the pro-life movement
This booklet, published by Liguori, contains what you need to
understand and explain the relationship between the pro-life movement and our
Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It will bring insight
as well as hope for victory in our cause! This resource is especially good for
parish bookracks and adult education programs.
Please mail your order to: Priests for Life P.O. Box 141172,
Staten Island, NY 10314
Or fax it to (718)
980-3853 or Email:
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for total of $___________
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