Priests for Life Newsletter
Volume 1, No. 1
C O N T E N T S
Letter to Priests
Blessed Margaret of Costello
Board of Advisors - 1991
Pro-Life Strategy for the '90s
Dear Brothers in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ,
Earlier this year I read a story about an artist in southern California who
purchased a rat named "Squeeky" from the local pet store. It was his intention
to place Squeeky between two sheets of canvas and then drop a concrete block on
him from a third story window and then enter his "artistic" achievement in a
local art show. Word of Squeeky's impending fate spread and on the day of his
intended demise over 300 people showed up to rescue the life of the doomed
rodent. Over 300 people! For a rat! I am glad to report that Squeeky's life was
spared that day. Tragically the lives of 4,500 babies were not. No one showed up
to save them as they were destroyed in their mother's womb. Why? Because
abortion, which only 25 years ago was called "an abominable crime" by Vatican
II, has taken on an air of respectability. The conscience of the nation has
become anesthetized, and priests exercising their prophetic ministry in speaking
out against abortion can sometimes feel like John the Baptist, "a voice crying
out in the wilderness."
For this reason we have formed Priests for Life to assist priests in
cooperating with their bishops in teaching and preaching on the life issues in
accordance with the mind of the Church. Priests for Life seeks to build up and
support an association of priests for whom the life issues are the focus of
their personal sanctification and pastoral ministry. We strive to encourage each
other as priests of Jesus Christ to live a daily commitment to holiness, and to
help each other teach and preach in such a way that the faithful can form their
consciences on the life issues in solidarity with the mind of the Church.
To serve the needs of busy priests PFL will publish a quarterly newsletter
which will provide accurate information about the life issues and offer
suggestions through articles and homilies on how to bring the good news of the
Church's teaching to your people. We will also try to keep you informed about
what is being done in the pro-life movement in other parishes and dioceses
throughout the country. We look forward to building a network through which
priests can be of real support to each other, so if you have any information,
ideas, or sermons of your own you would like to contribute, we would love to
hear from you. If you would like to join the work of PFL and receive our
newsletter we would gratefully welcome your donation of $15.00.
Let us pray and work for the day when Americans will acknowledge that all of
our cherished freedoms are built upon our first and greatest right --the right
May Jesus be forever the joy of your life.
--Fr. Lee Kaylor
President, Priests for Life
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Blessed Margaret of Costello
Truly a "saint for our times'', little Margaret can be held up as a perfect
example of today's ''throw away" children. Had she been conceived today there is
little doubt that she would have been another victim of abortion for she had the
great misfortune to be born completely blind, hunch-backed, a dwarf, with one
leg shorter than the other and one very badly deformed foot. And as if that
weren't enough, she has also been described as "quite ugly of face". This alone
would have been more than any little girl should have had to endure, but for
Margaret there was more to suffer. Her wealthy parents were so outraged that
they should be given such a child that her father ordered her to he hidden from
view and the family let it be known that their baby had died at birth.
Unfortunately for Margaret, when she was six years old, she was seen by a
visitor and it became necessary for her parents to take more drastic measures.
Her father had a mason construct a cell on the side of the parish church deep in
the forest, and after placing Margaret inside, ordered the mason to brick up the
entrance! For the next 11 years, Margaret suffered the terrible pain of
loneliness, extreme cold in the winter, and in the summer she must have felt as
though she were sealed in a brick oven. Through all this torture, Margaret never
lost her great love for Jesus, offering her suffering for the sins of her fellow
At the age of 17 her parents took her on pilgrimage to the city of Costello,
to the tomb of a very holy monk, fully expecting Margaret to be healed. When
that didn't happen, they simply walked away, leaving her in a strange city,
helpless and blind, completely alone as she had been for most of her young life.
She was found and befriended by street people who taught her how to beg. She
slept in doorways and stables, often hungry, but always cheerful and loving.
This "ugly little dwarf" was so filled with goodness that she soon won over the
hearts of the entire city. Margaret became a Third Order Dominican and died at
the age of 33. Her body is incorrupt and lies under the altar of the Church of
St. Domenico at Citta-Di-Castella.
As an unwanted, deformed child could she not be considered patron of our
movement? Someone that could be identified with the unwanted, less than perfect
baby? The dirty, unkempt beggar on our city streets? The "inconvenience" to the
yuppie couple, interested only in acquiring wealth and possessions? Could we not
think of her as our "saint for life"?
If you know of any prayers answered through the intercession of Blessed
Margaret, please contact:
Priory of St. Louis Bertrand
1104 South 6th Street
Louisville, KY 40203
Board of Advisors
Most Reverend John L. May
Archbishop of St. Louis
Most Reverend Daniel E. Sheehan
Archbishop of Omaha
Most Reverend John J. Myers
Bishop of Peoria
Most Reverend Rene Gracida
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Most Reverend Juan Fremiot Torres
Bishop of Ponce, Puerto Rico
Most Reverend Albert H. Ottenweller
Bishop of Steubenville
Most Reverend Paul V. Donovan
Bishop of Kalamazoo
Most Reverend James Timlin
Bishop of Scranton
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Bishop of Rapid City
Most Reverend J. Quinn Weitzel, M. M.
Bishop of Samoa-Pago Pago
Most Reverend George Lynch
Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Raleigh
Most Reverend John F. Donoghue
Bishop of Charlotte
Most Reverend Francis Quinn
Bishop of Sacramento
President: Fr. Lee Kaylor
Treasurer: Fr. Frank Filice
Secretary: Fr.. Bob Cipriano
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A Pro-Life Strategy for the Nineties
On August 13, 1990, His Eminence John Cardinal O'Connor of the Archdiocese of
New York came to San Francisco to celebrate the opening Mass and deliver the
keynote address for the annual meeting of Diocesan pro-life representatives,
which was sponsored by the National Council of Catholic Bishops Pro-life
Cardinal O'Connor stressed seven points (which taken together give us a
pro-life strategy for the nineties) and told the assembly that soon they would
be published in pamphlet form. The points are as follows:
1. Education: We are now the counterculture teachers of morality who must
stress both Catholic values and the sanctity of every human life, as well as a
more profound understanding of love.
2. Communications: Television and other forms of the media do not promote
family values but do promote forms of pornography which devalue women and men;
they refuse to publicize the pro-life message. In some ways, morality can be
legislated: Seat-belt laws; laws against drunk driving. Internal communication
problems within the Church need to be addressed. Priests must preach positively
and clearly on pro-life issues.
3. Stand up for Life: We neither need to be apologetic nor defensive in our
approach to pro-life issues. To stand up for life is a grace, a gift from God.
We must speak out without shame.
4. Unity: The first result of original sin is divisiveness Adam and Eve are
separated from God and from one another and blame each other. We are divided
according to strategies and tactics and must work out our differences. We should
accept legislation that curtails abortions (even if not eliminating it) while
not giving it moral endorsement. We will work for full protection of the unborn.
5. Focus on Goals and Objectives: Pro-lifers need to focus their objectives.
Although it is true that we cannot do everything we need to concern ourselves
with a "consistent ethic of life." The pro-life movement needs to address many
issues, such as nuclear war, AIDS, racism, the environment; but we remain
unashamedly focused on the unborn for nothing is comparable to the sacredness of
one human life.
6. The Value of Choice: Choice has been made the overriding cultural value in
our country. If choice is so sacred, why has the father of the unborn child been
excluded in abortion decisions? If we can choose to have an abortion and have
the government pay for it, and if the value of choice is consistent, why can't
we send our children to Catholic schools and have the government pay for it? But
choice is not the preeminent value, life is, and only the living can choose.
Moses said: "You have before you life and death, choose life."
7. Prayer: The foundation of all our action must be prayer. If we cut off
oxygen from a flame it dies; if we cut off prayer from the soul, it dies. We
must pray daily about human life issues. We must pray for them privately and
liturgically. Life issues should be reflected in the Prayer of the Faithful at
From the thankful delegates, Cardinal O'Connor received a standing ovation
--an ovation of sustained applause and of consenting voices of thankful hearts
and grateful tears.
--Reverend Robert P. Cipriano, Associate Pastor
Saint Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco, California
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An estimated 4,000 pre-born babies killed each day in American --an
incredible 26 million since abortion was legalized by the US Supreme Court in
Millions of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews have prayed and worked to end
this continuing tragedy with little success. The pro-abortionists have gained
the support of the media, the judicial system, and a majority of the nation's
lawmakers. Thousands of major corporations and foundations contribute heavily to
the abortion industry, most notably to Planned Parenthood, the world's leading
provider of abortions.
The struggle goes on and those waging the war on behalf of the unborn
continue to seek new ways to bring the message of life to the public. A
relatively new weapon in the arsenal of the pro-lifers is the Life Chain.
Launched in California three years ago, the Life Chain provides an unusually
powerful visual statement of unity by the Christian community that abortion is
wrong and that the Church is opposed to the endless slaughter of innocent
children. In the Life Chain thousands of persons of all ages, in the lawful
exercise of their First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights, line the sidewalks
of a busy city street holding identical signs reading 'Abortion Kills Children'.
This Fall Life Chains will take place in twenty-five California cities and in
twelve other states across the country. Within the next few years, Life Chains
stretching across America from the Pacific to the Atlantic are being planned.
They will bring out millions of citizens expressing their love and compassion
for the smallest of our brethren.
Successful Life Chains owe a great deal to the wholehearted and enthusiastic
support of the clergy. Bishops and priests can exhort the faithful to join in
these ninety minute pro-life demonstrations and when the clergy joins the Life
Chain the effect is powerful. Archbishop Roger Mahony and one of his
Auxiliaries, Bishop Carl Fisher of San Pedro, have participated in these
gatherings in southern California.
Anglican Catholic Bishop James Mote of Denver has said we'll never stop
abortion until we get millions of people into the streets calling for its end.
Life Chains are a step in this direction.
Additional information about Life Chains may be obtained by writing:
Please Let Me Live
3209 Colusa Highway
Yuba City, California 95993
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Biologist Roman Vishniac believed that the science of life could never be
taught by the use of dead organisms, so he devised a technique for photographing
microscopic creatures alive and in their free swimming state. He wrote
beautifully of an experience that touched him deeply and forever impressed upon
him the sanctity of life
"I was watching a mosquito's head under 200 power magnification, and I was
astounded by the loveliness of the eyes. Every one of the facets was burning in
a wonderful color, like gold falling from a setting sun onto the windows of a
castle in fairyland. It was so beautiful, that I loved this mosquito. But I
watched too long. I had no water cell before the lamp, and I didn't realize the
strength of the light. Suddenly it was killing him. One by one the colors of his
eyes went out, like lights being turned off behind a shade, and through the
microscope I saw the death of this mosquito. And I can tell you, it is such a
terrible thing --death."
Why is death such a terrible thing? Because life, which is the opposite of
death, is so rare. In fact it its quite possibly the rarest thing in the
How big is big? Is a billion big? They say that a stack of one billion dollar
bills would reach a height of 125 miles! Since the death of Jesus on the cross
just slightly over one billion minutes have passed. Yet a billion is an
extremely small number when one begins to contemplate the enormity of the
universe. In just our Milky Way galaxy alone there are 100 billion stars, and
there are at last count at least 10 billion other galaxies just like our own! To
put it another way: there are approximately 10,000 grains of sand in a handful.
America alone has 84,000 miles of coastline, more if you add in the thousands of
miles of lake and river beaches. Yet there are more stars in the universe than
there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world!
In all this unimaginably vast universe there is, as far as we know, only one
infinitesimally tiny corner of the universe where is found that rarest of all
So precious, so fragile, so rare. Yet the fact remains that we Americans
fling back into God's face the lives of over a million and a half unborn
children each year. Ours is a society that is seriously toying with euthanasia
as a public policy. The majority of Americans approve of capital punishment, and
in some states people have even expressed a desire to see executions on TV. Why?
A pro-abortion medical journal,
California Medicine, explains why. The journal states that the
Judeo-Christian ethic which held each life as sacred is collapsing. People are
now more concerned about population, limited resources, material benefits, and a
comfortable life style. So they have opted for abortion to solve these problems.
The journal goes on to say, however, that since we haven't quite yet completely
disposed of the old Christian way of thinking we have to deceive ourselves and
pretend that abortion isn't really killing. According to the journal, "The
result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone
really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether
intra or extra uterine until death." When even the pro-abortionists admit that
abortion is the taking of a human life, how can any honest person go on
pretending that it isn't?
The killing doesn't stop with the unborn. Babies who survive abortion or who
are disabled are left uncared for and unfed until they die. The shadow of death
has spread over the sick and the elderly. One hears these days of people arguing
in courtrooms across the land for the "right to die", and the right to withhold
even food and water from the seriously ill. Earlier this year an unemployed
pathologist nicknamed "Dr. Death" created a do-it-yourself suicide machine and
then helped a poor depressed woman suffering from Alzheimer's Disease to use it
on herself! The Hemlock Society
is pressing very hard for legalized assisted suicide, which has already taken
hold in places like Holland where doctors now routinely kill between five and
ten thousand patients annually.
Clearly human life is no longer regarded as sacred. Ours is becoming a
culture of death. Teen suicide is the second leading cause of death among
adolescents. So-called "slasher" horror movies comprise the largest section of
any neighborhood video store. And psychologists are becoming increasingly
concerned about the growing indifference of youngsters to violence and the
suffering of others.
All of these attacks on life are usually cloaked in the language of
compassion. But what it really veils is a fear of suffering. As Christians we
believe that life, even when it touches upon suffering, is still worth living!
Our suffering is not meaningless. It is part of life's pilgrimage. Generously
endured for the love of others it has the power to shape us into the image and
likeness of Jesus whose suffering saved the world!
From the abortionists one continually hears the tired old slogan, "Every
child, a wanted child", suggesting that the pain of being unwanted is greater
than the pain of being pulled limb from limb or scalded to death in the womb.
Since when has "being wanted" become our criteria for deciding whether or not a
life has value or meaning? If "being wanted" is the magic formula that confers
dignity and worth upon individual human lives then I suggest that we are all in
danger. The day may come for all of us when someone else in power (whether it be
the State or our own family) decides that we are no longer "wanted".
The language of the pro-abortionists betrays their real agenda. Abortion is
not an isolated phenomenon. It is only the major symptom of the moral disease
eating away at the fiber of our society. That disease is nothing less than the
direct assault on the very concept of the value and dignity of the individual
human person. You see other manifestations of that disease everywhere in a
society that cannot seem to find a solution to the tragedy of the homeless. You
see it in the plight of the elderly living on cat food in the ghettos. You see
it in the flashing red neon of the porno district where the sacred beauty of
sexuality is reduced to the level of a toy and human beings become objects to be
used for personal gratification and then thrown away.
Abortion is only the bloody red tip of the iceberg --the dehumanization of
the human person in a society that seems to turn more and more to death to solve
the problems of life.
What is our society's answer to rape--death!
What's is the answer to families sick with incest and abuse--death!
What's the answer to poverty--death!
What's the answer to sickness and aging--death!
What's the answer to mental retardation and physical handicap -- death!
What's the answer to violent crime--death!
All of our country's magnificent achievements will count for nothing if in
the end we forget that all of our cherished rights are built upon the first and
greatest of rights, the right to life.
If after 10, 000 years of searching for civilization, the only solution that
society can offer to the problems of life is the abortionist's curette, the
cyanide injection, and the gas chamber, then God help us!
--Fr. Lee Kaylor
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