Tag Archives: fr. frank pavone

Hearts wounded by love: The Sacred Heart, fathers, and abortion

In June, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Christ extends to us His flaming heart that has been lanced and pierced with thorns. It is a suffering heart. Christ loves us by saving our lives in exchange for His life. We, as the body of Christ, are called to do the same.

Fr. Frank Pavone

One way this love is embodied is in pro-life work. It is a work of self-giving love for children in the womb who don’t even know we are loving them. It is a lifesaving work that comes with a cost. The crown of thorns on the heart and the piercing with the lance symbolize the suffering that all those who defend the unborn will undergo; defend the unborn and you will be treated like them. Despite suffering, Christ’s heart keeps on beating inside His body. Similarly, we persevere within the Body of Christ.

And we worship the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His heart is part of His body, the body of God. Devotion to the Sacred Heart brings to the forefront the reality of the Incarnation. And so does pro-life work. Just as the heart is a physical organ, prolife work is a physical concern, not just a spiritual one. We must pray for the children in the womb, but we must also encounter them physically and defend them physically. We pray at the places where they are being killed, we counsel the moms in whose wombs they are nourished, we bury the bodies of those we could not save. We act, in the body, because we are moved by His love, which He shows us in His Body.

Jesus said He is meek and humble of heart, and this brings us to the heart of the pro-life movement. The attitude of humility is the opposite of prochoice, which asserts itself. Humility humbles itself and accepts the choices of God. It accepts that God’s will and plans are better than our own, even if they come unexpectedly.

Moreover, the passion of love in the Sacred Heart is also the passion of love by which we defend the baby in the womb; His heart of mercy is the mercy we extend to all who have been involved in abortion. Pro-lifers are often stereotyped as caring about the baby but not about the mother. This claim couldn’t be further from the truth. Our ministry at Priests for Life ministers to the baby’s mom, dad, and entire family. Under our umbrella, the world’s largest ministries for healing after abortion operate. Rachel’s Vineyard offers healing retreats for families broken by abortion. Silent No More gives them an opportunity to share their testimony of pain and healing, and thereby to inspire in others the hope that they too can be forgiven.

Close to the annual celebration of the Sacred Heart, of course, comes Father’s Day, and we are seeing more and more men come to our healing programs to grieve the children they have lost to abortion. Many repent of having consented to the abortion. But likewise, so many men didn’t even know about it. I have never seen a man more angry than a friend of mine who told me many years ago that his girlfriend had their baby killed without his knowledge. Men are hardwired to be protectors and providers. To be unable to save one’s own child, and to even be shut out of the possibility of doing so, is an insult to one’s manhood. This is why the men of our Silent No More campaign hold signs saying, “I Regret Lost Fatherhood.”

Father’s Day gives us an opportunity to renew our awareness of the pain of these fathers, and our efforts to reach them with the love and mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a heart which, like theirs, is wounded precisely because of Its love. For more information, visit www.FatherhoodForever.org.

FR. FRANK PAVONE is national director for Priests for Life – the largest ministry in the Catholic Church focused exclusively on ending abortion. Learn more at www.ProLifeCentral.com

Shockwaves – abortion’s rattling impact

The trauma of abortion spreads beyond the baby, to the couple, siblings, family, and other relationships – even to workplaces and broader societal circles. Yet, only the healing power of Christ soothes its distress for good.

Abortion is never an isolated incident. There are relationships affected in addition to the baby who was denied a chance to live and the mother who lives with regrets, whether buried or on the surface. The shockwave-effect from each abortion is one of the reasons so many Legates are passionately involved in pro-life causes. The other reason is that God is pro-life. Thus, it leaves faithful Catholics with no other moral choice.

For Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and member of the Orlando, Florida Legatus chapter, her life is dedicated to the pro-life cause. Since 1989, she has held various local and national leadership roles in the movement and has assisted Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, since his ordination in 1988. In 2009, Legatus International awarded Morana the Cardinal John O’Connor Pro-life Hall of Fame Award.

Her latest book, Shockwaves: Abortion’s Wider Circle of Victims, shares personal accounts of the wounds left by abortion. “Since the early days, I’ve focused on the damage abortion does to women,” Morana explained. “In October of 1990, I prayed outside an abortion clinic for the first time and saw women with visible baby bumps going in to destroy their babies.” She was shocked to see women so far along in the pregnancy aborting their babies.

“Father Frank and I had the idea to make signs saying: ‘Abortion hurts women,” Morana said. “It’s always been on my heart from the beginning to help women who would tell us how they’ve been hurt.”

On November 11, 2002, Morana founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign as a joint venture with Priests for Life and the Anglicans for Life. It offers post-abortive support and a platform for testimonies. The “I Regret My Abortion” signs first began appearing at their events.

Currently, there are 18,240 people registered with the Campaign, representing 77 countries. A survey among members shows that more than half of them waited over 20 years before seeking healing, although that time varied from one month to 36 years.

“In 2004, we had the first man give his testimony at the March for Life in D.C.,” Morana said. “And we’ve started having more people come forward like grandparents and siblings.”

Testimonies

Shockwaves is the outgrowth of these testimonies, giving a glimpse into the wound our nation has suffered after 45 years and over 59 million have been lost to legalized abortion.

“Abortion hurts people psychologically, physically, and emotionally,” Morana said. “And sometimes later in life, the women are unable to have more children.” She said that she wrote the book to reveal the extent that abortion’s shockwaves have affected society while also offering healing through support and resources.

Before we can heal, Morana explained that we need to understand what ails us. “Denial begins with the professionals,” she said. “The American Psychological Institute doesn’t even acknowledge abortion trauma.”

Her book contains a myriad of stories that demonstrate the shockwaves. For instance, in the chapter “Fatherhood Forever,” men reveal the painful aftermath of losing a child whether it was what he thought he wanted at the time or not.

John changed his mind about his girlfriend getting an abortion while sitting outside the facility in his car. He ran in, hoping to stop the abortion but was too late. “How could they do this to my child… Why was this child sacrificed because of our stupidity?” he cried. “I stopped seeing Janet. I was too filled with rage, anger, and grief to even look at her.”

When Paul Marshall’s girlfriend became pregnant in high school, their families insisted on abortion. Another pregnancy followed but Paul and his girlfriend turned to Planned Parenthood for parenting classes, hoping for a better outcome. “When we asked about taking classes, a clinic staffer told us that was the most foolish thing we could do and that we should have an abortion,” he said. The couple was told the baby was not even human yet.

Later when Paul came to realize he had destroyed his children, he turned to alcohol, burying his feelings until he heard there were other men hurting from abortion and attended an abortion-recovery program for men. “I am now the president and executive director of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central New York, and we are committed to educating individuals with the truth about fetal development,” he explained. “I was lied to at Planned Parenthood and we know they are still lying about the humanity of the child in the womb.”

Stephen shared his testimony: “Clearly, I let her know it was her responsibility, not mine. Years later I realized she had the abortion for me.” More than 25 years after the abortion, Stephen was in the seminary, deep into prolife work. He contacted his old girlfriend to apologize for not being stronger and learned only then that he had not lost one child, but two—twins.

Stories include grandparents wanting to “fix” the problem and pressuring their children, friends thinking they are being supportive, former clinic workers and even former abortionists themselves. The extent of the shockwaves reveals just how very wounded a country that legalizes abortion becomes.

Healing Needed

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, the director of the Institute for Marital Healing outside Philadelphia, addresses the effect that previous abortions can have on marriages in his forthcoming book with Ignatius Press on strengthening Catholic marriages. According to him, mistrust, feelings of betrayal and anger can emerge from the trauma of a previous abortion, requiring the work of forgiveness. Sometimes, however, the painful memory causing the conflict is buried so the couple does not even realize it is the source of much of their trouble.

“Spouses report being greatly helped by taking the post-abortion pain to the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” Dr. Fitzgibbons said. “Also, participation in a post-abortion healing programs, such as Project Rachel, has helped many spouses find healing.”

A priest once related to him that he often discovers there is a past abortion for couples with excessive anger. Dr. Fitzgibbons began discovering the same situation when he started asking about it.

“The most severe post-abortion psychological consequence that I have seen is the total loss of trust in a spouse which can progress to the development of paranoid thinking which requires antipsychotic medication,” he said. “I have also treated single males involved with a number of abortions who later developed bipolar disorder with grandiose delusions that were an unconscious attempt to escape from their guilt.”

“The awareness of the shockwaves from abortion is essential to breaking this silence and transforming the ministries of the Church and the health care profession,” Morana explained. Her book also offers a list of resources and explains the healing initiative game plan at AbortionShockwaves.com.

“We are making a difference,” Morana said. “I see people healing and going to Christ to stop the abusive behavior and be made new in Him. There are now three to four more pregnancy centers than there are abortion facilities. We are gaining.”

PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG, who wrote the newly published book, Legatus @ 30, is an award-winning author and Catholic journalist, TV and radio commentator, and mother of 10.

Hidden wound in marriage can heal

Next to the protection of life itself, the protection of marriage, as made by God, is one of the key concerns of Christians today. The attacks on marriage are manifest, and intensifying. But not all the factors that threaten and weaken marriage are immediately evident.

Fr. Frank Pavone

Among such threats is the impact that a past abortion has on a couple’s relationship. If either the man or the woman has been involved in an abortion in the past — either with one another or with others — the wounds of that act impact their relationship. And that impact can be mitigated to the extent that they discuss it openly with one another during marriage preparation and seek the help that is available.

Abortion creates a relational and spiritual wound. As our Priests for Life pastoral associates Dr. Theresa and Kevin Burke (cofounders of Rachel’s Vineyard) write,

“A healthy marital relationship is marked by a deep bonding between husband and wife with a foundational trust that leads to vibrant and satisfying emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy. Abortion is a traumatic death experience that is closely associated to relational/sexual intimacy creating a profound fracture of trust striking at the heart of the marital foundation (this holds true whether the event preceded a marriage, or was experienced by only one spouse). Partners experience unresolved, unspoken grief and shame as they struggle with depression, anxiety, and other painnumbing symptoms of trauma that can negatively impact marriage and family life. Extramarital affairs are not uncommon for persons with abortion in their history.”

Women who have had abortions frequently settle for relationships that do not meet their needs for love and nurturing, and in varying degrees are abusive and violent. In our healing programs, women report staying in abusive relationships as a form of self-punishment. They feel on some level, “this is what I deserve for what I did to my baby.”

Couples having marital problems may not understand that those problems are rooted in a previous abortion as they struggle with intimacy, trust, communication, sexuality and parenting issues. One who has participated in an abortion can struggle to feel worthy of the love of another person. Without healing, couples can experience serious dysfunction, and even divorce. The past abortion is like a ticking time bomb in the marriage relationship.

These wounds, furthermore, affect the living children they have. Dysfunctional marriages can lead children to seek love and attention outside the home. They may seek this attention and consolation in ways that are self-destructive.

The good news is that healing is possible. It requires, first of all, breaking the silence. There is no such thing as a “private abortion.” This is made clear in a new book by Legatus member Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More. Called Shockwaves: Abortion’s Wider Circle of Victims, this book traces the multifaceted relational wounds of abortion on a person’s family and beyond (see www.ShockwavesTheBook.com).

Marriage preparation programs need to open the door to talking about past abortions, and resources like Rachel’s Vineyard (a ministry of Priests for Life) are ready to lead couples through the healing needed to strengthen their marriage. In short, a key to strengthening marriage is promoting awareness of the wounds of abortion and the healing that can follow.

FR. FRANK PAVONE is National Director for Priests for Life – the largest ministry in the Catholic Church focused exclusively on ending abortion. Learn more at www.ProLifeCentral.com.

New law to protect preborn from abortive pain

During the Presidential Campaign of 2016, candidate Donald Trump wrote to me and several other national prolife leaders asking us to be part of a “Pro-life Advisory Coalition” that the campaign was forming to assist Mr. Trump and his team to formulate policy priorities for the Pro-life cause.

Fr. Frank Pavone

That coalition now advises the president and his team.

His letter outlines several very specific commitments which represent key priorities for the pro-life movement. He has been following through on every one of them, such as putting a pro-life Justice on the Supreme Court.

Among those commitments was also to sign a piece of legislation that represents the next significant step in ending abortion. It is a measure which has already been enacted in various states and indeed already introduced in Congress. Crafted by our friends at National Right to Life, it is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and it would protect the lives of children in the womb from 20 weeks of development and beyond, because of their ability to feel pain.

A few important points to keep in mind about this legislation:

First, this is a measure that enjoys the support of a majority of Americans and their legislators. According to a January 2017 Marist poll, six in ten Americans support banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This includes even most people who call themselves “pro-choice!”

Second, the fact that the legislation does not protect every child in the womb does not mean we approve of earlier abortions, and neither does it absolve us of our responsibility to protect those whom our legislators are not willing to protect now. Every abortion is equally wrong and we are committed to protect every child. And when it comes to lateterm abortion, our legislators at the state and federal level are in fact willing to do so now – and so must we be.

Third, educationally, we always proceed from the more obvious to the less obvious. The name of this bill starts with the word “pain,” which everyone understands from experience. The pain of others evokes our compassion, and helps us identify with their humanity. This bill focuses on what abortion does to the unborn baby, and rather than simply regulating or de-funding abortion, it actually protects the babies from it.

The time is now for a measure like this to receive our full, enthusiastic support. As influential members of our local communities, we need to encourage our state and federal lawmakers to pass this particular measure. Remind them that our current abortion policy in America – allowing the killing of children throughout pregnancy — is among the most extreme in the world, and has never had majority support. As influential members of your parishes, urge your priests and lay leaders to educate the congregation about the pain children feel in abortion and the opportunity we have now to protect them.

And if the legislators who represent you embrace a pro-abortion position, challenge them publicly with a simple question: “Do you believe that healthy children carried by healthy mothers should be protected, in the latest stages of pregnancy, from painful dismemberment?” If a public official cannot answer that question with a clear “yes,” he or she does not belong in public office, and we need to say so.

Priests for Life is ready to assist you and your local chapters in pursuing this next crucial step in the protection of the unborn. To keep up on the latest developments and action alerts, and to help us make this a major campaign issue in the 2018 elections, sign up at www. StopAbortionNow.org.

FR. FRANK PAVONE, one of the most prominent prolife leaders in the world, has led the Priests for Life movement and its family of ministries since 1993. See PriestsForLife.org for more information.

Voting pro-life in a difficult election

As we approach another national election, the pro-life movement — based on logic, arithmetic and the evidence of experience — continues to proclaim that there is no issue more foundational in our choice of a candidate and a party than abortion.

Fr. Frank Pavone

From the declaration of Pope St. John Paul II that legalizing abortion turns the state into “a tyrant state,” to the assertion of St. Teresa of Calcutta that “the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion,” to the U.S. bishops’ teaching that the right to life is the foundation of the “house” of interrelated issues, to the sheer arithmetic showing that nothing takes more life than abortion, to the ongoing evidence that abortion — besides killing the child — harms mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, the whole family, friends, abortionists, and all society, the message is clear: If we don’t re-establish protection of the right to life, all our other efforts for the common good are built on quicksand.

No election gets us there in one step. But to keep moving toward that goal, all have to participate in each election. And in this one, many say they’re finding it hard to vote at all. Unless Jesus and the Blessed Mother are on the ballot, we are always going to be choosing imperfect candidates. In this life, everything is a messy mixture of good and evil.

At the same time, there are always differences between the candidates. We need to do our homework on the candidates’ positions, as well as the parties those candidates represent. Each party has its universe of philosophies and policy preferences. Each party is a whole army of people who are going to surround and advise the candidate, and fill many positions of influence if that candidate is elected.

For instance, what kind of people would a president nominate to serve on the Supreme Court and the other federal courts? In what direction do they and their party lean on the most fundamental issues of life, religious freedom, marriage and family? Remember, it’s not just that the candidate shapes the office — the office also shapes the candidate, as does the party. Who would this president, furthermore, appoint as surgeon general, attorney general, secretary of state, secretary of the department of Health and Human Services, and so many more?

We have to be patient with ourselves and with the process and carefully choose the person and party who are closest to our values, starting with the most important issues. Voting is a moral obligation; participation in the political process is a virtue. The U.S. bishops teach us that “every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts” (Living the Gospel of Life, #34).

If we conclude that no matter who wins, they will do damage, the analogy of the runaway train may help us. Imagine you’re at the controls of a runaway train and you cannot stop it. But you can change the track that it’s on. At the end of one track, the train will kill a large number of people, and at the end of the other track, a small number of people. What do you do?

Obviously, you don’t want it to kill anyone. But you cannot stop the train. You would, of course, change the train to the track where it’s going to do the least damage. In this case, you aren’t choosing evil; you are choosing to limit evil — and that choice is a good.

The guidance here is simple: It’s the difference between certainty and doubt. If you know one choice will definitely lead in the wrong direction and the other might lead in the right direction, you choose the possible good.

We have to remember, too, that our vote is not meant to make us feel good; it’s about advancing the common good. A vote is not an opinion poll about what we think about the candidate. It’s a transfer of power — and it’s a gamble.

The bottom line is that we must not skip an election; we should vote. Sometimes we may think that we’re doing wrong by voting for either candidate. But we have to consider the fact that we influence the election whether we like it or not. Skipping a vote also influences the election because it takes a vote away from the better of the two candidates.

So don’t sit out the election. Go and vote, and help change the train to the best available track!

FATHER FRANK PAVONE is Priests for Life’s national director.

LEARN MOREPoliticalResponsibility.com
 VotingInfo.net
AbortionShockwaves.com

Proclaiming the Message of Life

Fr. Frank Pavone
Servant, 2016
336 pages, hardcover $29.99

Speaking on the sanctity of life from the pulpit can be a challenging, but beautiful undertaking for any preacher. In his new book, subtitled Weekly Reflections from the Lectionary, Pavone offers a comprehensive guide to presenting a life-affirming message from the Sunday lectionary readings for the entire three-year cycle.

This book is both a valuable tool and a source of deep reflection for priests, deacons, and lay people alike. Pavone addresses the principles of pro-life preaching as well as common objections to the clergy preaching on this subject. He lays a foundation for this valuable teaching based on scripture and sound pastoral practice.

OrderAmazonFranciscan Media

Abolishing Abortion

pavoneAbolishing Abortion
Fr. Frank Pavone
Thomas Nelson, 2015
256 pages, hardcover $22.99

With the battle for the White House heating up and the fight to defund Planned Parenthood on the front burner, there’s no more timely book than this one, subtitled How You Can Play a Part in Ending the Greatest Evil of Our Day.

Longtime pro-life crusader Fr. Pavone explores biblical, moral, historical, and legal reasons Christians belong in the public square. He challenges both churches and individual Christians to full engagement.

Father Pavone argues convincingly that the battle against abortion not only can be won, but must be won. The soul of our nation depends on it.

Order: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

From the gritty to the pretty

Jason Jones’ pro-life ministry takes him from the homeless to Hollywood’s stars . . .

The pain of abortion catapults many people into the pro-life movement and the Catholic Church. Legate Jason Jones is no exception. But when he entered the pro-life movement back in 1989, he was as far from Catholicism as anyone could be.

40-year plan

cover-oct14It all began when Jones was about to turn 17 and he learned that his high school girlfriend was pregnant. Jones joined the U.S. Army to support his young family, and the couple decided to keep the pregnancy a secret until he finished basic training. One day — right before the seventh month of pregnancy — Jones’ girlfriend called him where he was stationed in Fort Benning, Ga. She was crying hysterically. Then her father came on the line and said, “Jason, I know your secret, and your secret’s gone. She had an abortion.”

The news rocked Jones to the core.

“I didn’t even know abortion was legal until my captain told me that it was,” Jones said. “All I knew was that my girlfriend had been coerced into this by her Catholic father.”

Jones immediately became a rabidly anti-Catholic pro-lifer. Heartbroken, he began going door-to-door to talk to people about abortion. When Jones’ captain found out, he told the young solider that he needed a plan — and to work backwards from there.

“So I made a 40-year plan to end abortion,” he said. “I knew I had to go to college if I was going to get anywhere.”

Jones enrolled in the University of Hawaii after getting out of the army and volunteered for Hawaii Right to Life. There Jones began to learn about the pro-life movement and how legislation worked. Jones was a firm atheist in college, but reading Jean Paul Sartre and Friedrich Nietzsche during his final semester challenged him. Both philosophers argued against the existence of God and a transcendental moral order.

Actor Eduardo Verástegui and Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette, pose with Jason Jones

Actor Eduardo Verástegui and Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette, pose with Jason Jones

“I knew that human beings had incomparable worth, but only if referenced to God,” Jones explained. “This forced me to believe in God and accept Christian anthropology.”

By 1999, Jones began attending a pro-life Evangelical Church in Hawaii, but admits that his “behavior was still that of a pagan and I was only praying intermittently.”

After college, Hawaii Right to Life hired Jones, who eventually became chief of staff for Hawaii state representative Mark Moses. He worked on an effort in 1999 to ban third trimester abortions in the state. Despite a massive petition effort, Moses’ pro-life bill died in committee because the committee head was pro-abortion.

In desperation, Jones remembers praying, “God, if you exist, I don’t see you doing anything. I need three things to believe in you. I need rich, famous and powerful people on our side.”

Jones would live to see God answer his prayer in good time.

By 2001, Jones moved to Virginia to work with Human Life International where he met a number of committed Catholics. He was also reading the Church Fathers in earnest, noticing that all of them were Catholic.

“I was struck by their consistency,” he said. “They believed in apostolic succession and in the Eucharist. I realized that there was no escaping becoming Catholic.”

Jones registered for RCIA in 2002 and entered the Church a year later.

Saving our century

Jason Jones and a group of volunteers prepare meals for the homeless at the Movie To Movement headquarters in Hollywood

Jason Jones and a group of volunteers prepare meals for the homeless at the Movie To Movement headquarters in Hollywood

Since becoming Catholic, Jones has been involved in a dizzying array of activities — from producing films to launching numerous efforts to help the poor. His first book, co-authored with Catholic writer John Zmirak, was released last month.

Jones’ first venture into film came in 2006, when he helped produce the award-winning movie Bella , starring Mexican actor and singer Eduardo Verástegui. The pro-life film went on to earn $12 million at the box office and save hundreds of babies from abortion.

Jones was an associate producer for the 2008 film The Stoning of Soraya M , starring Jim Caviezel. His self-produced 2013 pro-life short Crescendo has raised almost $6 million for crisis pregnancy centers. It won 11 international film festival awards, and Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette was an executive producer.

Now Jones is working on Broken Hearts Sing , a film about the devastation of abortion through the eyes of people working in Hollywood. It’s slated for release in 2016.

“I believe it will be a watershed for the pro-life movement,” Jones said.

Besides making movies and engaging in politics, Jones founded the non-profit group HERO (Human- rights Education and Relief Organization) in 2002 to promote human dignity in all stages of life through international education and relief programs.

Under the HERO umbrella of organizations is Movie to Movement and I Am Whole Life, founded in 2007 to uphold the principles Jones believes are foundational for a just social order: people are made in God’s image, the transcendent moral order, subsidiarity, solidarity, and a humane economy.

Sam Gregg

Sam Gregg

I Am Whole Life ministers to the homeless to build an appreciation of the dignity of local homeless communities. It also raises money to provide clean water to the Nuba people in Sudan.

Jones encapsulates his many humanitarian and pro-life efforts in his new book, The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life.

“It’s the result of 18 years of thinking and writing on this subject,” Jones explained. “Its basic premise is that humanity must commit to fundamental moral truths about the human person. I started to write this book while I was still an atheist.”

Sam Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, is one of the book’s biggest fans.

“What’s impressive about the book is that it explains how the failure to understand the truth of the human person produced such devastation in the 20th century,” he said “If we don’t recover the truth of the human person, we’re bound to make similar mistakes in the 21st century.”

The idea of man being made in God’s image — Imago Dei — is a major premise in the book.

“The nature of Imago Dei is that we reflect God’s reason and free will,” Gregg explained. “We are made for communion. If you take this view that human beings are made in the image of God, this radically shifts your view of the unborn and elderly people.”

With Jones now in the 25th year of his 40-year plan to end abortion, his friends and collaborators say we can certainly expect more original projects.

“Jason Jones has what I believe is an essential ingredient — a total, passionate dedication to ending abortion. It is not just one of many passions,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

“In terms of the movies he has produced, this has made a major contribution to the pro-life movement. We used to talk about this in the past: ‘What if we made a pro-life movie?’ Now we have a whole catalog of them.”

One of the best things about Jones, Fr. Pavone said, is his perseverance — a marvelous quality that anti-slavery movement leaders had.

“Jason Jones is one of those people who has a vision for a project, and he does not let the vision drop until the project is completed — no matter how long it takes.”

SABRINA ARENA FERRISI is Legatus magazine’s senior staff writer.

Learn More:

SaveOurCentury.com

IAmWholeLife.com

MovieToMovement.com

Making waves for the unborn

Baltimore Legate Steve Peroutka has launched a heartfelt pro-life radio ministry . . .

cover-oct13Steve Peroutka was always a good talker for the pro-life cause, willing to defend the right to life at social gatherings. But one day he realized that there was no “walk” in his talk.

Pro-life warrior

After going to his first national March for Life 14 years ago in Washington, D.C., Peroutka decided it was time to jump into the trenches of the pro-life movement. It wasn’t long before he became a recognized warrior in the fight for the unborn, advancing the pro-life message on his own radio programs.

Before that, Peroutka said, he was like many Catholics and other Christians who say they oppose abortion, but sit on the sidelines. He said his transformation from spectator to player came after seeing the face of the pro-life movement as he marched down Washington’s Constitution Avenue with “600,000 of the best people you want to meet.”

He founded National Pro-Life Radio — an Internet radio platform — and the Elizabeth Streb Peroutka Foundation, named for his mother, to support pro-life causes. He also serves as chairman of the National Pro-Life Center.

Steve Peroutka

Steve Peroutka

An attorney who practices in Pasadena, Md., with his brother and fellow pro-life advocate, Michael, Peroutka now returns annually to the March for Life on the anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America.

“It’s a reinvigoration of the pro-life movement,” he said. “You’ve got to do it once a year to be re-energized.”

A member of Legatus’ Baltimore Chapter, Peroutka credits his wife Debbie with encouraging him to go to the March and for bringing him back to the Catholic Church.

“I was raised a good Catholic,” he said, “but I strayed out of laziness.” When he met Debbie, Peroutka said, he saw someone who took her faith seriously, something he hadn’t done since he was a teen.

Pro-life ministry

As he made his way back to the Church, Peroutka said his radio shows taught him about his faith by giving him the opportunity to interview people who might otherwise be inaccessible for a one-on-one chat.

Debbie and Steve Peroutka

Debbie and Steve Peroutka

Peroutka’s radio programs air on stations in Baltimore and Annapolis, Md., and on SiriusXM’s Family Talk, Channel 131. His SiriusXM show “Face the Truth Coast 2 Coast” airs at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

About eight years ago, Peroutka collaborated with two others to start National Pro-Life Radio, an Internet site with programs featuring such hosts as Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union.

Rob McQuay, National Pro-Life Radio’s production director, said the idea for an Internet radio presence advancing the cause of life came from Fr. Paul Schenck, who pitched the proposal to Peroutka. McQuay then implemented the plan. At the time, Fr. Schenck, a former Protestant clergyman, was not yet a priest.

Fr. Paul Schenck

Fr. Paul Schenck

Father Schenck, director of the Office of Respect Life Activities in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., had met Peroutka in 1998 after hearing a pro-life advertisement on his car radio.

“At the end of the ad it said, ‘Brought to you by the law offices of Peroutka and Peroutka,’” Fr. Schenck recalled. He said his heart leapt at the thought of a law office sponsoring a pro-life ad. Determined to find out who was behind it, he called Peroutka’s office.

As the two men got acquainted, Fr. Schenck learned that Peroutka had created a media studio and was using it to broadcast the pro-life message. Peroutka, meanwhile, discovered that Fr. Schenck was involved in the prolife movement and invited him to be on his show. A friendship was born.

Peroutka also aided Fr. Schenck in his entry into the Catholic Church, even providing him with a job so that he could support his wife and children after he left his position as a Protestant pastor.

“Thanks to Steve’s generosity, sponsorship, and his love shown to me and my family,” Fr. Schenck said, “we were able to make that transition and begin the road to becoming a Catholic family and, for me, eventually a Catholic priest.”

Peroutka also helped Fr. Schenck start the National Pro-Life Center, an ecumenical outreach to public policy makers in Washington. From its o£ces near the U.S. Supreme Court, the Center seeks to provide conscience-forming information to policy makers, members of the federal judiciary, the justices, and their senior staff.

“We are evangelists proclaiming the gospel of life on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Fr. Schenck, the Center’s founding director and chair.

The real deal

Day Gardner

Day Gardner

Besides the public face of his pro-life work through radio and the National Pro-Life Center, Peroutka has supported the movement and its people both personally and through his foundation.

The National Black Pro-Life Union’s Day Gardner remembers Peroutka’s response when she was working with National Right to Life to increase awareness of abortion in the African-American community.

“I told Steve what I wanted to do and said I was looking for people to help me,” she explained. “Without batting an eye he said, ‘What do you need?’ and he came to our help immediately.”

Gardner said Peroutka personally funded an event featuring Tony award winning singer Melba Moore, who talked about her abortion. The event was significant, Gardner added, because at the time “blacks were not talking about abortion. It was a secret. We knew there were people who had had abortions, but none of us knew the numbers and the toll it was taking.”

After that event, Gardner said, Peroutka went on to underwrite other initiatives. “He’s been one of those people who goes absolutely out of his way to get things done and to make sure you have what you need, not only financially, but that people are plugged in so it becomes a very successful event. He’s the real deal. He’s good to his word. He’s not going to say something and then change. That’s very rare in these days and these times.”

McQuay concurs. “Particularly when he has a cause and something that he’s passionate about, he will do whatever he can to make it happen. He’s generous financially, but he’s generous with his time and interest, too.”

Father Schenck, who procured an apostolic blessing conferred upon Peroutka in 2008, said he experienced his friend’s generosity on an intensely personal level when his second son needed treatment at Johns Hopkins Medical Center for systemic lupus in 2006. Because his son had no insurance and couldn’t be covered under his father’s policy, his care had to be paid in advance. Peroutka agreed to help and the young man’s life was saved.

Why does Peroutka devote so much time and energy to a single issue?

“It all starts with pro-life,” Peroutka explained. “How can we expect God to look down on us favorably if we kill our children? I hear some politicians say social issues are second because we need to get the economy in shape first. How can we hope to prevail if we kill our children? How can we hope to make the right taxes, build the right roads, the right programs? It’s almost silly to think of a society trying to work for good when they kill 1.5 million children a year!”

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

Learn more:

nationalproliferadio.net

nationalprolifecenter.org

nationalblackprolifeunion.com

Implementing the plan for victory

Fr. Frank Pavone says pro-life gains are adding up quickly and victory is near . . .

Fr. Frank Pavone celebrates Mass with Fr. Rob Schenck during the annual Legatus Pro-Life Conference

Fr. Frank Pavone celebrates Mass with Fr. Rob Schenck during Legatus’ annual Legatus Pro-Life Conference

When I became director of Priests for Life 20 years ago, I began visiting national pro-life leaders to learn what they were doing and to offer our help.

This led us to develop a specific plan to end abortion, which marshals the strengths of the pro-life movement against the weaknesses of the abortion industry. We update and implement that plan through networking with leaders, not only through strategic summits but also through spiritual retreats.

I am more convinced than ever that we are winning the fight against abortion. I’d like to explore one of the key reasons why the plan is bearing fruit, and how we can build on this momentum. Two key issues for pro-lifers today are the battles for marriage and religious liberty. Priests for Life was among the first to file a lawsuit over the HHS mandate, and we are confident of victory. But the battle for the defense of life itself will always remain the most fundamental moral struggle, because one can neither be married, religious, or free unless one is first born. Murder, including abortion and euthanasia, takes away these other rights and goods as well.

In the fight against abortion, the words of St. Paul are playing out: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless works of darkness; rather, expose them” (Eph 5:11).

Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s trial and conviction exposed abortion to national debate. It opened many people’s eyes to three things: what is done to the child; what is done to the woman, who is often injured and even killed; and the unsafe, unscrupulous environment of the abortion industry, which doesn’t even measure up to the standards in place at veterinary clinics.

As various members of our Priests for Life team attended Gosnell’s trial, reporters would ask us if we thought Gosnell was “crazy.” I responded, “Not necessarily. He is simply following the logic of the abortion industry.”

Roe v. Wade did not deny that unborn children are living human beings, but it did remove their protection under the law. “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins” [410 U.S. 113, 159], the decision said, and at the same time, “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn” [410 U.S. 113, 158].

This leads to what Gosnell did — namely, killing the same babies even after birth. The Journal of Medical Ethics published an article entitled, “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” (Feb. 23, 2012). The authors state, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

Controversial ethicist Peter Singer once said that the “location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make such a crucial moral difference,” and that to be consistent, there are “only two possibilities” — “oppose abortion or allow infanticide.”

My recent public letter to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (LetterToNancy.com) caught such national attention because it demanded that she answer a question that we must all answer: What is the difference between killing a baby by legal abortion in the final months of pregnancy and killing the same baby outside the mother’s womb (for which Gosnell is serving life sentences)?

Raising this question has helped legislators to pass legislation that protects children after birth and in the later stages of pregnancy. Some 10 states — as well as the U.S. House of Representatives — have voted to prohibit abortion starting at 20 weeks of fetal age. This is monumental. Pro-lifers are also working with legislators to strengthen state laws that regulate abortion facilities, causing many of them to close. At least 58 U.S. abortion mills — almost 1 in 10 — have shut or stopped killing children since 2011.

These measures don’t represent the final goal; they represent the next logical step. Every abortion is equal in its moral violation, but not in its psychological impact. And regulating an abortion clinic doesn’t make the abortions right. But pedagogically, we take the public and our legislators from the more obvious to the less obvious, and real progress is being made. Just exposing abortion is enough to bring most people to reject it.

As our executive director Janet Morana points out in her new book Recall Abortion, the testimonies of those who have had the experience (and the studies of the damage it does) make the case for the government to protect these women — and ultimately to recall the procedure as harmful to the public. We are closer to that day than ever before!

FR. FRANK PAVONE is the national director of Priests for Life.