Priests for Life's Fr. Frank Pavone and ‘A Dozen Reasons Life Is Winning’
BY Tom McFeely
JUNE 10, 2007 (http://ncregister.com) - FATHER FRANK PAVONE said these are hopeful times for American pro-lifers.
The national director of Priests for Life points to the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion and to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments about Communion and pro-abortion politicians as particularly favorable developments.
He spoke May 15 with contributing editor Tom McFeely about the current pro-life landscape in America, and about the development of his new priestly order, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.
Pope Benedict XVI made some important remarks to reporters during his flight to Brazil May 9 about pro-abortion politicians and their reception of Communion. What was the Pope saying to the Church about this matter?
The Pope was simply reinforcing the existing canon law of the Church, and recognizing the right of the local bishop to declare or impose an excommunication in certain circumstances. So it’s not surprising that he did that.
But he was also reaffirming Catholic doctrine about the Eucharist. Communion means union with Jesus, and when one does not recognize the right to life of other human beings, then that person is putting himself or herself out of union with Jesus and with his teachings.
The act of Communion is one that says, “I want to be in union, not only with the truth that Jesus revealed, but in union with the love he instills in us.” It’s really a biblical foundation here that we are reasserting, when we say that politicians who don’t acknowledge the right to life exclude themselves from Communion.
It’s really a reflection of what Jesus said about when you bring your gifts to the altar and realize your brother has something against you — leave your gift there, and be reconciled with your brother. So we can think of that in terms of, if I come to the altar and I have unforgiveness or I have hatred in my heart for someone, well then I’m not ready to receive Communion because being in union with Jesus means being in union with all of those whom he made and loves and redeems. In other words, all human beings.
So I have to go first and be reconciled with my neighbor. This applies to the unborn neighbor.
The politician who looks at that unborn neighbor as someone who’s disposable or as one who has no basic rights or is not deserving of protection is not reconciled with that unborn neighbor and therefore has to reconcile first.
We have to recognize their humanity, affirm their rights, sustain and protect their dignity. And then we’re ready, in terms of the unborn, to be in union with Jesus.
That obviously applies not only to politicians but to everyone. So the Pope is reaffirming things that are fundamental and basic.
On May 14, 18 House Democrats issued a statement publicly repudiating the Pope’s remarks regarding reception of Communion by pro-abortion politicians. What’s your response to this statement by these Catholic Congressmen?
They claimed that they are in favor of preserving every life, but of course this is contradictory. If they are not preserving the lives of the unborn, then they are not preserving every human life.
It’s not just that they have a problem with the faith or with the Pope. The problem starts way before that. The problem is on a basic human level. We’re talking about the violent destruction of a human being — are you or are you not going to do something about that?
Looking at the 2008 presidential campaign as it is beginning to unfold, what are some of the pro-life considerations?
The campaign is still in its very early stages, but it’s good that it’s early. Because now is the time that we have more freedom to choose who’s going to be on the ballot.
We do have pro-life candidates out there in the field. To help people to know who these people are, two websites that I use are RealClearPolitics.com and Politics1.com. These are places that people can go to get the lay of the land when it comes to the candidates.
You find the one you think is best, and then you work very hard to give that person name recognition, let people know what their positions actually are. It’s very important to look at the voting records if it’s a person who already holds or has held public office in the past, and to build up the person’s base of support urging other people and organizations to support them.
All of this is very important activity at this stage of the process. And, of course, abortion will be a critical issue again in this race.