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It is humbling to announce that following the untimely death this past May of Karen Malec, the 16-year president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, that I’ll be taking the helm to succeed my great mentor as president and CEO of the Coalition. Five years ago Karen spent a great deal of time educating me about the link between abortion and breast cancer, sharing with me all of the scientific papers, and informing me of the history of this issue and how it has all unfolded. She was utterly generous with her time and considerable knowledge, her talents, and her gracious good humor.

What Karen and the Coalition have done over the past 16 years has been truly remarkable. She built a website that is encyclopedic in nature, and was indefatigable in presenting the truth of peer reviewed paper after peer reviewed paper to any and all who would listen. Through it all she labored as a colon cancer survivor, only to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer last autumn. On 5 May of this year, God saw fit to bring this happy warrior home.

In discussions with the Board of Directors at the time of my election, I laid out a vision of where I think the work needs to go over the next ten years. At age 55, I am one of the youngest of the scientist/physician community who advance the understanding of this link between induced abortion and breast cancer. Do the math. Where will this community be in ten years? How easily this issue can fade away.

It is for that reason that the Coalition needs to build on the rock-solid foundations laid by Karen Malec, Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, Dr. Joel Brind, Dr. Chris Kahlenborn, and others. While keeping the issue alive in the pro-life movement, we need to reach out to young medical professionals in training: pre-med students, medical students, nursing students, and pharmacy students. Schools simply ignore this issue, and swallow wholesale the sham conference at the National Cancer Institute in 2003 that denied the link, in spite of consistent evidence since 1957. Indeed, papers are coming in from all around the world substantiating this link.

So, some of our larger goals going forward are these:

Hold regular conferences to update our knowledge about the link between abortion and breast cancer, and to teach the history of the issue to young medical professionals who desire to practice good, moral, Hippocratic medicine. We’ll name this conference series after Karen.

Karen Malec

Karen Malec

More immediately, redesign the website to make it more intuitive and user-friendly, and with a format that works well on mobile devices. The website will archive all of the relevant scientific papers, as well as video of the Malec Conference Series. It will also archive a series of short educational videos that will be readily grasped by the layperson, as well as medical professional.

As the estrogen/progestin birth control pill causes breast cancer by similar mechanism as induced abortion, and inasmuch as the combined pill and estrogen replacement therapy are listed by the World Health Organization as Group 1 Carcinogens, this work will become more a part of the Coalition’s work. Karen began this a couple of years ago, and we’ll continue in this direction.

The development of educational videos and materials for the public and for medical professionals in training will also be pursued.

All of this is more than possible. It’s very easy to do. There are many groups already serving pro-life students in colleges, nursing and medical schools. The work of this coalition will not be to compete with these groups, but to serve them. But all of this is going to require a solid base of pro-life people to join the Coalition and its donors to raise awareness, reach out to people, and help to fund the mission.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’ll be publishing all sorts of educational posts and making the rounds on radio shows. The Coalition is not the only group doing this work, either. Drs. Joel Brind and Angela Lanfranchi run the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, and Dr. Chris Kahlenborn runs the Polycarp Research Institute. With Karen, they have been the leaders in the field for decades.

All during September I’ll be offering ideas/suggestions for how people can raise awareness of the contributions of the birth control pill and abortion to the ranks of women with breast cancer, and offering the papers that give the consistent data substantiating the link. I’ll also be suggesting how people can raise money during this month of awareness to help the Coalition, and our two cousin organizations mentioned above in helping women to prevent this dread disease.

The nation is focused on the horrors of abortion as never before. We need to shine the light of truth on the real war on women. Join us in September and October as the Coalition advances the great work begun by Karen, and takes it to the place she was headed with it all. And most of all, pray for those of us who labor in this difficult field of getting people past the lies and accepting of the truth of science.

Blessings.

0816 julian bond

The passing of a man who missed the chance to really advance his people.

I admired Julian Bond, and all that he did, but I believe future generations will place an asterisk next to his name. Why he never spoke out forcefully against abortion remains a mystery, even when we made it known a few years ago that 60% of black pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion. The silence was deafening.

Why Bond never really addressed the fact that between 15-20 million black babies have been aborted since 1973, that the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood operate over 70% of their “clinics” in inner-city neighborhoods. Given the loss of all those black lives to abortion, and the offspring they would have produced, we are shy about 30 million more blacks in the US today.

That’s remarkable when one considers the 2010 US Census figures. Out of 308.7 million people, 38.9 million identified as black alone. That’s only 13% of the population. If we had the 30 million who were either aborted, or would have been born to those aborted, the percentage of blacks in America would be more than 20%. Approaching 1/4 of the population would be a game-changer for the black community, and America. While it is not inconceivable that there are those who wouldn’t want that, it is unfathomable that Bond and the others in black leadership would tolerate what has been done to the black community, largely by its own hand. While it would have been nice to see the NAACP and the SPLC militate against the legality of abortion, at the very least they could have mounted a sustained campaign to encourage black women to choose life. They could have militated for funds to establish black pregnancy resource centers. They could have spoken vehemently against race suicide.

They didn’t. They tolerated voices on the left suggesting that black abortion is the answer to black criminality and black poverty. Worse still, Bond actually equated the right to abortion with the right to sit at a lunch counter. See the video and hear him say it.

Abortion as a civil right. Shredding black babies in their mother’s wombs as the equivalent of eating at the same lunch counter as whites! He polluted the entire civil rights agenda in one breathtaking statement.

I can understand if the KKK held out abortion as a strategy to reduce black poverty, but to have such expressed sentiment in certain quarters tolerated by so many black leaders, and to hear nothing from Bond and his Southern Poverty Law Center was ghastly. The deaths and nonexistence of 30 million blacks has done nothing to end poverty in the inner-city, or to end the black-on black violence that make those neighborhoods far more vicious than they were in the Civil Rights era. So, by the calculus of death and nonexistence, the answer is what? MORE death and nonexistence for those currently alive? Clearly not. Death is never the answer.
How such a brilliant man couldn’t see that 30 million fewer blacks means permanent minority status is just beyond imagining. Was his embrace of abortion the price to pay in the Democrat Party for a seat at the table?
The key to ending abortion lies with the African-American community. When blacks have had enough, they will dictate to the DNC that this business of abortion is over, or they will withhold their votes, votes without which democrats cannot survive. And not until that day, will abortion be dropped as a planck at the DNC. If that never comes to pass, then it is hard to see black America being a viable force in two generations. As Lincoln once said in his Young Mens’ Lyceum address:
“This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.
 
“How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
 
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

B3-thomas2

60 Minutes.

That’s all it will take. 60 minutes.

In one hour’s time, a documentary film maker can assemble a case so damning, so overwhelming against Planned Parenthood that it is doubtful the giant could survive. Over the past several years there have been several damning undercover sting operations and other revelations about this organization and its members. The problem is that the revelations have been too spaced apart, and the momentary outrage has not been sustainable. This time the trafficking in human body parts has touched a nerve, and just as in the physiology of how nerves fire, the stimulus has to be sufficiently large and sustained.

Here, now, the totality of the case for any interested film maker.

Center for Medical Progress Videos

The Center for Medical Progress, which at this writing is in the midst of revealing its videos of Planned Parenthood discussing aborted baby parts for sale, has a page archiving the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood discussing the altering of abortion techniques to maximize organ and tissue yield, as well as discussing pricing for said parts. That site is here.

Live Action Videos

Lila Rose and Live Action have produced several sting operations over the years that demonstrate a culture of what has been described as criminal negligence where child safety is concerned.

Covering Child Sex Trafficking. In Live Action’s words:

“Investigations found seven Planned Parenthood clinics in four different states were willing to aid and abet the sex-trafficking of minor girls by supplying confidential birth control, STD testing, and secret abortions to underage girls and their traffickers.” The seven videos may be seen here.

Child Sexual Abuse Coverup. In Live Action’s words:

“Investigations found eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five different states were willing to cover-up sexual abuse, disregarding mandatory suspected statutory rape reporting laws. Clinics also provided instructions on how to circumvent parental consent laws.” The eight videos may be seen here.

Gendercide: The systematic killing of girls. In Live Action’s words:

“Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen estimated that as early as 1990, approximately 100 million women were demographically missing worldwide due to sex-selection abortion, female infanticide, and other such practices. Current estimates now put that number at 200 million missing women and girls globally.

“U.S. Census data and national vital statistics show that indeed, sex-selection is a growing problem in America. Americans are employing sex-selection techniques in their reproductive decisions. A review of census and birth records by Professor Jason Abrevaya of the University of Texas showed that Americans have sex-selected thousands of baby girls.” The five videos of Planned Parenthood willing to selectively abort girls may be seen here.

Deliberate Medical Misinformation. In Live Action’s words:

“In a multi-state undercover investigation Live Action documented Planned Parenthood’s use of unscientific and fabricated medical information to convince women to have abortions. A series of hidden camera videos shot in clinics across the United States reveals the exploitative tactics abortionists and clinicians employ to conceal the truth about abortion from women who most need honest and accurate information. Leading embryologists have denounced Planned Parenthood’s conduct caught on tape as ‘erroneous and scientifically absurd.’ ” The videos may be seen here.

False Mammogram Claims by Planned Parenthood. In Live Action’s words:

“A series of undercover phone calls reveals that contrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation’s largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women.

“In the tapes, a Live Action actor calls 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, inquiring about mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells her she will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure. “We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, KS explains to the caller, ‘We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.'” The video of the calls may be seen here.

Taking Donations Specifically Earmarked for Aborting Black Babies. Live action offers the following transcript of one of several Planned Parenthoods willing to accept money earmarked for aborting a black baby:

Idaho Representative: Autumn Kersey, Director of Development

Idaho Donor: The abortion—I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose?

PP Rep: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that your gift be used to help an African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that the gift was earmarked for that purpose.

Idaho Donor: Great, because I really faced trouble with affirmative action, and I don’t want my kids to be disadvantaged against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name.

PP Rep: Yes, absolutely.

Idaho Donor: And we don’t, you know we just think, the less black kids out there the better.

PP Rep: Understandable, understandable.

Idaho Donor: Right. I want to protect my son, so he can get into college

PP Rep: Alright. Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I’ve had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I’m excited, and want to make sure I don’t leave anything out.

The videos may be seen here.

Planned Parenthood Lying About Botched Abortions. In Live Action’s words:

“Live Action investigators called Planned Parenthood abortion clinics with recent cases of medical emergencies and botched abortions in 7 different states asking if Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice was safe and if women had ever been hurt at the clinics. Not a single Planned Parenthood abortion clinic acknowledged the recent injuries of women.” Listen to the calls here.

For a blog post I’ve written that details how Planned Parenthood has explicitly stated in publications that they seek to remove parental rights as a barrier to children seeking their services, read here. See page 23.

Then There is Planned Parenthood’s advice to children on their right to NOT disclose an HIV status to sex partners, and the right to have sex while drinking and doing drugs:

“You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status.”

“There are many reasons that people do not share their HIV status. They may not want people to know they are living with HIV because of stigma and discrimination within their community. They may worry that people will find out something else they have kept secret, like they are using injecting drugs, having sex outside of a marriage or having sex with people of the same gender. People in long-term relationships who find out they are living with HIV sometimes fear that their partner will react violently or end the relationship.”

“Some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is your choice.”

Get it all here.

So, whence cometh such vile filth and corruption? Certainly no documentary on Planned Parenthood could be considered complete without a good treatment of its beloved founder, Margaret Sanger, whose name is attached to the organization’s annual award. A number of articles dealing with the eugenic princess and her targeting of blacks in her infamous, “Negro Project.”:

Here

Here

Here

Here

Here

Here

And then there is this little gem in another Planned Parenthood publication, a stated goal:

REMOVAL OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT OR SPOUSAL CONSENT LAWS THAT PREVENT YOUNG PEOPLE FROM SEEKING SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES.

Lest anyone doubt how young Planned Parenthood’s target audience is, try TEN YEARS OLD!! Get the documents here.

The time has come to assemble all of this material in a fast-paced, hard-hitting documentary about these people. Seen in context, it is all overwhelming, and 99% of the American people do not have this overarching perspective.

This article assembles all of the key data. Now who will produce the film that will show the undercover videos, play the undercover audio, and show who is really waging war on women and children in this nation? Now is the time, while CMP has captured the nation’s attention and sparked a revulsion.

Our women and children deserve better than Planned Parenthood.

412px-Rood_in_Church_of_St._Vincent_Ferrer_(NYC) Dinner started off well enough, that is, until Jesus announced that one of the Apostles was about to betray Him. It set off a flurry of questions. “Could it be me Lord?” And we all know who left dinner early, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, and who hanged himself in despair. It didn’t get any better when Jesus told Peter that before the night was through, he would Deny Him three times. It went from bad to worse when the Apostles, overcome with grief, fell asleep on Jesus repeatedly, and that, it turns out, was only the beginning.

There is much in tonight’s narrative that bears on the state of the Church in America today, much worth pondering. That Judas sold out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, and used one of the most intimate expressions of love and affection as the signal for identifying him in the dimness of night is chilling. Credit Peter for brandishing a sword and slicing off the ear of one in Judas’ entourage. It was the Apostolic high water mark for the night. It would all unravel for the Apostles from that point on.Having been rebuked on the use of force, Peter would go on to deny Jesus three times, and all but John would head for the tall grass.

Only John followed his Master to the foot of the cross.

Meditating on these past events this week, and watching the drama of religious liberties play out on the national stage this week, it has become evident that Church today resembles the Church at 5 AM on Good Friday. It is a church at low ebb, with the successors of the Apostles as mute and bewildered as the men they succeed were when the gates of Hell were unleashed on the world, when all of the goodness that had gone on for the past  three years seemed to be swallowed up in a demonic cataclysm.

With religious freedom under threat from Big Gay, the Governors of Indiana and Arkansas sought to pass state laws that guarantee the same religious liberties as the federal law sponsored by Teddy Kennedy and Chuck Schumer, and signed into law by Bill Clinton. The demons in and through the media howled with rage and threatened boycotts of these states, which led the champions of religious freedom to…

wait for it…

…declare principled religious and moral objections to being forced into participating in gay/lesbian weddings a form of discrimination.

Allow that to sink in for a moment. The staunchest defenders of religious liberty not only went into retreat, but did Big Gay’s bidding for them by calling for laws that declare Judaeo-Christian moral norms a form of unjust discrimination.

Peter slicing off the ears of his fellow Apostles.

And the silence from our bishops has been deafening, especially when contrasted with a Cardinal leading a St. Patrick’s Day parade with a gay contingent who were out and proud, leading them smiling and waving right past the front doors of his Cathedral. It is the same silence that did not see the bishops unify against gay marriage in the several states, or speak out against the Boy Scouts of America leadership ignore the 67% of leaders polled nationally who opposed permitting openly gay scouts, and on, and on.

We see one brave bishop in San Francisco holding the line on Catholic teacher contracts and behavior. Archbishop Cordileone as John at the foot of the cross.

Meanwhile, the plight of so many Catholic business owners is that of Peter at the fire on Holy Thursday night, being sniffed out as “One of his followers,” taunted into denying Him. Credit those businesses who have not denied him and been handed their own crosses as a consequence.

Weep for the bishops who have locked themselves away in fear of the crowd, who have abandoned their sheep at the darkest hour.

Perhaps it’s time for the faithful to rally to these business owners’ sides, to counter boycotts with support, to become the new Pauline community, of whom it was said, “See those Christians, how they love one another.”

25schiavo_184

As news of the untimely death of Brother Paul O’Donnell spreads, there will be many remembrances by those who knew him well. Perhaps none more than Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo. Brother Paul distinguished himself, and the Church, by being the constant companion and supporter of the Schindler family as their severely brain damaged daughter, Terri, was relentlessly hounded to her death by starvation and dehydration by her husband, Michael, whose promises of therapy for his bride changed over time.

As Michael convinced the courts that Terri didn’t want to live as she was, her family begged for custody of her if her husband didn’t want the responsibility for her care. It was a landmark case in the United States, and the family spokesman was their humble, gentle friend, Brother Paul (pictured here in a New York Times photo from the story of eleventh hour appeals in the seventh day of her dehydration and starving). The photo tells the story of the man’s life.

He was the reflection of Jesus. There in that photo, arm around a grief-stricken mother. There in that photo with husband and wife. There in that photo, the strength, the promise, the living witness:

Emmanuel: God with us.

We are often presented with situations, albeit far less dramatic, where we are called to be Emmanuel. The Last Judgement in Matthew 25, and the Acceptable Fast in Isaiah 58 connect the same ethos in Old and New Testament. It all boils down to, in two words,

BEING THERE.

When the bottom falls out of people’s lives, we are called to be there. Pro-life is far more than being anti-abortion, and Br. Paul showed us pro-life activism, Gospel activism on the other end of the life spectrum. Our maternity homes and pregnancy centers demonstrate the commitment to life at both the beginning and the middle of the spectrum, by providing all of those things mentioned in Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25:

Food. Clothing. Shelter. Support. Visitation. Education.

BEING THERE.

In the late 1980’s, then-Mayor Ed Koch of New York City addressed the homeless epidemic by declaring that homelessness would vanish if every church, synagogue and mosque in America adopted two homeless families and mentored them to wholeness. He was right.

BEING THERE.

Brother Paul leaves for us a simple challenge. When a photo is taken of those around us in their time of need, real need, will we be in it? When the crisis has passed, will we have been there? Will people see our own passing from this world and say of us, “Emmanuel?”

Brother Paul was there when being there counted the most. He was fearless and indefatigable, all the way to the end of Terri’s life, and then with the family until the end of his own.

Emmanuel.

advent-wreath1

1 A.M. on Christmas morning, burning the Advent wreath down all night, and listening to Advent/Christmas music. It has always been the most peaceful night of the year.

New Life.

Not His, but ours.

It’s somewhat different this year. Something Cardinal Dolan said last Sunday at Mass: Here in New York as we approach Christmas, it feels more like we are moving toward Good Friday. It’s been a terrible week here, feeling much as it did in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Officers Liu and Ramos have yet to be buried, and yet there is a peace, a stillness tonight that has not existed since the horrific events of last Saturday. The promise of what this night is all about has taken away some of death’s sting.

It has been a year of renewed fears for us as a people. A newer, more virulent strain of radical Islam has targeted our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, and threatens us worldwide. Racial tensions have been stoked by malignant men, and have culminated in the assassinations of police officers, with promises of more to come. In the midst of it all comes this gentle night, this one day where we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. So for one night, one day, we take refuge and respite from the gathering storm.

We pray for peace, gentle peace, to take root once more in our midst. We ask God to give us peace, and ask what we must do.

At every turn in the scriptures the answer has always been the same.

We must do justice.

We must love mercy.

We must walk humbly with our God.

It’s not necessarily that we deserve the ill that befalls us as a people when we do not do what God requires. It’s rather that we weaken ourselves as a people when we ignore the predation on the weakest among us, a predation that has grown steadily for almost half a century. And then the tiger eats us. All of scripture tells us that God identifies with the poor and the least among us, which is why He chose to be born in a stable.

In this nation we are closing in on sixty million babies slaughtered (and to think that Herod is considered a villain for far less). In the black communities up in arms, they have visited more destruction upon themselves than any other demographic. There are approximately 42 million blacks in America today, and approximately 20 million who have never lived to see the light of day. That’s 1/3 of what ought to be the current population of blacks, or, one dead baby for every two living blacks.

Of course there is anger, there is rage. Add to that 73% of black children who have no father in their life. It’s so vast that it becomes one giant haze of rage. The death of dreams, of hope, of one’s issue. And it’s not much better in other quarters.

Now add to the mix that it has become acceptable to debate the ethics of infanticide under the euphemism of post-birth abortion.

Do we even recognize ourselves anymore?

Yet we pray for peace and scorn those with the poor taste to set these injustices ever before our eyes.

There is rage tonight in the black community. To be clear, it would be patronizing to portray this community as the victims of Planned Parenthood, of forces beyond their control. They certainly are targeted, but they (and we) have it within to withstand evil (1 Corinthians 10:13). We have the law of God written in our hearts, as Paul said.

Perhaps it is time to ask if over this past half-century we have placed more emphasis on being a prosperous people than a just people. We as a people are the most generous on the planet, yes. But generosity isn’t the sum total of justice. Defending the defenseless takes us a great deal further. Generosity isn’t enough. It begins with ending the slaughter of the innocents, with working to untangle this tangled ball, and doing it in a way that is respectful, and not patronizing or imperious.

It begins with praying for the only two things I’ve learned to ask of God: Courage and Wisdom

So, perhaps as this terrible year draws to a close, we might meditate on Isaiah 58 as we pray for God to bless us with that peace and security so absent for so many among us:

1
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Proclaim to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.a
2
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the judgment of their God;
They ask of me just judgments,
they desire to draw near to God.
3
“Why do we fast, but you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”
See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.b
4
See, you fast only to quarrel and fight
and to strike with a wicked fist!
Do not fast as you do today
to make your voice heard on high!
5
Is this the manner of fasting I would choose,
a day to afflict oneself?
To bow one’s head like a reed,
and lie upon sackcloth and ashes?
Is this what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?c
AUTHENTIC FASTING THAT LEADS TO BLESSING*
6
Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?d
7
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh?e
8
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the accusing finger, and malicious speech;f
10
If you lavish your food on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then your light shall rise in the darkness,
and your gloom shall become like midday;
11
Then the LORD will guide you always
and satisfy your thirst in parched places,
will give strength to your bones
And you shall be like a watered garden,
like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.g
12
Your people shall rebuild the ancient ruins;
the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined dwellings.”h
AUTHENTIC SABBATH OBSERVANCE THAT LEADS TO BLESSING*
13
If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
the LORD’s holy day glorious;
If you glorify it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—
14
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

A Blessed, a Peaceful, and a Merry Christmas.

photo-jjoconnor-21

News comes today from the Religion News Service that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose oversight of Priests for Life’s finances was welcomed by Father Pavone several months ago, has turned sour, leading Cardinal Dolan to express the same exasperation as several of Father Pavone’s previous bishops. From RNS:

NEW YORK (RNS) In the latest clash between the Catholic hierarchy and one of the church’s leading anti-abortion crusaders, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan accused the Rev. Frank Pavone of continuing to stonewall on financial reforms, and Dolan said he is cutting ties with his group, Priests for Life.

In a Nov. 20 letter to other U.S. bishops, Dolan said he did not know if the Vatican would now step in to take action against the New York-based priest, who for years has angered various bishops by rejecting oversight of the organization by church authorities and for refusing to sort out his group’s troubled finances.

“My requests of Father Pavone were clear and simple: one, that Priests for Life undergo a forensic audit; two, that a new, independent board be established to provide oversight and accountability,” Dolan wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Catholic World News.

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“Although Father Pavone initially assured me of his support, he did not cooperate. Frequent requests that he do so went unheeded. I finally asked him to comply by October 1st. He did not,” Dolan wrote.

Dolan, who had been asked by the Vatican to help Pavone restructure Priests for Life, said in the letter that he has informed Rome that “I am unable to fulfill their mandate, and want nothing further to do with the organization.”

The cardinal said he had “no idea” what the Vatican intends to do now.

In a statement emailed to Religion News Service on Monday (Dec. 15), the Staten Island-based Priests for Life rebuffed Dolan’s criticisms, contending that the group has had “clean” audits for 15 years and saying the dispute is, in fact, “about control.”

That last statement from PFL is regrettable, and one that I fear may signal a return to the smear campaign deployed against Bishop Zurek by several of Father Pavone’s supporters a few years ago. Is it really all about control? So far the bishop’s complaints have never progressed beyond the issue of accounting and accountability, so the charge about control really comes off as a smokescreen tactic to many faithful Catholics who are every bit as pro-life as the staff at PFL.

CardinalDolan

In the last go-round on this issue, several supporters of Father Pavone mercilessly smeared Bishop Zurek as wanting to ruin Father Pavone, to wreck his ministry, of being a pawn of Satan. As many are not Catholic, it was easy to chalk much of that invective up to ignorance of the very nature of a bishop and his sacred office, of the respect and obedience due him from every Catholic, but especially from priests who register sacred vows of respect and obedience at their ordinations. What was appalling was the silence from PFL in the face of this merciless pillorying of Bishop Zurek.

At the time, Bishop Zurek indicated the nature of the problem, as retold by RNS:

In 2011, Zurek denounced Pavone’s “incorrigible defiance of my legitimate authority as his bishop” and suspended his ministry. It then emerged that Priests for Life had been badly mismanaged, running an unsustainable $1.4 million deficit and failing to make key tax filings or allow proper financial oversight and safeguards.

Pavone moved back to New York, saying he had the Vatican’s support and that he would not be cowed by any bishop. Then earlier this year, he and Zurek said they reached a settlement in their standoff and the problems seemed on their way to a resolution.

But that apparently wasn’t the case, and Pavone’s fate now seems to rest with Rome.

Bishop_Tx

So what will it be now? Will the narrative be that Cardinal Dolan really isn’t all that pro-life? That gay-loving prelate who welcomed a gay contingent into the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York! On a few occasions when I have thought Cardinal Dolan erred badly, I wrote about it. But I didn’t smear him. I didn’t impugn his motives. I didn’t encourage a rebellion against him. I encouraged him to look to the examples of his predecessors in office. And all of that raises what is really at issue here.

What does it mean to be a faithful son of the Church?

At its core it means fidelity to the Magisterium and to one’s bishop. This fidelity is required of laity as well as clerics and finds its scriptural roots in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you,and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

In this chapter, PFL needs to strike a new tone. They need to put the “Priest” back in Priests for Life. How Catholic or priestly is it to set one’s supporters against a string of bishops? That new tone begins with respect and obedience towards one’s bishop. If the accounting is all in order, then we should get to that point. It would then become abundantly clear if “control” is at issue. That said, Bishop Zurek’s assertion three years ago bears mention again.

As Father Pavone’s Bishop, Patrick Zurek bears moral responsibility for the stewardship of PFL’s finances if there is mismanagement by one of his priests of the $10 Million annual budget, and Bishop Zurek will answer to God for whether or not he exercised his sacred office with prudence and diligence.

bishop-zurek-of-amarillo-texas

What is certain from the published record is that there has been a fractious relationship between Father Pavone and several of his bishops through the years. Equally objective are the horrendous characterizations of these bishops by many of Father Pavone’s supporters. Also equally certain is the fact that no amount of anti-abortion crusading and success can justify these grotesque allegations against the bishops. Even if Bishop Zurek were a bishop who ranked pro-life ministry at the bottom of his list of priorities, this much is also certain:

Every priest serves at the pleasure of his bishop, and his bishop owes him no explanation for changing that priest’s assignment.

Who knows what other news might be in the wings? Regardless, this time around, PFL needs to change tack and get off the smear campaign. It’s a losing strategy with faithful Catholics who ask the simple question:

What would Padre Pio do?

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