Below is my latest column, Politics and the Pulpit: Part One: “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open!”
Praise for our work: During a pro-life rally in front of one of the main planned parenthood abortion clinics in Washington, DC a few years ago, several major pro-life African-American leaders spoke to the tragedy of abortion on demand in general, and in particular, to the fact that African-American babies are five times as likely to be killed by abortion as white children in America. Those speeches were among the most powerful I have ever heard on the subject. The speech by Dr. Alveda King was especially powerful and moving. That day, I promised many in that group that I would introduce legislation to address the insidious race targeted abortion practice in this country…. This resulted in the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act or PRENDA. It is absolutely true that Alveda King along with the other African American leaders who spoke that day in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Washington, DC, inspired and catalyzed the writing and introduction of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. May God bless their noble efforts and the outcome of this historic legislation. – Trent Franks, Member of U. S. Congress
Politics and the Pulpit: Part One: “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open!”
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
It’s an election year, and it’s time to open our mouths, in the Church, about politics, candidates, and the right to life.
Our fight for our unborn brothers and sisters is a fight for freedom and against tyranny; for people and against oppressive governments. Our Founding Fathers fought this fight, and so must we, with the same readiness for self-sacrifice.
This is true for every American. How much more true is it for us as the Church, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ? The Gospel is a Gospel of freedom. “I have come to proclaim liberty to the captives…to let the oppressed go free,” Jesus said in defining his mission.
Carrying out this mission requires the freedom to speak the truth as we understand it. Not only was this fundamental right explicitly acknowledged by our Founding Fathers and placed at the top of the Bill of Rights, but it has been affirmed time and time again by the Supreme Court, not only to point out the existence of such freedom, but also its characteristics.
In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964)), the Court asserted that the protection of citizens to advocate for particular issues reflects our “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” (emphasis added).
In 2010, the Supreme Court also affirmed the following:
“Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people. The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it. The First Amendment ‘has its fullest and most urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.’”
“[I]t is inherent in the nature of the political process that voters must be free to obtain information from diverse sources in order to determine how to cast their votes.” (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)).
The corresponding freedom of the Church to speak and teach the truth — a freedom also contained in the Founders’ recognition of freedom of religion — is something explicitly insisted upon in the Church’s own documents. This freedom is, in fact, an essential aspect of the Great Commission left by Jesus Christ: “Preach the Gospel to every creature.” “Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you.” Because the Gospel covers every aspect of life and human activity, the Church must also be free to comment on political matters. In this regard we see the following strong statement from the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes):
“At all times and in all places, the Church should have the true freedom to teach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its task among men without hindrance, and to pass moral judgment even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it.” (n. 76)
In my upcoming columns, I will help us prepare for the midterm elections by reflecting on how we in the Church have often stifled this freedom, and why it is time to repent and open our mouths.
This column can be read and heard online.
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Fr. Frank’s columns are podcast. See Priestsforlife.org/podcast
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EWTN’s Life on the Rock will feature the Silent No More Awareness Campaign on Tuesday, February 11 at 9am ET. Watch on the internet at EWTN.com.
On February 22, 2014, Dr. Alveda King will be on Ask the Lawyer with Mike Connors at 6:00 pm ET to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision. Listen online at www.AM970theanswer.com
Fr. Denis Wilde, O.S.A. will celebrate the EWTN live televised Mass February 18, 19, 20 and March 11, 12, 13. The Mass airs live at 8 am and repeats at 12 noon, 7 pm and 12 midnight (all times Eastern). Repeat airing times are subject to change. See the airing schedule on the EWTN website for final repeat airing times.
Defending Life: Watch on EWTN Thursday, February 13 at 11:00 p.m. Listen on EWTN Radio every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 a.m. (All times Eastern) (Defending Life will be pre-empted on Wednesday of this week and only air on Thursday). Topic: Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Janet Morana and Fr. Scott Daniels discuss sidewalk counseling and the work of Msgr. Philip Reilly and the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, who have been carrying on the practice for over 22 years.
The Catholic View for Women on EWTN
Topic: MAKING THE SWITCH FROM CONTRACEPTION TO NFP. Teresa, Janet and Astrtid discuss the beauty of the Church’s teaching on contraception and the way Natural Family Planning can improve marriages. Airing Wednesday, 02/12/2014 at 11:00 PM ET and Friday, 02/14/2014 10:30 AM ET
Gospel of Life: Watch on National Religious Broadcasters network (NRB), Wednesday, February 12 at 4:30pm ET. The NRB Network is on DIRECTV, channel 378. Listen to Gospel of Life episodes on the web at www.gospeloflife.com/tv/. Topic: Descendants of Dred Scott & Booker T. Washington
Defendiendo La Vida : ¿SE PUEDE SER UN JÓVEN PRO-VIDA? – AZENET GONZÁLEZ. Serie conducida por el Padre Víctor Salomón, de la Asociación de Sacerdotes por la Vida, en que entrevista a diferentes personalidades comprometidas en la defensa y promoción de la vida humana. Hoy presentamos a Azenet González con el tema ‘¿Se Puede ser un Jóven Pro-Vida?’ Saturday, 02/15/2014 04:30 AM
Dr. Alveda King is on “Airing the Addison’s with Wil and Meeke” on Mondays from 11:20-12:00 ET and “Changing Your Community” with Emmanuel Boose at 4:00 PM ET and 4:00 AM ET on Saturdays. Listen online at www.UrbanFamilyTalk.com.
Radio Maria: Fr. Victor Salomón hosts a weekly pro-life radio program in Spanish on Radio Maria, Washington DC. The program called Gospel of Life airs every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. ET. Listen by cell or internet by going tohttp://www.radiomariausa.org/index.php?radiocode=dcs&language=es. It can also be listened to by a radio with a subcarrier option. For purchase of this type of radio call 718-247-9100 or write email@example.com.
Radio Jesus: Fr. Victor Salomón will be the guest on Radio Jesus, 93.9 FM, Bronx, NY, every 3rd Saturday of the Month from 1-2pm ET. You can also listen on-line at http://www.misionerosdejesus.org/.