by Steven Ertelt
December 21, 2005
Amarillo, TX (LifeNews.com) — The first official pro-life society for Catholic religious has been officially formed. Bishop John Yanta has signed the Constitutions of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, a new Society of Apostolic Life founded by Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life.
"But now, by God’s grace, we can say that there exists — for the first time in Church history — a Society of Apostolic Life that will train priests, deacons, and lay missionaries to work full time to end abortion in America and worldwide!" said Fr. Pavone.
While all Catholic priests are called to preach pro-life values, Fr. Pavone says his community will be unique.
"While there are religious communities that give special emphasis to the right to life, the Church has no ‘institutional’ society of men whose exclusive focus is to protect innocent human life from the tragedy of abortion and euthanasia. It is time for such a community. I am grateful to Bishop (John) Yanta for allowing me the opportunity to make this dream a reality," Fr. Pavone said.
In a written statement, Yanta expressed strong support for Fr. Pavone’s venture.
"I am excited about supporting Fr. Pavone in venturing forth, with and through the Holy Spirit, in the establishment of a Society of Apostolic Life for priests and seminarians dedicated to pro-life ministry — an immense need at this time in history," Bishop Yanta said.
Bishop Yanta is providing Fr. Pavone with several vacant buildings that once served as a Christian Brothers High School.
The society will be separate from Priests for Life. Fr. Pavone, however, will continue to head the Priests for Life organization, while serving as a priest for the diocese of Amarillo.
Priests for Life is establishing a headquarters in the diocese, but will continue to maintain offices and staff in New York, Washington, D.C., Virginia, California, and Rome, Italy.
"I have long been convinced that God is raising up numerous disciples ready to devote their entire lives to ending the tragedy of abortion, which the bishops have identified as the ‘fundamental human rights issue of our day.’ I have no doubt that we will see a tremendous and immediate response to this initiative," Fr. Pavone said.
The new religious order has received praise from bishops throughout the world.
From Rome, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: "In today’s world, the idea of a new religious community founded for the purpose of working to protect human life may seem like a sign of contradiction-but it may just be what the world of today needs! The call to protect life is not only a foundation of our faith as Catholics, but it is the very basis of our recognition of human rights and the right to life. The human dignity with which we have been endowed by God binds us together as members of the one family."
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput added, "In supporting Fr. Pavone’s new initiative, Bishop Yanta and the people of the Diocese of Amarillo are offering a vital service to Catholics throughout the United States."
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said from St. Louis, "Surely, there is a great need in our time for a priestly society dedicated to the conversion of our culture of death and the promotion of a civilization of life."
Related web sites:
Priests for Life – https://www.priestsforlife.org