A Priests for Life video that showed the body of an aborted baby as part of its election message has some Catholics and pro-lifers upset.
On the video, posted to the Priests for Life Facebook page on Monday, Father Frank Pavone, the national director, urged people to vote for pro-life candidates while standing next to an altar where an aborted baby’s body lay. The video also was supportive of Republican Donald Trump.
Catholic News Agency reports several Catholic leaders criticized the video, accusing Pavone of treating the aborted baby as “a prop” rather than a human being.
But Pavone told LifeNews his intent was the exact opposite – to draw attention to the value of unborn babies and expose the holocaust of abortion in the U.S.
“The issue is how the abortionists, supported by the Democrats, are treating these babies,” Pavone said. “What’s sacrilegious is abortion, and voting for those who support it. It’s time we get our heads screwed on straight about who the bad guys are.”
According to Catholic News Agency, Catholic leaders in New York and Washington, D.C. said they were very concerned about Pavone’s use of the aborted baby’s body, especially in an election message.
Ed Mechmann, director of public policy for the Archdiocese of New York, said the use of an aborted baby “as a prop” is “absolutely appalling, and deserves to be repudiated by all of us who consider ourselves to be pro-life in the fullest meaning of that word.”
On Nov. 7, Pavone posted a video on Facebook supporting Donald Trump for president. The video includes a naked, dead baby lying on an altar, as Pavone stands behind the altar, talking about abortion.
“A human being has been sacrificed and the altar of God has been desecrated, all for politics,” Mechmann said in a blog post on the Archdiocese of New York website. “Everyone who respects the dignity of every human person should reject and disavow this atrocity.”
Father Thomas Petri, vice president and academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in D.C., called the video a “profane violation.” He said the Catholic Church emphasizes that human bodies be treated reverently.
“The issue here is the dignity of the child that was used, and violating the dignity of his or her body on an altar of God – which is supposed to be used for divine worship,” Petri told CNA.
Early Tuesday morning, Pavone posted a second video on Facebook to address the controversy. He said he welcomes input and guidance from others about his work, and he assured people that everyone at Priests for Life puts a lot of thought into what they do.
“I want to offer you a sincere apology, brothers and sisters, for any unnecessary offense, any confusion, division that’s been created …” Pavone said.
He explained that Priests for Life strives to treat babies with the utmost respect and dignity. He said sometimes his office receives aborted babies’ bodies because he provides funerals for them. The baby shown in the video was given a funeral, he added.
“We don’t do this on any regular basis, showing aborted babies like this,” Pavone continued, “but we are not in an ordinary moment.”
Pavone said the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton have embraced extreme abortion policies that would continue the abortion holocaust and destroy more unborn babies’ lives. He noted how Clinton and her party even want to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.
“Forgive me for being a little bit crazy because I want to cry out from the rooftops, shout out from the hills and the mountains, stop killing these children and stop electing people who are going to kill these children,” Pavone said online.
“We are living in the midst of a holocaust, and our nation faces a choice on November 8 between electing people, like Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, who will continue that holocaust and have us pay for it, and Donald Trump and the Republican Party, who are committed to working to bring it to an end. This choice is neither confusing nor difficult,” he told LifeNews.