Jakubczyk on Common Sense

Applying faith and reason to ideas, issues and events in today's world

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John J. Jakubczyk has been active in the Pro-Life Movement since 1975.  He served as President of Arizona Right to Life, Arizona's largest, oldest and strongest pro-life organization.  He was on the board of AzRTL for many years and now acts as the Arizona delegate to the National Right to Life Committee.  As the founder and president of Southwest Life & Law Center, he continues to use his legal skills to assist in advising, counseling and defending women, children, pro-life activists, organizations, as well as victims of abortion. A national speaker, motivator and adviser since the 1980s, he is very familiar with the history of the movement at the national level.   A founder and past president of Ville de Marie Academy, he served as a trustee for 15 years.  He has been an attorney in private practice for 35 years, is active in his church, married, the father of 11 children, and a proud grandfather.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Standing Up for Priests for Life and Fr. Pavone

I am never surprised when a leader in the pro-life movement suddenly finds himself or herself challenged by events that threaten to distract from the every day efforts to save lives. After all the enemy of life will use anything - even good actions or good people - to delay or divert the work of rescuing those being led to death.

So part of me did not agitate as I learned that the Bishop of Amarillo had recalled Fr. Frank Pavone back to the diocese and suspended him from working with Priests for Life. I recall a problem that Fr. Pavone had with the Archbishop of New York many years ago that prompted his move to Amarillo. We all made it through that bit of confusion.

But another part of me wants to scream - especially after I read Bishop Zurek's letter which was sent to all the bishops and leaked by someone in the diocese to the press. As my children would say - not cool.

Fr. Frank has little "control" over the finances of Priests for Life. There is, after all, a board of directors, a bishops advisory board, an accounting department, an independent CPA firm that does an annual audit of the books.
As for these records, they were made available to the bishop and the audit is now available online. Hopefully this will answer any questions on the operations and the financial responsibilities of the organization.

The statement from Fr. Frank himself and that of his canonist also are very direct while exhibiting the rules of charity.

I will pray for this bishop that his motives are consistent with his duties as a shepherd concerned for his flock. But to be honest I have some problems with his approach. Still I will leave that for another day. Instead allow me to focus on the man I know and the organization that has helped do many to promote the Gospel of Life.

Having been in this movement for 36 years, I have seen them come and go. The naive, the glory hounds, the political, the innocent, the compassionate, the worker bees, the instigators, the saints, the leaders. And then there are the prophets: those who preach the truth in season and out, whether anyone wants to hear it. Most of the time people do not like prophets. Prophets make people feel uncomfortable in their efforts to move them off dead center.

Then there is Fr. Pavone. He is my friend, a colleague in this war to end the killing. He has a vision. He sees the big picture. He can get people enthused so they will decide to get involved. He can motivate the lethargic and excite the interested. To quote an old saw, "He can comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." God has called him to this work and he has made the most of it. His efforts have saved lives and inspired men and women throughout the world to stand in defense of the weak, the marginalized, the unborn, the elderly, the dependent.

One of his gifts is the ability to move throughout the movement and help all sorts of different groups. Indeed this is a gift of Priests for Life as an organization. Whatever the group, whatever the immediate situation, PFL will help in whatever way it can. In all my years of working with PFL, not once did it charge a fee for any of the priests or associates to travel and speak. When needed, he and the other members of the Priests for Life ministry team, make themselves available. PFL and Fr. Pavone have always been there to help us get the message out to the community.

In fact there was one time when a crisis prevented him from being in Phoenix for an presentation in June. At the last minute, he arranged to have a taped DVD message so we could still have the event and inspire the membership. Then after the events that prevented his attendance, we arranged for "make-up" visit in March. He gave us not only an evening but the entire weekend. During those three days, Fr. Pavone met with pro-life leaders at the diocese, blessed 1st Way pregnancy resource center, spoke to over 200 people at a Friday Arizona Right to Life event, traveled from Phoenix to Tucson, blessed the Reachout Pregnancy Center, then spoke to 350 people at their luncheon, returned to Phoenix to speak to 400 people at the Radio Family Rosary dinner, preached at two masses at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and then before going to the airport met with the director of the Aid to Women Center at the offices where again there was prayer and a blessing.

That is the kind of guy he is. And the other members of the Priests for Life team are just as dedicated to the cause of life. It is important that someone like Fr. Frank be able to meet with the different groups and organizations. The movement is so very diverse and having someone who can move about these different organizations to support their efforts produces great fruit.

Like I said, I do not understand the Bishop's actions. I trust in the providence of God and know that He is sovereign in all things. So in His perfect will, we trust that all will work to the good for those who love the Lord. It is easy to tear down - not so easy to build up. However those of us in this movement are about building up our brothers and sisters so that we all can find the path God intends for our lives. I am sure in all of this God is working to do a great good. In the meantime we offer all our sufferings for an end to the killing of the innocents.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

A Challenge and An Opportunity

To those who listened today to the readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, I would suggest that the readings provide a challenge to us as well as an opportunity to advance the pro-life message.

The first reading is from Ezekiel:
Thus says the LORD:
You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel;
when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.
If I tell the wicked, "O wicked one, you shall surely die, "
and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way,
the wicked shall die for his guilt,
but I will hold you responsible for his death.
But if you warn the wicked,
trying to turn him from his way,
and he refuses to turn from his way,
he shall die for his guilt,
but you shall save yourself.
The challenge for us is to do something. WE are not permitted to sit back and allow our fellow man to continue in their sin without us raising the warning call. This applies especially to our political officials who have a special responsibility to protect and defend the weak and defenseless. Not only do we have a duty to warn the errant politician to straighten up, but those in politics are required to do more than give lip service to the Gospel of Life. The admonition is the passage is quite clear. And in all of it, we must act in charity. We cannot approach it from any arrogance or haughtiness but from a perspective that we are duty bound to be a means of their salvation. This then requires a humility that will keep out our egos in check.

The first part of the Gospel reading from Matthew(18:15) is even more clear.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that 'every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
In this passage, Jesus not only speaks to our duty regarding fraternal correction, he emphasizes that we cannot quit at the first refusal to consider the need for such correction. Let us apply this passage to the abortion issue or the issues surrounding the attack on marriage.

There are politicians who are baptized Catholics and especially for purposes of collecting votes will remind their constituents of that fact. However at the same time they vote contrary to the teachings of the natural law and Nature's God - not to mention the clear teachings of the Gospel and the Catholic Church. When reminded of these errors, they cry "separation of church and state" or that they are "personally opposed, but," and then complain that those challenging them are not involved in fighting capital punishment or protecting the environment. They attack the messenger as not being consistent or being a hypocrite or supporting candidates who start wars. But they never answer the question. Why are they not supporting laws that will provide protection for the unborn, their mothers and society?

These Scripture passages offer a special and unique warning to bishops as well. Every bishop who has a "Catholic" pro-abortion political in his diocese has a duty to follow this admonition for the sake of that politician's immortal soul. And if the political figure does not adhere to the admonition, the bishop has no choice but to "cut him off from the body." In this 'politically correct" world, and given the recent public sins of church officials, many are afraid to act. But to what end? If we truly care about the souls of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, we must make it clear that their public ridicule of church teaching forces the Church to act for the sake of their immortal souls. And that also goes for the politicians that forsake the sacred nature of marriage and all that implies.

Now is not the time for the faint of heart Indeed, we are called to be "light" to the world, and "salt" to the earth. If we who are suppose to know better do not act to protect and defend the truth,then who shall stand against the evil that abounds. It is not enough that we go about doing good. We must also confront evil ideas as well as those people who would scandalize the innocent. To that extent we must consider these words of the Old Testament prophet;
You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel;
when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.
Thus says the Lord.
Now what are you going to do?