Father Frank Pavone, Prominent Pro-Life Leader, on America's Spiritual Battle
Father Frank Pavone, Prominent Pro-Life Leader, speaks about America's spiritual battle, fighting the anti-God agenda, and how we can restore a culture of life.
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[EWALT]: Welcome to the First Right podcast, a weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I'm your host Jerry Ewalt, chief Marketing Officer for Restoration of America. Today, we are blessed to have Father Frank Pavone, one of the most important pro-life advocates in America. Father Frank has displayed great courage and persistence during these battles, which include even the Roman Catholic Church at the highest levels. You have had an extraordinary life. You have an amazing story to tell, and we're so grateful to have you on the show today, and everyone knows you right from your pro-life activities. But what I, maybe not everyone knows as much, and what I find really amazing is the ministry that you have after the abortion, right? Because so many people focuses on stopping the abortion. We know a lot of abortions happen throughout our country. You have done an amazing job on both ends of the spectrum, but also showing the love and grace and forgiveness of God after an abortion, right? For the woman that's went through it, and even the men that maybe supported or part of that. So maybe tell us a little bit about that. I'll call it the post-abortion ministry or care that you do.
[PAVONE]: Well, thanks so much for first of all, for having me and also for focusing on that because when we think of what you do, restoration, when we think of the restoration of America, when we think of the restoration that God provides to his people, not only is that restoring the protection of their basic rights, starting with life, but it's restoring them from the devastation that the various wounds that have been inflicted on them have caused. And abortion causes so many wounds that people don't even think about. One of the, the, the pillars of our work of healing people after abortion is to educate people in, in the general public as to why healing is necessary in the first place. Because people tend to think of abortion as a magic wand. It's in eraser. It makes a problem go away, and then, you know, it's over in a few minutes and people never have to think about it again.
[PAVONE]: But the reality is very different from that. They remember it their entire lives because they're devastated by it for their entire lives. And the wounds that it causes are multifaceted. The other side likes to talk about this as a private personal choice. You know, as if the only person impacted by the abortion is the woman who's going to have the procedure. Not only is the baby impacted by dying, but the father is impacted, the grandparents, the siblings, all the family members, and that mom herself deeply, deeply damaged by the abortion. What we do is proclaim that we who reject abortion do not reject those who have had abortions. We need people to know this is not a movement of judgment or a condemnation or punishment. This is a movement of love and compassion. The same love and compassion that impels us to protect that child, impels us to embrace that mom who has had the abortion and bring her to the healing, the forgiveness, the mercy, and the peace that come through Jesus Christ. So we do this in many different ways. We have worldwide a ministry of retreats, abortion, healing retreats, and a one-on-one counseling and many, many other avenues based on, of course, the word of God. And also solid psychological research and counseling that understands the wounds of abortion.
[EWALT]: Well, these are the, these are the stories you don't hear too much about in, in the media for, for obvious reasons, but you, and you've been involved in this for a long time, and as I was reading through your, your biography, the name Norma McCorvey came up, right? And for those who, who don't know who that is, that's Jane Roe of the Roe versus Wade decision, the Supreme Court case. She was the plaintiff. She was suing to have the right to an abortion. Tell me a little bit about her.
[PAVONE]: Oh, well, she was a very, very wounded woman herself in talking about wounds. She had a very difficult life in not only poverty, but drug abuse and all kinds of, of abuse. Norma was in her third pregnancy, did not know what to do, and ended up being used by these attorneys who had an agenda, or their agenda was not to help Norma. Their agenda was to change the nation's laws on abortion. Norma was recruited for that. She didn't really understand what was going on. She hardly knew the meaning of the word abortion, but they got her to sign an affidavit. And really, that's all she did. She never appeared in court. There was never a trial or anything like that, and ended up being that she was, like you said, the anonymous Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. And although she technically won the case and that changed abortion policy nationwide for 50 years, she wasn't happy about that. She was always conflicted about abortion. She never had the abortion, by the way, the child she was pregnant with. She ended up giving birth and placing the child for adoption. But Norma was conflicted and, and then around 1994, 95, she ended up becoming fully pro-life, was baptized. I received her into the Catholic church a few years later, but I became one of her closest friends and advisors right up until, until she died. She was working to, to reverse that terrible Roe v Wade decision.
[EWALT]: It was the positive story, right? Cuz that was gonna be my next point.
[PAVONE]: Yes, yes, yes. Norma right up until, I mean, I spoke to her the very, the very day that she died, right up until the end of her life, she was fully committed to seeing the protection of the unborn, to seeing the healing of those that have been wounded by abortion to see our nation restored to a culture of life. So she did not waiver. And of course there's a lot of lies out there about her, but there are always going to be lies about those who give testimony to the word of God, right? That's the evil one's strategy. But Norma was, she was faithful. Praise God.
[EWALT]: So, so thank you so much for sharing that story, right? Because you're right, you do a search on the internet and you're gonna find all these different stories, like I think the first one that popped up was from the Atlantic. And we know that, that that publication is going to promote maybe a different story or different side of, of the story that we'd like to see. So thank you for sharing that. And it's so powerful to see that cuz there is restoration with God and, and you know, that that is what we're all about here at Restoration of America, really working hard to restore our country back to those Judeo Christian values that our country was founded on. And you know, you just talked about the battle and the enemy. And I think that's so important because I'm gonna, I'm gonna get right to the point, right?
[EWALT]: You and I know, and many, many people know, we are in the middle of a fierce battle and everyone feels it, right? Everyone, everyone, even if there's not a physical battle going on, we're in the middle of a, a, a cold civil war in our own country, right? We, we always think about a fight outside of our country, but, but really the attack is happening within, and it's, it's what you just talked about there is an, there is an evil agenda, right? That spiritual battle that's going on that's manifesting itself in our country and that deep-rooted evil is attacking in, in a great way. And it's, it's hard to identify it, right? Because it's, it's, it, it gets confusing and there's a lot of different words we like to call it here, the elite Marxist neoliberals. But you can hear terms like the left versus the right, progressive socialism. There's so many words for all this stuff. But at the end of the day, what this side is doing, right? This, this leftist side is an anti-God agenda. It is removing God as much as possible from our country. And again, we see this manifest itself in many, many ways, right? You can talk about the, the racial divide, right? And, and that's kind of accelerating for, for, for many reasons, right? But there's also an economic divide between the rich and the poor. The middle class is disappearing. We're seeing kids under attack, massive attack, right? So if they even make it to be born right, because I know that's where you focus on so much is is the, the abortion side of it. But they, if they even make it it to be born, they're under attack. They're being told that they could be any gender that they want, they're being taught this woke ideology.
[EWALT]: The list goes on and on and on. And Father Frank here, here's my question to you, right? So we look at the country, 85% claim to be Christian right? In our country, and yet we're having so many problems. If we could maybe even just focus on one topic like you have on the abortion, I know you do so much more, but if we just focus on the one topic of abortion, where it's very clear in the Bible that this is a sin, it's an abomination to God. Again, we know that you could be forgiven, we've talked about that already. But if we could just focus on that and get that 85% of people motivated to get out and vote and understand the issues, we wouldn't be in this problem, would we?
[PAVONE]: That's right. That's right. It is a battle of, of epic proportions. You know, as I always say when I'm talking about political realities, there used to be a time when the political divide was, was essentially about policies among people who agreed on the principles. In other words, we were all wanting the same end. We wanted the good of America, we wanted the flourishing of freedom, we wanted the protection of life and the values and people I have. And they're always gonna have different ideas about how to get there. The divide today is not simply on the matter of policy, it's on the matter of principle itself. So you're not talking about, for example, when it comes to the protection of life, people of good will who want to protect life, but have different ideas. It's just about how to do it. The battle is whether it should be protected or not.
[PAVONE]: It's not just, oh, how do we preserve America and our founding ideals of freedom? It's a battle between those who love America and those who hate America. It, it's gotten to the level of fundamental principle, and that's why there's no room for neutrality. Understanding that that's the level at which the battle has, has gotten now is perhaps one of the things that can awaken those of our fellow citizens who, while identifying as Christians seem to be asleep, seem to be unaware, Jesus tells us, watch for the signs of the times He's look in the sky. You can tell what the weather is. Well look around you at the, at the signs of the, of the, of the time and the battle of our day. And, and this is really a call to our Lord, you know, when it comes to abortion, you know, I always point out, you know, look at the, these crazy battles we have now, and you refer to it briefly where we can't even say a man is a man or a woman is a woman. Well, maybe we've gotten to that point because for 50 years we've been saying a baby's not a baby. In other words, where was the break with reality? You know, when somebody says, a man is not a man, you know, our response is, well, listen, this is biology, this is not a matter of opinion, you know, look at the genetics, right? But the same is true about the abortion debate. Why 50 years ago did the court say, we don't know when human life begins. Of course we know, know, we know it very, very well, and we knew it then. So it's this denial of the fundamental truth that comes to us, not only in morality, but in biology. And once we broke with that, and once we pretended that we could say, the baby's not a baby, or the baby's a baby, only if you choose that it's a baby, well then that opens the door to say, you're a man.
[PAVONE]: Only if you choose to be a man, you're a woman. If you choose to be a woman. And, and we've gotta get back, we've gotta get back rooted in reality. I think part of the hope of what we have here is that ultimately we run against the brick wall of reality, of human nature. I mean, if a person, no matter how much they believe they can fly, if they jump off a cliff, they're gonna learn pretty quickly that they can't. And, and, and we've, we've learned this with abortion, you know, the people who have been wounded by it are now the living sign reaffirming our, our our moral message that it's not the right thing to do. They're just saying from experience, it's not the right thing to do. We're gonna see the same thing with all this transgender stuff, with the gay rights and, and, and, and with, with everything that departs from not only the, the, the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that departs from the founding ideals of America. We're going to run into the brick wall eventually, and unfortunately it's gonna be painful and it's gonna hurt and, and even kill a lot of people in the process. But ultimately reality has a way of asserting itself that cannot be ignored forever.
[EWALT]: Yeah, you, you're, you're touching on subjective truth, right? And this is, this is the oldest trick of the devil, right? We take all the way back to Adam and Eve and, and the serpent and, and you know, this is, these are the subtle lies that someone tells you that you can choose your gender or hey, you eat this, this forbidden fruit, God's not gonna kill you. You're not gonna die. So it, it's connected. It, it's the same trick that's been happening since the beginning of time. And what I like what you said is that this is the miracle of God, right? People that actually go through this, that go through the deception that, that buy into it, that participate, whether it's through an abortion or changing your gender. They're, they're gonna come out the other side and there's gonna be many people saved as a result because they realize they were lied to, and then they see the, the grace of God and the forgiveness and the joy that comes with that.
[EWALT]: So there is hope for those people, no doubt. So Father Frank, what I wanna do then is, is start digging a little bit more into, into the church, right? Because mentioning 85% of Americans claim to be Christian, whether it's Catholic or Protestant or whatever, it doesn't matter, Christian, right? So how do we get, and and I know you're an expert on, on the Catholic church or more than I am, I'll put it that way. Tell me a little bit more about you. You've mentioned that the Catholic ch church is that cancel culture is alive and well in the church. What did you mean by that when you said that?
[PAVONE]: Well, you know, in our society we are seeing as part of this unprecedented battle that you described so well before we're seeing that part of that battle is to simply silence those who are giving the truth. Not to engage with their arguments in a rational, respectful way, but to shut them down. So we see on campuses, you know, a conservative speakers being, being heckled to the point that they can't deliver their speech or, or, or violently pushed off of campus. We see political candidates and conservative commentators being canceled by social media platforms and, and, and by, by, by corporations and other powerful forces in society, people might not realize it, but the same is happening to us who are clergy within the church and who take a, and I won't say simply orthodox position, because really if by orthodox you mean you believe what the Bible actually says, and you believe what the church has always taught, well that's the only valid position to take in the first place if you came claim to be a Bible believeing Christian.
[PAVONE]: But putting that aside, for those of us who, who take that position and also what would be described as a more conservative position on these various issues, there are efforts afoot within the Catholic church to actually silence, just plain silence. Those of us who are speaking up about these things. So I've been dedicating my ministry full time to abortion for 30 years now. I have been able to go around and preach at churches and just focus on this full time and do media and publishing and go out on the streets and lead rallies and marches from coast to coast. Some leaders in the church have a, a, a very, very strongly encouraged me right up to the, to the top of the leadership. I, I, I knew Pope John Paul ii for example, and have, was greatly encouraged by him. Pope Benedict, even Pope Francis has encouraged my work. I've spoken to him several times. But there are various bishops in the church and other clergy who, whether it's through just human, human vices of, of, of pride and jealousy, or whether it's through an allegiance to the Democrat party, for example, against which I speak out very, very specifically and, and, and strongly, or in some cases they're not convinced that abortion is always wrong. Whatever their motive, they try to block and silence me. And so, you know, certain things you do within the Catholic community, which is a very hierarchical church, as you know, require permission, sometimes written permission from those who are in authority. While I've been denied that many times, the permission to speak in a particular place, you know, go to a particular church or, or a town. So what I say to these people is, listen, I have the greatest respect for authority.
[PAVONE]: We're all supposed to have respect for authority, but show me exactly what I am saying that is contrary to the word of God. Show me exactly what I am saying that is wrong in the light of the moral law, and I'll listen to you. But it's not anymore a question of honest debate. It's a question of just using power, you know, not truth, not debate, power to shut you down and sideline you. And that's why I I I stand up and challenge these people. I say, you know, if I'm saying something wrong, I want the wrong to be pointed out to me. But if I'm saying something that's consistent with the truth and with the gospel, I'm not gonna shut up.
[EWALT]: Well, I I love that, you know, first we see that in our government right now. So that's, that's normal right now and it's terrible that we're even saying that. But it's, it's very interesting to hear you say that is happening within the church and you know, we're using the Catholic church because you're part of that, but this is, this is throughout evangelical churches and things like that as well. But what I love that you're doing right, you care more about what God thinks about you than what your peers do. And you're gonna go and promote the, the gospel and speak the truth. And so we need more people like you and, and I think if we do, we'll start waking up the church, right? Because that isn't that the key, right? If if we can wake up the church, the problem goes away, right?
[PAVONE]: That's right. You know, the church is the only institution in the world. And, and when we say the church, we are talking about the body of Christ. Many different denominations right across the board when we say the church, this is the only institution given a divine guarantee of victory, Jesus said, the gates of hell will not prevail. And, and that by the way, it's, is, is not a, a, a, a passive that is active. The gate doesn't run out and attack the enemy. The gate stands still against the enemy attacking it. So when the Lord says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, it's the church storming the gates, it's the church on the offensive gaining ground for the gospel and kingdom of Jesus Christ.
[EWALT]: That is awesome. I love that. You got me excited and motivated right now. So that that's great. I co I totally agree with you. That's fantastic. So I can't even believe I'm asking you this question now, but is the Catholic church still pro-life?
[PAVONE]: Well, you know that I, and and I I appreciate that question because that is a question on the minds of many people because they see an utter lack of response at times. They see a silence at times, and at other times they see actions or words that seem to contradict the fundamental teaching that the church has always held, that abortion is, is always wrong and that life always has to be protected. In terms of the official teaching of the Catholic church that has not changed. And according to the, to the, the way the church is structured, there is no procedure process or possibility of it being officially changed. So that is not the problem in and of itself. You can go back to all kinds of documents and whatever the, you know, the, the official mechanisms by which the Catholic church teaches, you'll see a consistent message about pro-life. Where the problem comes in really, when you think about it, this, this pertains to the very existence of this ministry that I lead because it's called Priests for Life. And, and, and one of those common questions I've always gotten about that is, well, father, what do you mean priests for life isn't every priest for life? And you know what my response is to that? I say, well, we just help them to say so. So being pro-life, because you, you, you belong to a church that has that official position is one thing, but are you saying so? Are you preaching courageously? Are you being consistent? Are you seeing this as the most important issue? Because without life, what other rights do we have or can we enjoy? None. Well, this is where the problem comes in. And, and, and I think the problem is as bad as it has ever been in terms of many, many who should be leading, instead they're sitting on the sidelines and they're cowering in fear.
[PAVONE]: They're fearful of the battle that they know will ensue if they stand up and speak up for these, for these babies. Sometimes it's out of political loyalty as I I I referenced briefly before, oh, you know, I have these, you know, friends in the Democrat party and they're gonna be offended, you know, by a pro-life message. Well, too bad! We're, we're more interested in, in fulfilling the command of Christ than pleasing the, the whims of human beings. And that that is where the reform is needed. That is where some new courage is needed throughout the church.
[EWALT]: Yeah, no, and and I, I think you're right on with that. We we're, we're our organization's friends with Catholic Vote, right? So we've had Brian Birch on the show a bunch of times and you know, they track all the different Catholics in Congress right. In, in government and how they vote, especially when it comes to pro-life. And it's, it's shocking to see the results of that, right? It's, it's, it's saddening to see how many people actually how many Catholics, and again, I'm, I'm using the word Catholic, but this could apply to all Christians cuz it's the same, there should be no difference. But how many people still vote pro pro-choice, even though they're Bible believing Christians, at least that's what they say they are. So,
[PAVONE]: Right. Yeah. It is a contradiction to, you know, when I'm asked about Catholic politicians, you know, including of course Biden, and I'm asked about them, I say, well, you know, it's not only a contradiction of their, of the faith they claim to profess, it's also a contradiction of the very meaning of public service. So you have these members of Congress or, or, or the man in the White House, and it's like, wait a minute, what does it mean to serve the public? Doesn't a public servant need to know the difference between serving the public and killing the public? Allowing the killing of babies is just contradictory to, to public service no matter what your religious belief might be.
[EWALT]: That's right. Well, Father Frank, tell, tell, give us some hope here, right? So we, we, we saw the, the reversal of, of Roe versus Wade with the Dobbs decision. So there's some really great things happen. We had the midterms. Midterms were, you know, they were good. I heard your, your quote, they weren't great, but they were good. And so there's hope here and there's always hope in Christ. I I I I understand that and the audience does as well. But tell us where you see things, things going in this direction, like how do we, how do we continue to, to fight and win that cold civil war? How do we push evil back in, in its place? And how do we keep advancing the pro-life agenda?
[PAVONE]: Well, if you look at the, the landscape here, we have lived through a year just now that is absolutely a dream come true in so many ways. I mean, we were waiting for decades what was gonna be the first abortion free state, the first state with no functioning abortion facility, the first state where babies were protected from the beginning of their lives. And now in the, in the span of six months, we have seen about 13 states, all of a sudden they have become abortion free. They have become sanctuaries for these unborn children. Why? Because that change came about over against Roe v Wade. And that was not an overnight event. That was because of the perseverance over all these decades of so many people, people that are listening to us now, people that prayed and that voted and that legislated and that educated and that broadcasted and, and and did all kinds of things and marched and, and took part in the movement.
[PAVONE]: It's that same activity that will help us continue to win because now we have many other states that are gonna be starting their legislative sessions in, in January. We have the Congress itself starting its session, and we have got people that are ready to continue winning victories. Even in this election, we had more voters turn out on our side than the other side did on theirs. Now that didn't always translate into the number of races, but it's, it's, it's that you, that were won, but that's not the only thing that you, that you need to look at. If some, think about it this way. If somebody wins a race by one vote or somebody wins a race by a million votes, the win counts exactly the same as one win. But I'd rather be the party that lost by one vote and last time lost by a million, then the party that won by one vote and sees the other party coming up with a, with a bigger momentum. We've got the momentum right now. The margins on these races, about 25 of the house races had a margin of 5% or less in that victory. So that's, I mean, we are on, we're we've got the momentum, we're on the winning side both morally, even politically, and we'll see the fruits of that in the coming year. I'm very confident in the coming couple of years.
[EWALT]: Yeah. And I, I, I hope what we're seeing is, is that wakening of the church, right, the power of the body of Christ responding and so that is very encouraging. So Father Frank, I want to thank you, right? You are a true warrior for God. It's a great honor to have you on the show today. Thank you. And God bless you.
[PAVONE]: God bless you too. Thanks for having me.
[EWALT]: All right, well, that's our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in and supporting conservative media. Don't ever forget that by working together and staying diligent, we conservatives can bring our country back to true greatness. Until next week, let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America