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Wednesday October 13, 2010

Priest for Life Election Prayer: Politics and Faith do Mix

One of the things God “wants us to do is to be politically involved,” says Fr. Pavone

PHILADELPHIA, October 13, 2010, ( – This U.S. election year Priests For Life has been promoting a challenging Election Prayer For Life to motivate Christians and to help them understand their obligation to be involved in politics and to make political decisions consistent with their faith principles.

The prayer was written by Priests for Life founder, Fr. Frank Pavone, and is available for wide distribution in a free printed card format or as an online download. It emphasizes that politics and faith do mix and that Jesus wants Christians to be politically involved.

Fr. Pavone told LifeSiteNews in an interview in Philadelphia last month that the prayer incorporates the themes in his many talks about political responsibility, as well as themes drawn from various other sources, including the teachings of the bishops.

Although originally intended to be prayed every day as part of a nine-week novena prior to the Nov. 2 election, Priests for Life also encourages parishes, organizations and others to distribute and begin reciting the prayer at any time prior to the election.

The following are excerpts from the LifeSiteNews interview with Fr. Pavone:

LSN: What is the history behind the prayer card?

FR. PAVONE: Several election cycles ago Priests for Life decided to call upon churches and other organizations to have a novena of prayer for the elections. It was a novena of not 9 days, but of 9 weeks. So I sat down and taking the themes that I incorporated in my talks about political responsibility, themes drawn from various sources, including the teaching of our own bishops, I wrote that prayer.

I wanted it to be a prayer that was comprehensive in the sense that it touches on some of the major issues that the Church is concerned about in the elections and, in a prayerful way, it touches on some of the common misconceptions or objections people raise to Catholics about being involved in political life.

LSN: But the wording of the prayer seems to apply to more than just Catholics.

FR. PAVONE: It certainly does. The prayer applies to all believers who may be followers of God but not particularly clear about how politics and faith mix. They do mix. They are integral to one another. And that’s what the prayer brings out.

LSN: Is there special significance to the fact that it is being promoted at this time, just prior to the upcoming November elections?

FR. PAVONE: Yes, this year, 2010, election day is November 2nd. And so, as it turned out, 9 weeks prior to that is Sept. 1st. and on September 1st we started this 9 week novena. It is a national project and we have a very simple domain,, and at this website we have the opportunity for people to download the prayer and to sign up and to tell us that their family, parish, school or other organization is participating. We likewise make this prayer card available free of charge to any parish that commits to distributing the cards to their parishioners and so we are printing tens of thousands of them and are sending them out all over the country.

LSN: It is very emphatic on the obligation of Christians to become involved in the political process.

FR. PAVONE: Yes, and the prayer points out that politics is not our salvation. Jesus is. But in responding to Jesus the question becomes, what does He want us to do? And one of the things He wants us to do is to be politically involved. So the prayer points that out, but not only why we have to be involved. Then it goes on to talk about how we have to be involved. It says that when we enter the voting booth we do not cease to be Christians. We are not a different person, in other words, in our religious life than we are in our political life.

We are the same person with the same conscience and therefore the prayer goes on to say the same eyes that read God’s Word are the same eyes reading the names of the candidates on the ballot. The same hands that are lifted up to God in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth.

The prayer is in other words aiming at the concept of consistency, the truth about fidelity integrating into our life all of these various aspects of our responsibilities.

LSN: Are you also in the prayer indicating that our obligation is more than just voting correctly?

FR. PAVONE: Yes, the obligation is really to transform the world, to transform the culture according to the gospel, to do it with a great sense of hope and of optimism. The prayer makes reference to St. Paul’s assertions that we are citizens of heaven and it says that because we are citizens of heaven that doesn’t mean that we are less citizens of earth. It means in fact the opposite, that it impels us to be good citizens of earth and that’s in the entire living of our lives, the entire exercise of whatever ministries we are called to take part in.

LSN: Many people are afraid of taking a definite stance against the current culture, politically or otherwise. How would you respond to people on this? When they read that prayer I think some of them will be fearful.

FR. PAVONE: Yes, and fear is a temptation. Fear is something we can overcome. The more we think about this, as I often say, we are not just working for victory or for a particular goal. Victory is our starting point. We are working from victory.

In other words, the mindset is that Jesus is already risen from the dead. He has conquered the kingdom of death and of sin. So we can have tremendous confidence, even though we have enemies, we have people who oppose us, people who don’t want us to do what we do.

But if Christ is risen from the dead, if he is the one who is equipping us and calling us to this task, well, in His words, “be not afraid.”

LSN: In addition to ordering the cards, they can also download it off the website?

FR. PAVONE: They can download it at and we’d love to hear from people and let us know how they are using the prayer because the more stories we hear, the more ideas we get for how to promote it and the more we can say subsequently to the powers that be in the world of politics and media “we’re mobilizing many hundreds of thousands of people to do the right thing in the voting booth.”

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