Why Catholics Need Courage – With Father Frank Pavone: After many confusing statements – or confusing silence – is clear communication finally emerging from the Vatican? What has The Vatican recently said regarding gay marriage? Plus, what is going on in the fight to protect babies who survive abortion? Tune in to hear Father Frank Pavone from Priests for Life, discuss these issue and more!

Air Date: 05/04/2021

Guest: Father Frank Pavone

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, where we’re talking about those hot topics from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. You can find out more about us at our website, Wallbuilderslive.com, there’s a list of stations there. You can get archives, the program from the last few weeks and months, and that’s where you can make that one-time or monthly contribution.

We appreciate you considering coming alongside us and supporting the program. As a listener-supported program, we certainly need listeners out there that are supporting the program. And every time you do that, it actually expands the message. It allows us to reach more people, equip more people with the truths that are needed to restore our constitutional republic.

My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I’m thrilled to be here with Tim Barton. He’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. And guys, one of our great privileges is getting to do this program that reaches so many people across the country. 

And we’re constantly getting emails and comments from folks about how they use the information that they learn on the program to make a difference in their community. So we really are equipping people to be the catalyst to restore these principles. And when folks donate to the program that allows us to equip even more people. So it’s a really important thing for people to consider making that one-time or monthly contribution.

David:

Yeah, it does take a lot of staff to be able to come up with the content we often use. And that takes resources, and that takes time. And we do put this content out, make it available on the web, and a lot of people share it and the podcast is really big and popular and followed. But doing that does take staff and does take resourcing. 

So we appreciate those who contribute to help us do that, contribute to help us make this information available and contribute to even help us find the information so that we can put it out there so that you can use it. We appreciate you using it and we appreciate your support for WallBuilders.

Priests for Life

Rick:

Well, another organization out there that we love, and that we lock shields with often to influence what’s going on in the culture is “Priests for Life”. And Father Frank Pavone will be with us a little later in the program to talk about what they’re doing, and actually talk about some good news out of the Vatican. And of course, guys, you know, listen, most of our audience, they come from all types of Christian faiths out there, we’re not all going to agree on all the different things about theology out there.

 But when it comes to influence in the culture, our basic foundational beliefs in God and basic foundational beliefs in what the Bible says about how the culture should work, that’s what unites us when it comes to locking shield in influencing the culture. And that’s certainly what unites us with Father Frank and Priests for Life.

Tim:

Yeah, and Rick, is worth noting that the notion that we have to agree with somebody all the time or we can’t work with them would dissolve every marriage that’s ever been if that were the scenario. Obviously, I mean, all of us here are married guys, we don’t agree with our wives all the time, and they for sure don’t agree with us all the time. But we have common ground that we are able to work together for a common goal, common vision, mutual purpose. And so…

Rick:

Well, now wait a minute, wait a minute, Tim. I mean, I’ve been married a little longer than you. I figured this out. We do agree all the time, as long as I just say yes, dear.

David:

And well, I found the same thing. I agree with Cheryl all the time, as soon as I figure out what she wants me to say.

Rick:

That’s right. I’m sorry, Tim, you were making a really good point. But I was just thinking about that going, okay, yeah, the guy that hadn’t been married 25 years yet. No, I was just kidding, man.

Tim:

Oh, no, I haven’t. That’s valid. You know, I’m still having to learn that some things are not worth arguing about. I haven’t figured that out yet, but I’ve seen modeled for me many times the “yes, dear” approach, which doesn’t always bless the spouses, but it is what it is.

Rick:

But then you have a united front, whether you agree or disagree on all those things. As parents, you have a united front on want to raise good kids, want to serve the Lord in your home. And it’s kind of that exact same way with us teaming up with people that we don’t agree with on everything, but we definitely want to be able to bless the culture in a positive way.

Working With Like-Minds

Tim:

Yeah, there’s no doubt looking theologically, there are some people that we work with in our life, some people we work with, certainly, in the WallBuilders organization in ministry that we would have theological differences and some are irreconcilable theological differences. Like we’re never going to see that the same way. 

One of those could be some of our Jewish friends, right. We have had Rabbi Lapin on the program. Well, we have some irreconcilable theological differences on some level…

David:

He told me that at one point, he said, yeah, he said, you and I have irreconcilable theological differences over Jesus, you know. And that’s fine because we’re still allies on other stuff. And so he was kidding me about that. He said, well, it’s all about Messiah when he comes Jerusalem, is that his first time or second time? He said as a Jew, I believe it will be the first time, you believe it’s the second time that Jesus there. 

So if it’s the second time, you can vouch for me; if it’s the first time, I’ll vouch for you. So you know, we agree on so much together but there’s going to be issues like that. And it’s that way with families and it’s that way with allies, it’s that way with people you serve with politically and at work and everything else. I mean, this is part of some of the tolerance we need in the body.

Tim:

And it’s something too that oftentimes we want to look at specific areas of disagreement, and we want to emphasize that and make that the biggest thing. When the reality is, for most of us, if we sat down with Father Frank Pavone, who was a Catholic priest and we just had a conversation with him we would probably agree on far more than any theological differences we would have. And this is why we’re able to come together and be allies and work on areas where we have very mutual agreement, whether it be the preservation of the family, the preservation of the unborn, religious liberty. There’s a lot of things that we have mutual agreement from our faith perspective.

Father Frank Pavone

And so yes, big picture, Rick, there’s a lot of people who get worked up at times of, oh, I’m not sure about them, or them or this denomination, or that group or that organization. And that’s fine. We don’t have to theologically agree with everybody. And this also goes to note that, Peter said that we need to know the reason for the hope that we have. 

We need to know what we believe and why we believe in it. That’s something that even as Christians, we should study a little more, know why we believe what we believe as Christians, what is your theological position and why, and be prepared to defend that.

Paul said, I’ve been put here for a defense of the gospel, and that defense is the word apologia, which was like a legal defense in courts where we get the word apologetics and I can literally, verbally defend why I believe what I believe. 

And we need to have that position. And once we know what we believe and why we believe it, we can stand secure where we are, and certainly we can link hands with people who are working to get things done the same direction we are.

David:

And in the case of this issue, I mean, none of us are Catholics, per se. I mean, we have a lot of beliefs in common, but we’re not Catholics. And so I have watched over the recent years with the new Pope, and kind of scratch my head at some stuff. Because on biblical stuff, I agree on the live stuff.

I agree on so many things, and yet the Pope seems to have made some statements that really contradict kind of basic biblical beliefs, and we’re kind of scratch our head. And I actually called Father Frank said, Father Frank, you got to help me. I don’t understand this. What’s happening here? I’m not a Catholic. But tell me what’s going on here?

And so there’s been some distressing things for a lot of folks, even in the Catholic Church kind of scratching their head saying the same thing. But then we saw this article recently where that the Vatican came out emphatically, unequivocally on marriage is between a man and a woman. 

There’s no other combination. No gay union. Gay marriage is going to be blessed in the Catholic Church. I mean, it’s a really strong biblical position. We go, yeah, that’s the way I remember from Pope John Paul and previous Popes.

Surprises from the Pope

And so when I saw that article, I thought, yeah, this would be a good thing. And by the way, does Father Frank see this as kind of surprising, given the stuff that the Pope has been saying on climate change, and on other issues that seem to be so non-conservative? 

And so that’s why we thought, let’s talk to Father Frank and say what’s happening. Because this is a great position for the Catholic Church to show courage and stand up on an issue that it knows it’s going to get beat up over, I mean, just… And that’s why so many pastors they don’t talk about gay marriage very much. Well, that was so three years ago. 

That’s old stuff. And, by the way, I don’t want to create controversy in my congregation. But it’s good to see the leader of the Catholic Church take a firm position on this. And so Father Frank can give us some great insight into that.

Rick:

Father Frank Pavone, our special guests when we return on WallBuilders Live.

AMERICA’S HISTORY

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Our Founding Fathers, despite their common love for America, did not always agree with each other in politics. Such was the case between John and Samuel Adams. 

John was the leader of the Federalist Party and Samuel was a leader of the anti-Federalist Party. Consequently, political disagreements were not unusual between these two.

On October the 4th 1790, Sam wrote John and told him “Let ministers and philosophers, statesmen and patriots unite their endeavors to renovate the age by educating their little boys and girls and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” 

Two weeks later, John wrote back and told Samuel that on this issue, they both agreed. While these two prominent Founding Fathers disagreed on much, they both agreed on the importance of educating the next generation in the principles of Christianity.

For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. So good to have Father Frank Pavone back with us. Father Frank, good to have you, sir.

Frank:

Hey, Rick, it’s always good to be with WallBuilders. Thank you so much for having me.

A Good Sign from the Vatican

Rick:

Well, we love having you as a guest and love what you’re doing out there. And we’d love to just get an update from you on things that are going on with Priests for Life and your work in the prolife movement. But I got to ask you about this news out of the Vatican. 

You know, it seems like it hasn’t been, at least, for the last few years moving in a conservative direction, but this sign that the Vatican is saying they’re not going to bless gay unions because they can’t bless sin in a culture that’s saying, oh, you can’t say that that’s a sin. This is a really good sign out of the Vatican.

Frank:

It’s been very encouraging to a lot of people. And of course, you know, Rick, isn’t it a sign of the times that such a clarification would need to be issued, I mean, on something so fundamental to the gospel. As marriage is between one man and one woman, I mean, that is talking about dogma, I mean, that is biblically clear and solid literally from the first page of the Bible to the last, as you well know. And it’s always been the teaching of the Catholic Church.

You know, we have those, however, who are quick to pounce on any sign of weakness on the part of the preachers of the gospel. And, of course, this happens across denominational lines. And we have had, like you say, in the last few years, some very confusing statements that we in the Catholic Church have had to deal with coming out of the Vatican, very confusing statements and confusing silence as well. So this was a really an encouraging thing.

And I want to point out two things, first of all, that a lot of people, the Pope might give up a remark to a reporter, or an off the cuff remark that reported second or third hand. That’s not the way that the Catholic Church presents its official teachings. What we saw with this statement that you’re referring to, is the way that in other words, that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is a key opposite to the Vatican issues an official statement. 

God Cannot Bless Sin

This is where both those in the Catholic Church and others to need to just keep that in mind. Because anything that somebody says, even if it’s the Pope to a journalist, I mean, that’s not how he’s going to convey important teaching that that that members of the church have to listen to.

And the other thing to point out is that in this statement, it brings up such an important point that it says, let me quote this, “God cannot bless sin. He blesses sinful man so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love, and allow himself to be changed by him.” And those last few words were so key because people say, well, God loves me the way I am. 

And God wants us to love everybody. Well, certainly, that’s true. But God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. His love is transformative. It leads to repentance. It demands repentance. It demands that we change into what he calls us to be. And that’s in the area of sexuality, and in every other area too. And that’s the little part of the puzzle that a lot of people like to forget.

Rick:

That’s powerful. That’s powerful. I want to take you back to what you were saying about the difference between, you know, just a comment to a reporter and something that comes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And this may be a terrible analogy, Father, Frank, forgive me if it is. 

But it’s almost like a difference between a congressman just saying something off the cuff in a press conference versus a piece of legislation that’s actually filed or actually passed, in this case, where it’s an official statement of the government in that case. In this case, for the Catholic Church, this is an official statement of the church.

Frank:

Yes.

Rick:

Is that right? Am I getting that right?

Frank:

Yes, that’s a very good analogy. And it’s something that we’ve seen it for years, not only under Pope Francis, but under John Paul II, under Pope Benedict, we’ve seen. And you know, it’s always the anti-Christian media who are really looks, it’s like they have people assigned full time to look every day for the slightest thing that they can twist for their own purposes to confuse people.

The Official Doctrine of the Church

Rick:

Yeah, yeah, that’s right. No doubt about it. Then with this statement being made, how does this affect churches across, well, not just the United States, but the world? I mean, at that point, if a Catholic Church was to do a same sex marriage, they would be going against the official doctrine of the Church, correct?

Frank:

Yeah. Yes. And of course, in that regard, of course, this is not anything new. But it gives extra force and awareness to those that would be responsible in that case. If that were to happen, or somebody saw that happen in their church, they need to go to the local Bishop and report it. And the bishop needs to take action to say to that priest, you can’t do this. If you insist on doing it, he just removes him from his responsibility for that particular church.

Rick:

And we’ve seen other denominations quite literally split over this issue. Is there any kind of movement like that in the Catholic Church right now?

Frank:

There have always been splinter groups, liberal Catholic groups on the abortion issue, which I deal with full time, as you know, the Catholics for Choice has always been around. But these are small efforts. But yes… 

And you see, the thing about the Catholics Church because it’s so hierarchical, when these groups develop that want to push or change some matter of settled teaching, as they have a difficult challenge, because they can’t just come out and be honest and say, we no longer believe what the Catholic Church believes, and then they go off their own way. But then they lose the base of support that they’re trying to influence.

So they have to somehow do this dance where they say, oh, well, we’re still part of the church, but we don’t agree with this or that teaching. So you do have these splinter groups within Catholicism, but they never get that far. 

The Need for Courage

What it does do however, with a bigger problem is when the clergy are just afraid to speak up on the settled teachings. And we see that especially in these areas, dealing with gay marriage, dealing with still with abortion, even though we’ve been dealing with it for so long.

Some of them are so afraid to speak up. They’re afraid of controversy. And really, that turns the Beatitudes on their head. 

You know, and the Beatitudes turn the teachings of the world on their head, because they say blessed are you when you are assaulted, persecuted, and then some of these clergy come along, and they try to turn it back again and say, well blessed are we if we avoid trouble, we don’t rock the boat. And that’s not the gospel.

Rick:

Yeah, that’s right. Well, also if you speak of the life issue, and that has been something that the church has officially stood strong on throughout all of the cultural move the other direction. Talk to me a little bit about Priests for Life. What’s going on lately with you guys? What do you have coming up?

Frank:

Well, at Priests for Life right now, one of our key areas of focus is this effort in the Congress to protect babies who survive abortion. Now, this is the third time, this is the third Congress in a row, where the Republicans have brought this up. And historic thing happened just a few days ago where by the Republicans… 

You know, if the leadership in the House doesn’t want to deal with a certain bill, there’s a mechanism by which if a majority of the members do want to deal with it, they can say something.

And so the Republicans have introduced this Discharge Petition, as it’s called to say, hey, listen, despite Pelosi, despite her unwillingness to talk about the fact that babies are being killed after birth, we want to have a debate and we want to have a vote. And now just about all the Republicans have signed on to it, they’re all going to sign on to it. And so we just need a handful of Democrats. 

This is opened through the rest of the Congress. So we got a year and a half to get just a handful of Democrats to say let’s at least have a vote on a bill that would strengthen protections for these babies. So we’re right in the center of that effort, educating and lobbying and just sounding the alarm on what is essentially infanticide.

PriestsForLife.Org

Rick:

And the best way to follow the activities of Priests for Life is the website Priestsforlife.org. Right?

Frank:

Yes, Priestsforlife.org, we also have the domain endabortion.us, which might be easier for some people, endabortion.us. All our activities, our action alerts, our info for clergy, our daily broadcasts, political information, youth information, healing after abortion, it’s all there.

Rick:

Well, so appreciate what y’all do, Father Frank. Thanks for taking some time to come and share with us here on WallBuilders Live.

Frank:

Oh, God bless WallBuilders and David Barton, and you and the whole team. Thanks so much for having me.

Rick:

Well, we appreciate you. Everybody visit that website today, Priestsforlife.org. Stay with us, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

AMERICAN STORY

Hey guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called “The American Story.” For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today. And we would say very providentially in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true. 

Or things like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not the statement, Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on. And this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.

Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story. Starting with Christopher Columbus going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America, not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people, but the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out wallbuilders.com “The American Story”.

Rick:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with a special thanks Father Frank Pavone for joining us as well. We’ll have a link today at wallbuilderslive.com so you can check out Priests for Life. And we’re back with David and Tim Barton.

And of course, I mean, we’ve had father Frank on goodness, probably a dozen or more times over the last few years on WallBuilders Live. It’s has been too long, but he’s right in the thick of the prolife fight, so we typically are talking to him about that. This was kind of cool. 

Just like you said, before we went to the interview, David, that on this issue of marriage, man, there’s a lot of denominations that have just caved on this, and not following what is clear biblical teaching on it. It’s great to see the Vatican come out strong on this.

Confusing Science

David:

Yeah, it really is. And listen to Father Frank talk about, he made a statement that really struck me, he said, you know, there’s been some confusing remarks that have come out. And he said, there’s even been some confusing silence. And I thought, now, that’s a powerful phrase, “confusing silence”. If you’re silent, then people can get confused over you not saying anything.

And I go back to an account in the Bible that I think is so significant. It’s the account of why Moses was not allowed to go into the Promised Land. Because when the people were out in the wilderness, and they were just griping and complaining and had so much negative stuff to say, and God had already done so many great things for them, so many miracles. And so they were without water, and so God told Moses to strike the rock. And so he’s going to do that.

And Moses was so ticked at the people that he yelled at them, must we bring forth water for you out of this rock? Moses strikes the rock twice, and it’s kind of like God back them said, who says, we business? Can you bring water out of a rock? 

And at that point, God says, because you did not sanctify me before the people, because you didn’t set me apart, you made you and me together. He said, for this reason, you’re not going to go in the Promised Land. So what happened was Moses made himself kind of even with God and said, me and God are doing this, and God said, no, it’s me that does this.

But what’s interesting is God then said to Aaron, and by the way, Aaron, you’re not going in either. And Aaron said, what did I do? I didn’t say anything. Exactly. 

You should have stood up and said, no, it’s God that’s bringing forth water out of the rock. You didn’t say anything, and because of your silence when you should have spoken up, and you didn’t, you’re not going to the Promised Land either.

And so that’s always been a really strong lesson to me that being silent at a time when you should have said something, is something that God does not bless and does not appreciate. And the church really has had this “confusing silence” on a number of cultural issues that we just don’t want to address.

We don’t want to offend people, and we have people on both sides in the church. No. When you’re solid, and you ought to be speaking, that’s what got Aaron in trouble. 

And that’s why I thought that was such a strong statement that he made that we’ve had a “confusing silence” on this, but silent no more. I mean, they have definitely spoken out and clear that up.

Doctrine or Opinion?

Tim:

Yeah, not only has the Vatican cleared it up, I thought was also interesting when Father Frank said, we hear what the Pope says to a journalist is not specific teaching the Church must adhere to. It’s interesting, because certainly from a non-Catholic perspective, kind of what we hear, and have even been taught is what the Pope says, is like the theology for the church. And so for Father Frank to say, no, no, that’s not.

And Rick, I really appreciated the point you made of if it’s not written down legislation, right, if somebody’s just off the cuff talking about something, and that’s not actually what was written down, that’s a little different. That does seem to be a little vague on some level, again, for somebody who’s not a Catholic that the impression that sometimes we are told of the Pope, and clearly there must be a faulty impression that we get of the Pope.

But I also appreciate it as Father Frank pointed out, one of the challenges is that the anti-Christian media are looking every day to find things that he said, to twist what they can to confuse people. And I thought that’s really true. Because you have the media consistently running and being like, “Oh, the Pope supports this, the Pope supports that,” as if they’re trying to sway opinion of what is acceptable and not acceptable by digging and trying to find something they can use. 

And this is where it probably shouldn’t be a surprise for us. Because we definitely see that consistently from the media, where they’re looking to take things often out of context, or even out of thin air in many cases, to promote their ideology and their agenda.

And in the midst of this where, dad, as you pointed out, kind of in the beginning where there can be some confusing things and maybe the confusing silence at times, it resonated with me when Father Frank pointed out that the bigger problem that we’re seeing as clergy are afraid to speak up on settled teachings. 

So teaching that every Catholic leader, every Catholic priest, everybody who’s a part of this, they should know what this teaching is. And there are people who are afraid to speak up, maybe because they don’t want the controversy, because they don’t want the pushback, they don’t want to offend people, right, whatever the case might be.

Settles Biblical Truth

And this is a challenge we are seeing across the nation is that for far too long, pastors have just been scared to speak what is settled biblical truth. It is settled Bible truth that God created male and female, and he created them in his image. Gender is a settled, biblical truth, there is male and there’s female; human sexuality, settled biblical truth. These are things that should not largely be confusing. But when pastors refuse to speak up about this, that’s where you see some of those issues.

And so that’s what we appreciate guys like Father Frank, who can come on and really just kind of tell it for what it is and say, here’s what you’re seeing, here’s why that happens. And obviously, we normally talk to Father Frank about Priests for Life and what they’re doing to fight and defend the unborn. As he mentioned, even in Congress, now, they’re working with congressmen to try to do this Infant Alive Protection Act.

It’s kind of position, where they want to protect babies to survive abortions to make sure that those babies can’t be killed by people who didn’t kill them during the abortion process. So they’re doing a lot of good stuff out there. And this is one of many reasons why we enjoy partnering with Father Frank as he’s working to make a difference on a lot of basic biblical issues.

Rick:

Well, special thanks to Father Frank, for joining us today. Don’t forget the links at our website today at wallbuilderslive.com, you can jump right over to Priests for Life from there and get those updates as well. We sure appreciate you listening today. We challenge you to share this program with your friends and family, help our reach continue to grow. 

We need to speak truth into the culture and we need to teach people how to stand up for that truth. And that’s what we do here at WallBuilders Live. So thanks for being a partner of WallBuilders Live, whether it’s praying for our program, donating to the program on a regular basis, or sharing the program with your friends and family or all three hopefully. We appreciate you listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.