Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck (born in 1958 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey) is an ordained Catholic priest who is a pro-life activist along with his twin brother, Robert Schenck. They are both active in ministries in Washington, D.C.as well as throughout the United States and other countries.
The identical twins Robert and Paul Schenck were raised in a Jewish home in western New York (Grand Island). They both attended colleges near Rochester, New York. Paul was baptized as a non-Catholic Christian when he was 16 years old. Paul and his brother each married in 1977 and lived and worked in the Town of Tonawanda, New York until Robert left in 1976 (he returned in 1982)and Paul in 1994.
Paul founded the New Covenant Tabernacle  Church in Tonawanda, New York, in 1982, after joining the Reformed Episcopal Church in 1994 he was vicar of a mission in Virginia Beach and rector of a parish in Catonsville, Maryland. Paul was the executive vice president of the American Center for Law & Justice from 1994 to 1997. Robert later joined the Evangelical Alliance and transferred his ordination to the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Schenck was received into the Catholic Church in 2004. He was ordained a Catholic priest on June 12, 2010, under the Pastoral Provision, which allows married former clergy of the Anglican tradition to be ordained without the requirement for celibacy.
Pro-life activist careers
The brothers were involved with the founding of Operation Rescue. In 1992, they helped organize the "Spring of Life" in Buffalo in an effort to focus its public demonstrations on abortion providers and on efforts to close abortion clinics. Hundreds of pro-life activists, most of them from western New York, were arrested for blockading clinics. Schenck's image appeared on the cover of Life magazine. Robert was photographed holding an aborted 20-week-old fetus in his hands.
Schenck was accused and convicted of obstruction of a federal order for denying that he borrowed his twin brother's necktie during a demonstration in front of a post office behind which was an abortion clinic. The charge was part of a larger case against the Schencks for distributing Bibles, tracts, and pro-life literature on the public sidewalk near the post office. Robert was released from the case, but Schenck was sentenced to 30 days in a federal prison.
Until about 1994, the brothers had worked together, primarily in Buffalo, but then Schenck moved to Virginia Beach and joined the ACLJ, the public-interest law firm headed by Keith Fournier, a Catholic deacon, and Jay Sekulow, a Jewish Christian[clarification needed] Constitutional lawyer. Schenck joined the Reformed Episcopal Church and was made the chaplain of Regent University School of Law. Robert moved to Washington, D.C., where he founded Faith and Action.
In Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, Schenck's challenge to a court order went to the Supreme Court in 1996. The case was to decide details about restraining orders, in particular for protesters around abortion clinics. The Court held that the injunction provisions imposing "fixed buffer zone" limitations were constitutional, but the provisions imposing "floating buffer zones" violated the First Amendment. The Court voted 8-1 in Schenck's favor striking down the floating zones. The Court used that case to strike down similar restrictions in Colorado, Arizona and California.
In 1995, Schenck left the Assemblies of God denomination to become a minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church. In 1996 Paul Schenck became Rector of the historic Cummins Memorial Church near Baltimore, Maryland. Paul and Robert both have received numerous awards from legal, community, charitable and relief organizations. Besides his studies at Elim Bible Institute, Paul graduated from Luther Rice University (with a B.A. biblical studies), was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire, (and in Rome) was granted the Graduate Catechetical Diploma by The Most Rev. Paul Laverde, the Bishop of Arlington, Virginia. Subsequently Schenck studied liturgical theology at the Catholic University of America and received the Master of Arts in Theology from Catholic Distance University, summa cum laude. In 2007, he received the Master Certificate in Executive Leadership from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College; in 2009, he completed certification with the Pastoral Provision in the Catholic Church at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in the Archdiocese of Newark. Schenck completed the course of studies in Bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Bioethics at Georgetown University with the Master Class conducted by Dr. Edmund Pellegrino and he is currently pursuing doctoral studies with the Graduate Theological Foundation.
Robert received the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from Faith Lutheran Theological Seminary and the honorary Doctor of Divinity from the St. Paul Christian University of St. Paul, Indiana, a Methodist institution.
The Schencks work side by side on Capitol Hill in Washington where Robert is president of Faith and Action, an ecumenical mission, and Paul is chairman of the National Pro-Life Center. The buildings are at 109 and 113 2nd Street North East, just across from the official entrance to the United States Supreme Court. Robert is also chaplain to the Capitol Hill Executive Club which convenes in the historic Mansfield Room, and he is a member of the Board of the Evangelical Alliance. Father Paul Schenck is a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (PA) and Director of the Respect Life Office. He is married and has eight children, two daughters-in-law and a son-in-law. Schenck was ordained a priest through the Pastoral Provision that allows married Anglican clergy to become Catholic priests.
On March 10, 2004, Paul, to the surprise of some of his Protestant associates, especially those back in Buffalo, entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Paul served as a Pastoral Associate in Priests for Life from 2004–2007, was the National Representative of Catholics United for Life and was appointed Director of the Office of Respect Life Activities by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (PA) in 2008. He founded the National Pro-Life Action Center (NPLAC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and remains its chairman.
On June 12, 2010, Paul Schenck was ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg. While Paul Schenck is married and has eight children, the ordination was permissible under the pastoral provision created by Pope John Paul II for Anglican clergy received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Fr. Paul C.B. Schenck conducts pro-life ministry in three capital cities, Harrisburg, PA, Annapolis, MD and Washington, DC as well as throughout the nation.
- Ten Words That Will Change a Nation by Robert Schenck (2002) ISBN 1-57778-249-6
- Dr. Paul Schenck at the Wayback Machine
- National Clergy Council
- Reverend Rob Schenck, MA[self-published source?]
- Faith And Action - In The Nation's Capital:
- "About Paul Schenck". PaulSchenck.com.
- "CNN.com". CNN.
- The Truth About Anti-abortion Pictures of Alleged Aborted Fetuses July 1992
- Hunting for justice in an insane, upside down world January 1999
- Pro-Life Champion Paul Schenck: A Watershed Odyssey Alternate URL May 2004
- Live From the Gates of Hell: An Insider's Look at the Antiabortion Underground by Jerry Reiter (2000) ISBN 1-57392-840-2