Among the most important titles we have in the Catholic Church for the Blessed Virgin Mary are Our Lady of Victory and Our Lady of the Rosary. These titles can be traced back to one of the most decisive times in the history of the world and Christendom. The Battle of Lepanto took place on October 7 (date of feast of Our Lady of Rosary), 1571. This proved to be the most crucial battle for the Christian forces against the radical Muslim navy of Turkey. Pope Pius V led a procession around St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City praying the Rosary. He showed true pastoral leadership in recognizing the danger posed to Christendom by the radical Muslim forces, and in using the means necessary to defeat it. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, and this more than anything was a battle that had its origins in the spiritual order—a true battle between good and evil.
Today we have a similar spiritual battle in progress—a battle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies, life and death. If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national. The moral demise of a nation results in the ultimate demise of a nation. God is not a disinterested spectator to the affairs of man. Life begins at conception. This is an unalterable formal teaching of the Catholic Church. If you do not accept this you are a heretic in plain English. A single abortion is homicide. The more than 48,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade in the United States constitute genocide by definition. The group singled out for death—unwanted, unborn children.
No other issue, not all other issues taken together, can constitute a proportionate reason for voting for candidates that intend to preserve and defend this holocaust of innocent human life that is abortion.
I strongly urge every one of you to make a Novena and pray the Rosary to Our Lady of Victory between October 27th and Election Day, November 4th. Pray that God’s will be done and the most innocent and utterly vulnerable of our brothers and sisters will be protected from this barbaric and grossly sinful blight on society that is abortion. No woman, and no man, has the right to choose to murder an innocent human being.
May God grant us the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel to form our conscience in accordance with authentic Catholic teaching, and then vote that well‐formed Catholic conscience.
Please copy, email, link and distribute this article freely.
God Bless You
Fr. John Corapi
The following is a letter from Cardinal Egan which appeared in Catholic New York. Read it. It’s the single best pro-life plea I’ve read in a long time. Here it is:
The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.
Have you any doubt that it is a human being?
If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?
If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?
If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.
But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a “human being” is, what a “person” is, what it means to be “living,” and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us “Roe v. Wade” address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining “human being,” defining “person,” defining “living,” and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who “chooses” to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.
But what about the being that has been in its mother for only 15 weeks or only 10? Have you photographs of that too? Yes, I do. However, I hardly think it necessary to show them. For if we agree that the being in the photograph printed on this page is an innocent human being, you have no choice but to admit that it may not be legitimately killed even before 20 weeks unless you can indicate with scientific proof the point in the development of the being before which it was other than an innocent human being and, therefore, available to be legitimately killed. Nor have Aristotle, Aquinas or even the most brilliant embryologists of our era or any other era been able to do so. If there is a time when something less than a human being in a mother morphs into a human being, it is not a time that anyone has ever been able to identify, though many have made guesses. However, guesses are of no help. A man with a shotgun who decides to shoot a being that he believes may be a human being is properly hauled before a judge. And hopefully, the judge in question knows what a “human being” is and what the implications of someone’s wishing to kill it are. The word “incarceration” comes to mind.
However, we must not stop here. The matter becomes even clearer and simpler if you obtain from the National Geographic Society two extraordinary DVDs. One is entitled “In the Womb” and illustrates in color and in motion the development of one innocent human being within its mother. The other is entitled “In the Womb—Multiples” and in color and motion shows the development of two innocent human beings—twin boys—within their mother. If you have ever allowed yourself to wonder, for example, what “living” means, these two DVDs will be a great help. The one innocent human being squirms about, waves its arms, sucks its thumb, smiles broadly and even yawns; and the two innocent human beings do all of that and more: They fight each other. One gives his brother a kick, and the other responds with a sock to the jaw. If you can convince yourself that these beings are something other than living and innocent human beings, something, for example, such as “mere clusters of tissues,” you have a problem far more basic than merely not appreciating the wrongness of abortion. And that problem is—forgive me—self-deceit in a most extreme form.
Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs. Happily, there are few today who would hesitate to condemn in the roundest terms the self-deceit of Hitler, Stalin or even their subjects to the extent that the subjects could have done something to end the madness and protect living, innocent human beings.
It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets. Nor can we honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that “killing” and “choosing to kill” are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of “human being,” “person,” “living,” and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is “part” of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her “because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body.”
One day, please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the “Dred Scott Case” in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th. There is nothing at all complicated about the utter wrongness of abortion, and making it all seem complicated mitigates that wrongness not at all. On the contrary, it intensifies it.
Do me a favor. Look at the photograph again. Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of “legalized” abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
From Catholic Online:
Doug Kmeic and others can say what they want. Many pulpits in America are thundering the real truth – as Catholics we must stand for life when we vote.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – Sunday our pastor finished his homily to the sound of applause from the congregation gathered. It didn’t just happen in one Mass, either. Basically, Father William Saunders just preached the truth and presented the clear teaching of the Church concerning the issues of life and the issues of the election. Some were uneasy, I’m sure; but the truth had been proclaimed and the enthusiasm was electric. He had touched a major chord in our hearts.Standing on the shoulders of so many courageous Catholics across the centuries, we, as the Church, are called to stand for the truth and represent the faith that we are called to affirm when we exercise our citizenship. We are challenged to stand for life.Frankly, I am weary to the point of disgust with all the finger pointing currently taking place, that so-and-so is not standing strong enough for truth. Accusations concerning perceived sins of omission are easy to pontificate.
Could we be doing more? Absolutely! I know of no one who can say that they are doing all that could be done to affirm the stand for life in this election. Certainly some a more bold, while others appear timid or silent. There are even some whose actions may cause some to turn away from our message of life.Could more bishops and other clergy speak up about these issues with greater courage and fortitude? Certainly! Would that every one of their voices proclaimed it from the housetops. Nothing breeds hope in the heart like a courageous message from our diocesan and parish leaders.
Still, as Catholics, we must celebrate the boldness of our Church regarding the issues of life in this Presidential election. Let’s affirm the prophetic voices that have been speaking loud and long, trying to wake up the frog that is starting to boil in the kettle. Without these voices, the cries of the unborn and the infirm may never have been heard at all.
Throughout the entire campaign process voices for life have been heard everywhere, in both parties. Whether it was a Giuliani, a Biden, or an Obama, the warnings were coming from the very beginning.As the field narrowed, the issue of life was certainly a major point of division between the two parties both in platform and presidential candidates.
During the conventions this past summer the voices became stronger. A number of bishops condemned “Catholic” politicians who were mutilating the Magisterium. It was an immediate correction, loud and strong.
Right now, nothing separates our two presidential candidates more than the issue of life. While there are many other important differences between the two, when we view each through the lens of our Churches teachings, this position stands out significantly.
As momentum continues to gather toward Election Day in November, Catholic voices are thundering even more loudly. The voices are coming from across the entire tapestry of the Church. Bishops, like Martino, Finn, and Chaput are calling upon the faithful to be faithful.
In Texas, Bishops Kevin Farrell of Dallas and Kevin Vann of Fort Worth said that they seek to “dispel any confusion or misunderstanding that may be present among you concerning the teaching contained in” the U.S. bishops document on faithful citizenship.
“As Catholics we are morally obligated to pray, to act and to vote to abolish the evil of abortion in America, limiting it as much as we can until it is finally abolished.”
Bishop Gracida has recorded and made available a radio ad, declaring that Catholics must vote for Life and cannot vote for a Pro-Abortion Candidate. He then stated that Barack Obama was a Pro-abortion candidate.
Further, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) has now singled out Bishop Serratelli, of the Diocese of Paterson (NJ), as their newest target. They have requested an investigation by the IRS for his vocal opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act and his staunch defense of Catholic Teaching on Life with regard to the election.
Randall Terry, a recent convert and founder of Operation Rescue – the leading voice in the Pro-life movement for the past three decades, observed, “Like millions of the faithful, I have been thrilled by the sudden and forceful rise of various Bishops’ voices against the errors decimating the hearts of the Faithful in this election cycle.”
Fr. Saunders is only one of countless priests in all our dioceses that are proclaiming the truth from their pulpits and teaching their parishioners what the church means regarding a properly formed conscience. Deacons, like Catholic Online’s Deacon Keith Fournier, are declaring a message of life when they teach, preach, and minister in their parishes.
The Church has also empowered a massive choir of prolife voices among the laity. From veteran Pro-life leaders like Randall Terry to brothers and sisters in local parishes, a great army has been proclaiming a message of life in diverse and wonderful ways. Randall’s coverage of Pope John Paul’s teachings on life in his brochure “Faithful Catholic Citizens” has received a great response.
We are living in an age where religion – especially the Christian faith – has become the only target left not considered a hate crime. This is a time when a sitting president – no matter what you may think of him – is made a point of ridicule in a motion picture. We are experiencing a culture where name-calling has become an accepted argument and a valid indictment when referring to another with whom one disagrees.
Yet, the voices are continuing to thunder. I believe – no matter what happens in November – these voices will not be stilled. The Church’s prophetic mantle is being tested as never before in America, and the sound is growing stronger. A new movement is gaining momentum.
In just a few short weeks a decision will be reached by the citizens of our nation that will not just affect change for next for years, but set us on a trajectory for the future. This is a life and death decision for those yet to be born and for others who lives may be considered no longer viable. This could also be a life and death decision regarding many of our freedoms.
So how should we respond? What can we do to support the prophets among us?
Stand for life in your parishes. When your pastor preaches a courageous message, let your amen’s and your applause fill the building. Get involved in your parish’s Pro-life efforts and organizations.
Stand for life in your daily discussions. This is not a single-issue mentality; life is at the heart of all issues. It is out of this worldview that a true Christian humanism can develop. Be bold, talking about it calmly but boldly when others share their ideas with you.
Stand for life on Election Day. This would be the true change. Imagine what it would be like for the thundering voice for the unborn and the infirm to echo across America, calling for a complete rehabilitation of our national heart and mind. Bottom line: We cannot vote for anyone who stands for the culture of death.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor in Germany during World War II, was imprisoned and, eventually, killed for his faith. In his writings, he stated that one of the reasons for Hitler’s rise to power was the silence of German pulpits. Many of our pulpits are not silent. Lets affirm these voices that refuse to remain silent. In doing so we may encourage others to join choir.
The Synod fathers have mentioned on more than a few occasions the practice of lectio divina as a pathway to deeper intimacy with Christ.After reading this impressive post from the 195th Catholic Carnival, I thought I’d put together some other resources on reading the Word of God with care:
A Benedictine’s approach
A traditional approach
A thoughtful approach
An academic approach
Two bloggers that really delve meaningfully into the Scriptures are listed in the margin. Penitens always posts the reading for the day with commentary and Abbot Joseph’s beautiful unfoldings yield much food for thought.
If you’ve never visited Scott Hahn’s website and pursued one of his online courses, I can’t reccomend it enough.
Finally, please note the link to Biblia Clerus, with its compendiums and multiple scripture resources for the clergy.
Celebrate the Pauline Year in a meaningful way by making the Word of God a special guest in your heart and home!
p.s. I am loving this blogger. Read his older posts– there are some gems!
That an earthly agency might hold the key to the kingdom of heaven is a fond hope of mankind, such that the passing of the Vicar of Christ touches even those who long since rejected that hope. Into whose hand will the key pass? News reports suggest that the succession may fall to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican’s chief theologian. With no way to game the odds that this might happen, I think it worth noting that Ratzinger is one of the few men alive capable of surprising the world. Ten years ago, he shocked the Catholic world with this warning:
We might have to part with the notion of a popular Church. It is possible that we are on the verge of a new era in the history of the Church, under circumstances very different from those we have faced in the past, when Christianity will resemble the mustard seed [Matthew 13:31-32], that is, will continue only in the form of small and seemingly insignificant groups, which yet will oppose evil with all their strength and bring Good into this world. 
He added, “Christianity might diminish into a barely discernable presence,” because modern Europeans “do not want to bear the yoke of Christ”. The Catholic Church, he added, might survive only in cysts resembling the kibbutzim of Israel. He compared these cysts to Jesus’ mustard seed, faith of whose dimensions could move mountains. Ratzinger’s grim forecast provoked a minor scandal, complete with coverage in Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading newsmagazine. The offending sentences did not appear in the English translation, “Salt of the Earth”, and were not discussed further in polite Catholic company.
Cardinal Ratzinger is a Prince of the Church who threatened, as it were, to abandon the capital and conduct guerrilla war from the mountains. Years before Europe’s demographic death-spiral was apparent, Ratzinger had the vision to see and the courage to say that the Catholic Church stood on the brink of a catastrophic decline. This observation is now commonplace. As George Weigel, John Paul II’s biographer, wrote in March, “Europe, and especially Western Europe, is in the midst of a crisis of civilizational morale … Europe is depopulating itself at a rate unseen since the Black Death of the 14th century.”  He continued:
The demographics are unmistakable: Europe is dying. The wasting disease that has beset this once greatest of civilizations is not physical, however. It is a disease in the realm of the human spirit … Europe … is boring itself to death. Europe’s current demographic trend lines, coupled with the radicalization of Islam that seems to be a by-product of some Muslims’ encounter with contemporary, secularized Europe, could eventually produce a 22nd-century, or even late-21st-century, Europe increasingly influenced by, and perhaps even dominated by, militant Islamic populations … it is allowing radicalized 21st-century Muslims – who think of their forebears’ military defeats at Poitiers in 732 … as temporary reversals en route to Islam’s final triumph in Europe – to imagine that the day of victory is not far off.
Weigel blames “a lethal explosion of atheistic humanism” in the form of World War I for Europe’s decline. That cannot be quite true, for World War I burst out of the Balkans conflict between Catholic Austria-Hungary and Orthodox Russia. The messianic Slavophiles of the court of Czar Nicholas II confronted the most Catholic of all European entities, the multinational empire of the Habsburgs. France, to be sure, also incited Russia to mobilize, but it was the Catholic French army rather than the secular parties who most wanted war.
It would be more accurate to say that “atheistic humanism” was the residue spot left on the ground after the Catholic Universal Empire had exploded. Catholic Europe spent its first 10 centuries absorbing hosts of invaders. Its genius was syncretic: each tribe could retain aspects of natural religion in the form of specific saints, rituals, and so forth, within the Catholic umbrella. That is the tragic weakness of this great project, as I have argued elsewhere. 
The Universal Empire model collapsed with the Thirty Years’ War, although not, as the usual explanation goes, because of the fanaticism of the Catholic and Protestant combatants. The Thirty Years’ War became an artifact of French policy. France under Cardinal Richelieu first identified its own national glory with the salvation of the Christian world (Sacred heart of darkness, February 11, 2003). Messianic nationalism became the rival of Universal Empire, and the delusion of messianic nationalism passed from France to Russia and then to Germany, with ruinous consequences.
The United States of America created a different, Protestant sort of universality, calling on the nation’s immigrants to abandon their cultures and form a new people. The US might represent the only workable Protestant model. Without the weight of Church authority to suppress tribal eruptions, European Protestantism too easily became the bearer of a perverse, neo-pagan nationalism. For all the opprobrium heaped on the Vatican Nuncio in Germany, the future Pius XII, the Catholic Church offered far more resistance to Adolf Hitler than did the German Protestant churches.
I doubt that the Catholic model ever again will provide a template for human society, but I am loath to see the Catholic message diluted or diminished. Our guesses about the direction of human events are no more than that; no human being has cracked the code of history. Until a generation ago, Christian opinion was nearly unanimous that the New Covenant had superseded the miserable remnant that clung to the Old Covenant of Judaism. The return of the Jews to Jerusalem persuades many Christians that the Jews yet may have a role to play. If the Jews can raise themselves from the ashes, what shall we think about the prospects for the Church that embodied Western civilization for so many centuries?
In the US, the Catholic Church tends toward the model of a social-welfare agency, replete with the social mores of the political left, culminating in the sex-abuse scandal of the past several years.  In Latin America, “liberation theology” turned large parts of the Church into a quasi-revolutionary political movement. These efforts were doomed to failure. What religions do to ameliorate social or political conditions is incidental; religions exist because humankind is terrified of death.
John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger belonged to the “Augustinian” minority of senior clergy who tried to steer the Church back to its fundamental mission, namely repentance and salvation. Anthony Mansueto of the University of New Mexico, a left-wing critic, remonstrates bitterly against this current:
[Around Vatican II] a new Augustinian Right emerged which regarded Neo-Thomism and Social Catholicism as too focused on the social apostolate and ineffective in communicating what they saw as the essential message of Christianity: human sinfulness and God’s offer of forgiveness. This group, which developed around the journal Communio, and which includes both the current pope and his chief theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, but of whom the most important theological representative was Hans Urs von Balthasar, explicitly rejects both the “cosmological” approach of historic Thomism, which rises to God through an attempt to explain the natural world, and the “anthropological” approach of the conciliar (and in a different way the liberation) theologians, in favor of an “esthetic” approach which gives priority to the passive reception of the self-sacrificial gift of Christ on the cross. The effect is a sort of clericalized Lutheranism. 
Mansueto intends the term “clericalized Lutheranism” as an insult, but there is a grain of truth here. John Paul II’s Augustinian leaning made him more of a unifying figure in the Christian world, in particular among US evangelicals. The scriptural rather than philosophical emphasis of the Augustinian current, moreover, deepened the late pope’s instinctive sympathy for Judaism, the scriptural religion par excellence.
Ratzinger was not only the Vatican’s chief theologian, but John Paul II’s closest theological collaborator. From his first academic work on St Bonaventure, Ratzinger took the Protestant bull by the horns. Scriptural revelation is an act by which God reveals himself, he argued, and revelation requires someone to whom revelation is made manifest. He wrote in his autobiography:
The word “revelation” refers to the act in which God shows himself, and not to the objectified result of this act. Part and parcel of the concept of revelation is the receiving subject. Where there is no one to perceive revelation, no re-vel-ation has occurred because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it. 
For Ratzinger, this “someone” is of course the Church, as opposed to the Protestant contention that each individual must read Scripture for himself. By making revelation the subject of discourse, though, the Augustinian Ratzinger may have more in common with evangelical Christians than with the neo-Thomists of his own Church. For the first time, Catholic congregations in the US south are attracting the sort of people who normally would join evangelical denominations. On the surface, the US Church is deteriorating, bulked up by Hispanic immigrants but losing clergy and parochial-school attendance. I consider the odds very small, but cannot rule out that the Wojtyla-Ratzinger current yet might turn out to be the mustard seed of which Ratzinger wrote. It is not, as some suggest, that the US Catholic Church has assimilated into the ambient Protestant culture of US, but rather that a Catholic current of ancient lineage might compete with evangelical Christianity on its own terms.
The popular media have assigned Ratzinger the image of a dour conservative, cracking down on dissenting theologians. Quite the opposite might be the case: as pope, Ratzinger might conceivably become something of a unifying figure in the Christian world.
From an institutional vantage point the Church appears weakened beyond repair. Not only the faith but also the faithful are at risk. I hold out no hope for today’s Europeans. But Ratzinger places his hopes on the purely spiritual weapons that made Christianity a force to begin with. He has said, in effect, “I have a mustard seed, and I’m not afraid to use it.” I do not know, of course, whether he will have the opportunity, but were he to ascend to the throne of St Peter, the next papacy might be more interesting than the last one.