Quest for a Culture of Life in America with Steve Koob

Steve Koob, founder and executive director of One More Soul, hosts a weekly program in which he interviews some of the people making a significant contribution to the Culture of Life. The hope and prayer is that Radio Maria listeners will be inspired by these guests, and will find ways that they too can foster a Culture of Life in their community, Church, and family.

August 11, 2015 – Do you believe in the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist?

Dr. Brant Pitre

Supposedly, a very significant percentage of Catholics do NOT believe in the Real Presence. Study results depend greatly on how the question is asked and who is asked–what is the definition of a Catholic? Our purpose with this “Quest for a Culture of Life in America” program is not to determine how many Catholics believe in the Real Presence, but rather to help everyone believe as a matter of Faith–Faith based on the words of Jesus quoted in Sacred Scripture –the inspired Word of God.

Dr, Professor, Brant Pitre teaches Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He will be our Guest and tasked with strengthening our Faith in the Real Presence by tracing its origin/roots to the Jewish practices of sacrifice and worship as described in the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) and other sources. Jesus was a very devout Jew. Jewish history and traditions defined Jesus and therefore defined His Church and our worship of God.

Dr Pitre earned his PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame where he specialized in New Testament and ancient Judaism. He has authored several books, CDs and Videos. Two of his most recent works are Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, published by Doubleday in 2011 and a new video series Lectio Eucharist published by Ignatius Press. He lives with his wife Elizabeth and their 5 young children in Gray Louisiana.

Today’s “Liturgy” is much expanded from the first Eucharist at the Last Supper, yet the essence remains. Here are a few questions I’ll be asking Professor Pitre:

  • Why does the “Mass” have so many names—Liturgy, Eucharist, meal, memorial, sacrifice—to name a few?
  • In your Introduction to Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, you state that to really know Jesus, one must study His Jewish roots. Which of those “roots” would be most foreign to a modern American Christian?
  • In Scott Hahn’s Foreword to Jesus and the Jewish Roots . . . he echoes St Paul’s description of the Passion by this statement, “Love transforms suffering into sacrifice” and “That is love: the total gift of self.” These words are often used to describe enduring marriage, but could also apply to parenthood, martyrdom, service to country and many other examples of deep loyalty. Any additional thoughts?
  • In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus makes a startling, even scandalous, statement about his own flesh and blood and salvation itself. What did it mean to the listeners of His time – and to us now as we approach the Eucharist?
  • What are the more important Jewish roots to the Eucharist for helping explain the Real Presence and strengthening our Faith in it?
  • What are some of the ways the Eucharist is pre-figured in the Old Testament?
  • What Jewish roots have been lost over the past two millennia? Where can one find a history/chronology of changes made to the Mass? Can these losses and changes explain the lack of Real Presence Faith?
  • Why does the Church consider the Eucharist the “source and summit of the Christian life”?
  • How did the early Church understand Jesus’ words, “Do this in memory of me”?
  • Sometimes the Church says that the bread becomes the Body of Jesus and the wine becomes His blood. But the Church also says that Jesus is really (wholly?) present “body and blood, soul and divinity” in either species and any quantity. Please explain!

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August 04, 2015 – Planned Parenthood Fights Damning Videos

The story of Planned Parenthood Abortion business expansion into the baby parts sales business has captured our attention like no other in the history of the pro-life movement.  Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and has had great success closing abortion facilities in recent years under the leadership of  Cheryl Sullinger and Troy Newman.

Cheryl will be making her second appearance today as our Guest on the “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America”.  At the time of the Kermit Gosnell trial, her daily presence and reports from that trial were the only way for the outside world to know of the gruesome nature of Gosnell’s operation that landed him in jail charged and convicted of infanticide and a number of other felonies.

Here are some questions for Cheryl:

  • What is the current status of surgical abortion businesses in the usa? How many of the surgical abortion mills are PP owned?
  • Can you give us an approximate breakdown of PP income sources: birth control, routine health care, abortion, sale of fetal baby parts, breast exams, etc?
  • How much money does PP typically get from the Federal government per year?  How much from state and local governments?
  • Did S1881 pass last night?  Is there a companion bill in the House of Representatives?
  • The undercover videos that are being released at intervals—we have now seen 4 of them—appear to be a continuation of Lila Rose’s undercover video efforts.  Was she the inspiration for this new wave of videos? Are there more to come?
  • Is the administration-media-PP consortium cracking? What are you seeing?
  • The sale of “high quality” baby parts would naturally encourage abortion by means that don’t damage those parts.  Saline abortion and injection into the heart would make possible the  delivery of an intact baby. Do the videos provide evidence of this happening? What about a baby that delivers quickly before the abortionist can kill her or him? Such children are supposedly protected by the law, but does that happen?
  • What does Stem Express do with these aborted baby parts?  Why do these parts have value?  What are they being used for? “Stem” hints at stem cell research and application.  Is that where the value lies?

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July 28, 2015 – Male-Female Complimentarity and Genius–Defining Roles in the Catholic Church

Mary Rice Hasson is the editor and one of 12 female contributors to Promise and Challenge, Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complimentarity and the Church, Our Sunday Visitor, 2015.  Promise and Challenge is a fascinating and stretching response to Pope Francis’ “call for women to think deeply with him about the ways that women can further the work of the Church in today’s world.”(from Mary Ann Glendon’s Foreword)

I was not surprised by the author’s often referral to “the feminine genius”, but I was surprised to see the call for an in depth study of “the masculine genius”.   My knowledge of male-female complimentarity didn’t go much deeper than anatomical (the plumbing) complimentarity, so my appreciation for more theological interpretations has been greatly extended by Mary and her co-authors.  I am grateful!


Here are few questions I want to ask Mary:

  • What are “Integral” complimentarity (1+1=2) and “fractional” complimentarity (1+1=3)?
  • It seems that motherhood is the first and highest of the feminine geniuses.  Is motherhood the basic root for all feminine geniuses?
  • I did not notice “one-flesh-union” phraseology in my incomplete read.  Is it used by feminine theologians?  How is it related to “complimentarity”?
  • Some feminists and theologians don’t like the word “complimentarity”. Why?
  • Pope Francis and his two predecessors have all called for expanding the roles of women in the Church, particularly into decision making opportunities–which seems to require ordination as priest or bishop.  None of your authors support women’s ordination.  So how do they propose gaining decision making opportunities?
  • Are not the typical parish and diocesan staffs already dominated by females, and do they give input on decisions to their male supervisors?
  • AND many more.

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July 21, 2015 – Who is a Catholic Deacon and what does he do?

I am at Xavier University in Cincinnati offering One More Soul resources to Catholic Deacons participating in the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education (NDICE) Conference.  It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what Deacons do in service to the Church and to share that knowledge with Radio Maria listeners.

Our Guest on this week’s Quest is John Gerke, President of NDICE for the past two years, and for 8 years a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, assigned to Holy Family Parish in the East Price Hill section of Cincinnati. John is also the owner of Gerke Electric company and married to Coleen, who is the Director of the Family and Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. They are parents to 5 children.

Nationwide, there are over 15,000 permanent Deacons–93 % of whom are married.  In most dioceses, the wives are very much involved in supporting their Deacon husbands, and so Colleen will be joining John.

  • Who can be a Deacon and what Deacons do?
  • There were Deacons in the early Church.  When and why was this ministry abandoned until Vatican Council II? Were there Deaconesses?
  • Why has there been such a rapid growth in the US Diaconate?  
  • Are Deacons  received warmly by priests and people? Is there ever tension between pastor and deacons?
  • What do wives do in support of their husbands?
  • What is the purpose of the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education (NDICE) conference?

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July 14, 2015 – What does it take to be a saint?

For some time now I have been a subscriber to Give Us This Day, Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic. Published monthly,  each day’s readings include morning and evening prayers with three layers sandwiched between–“Blessed Among Us” about a “saint” or “blessed” written by Robert Ellsburg; readings for the Mass of the day; and a “Reflection”.  Robert does an amazing job of acquainting readers with fascinating men and women who have been canonized  as saints or are in that process.  Most of them I had not heard of prior to the “Blessed Among Us” article. To write about a different saint every day would be a daunting task, but perhaps it is easy for Robert since he has written three books on saints and is involved in the sainthood cause for Dorothy Day, with whom he worked at The Catholic Worker.  
I have noticed that a disproportionate selection of these saints are women who were born into wealthy families, but chose a life of intentional  poverty and service to the poor.  Many of these holy women founded religious orders that continue to this day.  Are there still women (and men) choosing poverty and drawing others to religious community life?  Who are they?  What are the requirements for Canonization?  How long is the process?  How holds the record for shortest time to canonization?
Today’s “Blessed Among Us” is a Native American, Saint Kateri Tekawitha. What was remarkable about her 23-year life?  It is worth noting that Spanish Father Junípero Serra will be canonized by Pope Francis in Washington DC this September, in part because of his missionary work with native Americans in California.

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July 07, 2015 – Same Sex “marriage”–What got us there? Where will it take us?

To answer these questions that everyone seems to be asking, we turn to Dr. Monica Miller, Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society and Associate Professor of Sacred Theology at Madonna University in Livonia Michigan.

Monica has been active in the pro-life movement for almost 40 years, particularly as a pioneer of the pro-life rescue movement. She is a veteran sidewalk counselor and has organized hundreds of pro-life pickets, rallies, demonstrations and conferences.

She is the author of several books and articles including Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church, and “The Theology of the Passion of the Christ”— a commentary on Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ.”  Her historical narrative of pro-life activism — Abandoned — the Untold Story of the Abortion Wars— has been called  the best book ever written on abortion. Monica is married to  Edmund Miller  and they parent three teens.

I suppose the first question to ask Monica is, “What does same-sex ‘marriage’ have to do with abortion and the pro-life movement?” And then, “Did the Supreme Court leave any wiggle room for religious freedom—or anything else?”

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June 30, 2015 – The Shroud of Turin

Dr. John Jackson, PhD in Physics and his wife Rebecca, MBA, have been doing research on the Turin Shroud for over 40 years at the Turin Shroud Center in Colorado Springs.  These studies look at the History of the Shroud, where it has been since the Resurrection, who protected it, and how did it come to be placed in the Cathedral  in Turin Italy.  Their major contribution is examination of the Shroud itself and the findings that tend to prove the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.  I think that you will agree that the evidence is extensive and very impressive.

Dr. John Jackson leads a scientific team that has collectively performed in excess of 100 person-years of scientific research on the Shroud of Turin.  In addition to conducting Shroud research he has taught at the university level for many years–including the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Air Force Academy.

In 1978, when interest in the Shroud was at its height, Dr. Jackson led a 40-person team of international scientists to Turin where they, under the auspices of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), examined the Shroud for nearly a week. No one since that time has secured such full scientific research access to the cloth. A great variety of scientific data were extracted. Dr. Jackson became the primary custodian of this data and, along with his scientific colleagues in Colorado, he has continued the thrust of Shroud research.
Rebecca Jackson is a longtime convert to Christianity from Orthodox Judaism. She runs the TSC Exhibit Presentation Center and also conducts her own research into the First Century Jewish aspects of the Shroud, a field of scholarship that is of great importance for authenticity.
They are both graduates of the four-year Catholic Biblical School and the two-year Catholic Catechetical School, both respected institutions of the Archdiocese of Denver. John and Rebecca were invested in 2007 into the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and John is also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

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June 23, 2015 – Everybody is talking about Pope Francis’ Encyclical – Radio Maria Joins the Dialogue

With this latest encyclical, Pope Francis again proves he is a master advertising agent for the Catholic Church.  He uses the controversial and widely publicized issue of the environment, and particularly Global Warming, to move his highest priority concerns for social justice, respect for all human life, and the poor to the media front burner.  
You have probably read, watched, and listened to dozens of viewpoints on his encyclical–most are critical about some (or even most) of it.  A common critique suggests that the Pope should stick to his area of expertise–theology–and leave environmental science to scientists.
Today we have about 50 minutes to sort out the theology and the science with the help of two experts:

  • Mark Brumley is President of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer for Ignatius Press where he has many responsibilities for writing, editing and managing. A convert to Catholicism from Evangelicalism, Mark has written and spoken widely on theological subjects and religious controversies.  He has appeared on most of the Catholic and secular media outlets.

  • William L. Patenaude M.A., KHS is a columnist for the Rhode Island Catholic and writes at He is an engineer with Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management and is a special lecturer in theology at Providence College. 


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June 16, 2015 – Our Lady Needs You Now!

The Blessed Mother of God, in her role as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin, told Sister Mary Ephrem (

“to draw a picture of her first appearance. She also requested a statue made according to this likeness and placed, after being solemnly carried in procession, in the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. She wishes to be honored there in a special way as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.(Oct 13, 1956, p9)    To my spiritual director, I was asked to send this message: 

“Hurry, my son, for the time is short but the punishment will be long, and for many, forever. “Tell the Bishops of the United States, my loyal sons, of my desires and how I wish them to be carried out. Through him who is head over you, make known the longings of my Immaculate Heart to establish the reign of my Divine Son in the hearts of men and thus save them from the scourge of heaven, both now and hereafter.”     Our Lady, again addressing herself to me, spoke sadly yet hopefully: 

“My daughter, will my children in America listen to my pleadings and console my Immaculate Heart? Will my loyal sons carry out my desires and thus help me bring the peace of Christ once again to mankind?   Pray and do penance, my sweet child, that this may come to pass. Trust me and love me; I so desire it. Do not forget your poor Mother, who weeps over the loss of so many of her children.”(Jan, 1957, p9-10)

Pope Francis will be at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on Wednesday, September 23rd.  This will be an opportune moment to grant Our Lady’s request that her statue be solemnly carried in procession into the Shrine and permanently placed there to honor her as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin. PLEASE write to Pope Francis asking him to lead the procession into the Basilica as our Lady requested—>    

    His Holiness, Pope Francis

    c/o Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

    Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.A.

    3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20008-3610

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