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.

March 10, 2015 – “Physician Assisted Suicide”–yet another “right” to murder?!

Dana Cody serves as President and Executive Director of California based Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF).  On a daily basis she and her legal staff are embroiled in abortion, ObamaCare, assisted suicide and other threats to life of innocent and helpless human beings of any age, particularly unborn children. LLDF supports their advocates in a variety of our nation’s courtrooms.
Brittany Maynard’s very public assisted suicide in Oregon, and the Canadian Supreme Court’s recent (Feb 9, 2015) strike-down of Canada Law against assisted suicide, has emboldened the activists to introduce “Physician Assisted Suicide Laws” in 14 states–following Oregon, Washington and Vermont.
These laws vary from state to state.  What are the major differences among them?  Have any been tested before the US Supreme Court?  Does the process eventually lead to a national decision on what can be done, under what circumstances, and by whom?
It seems to me that there are fine lines between use of pain prevention medication and intentionally using medications to cause death and thus relieve pain. The ethics and morality of individual cases can be very complex.  I believe that Dana will be able to help us understand these complexities.

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March 03, 2015 – Simon IS my name–I’ll be your Guest on Radio Maria today!

Simon Crosier had a relatively short life—less than three months outside his mother’s womb. He had Trisomy 18 (also known as Edward’s Syndrome). In spite of his short life, Simon’s fame is growing because: a) his short life touched many others, b) his mom and brothers wrote two books about him, c) the State of Missouri Legislature is naming a law after him, and d) he represents all life-limited children

Simon is our Guest today on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America”.  He will be represented by Sheryl Crosier, his mother, who continues to love him deeply and be his support though her love and concern for the other Simons by serving on the Board of Directors for SOFT—Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and related disorders.

Sheryl authored the book I Am Not A Syndrome-My Name Is Simon which was published in August 2012. She also authored the children’s book, Hello, My Name Is Simon as told by Samuel and Sean Crosier, Simon’s big brothers, published in October 2014.
You can learn more about Sheryl, Simon, her books, and media interviews at
Sheryl will be joined by Anne Schmiesing the author of a recently published One More Soul pamphlet, “Hard Cases Close to Home” that briefly describes how three families in Western Ohio dealt with their Simon-like life experiences.
Please join us today to gain a new appreciation for the gift of life, and learn how Simon—and children like him—change the culture, one life at a time.

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February 24, 2015 – Why does a government agency–FDA–approve poison for its citizens?

Mitchell Kalpakgian, Ph.D. has been teaching at the university level for over fifty years, including 31 years as a professor of English at Simpson College in Iowa.   He still loves to write and teach, now part-time at various schools in New Hampshire. I would say that some of his books indicate a  Philosopher orientation, for example, The Lost Arts of Modern CivilizationModern Manners: The Poetry of Conduct and The Virtue of Civility, and The Virtues We Need Again. He came to my attention as one of the Senior Writers for Human life International’s Truth and Freedom Series, for which he recently penned “Legalized Poisons: The New Organization of Life”–which is the source for this week’s “Quest for a Culture of Life in America” program on Radio Maria.

Is it safe to presume that most adult Americans are taking at least one Food & Drug Administration approved prescription “drug”.  And, is it not also true that every one of these prescriptions is accompanied by a lengthy printout of directions, warnings, and instructions for what to do IF you overdose, or under-dose (miss a prescribed taking of pill), or what ever.  These hand outs also are very likely to state, “as with all medications, Pill XYZ may have side effects that could become serious.  Watch for these rare but possible conditions that may or may not be consequential to taking this medication.  Your physician (or other provider) has determined that the intended benefits of this prescription outweigh their  potential harm”–or other words to the same effect.

Okay, that is fair enough when what is being prescribed has been tested on animals and then humans and found to cure or diminish disease, reduce pain and suffering, and prolong life or improve the quality of life–with relatively minor “side effects”.

But how do “medications” that have the purpose of fostering unhealthy behaviors get into the mix? and with what consequences?Consider Hormonal birth control methods that reduce pregnancy and birth rates by contraception and abortion–both intrinsically evil by the teaching of the Catholic Church and Natural Law. Limiting birth rates is hard to justify as a legitimate health purpose, given that conception/pregnancy/birth are natural consequences of marital intimacy and conform to God’s desire that we by fruitful, multiply and fill the earth.  There are a multitude of health benefits to birthing and nurturing children, and a similar multitude of health risks consequent to the use of birth control.

So, why do we use birth control, and why do government agencies encourage it, and what does our Church have to say about it???

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February 17, 2015 – What Do Bible and Liturgy Have To Do with the Quest?—Part IV

Dr. Leroy Huizenga is Director of the Christian Leadership Center and Head of the Theology Department at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. He received his M.Div from Princeton Seminary in 2001 and his Ph.D. from Duke University in 2006. Dr. Huizenga was reconciled with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil of 2011.

He is first and foremost a Bible Scholar, helping modern Bible students (like all of us) recognize the dynamism/timelessness/personalness of the Bible—a consequence of it being the “inspired Word of God”—much more than the musings of its human writers. Professor Huizenga will help us see how biblical interpretation culminates in liturgy, from the Old Testament to the New, and how we should not be surprised by God providing new insights to the Liturgy, even now almost 2000 years after the “Last” Supper resulted in the First Mass and the First Ordination.  God is continuing to reveal Himself—His wisdom, knowledge, mercy, humility and love.

Dr Leroy will help us see how and why Liturgy matters, how Liturgy/Mass was established by Jesus, and is critical to our faith, life, and destiny.  Why is the Liturgy always going to be a mystery, why should the Liturgy exude beauty, and how are Liturgy and Marriage connected???

It seems like there are always more questions!  But isn’t that the nature of any MYSTERY?

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February 10, 2015 – Dr. Chris Kahlenborn challenges morality of Plan B rape protocol

Dr. Chris Kahlenborn is a Hospitalist at Holy Spirit Hospital in eastern Pennsylvania.  He is also a respected medical researcher in the area of hormonal birth control with published works on the breast cancer risks, documented in One More Soul pamphlets and, Breast Cancer Risk from Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, One More Soul, 2000.  He and colleagues have their research published in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings and Linacre Quarterly.

The quest for effective means for separating the unitive and procreative ends–bonding and babies–of God’s sacred act of sexual intercourse seems to be never-ending. Historians document these efforts from long before the time of Christ and of course continue in modern times with a strong focus on hormone ingestion based methods like the pill, shot, patch, implant and IUD.
Another approach is to find means for preventing conception/pregnancy/birth post-coital.  These methods would give couples who choose not to use birth control before intercourse (“unprotected”) a second opportunity to control the outcome of their intimacy.  The Morning After Pill, Plan B, and RU486 are of this birth control “family” of methods–often referred to as “emergency contraception”, with Plan B having the most popularity.
In fact, Plan B is commonly used to prevent pregnancy for rape victims seeking care in hospital trauma centers–emergency facilities.  The protocols used in most Catholic Hospitals attempt to determine a window of opportunity for Plan B to:

  • interfere with ovulation and thus prevent fertilization/conception, AND
  • NOT interfere with implantation–causing abortion–should fertilization/conception have already occurred.
Dr. Kahlenborn and colleagues  Drs Rebecca Peck and Walter Severs have raised questions about the efficacy of these protocols in preventing an early abortion.  Dr. Chris will help us sort out the associated controversies–moral and clinical.

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February 03, 2015 – Liturgy Part III: There are many Liturgical Rites! Is there a “BEST one?

Our Guest today is Father Thomas Kocik, a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Fall River in Massachusetts.  Father is a proponent (and celebrant) of the traditional Latin Mass who also celebrates the “Novus Ordo” (Ordinary Form) because that is what is used in the vast majority of parishes that he serves. He certainly knows that the “new” Mass has sacramental validity, but he thinks the traditional Mass is superior in many respects. But, doesn’t every Mass have an infinite dimension that makes “good, better and best” ranking of Mass forms impossible?
Father Kucik will be our third Guest on the Liturgy, following Msgr Barrerio and Professor Mike Foley.  We are on a roll that started with my quoting Dr. Lorna Cvetkovich, “We will never have a Culture of Life unless we get the Liturgy right”.
Father Tom was born in 1965 in upstate New York (49 years old) and ordained in 1997 for the Diocese of Fall River Massachusetts. He has written two books on the Liturgy:   The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (Ignatius Press, 2003), and Loving and Living the Mass (Zaccheus Press, 2007, 2nd ed. 2011).  He has served as a parish priest, been a hospital chaplain and high school chaplain. Presently, he is helping out at various parishes celebrating both forms of the Mass, and hoping to begin studies at Ave Maria University later this year with a view to earning a doctorate in Theology.
A burning question for me is, “What are the pastoral considerations/ramifications of Mass changes and options?”

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January 27, 2015 – The Liturgy, Part II with Professor of Patristics, Michael Foley

Last week, I participated in the Washington DC March for Life and related activities.  If you have not done this, I recommend adding this annual celebration of life to your “bucket list”!
Michael Foley is a Catholic, husband, father of 6, and Associate Professor of Patristics at Baptist Baylor University.  He and his family attend the Extraordinary Mass in Waco Texas.  He studies and writes about the Liturgy–the Mass.
Here are some questions I want to ask Professor Mike:
  • The most common form of Liturgy in the US today is the Novus Ordo–The Ordinary form.  But there is now available in many communities the Extraordinary form–the Latin Mass or Tridentine Mass–the only form available before VCII.  What do these words Ordinary and Extraordinary mean?  Common vs uncommon, or not special vs special, or normal vs odd???
  • There was a time before VCII when the Mass was said with a mixture of Latin and English.  Is there a goal to find some mix of NO and Extraordinary that will become the “standard”?
  • I think many Catholics would struggle to define the Mass–meal/banquet, sacrifice, memorial, unbloody reenactment of Last Supper and death of Christ?  Can you give us a short complete statement of what the Mass is?
  • The NO Sunday Mass in a typical parish involves many of the laity in the preparation, execution (poor word) and aftermath.  These participants have a sense of involvement–a feeling of being important to the Mass–that enforces their commitment to the parish and the Church at large.  Is that NOT a good thing?
  • You have written extensively about the feminization of the Church, including the Liturgy.  Why do you advocate an “all male liturgical ministry”?  What does the Holy See have to say about including (or excluding) females from ministries of lectore, server, and Eucharistic Minister?
  • The Groom-Bride analogy with Christ-Church presents a rich instruction for Marriage and for Liturgy, particularly with reference to the gender identity of participants and furnishings. Is there a risk in pointing out sexual analogies in the Liturgy?
  • The Sanctuary as womb is quite beautiful.  Please spend some time drawing that out, especially since we are only 8 weeks from the Solemnity of the Annunciation (and Incarnation) of Jesus.

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January 13, 2015 – “Sacred Liturgy and the Defense of Human Life” with Msgr. Barreiro

At least a dozen years ago, my friend Dr. Lorna Cvetkovich, MD, NFP-Only O/G, said this to me, “We will never have a Culture of Life if we don’t get the Liturgy right”.  At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about.  But, now I clearly see what she was saying, which can be stated in a number of ways, for example, “Our success at obeying the Second Great Commandment (which covers the Culture of Life-life, marriage and family issues) depends on our willingness to obey the First Great Commandment (where Liturgy predominates)”.  Liturgy-the Mass-matters. 
  Here’s another way: “The better we love, adore, honor and obey God (as required by the 1st Great Commandment), the easier it will be to love and care for our neighbor (2nd GC)”.
  “Sacred Liturgy and the Defense of Human Life” is the title of Msgr. Ignatio Barreiro’s Sacra Liturgia 2013 lecture, published by Ignatius Press in The Sacred Liturgy, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.  By education and practical experience, Msgr. Barreiro is superbly qualified to address this potentially touchy subject. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1987. From the beginning of his priestly ministry, Monsignor Barreiro was involved in the Pro-Life and Traditional Latin Mass apostolates. He received his licentiate and doctorate degree in Systematic Theology from the University of the Holy Cross, in Rome.  Since September 1998, Msgr. Barreiro has been the Executive Director of the Rome office of Human Life International.  Barreiro has published hundreds of articles on theological and life issues, and historical subjects in popular and scholarly publications.
  Here are some questions I hope Msgr Barreiro will answer for us:
  • How are the Sacred Liturgy and the Culture of Life intertwined?
  • In a very real sense, every Mass that is offered correctly is a beautiful Liturgy of infinite value. What are the requirements for great liturgy? And why is that important?
  • And what does “great” mean?  Does it mean reverting to the Traditional Latin Mass?  Or does it mean going part way back to the pre-Vatican Council II Mass?  
  • What conditions of art and architecture are important?  A contemporary problems is that the Blessed Sacrament is no longer reserved in a prominent place in our Churches. What can be done?
  • What can you tell us about the orientation of the celebrant during the celebration of the Mass?
  • Please compare the Novus Ordo Mass (the most common Mass in the US) to the traditional Latin/Tridentine Mass.  Is one better than the other? Pope Benedict took an unusual step in declaring that the Latin Mass must be made available to those who seek it.  Was he indicating his preference for the Latin Mass?
  • Did the VCII Fathers intend for the NO Mass to replace the Tridentine Mass?

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January 06, 2015 – Chinese Forced Abortions–An American Response: Reggie Littlejohn

Reggie Littlejohn has been on a mission to protect Chinese women and their pre-born children from persecution and death. Coming from Yale Law School and experience as a litigator in San Francisco, she founded Women’s Rights without Frontiers in 2008 to confront China’s horrid “one-child policy”.  In only 7 years she has taken her message to governments and media outlets all over the world with amazing results, but far from total victory.
Even though our name is “The Quest for a Culture of Life in AMERICA”, I realize that the Culture of Death must be confronted world-wide, and China is the location Reggie has focused on–praise the Lord.  I’ll ask her how the US culture influences other cultures, including China.  I suspect that the current administration is similar to the UN in promoting a culture of death world-wide–certainly not imposing sanctions or otherwise attempting to protect innocent life.
 As we always do, we’ll learn about her personal life, including her conversion from atheist to Christian and her experiences with Mother Teresa.  She and her husband have recently brought one or two Chinese girls into their family. I’m very interested to know more about that.
I have lots of questions:  Does China care about what other countries think about their human rights reputation?  Or, do other countries care about China’s unjust treatment of couples?  Will there ever be a revolution?  Is the unrest in Singapore likely to spread to mainland China?
My friend and former One More Soul team member, Nicole,  has  spent several weeks in China during the past 3 Summers teaching Theology of the Body.  That freedom and the great interest the Chinese people have in the Catholic faith surprised me.  I don’t read extensively about China, but I have the impression that this officially Communist (and thus atheist) country is both tolerant of Christianity and opposed to it.  Is this dichotomy explainable?     
Reggie played an important role in the rescue of blind Chinese lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng. I’ll ask her to  recap his story, including the part she played in his escape and flight to the USA and his current situation.

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