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.

September 1, 2015 – Bai Macfarlane – Support for Abandoned No-Fault Divorcees

Human Life International and the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation are co-sponsoring The Two Shall Become One symposium on marriage in Rome on September 26th. Bai Macfarlane will be speaking asking the Church to apply its own Canon Law to those whose marriage is on the brink of separation or divorce. To leave marriage for a reason that is not morally legitimate is abandonment. According to Canon Law, Catholics are not supposed to file for divorce without Church intervention first.

Bai Macfarlane is founder and president of Mary’s Advocates, an apostolate that supports those who remain faithful to marriage after separation and divorce. She will be sharing with us what the Church says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Canon Law about separated and divorced Catholics but does not necessarily follow in practice. All the papers presented at the Symposium will be sent by HLI Rome to the delegates to the October Bishops’ Ordinary Synod on the Family.

The long-term effects of no-fault divorce on families, and especially children, are well documented. Bai raises serious questions about the very high rate of annulments granted in the United States and whether the Church and society are being well served by this practice. The Synods propose to streamline and make easier the application and granting of annulments. Maybe they should be doing the opposite!?


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August 25, 2015 – Fr Joseph Fessio on Robert Cardinal Sarah

You may know Fr Joseph Fessio as President of Ignatius Press and a past Guest on the Quest talking about the Sacred Liturgy, but do you know who Cardinal Robert Sarah is?

In November 2014, Pope Francis named Cardinal Sarah to be Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the second African to have the Vatican’s top liturgical post. When Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Sarah to be the Church’s chief liturgist, Sarah asked: ‘Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?’ The Holy Father’s reply was clear. ‘I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council,’ he said, ‘and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.’ Because the Liturgy is the Source and Summit of our Faith, the Liturgy is of great importance and Cardinal Sarah needs to be recognized as very important to the future of the Church.

Both Pope Benedict and Cardinal Sarah have indicated strong support for the priest facing Liturgical East during parts of the Mass. So what will Cardinal Sarah do? We can get some ideas about this from God or Nothing, a recent book about Cardinal Sarah published by Ignatius Press. That explains why Fr Fessio will be our Guest on Tuesday August 25th at Noon ET.

God or Nothing is essentially the autobiography of a a poor African (Guinea) boy who wanted to be a priest and lead his people away from the Government’s Marxist ideology to the Catholic Church with its love for the poor. His life demonstrates a great love for God and the Church of Jesus Christ as well as great courage and faith in God. He is being suggested as a possible future pope, so we should all get to know him.


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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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