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.

February 02, 2016 – Pope Francis’ new book On the Family

On the Family is a collection of Pope Francis’ Wednesday General Audiences  on the family between 17 December 2014 and 16 September 2015.  Saint Pope John Paul II  similarly introduced the world to the Theology of the Body  over a much longer period.  In a way, the primary subject area is the same–the family–the mini-Church–the most basic community of society and Church.  The Culture of Life begins in families and these two popes recognize that many families are in deep trouble.  Both popes offer sound teaching for strengthening family life.
Usually, I invite the author of a book I want to feature to be on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America”, but in this case I didn’t even try.  Instead, I went to the publisher to find a worthy replacement in Mark Brumley, Chief Executive Officer for Ignatius Press. He also oversees the online magazines for Ignatius Press and wears several additional hats, including being a writer in his own right, with articles having appeared in a wide variety of publications. 
I really enjoyed reading On the Family.  Its 27 chapters in 121 pages are “bite-size” and make for easy reading because they are not deep theology, but really quite commonsensical–like a grandfather imparting a life-time of wisdom to his grandchildren.
I’d like to ask Mark a few questions:
  • How does Pope Francis make life in the 1st C Holy Family relevant to 21st C families that live in a radically different time and culture?
  • In a chapter titled “The Mother”, he mixes together our own earthly mothers, Mother Mary and the Church as Mother. How did he do that?
  • He quotes extensively from VCII ahd the idea of “maternal martyrdom”, which fits my belief that conscientious motherhood is a sure (almost) path to sainthood. How does Francis treat this mothers-are-saints mentality?
  • The pope has great concern for women and for their dignity and equality, referring particularly to the typical wage differential in comparison to male workers.  It is a touchy subject, it seems to me, because the allure of the work force encourages women/mothers to leave their vocation as mother and homemaker.  How did the Pope address this conflict of values/vocations?
  • This attraction to the material and social opportunities of the work place is certainly a temptation to limit family size by contraception (which then can lead to abortion). The vulcanization of rubber and  birth control pill technologies caused the birth rate to drop from 7 in 1800 to 2  in 1940, and then from about 5 in 1950 to 2 in 1970–where it has remained for 45 years.  Did Pope Francis address contraception and abortion, which Saint Pope John Paul II called “fruits of the same tree”?
  • He devotes two chapters to “The Father”.  Here again Francis links earth, Heaven and Nazareth by comparing our earthly fathers (their deficiencies and obligations) to God the Father/Creator, and Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.  What messages is the Pope gleaning from these comparisons?
  • Of course,  there is a “The Children” chapter (actually 3) that speaks of children as blessings, source of great joy, and their value to family, community and society.  He speaks here of the sad situation in most developed countries where children are unwelcome.  Here (as elsewhere) Pope Francis speaks of the need for parents to be “responsible” in having children, but then says “having many children cannot automatically be an irresponsible choice”.   In “elsewhere” (interviews, etc), the Pope has used language (“breeding like rabbits”) offensive to parents of large families, AND he has also praised large families when addressing their organizations.  Where is his heart on “family planning”?
  • On p 46, referring to “extraordinary parents” who are raising a child with difficulties, he says, “these parents should not be left alone! We should accompany them in their toil . . “.   I have the sense that this happens in families, parishes and neighborhoods.  Do you agree? Have a personal example?
  • On the Family is full of wisdom for all family members from children to grandparents.  Who needs this book?  How might it be used in the family or parish?

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January 26, 2016 – A Sign of Contradiction–Catholic Church on Contraception

Anthony (Tony) Digmann has been thinking about and wrestling with the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception since he was an 18 year-old HS student.   So when he had an opportunity to write a Thesis for his MA in Theology from Loras College,  “contraception” was the natural choice for a thesis subject.  Following graduation, Tony expanded and deepened his study to create a 300+ page 21st Century relook at contraception, family planning, natural family planning (NFP) and the Catholic view of same.  Sign of Contradiction (SOC) is the perfect title, and One More Soul is very pleased to be the publisher–  Tony now teaches Theology at  Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville Iowa.


Here are some of the Questions I hope to ask Tony:

  • SOC is a very thorough review of contraception, family planning, NFP and the Catholic Church’s position on these topics.  Why is it important to re-investigate these topics now–at the beginning of the 21st Century?
  • Why is  Sign of Contradiction such anappropriate title for your book?
  • You present a strong endorsement of NFP over contraception.  Please give our listeners a summarycomparison of these two approaches to family planning.
  • The satisfaction expressed by NFP-using couples is well documented in SOC and many other places, particularly in the publications of various NFP teaching organizations.  Given the many benefits of NFP over contraception, how do you explain the low NFP-use rates compared to contraception?
  • I am not aware of much having been written about couples that instead of using NFP,  just embrace whenever they feel God’s encouragement to do so.  Are you familiar with studies that compare these “providentialists” with users of NFP?  I have not seen such studies.
  • You are careful to point out that Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (HV)  stipulates that NFP use to prevent conception is limited to times when the couple have serious or just reasons for avoiding or postponing the blessings of a child.  What are those conditions?
  • You have a sense that support is growing for  the Church’s stand on contraception and  NFP because the 21st C American Catholic is different from earlier generations.  What is this difference and how significant is it??
  • My observation and the reports of many others suggest that contraception, NFP, family planning and associated Church teaching has rarely been the subject of homilies during the past 100 years.  Studies indicate that 70 to 90 % of Catholics do not agree with Church teaching.  Also, only about 6% of dioceses require a full NFP course in Marriage Preparation.   Why this break between the Magisterium and the diocese/parish?  What can be done to encourage the ordained to improve catechesis in this area?

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January 19, 2016 – How Father Fredy Angel is raising a multi-cultural community of Faith in the Deep South

Fredy Angel came to Savannah Georgia from Bogota Columbia as a missionary to Spanish-speaking people in 2001. Four years later he was ordained a priest and soon was pastoring three parishes in southern Georgia. To celebrate Mass and administer sacraments, Fr. Fredy drove more than 150 miles every weekend. His charismatic leadership of a multi-ethnicity congregation spurred rapid growth and he soon recognized the need for a large centralized church which is now under construction.
From the inner city to rural America, small parishes are struggling to remain viable and vital with aging parishioners, closed Catholic schools (due to small or absent families), and dwindling congregations.  What is Fr Angel doing to save and grow a parish?  Can his methods work in your parish, or parishes near you?
One approach that he has tried is bilingual masses. Fr. Fredy also functions as a founding member of the Hispanic Ministry Council, which acts as a voice for the region’s Latinos.  Here a few of the questions I want to ask him:


  • You are in the process of transforming three Georgia missionary parishes into a vibrant community of Faith. Please tell our listeners how you came to this task and how is it going?
  • Your South Georgia Parish is a mixture of Hispanic-, Caucasian-, African-, and Asian-Americans. How are you melding them into a team/family for Jesus?
  • What is the Hispanic Ministry Council?
  • How important is great Liturgy? How do you do a bi-lingual Mass?
  • You are praised for your teaching. How do you teach the Faith?




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January 12, 2016 – What’s Trending in Adult Catechesis?

When I was young, Religious Education consisted primarily in educating Catholic youth in the Catholic School or CCD after school programs.  I don’t recall much being available labeled as “Adult Formation”, or similar, with the possible exception of a visiting missionary priest doing a “Parish Mission” once per year.


But life is different now, both in and out of the Catholic church.  Only 25% of adult Catholics attend Mass on the weekend.  Parents are less likely to send their children to a Catholic school or parish CCD (or equivalent) program.  Active adult Catholics are less likely to have received solid instruction in their faith, and their is a huge hunger for knowledge about all aspects of religion, especially considering the incredible expanse of what now constitutes all-things-Catholic.


Our Guest on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America” will be Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo.  Deacon Sabatino graduated from Christendom College in 2004 and completed a Masters degree in Systematic Theology with an Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma from Christendom’s Notre Dame Graduate School. In 2009, Deacon Sabatino founded the Institute of Catholic Culture, a non-profit Catholic adult faith formation organization dedicated to the Church’s call for a new evangelization, and has since served as its Executive Director. Ordained to the diaconate in 2011, he also serves as the Director of Faith Formation for the Greek Catholic Diocese of Newton, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Linda, have five children and live in Front Royal, Virginia.


The Institute of Catholic Culture organizes presentations on various Catholic topics presented by mostly priests and bishops at parishes of the Diocese of Arlington VA, and often accompanied by a meal.  These presentations are live-streamed for free viewing and archived for viewing at any time–also FREE.  And the presenters are well known to many Catholics.  Deacon Sabatino is ICC’s most prolific presenter.  I wonder how this all works?  How it is funded when everything is FREE? How does he get recognized Catholic authors and speakers like Prof Alice von Hildebrand, Bishop Robert Morlino, Msgr Charles Pope, and Fathers Schenck, Scalia, and others) to do these presentations?


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January 05, 2016 – Liturgy and Culture–What is the Connection?

Today we will continue our Quest for a Culture of Life by continuing our teaching on what is good Liturgy and why good Liturgy is necessary for a Culture of Life.   
Some may ask, “What does God have to do with a Culture of Life?” Of course, God is the creator of all things and especially the great gift of LIFE.  In return, God expects us to love, honor and obey Him, as He stated in the FIRST GREAT COMMANDMENT.  And we do that in the most intimate way by our full and vigorous participation in the Mass–the Liturgy–the Eucharist.  The premise is that we will do the Second Great Commandment (Culture) well in proportion to how well we “do” the First Great Commandment.  
If the “culture” is an indication of how well we do the 2nd GC–and I think it is–then we aren’t doing very well at either.  I say that because of the persistent attacks on life, family, the Church, our neighborhoods, and the acceptance of the intrinsic evils of contraception, abortion, ss “marriage”, Physician Assisted Suicide, empty churches, closed Catholic schools, etc, etc.

Our Guest today is Father Uwe Michael Lang.  He joins us from London England, where he is a priest of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. He has his PhD in Theology, and speaks and writes extensively on the LIturgy. Among his publications are Turning Towards the Lord, The Voice of the Church at Prayer, and Signs of the Holy One, which shows that Catholic liturgy includes gesture, music, art, and architecture as aspects of the non-verbal language of the sacred and are what make the liturgy beautiful. All are published by Ignatius Press.

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December 29, 2015 – Our Lady of America is finally “free” to help us do the work she requested of us 60 years ago

On 18 December 2015, the 7th Circuit Federal Appeals Court released its agreement with the 2014 jury decision that found devotional and educational materials associated with Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin, to be in the public domain and not subject to Patricia Fuller’s copyright claim.  This decision “frees” the bishops to honor Mary’s third (last ungranted) request–that her statue be carried in solemn procession into the National Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in WDC and be permanently displayed there.
This is a GREAT DAY for America and the Catholic Church.  Our Guest will be Mr Kevin McCarthy, JD, STL, who with Mr Al Langsenkamp, were “plaintiffs” in the cases.
This new found “freedom” raises many questions that I pray Kevin will be able to answer for us:
  • Please tell us the story of OLoA’s apparitions/locutions to Precious Blood Sister Mary Mildred Ephrem from roughly 1938 until her death in 2000 near Fostoria Ohio.   What did she ask Sr Mildred to do?
  • Why did the Blessed Mother come to America to specifically encourage purity? What manifestations of impurity were evident in the culture?
  • What was Sister’s relationship with Father/Archbishop Paul Leibold?  Why didn’t the US bishops process OLoA’s statue into the Basilica Shrine of the IC , as she requested?
  • OLoA’s 1956 locutions indicate impatience and frustration. Is OLoA’s promise of huge miracles/graces for America still available after 60 years of failure to act?
  • Might so many of our national tragedies have been prevented had the bishops done what Our Lady requested?
  • Where can our listeners learn more about OLoA and Sister Mildred?
  • What part does Patricia Fuller (former Precious Blood Sister) play in the OLoA story?  What is her present status?
  • How did your relationship with Patricia Fuller originate and then deteriorate to legal action in Federal Court? With what outcome?
  • What do you want to see happen ASAP?  What reasons do you have for expecting the “procession” to take place?  When?
  • What can listeners do?

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December 22, 2015 – How does the economy impact the culture of life?

Our Guest on the “Quest for a Culture of Life in America” is John Horvat II, a Catholic economist, scholar, international speaker, and author of the book, Return to Order. His writings have appeared worldwide including in The Wall Street JournalThe Christian PostAmerican Thinker,TheBlazeCrisisFOX News, and The Washington Times, as well as other publications and websites. He gives more than 150 radio and TV interviews annually. 
For almost three decades he has been researching and writing about what’s gone wrong with America’s culture and economy, an effort that culminated in the ground-breaking release of his award-winning book Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society–Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go.

Mr. Horvat is vice president and a member of the board of directors for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and a member of the Association of Christian Economists.

John claims that our economy is in crisis  and  desperately needs to be refocused on Christian moral values.  The “economy” is a part of our culture that we all deal with many times a day, so how we treat those exchanges is very important. Return to Order explains how and why in great detail.  John’s 50 minutes with us will be a great introduction to this fascinating subject.  

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December 15, 2015 – As California goes, so goes the country

Have you too heard it said that California leads the country (and the world, especially in entertainment)?  This saying is often used in reference to some not so great ideas.  But it is also true that many really good ideas are hatched in California–like high tech information technology from Silicon Valley, for example.
Catholic Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law California’s first Physician Assisted Suicide law following its northern neighbor states of Oregon and Washington.  Another recently passed law requires pregnancy support centers to have a prominently displayed sign with directions for getting a free abortion.  That is like requiring all Honda dealers to post directions to the nearest Toyota dealer.  One can conclude that the California state legislature has a hyperactive gland somewhere.  Why is that?
Our Guest on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America” today is Alexandra Snyder, Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation in Napa CA. The mission of Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) is “to give innocent and helpless human beings of any age, particularly children in the womb, a trained and committed defense against the threat of death, and to support their advocates in the nation’s courtrooms. Life Legal will accomplish its mission through the law and education.”  LLDF’s free legal services are provided in California AND many other states.  They are great!  Alexandra will be updating us on LLDF’s involvement with David Daleiden and his video exposure of PP selling aborted baby organs case and a Pro-Life Mississippi effort to close the only abortion mill in Mississippi.  Great stuff!! 
Alexandra has a background in public policy, having served as Legislative Counsel to a California Member of Congress in both Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA. In that capacity, she handled a wide array of legislative and policy matters, including pro-life issues, bioethics, and the protection of human rights.  She has extensive pro-life experience working with women in pregnancy support centers.

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December 08, 2015 – Is Mary the most powerful woman in the world? On the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception

Today we celebrate Mary the Mother of God by what may be her second most common title–The Immaculate Conception!
Our Guest on Radio Maria’s “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America” will be Michael O’Neill, the “Miracle Hunter”
[]  .  He has cataloged over 2000 claimed Marian apparitions going back to her physical appearance to St James in AD 40.  Michael’s research and Mariology expertise is an important part of the December 2015 National Geographic cover article, “The Virgin Mary: The World’s Most Powerful Woman”, available at  .
Michael’s interest in Mary, especially as Our Lady of Guadalupe, began with his mother and was reignited by a term paper requirement at Stanford where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Some questions for Michael:
  • Why, how did you undertake this enormous task of identifying and qualifying all Marian apparitions?
  • How did you get involved with National Geographic and the author Maureen Orth?
  • What is the approval level for Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin, to Sister Mary Mildred Ephrem in Indiana and Ohio?
  • Will the Vatican soon approve of the Medjugore apparitions?
  • At times, Mary has voiced her frustration with the poor/slow response to her messages and warnings.  I think she is frustrated.  How common is this warning of impending disaster?  And, can you give examples of God’s wrath that appear to be a consequence of our failure to respond to Mary’s warnings?
Mary wants us to be pure and holy which are virtues necessary to a Culture of Life.  She is very powerful, but cannot control God if we don’t heed her messages calling for reparation and the practice of the virtues of purity, chastity, and obedience to God’s law.

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December 01, 2015 – Making Life w/o Making Love: Why Not

Our topic today on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America” is the flip side of Contraception—> Making Love w/o Making Life.  Since God intended Love & Life to be together, separation in either direction must be wrong.  But isn’t new life always a good?  And shouldn’t couples who struggle with infertility be given every opportunity to have a family? Is the Catholic Church just being mean or UN-pastoral by condemning Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART)??
Christopher White is the Director of research and Education at the Center for Bioethics and Culture and Director of its Paul Ramsey Institute. He is a Catholic ethicist, philosopher and writer.  He will be our Guest today and tackle the above questions and many more–like:
  • Egg Donation: Why Not?   Who are the victims?
  • Sperm Donation: Why Not?  ”     ”   ”       “
  • Uterus Donation: Why Not?    ”      ”        “
  • You are widely published.  What do you write about? Where available?
  • How would you council a pastor or family member in seeking to discourage a couple from using ARTs?

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