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 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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December 22, 2014 – Meet the other “Dr. Phill” — Dr. Philip Mango, Catholic Psychotherapist

Dr Philip Mango, PhD, and friends started the Saint Michael Institute almost 30 years ago to integrate Catholicism with psychiatry and psychology, and provide mental health services from that perspective.  He provides psychotherapy for depression, anger management, sexual trauma and anxiety at his Staten Island office and by phone and Skype.  He also does seminars on masculinity (“The Male Heart”), femininity (“The Female Heart”) and “Healing Painful Marriages”.
I have many questions for Dr Philip.  Here are a few:
  • What is unique about Catholic Psychotherapy?
  • What male and female characteristics make for stable and joyful marriages?
  • What factors are most common predictors of divorce? 
  • You have given a series of talks on marriage with titles that end with — Science and Faith. How are Science and Faith connected in the mental health field?  In marriage?
  • Please give us examples of sexual dysfunctions that are common in today’s society. Are they treatable?
I would like to hear about some case studies to give us practical examples of successful mental health treatment.
May your Christmas be “Christ-like” and joy-filled.

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December 16, 2014 – “Falling in Love” biology by Vicky Thorn

Vicki Thorn is well known and highly respected for the 1984 start-up of Project Rachael, a ministry to women who have had an abortion. Project Rachael is now an official ministry of the USCCB and has active programs in over 140 of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the USA.

Vicki is also an authority and popular speaker on the Biology of the Theology of the Body–the biology and science of “falling in love” and the differences between men and women. Vicki gives a lot of credit to pheromones–whatever they are–she’ll explain that.

Over 40% of children born today do not have a Dad that is married to their mother. Consequently, most single adult families are headed by mothers. I hope that Vicki can enlighten us to the reasons for this unfortunate situation and teach us about the male hormone system that is somewhat similar to the female system. The male response to pregnancy, birth and subsequent parenting is also very interesting.

And, we want to give approximately equal treatment to the female body’s response system and how hormonal birth control may affect her attraction mechanism. Our last three popes have each had something to say about women. Pope Saint John Paul II even wrote a lengthy APOSTOLIC LETTER, MULIERIS DIGNITATEM, ON THE DIGNITY AND VOCATION OF WOMEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE MARIAN YEAR(1988). What is this “feminine genius” that the pope speaks of?

About a month after the Extraordinary Synod, the Vatican hosted a conference on male-female complimentarity. I hope Vicki can tell us what fruits to expect from it.

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December 09, 2014 – Bishop James Conley on Liturgy, Synods and the Diocese of Lincoln

Two weeks ago, Archbishop of Louisville Joseph Kurtz told us about his Extraordinary Synod on the Family experience. As President of the USCCB, he led the delegation representing US Catholics. Approximately a month earlier, we talked with Jeff and Alice Heinzen, who participated in the Synod as Auditors.   
It is always an honor for us to have the attention of a bishop, and so we are very grateful to have Bishop James Conley of Lincoln Nebraska as our Guest.  Just two years into his position in Lincoln, he is proving to be a courageous shepherd as were his immediate predecessors, Bishop Glennon P. Flavin and Bishop Emeritus Fabian W. Bruskewitz.  On March 25th (Solemnity of the Annunciation and Incarnation of Jesus), Bishop Conley issued his Pastoral Letter, The Language of Love–on contraception.  He freely admits it is a current version of Bishop Flavin’s 1991, IN OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST: A Pastoral Letter To Catholic Couples and Physicians on the Issue of Contraception.  Both bishops are recognizing contraception as the root cause of many (or even most) of the pastoral challenges in the Church and problems in society.
Bishop Conley has also taken a courageous liturgical step by indicating that all Advent Masses in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ will be celebrated ad orientum–with the priest facing Liturgical East–toward the Risen Son.  See the article posted at
I will be asking him about the Diocese of Lincoln, in particular what are the fruits of having very solid shepherds leading the flock.  What are his plans for the future, and how will the Synods impact the Diocese of Lincoln?
Bishop Conley recently became the Episcopal Advisor to the Catholic Medical Assn. What does he expect the future CMA to look like?

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December 02, 2014 – Motherhood–Part II—The certain (almost) path to sainthood

Two weeks ago we interviewed two examples of mothers on the way to sainthood by virtue of their acceptance of all the children God was willing to send them–Darlene (12) and Kimberly (7).  Both of these mothers are married to men who are healthy, hard-working and have good jobs.  The response from a couple listeners suggested that such “supernatural” (or God) planned families were only possible (or responsible) for those couples who had good (secure and at least adequate) finances.
In this week’s program, Joe and Christine tell their life story that begins with the belief,  “that being open to life was healthy and that God would help us feed, clothe and provide for as many children as we received. This agreement/commitment from the beginning of our marriage removed a ton of fear, doubt, over thinking, and stress from our life. Our mission was to grow a healthy family.” 
And grow they did–to 10 children–and still growing with number 11 miraculously en-route to 50 year-old Christine and unemployed, disabled and seriously ill Joe. This is how God treats a family that left a secure and comfortable career in law enforcement to operate and live in a missionary facility committed to feeding and caring for the poor!?
Are they angry with God? Do they wish they had not trusted God?  Should they have been more prudent and “responsible” in planning their family? Did they consider whether there might be serious reasons for resorting to Natural Family Planning? How are they surviving having lost their income, health insurance, food and lodging (both were provided by the mission)?
I hope you will listen to Joe and Christine’s story.  It is truly a Christmas story of tragedy and trust, generosity and faithfulness.  

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