In the past few editorials, following this exhaustingly long presidential election contest, we have been talking about ironies. Today, on this glorious and meaningful Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we want to treat Godincidences and the excellent efforts of some outstanding Catholics in the neverending battle against the culture of death. We have received many e-mails and correspondence with others and would like to cite several who have truly answered God's call to defend His little ones.
I might add that many of these crusaders were also selected by our readers last year as worthy of being included in our very popular TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY.
Highest on that list was, of course, His Holiness Pope John Paul II who has set the compass and laid out the coordinates in definitive detail for all Catholics to follow as crew members on the mighty Barque of Peter. In his Encyclicals, Apostolic Letters, Exhortations, Papal Bulls, Homilies, Papal Audiences and Angelus Addresses and his extensive travels the Holy Father has constantly, clearly and firmly, but lovingly and patiently hammered home the sacredness of life in all its stages.
Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN and seventh on the list of 100, has dedicated her 24-hour Roman Catholic programming to the Sanctity of Life, especially during these last several months. I can guarantee you that every regular loyal daily viewer of EWTN voted for life on November 7th. But EWTN seemed to be, other than a select number of bishops who consistently stand strong and a few others who came forward towards the 11th hour of the election, the lone voice of the Church in America to truly speak out clearly. As we documented in our November 10th editorial, only a small percentage of the bishops had the fortitude to state the Church's uncompromising position on their respective diocesan websites. Fewer still clearly informed their pastors to instruct their flocks as to the Church's unyielding stance on abortion and candidates who promote abortion or, for that matter, which was of imminent importance for the welfare of their souls, that to vote for a pro-abort candidate was a sin. The final statistics reveal that half of the Catholic voters did vote for a pro-abort candidate. There is much work yet to be done to educate Catholics on their Faith!
Yet, we can wait for another editorial to pinpoint some of the problems. Today, we want to focus on the positives and give proper kudos to those who did carry out this charge. Father Frank Pavone, (31st on the list of the Top 100 and a regular on EWTN) comes to mind immediately. Tirelessly he crusaded around the clock with all the fervor and dedication he could as founder and head of Priests for Life. In truth, he has campaigned more vigorously than George W. Bush and Al Gore combined in getting the word out that we must protect the unborn and uphold the Sanctity of Life in all its stages. He and his organization took out full page ads in major newspapers across the country prior to the election. To name all those priests and lay-leaders on EWTN who followed suit in trumpeting the clarion for life would basically be another page and become, basically, the television schedule of EWTN's programming from Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. (28th on the list) to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (26th on the list of Top 100) of Lincoln, Nebraska, including the dedicated order of priests at EWTN and the 4th person chosen as the most influential Catholic of the 20th Century - the departed, great Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen The list goes on and on.
In addition, we have that dauntless web crusader for the Catholic cause Bud McFarland, Jr. (50th on the list), who has done yeoman work in upholding the Sanctity of Life by not only promoting prayer and participation on his excellent CatholiCity website but undertaking the physical journey as well by traveling from Ohio to Tallahassee where he prayed outside the Florida Supreme Court. There he carried with him a relic of the True Cross - as he put it, "to bring the True Cross into the lion's den during the historic Presidential Certification." Accompanied by fellow crusader Doug Lyons, Bud prayed the Rosary outside the Court House, then attended evening Mass at the Cathedral of the Diocese of Tallahassee. Godincidentally, the name of the cathedral: Saint Thomas More - recently decreed by the Holy Father two days before the presidential election in the US - as the "Patron Saint of Politicians." From there they headed east to Saint Augustine to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche which Bud identified as "the cradle of Catholicism in the United States." There they again prayed and then headed north to Washington, D.C. where they ended up at the great Colosseum of the Courts - the United States Supreme Court. Let me share with you what Bud and Doug discovered as they walked around the massive pillars, "Our plan was to place a medal of Our Lady of America on the building itself just two days before the pivotal oral arguments. On one of the pillars, we found a Miraculous Medal! A few seconds later, as I reached my fingers underneath a carved indentation to tuck in this medal and our own medal, I found a medal and chaplet of Saint Therese, the Little Flower! Cool!" As we can see, others had the same intentions as Bud and because of this we hold out eternal optimism that God's ordaining Will shall win out. He continued praying the Rosary, encircling the entire building praying for each Supreme Court Justice that they would be guided by the Holy Spirit in determining this most important decision.
Speaking of Rosaries, as we indicated in our editorial
Just like Lepanto, the victory can be ours if we want it badly enough! in early October and brought her special Rosary Crusade to your intention in our commentary
Prayer! It' our only weapon! Let's use it! in mid-to-late November, the "LEPANTO ROSARY CRUSADE 2000" has mushroomed as more and more add their prayers and Hail Mary's to the list. This grass-roots campaign, spearheaded by Toni Whittaker and her family, has multiplied in pledges much like the loaves and fishes through loving hearts and those who seek to fulfill the Divine Will. At last response, the pledge count is now up to 275,000 Rosaries pledged and growing daily! That's fourteen million, five-hundred and seventy-five thousand Hail Marys! One million, six-hundred and fifty thousand Our Fathers, Glory Bes and the Fatima Prayers; not to mention 275,000 Apostle Creeds and Salve Reginas! Do you think Heaven won't hear those powerful prayers?! As we have said so many times, God answers all prayer and it is through these prayers that much of His Just Punishment has been mitigated. It is also called Divine Mercy.
Though it can be difficult amidst all the media spin and legal wrangling going on, Heaven's hand is indeed at work here. First of all, with the Florida Supreme Court decision due today December 8th, it would be most appropriate that Gore, by all decent standards, concede. The power of the feasts are evident here. The United States of America is consecrated to the Immaculate Conception.
In addition, the day electoral voters must be in place is December 12th. We all know that is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is also known as Our Lady of the Americas and of the Unborn. It is the 469th anniversary of when the Virgin Mary appeared to the humble peasant Blessed Juan Diego asking him to spread the word that God desired all human sacrifice be stopped. Is this not a Godincidence that more electoral votes will line up for what Our Lady asked and continues to ask in abolishing abortion against the culture of death? Remember that the period in time when she appeared in 1531 on Tepeyac Hill in Guadalupe, Mexico just outside of Mexico City, millions were defecting from the Church in the Old World while millions would be converting to the Faith in the New World. The balance of power and Faith was being shifted; so also in this 2000 election for the highest office of the most powerful and influential nation in the world. The Clintonesque culture of death, to which he has been largely identified as his legacy over these past eight years, will now prayerfully swing to the Bush platform for the culture of life, with the first docket being to sign the Partial Birth Abortion Ban which he has pledged to do.
Bud points out some other very interesting Godincidences regarding this election. Did you realize that prior to Vatican II, December 18th was the Feast of the Expectation of Our Lady? This feast celebrated the Mother of God joyfully anticipating the birth of the Savior as she and Joseph readied to travel to Bethlehem to fulfill their duty as required by the Roman Census. December 18th there will be great expectation for that is the day the electoral votes are cast by the chosen electoral voters selected by their states. Presently Mr. Bush has 29 states, Mr. Gore 20. With Florida it is 30-20 and one more than the necessary 270 votes to be officially elected President of the United States. Many say the United States is a democracy. In actuality, we are a Constitutional Republic and therefore the electoral college should never be abandoned as such radicals as Hillary Clinton have called for.
Probably the most interesting Godincidence Bud brought up is the fact that the number of days between the national election on November 7th to December 18th is 52 days. What makes that significant is its relationship to Nehemias/2 Esdras 6: 15, in which God fulfilled His promise to restore Jerusalem by rebuilding the sacred wall, a feat accomplished in 52 days: "But the wall was finished the five and twentieth day of the month of Elul, in two and fifty days. And it came to pass when all our enemies heard of it, that all nations which were round about us, were afraid, and were cast down within themselves, for they perceived that this was the work of God." It's interesting to note here that in the Jewish Calendar, Elul was the month of December, the 25th of December is a special day to all but the Jews. Why? Don't they realize the coorelation of the completion of the wall on that day with the completion of the promise by the Messiah? Nehemias is proof in black and white. And it is proof in black and white that all - include here the Democrats and Al Gore as well as the Republicans and George W. Bush - should perceive that, through the countless prayers and petitions for the Sanctity of Life by God's loyal faithful, the outcome of this election for Bush should be "perceived that this was the work of God." As Bud chimes in about all these Godincidences, "I can't help but think that old sparky [the devil] just plain picked the wrong month this time around." While we agree, we can't underestimate satan's power. Never forget who he is and continue to pray because lucifer will not go quietly, he will not go away easily, he will go down kicking and screaming. That you can count on.
But you can also count on man's ultimate victory over him by the merits of the Son of God. We just need to stay the course and allow God to work through us, in us and for us. Now we pray that, though no finalization has been certified yet, it will be left to Mr. Bush to carry out God's charge in bringing his enemies together - Democrats and disenfranchised Republicans so all can work for the good of the country and get over Gore's desperation attempts to steal the election in the courts and over the dimpled chad controversy. And speaking of Chad, there actually was a Saint Chad and his vocation and situation actually paralleled the virtues we seek in our leaders today. Born in England during the pontificate of Pope Boniface V in 620, Chad became a Benedictine Abbot in northern England. Before the Popes insisted on investiture, the monarchs appointed bishops. Therefore the king of Northumbria King Oswiu had appointed one man bishop but when he failed to show up for his consecration, Oswiu turned to Chad and asked him to become Bishop of York. Obediently he complied. However when the one originally appointed finally showed up - his name being Wilfrid, he demanded Chad vacate his office and hand it over to him, even going through the Archbishop of Canterbury who sided with Wilfrid and asked Chad to vacate the see. Rather than taking it to court, than looking out for his own interests, he humbly obeyed , stating he was not worthy to hold such an exalted position in the first place and would always be obedient. The Archbishop, impressed by this humility, kept him a bishop and transferred him to the Diocese of Mercia in Lichfield, England. There he founded numerous monasteries and constructed a cathedral, gaining a great reputation as an apostolic preacher. Wilfrid, on the other hand, proved to be a cad and was eventually removed from his bishopric for scandal. Though later in life he repented and was reinstated. St. Chad, on the other hand continued to grow in holiness and it was his service to others that stood out. During his travels to tend to his flocks he contracted the plague and, at the relatively young age of 52 he died in 672. There were many accounts of miracles of healing after his death from mixing the dust of his relics with water. Because of this his bones were distributed far and wide and some are now resting in the Cathedral named after him in Birmingham, England.
The Benedictines celebrated his feast on March 2nd with the Opening Prayer for the Mass in his honor being, "Almighty God, Whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and keep us ready at all times to step aside for others for Your honor and glory." Bud provides another prayer to St. Chad as well: "Dear Saint Chad, intercede on behalf of the controversial election in the United States. Please secure from the Sacred Heart of Jesus the grace needed for the candidate who God desires to concede to do so with grace and dignity. Amen."
We would hope and pray both Gore and Bush read these prayers and understand them. We pray that both seek to emulate the ideals and virtues of St. Chad, and we would hope and pray both would follow the advice of the first man elected President of these United States of America, George Washington who left, for all who would follow him in office, the following wise advice: "Labor to keep alive in your heart that little spark of celestial fire called conscience." That is the key ingredient that must comprise the man who should be the 43rd president. We sincerely believe that man is George W. Bush. As we have said so many times, while inundated hourly with the politically correct mantra "it's the will of the people," they've got it all wrong! Just as the political correct police confuse Luke 2: 14 with "peace on earth, good will to men" instead of what Divine Revelation actually intends with "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will," so also it is in the disposition of the person that they fail to perceive. Therefore, the real issue here, the real purpose is not majority rule but essentially the necessity of fulfilling the Will of God for His people!