January 23, 2009
Here is an important statement from Padre Pio, which I am quoting in the abortion chapter of my forthcoming book Padre Pio and Children, and which I feel compelled to preview now because of the pressing events of the day.
"My sons, the world is catching fire! Fight with all your strength against divorce and abortion." Padre Pio said this sorrowfully to the regional delegate of Catholic doctors of Umbria in 1968, the year of his death (The Voice of Padre Pio, No. 4 1987, p.10)
Padre Pio's words and prophetic awareness of the conflagration to come -- "fight with all your strength..." -- and his heaven-sent ability to detect the heartbeat of the world's troubles, to this day proves his greatness in the Catholic firmament.
Apropos of this, here is another fine piece by Frank Rega, "Why They Fear Christmas," linked in The Remnant. frankrega.com/Christmas.htm Frank Rega's article is a must-read!
It seems as though the strategies in the report Frank calls attention to, were present at yesterday's March for Life in Washington, D.C., which I watched on EWTN. Teresa Tomeo, covering the March in the street, guessed there were about 200,000 people--they just kept coming in a thick wave as far as the eye could see. Yet, none of it was reported on ABC and CBS (I couldn't check NBC) in their World News. Neither did our New York City WABC Flagship station, Channel 7, mention it. It was not even reported on the ABC- or CBS-TV websites. A search on CNN's website produced a paragraph and some pictures--but I had to search for it.
I felt so much admiration for those who came out and marched. I saw their faces--the faces of souls who grasp the unspeakable horror of killing babies and are trying to show the world that Roe v. Wade is NOT a fait accompli. Our horror still hangs in the air. Pro-lifers are not finished with the battle, nor will they ever be until.......And we know the answer to that! I had a faint hope that SOMETHING would be said, even if just a 10-second mention. And when not even that was given in deference to a massive march that represented a great portion of the population, I could sense their arrogance and felt a sort of calm but deep outrage.
It just never happened, as far as the news broadcasters are concerned.
Do we realize that this is a LOCKOUT of a huge Christian movement? It is virtual censorship, and also a distortion of the news--by not reporting the event. To them--Pro-lifers are just pesky dead flies to be swept off the table. A bunch of quacks to be ignored. But in truth, the media are too aware of our groundswell! They fear the movement as they fear Christmas. Huge news organizations ignoring such a march-- which certainly needed security and planning in D.C.!!! --is a strategy. Does this not reveal the attempt to shape and wield our consciousness by the liberal media?
You can be sure if it had been a Pro-Choice March, the media coverage would have been vast and conspicuous!
However, Google News for 1/22/09 had a list of newspaper articles on the event, chosen from some 1,116 in total, they say, Associated Press among them. Here is what First Things Online had to say today, January 23, 2009.
"The crowds were huge...I can think of no other protest that gathers such a diverse crowd of people. From families with children, to clergy in cassocks, from women who experienced the evil of abortion first-hand, to atheists who realized with reason alone that the innocent are being killed, the spectrum of stories was wide and impressive. I was surpried--but probably shouldn't have been--by how few television camera crews I saw throughout the day. I didn't find much on the internet this morning either. CBS, NBC, ABC and the New York Times all appear to be silent about the event. If more than one hundred thousand people marching on Washington isn't enough to elicit even a headline, you wonder what is.
The Washington Post covered the story, and their website has a nice slideshow of pictures from the day. GetReligion has a nice roundup of the media's coverage of the march."
Here's a report from the Philadelphia Bulletin, to give you an idea of the day not reported on the major networks. thebulletin.us/articles/2009/01/23/top_stories/doc497975d96bac9331623411.txt
And here is the first paragraph of the editorial from my local Diocesan newspaper, The Brooklyn Tablet. They, too, noticed!
"Last Thursday, Jan.22, over 200,000 people once again braved the cold to participate in the annual 'March for Life' in Washington. Unless you stayed tuned to Christian news outlets, you may never have known that it happened, for it remains, as in years past, largely unreported in the secular media. A large number of the participants are young people whose wisdom, zeal and vision are truly encouraging for the future of our country. And by no means is this an exclusively 'Catholic' event in the narrow sense of the world. The struggle to overcome the human rights tragedy of our time is a humanitarian, not just a religious, cause. Thank God so many young people are coming to this awareness..." thetablet.org/01312009/editorials.html
Is there anything we can do? How free are the TV blokes to not report such heavyweight news to the people--on the people's airwaves?
I think Padre Pio devotees should organize as best they can and let him lead the way--and the first step is to offer a prayer every day for his intentions. He knew what was coming, and with his formation of the prayer groups he showed us the way to begin to combat that force. But another way....is for all of us to email (or write in advance) the networks as well as our local TV stations, that we expect to see coverage of The March for Life in Washington.
As I said previously, the first step is prayer! Of course prayer! Prayer first and foremost. Prayer always! it is the wind in our sails, the jetstream for our hope and our intentions. But as a former public relations person, I can tell you that in our age we do want (if not need) the media, as well. The Church knows this--Pope John Paul II knew well how to engage the media, knowing how important it was in reaching the world. The Vatican and Pope Benedict know it; they have just gone onto YOUTUBE--to reach the most souls possible with the joyous message of Christianity.
"Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation." Mark 16:15
No one prayed more than our beloved Padre Pio--all day long, all through the night. Even while hearing confessions the Rosary beads were in his hands. But also, in postwar Italy, when Communism was threatening to win over southern Italy, Padre Pio made it known to his disciples and spiritual children that they should vote for the Christian Democrats, and when he was driven to the polls, his car was surrounded and pursued by people, cameramen and journalists. Of course the media grabbed hold of this. It was quite a scene, a rally, one might say, and word spread; and instead of a Communist takeover of the south, the Christian Democrats won the election of delegates to the Italian Assembly. The Communists blamed Padre Pio for their loss, and Padre Pio was actually attributed with winning the election for the Christian Democrats.
We are in a war between good and evil; abortion is a colossal evil, requiring many brigades to combat it. The brigade of prayer, the brigade of personal evangelizing, and the brigade of action. TV is mostly a wasteland, but to ignore the news media with its still powerful sway over many millions, is simply to put one's head in the sand; to ignore the media is the same as a General about to face a great battle and not bothering to determine where the enemy is and what they're up to. Then what are all these passionately caring people of March for Life and other pro-life organizations marching for? To please themselves? They are trying to reach millions of hearts and minds (as the media can) of those who are still in the dark, who are still lost in the labyrinth of deceptive arguments and reasoning that abortion is a woman's right.
Pro-life organizations are trying to be heard by the world. They are compassionate humanity gathering and giving witness, and revealing their private lives and mistakes to touch the hearts of the rest of the world numbed by Roe v. Wade. They are trying to stop the madness. They are trying to save babies! And to do it WIDELY, they seek the news media. But their voices are not heard because most of the media do not want them to be heard. They are cutting Pro-life out of the mainstream, and conveying a world without Christianity, which all seems very natural to people who are not aware of "what's missing from this picture?"
The Pro-life organizations won't give up, however--they'll grow until their presence is so huge that, like the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, it can't be ignored any longer.
And so I stay plugged-in selectively and watch how certain stories are omitted by the mediamen.
At Saturday's Walk for Life in San Francisco, Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, Mother Superior of Sisters for Life, spoke to the rally. Referring to the Obama statement about abortion and the upcoming FOCA vote, she said, "We may need this to call us forward..."
"Call us forward" means presence. Such a presence that it forces the news media to see us. Whoever can, must help build a groundswell of that presence that can't be ignored, by just showing up or emailing/writing the networks--all Catholics/ Christians/any religion or non-religion. I'm committed to writing, and I'm always at my desk, keeping my focus and concentration, pursuing my own mission, or so I thought! But I want to pursue this also wherever I can.
Fr. Pavone suggested we contact Pro-life organizations from time to time via the internet to see what they're up to. Maybe there'll be something in which we can participate--join a presence. Make noise! Make noise for Padre Pio. He said he would make more noise, more commotion when he was in Heaven, than he did on earth. "The world is catching fire..."
is his great reason for making that noise, and we are his to help his mission.
My immediate thought was that the media do NOT own the airwaves. The people own it. And it is the media's responsibility to inform the people of various viewpoints that could affect them. A quick search brought me to the website of the United Church of Christ at accessibleairwaves.org/ and this paragraph:
"The question of who owns the media is a question of justice. It is essential that the individuals owning media companies reflect the broad array of people in this country. If some viewpoints and stories are excluded from the media landscape, we are all poorer as a result. Our democracy requires the free flow of information from a broad range of diverse voices."
Padre Pio loved children so much, he built orphanages for them in San Giovanni Rotondo and laid plans for the spastic centers that grew after his death; he built his magnificent hospital on the mountain with excellent maternity and pediatric sections--something never before known in the area.
It seems perfect that we ask his guidance on how to make the best noise in building our presence, just as he guided the building of these children's edifices.