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Modern Day Battle of Lepanto

I wanted to post a rather philosophical musing on the phases of one’s spiritual journey, but something far more urgent and far more practical must take precedence. Please read all of this exhortation by Bishop Hermann of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Here is a snippet:

Save our children! How can a so-called good Catholic vote for a candidate that supports laws that take the life of innocent children, when there is an alternative? If there were two candidates who supported abortion, but not equally, we would have the obligation to mitigate the evil by voting for the less-permissive candidate.

Save our children! How can a so-called good Catholic vote for a candidate that supports laws that justify the killing of a child that survived a botched abortion? How can such a so-called good Catholic receive the Holy Eucharist?

In Chapter 10 of St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he states: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? ... You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons."

Save our children! Have some of our so-called good Catholics become so hardened against the Gospel of Life that they believe that other issues outweigh the Gospel of Life? Have some of our so-called good Catholics put politics ahead of the Fifth Commandment, in which God states: "Thou shalt not kill"? Do some of our so-called good Catholics, who may go to Mass every Sunday and receive the Holy Eucharist, really believe that voting for a pro-abortion candidate, when there is a clear alternative and therefore no justifiable reason for so doing, is really not voting to have children killed? This election is all about saving our children!

Even more important than the Bishop’s clear teaching on voting for a pro-abortion candidate, is his call to take action.

Save our children and save our so-called good Catholics who have abandoned Church teachings in favor of personal gain. Pray the Rosary. Pray it every day. Get the whole family to pray the Rosary daily. Prayer is more powerful than contentious arguments. Spread the word to other families. In praying the Rosary, children's votes count as much as adult votes. Sometimes they pray with purer hearts than we do. If you are disgusted with the TV news, then turn it off and turn on the prayer Internet. What we hear in prayer leaves us in peace. When we pray for our country and for our fellow citizens, we are filled with peace. St. Paul tells us that our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers and the spirits of darkness.

Prayer is our protection. Let it also be a protection for our country. If you want to make Satan angry, pray the Rosary for the sake of Life. Pray that as a nation we will choose leaders that will say "no" to the culture of death and say "yes" to the culture of life. Save our children! Pray the Rosary.

Just a few days ago, on October 7, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. You may not realize this feast is tied to a great military victory.

Battle of Lepanto

On October 7, 1571, a great victory over the mighty Turkish fleet was won by Catholic naval forces primarily from Spain, Venice, and Genoa under the command of Don Juan of Austria. It was the last battle at sea between "oared" ships, which featured the most powerful navy in the world, a Moslem force with between 12,000 to 15,000 Christian slaves as rowers. The patchwork team of Catholic ships was powered by the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct material disadvantage, the holy pontiff, St. Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory. We know today that the victory was decisive, prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe, and evidenced the Hand of God working through Our Lady. At the hour of victory, St. Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and exclaimed with supernatural radiance: "The Christian fleet is victorious!" and shed tears of thanksgiving to God.

What you may not know is that one of three admirals commanding the Catholic forces at Lepanto was Andrea Doria. He carried a small copy of Mexico's Our Lady of Guadalupe into battle. This image is now enshrined in the Church of San Stefano in Aveto, Italy. Not many know that at the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain, one can view a huge warship lantern that was captured from the Moslems in the Battle of Lepanto. In Rome, look up to the ceiling of S. Maria in Aracoeli and behold decorations in gold taken from the Turkish galleys. In the Doges' Palace in Venice, Italy, one can witness a giant Islamic flag that is now a trophy from a vanquished Turkish ship from the Victory. At Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome, close to the tomb of the great St. Pope Pius V, one was once able to view yet another Islamic flag from the Battle, until 1965, when it was returned to Istanbul in an intended friendly token of concord.

The Rosary

At Lepanto, the Victory over the Moslems was won by the faithful praying the Rosary. Even though they had superior numbers, the Turks really were overmatched. Blessed Padre Pio, the Spiritual Father of the Blue Army, said: "The Rosary is the weapon," and how right he was!

The Battle of Lepanto was at first celebrated liturgically as "Our Lady of Victory." Later, the feast of October 7th was renamed "Our Lady of the Rosary" and extended throughout the Universal Church by Pope Clement XI in 1716 (who canonized Pope Pius V in 1712).

Once again we are facing a great battle. Bishop Hermann is following the model of Pope Pius V as he calls us to pray the Rosary daily. The forces of the culture of death seem poised for victory and, unfortunately, many Catholics have been seduced to support this evil. Please join in fighting this spiritual battle. Offer a Rosary for Life every day.

UPDATE: In response to the Anonymous Comment below, please see my next post.

UPDATE: It looks like Bishop Finn is pushing this same strategy!


Catholic Mom said…
Dear Anonymous,

It would be so nice if you would identify yourself rather than hiding behind the ubiquitous anonymous tag. I do not dare to presume who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell. That is up to God. Unlike those who do not respect the dignity and sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death, I would not begin to pretend I have the wisdom of God. I can speak as to what is morally licit and what is not. I will soon post more on that. Please also note that the author of the article to which you linked writes for the dissident Catholic publication, The National Catholic Reporter. Therefore, his credentials as a faithful Catholic are somewhat suspect.
Anonymous said…
What if there are two candidates and one candidate who is pro choice actually contributes to fewer abortions because they support contraception and sex ed, for example? Is the pro life candidate still better even though more lives were lost under their leadership?
Anonymous said…
catholic that really your name?
Catholic Mom said…
Anonymous 5:55--This is not a matter of numbers. It is a matter of respecting the intrinsic human dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. The pro-abortion candidate believes that some human beings have only conditional dignity. They are accorded dignity only if someone else grants them this dignity. Once we allow one class of human beings (the unborn) to be regarded as disposable at the whim of another, all human beings are at risk. The same logic applied to the unborn can be applied to the sick, disabled, elderly, the mentally ill, etc. We now grant the powerful the right to dominate the powerless.
Catholic Mom said…
Anonymous 5:56--That is Catholic Matriarch to you. :) My real name and email are posted on my blog. I am not hiding behind my nom de plum.
Anonymous said…
So a pro-life leader under whose leadership 10,000 abortions occur is better than a pro-choice leader in which 5,000 abortions occur?
Catholic Mom said…
Anon 9:20--Let me rephrase your question: So a pro-abolition leader under whom 10,000 people own slaves is better than a pro-slavery leader under whom only 5000 people own slaves? This is not about the numbers. The assertion that Obama will reduce the numbers of abortions is pure speculation. Any reduction in numbers will be temporary because with his signing of the Freedom of Choice Act, his selection of pro-abortion Supreme Court Justices, his increased funding for abortion both at home at abroad, he is promoting abortion as a public good. Abortion is more morally reprehensible than slavery because abortion intends to deprive a class of human persons of both dignity and life itself. We would never tolerate a candidate who wanted to roll back any laws restricting slavery,increase funding for slavery, and appoint Supreme Court justices who support slavery. How can anyone support a candidate who would do this for abortion? Only a pro-life leader will offer the "audacity of hope" to all persons and not just those he deems worthy.
Catholic Mom said…
Also, please make sure you read my follow-up post linked in the UPDATE above.
Anonymous said…
I understand your logic and appreciate it. The problem I see is what have pro-life candidates actually done to reduce abortions after reaping the benefits of single-issue voters? It's ironic to me that Catholics oppose both contraception and abortion. I can understand abortion, but contraception would prevent many, many pregnancies.

Life just isn't as black and white as you want it to be.
Catholic Mom said…
Anon 5:54--If you are truly interested in understanding the Catholic teaching on contraception, read Humanae Vitae. I did a post on NFP a couple of years ago. Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body also offers a great explanation but it can be overwhelming so I recommend starting with one of the Christopher West books about Theology of the Body. That said, I will also tell you that this teaching is not easy to understand at first blush. However, I can also tell you that the more I study, pray, and live this teaching, the more I understand it. That post on phases of a spiritual journey that I mentioned in the first sentence of this post will explore this concept more. Stay tuned. I hope to have it up in a day or so.

You can read the bishop's statement linked in the comment above for legislative progress.
Thank you for this post. I have one vote, which I mean to use, but I can offer countless rosaries. And I will.

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