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Current pro-life battle has abortion advocates in retreat

In 2019, the pro-life movement has never been closer to ending the injustice of Roe v. Wade and restoring life in America after nearly half a century of turmoil.

Pro-life optimism is at an all-time high in state legislatures, where lawmakers have introduced more than 375 pro-life bills this year alone – strong bills that protect unborn children when they can feel pain, when their heartbeat can be detected, or throughout pregnancy, as well as stopping discriminatory race, sex-selection, and Down syndrome abortions.

None of this is an accident. They’ve been emboldened to act on their constituents’ will like never before under President Trump, who has led as the most pro-life president in history and is rapidly transforming the courts to return legislative power to the American people. 

Neither are the extreme attempts to expand abortion-on-demand through birth, and even infanticide, in New York, Virginia, Illinois, and other states – but the Lord is using this monstrous evil for good.

When New York’s Governor Cuomo lit up the World Trade Center in pink, in obscene celebration of abortion on demand, in flagrant defiance of his Catholic upbringing, he set off a chain reaction. 

Pro-abortion overreach has only increased pro-life resolve and, ironically, hastened the day of reckoning for Roe by exposing the full horror of the abortion agenda

Abortion advocates are in retreat. They have expanded abortion in a small handful of liberal strongholds, where even Democrats and pro-choicers disagree with them. Missouri, Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, Utah, Louisiana, and others show that momentum favors the pro-life cause.

That doesn’t mean the battle is over or that victory is inevitable.

Every leading Democratic presidential candidate has embraced extremism – including several Catholics, an appalling scandal. Every U.S. senator running has refused to protect babies who survive abortions. They all agree that the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding policy that prevents forced taxpayer funding of abortion on demand and has saved more than two million lives, must go. Even “moderate” Joe Biden now begrudges fellow Catholics that modest concession to their conscience, and Kirsten Gillibrand likens pro-lifers to racists and anti-Semites. 

Meanwhile in Congress, Nancy Pelosi chalks up her caucus’s inability to “get rid of ” Hyde and other pro-life policies not to moral qualms, or concern for the children who would perish, or even respect for the taxpayers, but to “the current occupant of the White House and some in the United States Senate.”

The stakes of this election are clear. Part of America that has been sitting on the sidelines is awakening to the human cost of failing to engage. That is why Susan B. Anthony List is doubling its budget this cycle to replicate its success at the federal level in priority states, working with local allies to pass aggressive pro-life legislation, in addition to educating millions of voters about the need to defeat extremists and elect pro-life leaders.

Pro-life Catholics played a decisive role in the last presidential election. As politicians misrepresent the faith, this is an excellent time to bookmark The Participation of Catholics in Political Life and recall Pope St. John Paul II’s words in it, urging the laity “never to relinquish” their right as citizens to participate fully in the democratic process. No one else, not even a bishop, can fulfill the role given to each layperson – and, like the Apostles sharing the Gospel, it begins with engaging those closest to us: family, friends, and neighbors. Extrapolate to some 50 million Catholic adults, and even a small shift could mean saving countless girls and boys loved by God and intended for this world.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. SBA List’s mission is to end abortion by electing leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders. She is also a Legate of the Northern Virginia Chapter

Wedded into a whole new world

Just five years into their marriage, Legates Frank and Janie Carney faced a challenge that is more likely to befall couples who have been together for decades.

At the age of 73, Frank, co-founder of Pizza Hut and a Papa John’s franchisee, began to suffer memory lapses that couldn’t be explained by the stress of his business. At first, his doctor thought a new prescription might have been responsible and, when Frank stopped taking the drug for three months, everything seemed to have returned to normal.

Then, the lapses resumed and eventually the Carneys would hear the dreaded words, “Alzheimer’s disease,” setting them on a path of sorrow that has deepened their Catholic faith.

Series of ‘shorts’

“People think with this disease that everything just shuts off . . . [but] it’s not like a light switch,” said Janie in describing the progression of Alzheimer’s. “It’s a series of shorts. At every step of the journey, you get some strength, then the bottom drops out and you have to adjust and compensate for the lesser state so it’s not like a constant slide down. If you understood what’s going on scientifically in the brain, it’s those interruptions in the neurotransmitters that continually become more frequent.”

When the Carneys, members of the Wichita, Kansas, Legatus Chapter, initially were given a diagnosis of cognitive impairment, they contacted a well-known clinic recommended by Frank’s physician. But after waiting three months for an appointment, they encountered a nine-hour delay caused by an airport closure at their destination and returned home.

At that point, Janie said, “I was in search of something – anything, and I remembered Health network with Legatus.” The Health network membership benefit provides a “concierge service” giving Legates and their families access to top medical facilities. Ten days after contacting the service, Janie said, “We had 24 appointments at the Mayo Clinic. In four days, they had screened everything they could possibly screen with Frank. And we started a relationship.” Besides learning about clinical trials of drugs, the contact with Mayo put Janie on a track to study her husband’s disease and she became relentless in her pursuit of learning about it. By the time the Carneys sought to get Frank in a compassionate-use study of Bryostatin-1, under the supervision of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Janie had amassed stacks of information that allowed her to advocate for him.

Improvement and shared purpose

After 13 months on Bryostatin-1 beginning in May, 2014, Frank improved to the point that he and Janie were able to resume some of their normal activities, including dining outside his care facility and occasional trips to the grocery store. Before that, he had been nearly mute and weakened to the point that Janie had to hold his arm when he walked. However, the trial ended when Janie was forced to find a new care facility that would not allow continued participation in the study.

Nonetheless, Janie knows her husband would be grateful that the trial could eventually help someone else. In an interview with the Wichita Eagle, she explained that his purpose in life was never what someone could do for him, but what he could do for others. Although that was a long-held philosophy, when the Carneys joined Legatus, attending their first meeting four days after their wedding, it added another dimension by immersing Frank in his Catholic faith. After 30 years as a lapsed Catholic, Janie said her husband had returned to the Church before they married, and Legatus allowed him to experience the spirituality he had not been able to enjoy since high school. “It was the greatest gift we could have had as a couple.”

As Frank’s caregiver, Janie has tried to live his commitment to others as well as their shared faith. She visits him daily at his care facility, where she has developed relationships with the staff and other residents. “What’s funny is they’ve become my family.”

Support, separation and activism

That sense of family among those with the shared purpose of caring for people with Alzheimer’s can be especially important because, Janie said, “It’s a disease that separates you. It separates family members who don’t understand, feel inadequate, or are hurt because the world isn’t giving them what they wanted so they don’t participate . . . It’s the difference between being in the world and of the world. When you’re of the world, you want everything to be the way you want it to be and so when your expectations fall short, you feel like you don’t have to participate.”

Additionally, Janie has become a legislative activist for a state bill allowing the use of videography in nursing homes, an effort that led to her appointment in 2018 to the Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Plan Working Group for Public Policy. And, as part of her advocacy, she has written a memoir aimed at caregivers focusing on the spiritual aspect of partnership.

“Honestly,” she said, “I would never have imagined that my life would have turned in this direction. But I do it because this is exactly what Frank would have done if the roles were reversed. I do it as a Legate because ‘to those who have been given much, much will be required.’ More importantly, I do it in respect of Frank’s own words, ‘I have been given a great deal of opportunity in my life and the only way to reciprocate opportunity is with responsibility.’”

Not surrendering

Dr. Martin Bednar, a Providence, R.I., Legate and neurosurgeon who focuses on Alzheimer’s disease therapies in his work with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, said he admires Janie’s perseverance in the face of a disease that has become one of those Americans most fear. Yet, he continued, despite its devastating effects, he has seen amazing responses to Alzheimer’s, even from people he would have expected to break down. “They haven’t surrendered to the disease, but they have surrendered to the Lord . . . It’s not like they’re looking to be an example, but they are. They’re just living examples everyday of grace in action.”

His advice for those faced with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, he said, is to take advantage of specialists, support groups, and the resources of the Alzheimer’s Association. Secondly, he said, “Get involved, try to understand the disease, stay positive, and don’t give up because the research and medical communities are not giving up and they’re spending billions of dollars to fight this . . . The more you understand about the disease the less you feel like you’re shadowboxing against an invisible enemy.” Finally, Bednar recommends prayer. “Continue to develop your relationship with the Lord . . . Surrender to the Lord and be a spiritual warrior.”

Redemptive work

Indeed, Janie’s response to Frank’s disease has reflected much of that advice. Clearly, said Fr. John Sherlock, acting chaplain of the Legatus Wichita Chapter, she has found solace in her Catholic faith.

As she came to terms with her own limitations, he said, she developed an inner strength and a vision that deepened into an ability to accept God’s will. “And she saw some redemptive value in the sickness itself. She did not deny the sorrow. She did not deny the hurt. She did not deny the curtailing of her ideals in the marriage, but rather she saw in it a way to unite herself with the sufferings of the Lord and saw that there is a value to these sufferings – a redemptive value that could be applied to herself, her husband, other people, the family.”

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

‘Putting on the armor of God’ is man’s ultimate calling

Professionals, like firemen, policemen, and military personnel, wear a distinctive uniform or insignia that helps us easily identify them. As for Christians, we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

In his Letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul explains how Christians should live in the light of Faith and in relation to one another and society. Having been liberated by Christ, Christians are to offer their “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” We are “not to conform to this age” (Romans 12:1-2); instead, we are called to be warriors – to live our faith with passion and conviction, virtuously, and in accord with God’s will.

Discipleship is faith expressed in real life, every day, in every way. We are to “let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good” (Romans 12:9). We are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14) by shedding our “street clothes” – the habits of pride, rebellion, and sinfulness and put on “new clothing,” which represents a Christ-covered life.

“Man was created for greatness—for God himself, he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched” (Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI). Sadly, many Christians seek what is comfortable and extremely superficial; yet Christ calls us to something truly meaningful – to achieve greatness. “You are the light of the world,” says the Lord and “a city set on a mountain cannot be hidden,” so “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16).

In an address to German pilgrims in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that Jesus’ command to love requires hard work and is painful. “Christ did not promise an easy life,” noted the pope and “those who desire comforts have dialed the wrong number. Rather, he shows us the way to great things, the good, towards an authentic human life.” Discipleship implies a living relationship with Christ, in Whose life we are invited to share, love, serve, seek, and imitate.

The Father’s act of love in giving His Son defines the ultimate requirement of true love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19); thus, our love for Him is a response to His love for us. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another,” says Christ and “this is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). God’s love is perfected in us when we reproduce it in or among ourselves.

Holiness is the remedy which heals, transforms, strengthens, and produces an abundant harvest. “All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society” (Lumen Gentium, 40). Uniting our wills to God’s brings about the “fullness of Christian life” and “the perfection of love.”

Following Christ can be extremely hard at times, but our part is a daily effort to discipline ourselves and to strive for holiness as an athlete competing in games (2 Timothy 4:7). The Holy Spirit can transform us, stretch our hearts, enabling us to bear godly fruits (Galatians 5:22) and also assist us to give full witness to His transforming power, allowing us to say “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

FATHER SHENAN J. BOQUET is the president of Human Life International (www.hli.org), and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA.

Taking back fight to reclaim boyhood

It’s been little over A year since I wrote Defending Boyhood, and yet the monstrous thing that passes for culture has posed a new threat to boys, one which even I could not have imagined. We now must endure drag queens at public libraries, reading stories to children about sexuality, inviting them into their puerile confusions. “How many kids here want to be drag queens when they grow up?” smiles the reader, the groomer. “Drag queens just want to spread love,” said the fellow who did his spiel of enticement at a library near our home. Spread it, deep and thick.

This phenomenon– the castration of boys who are persuaded they are “really” girls, and who are victims of evil and destructive suggestions; the encouragement of boys to dress as girls and dance for the pleasure of adults – reveal a contempt for healthy boyhood that is unexampled in human history. I do not claim girlhood is thriving, either, but I focus on what I know by experience. I was a boy once, after all.

Certain people hold a grudge against the ordinary male, with all his strengths and flaws. Men are held responsible, not accidentally but inexcusably, for all the world’s wickedness and suffering. Nor may you point to the commodities that men have produced in the modern world: the rich bounty of food, the electric power, the highways, the towering cities, the information signals whizzing through the air by the trillions every second. All those things stir up not gratitude, but resentment. Boys hear that their sex is worthless. They are to blame. The only boys permitted to take pride in their sex are those who have repudiated it or turned it to unnatural uses. The only good boy is a girl.

 In former times, a boy might be well instructed by a female teacher who could work with his boyish nature rather than smother it. That same boy had plenty of things to do outside school to train him for manhood. He went shooting with his father, to provide food for the table. He played rough outdoor games with other boys. He helped farm the land, mend the fences, tend the cattle, patch the roof, cut blocks of ice from the frozen lake; and the work built up not only his muscles, but his masculine outlook on the world and his duty in it. For most boys now, healthy work is a thing of the past, and so too are female schoolteachers who were wise in the ways of boys, and who loved them enough to know they could not make men out of them.

 Ordinary men must reclaim education of their sons, in its broadest sense. Your son’s imagination is deformed by what he reads in school. Do you think an hour of church on Sunday will wipe from his mind all the evil and sickly images he has been made to feed on all week? He has no skill in his hands. Who will impart skill to him – his teachers? He knows no cheerful and manly songs. He has no imaginative fight in him. He has never read Treasure Island. He does not know who George Patton or William Sherman were. Who will teach him about those great warriors – his feminist schoolteacher?

 I don’t want boyhood to be a political subject. The point is to get boys out of poisonous air and bring them back to healthy things that boys have always done. We are talking about nature: the nature of man, and the nature of the boy. There are some things that women cannot do and are not meant to do, and in our time women show themselves quite unwilling even to try. One of them is to lead boys to become men.

ANTHONY ESOLEN is a professor and writer-in-residence at Northeast Catholic College (Warner, NH). He is the author and translator of more than 20 books, including Defending Boyhood: How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World; Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World; Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture; Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child; and Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity (St. Benedict Press)

Heroes of 20th Century’s Last Great Tank Battle

John Hillen’s Cavalry Unit was supposed to scout the enemy and relay information back to headquarters. 

But on Feb. 24, 1991, Hillen and his squadron found themselves in the middle of the largest tank battle of operation Desert Storm.

“Because we were moving fast and because of the way the Iraqis were arrayed, we were on top and in the middle of them so quickly,” said Hillen, who at the time was a 25-year-old first lieutenant assigned to the 2nd squadron, 2nd armored cavalry regiment.

 A BRONZE STAR

Hillen, now 53 and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter, earned a Bronze Star for his role in what is known today as the Battle of The 73 Easting, which took place in the flat desert of southern Iraq. 

In that decisive engagement — the last great tank battle of the 20th century — the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment defeated two brigades of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard, destroying more than 160 Iraqi tanks, 180 personnel carriers, and 12 artillery pieces.

 Hillen, who was his squadron’s assistant operations officer, commanded a Bradley Fighting Vehicle — a cross between a light armored tank and personnel carrier — that used its tow missiles to destroy two Iraqi armored personnel vehicles.

“We used up our entire basic load of ammunition,” said Hillen, adding that his Bradley “took a lot of small arms fire” during the battle, but were otherwise unscathed after several hours of fighting Iraqi forces. One American soldier died in the battle.

U.S. MILITARY TRAINING TOPS

“You can try to chalk it up to equipment, but at the end of the day, our training was the thing that made the American military not only victorious, but easily victorious,” Hillen said. “It didn’t have to be that easy, but it was because we were that much better.”

 In the years before Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, invaded Kuwait in 1990, Hillen had been a young Army officer. He commanded a tank platoon in Germany before becoming a scout platoon leader for the Second Squadron’s E Troop, which was then commanded by Capt. H.R. McMaster, who decades later became President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

 In the 1980s and early 1990s, Hillen and the Army officers of his generation trained for a war with the Soviet Union that many expected but hoped would never happen.

“The philosophy was command and control from the rear because everybody was preparing for a defensive battle of Western Europe,” Hillen said. That defensive posture went out the window when his unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf in December 1990.

 ON THE OFFENSIVE 

“All of a sudden, we got thrown into a war where we had to be on the offensive,” Hillen said. “So we took all the things that slowed us down and we burned it all in a big bonfire in the desert. We moved everything we had left onto the most mobile and heavily armored offensive vehicles we could have, in order to ride with the forward surge of troops, and command and control from the front.”

When the aerial bombardment began in Operation Desert Shield, Hillen’s unit started moving across the Saudi Arabian desert toward Iraq. The day before the ground war commenced, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment crossed the border into Iraq. The plan was to get behind the Republican Guard forces and destroy them while preventing them from retreating from Kuwait.

“Our job was the traditional cavalry job,” Hillen said. “We were the reconnaissance element for the entire VII Corps. We were the first ones in, ahead of everybody else. We had 120,000 people behind us.”

As E Troop neared a line on the map called the 70 Easting, Hillen and his troops encountered a large group of Republican Guard tanks that were dug-in and well-hidden.

“All of a sudden there was this field full of Iraqi T-72s, fully manned, with elite crews in them and everything,” said Hillen, who added at that point, the Americans had little choice other than to engage the Iraqis in battle because to retreat would have resulted in large numbers of casualties.

AMERICAN FORCES PREVAIL

“Those guys knew what they were doing. These weren’t the Iraqis who were just surrendering,” Hillen said. “They fought back, had brand-new equipment. They had elite leaders, they were arrayed in a very professional defensive position and they counter-attacked.”

The Republican Guard may have been the Iraqi military’s elite, but they were no match for the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The American forces destroyed the Republican Guard. One Bradley Fighting Vehicle was lost. Not one American tank — the impermeable M1 Abrams — was destroyed.

“If we were all playing baseball, they were playing Single-A ball while we were playing in the big leagues,” said Hillen, who left active duty a year and a half after Desert Storm and went on to have a successful career in the private sector and in public service, even serving from 2005 to 2007 as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

Hillen, who today runs his own consulting firm, speaks fondly of the soldiers he served with in that battle, adding that many of them have seen each other at reunions over the years.

“We were all really lucky to have served with each other,” Hillen said. “That unit in Desert Storm was a real good team. We cared for each other and we had each other’s backs, as all good teams do.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Avert major risk factors for heart attack

You can control your risk of heart attack, the number-one killer of Americans, even if you were dealt a bad genetic hand with a family history of heart attacks, bypass surgery, or coronary stent placement.

A large majority of people who sustain heart attacks before age 40 are smokers. Even a few puffs on a cigarette initiate abnormal changes in the lining of arteries. Continued smoking promotes cholesterol-plaque buildup, plaque instability, and eventually plaque rupture that triggers blood clots. When the clot blocks a coronary (heart muscle) artery, a major heart attack results. Fatal abnormal heart rhythms can occur just seconds after a heart attack begins. If you don’t want a heart attack, don’t smoke!

Study after study has definitively proven that high cholesterol, particularly LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, is highly correlated with coronary artery disease and coronary events. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association provide easy-to-use risk calculators online. Guidelines recommend that if your 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is greater than 7.5 percent, then a cholesterol-lowering medicine called a “statin” should strongly be considered. Statins prevent thousands of heart attacks each year and cause no side effects in 95 percent of patients. A survey at a recent national ACC meeting found that well over half of all cardiologists attending were taking a statin. Maybe they know something? A statin may be right for you.

Diabetes is a major risk factor, and nearly 90% of patients with diabetes are overweight. If every person diagnosed with diabetes lost 15 percent of their body weight, most would no longer even have diabetes. Staying near ideal body weight, along with exercise, will dramatically lower your risk of getting diabetes – and a heart attack.

High blood pressure (>130/80) contributes to heart attack risk. Salt restriction, weight loss if needed, and exercise are the first line of treatment, but most people will still need medicine. Dozens of highly effective meds are affordable – there’s no reason to have high blood pressure in 2019, but sometimes it may take 3 or 4 different medications to achieve that goal.

Next, everybody’s favorite subject – diet. Nutritional guidelines keep changing, but there are certain dietary recommendations for preventing heart disease that are unlikely to change. Minimize red meat, and avoid processed meat. Eat more fatty fish like salmon, but skip fried fish! Eat lots of vegetables. Avoid fast food. Reduce your carbohydrate load to prevent hunger and weight gain. It is really that simple.

Lack of physical activity compromises life. Regular exercise prolongs life, lowers blood pressure, keeps weight in check, increases brain endorphins to bolster mood, and lowers risk of cardiovascular disease for a more productive earthly life to better serve the Lord.

DAVID A. KAMINSKAS practices cardiology in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is the treasurer of the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Catholic Medical Guild of Northeast Indiana.

WHAT TO SEE: Aces in the Poles

Mission of Honor
Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Marcin Dorocinski
Run time: 107 min • Not Rated

During World War II, following the rapid collapse of Poland, tens of thousands of Polish servicemen went to France to continue fighting for Allied forces. After France capitulated in 1940, the Poles battled on in England. There, more than 8,000 Polish air personnel would serve with the Royal Air Force, many in special Polish squadrons.

Although experienced pilots, the Poles had to master new planes with unfamiliar features, like retractable landing gear and a throttle that opened by being pushed forward rather than back. To the British, the Polish pilots seemed undisciplined and raw, and their quick defeat to invading Nazis didn’t speak well for their fighting prowess. Mission of Honor is a fictionalized story of how the pilots of the Polish 303 Squadron won their hosts’ respect by proving to be excellent fighters and serving with distinction. Historically, 145 Polish aviators across several RAF squadrons were credited with shooting down more than 200 enemy planes in the pivotal Battle of Britain.

Iwan Rheon and Marcin Dorocinski star as Polish fighter aces Jan Zumbach and Witold Urbanowicz, while Milo Gibson plays the Canadian squadron commander, Capt. John A. Kent.

The tenacity of the Polish flyers is evident, and occasional flashbacks depicting Nazi atrocities committed on their fellow countrymen – often family members and loved ones – lends ample motive for their determination. Sadly, the film’s epilogue explains how post-war England repatriated many Poles to their native land, then under Soviet control, where some would suffer imprisonment and death.

Critics of Mission of Honor take issue with some special effects, certain anachronisms in dialogue, and the obligatory romantic subplot. Some familiar with the specifics of World War II aircraft point out inaccuracies in the planes’ markings or dogfight tactics. The film also has instances of wartime violence and wartime profanity. For teen and adult audiences, Mission of Honor provides an interesting take on these courageous men who persevered for freedom and against oppression, risking all because they had already lost all.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Great Catholic Patriots In U.S. History

Although Catholics were a tiny minority at the time of the War for Independence and have suffered bigotry since colonial days, Catholics also have made great contributions to the cause of freedom throughout American history. Here are just a few examples.

Charles, Daniel, and John Carroll were part of a wealthy colonial family in Maryland. Charles Carroll was an early advocate of American separation from Great Britain and was the only Catholic among the 56 signatories of the Declaration of Independence. His cousin Daniel was one of only five men to have signed both the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution, while cousin John became the first Catholic bishop in the United States.

Commodore John Barry, an Irishborn Catholic from Philadelphia, has been called the “Father of the American Navy.” He served heroically throughout the Revolutionary War at the helm of Continental Navy warships. When President George Washington established a permanent U.S. Navy in 1794 he appointed Barry its senior captain and commodore.

Capt. André Cailloux was the first black war hero of the Civil War. In 1863, he was killed while leading Company E of the 1st Regiment Louisiana Native Guards in an assault on a Confederate fortress in Port Hudson, LA. His regiment, which was overwhelmingly Catholic, was the first black regiment to be mustered into the U.S. Army and the first to engage in a major battle.

Clara Barton, dubbed the “Angel of the Battlefield,” provided medical supplies and nursing care for wounded soldiers on the frontlines of the Civil War. “I was strong and thought I might go to the rescue of the men who fell. . . . What could I do but go with them, or work for them and my country?” she wrote in her memoirs. “The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.” She later founded the American Red Cross.

Fr. Michael McGivney responded to the financial struggles of immigrant workers and the widespread bigotry against Catholics in the latter 1800s by founding the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society. Emphasizing both patriotism and Catholicism, the order showed how one could be both a faithful Catholic and a proud American.

Al Smith, the first Catholic nominated for U.S. president by a major party, lost in a landslide in 1928 to Herbert Hoover due in part to the nation’s prosperity and in part to lingering anti-Catholic prejudice. But he helped pave the way for the election of our first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, 32 years later.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Ponder the portrait of a Catholic gentleman

First and foremost, a Catholic gentleman is a Catholic; that is, he is permeated to the core by the Faith handed down for twenty centuries, witnessed to by the blood of the martyrs, and embodied in the creeds and councils of the Catholic and apostolic Church. The Faith is the air he breathes, and his whole life is dedicated to knowing and following Jesus Christ with his whole heart.

A Catholic gentleman is not the casual Christian-and-Easter Catholic, who treats the faith like a buffet from which to cherry-pick beliefs that suit his way of life. Rather, his way of life is conformed to the truth as revealed through the Church founded by Jesus Christ. He lives by his baptismal promises, rejecting Satan and all his pomps and works. If someone pointed a gun to his head and asked him to deny his faith, he would respond like the Cristero martyrs of Mexico: “Viva Christo Rey!” Long live Christ the King

A Catholic gentleman does not hide his faith, but rather, lets his light shine before men and witnesses to the beauty of the truth with joy, humility, and love. Accordingly, he is a true evangelist. Above all, a Catholic gentleman loves Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, striving at every moment to please them, honor them, and love them with his whole he

Second, a Catholic gentleman is gentle. Gentleness is not highly valued for men in our culture. It is too often associated with a sort of milquetoast weakness that shrinks from challenges. But gentleness is not weakness – it is strength under control.

Anyone who has lifted weights in a gym knows there are showoffs who like to lift more weight than they can handle. After one or two shaky reps, they drop the dumbbells with a tremendous crash, hoping others will notice how much weight they were putting up. But the truth is, dropping weights doesn’t reveal how strong you are. Anyone can drop something heavy. What is impressive is the hulk of a man who can squat eight hundred pounds and still manage to set the barbell down lightly and carefully. His gentleness reveals his strength.

Likewise, a Catholic gentleman has strength in reserve. He can defend the weak when called upon, and he can rise to face difficult challenges when he must. But he is no braggart, intent on crashing his way through life in an attempt to prove his strength. His power is channeled and harnessed, fully under the control of a disciplined will.

Finally, a Catholic gentleman is a servant leader … He is not obsessed with power or authority, for he knows that true leaders do not demand obedience, but, rather, inspire it by their example.

Excerpt from: The Catholic Gentleman: Living Authentic Manhood Today, by Sam Guzman (Ignatius Press, 2019). www.ignatius.com. From Chapter 23: “What Is a Catholic Gentleman?” pp. 125-127

SAM GUZMAN is the founder and editor of The Catholic Gentleman blog and a marketing professional. His writing has appeared in various faith-based publications and websites, such as Catholic Exchange, Aleteia, and The Christian Science Monitor

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Feast Day: August 1
Canonized: May 26, 1839
Patron of confessors, Naples

St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church, was born to nobility near Naples. Though a gifted theologian and writer, he was also a poet, harpsichordist, musical composer, and artist.

A successful young lawyer, he began considering leaving law after losing an important case – realizing the futile vanity of pursuing worldly glory. At 27, he heard an interior voice: “Leave the world and give yourself to Me.” 

He was thus ordained a priest at 30. In 1732, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), for preaching inspiring missions. Upon hearing Alphonsus’ sermon in church one day, his father exclaimed: “My son has made God known to me!”

A prolific writer and teacher, known for penning The Glories of Mary and The Way of the Cross (still used for Lenten devotions), he vowed never to waste a moment – spending his life praying, working, and composing some 111 works. He died at 91, on Aug. 1, 1787, in Pagani, Italy. Pope Pius VII beatified him in 1816; he was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.