On the eve of the January 22 March for Life in the nation’s capital, the TFP sponsored a reception at its McLean, Va. center for local friends and supporters as well as for foreign pro-life delegations who came to attend the march.
Among the organizations represented were Droit de Naître (Right to Be Born) from France, Aktion SOS LEBEN (Action SOS Life) from Germany, Voglio Vivere (I Want to Live) from Italy, and Juventude pela Vida e Aliança Vida e Familia, both from Brazil. Among the honored guests was his Imperial and Royal Highness, Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza.
After refreshments and intense conversation in many languages, Roberto de Mattei, Professor of Modern History at the Italy’s University of Cassino, spoke on “Pascendi : The Most Important Document of the Twentieth Century.”
The illustrious historian, who also is a professor of History of Christianity and the Church at the European University in Rome, gave a succinct presentation, not only about the historical aspects of the great encyclical but also the doctrinal side of this broadside which was the centerpiece of the papal campaign against Modernism, the “synthesis of all heresies.” Prof. de Mattei recalled the statement made by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira that the encyclical Pascendi was the most important religious document of the twentieth century.
St. Pius X clearly condemned the errors of the Modernists and dismantled their conspiracy. However, the speaker noted, the movement gradually regrouped to the point that today neo-modernism is causing more harm to the Church than it did at the time of the saint. Thus, even one hundred years after its publication, the encyclical Pascendi, is very timely now and can prove helpful to combating errors found in so many Catholic ambiences.
Following the professor’s presentation, Mr. Mario Navarro da Costa of the TFP Washington Bureau invited Mr. Bernard Anthony from France to speak. Mr. Anthony is an outspoken Catholic activist who represented his country in the European Parliament as a congressman.
Speaking impromptu, Mr. Anthony described the danger of Islam to present-day Europe. He showed how the danger consists not only in the large number of Moslems residing in European countries but also the incomprehensible insensibility to the danger shown by civil and religious authorities. The situation is made worse by Europe’s moral decadence and loss of religiosity.
In this respect, the ex-congressman recalled the message of Mehmed II, Sultan of Turkey to the Emperor of Byzantium Constantine XI. The sultan said that he would conquer Constantinople, situated on the banks of the Bosphorus because on the Turkish side of the straits there were Moslems who were warlike while on the Byzantine side the decadent Greeks did not have the will to defend themselves.
Unfortunately, the Sultan’s words came true with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, one of the most tragic pages in the history of Christendom.
The evening program ended with the short presentation by Dr. Paul A. Byrne, a neonatologist and past-president of the Catholic Medical Association. He is author of the books, Life, Life Support and Death, Beyond Brain Death, and Brain Death Is Not Death.
Dr. Byrne alerted the audience about the ambiguity of the concept “brain death” as a criteria for determining when it is proper to take out vital organs for use in transplants. He invited those present to attend a conference that he gave the next day on the subject at Georgetown University.