Defending the most defenseless

Among the countless vulnerable human beings in our world, none are more vulnerable than millions of unborn babies threatened by abortion.

Even a new-born baby is less vulnerable.

Hardly anyone could kill a new-born infant. Just the mere sight of a precious new-born baby brings a smile to one’s face and warmth to one’s heart. And that is a vulnerable baby’s best natural defense.

However, an unborn baby does not have the protection of being seen for what he or she is – a miraculous new human life (see: “From Conception to Birth”

But a wonderful international effort by the Knights of Columbus has provided over 1,000 ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers and pro-life health clinics throughout the U.S. and in several countries, thus allowing mothers and fathers to see their miraculous unborn babies (see:

While many born babies tragically and unnecessarily die every year from poverty, treatable diseases and the scourge of war, the number of unborn babies brutally dismembered and murdered by abortion is far greater.

Each year, approximately 900,000 abortions are performed in the U.S. (see: And it is estimated that annually 56 million unborn babies are aborted worldwide (see:

As I write, I am planning to participate in the “March for Life” tomorrow (Jan. 24) in Washington, D.C. I have marched in this annual event over 30 times because of its educational, political and spiritual importance. But the “March for Life” and other such events around the U.S. and world – important as they are – are simply not enough.

While it’s true that many of the marchers will go home and continue marching in one way or another for the unborn, I suspect many will not – including the millions who could not attend. I say this because as I keep my ear to the ground, and speak at parishes around the U.S., I don’t usually get a strong sense that most Catholics are actively working throughout the year to end abortion – or for that matter regularly working to end any other human injustice.

Now that’s not to say that most Catholics aren’t good caring people – they are! Rather, I think many Catholics are very busy with other essentials – and non-essentials – and that the phenomenon of “out of sight, out of mind” causes many people to forget about all the suffering. Furthermore, the fact that many clergymen are hesitant to regularly preach on abortion and other hot-button social justice and peace issues – even though the Scripture readings very often lend themselves to such preaching – doesn’t help.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities is asking us to email and call (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) our two U.S. senators and representative urging them to co-sponsor and vote for the following bills:

  • “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” (S.311/S.130/H.R.962)
  • “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (S.160/H.R.784)
  • “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2019” (S.109/H.R.200
  • “Conscience Protection Act” (S.183/H.R.2014).

Also, please sign-up to receive legislative alerts from your state Catholic conference.

Additionally, there are many good websites offering numerous suggestions on how to stay actively pro-life all year.

It would do us well to rearrange some of our priorities, so as to make room throughout the year for the unborn and other hurting people. For those of you who are already doing your best here – Thanks! And keep up the good work! And to the rest of us who can certainly do better – let’s go for it!


Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at

War with Iran – not a Catholic option

By Tony Magliano

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Just think how much better each one of us and the world would be, if we held fast to this morally correct common sense proverb. But unfortunately, common sense and morality are often not considered when we feel we have been wronged.

Instead, and often tragically so, the unholy act of retaliation is a frequent response. And even when considering retaliation from just a logical perspective, it doesn’t make sense. Historically, as well as currently, it is clearly observed that retaliation, instead of deterring further aggression, nearly always perpetuates it, creating an ongoing cycle of violence.

Retaliation is especially illogical and immoral when doing so could lead to war. President Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a case in point – notwithstanding Soleimani’s murderous reputation.

As reported in The Atlantic (see:, Elissa Slotkin, a Democratic representative and former CIA analyst focused on Shia militias, said in a statement that she’d seen friends and colleagues killed or hurt by Iranian weapons under Soleimani’s guidance when she served in Iraq. She said she was involved in discussions during both the Bush and Obama administrations about how to respond to his violence. Neither opted for assassination.

“What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict?” she said. “The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means. The Trump Administration has made a different calculation.”

In addition to considering the added harm retaliation would bring, Slotkin’s pointing out “that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means” is a step in the direction of the ironclad Catholic moral principle which insists that even a good end does not justify an evil means. That is, the means used to accomplish a good end must also be good. No exceptions! And in light of the Gospel, violence is always an evil means.

In his new year’s address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited by the Holy See, Pope Francis expressed deep concern regarding tensions between Iran and the United States which risks “setting the groundwork for a vaster conflict that all of us would want to avert.” He appealed that escalation of the conflict be avoided and to “keep alive the flame of dialogue and self-restraint” (see:

In his 2003 address to the Diplomatic Corps, St. John Paul II emphatically proclaimed that war “is always a defeat for humanity.”

Here’s a link to excellent resources provided by the U.S. Catholic peace movement Pax Christi to help us avoid war with Iran

As the U.S. approaches the federal holiday honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is especially appropriate to reflect on his thoughts regarding such matters: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

“Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. … Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Two wrongs don’t make a right. It takes strong moral courage to break the violent cycle of giving back hurt for hurt. For it takes love to make a right.


Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at

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