Matt C. Abbott
Two recent 'miracles' on Eighth Avenue
By Matt C. Abbott
December 16, 2009

Miracles do happen.

I suppose in this case it would be two "minor miracles," but, hey, what the heck? It's a positive.

To wit: an Oct. 9 story in The New York Times on the use of graphic abortion photos in the right-to-life movement and a Nov. 28 op-ed, also in The Times, on the traditional Latin Mass.

Veteran pro-life activist Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society (and, incidentally, one of the Notre Dame 88), who is featured in the story, wrote:

    'Perhaps for the first time in the history of the pro-life movement, a nationally recognized paper — or any newspaper, for that matter — has deliberately printed photos of actual abortion victims. This is a story written by reporter Damien Cave, who attended the memorial service for murdered pro-lifer Jim Pouillon.

    'After the service, the reporter approached your CPLS director and asked me about the use of graphic images in pro-life work. We later did a two-hour interview and this story is the result. The two photos featured in this on-line edition are of a baby aborted by the saline method of abortion and the foot of an unborn child murdered at the Women's Advisory abortion clinic in Livonia, Michigan — retrieved from the trash by CPLS members in April 2008.

    'The photos of our photos were taken by free-lance photographer Stephen McGee. This article is a coup and is sure to generate much debate, but most importantly, we need to pray that hearts will be changed. Our goal is to show and tell the truth about the injustice of abortion. I hope this story helps awaken hearts and minds. The story is accompanied by a 2-minute video featuring Michigan pro-life activists such as Deborah Anderson.'

Click here to read The Times' story about Dr. Miller and the abortion images.

On Nov. 28, The Times ran an op-ed by Kenneth J. Wolfe titled "Latin Mass Appeal" (excerpted; click here for the full commentary)

    'Walking into church 40 years ago on this first Sunday of Advent, many Roman Catholics might have wondered where they were. The priest not only spoke English rather than Latin, but he faced the congregation instead of the tabernacle; laymen took on duties previously reserved for priests; folk music filled the air. The great changes of Vatican II had hit home.

    'All this was a radical break from the traditional Latin Mass, codified in the 16th century at the Council of Trent. For centuries, that Mass served as a structured sacrifice with directives, called 'rubrics,' that were not optional. This is how it is done, said the book. As recently as 1947, Pope Pius XII had issued an encyclical on liturgy that scoffed at modernization; he said that the idea of changes to the traditional Latin Mass 'pained' him 'grievously.'

    'Paradoxically, however, it was Pius himself who was largely responsible for the momentous changes of 1969. It was he who appointed the chief architect of the new Mass, Annibale Bugnini, to the Vatican's liturgical commission in 1948....

    'The next pope, John XXIII, named Bugnini secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Liturgy of Vatican II, in which position he worked with Catholic clergymen and, surprisingly, some Protestant ministers on liturgical reforms. In 1962 he wrote what would eventually become the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the document that gave the form of the new Mass.

    'Many of Bugnini's reforms were aimed at appeasing non-Catholics, and changes emulating Protestant services were made, including placing altars to face the people instead of a sacrifice toward the liturgical east. As he put it, 'We must strip from our ... Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.' (Paradoxically, the Anglicans who will join the Catholic Church as a result of the current pope's outreach will use a liturgy that often features the priest facing in the same direction as the congregation.)....

    'But Bugnini may have finally met his match in Benedict XVI, a noted liturgist himself who is no fan of the past 40 years of change. Chanting Latin, wearing antique vestments and distributing communion only on the tongues (rather than into the hands) of kneeling Catholics, Benedict has slowly reversed the innovations of his predecessors. And the Latin Mass is back, at least on a limited basis, in places like Arlington, Va., where one in five parishes offer the old liturgy.

    'Benedict understands that his younger priests and seminarians — most born after Vatican II — are helping lead a counterrevolution. They value the beauty of the solemn high Mass and its accompanying chant, incense and ceremony. Priests in cassocks and sisters in habits are again common; traditionalist societies like the Institute of Christ the King are expanding....'

Now, despite these two aforementioned "minor miracles," The New York Times obviously is not a pro-life, pro-family, pro-Christian newspaper. Far from it. But I do have to give credit where credit is due.

And, as Catholic attorney Christopher A. Ferrara recently wrote (you'll notice I borrowed from his headline for my headline):

    'The appearance of Wolfe's provocative piece in The New York Times, of all places, is perhaps a harbinger of better days to come — better days that will follow upon the Church's correspondence to the Message of Fatima in its integrity. May it happen soon.'

Pertinent link:

Citizens for a Pro-Life Society

Please pray for the repose of the souls of John Edward Finn, father of pro-life producer/publisher J.T. Finn ( and, and Father Enrique T. Rueda, author of the 1986 expose The Homosexual Network. Mr. Finn died of natural causes on Dec. 12; Father Rueda died of natural causes on Dec. 14.

Requiescat in pace.

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media, and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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