Listening In: 5 Stories That Lit Up the Internet This Week

Catholic hot takes on the top 5 trends of the week.

Lila Rose, President of Live Action.
Lila Rose, President of Live Action. (photo:

5. Cardinal Raymond Burke marks the 4th apparition of Fatima on its 102nd anniversary!

Located just about an hour west of Manhattan is the Blue Army Shrine, home to Our Lady's Blue Army Worldwide Apostolate. His Eminence, Cardinal Burke celebrated Mass at the shrine marking the 102nd anniversary of the 4th apparition of Fatima.

The cardinal reminding all those gathered marking the day about the Blessed Mother saying: "From the moment of conception, Mary's heart is preserved from every stain of sin so that she would be prepared to conceive God, the Son, in her womb, and his coming into the world t osave us from our sins."

At least 2500 gathered to celebrate the apparition and the day's festivities. The shrine to Our Lady of Fatima is visited by over 50,000 pilgrims annually. 

It was a joyful day with families coming from all over the country. A rosary procession took place with a group of children dressed as the three shepherd children and some as angels holding roses. I witnessed children playing near a statue of Our Lady of Fatima with the three shepherd children kneeling in front of the Blessed Mother. Two girls started to pet the statues of sheep as their mother prayed. 

"On Sunday, the 19th of August, Lucia, her brother John, and Francisco, were grazing the sheep at a place known as Valinhos. It was located on the side of the same hill opposite Aljustrel where the angel appeared twice, though a little farther north. At about 4 o'clock, sensing that Our Lady was about to appear, Lucia tried unsuccessfully to get John to fetch Jacinta, until she offered him a couple pennies for the errand. As she and Francisco waited, they saw the characteristic light, a sudden cooling of the temperature and a waning of the sun.The moment Jacinta arrived the Lady appeared."

Altar servers donned in Marian blue preparing to help celebrate Mass at the Blue Army Shrine.

Watch the link below for Cardinal Burke's full homily marking the 4th apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on its 102nd anniversary.

David Carollo, executive director of Our Lady's Blue Army, has been involved with the organization since he was a child. He remembers EWTN foundress Mother Angelica visiting in the early 1980s when the network was just getting off the ground. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited the shrine as well. Over 20,000 people came to see her on on June 13, 1988

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for us!


4. Iceland holds its first funeral…for a glacier…

The week began with a bleak affair Sunday. The country of Iceland mourning the death of a glacier. Yes indeed, you read that correctly. Decrying the impact of global warming, funeral attendees took a two-hour hike ascending the side of a volcano. Near the top, children marked the tragedy by laying a plaque, honoring the original six miles the glacier used to span. Entitled ‘A Letter to the future,' the plaque reads: "This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done,” and then adding the ominous: “Only you know if we did it.”

Say what you will about climate change and our duties to be stewards of God’s creation, but the international news of this country holding a funeral for melting ice—I mean glacier—only sparks to mind their own disregard for life with Iceland’s blatant desire to eradicate thousands of babies who have Down syndrome. According to a CBS study, about 85 percent of expectant mothers in the country undergo prenatal testing—with close to 100 percent of those women choosing to abort—if their child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. The study also found that only two children with Down syndrome are born in Iceland each year.

It was only last year that youth with Down syndrome were dressing up as endangered species in an attempt to get recognized as the same status: endangered. The campaign showed vibrant people with Down syndrome dressed as polar bears, bald eagles, and other rare species who are protected because their very existence is threatened. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s own criteria, those living with Down syndrome across the planet today qualify as endangered. They are the first community of persons to request to be added as endangered.

When will Iceland begin to put as much value on human life as they do on melting glaciers? Can we even begin to calculate how many plaques the eugenic-embracing country would need to mark the lives lost from aborting babies that might have Down syndrome? As we know, prenatal testing is not 100% accurate. And as we’ve heard from people living in our own country with this syndrome like American disability advocate, actor and athlete, Frank Stephens, his life is worth living.


3. Alyssa Milano tells her podcast audience about her decision to have two abortions in the 1990s.

TV actress and abortion activist Alyssa Milano made social media waves again this week on her podcast, Sorry Not Sorry. Monday, Milano spoke openly to her audience about her decision to have not one, but two abortions in the 90s, shortly after leaving her first sitcom “Who’s the Boss.” Milano said she had two back-to-back abortions after she became pregnant due to complications with her birth control. Milano says, “I knew at that time I was not equipped to be a mother, and so I chose to have an abortion,” adding, “It was my choice, and it was absolutely the right choice for me.”

We grieve for the two babies lost by Milano’s choice for ‘freedom’ over the lives she carried in her womb. As Milano talks in her podcast about her current life with her second husband and two children she chose to keep, she seems to embrace motherhood now that it is convenient and comfortable. We as Catholics understand the vulnerability of a woman who faces a pregnancy without a sense of security, without a husband, without a commitment. Milano’s experience takes on another angle: control. Her first words opening the episode: "I'm Alyssa Milano and I've had an abortion. I control my own body.” This is what women’s choice has become, allowing and trusting a doctor to perform an abortion on one’s innermost organs in order to extinguish a living, growing human being, not to mention a soul.

A child is a gift, not something planned or purchased when it makes the most sense in our lives. In this over-sexualized culture that we now find ourselves, true love has now been hi-jacked by passion and promiscuity. Milano said at the time when she was pregnant in the 90s, she was in love, “in the breathless way you can only be in love when you are young. It was huge — overwhelming even. It filled every part of living and it was a joyful and exciting and powerful time in my life." A blaring omission from her speech on love is any mention of trust or fidelity. The words of the Venerable Fulton Sheen come to mind: “When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

The abortion activist also spoke about the impact of her Catholic upbringing on her decision saying, “It was devastating. I was raised Catholic and was suddenly put in conflict with my faith. A faith I was coming to realize empowered only men to make every single decision about what was allowed and what was not allowed.”

Catherine Hadro of Pro-Life Weekly joined EWTN News Nightly Thursday to discuss Milano’s confession of her two abortions, stating that we must pray for her healing. Hadro also points out that statistically, most women who are getting abortions, identify as Catholic or Christian saying, “These are women sitting in our church pews. They are wounded and we need to pray for them.”

Hadro also mentions pro-life organizations like Project Rachel that work to help women suffering with the pain from abortion. Many women are physically injured during an abortion, unable to conceive a child when they ‘plan’ for it. Men also experience anguish and loss over an abortion, often years later, carrying a grief sometimes too old to put into words. We also know the role that thousands of crisis pregnancy centers play in the lives of women facing this challenge. We pray that more women and men open up about their own experiences and seek help if considering an abortion. There is hope, healing, and help!

As we celebrated the Assumption last week and the Queenship of Mary yesterday, it’s a tragedy to hear about Milano’s lack of understanding regarding the profound and unique role we women have as members of the Church, not to mention, mothers to our own daughters and sons. One must only recall the words of all the Catholic saints including St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) who said, “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are,” or Dorothy Day who said: “Women think with their whole bodies and they see things as a whole more than men do.” We can remember the wise words of Saint John Paul II who talked about the “feminine genius.” In his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, the Pope says:

“It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.”


2. Catholic Bob Cousy, former Boston Celtics player, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Hall of Fame Boston Celtics point guard and broadcaster Bob Cousy received the nation's highest civilian honor at the White House on Thursday afternoon in recognition of his accomplishments in basketball and in society. President Trump presided in the Oval Office as Cousy, a Catholic, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, tipped off by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who said it was a long desire of Cousy to be given this esteemed recognition.

Cousy began his basketball career at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, fulfilling an explicit desire he had to attend a Catholic college. Speaking at the ceremony Thursday, President Trump said, “By the end of his collegiate career, “The Wizard of Worcester” was a three-time All-American, and was on his way to being drafted into the NBA,” adding “Everybody was talking about him.” 

After the long speech by President Trump chronicling the former Celtic's life and long-running career, Cousy opened his remarks by saying, “Thank you, Mr. President, for those kind words.  However, if I had known I was going to be eulogized, I’d have done the only decent thing and died for you.” As the audience in the Oval office chuckled, Cousy said, “Yeah, I think I’ve got to — at 91, I’ve got to stop using that line. I think that line — I think the Good Lord has heard it once too often and he’s ready to tell one of his aides, “Hey, I think that sucker wants to come up.” I hope he says “…up with us. Yank him up.”

In the clip of the full ceremony below, Cousy opens up about his life on and off the court, as a coach, gets a bit teary-eyed remembering his beautiful wife of 63 years, and says, “This acknowledgment allows me to complete my life circle,” adding, “I can stop chasing a bouncing ball.”


1. Live Action calls out Newsweek for their bogus reporting on the pro-life organization’s big-tech threats…

As Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action, have been the target of countless online censorship attacks by Twitter, Facebook, and most recently Pinterest, the pro-life group is now being attacked by Newsweek. In a recent article written by Sharon Kann, she claims that the group has no issue with online censorship and goes so far to suggest that it's a ploy by the organization to drum up donations with claims of being targeted by ‘big tech.’ The article was written in response to the Social Media Summit held at the White House just last month wrought on by so many violations by social media giants to censor pro-life content.

Kann writes her piece as an editorial although it claims to use ‘facts’ from liberal watchdog Media Matters, an organization that Kann herself used to play a major role. The organization works specifically to try and undermine conservative groups and targets pro-life groups on a consistent basis. A major sidenote: Kann herself used to work at the organization under the title, “abortion rights and reproductive health program director.”

As we’ve seen with several pro-life groups including March for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and even EWTN News content, social media groups are censoring pro-life information and content. Live Action has even published some of the letters of apology they have received from Twitter admitting the grievance. Now Live Action has been forced to go a step further this week, issuing a ‘cease and desist letter’ regarding Newsweek’s flagrant claims and lies about their organization and its fearless pro-life leader, Lila Rose.  

It’s bewildering to imagine an editorial being written with the title, “No, Big Tech Isn’t Censoring Anti-Abortion Content – Just Look at the Data.” Typically data doesn’t leave too much room for opinion. However Media Matters’ data seems to be very loose since the left-wing group claims an absence of systematic censorship can be proven by Live Action’s high online interaction and traffic. Kann writes: “As abortion rights have increasingly come under attack at the state and federal level, right-wing media continue to dominate the conversation about abortion rights online and in cable news. Republicans have already demonstrated that they will weaponize anti-abortion misinformation to attack pro-choice advocates as part of a broader 2020 electoral strategy.”

This article of course was written about a month after Planned Parenthood held its own forum for democratic presidential hopefuls. I would think that those same candidates would not sign up for a panel sponsored by Live Action. We also know that in most of the debates we’ve seen to-date, the word ‘abortion’ is never even used.

It’s time to stand with pro-life groups like Live Action who work tirelessly to get stories out about the sanctity of life from the moment of conception, bringing true accounts of women who are praying for babies born at 22 weeks, mothers choosing life regardless of what doctor’s warn about her own health, and fostering a community of a new pro-life generation that has been shaped by these new windows to the womb, where life can be seen beating as early as 5 weeks.

I wonder if Kann is a fan of the timeless Dr. Suess: “A person is a person no matter how small.”