Three Million March for Jesus

Even if they have never participated in one, probably all regular visitors to the SBC website know that every January a massive pro-life demonstration, the March for Life, takes place in Washington, D.C. Ordinary people, if not our coastal elites, feminists and others with a leftwing political agenda, know instinctively that innocent human life is destroyed by abortion, feel revulsion at the thought of it, and understand it is morally wrong. As an expression of this ordinary and natural understanding, March for Life has had an important role in 90 percent of U.S. counties now being abortion-free, much to the chagrin of the elites and feminists and their ilk.

Officially, March for Life has nothing to do with religion but everybody knows its backbone is Catholic. It has been from the beginning. I mean the very beginning. As a writer for Triumph magazine I was in the room in the rectory of St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill where and when the organizing meeting for the first march took place. That was mere days after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v.Wade in 1973. No one was present except Catholics.

The meeting was chaired by Nellie Gray, a World War II WAC veteran and attorney whose energy and dedication made her the driving force of March for Life. It was the first time I met Nellie. The last time I laid eyes on her was at the traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Mother of God on the Sunday before a heart attack took her away. She looked drawn and tired. “Worn out,” I thought, “by all she’s done for the babies.”

Nellie had two funerals, a Requiem Mass at St. Mary’s, and a “celebration” with white vestments at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception attended by bishops and priests who wouldn’t want to be seen in the neighborhood of a Latin Mass.

There is also an annual march that takes place in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo. I can’t imagine one like it in the United States. Permits for it could not be issued without the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League and others rushing to the courts to stop it. It has always drawn more participants than we ever see at March for Life, impressive as it is. It is the annual March for Jesus. The one this year, a couple of weeks ago, was the biggest yet. Three million persons turned out. Three million!

The Sao Paulo event is staged by Evangelical Christians, who are now about one third of Brazil’s population, but very many conservative Catholics also participate. Jair Bolsonaro has always been among them, but this year he addressed the vast throng as President of the Republic. It was fitting. After all, it was the Evangelicals, together with the conservative Catholics, who accounted for his election as president last year, freeing Brazil from decades of corrupt Socialist misrule.

I said “among them,” but don’t want to mislead readers. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, is no saint. Like Donald Trump he is twice divorced and now living with his third wife. Also like Trump, who used to back “women’s rights,” Bolsonaro once advocated government birth-control programs for Brazil’s poor.

Men change. Regular SBC website visitors will remember that late last spring President Bolsonaro had Brazil consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Significantly, the prelate he invited to perform the ceremony was the traditional Bishop of Campos where the Tridentine Mass is the norm in all churches of the diocese. One result of this faithfulness to tradition: I’m told that 2,000 regularly turn out for First Friday Mass at the cathedral.

There is good news out of Greece where voters have elected center-right New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis to replace Alexis Tsipras of the leftwing Syriza party as prime minister. Commentators attribute the victory to Mitsotakis adopting a hard far-right position on immigration. This is comparable to what happened in Austria when the center-right People’s Party adopted the Freedom Party’s position on immigration and rode it to victory in the country’s last national election.

There is even good news on the sports front. I know zilch about tennis but hear that at Wimbledon this past weekend both the Rumanian who won the women’s tournament, Simona Halep, and the Serbian who won the men’s title, Novak Djokovic, give witness by publicizing that they are practicing Orthodox Christians.

If I am ignorant of the sport, I do know that the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world is right now under construction at public expense in Bucharest, the capital of Halep’s country.