Pro-life sources have widely reported that, according to Worldometer, a major site using figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), abortion was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2021.
Worldometer reported 42.6 million abortions last year. By comparison, deaths from cancer amounted to around 8 million and road accidents to around 1.3 million per year. In 2021 WHO attributed 3.5 million deaths to Covid. Deaths from all causes combined totalled 101.5 million people, of which nearly 43 million were unborn children!
These figures are certain not to include early abortions caused by abortifacient drugs, classed as contraception, nor the millions of embryos discarded in the course of IVF procedures; neither are they likely to take into account home abortions, now common practice in many countries, in which abortion pills are available on demand.
Voice of the Family has often highlighted that legalised abortion has killed more human beings (an estimated 2 billion in the last 30 years alone) than all the wars throughout the whole of human history. The mother’s womb — by common byword, the safest place in the universe — is statistically the most dangerous place to be!
If the measure of civilisation is how a society treats its most vulnerable members, then our society is the most barbarous in human history. This is a sobering thought as we embark on this new year and one that should make us act.
We can and should act with practical initiatives. Voice of the Family, with the generous help of our supporters, is in the process of sending a pro-life Manifesto to the world’s bishops, calling on them to use their unique moral power, bestowed by Christ upon His Apostles and their successors before His Ascension, to urgently proclaim the Gospel of Life. The evil we face today is beyond the capacity of the pro-life movement to defeat on its own; in particular, because the pro-life battle is only a part of a much wider and more historic crusade for the restoration of Christian civilisation. This fight can only be successful when the immutable moral laws of the Church are taught and adhered to by her members. When the bishops speak the truth of the Gospel in love, their words reverberate with authority, both in the hearts of the faithful — just as Christ’s words did — and in the hearts of those who do not yet know Christ.
But we can and should also use this new year to finally fulfil Our Lady’s simple requests. Just over a hundred years ago in Fatima, an Angel appeared, with a flaming sword flashing in his left hand: “It gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’”
On the eve of the Communist Revolution of 1917, Our Lady predicted that the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world, causing great suffering, unless Russia were consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. The 20th century saw many atrocities that proved her words true; in the 21st century, a virus from Communist China seems to have changed our globalised world almost beyond recognition. Can we rule this out as a (gentle) reminder that the call to penance has not been taken seriously; that, after a century, offences to God have only increased?
Our Lady showed the three children hell, “where the souls of poor sinners go”; telling them also that more souls are lost because of sins of impurity than for any other reason.
Today, many of these sins are state policy in the most powerful nations. Abortion and so-called “same-sex marriage” — sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance — are enshrined in the national constitutions of formerly Christian nations. Even the Worldometer now confirms that abortion, first legalised in Soviet Russia, is the leading cause of death in the world. Furthermore, throughout the world, countless children are being corrupted by “sex education”, often with the placet of Catholic bishops. These programmes destroy the innocence of children; grooming them for the pornography, contraception and abortion industries; and teach them to doubt that God has created them a boy or a girl.
“Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children: they have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they are gone away backwards.” (Is. 1:4)
How can we return to a way pleasing to God? What would Our Lady say today? Certainly the same thing she said a hundred years ago; when their instructions have not been listened to or have been followed badly, mothers patiently repeat their instructions over and over again. However, the (light) penance requested in 1917 has not really been tried — at least not as a society, nor with the devotion that corresponds to the gravity of the offences.
The true nature of the events that have broken into our daily reality in the past two years may only become clear at some future point. But considering the reality of unrepentant sin in today’s world, it would not seem inappropriate to consider the lockdown of nations, the suppression of public Masses by order of Catholic bishops or the countless other threats to society and to the faith as deserved chastisements. And, in so doing, we would be led to render our Blessed Mother the fruits of repentance so long overdue.
Our Lady has asked us to offer the five First Saturdays in reparation for offences against her Immaculate Heart and in order to bring about the deliverance of mankind from the errors of Russia. Sr Lucy gave the following account, speaking of herself in the third person:
“On 10 December 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her, and, by Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin rested Her hand on her shoulder, and as She did so, She showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which She was holding in Her other hand. At the same time, the Child said: ‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.’
“Then the Most Holy Virgin said: ‘Look, My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console Me, and announce in My Name that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months, confess, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep Me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to Me.’”
In 1939, Sr Lucy further explained the importance of this devotion:
“Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven.”
Let us observe the First Saturdays this year with the intention of making reparation for offences against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as requested by Our Blessed Mother herself. We can do that by:
- Going to Confession;
- Receiving Holy Communion;
- Praying the Holy Rosary;
- Meditating for fifteen minutes on one or more mysteries of the Rosary.
Let us take the opportunity to make of this year a total offering to Mary so that Her Immaculate heart may soon triumph.