An international television personality brought an inspiring message of hope to the Canadian pro-life movement when he made an appearance in Brampton, Ont. Oct. 17.
Raymond Arroyo is an award-winning journalist seen in more than 100 million homes weekly around the globe as host and creator of the Eternal Word Television Network’s The World Over Liveprogram. He frequently analyzes life issues, has interviewed some of the leading figures of our time, including Pope Benedict XVI, and is a best-selling author through his biography of the foundress of EWTN, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles, published by Doubleday Books.
Arroyo was in Brampton as the featured speaker for a Dessert Night hosted by the local pro-life organization CHERISH (Citizens Have Equal Rights Including Silent Humans) and sponsored by St. Joseph’s Workshop and the Metanoia Community Foundation.
Arroyo began by noting that in today’s world, there is no doubt “evil is on the loose in a very profound way – in ways we like to acknowledge and in other ways we refuse to acknowledge.” The core of the evil, he added, is that the value of personhood is increasingly being diminished to the point society no longer understands who constitutes a person.
“We can’t draw these imaginary distinctions and say some lives are worth living, some matter and some don’t,” he said. “No, no. (Life) is always valid. It’s always the greatest gift we have. It is our future.”
Evil needs to be confronted, said Arroyo, and as an example of how to do it, he pointed to the late Mother Teresa’s appearance at the 1994 U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, an event at which he was present. Arroyo saw that in the audience were the noted abortion advocates, then-president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. After the diminutive nun took her place at the podium, with her head barely visible, she declared abortion to be the greatest destroyer of peace in the world. The Clintons, Arroyo recalled with a smile, tried to keep their composure and sat stonily “like wax figures in Madame Tussauds Museum.”
With her example, Mother Teresa illustrated “the power of speaking out and the power of one voice and the importance of each of our voices in our sphere of influence,” he said. “We need that voice – all our voices.”
Arroyo went on to paint a ghastly picture of what pro-life advocates are up against. “We have allowed … clean, and in most cases well-scrubbed, out-of-sight, out-of-mind homicide. We have deluded ourselves into believing that because we can’t see the carnage, the bodies piled high, they don’t exist. But they do … I often think if we could see with those spiritual eyes the blood in the streets, if we could see the reality of what we do every day and allow to happen in our countries every day.”
Noting the attacks on life have expanded into other areas, such as euthanasia and embryonic research, he nonetheless predicted that the disastrous 1973 Roe v. WadeU.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, which set the anti-life ball rolling, will be overturned in his lifetime. The legal reasoning in that decision “is so brittle, so fraudulent … It’s ridiculous. It’s a fable. It’s a fiction,” he said. “It’s coming from all areas: the young are killing the old, the old are killing the young. It’s bizarre to me. It’s turning us into something like cannibals. This can’t go on much longer. It shouldn’t go on much longer.”
Arroyo also referred to the example put forth by Mother Angelica as one that pro-life advocates can emulate. As she has been known to say: “Everything starts with one person. God likes to work with weak people like David … and Gideon … I don’t care if you’re 5 or 105. God, from all eternity, chose you to be where you are at this moment in history to change the world.”
Mother Angelica herself has changed the world in many ways by founding the global EWTN empire beginning with literally not a penny in the bank. Arroyo described how she miraculously snared her first $2.5 million satellite transmitter, thanks mainly to a providential, last-second $600,000 donation.
The culture of death may seem insurmountable in the current social, moral and political climate, said Arroyo. But this is not a time for pro-life advocates to retreat, go into a bunker, cry or get upset.
“It’s time to redouble your effort and trust God all the more,” he urged. “As bleak as the picture looks at this moment in time, this (pro-life) side is winning … There are wonderful signs out there that I think we all too often miss. Because, you see, you have the one thing the other side is lacking – life, troops, youth. It’s on your side … There will be legions of young people who will take this message over. It will grow and it will prosper. God willing, in the next couple of decades, maybe the next decade … The important thing is to show (society) beauty, show them joy, show them life.”
“Live out your convictions,” Arroyo concluded. “You show the world and are willing to risk ridicule and abuse … That is what it’s about – living what you believe to the full.”
Arroyo was greeted with a standing ovation at the end of his address and a long lineup of people at the following book signing reception.