They come from small and large families. They include Catholic converts and those with a Jewish socialist upbringing. They even extend to the “reel world.” Apostles of the culture of life are everywhere. Dr. Donald DeMarco’s new book introduces us to the family of men and women—the priests, “celebrities,” and the philosophers—who have built a culture of life. These larger-than-life men, like Ben Stein, and women, like Mother Angelica, impel you to read further. All of these witnesses show us that life and the love of life are the only things that matter.
Scanning the table of contents, I notice that each profile of these pro-life witnesses is only three to four pages long. Win! My short attention span should be appeased.
I started at the beginning, but by no means do you have to do so. Don’t think that you are reading a chronological history of the pro-life movement in any way, shape, or form. You can jump around to your heart’s content in this concise encyclopedia of pro-life believers. I started with the acknowledgments, the forward, and the preface because I had just recently read a book that suggested that, when we skip these pieces, we are missing out on knowing the author better. So why wouldn’t you want to know the mind of the person who created the book you are about to read?
I am glad that I didn’t skip the preface this time! Right away the first jewel jumps out at you: “[Dr. DeMarco] refer[s] to pro-life heroes in this gallery of heroes as ‘apostles’ because their acts of heroism include delivering a message to society that is as vitally important as it is politically incorrect.” Bam! From the beginning, you are shown what you are going to be reading: stories of people who know so deeply that what God has created in the womb is LIFE and that what God has created lasts until its NATURAL END.
This is a great resource for those who want to dip their toes into the lives of many people across many fields. Make sure to read the footnotes in each chapter if you want to fall even more into the past and present of the pro-life community.
What most amazed me were the stories of lesser-known (to me) heroes in the pro-life movement—heroes like Jean Vanier who founded, and lives in, a community for Down syndrome members of society in France. This community has paved the way for people around the world to see the beauty in those with Down syndrome.
I will close with this quote from the inestimable Judie Brown, who is featured in the book as well: “If you can finish this book and remain totally unchanged by what you learn, then you really didn’t pay attention. READ IT AGAIN.”
Apostles of the Culture of Life, by Dr. Donald T. DeMarco; TAN Books; 2018; 296 pages; $16.67 (paperback)