It is therefore incredibly appropriate that Pope Benedict's prayer intention for this month is: "That, faced by the growing expansion of the culture of violence and death, the Church may courageously promote the culture of life through all her apostolic and missionary activities."
Courage means, for both Catholic and non-Catholic pro-lifers, not engaging in woolly wishful thinking that fails to oppose Mr Obama's pro-abortion government, naively allayed by his vague election-time promises to find "common ground" with pro-lifers in order to reduce abortions. Supposing Barack Obama supported the killing of, say, Catholic nuns ... Would right-minded citizens feel inclined to accept vague assurances that he would work with opponents of such killings in order to lower their incidence - whilst simultaneously promising to sign into law a draconian measure designed to extend such killings? What is the difference between the humanity and human rights of unborn children and Catholic nuns?
After the infamous Munich agreement in May 1938, Adolf Hitler said that he had no further territorial claims to make in Europe -and then went on to invade and control huge swathes of Europe. Hitler's words at Munich were believed by many wishful thinkers at the time, even though Hitler had set out clearly in Mein Kampf his belief that it was essential for Germany to occupy eastern Europe. Mr Obama has set out clearly his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as his first deed as president, and to reverse the pro-life gains made under the Bush administration - yet some wishful thinkers, Chamberlain-like, remain in denial.
Many Germans of Hitler's time, and many people across the world, will have loved J.S. Bach's Advent chorale Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Sleepers, wake, the voice calls us). This Advent, let's rouse all those people we know are sleeping in apathy to awake and respond to Pope Benedict's call to courageously promote the culture of life.