February 29, 2012 ( – Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, one of the Vatian’s highest-ranking officials, received the Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award earlier this month from Catholic businessman’s organization Legatus, along with pro-life activists Dan Zeidler, and Steve and Vivian Koob.


Cardinal Burke, who served as Archbishop of St. Louis before taking his current position as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, has been a consistent defender of the right to life, as well as the Catholic Church’s official policy of not giving Holy Communion to politicians who support abortionist legislation.

The cardinal, who also won the Legatus Defender of the Faith award in 2006, gave a talk on “The Universal Vocation to Holiness and the New Evangelization.” Also in attendance at the February 2 event were former President of the United States George W. Bush, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, and a large number of high-ranking businessmen and politicians.

Burke used the opportunity to comment on the failure of Catholics to uphold the Church’s teachings in public life.

“How many Catholics, instead of giving a strong witness to the truth, which God has written on every human heart, daily scandalize their fellow citizens that is, daily lead their fellow citizens into confusion and error by acting publicly and obstinately against the law of God?” he asked, according to the National Catholic Register.

Award recipient Dan Zeidler, who has labored in the pro-life movement for four decades, is the president of the Family Life Council and the U.S. representative for the Latin American Alliance for the Family (ALAFA). He emphasized the importance of the pro-life struggle in Latin American countries.

“Do you know how Blessed Pope John Paul II referred to Latin America? He called it the Continent of Hope – the Continent of Hope,” said Zeidler in his acceptance speech.

“Do you know that most Latin American countries protect life before birth through their constitutions and other laws – sometimes specifically from the moment of conception? Pro-life people in the United States long for the day when we would have a legal situation like that in our own country!” Zeidler said.

However, Zeidler warned, “these pro-life policies in Latin America are in great danger. In fact, in some areas these pro-life laws are hanging on by a thread.” He urged Americans to “show solidarity with our courageous brothers and sisters of Latin America who are engaged in a battle for life, family and Faith” and to “unite to save the Continent of Hope.”

Steve and Vivian Koob were also recognized for their many decades of partnership in the pro-life movement, as well as having raised eight natural children and five adoptive children, including three special needs African-American children. Their last child died at birth due to birth defects, after Vivian Koob refused an abortion advised by her doctors. As a consequence, she was hospitalized for over 90 days.

The Koobs are the founder of Elizabeth’s New Life Center, which provides health services to pregnant women in the Dayton, Ohio area, and One More Soul, which encourages parents to have more children, and warns them against the evils of contraception. 

“Steve and I feel very blessed that God called us to lead this effort,” Vivian Koob said regarding the award, “but I can honestly say that we share any honor with the volunteers, employees, board and donors who have supported our ministry along the way.”

Related LSN coverage:

* Vatican Official: Bishops Have no Choice But to Refuse Communion to Pro-Abort Politicians
* Vatican Cardinal Burke: In today’s society ‘morality has ceased to exist’
* Dan Zeidler presents president of Chile with award in nationally publicized event
* Cardinal Burke: Attacks on unborn are rooted in ‘contraceptive mentality’
* Catholics Can’t Vote for Pro-Abort Politicians: Cardinal-Designate Burke


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