GLEN COVE, NY — September 8 is the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year, it was the occasion of a great favor bestowed upon the world.
Before September 8, the insurgents in Syria were burning churches, killing priests and nuns, and kidnapping bishops. Elements of the Syrian government killed over 1,400 innocent civilians with poison gas. Secretary of State John Kerry was making sanctimonious speeches that were virtual declarations of war by the United States against Syria. President Obama was trying to find a way to both go to war and not go to war simultaneously. The United States and Russia were both massing fleets in the Mediterranean. Syria was allied with some of America's worst enemies, and the policy of the United States favored the enemies of the Syrian government. American-Russian relations were at the lowest point in a generation. War, possibly world war, seemed inevitable.
On September 7, something remarkable happened in Saint Peter's Square in Rome when 100,000 people gathered to pray for peace on the vigil of the feast of the Blessed Virgin.
During the night of September 7, something remarkable happened in Saint Peter's Square in Rome when 100,000 people gathered to pray for peace on the vigil of the feast of the Blessed Virgin. They prayed the Rosary. They adored the Blessed Sacrament. They listened to the Pope preach about peace. They burned incense. They listened to Scriptural readings. They sang hymns. Most of all, they prayed for peace for four continuous hours. Around the world, millions watched on television and joined in the prayers. Many fasted.
Almost immediately, things began to change. John Kerry was asked if any peaceful way could be found to resolve things. He was unprepared for the question. He spontaneously suggested that Syria surrender its stock of poison gas.
Russia and Syria recognized an opportunity and answered that Syria would surrender its toxic stockpile if the United States would renounce violence against Syria. The Obama administration was not happy with this proposal, but faced with opposition to war from both left-wing pacifists and right-wing conservatives, it reluctantly agreed. On the octave of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin, the world found itself at peace.
The neo-cons are furious. Senator McCain makes almost daily denunciations of peace. The communications media treat this as a victory of Russia over the United States. It is undeniable that Russian diplomacy was far superior to American diplomacy in this confrontation. Russian President Putin's reminder to President Obama that God loves small countries as well as large ones may have been hypocritical, but it was a devastating rhetorical blow.
It is a mistake to think of this outcome purely as a Russian victory or an American defeat. It was a victory for peace and a defeat for war. It was a victory for Pope Francis. It was a victory for the power of prayer. Most of all, it was a victory for the Blessed Virgin Mary as an intercessor.
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2013
by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
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Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the
New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in
many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles
about the law.
See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.
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