The Human Life Foundation's Great Defender of Life Dinner October 17, 2003
McFadden, Faith, The Human Life Review
Our Great Defender of Life Dinner
When a member of our Foundation's Board "challenged" us with a suggestion that we host an Event-a fundraiser that would also introduce new people to the Human Life Review, perhaps an Award Dinner-honoring someone who'd helped the pro-life cause-our first reaction was, well, trepidation. A good idea, we thought, but how can we "do" a Dinner? So few of us, so many deadlines. We don't have the time or the know-how, etc. But then we thought of Congressman Henry Hyde, whom our founder (and my husband) J.P. McFadden had dubbed "the Generalissimo"-surely Jim would want him honored for his eloquent defense of life? And wouldn't Jim also want to thank all those who had continued his legacy . . . and wouldn't we want to honor Jim, too? So-in due course-we rose to the challenge, and decided upon a date: October 17th, 2003, exactly the fifth anniversary of Jim's death. Planning began in June, and invitations went out right after Labor Day.
. . . And so it came to pass that our Great Defender of Life Award Dinner was actualized on the evening of October 17th in Manhattan's historic Union League Club, with old and new friends gathered for cocktails, conversation, and dinner. It was a marvelous evening-"magical," as one guest said. The crowning moment, of course, was the presentation by William F. Buckley of the Award to Congressman Henry Hyde, whose presence was something of a miracle, because he'd been debating in Congress till the wee hours that Friday morning, then detained for a vote till 2:20 that afternoon-and at 3 o'clock he was on the train to New York! Mr. Hyde should have been exhausted, but he emanated warmth and energy and his presence was powerful when he rose to accept his award; his words were so beautiful that many of us were moved to tears.
We had also often been moved to laughter, during the "Remarks" that evening: in the following transcript, you'll have to "fill in" laughter and applause.
Our Master of Ceremonies, Edward Capano-publisher of National Review, founding publisher of the Human Life Review, led off and kept the program moving along briskly with style and wit.
Welcome: Edward Capano
Before we get started with the program, I'd like to ask Father George Rutler to give the Invocation.
Father George Rutler:
I'm impressed with how prompt we are tonight and well organized. Evelyn Waugh, whose hundredth birthday will be celebrated next week, said that punctuality is the virtue of the bored. No one could possibly be bored on this day, especially October 17th because many wonderful things have happened on October 17th.
In 1483 the great Pope, Sixtus the Fourth launched the Spanish Inquisition, and he appointed his Eminence, Tomas Cardinal Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor. But on a less happy note, on this day in 1931 Mr. Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion, and in 1979 on October 17, the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
There's one Nobel Peace Prize recipient in this room; that portrait over there, Elihu Root's, 1912. Otherwise, Mother Teresa joins the ranks of such as Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, Desmond Tutu and Rigoberto Manchu, and a woman whose book, Lay Down Your Arms, got her the Nobel Peace Prize and made her name a household word, the Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner. There was one who was not given the Nobel Peace Prize: Pope John Paul the Second, and it is said that that was because of his views on abortion. Some said that anyway. Well, the Pope can manage without any prize. The Pope's not supposed to receive a prize. Jesus Christ was never made a Monsignor, as a matter of fact.
When John Henry Newman was finally-nearly aged eighty-made a Cardinal, Punch magazine had a ditty: A Cardinal's hat for Newman; fancy that. For a Crown o'er the gray temple spread, 'tis the great and good head that will honor the hat, not the hat that will honor the head. …