One More Soul
Our History, Philosophy, Theology, and Branding
One More Soul (OMS) is an organization founded and maintained by people committed to their Catholic Faith. This Catholic-rooted apostolate was conceived in the minds of Mary Ann Walsh and Steve Koob as a result of their common love for preborn children and almighty God. They realized that abortion and contraception were intrinsically intertwined evils, with contraception being the root cause for abortion. In 1992, they resolved to spend their remaining years helping others understand not just the evil of contraception, but more importantly, the infinite blessing of a child. This article will help you appreciate our purpose in making these educational resources available.
Steve and Mary Ann were both involved in their large families, parishes, and anti-abortion work throughout the 1980s, and began to work together at Dayton Right to Life Society in 1985. Between them, they covered the gamut of pro-life activities— education, legislation, politics, activism and support for abortion-vulnerable women. In 1992, they realized that contraception was the root cause for abortion.1
With that realization, they began the formidable task of finding, developing, and distributing resources for explaining the harm of birth control and the blessings of children. The following year, One More Soul became an Ohio not-for-profit corporation, and received IRS recognition as a tax exempt charitable organization 501(c)(3).
OMS’s first resources were Janet E Smith’s “The Connection between Contraception and Abortion” and Bishop Glennon P Flavin’s, “In Obedience to Christ: A Pastoral Letter to Catholic Couples and Physicians on the Issue of Contraception.” Encouraging articles were beginning to appear, notably by Fathers Charles Mangan and David Meconi, SJ. Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae always resonated well, and has been a constant source of inspiration. Janet Smith’s 1994 Ohio speaking tour resulted in the talk “Contraception: Why Not” which rapidly became One More Soul’s most recognized resource, with over one million copies distributed in a variety of formats.
For the following 18 years, OMS continued to add educational resources for helping people understand and accept God’s plan for chastity, marriage, sex, and children. The “One More Soul” name, and a distinctive logo inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”, emphasize our primary mission— encouraging married couples to be open to life—accepting a child as the supreme gift from God to their marriage. Consistent with this “one more soul” focus is our great variety of resources describing the harm of artificial birth control and the benefits of Natural Family Planning. These resources are widely used by parishes, dioceses, pregnancy support centers, and schools to promote healthy bodies, minds, souls, and relationships. Authentic marriage and real health care are promoted by healthcare conferences and a robust web site—www.OneMoreSoul.com. In 2002, One More Soul, Canada became OMS’s lone affiliate organization, though we would welcome OMS affiliates in other countries and in every diocese.
We promote Natural Family Planning (NFP) by teaching couples and individuals, training teachers, and offering many educational resources in a variety of formats. Our online Directory of NFP-Only Physicians, NFP Teachers, NFP and NaProTechnology Centers for the USA and Canada is very useful for couples, priests, and physicians.
As important as these resources have been to OMS growth and effectiveness, our most valued resource is people— generous donors of intellectual property and finances, capable and loyal vendors, conscientious trustees, and a talented, loyal and sacrificial staff. Except for a brief sabbatical, Steve Koob has been One More Soul’s Director.
One More Soul’s philosophical development mimics that of the founders, and to some extent that of the pro-life movement. The already large number of anti-abortion organizations, including over 2000 centers providing all manner of assistance to pregnant women, frees One More Soul (OMS) to focus on its unique apostolate confronting contraception and encouraging married couples to welcome children. However, Mary Ann’s and Steve’s anti-abortion philosophy remains core to all that we do, as it must for all God’s people. How can we as a nation continue to murder our own children? It wrenches the heart and soul to think that we kill thousands of children every day, over 4000 by surgical abortion and an unknown and uncounted number by hormonal birth control methods, artificial reproductive technologies, and embryonic stem cell research. This outrageous disregard for human life continues in spite of clear evidence that life begins at conception—a fact acknowledged by many who support abortion on demand without restriction.
We believe that abortion will continue as long as contraception is widely accepted. We recognize the anti-life mentality of couples who contracept and abort. All contraceptives do fail— and couples often choose not to use contraceptives; babies happen — then the choice is life or death. It seems obvious that if all those who engage in sexual intercourse (the marriage act—the procreation act) appreciated the blessings of a new human life, there would be no interest in contraception or abortion. Thus, our mission and struggle is finding ways to encourage married couples to accept another child. We are FOR LIFE. We are PRO-CONCEPTION; we are PROCEPTION—the opposite of contraception.
However, we can do nothing worth doing without God. Thus, the next (last?) stop in One More Soul’s philosophical evolution is to recognize and support development of a “sense of God”. A quote from Blessed John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae—The Gospel of Life (21 & 23) confirms this need:
When the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life.(21) . . . [and] inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism and hedonism. Here too we see the permanent validity of the words of the Apostle: ‘And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God. God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct” (Rom 1:28). The values of being are replaced by those of having. The only goal which counts is the pursuit of one’s own material well-being. The so-called “quality of life ” is interpreted primarily or exclusively as economic efficiency, inordinate consumerism, physical beauty and pleasure, to the neglect of the more profound dimensions–interpersonal, spiritual and religious–of existence.(23)2 (emphasis added)
In other words, our efforts to build a Culture of Life will continue to be frustrated until we develop a sense of God and see fit to acknowledge God. Pope Benedict XVI recently echoed his beloved predecessor,
The Incarnation of the Son of God speaks to us of how important man is to God, and God to man. Without God, man ultimately chooses selfishness over solidarity and love, material things over values, having over being. We must return to God , so that man may return to being man. With God, even in difficult times or moments of crisis, there is always a horizon of hope: the Incarnation tells us that we are never alone, that God has come to humanity and that he accompanies us.3 (emphasis added)
The insight of these two great Popes is clear—our efforts to build a Culture of Life and a Civilization of Love—in obedience to God’s Second Great Commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself ”—are doomed without a sense, acknowledgement, and return to God . Obedience to God’s First Great Commandment, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul” is certainly being called for, and raises two questions: How do we expand our focus to include God? Are there bridges between God and Man to assist our refocusing?
Theology—A Sense of God
How can we develop a sense of God? How can we acknowledge God? How can we return to God?
We honor God by our love, praise and worship; we respect and love God by obeying His commands. As Catholics, we honor and show our love for God primarily by our worship service— Holy Mass—the Sacred Liturgy—the Eucharist. Vatican Council II referred to the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of faith and Christian Life. It is at Mass that we receive Jesus in His Word during the Liturgy of the Word, and receive His Body and Blood during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Mass then is our primary opportunity for developing a “sense of God”, and it follows that the Mass must be done as well as possible—in performance and participation. Achieving that end will encourage our submission to all God’s Commandments and enhance our quest for a Culture of Life. (See OMS resources on the Mass, BTSL & BMAS.)
We also show our love for God by directing our prayers of praise, thanksgiving and petition to God, and by recognizing God as love, truth, and beauty—this latter being most evident in creation—especially His creation of human life—ourselves, families, friends and communities. By these activities, we will develop our sense of God, acknowledgment of God, and return to God. In the next section we continue our quest for a sense of God by recognizing several bridges between God and Man, and their relationship to the OMS apostolate.
Theology—Identifying Bridges between God and Man—between the Two Great Commandments
Adjusting our focus to include both God and Man is facilitated by recognizing connections, or bridges, between God and Man: Love, Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary, God’s Genesis Command to be fruitful, and One More Soul. We are all quite familiar with God’s two Great Commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”4 In the First Great Commandment, we are called to place God first in our lives. The focus of the Second Great Commandment is on our brothers and sisters in this world, starting with our own family members and extending to all humankind. As the above Papal quotes indicate, these Great Commandments are connected.
Love is the action word in both Great Commandments, and an obvious bridge between them. “Love” is a complex word, useable as noun, verb, adjective and adverb—a word about which more has been written, spoken, sung, and filmed than any other. What does love mean in God’s language? We need only look to the Trinity, Creation, Redemption, and Truth to recognize God’s love and His gifts that flow from His love. By obeying His Commandments, we return His love. Mary’s words at Cana offer a simple summation—“Do whatever He tells you.”
Jesus Christ—both God and Man—is another obvious bridge. As the Word— the Second Person of the Trinity—Jesus existed for all time. At the Annunciation, the Word became Incarnate (took human flesh) in the body of Mary the Virgin. This special moment in time that we celebrate as the Solemnity of the Annunciation (and Incarnation) resets the ageless, endless, universal clock—a new “big bang” that actually did reset the world’s calendars. That God would come to earth and develop like other human beings in the womb of a mother sends a powerful message about the dignity of every pre-born child, and is a tremendous demonstration of God’s love for all of us, and particularly for those in the earliest and most vulnerable phase of life. The Solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated on the 25th of March (nine months before the Nativity). For many years, One More Soul has joined with a Dayton area parish to offer a special Solemnity Mass with a lecture afterward. We have also planned Tribute to Mary Concerts and Prayers in conjunction with the Solemnity celebration. We are pleased to encourage others to comprehend and celebrate this great event (see KCAI & KLJW). By Mary’s life long connection to Jesus, we recognize her as a part of the Jesus bridge between God and Man.
The GREAT Commandments were preceded by God’s command to Adam and Eve, “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” 5 (Gen 1: 28). This is God’s first command—let us call it the “Genesis Command.” Following the Great Flood, God gave the same command (twice) to Noah and family in Gen (9:1, 7). It is thus abundantly clear that God wants Heaven and Earth to be heavily populated. God’s “be fruitful, . . .” Genesis mandate is a bridge by the very nature of procreation’s requirement for a soul (life-giving principle) from God, sperm from a man, and ovum from a woman. By the Genesis Command, God transfers responsibility for human creation to man and woman. He relinquishes His creative powers to the creative powers given to man and woman in their combined fertility—an awesome gift, an awesome responsibility, and an awesome trust. However, God did not just leave this fruitfulness mandate to chance. He made us with a bias toward that purpose by designing the act of procreation to be both sacred and joyful. By this clever design, God has virtually assured that we would be “fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth”. And the joy associated with the procreation act bonds the man and woman together to provide an optimal environment—marriage—for raising those children who are the fruit of their union. The long gestation time for children, and their much longer time to maturity, calls for a life-time commitment of the parents—to each other, their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. This model for marriage as a life-time commitment between one man and one woman has proven to be the most natural basic unit of society—for the benefit of both Church and state. Happily, many (possibly even most) of the new lives (children) that God allows to be created are welcomed with great joy into a normal family. But sadly, many are conceived outside of marriage, aborted, and even produced in a laboratory—all inconsistent with His plan.
We humbly, yet proudly, believe that One More Soul’s mission of encouraging married couples to accept the gift of a child is yet another bridge between the Great Commandments.
Branding—One More Soul Logos
The “One More Soul” name, and a distinctive logo inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”, emphasize our primary mission— encouraging married couples to be open to life and accept a child as the supreme gift from God to their marriage. The soul is depicted as a spark between the fingers of God and Adam—a spark/soul that leaps from Adam to Eve and from them reverberates through the generations to our own children and grandchildren. In his Christmas 2000 Urbi et Orbi message to the world, John Paul II says this:
Between the finger of God and the finger of man stretching out to each other and almost touching, there seems to leap an invisible spark: God communicates to man a tremor of his own life, creating him in his own image and likeness.
We like to think that the Pope’s beautiful message was inspired by One More Soul’s logo! [I plan to ask him when I see him.] This logo depicts our commitment to the 1st great Commandment.
By the second OMS logo—a simple stick family—we intend to represent OMS’s commitment to the 2nd Great Commandment’s focus on love of neighbor, recognizing the family as one’s first neighbor.
1. The US Supreme Court admitted this connection in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey —
for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.
2. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_ evangelium-vitae_en.html (1995)
3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ hom_20121004_loreto_en.html (2012)
4. Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
5. Some versions have “fertile” rather than “fruitful”, cfex http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_ INDEX.HTM