Sunday, November 30, 2008
Lavoie writes, "Justice John Greaney didn't write the Supreme Judicial Court's landmark ruling making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, but five years later, a passage from his concurring opinion is sometimes used by gay couples in their wedding ceremonies. 'We share a common humanity and participate together in the social contract that is the foundation of our Commonwealth,' Greaney wrote. 'Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend...full acceptance, tolerance and respect. We should do so because it is the right thing to do.'"
Greaney, the son of an Irish immigrant, "said he knew he wanted to be a judge since his days at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, where his professors 'kept stressing that you have to do something with your life and contribute to society and the well-being of others.'"
And Justice Greaney believes that he has contributed to "the well-being of others"? To the common good? The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a document entitled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, had this to say:
"The inevitable consequences of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to homosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties." (No. 8).
Yes indeed, Holy Cross is creating quite a name for itself. Just recently, this institution spent a week promoting homosexuality.
Recall the teaching of Pope Pius XI in his famous Encyclical "On Christian Marriage":
"First of all, let this remain the unchanged and unshakable foundation: Matrimony was neither established nor restored by man but by God. It has been protected, strengthened, and elevated not by the laws of men, but by those of God, the author of human nature, and of Christ who restored that same nature. Consequently, these laws cannot be changed according to men's pleasure, nor by any agreement of the spouses themselves that is contrary to these laws. This is the teaching of Sacred Scripture (see Gen 1:27; 2:22f.; Mt 19:3ff.; Eph 5:23ff.); this is the constant, universal tradition of the Church; this is the solemn definition of the holy Council of Trent, which in the words of Sacred Scripture teaches and reasserts that the permanent and indissoluble bond of matrimony, its unity and strength, have their origin in God."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 1603-1605, explain marriage in the order of creation:
"The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage." The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. "The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life."
God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "And God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'"
Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."
Pray for Justice Greaney and the College of the Holy Cross.
" What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?
"Response: Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church and instituted it as a 'visible and spiritual community', that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. 'This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic. ... This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him'.
"In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen Gentium' 'subsistence' means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.
"It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word 'subsists' can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the 'one' Church); and this 'one' Church subsists in the Catholic Church...
"Why was the expression 'subsists in' adopted instead of the simple word 'is'?
"Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are 'numerous elements of sanctification and of truth' which are found outside her structure, but which 'as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity.'
"'It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.' (For full text see here).
As Fernando Ocariz explains, "Christ founded only one Church his Church — on Peter, with the guarantee of indefectibility in the face of the persecutions, divisions and obstacles of every kind which she would encounter in the course of history (cf. Mt 16:18). Therefore, only one Church exists, which we confess, in the Creed as "one, holy, Catholic and apostolic".
The Second Vatican Council, in n. 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, stated that "this Church, constituted and organized as a society in this present, world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although (licet) many elements of sanctification and truth can be found outside her structure; such elements, as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic unity".
As is well known this famous expression "subsistit in" was subsequently the object of many and contradictory interpretations. The notion became quite widespread that the Council had not wanted to adopt as its own the traditional statement according in which the Church of Christ is (est) the Catholic Church — as was stated in the preparatory schema — so as to be able to say that the Church of Christ subsists also in Christian communities separated from Rome.
In reality, however, an analysis of the Council proceedings leads to the conclusion that "[t]he phrase subsistit in is intended not only to reconfirm the meaning of the term est, that is, the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. Above all, it reaffirms that the Church of Christ, imbued with the fullness of all the means instituted by Christ, perdures (continues, remains) forever in the Catholic Church".
This meaning of the term subsistit coincides with the common language of Western culture and is consistent with classical philosophical language from Aristotle to St. Thomas; that which exists in itself and not in something else is said to subsist.
"Subsisting is a special case of being. It is being in the form of a subject standing on its own. This is the issue here. The Council wants to tell us that the Church of Jesus Christ as a concrete subject in the present world can be encountered in the Catholic Church. This can occur only once and the notion that subsistit could be multiplied misses precisely what was intended. With the word subsistit, the Council wanted to express the singularity and non-multiplicability of the Catholic Church".
In this Document of the Council, the assertion of the subsistence of the Church of Christ in the Catholic Church is followed by the famous phrase about the presence of many elements of sanctification and truth, belonging to the Church, outside her visible structure..." (Read full text here).
This teaching of the Second Vatican Council is rejected by some who consider themselves to be "traditional Catholics." But as Ralph McInerny said in his wonderful book "What Went Wrong with Vatican II": "Once voted on and promulgated by the Pope, a conciliar document is no longer the victory of one side or the triumph of a faction: it becomes part of the Magisterium of the Church."
Those who reject the teaching of the Second Vatican Council really do not understand (or accept) the infallibility of an ecumenical council. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us authoritatively that: "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.... The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself." (No. 891).
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
There are so many reasons to be thankful. There are thousands of reasons on roughly 200 acres of land in Washington, D.C. At a place we call Arlington National Cemetery. Tomorrow, when you gather with family or friends to celebrate God's blessings, please remember the many men and women who died for our freedoms and who will not be celebrating with us.
by Moina Michael, November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission website is documenting attacks by gay activists. Will homosexuals be held accountable for their hate crimes? Don't hold you breath, but take action. Sign the petition calling on California Attorney General Edmund Brown, Jr. to uphold the law (CA penal code 302) against disrupting church services. Vandalism, intimidation, and assault are the weapons of anti-Christian homosexual thugs. Return their hate with love, but be prepared to suffer for Christ."
I couldn't have said it better.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Southern Poverty Law Center operates a Blog entitled "Hatewatch." That Blog may be found here. In the links section, there is a link to another Blog entitled "Pam's House Blend." That Blog may be found here.
Read some of the hateful, anti-Christian comments which are laced with profanity at Pam's House Blend - here. And ask yourself: is the SPLC really interested in exposing hate? If so, they don't have very far to look. It may be found by visiting the links section at their own Blog.
I've said it before, the same radical homosexual activists who continually cry for more "tolerance" are anything but tolerant. This is a spiritual war. The homosexual movement is not a civil rights movement. It is an attempt at moral revolution. An attempt to change people's view of homosexuality.
Writing in the Chicago Free Press, even homosexual activist Paul Varnell admitted this. He wrote, "The fundamental controverted issue about homosexuality is not discrimination, hate crimes or domestic partnerships, but the morality of homosexuality. Even if gays obtain non-discrimination laws, hate crimes law and domestic partnership benefits, those can do little to counter the underlying moral condemnation which will continue to fester beneath the law and generate hostility, fuel hate crimes, support conversion therapies, encourage gay youth suicide and inhibit the full social acceptance that is our goal. On the other hand, if we convince people that homosexuality is fully moral, then all their inclination to discriminate, engage in gay-bashing or oppose gay marriage disappears. Gay youths and adults could readily accept themselves. So the gay movement, whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people's view of homosexuality." (Paul Varnell, "Defending Our Morality," Chicago Free Press, Aug 16, 2000, http://indegayforum.org/authors/varnell/varnell37.html).
In a previous post, I mentioned how Professor James Hitchcock, in his excellent work entitled "Catholicism and Modernity" (New York: Seabury Press, 1979, p. 86), explains the role of the media in this entire process:"The media's alleged commitment to 'pluralism' is at base a kind of hoax. The banner of pluralism is raised in order to win toleration for new ideas as yet unacceptable to the majority. Once toleration has been achieved, public opinion is systematically manipulated first to enforce a status of equality between the old and the new, then to assert the superiority of the new over the old. A final stage is often the total discrediting, even sometimes the banning, of what had previously been orthodox."
Because MassResistance (and other pro-family individuals and groups) have been so successful at exposing the real agenda of the homosexual hate movement, and because many voters haven't bought into homosexual agitprop, the movement has started to become openly violent. Click on the title to this Blog post to see just how violent these "tolerant" people can be.
One Christian, in a statement which may be found here, described how violent homosexual activists became in San Francisco's Castro district:
After just singing and worshiping God for a while, Roger decided that we should all hold hands in a circle and continue singing. So we did...
Someone (Actually a person who came up and hugged and kissed some of us who he knew from the past) convinced some people that we were there to protest against the no on 8 campaign.
Then some guy who was dressed up like one of the sisters (The sisters of perpetual indulgence is a group of men who dress up like nuns and call themselves the spiritual authority of the Castro.) took a curtain-type thing (Which I think they use to curse people) and wrapped it around us.
Then a crowd started gathering. We began to sing “Amazing Grace”, and basically sang that song the whole night. (At some points we also sang “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” and “Oh the Blood of Jesus”.) At first, they just shouted at us, using crude, rude, and foul language and calling us names like “haters” and “bigots”. Since it was a long night, I can’t even begin to remember all of the things that were shouted and/or chanted at us. Then, they started throwing hot coffee, soda and alcohol on us and spitting (and maybe even peeing) on us.
Then, a group of guys surrounded us with whistles, and blasted them inches away from our ears continually. Then, they started getting violent and started shoving us. At one point a man tried to steal one of our Bibles. Chrisdene noticed, so she walked up to him and said “Hey, that’s not yours, can you please give it back?”. He responded by hitting her on the head with the Bible, shoving her to the ground, and kicking her. I called the cops, and when they got there, they pulled her out of the circle and asked her if she wanted to press charges. She said “No, tell him I forgive him.”
Afterwards, she didn’t rejoin us in the circle, but she made friends with one of the people in the crowd, and really connected heart to heart. Roger got death threats. As the leader of our group, people looked him in the eyes and said “I am going to kill you.”, and they were serious. A cop heard one of them, and confronted him. (This part is kinda graphic, so you should skip the paragraph if you don’t want to be offended.) It wasn’t long before the violence turned to perversion. They were touching and grabbing me, and trying to shove things in my butt, and even trying to take off my pants - basically trying to molest me. I used one hand to hold my pants up, while I used the other arm to hold one of the girls. The guys huddled around all the girls, and protected them."
Mass Resistance has posted a video which is most revealing. I challenge the Southern Poverty Law Center (which has done much good in the past exposing various hate groups such as Stormfront and the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire) to examine this video and other documentary evidence and to ask themselves this question: which is the real hate group: Mass Resistance or the homosexual movement in Massachusetts? Christian and Mormon Churches across the United States or the homosexual movement?
I'm confident that, with a modicum of objectivity, the SPLC will arrive at the correct answer. Even if they don't publically acknowledge it.
Related article here.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"It does not take a gift of prophecy to see that humanity is presently polarizing and that all men are beginning to fall into the ranks of accepting either the man-god or the God-Man...Dostoyevsky...knew that atheism had to be associated with the destruction of the old society. There was some suggestion that an overplanned or socialistic society had to be the prelude of an atheistic society...
For the man-god to grow in age and wisdom, two conditions must be fulfilled. The heavens must be emptied, and man must be secularized. Both will be achieved by turning freedom into license. Men will be asked to give up God because His Commandments 'enslave' and because our will often runs counter to His. When finally everyone has his own will and does whatever he pleases, then there will be a chaos due to the conflict of egotisms. It will then be necessary for Big Brother, or the state, to organize this chaos into a closed socialist society and the formulas given by the character, Shigalev, the theorist of the Communism to come: 'Having set out from unlimited freedom, I have ended up with unlimited despotism.'" (Archbishop Fulton John Sheen).
Related reading here.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Future Depends on Love...
is an initiative of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts...An initiative to evangelize on the vocation of marriage.
If you live in Massachusetts and feel called by the Lord Jesus to do your part to promote and defend the vocation of marriage, click on this link to learn how to get involved.
Christian marriage is sacred. In God's plan, the marriage covenant between a man and a woman becomes the image and symbol of the Covenant which unites God to His people (Hos 2:21; Jer 3:6-13; Is 54:5-10). It is the sign of Christ's love for His Church (Eph 5:32). As Pope John Paul II explained, "So often the pressures of modern living separate husbands and wives from one another, threatening their lifelong interdependence in love and fidelity. Can we also not be concerned about the impact of cultural pressures upon relations between the generations, upon parental authority and the transmission of sacred values? Our Christian conscience should be deeply concerned about the way in which sins against love and against life are often presented as examples of 'progress' and emancipation. Most often, are they not but the age-old forms of selfishness dressed up in a new language and presented in a new cultural framework?"
It is important that we all take up the Church's call to promote and defend marriage and family life as sacred realities. At the same time, let's not forget that the single state is also a vocation. There are many men and women who are not called by the Lord Jesus to enter into married life. I am one of these. The vocation to single life represents a heavy cross. Many singles are called to their vocation as shut-ins, invalids or handicapped ones to be Christ's crossbearers to the end. Still others are called to a serving love, caring for a family member who is sick or aged. Still others are called to be lay apostles, evangelizing a hurting and broken world in desperate need of the Good News which is Christ Jesus.
Life in the single state can be very rewarding and very joyful. It can also be very painful. The world (and sadly, this includes many in the Church as well) often ridicules and scorns the single life. Often parents, relatives and fellow parishioners will join in the attack: "What's wrong with you?" "Why don't you get married?" In my own experience, I have often been made to feel unwelcome at my parish. Almost all activities are geared toward married couples and families. Those called to the single state are simply ignored.
It is forgotten that single people have value too. We are not second-class citizens created by God for no purpose. Pope John Paul II said that, "Every human person is called to communion with God. That is why the Lord made us, to know him and love him and serve him, and - in doing this - to find the secret to lasting joy....the Church needs the Gospel witness of holy lay people, in married life and in the single state.."
Do we believe this? Then let's not forget, while promoting and defending marriage and family life, that those who are called to the single state are also members of the Church who have something to contribute.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It was Abraham Lincoln, in a speech given on January 27, 1837, who forewarned: "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."
But Mr. President-elect, we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction. It was Pope John Paul II who taught us, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae [the Gospel of Life] that:
"...If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus soci- ety becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail. Still, in the face of other people's analogous interests, some kind of compromise must be found, if one wants a society in which the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to each individual. In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.
This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part. In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?" When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun.
To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34)." (Evangelium Vitae, No. 20).
Mr. President-elect, you say that President Lincoln possessed a wisdom and humility in his approach to government. And I couldn't agree more. Let's listen then to what he had to say on March 30, 1863, when he issued a historic Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day:
"...it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord: And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.."All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace..."
President-elect Obama, abortion is destroying the very fabric of our society. It is leading to the disintegration of the State. President Lincoln was right. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. Thus far, by ignoring God's Eternal Law which forbids killing the innocent, we have chosen suicide.
This cannot be what you want for this nation. If you would have this nation once-again receive the blessings of Almighty God, then you must recognize that we the American people - just as in Lincoln's time - have become "too self-sufficient" and "too proud" and that, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, we are fashioning our own chastisement.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In so many parishes, these words are forgotten. Or if they are not forgotten, they are not taken very seriously. As so many of these parishes struggle just to keep their doors open, we hear of countless meetings and "Focus Groups" where a bunch of Catholics sit around talking and asking pointless questions instead of getting to the source of the problem. And what is the source of the problem? We have relied too much on ourselves and not enough (if at all) on the Lord Jesus. In our arrogance, we believe we can fix what's broken and resolve any and all difficulties by ourselves. We seek solutions from men rather than from the God-Man Who said, "without Me you can do nothing."
It was Pope John Paul II who reminded us (In his first Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis) that, "Every member of the Church, especially bishops and priests, must be vigilant in seeing that this sacrament of love [the Eucharist] shall be at the center of the life of the People of God, so that through all the manifestations of worship due to it, Christ shall be given back 'love for love; and truly become the life of our souls.' Pope John Paul II further explained in this Encyclical that, "..the Eucharist is the ineffable sacrament! the essential commitment and, above all, the visible grace and source of supernatural strength for the Church as the People of God.."
But is this sacrament of love at the center of our discussions as to how to proceed? Do we consult Our Eucharistic Lord - ever? Most parishes do not have Eucharistic Adoration, perpetual or otherwise. And yet, Vatican II (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests) teaches us that, "..The other sacraments, and indeed, all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate are bound up with the Eucharist and are directed towards it. For in the the Most Blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ Himself, Our Pasch...For this reason, the Eucharist appears as the source and summit of all preaching of the Gospel.."
But we believe we know better. We rely on ourselves rather than on the Lord Jesus Who waits for us in the Holy Eucharist. Mass attendance drops. Parishes close. Let's meditate on the prophecy which was given to Ezekiel:
"I myself will pasture my sheep. I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal." (Ezekiel 34: 15-16). Who will we put our trust in: blind men who would lead us into a ditch or the Lord Jesus Who promises us that He will lead us, guide us, heal us, bring us back to His fold and into His loving arms? So-called "experts" and "pastoral planning committees" or Our Eucharistic Lord?
"Sophisticated Catholics" (read Catholics who have succumbed to secularism and who no longer believe in supernatural realities) will no doubt accuse me of being "ignorant," "unstable," or "too simplistic." But I will be in good company. The Cure of Ars - St. Jean Vianney - was likewise dismissed. Some of his fellow priests, envious of his success, approached the Bishop and accused him of being "overly zealous," "ignorant," and even "deranged." To which His Excellency replied: "I wish, gentlemen, that all my clergy had a touch of the same madness."
The Cure of Ars relied on the Lord Jesus and not himself. More than two hundred years later, we remember his name and legacy with reverence. But we cannot recall the names of his "more sophisticated" contemporaries. This because St. Jean Vianney lived out the Scriptural truth that "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13) but without Him I can do nothing.
Which is it to be: shall we continue to rely on ourselves or will we instead approach Our Eucharistic Lord and cast our troubles and concerns on Him? Shall we have victory or shall we continue down the sorry road we have been traveling?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
When the Communists swept from northern to southern China, one of our large leper colonies in charge of sisters was seized by the Communists. The Communists called them all together, told them that they had been poorly cared for by the sisters and not well fed. From now on, under the Communist regime, they would have a banquet every day. They were all told to go into the common dining room. They went in, the doors were locked, the Communists set fire to the building, and all were burned. If there is no authority beyond public authority, then there is no one to whom I can appeal against its pressure. The authority then becomes the one who is strongest..This is one of the reasons why a purely secular society produces martyrdom, which witnesses to the existence of authority. Once this authority is denied, nothing can prevent the secular state from affirming with Pilate, 'Dost thou not know that I have power to crucify thee?'" (Fulton J. Sheen, Morticians of God and the Future of Humanity).
Vatican II teaches us that children are really the supreme gift of marriage and that they contribute in their own way to making their parents holy: "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. The God Himself Who said, "it is not good for man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18) and "Who made man from the beginning male and female" (Matt. 19:4), wishing to share with man a certain special participation in His own creative work, blessed male and female, saying: "Increase and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior. Who through them will enlarge and enrich His own family day by day." (Gaudium et Spes, No. 50). And yet, all too often, materialistic and selfish attitudes often deny the value of the child while asserting (if only implicitly) "Dost thou not know that I have power to crucify thee?" And so, innocent unborn children who are deemed "useless" or "a drain on resources" are destroyed.
Pope John Paul II warned us that, "Disregard for the sacred character of life in the womb weakens the very fabric of civilization; it prepares a mentality, and even a public attitude, that can lead to the acceptance of other practices that are against the fundamental rights of the individual..."
This is precisely what happened in Nazi Germany. Dr. Leon Alexander, a psychiatrist at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, once explained how the Third Reich came to devalue all human life: "The beginnings were at first merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted, and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which this entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude toward the nonrehabilitable sick."
Archbishop Sheen warned us long ago that once the reality of God has been eliminated from society, there is no safeguard for the human person. Will we remain silent? If so, what will we say when a secularized state next says to us, "Dost thou not know that I have power to crucify thee?"
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"Von Campe says he sees spiritual parallels among Americans and his childhood Germany.
'The silence from our pulpits regarding the moral collapse of American society from within is not very different from the silence that echoed from the pulpits in Germany toward Nazi policies," he explains. "Our family lived through the Nazi years in Germany, an experience typical of millions of Europeans regardless of what side they were on. We paid a high price for the moral perversions of a German government, which excluded God and His Commandments from their policies. America must not continue following the same path to destruction, but instead heed the lessons of history and the warning I am giving.'"
Recall my previous posts on this subject and the warning issued by Congressman Paul Broun.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is one pastor who appears to have succumbed to such a legalism. In a CNS article entitled "Cardinal says ‘Humanae Vitae’ cut off Church from many people," John Thavis writes, "Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the 1968 encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’ (‘Of Human Life’) has cut off the Church from many people who most need its advice about human sexuality. The encyclical, which taught that artificial birth control was morally wrong, caused a large number of people to stop taking the church’s views into serious consideration..’Many have distanced themselves from the church, and the church from the people. Serious damage was done,’ he said..." Mr. Thavis then quotes the Cardinal as having said that, "Today we have a broader horizon in which to confront the questions of sexuality. The needs of confessors and young people, too, need much more attention. We cannot abandon these people.."
The Cardinal’s solution? The Church should adopt "a new vision" and indicate "a better way" than it did in Humanae Vitae. If the Church were to jettison its teaching on the sinfulness of artificial contraception (or at least its emphasis on "prohibitions"), the Cardinal assures us Mother Church would "regain credibility and competence." To which he added, "Knowing how to admit one’s errors and the limitations of one’s previous viewpoints is a sign of greatness of soul and confidence." According to His Eminence, the Church should take a positive approach to human sexuality, with less emphasis on prohibitions.
However, as Dr. Grisez reminded his listeners at the Philadelphia symposium, "During the twentieth century, pastoral treatment of repetitious sins through weakness - especially masturbation, homosexual behavior, premarital sex play and contraception within marriage - grew increasingly mild. Pastors correctly recognized that weakness and immaturity can lessen such sins’ malice. Thinking legalistically, they did not pay enough attention to the sins’ inherent badness and harmfulness, and they developed the idea that people can freely choose to do something that they regard as a grave matter without committing a mortal sin. This idea presupposes that in making choices people are not responsible precisely for choosing what they choose. That presupposition makes sense within a legalistic framework, because lawgivers can take into account mitigating factors and limit legal culpability. But it makes no sense for morality correctly understood, because moral responsibility in itself is not something attached to moral acts but simply is moral agents’ self-determination in making free choices. Repetitious sinners through weakness also were handicapped by their own legalism. Not seeing the inherent badness of their sins, they felt that they were only violating inscrutable rules. When temptation grew strong, they had little motive to resist, especially because they could easily go to confession and have the violation fixed. Beginning on Saturday they were holy; by Friday they were again sinners. This cyclic sanctity robbed many people’s lives of Christian dynamism and contributed to the dry rot in the Church that became manifest in the 1960s, when the waves of sexual permissiveness battered her."
Dr. Grisez goes on to explain that, "Pastors free of legalism will teach the faithful how sin makes moral requirements seem to be alien impositions, help them see through this illusion, and encourage them to look forward to and experience the freedom of God’s children, who rejoice in the fruit of the Spirit and no longer experience the constraint of law..They will explain that while one sometimes must choose contrary to positive laws and cannot always meet their requirements, one always can choose in truth and abide in love. They will acknowledge the paradox of freedom - that we seem unable to resist freely choosing to sin - the paradox that Saint Paul neatly formulates: ‘I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate’ (Romans 7:15). But they also will proclaim the liberating power of grace, and help the faithful learn by experience that when one comes to understand the inherent evil of sin and intrinsic beauty of goodness, enjoys the support of a community of faith whose members bear one another’s burdens, begs God for His help, and confidently expects it, then the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead raises him from his sins, and he discovers that with the Spirit’s grace one can consistently resist sin and choose life."
Cardinal Martini’s legalism is not a help to the faithful. It offers nothing positive to those who seek to live an authentic Christian life. And his belief that a "more pastoral perspective" regarding contraception would entail "less emphasis on prohibitions" is all the more alarming since contraception is anti-life. It was Pope John Paul II, in a homily given during a Mass for youth in Nairobi, Kenya, who pointed out that, "..anti-life actions such as contraception and abortion are wrong and are unworthy of good husbands and wives."
Additionally, the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly proclaims, along with Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, that contraception, described as every action, which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, during its accomplishment, or in the development of its consequences, proposes either as end or means to impede procreation, "is intrinsically disordered" (2370).
I believe, with Pope John Paul II, that contraception is an anti-life action. And I believe that the legalistic approach to sin has failed miserably. It has not created saints. Rather, it has contributed greatly to the belief (held by so many of the faithful) that Church teaching is merely a set of rules and regulations. Which makes understanding Cardinal Martini that much more difficult.
I will pray for him.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Now the first and most immediate application of this teaching concerns a human law which disregards the fundamental right and source of all other rights which is the right to life, a right belonging to every individual. Consequently, laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law. It might be objected that such is not the case in euthanasia, when it is requested with full awareness by the person involved. But any State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people. Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.
Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. "They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live" (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: "the midwives feared God" (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for "the endurance and faith of the saints" (Rev 13:10).
In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".
A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.
The passing of unjust laws often raises difficult problems of conscience for morally upright people with regard to the issue of cooperation, since they have a right to demand not to be forced to take part in morally evil actions. Sometimes the choices which have to be made are difficult; they may require the sacrifice of prestigious professional positions or the relinquishing of reasonable hopes of career advancement. In other cases, it can happen that carrying out certain actions, which are provided for by legislation that overall is unjust, but which in themselves are indifferent, or even positive, can serve to protect human lives under threat. There may be reason to fear, however, that willingness to carry out such actions will not only cause scandal and weaken the necessary opposition to attacks on life, but will gradually lead to further capitulation to a mentality of permissiveness.
In order to shed light on this difficult question, it is necessary to recall the general principles concerning cooperation in evil actions. Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12).
To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty; it is also a basic human right. Were this not so, the human person would be forced to perform an action intrinsically incompatible with human dignity, and in this way human freedom itself, the authentic meaning and purpose of which are found in its orientation to the true and the good, would be radically compromised. What is at stake therefore is an essential right which, precisely as such, should be acknowledged and protected by civil law. In this sense, the opportunity to refuse to take part in the phases of consultation, preparation and execution of these acts against life should be guaranteed to physicians, health-care personnel, and directors of hospitals, clinics and convalescent facilities. Those who have recourse to conscientious objection must be protected not only from legal penalties but also from any negative effects on the legal, disciplinary, financial and professional plane." (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, Nos. 72-74).
Make no mistake, this "law" is really a rejection of Christ. How so? Recall what Pope John Paul II said in No. 104 of Evangelium Vitae: "It is precisely in the 'flesh' of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ. This is the fascinating but also demanding truth which Christ reveals to us and which his Church continues untiringly to proclaim: 'Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me' (Mt 18:5); 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me' (Mt 25:40).
This merits chastisement. There is really no use in denying this. Our Lord told Theresa Neumann: "I have warned them and have postponed , as I did with Sodom, but Sodom would not listen to Me, nor do the people listen to Me nowadays, nor heed My warnings; therefore they will incur the sad experience of My wrath which they deserve." Rev. Dr. E. Sylvester Berry prophesied that, "Lifting his hand to heaven the angel calls upon the God of all creation to witness the truth of his words that time shall be no more. This does not mean that the end of the world is at hand, but that the time for judgment against obstinate sinners and persecutors has arrived. This judgment shall be the great persecution of Antichrist and its attendant evils. Then shall be accomplished the 'mystery of God' which has been announced (evangelized) by the prophets of old. To evangelize is to announce good tidings, hence this 'mystery of God' is probably the plenitude of the Redemption applied to ann nations of the earth. After the destruction of Antichrist and his kingdom all peoples shall accept the Gospels and the Church of Christ shall reign peacefully over all nations."
This is not a message of "doom and gloom." The authentic Christian knows full well that God is in charge and that He has already defeated Satan. However, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear (for those who aren't spiritually blind or who reject any notion of the supernatural): "Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.
My good friend Sanctus Belle has posted a beautiful prayer invoking Mary's tears. It may be found here. Sanctus' Blog (Our Lady's Tears) is wonderful and has some of the most beautiful artwork I've seen at any Blog. Her posts are orthodox and she is just amazing in every way. The link to her Blog may be found on my sidebar.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
What we ought to enquire into, however, is the nature of this contempt. There are, of course, fine shades of distinction that analysis ought to bring out: but is there any essential difference between the attitude of someone like Goebbels, for instance, and that of a chief of Communist propaganda? In both cases we are faced with a radical and cynical refusal to recognize the competence of individual judgment, an impatience with what appears, from this point of view, the intolerable presumptuousness of the individual. It is also broadly noteworthy that even the sense of truth cannot fail gradually and unconsciously to be destroyed in those who assume the task of manipulating opinion. It would require a very uncommon degree of simple-mindedness in a professional propagandist for him to remain very long convinced that his truth was the whole truth. Such simple-mindedness is only conceivable in a fanatic." (pp. 50-51).
We witness such a fanaticism in Rudolf Hess, who became deputy leader of the Third Reich, and who said: "It was granted to me for many years of my life to live and work under the greatest son whom my nation has produced in the thousand years of its history. Even if I could I would not expunge this period from my existence. I regret nothing. If I were standing once more at the beginning I should act once again as I did then, even if I knew that at the end I should be burnt at the stake. No matter what men do, I shall one day stand before the judgment seat of the Almighty. I shall answer to him, and I know that he will acquit me."
For such a fanatic, the State is beyond criticism. Its realm is utterly sacred. And even if one should have convictions which run counter to those of the State, these must be subordinated to the State. Hermann Goring expressed this belief when he said, "I have no conscience! Adolf Hitler is my conscience!" and "It is not I who live, but the Fuhrer who lives in me."
As Dusty Sklar notes, "In the suggestible state, the proselyte may attribute divine powers to his leader and accept dogmas which he might have rejected in a more normal state [see here for example]. Some of the men closest to Hitler, for example, acknowledged that they believed in his divinity. Himmler's masseur, Felix Kersten, relates that he once answered the phone and heard Hitler's voice before passing the phone on to Himmler, who exclaimed" 'You have been listening to the voice of the Fuhrer, you're a very lucky man.' Himmler told Kersten that Hitler's commands came 'from a world transcending this one.' and that they should be 'saved' by 'a figure of the greatest brilliance' which had 'become incarnate' in Hitler's person." (The Nazis and the Occult, p. 157).
Even intelligent people are not immune from the desire to conform. As Sklar notes, "We 'catch' ideas, too, because we want to be like others, particularly when we want not to be our despised selves. If we're satisfied, we don't need to conform, but if we're not, we imitate people whom we admire for having greater judgment, taste, or good fortune than we do. Obedience itself is a kind of imitation. Through conformity, the person who feels inferior is in no danger of being exposed. He's indistinguishable from the others. No one can single him out and examine his unique being. Conformity, in turn, sets him up to be further canceled out as an individual, to have no life apart from his collective purpose. This gives a movement tremendous power over the individual...Hoffer [Eric Hoffer] observes: 'Above all, he [the true believer] must never feel alone. Though stranded on a desert island, he must still feel that he is under the eyes of the group. To be cast out from the group should be equivalent to being cut off from life. This is undoubtedly a primitive state of being, and its most perfect examples are found among primitive tribes. Mass movements strive to approximate this primitive perfection, and we are not imagining things when the anti-individual bias of contemporary mass movements strikes us as a throwback to the primitive.'" (Dusty Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult, citing Eric Hoffer, p. 158).
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Interestingly, as Dusty Sklar notes in her book "The Nazis and the Occult," "German youth had always been highly organized. In the Weimar Republic some 4.5 million boys and girls under twenty-one were members of organizations connected with the National Board of German Youth Associations. Under Hitler, the youth movement became a holy crusade. By the end of 1934, the Hitler Youth included 6 million members, ranging in age from ten to eighteen...Parents and church groups were in jeopardy if they failed actively to support the Hitler Youth, so that eventually all the young in Germany, according to the contemporary observer, Stephen H. Roberts, were 'stamped into the same mould' and emerged 'as unquestioning automata, physically fit and mental sponges for the official Hitler hero-worship,' with the slogan 'Command and we follow...the standard is more than death'...The brainwashing actually began in the cradle. Even the fairy tales read to babies instilled the propaganda that the Fuhrer had been sent from heaven to kill the wicked enemy who was eager to devour little children...The system of indoctrination was perfect. At ten, each boy joined the Young Folk: and each girl, the Union of German Maidens. They received uniforms and took a pledge to devote their lives to the Fuhrer. His will was to be their will. Hitler knew well how to accomplish this:
"This youth learns nothing else than to think German, to act German, and if these boys enter our organization at the age of 10,...then 4 years later they come from the Jungfolk into the Hitler Youth, and we keep them there for another 4 years, and then we certainly don't give them back into the hands of the originators of our old classes and estates, but take them straight into the party, into the Labour Front, the SA or the SS, the NSKK, and so on. And if they are there for another 2 years or a year and a half and still haven't become complete National Socialists, then they go into the Labour Service and are polished for another 6 or 7 months, all with a symbol, the German spade. And any class consciousness or pride of status that may be left here and there is taken over by the Wehrmacht for further treatment for 2 years, and when they come back after 2, 3, or 4 years, we take them straight into the SA, SS, and so on again, so that they shall in no case suffer a relapse, and they don't feel free again as long as they live...'" (The Nazis and the Occult,pp. 109-110).
Friday, November 07, 2008
Where have we heard this before? It was Adolph Hitler, writing about the creation of the Gestapo, who said: "An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation..We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland." And what was this "evil" Hitler spoke of? For Hitler, the Jewish People were an evil which needed to be eradicated. But it was not just the Jewish People who were viewed as "evil" by the Third Reich. But anyone who was deemed ideologically unsuitable. As Patrick mentioned in the comments section of the previous Blog post here at La Salette Journey, Dr. Leon Alexander, a psychiatrist at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, once explained how the Third Reich came to devalue ALL human life:
"The beginnings were at first merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted, and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which this entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude toward the nonrehabilitable sick."
Why do we suddenly need a civilian national security force? Is this desire for civilian security force connected in any way with the creation of civilian internment camps here in the United States?
It was my good friend of happy memory, Father Vincent P. Miceli, who said, "..St. Peter relates that he saw the evil spirits 'being drawn by infernal ropes into the pit of hell.' The attempt to rule heaven without God ended in enslavement in hell without rule, heaven or God. On the other hand, the faithful spirits won both heaven and the direct presence of God. 'For to serve God is to reign'...The same lesson is horrifyingly clear throughout all sacred and profane history: Whoever strikes against God strikes down himself. The atheist denying God degrades himself. The atheist exalting himself above God sinks below the level of animate and inanimate beings. Liberation from God is enslavement in creatures. Absolute humanism is the sure road to absolute despotism. Denial of God as truth begets the imprisonment of man in the self-imposed darkness of his own myths. Flight from total dependence on God guarantees for man the utter loss of his freedom in a brutal enslavement either to sheer anarchy or to the tyrant who must eventually arise to impose upon the chaos of limitless human liberty the artificial, inhuman order of the concentration camp." In the words of Pope Benedict XVI in a keynote address of the Fourth Bishops' Workshop of the National Catholic Bioethics Center on "Moral Theology Today: Certitudes and Doubts," - given in February of 1984: "Only at the price of ignoring what is precisely human could the question of morality be analyzed in the ordinary way of human knowing. The fact that this is actually being attempted in various quarters today is the great inner threat to mankind today. The tree of knowledge, from which man eats in this case, does not give the knowledge of good and evil, but rather blinds man to discerning the difference between them. Man will not return to paradise through such blindness, because it is not based on a purer humanity but on the rejection of humanity."
Eventually this "inner threat" manifests itself externally: in the concentration camp (which might be euphemistically referred to as a "civilian internment camp"), in torture and in mass-genocide. But first it is necessary to demonize those ideologically unwanted people one wants to silence (or worse). Such people must be cast in the most negative light possible. They must be labelled as being somehow "backward" or "obsolete." They must be portrayed as people who are delusional and even perhaps dangerous. One might say something like the following to begin to raise public opinion against such ideologically unwanted people: "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest [read Bible-belt], the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." (See here).
Related reading here.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
When I was a student in a German gymnasium and thirteen years old, I learned a lesson that I have not forgotten...One early morning our physics teacher placed a telescope in the school yard to show us a certain planet and its moons. So we stood in a long line, about forty of us. I was standing at the end of the line, since I was one of the smallest students. The teacher asked the first student whether he could see the planet. No, he had difficulties, because he was nearsighted. The teacher showed him how to adjust the focus, and that student could finally see the planet and the moons. Others had no difficulty; they saw them right away. The students saw, after a while, what they were supposed to see. Then the student standing just before me - his name was Harter - announced that he could not see anything. 'You idiot,' shouted the teacher, 'you have to adjust the lenses.' The student did that and said after a while, 'I do not see anything, it is all black.' The teacher then looked through the telescope himself. After some seconds he looked up with a strange expression on his face. And then my comrades and I also saw that the telescope was nonfunctioning; it was closed by a cover over the lens. Indeed, no one could see anything through it.'
Muller-Hill reports that one of the docile students became a professor of philosophy and director of a German TV station. 'This might be expected,' he wickedly comments. But another became a professor of physics, and a third a professor of botany. The honest Harter had to leave school and go to work in a factory. If in later life he was ever tempted to question any of the pronouncements of his more illustrious classmates, I am sure he was firmly told not to meddle in matters beyond his understanding.'" (pp. 156-157).
Do we honestly believe that this herd mentality is not to be found throughout our society and even in the Church? If so, we deceive ourselves. Pope Benedict XVI has warned of a liberal notion of conscience which is nothing less than a retreat from truth. In a keynote address of the Tenth Bishops' Workshop of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, on "Catholic Conscience: Foundation and Formation," he says that liberalism's idea of conscience is that: "Conscience does not open the way to the redemptive road to truth - which either does not exist or, if it does, is too demanding. It is the faculty that dispenses with truth. It thereby becomes the justification for subjectivity, which would not like to have itself called into question. Similarly, it becomes the justification for social conformity. As mediating value between the different subjectivities, social conformity is intended to make living together possible. The obligation to seek the truth terminates, as do any doubts about the general inclination of society and what it has become accustomed to. Being convinced of oneself, as well as conforming to others, is sufficient. Man is reduced to his superficial conviction, and the less depth he has, the better for him."
Is there really any difference between Harter's classmates, who insisted that they could see a planet and its moons when such was impossible, and those who succumb to social conformity and insist that an unborn baby is not really a human being when all the scientific evidence suggests otherwise?
Where will radical subjectivism ultimately lead us? It was Romano Guardini [in his classic The Lord, p. 513] who reminded us that: "One day the Antichrist will come: a human being who introduces an order of things in which rebellion against God will attain its ultimate power. He will be filled with enlightenment and strength. The ultimate aim of all aims will be to prove that existence witout Christ is possible - nay rather, that Christ is the enemy of existence, which can be fully realized only when all Christian values have been destroyed. His arguments will be so impressive, supported by means of such tremendous power - violent and diplomatic, material and intellectual - that to reject them will result in almost insurmountable scandal, and everyone whose eyes are not opened by grace will be lost. Then it will be clear what the Christian essence really is: that which stems not from the world, but from the heart of God; victory of grace over the world; redemption of the world, for her true essence is not to be found in herself, but in God, from whom she has received it. When God becomes all in all, the world will finally burst into flower."
Related reading here.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Which is exactly where we find ourselves today. A radical subjectivism has taken hold of American culture and jurisprudence. And the consequences have proven disastrous. The U.S. Supreme Court, crippled by this radical subjectivism, has consistently repudiated challenges to its infamous Roe v. Wade decision. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy asserted that, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
But Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, No. 20, warned of the dangers to the weak and vulnerable which arise from such a philosophy: "To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others."
Senator Obama and his supporters do claim a right to abortion and do recognize that right in law. And they know full well that this election is critical to their radical agenda which is committed to a perverse notion of "liberty." An idea of "freedom" which insists upon "absolute power over others and against others." In a statement released on the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Senator Barack Obama said that, "With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women's fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election." (Full statement here).
What is really at stake is the soul of this nation. Gaudium et Spes, No. 51 of the Second Vatican Council teaches clearly that, "..God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore, from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes."
Will we honor the ministry which the Lord of life has conferred upon us? Will we defend human life? Will we safeguard the weak and the vulnerable? Or will we opt for a radical subjectivism which first denies the sanctity of human life in the womb and eventually culminates in the denial of the sanctity of human life through all its stages*?
As we make our choice this election, let's remember the warning of Fr. Vincent Miceli: "When man becomes God, history testifies that then millions of men become imprisoned slaves, terrified automatons and murdered corpses. Society, in the words of Gabriel Marcel, becomes a ‘termite colony.’" (The Gods of Atheism, p. 463).
* "..the Nazi extermination programme began with the elderly, the sick, the mentally ill...Rabbi Cooper said that the killing of the disabled was a kind of training ground for the Nazi regime to 'fine-tune' its 'technology of death.'" (Read full text here).
* The parents of Terri Schiavo suffered as she was murdered by court-ordered starvation. Read here.
Related reading here.