Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bishops warn against evil "law" which is really an act of violence

"The doctrine on the necessary conformity of civil law with the moral law is in continuity with the whole tradition of the Church. This is clear once more from John XXIII's Encyclical: "Authority is a postulate of the moral order and derives from God. Consequently, laws and decrees enacted in contravention of the moral order, and hence of the divine will, can have no binding force in conscience...; indeed, the passing of such laws undermines the very nature of authority and results in shameful abuse". This is the clear teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who writes that "human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law. But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence". And again: "Every law made by man can be called a law insofar as it derives from the natural law. But if it is somehow opposed to the natural law, then it is not really a law but rather a corruption of the law".

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.

4 comments:

Sanctus Belle said...

Two thoughts come to the surface of my mind as I read this post:

1. We have NO obligation to abide unjust laws (laws that violate the law of God)They are false laws, which we must not ratify or acknowledge as anything more than a crime - in our thoughts, words and actions.
2. The so-called "right to die" as in euthanisia, quickly becomes a "duty to die" and we will see many old and sick feel pressured into choosing their own death in order to save their family money/effort/time/etc. And don't think for a moment that all sons and daughters think first of their parent's wellbeing - many are the adult children who are MUCH more concerned about the inheritance. Euthanasia is a great evil - make no mistake about it.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

This "law," which amounts to an act of violence against human life and society in general, is nothing less than a rejection of Christ Himself.

This rejection of Christ is an anticipation of the reign of the Man of Sin which I believe is at hand.

Ashley Pelletier said...

In India, the Bishops are warning of a master plan to wipe out Christianity:

Orissa bishops warn state leader of ‘master plan’ to wipe out Christianity

Archbishop Raphael CheenathOrissa, Nov 13, 2008 / 04:54 am (CNA)

Denouncing what they called a “master plan” to wipe out Christianity, the bishops of India’s troubled Orissa region have written a letter to state’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik concerning the persecution of Christians at the hands of Hindu extremists.

Conveying their “sincere thanks and appreciation” for his appointment with them, the bishops’ November 10 letter brings several concerns to his attention.

First, the bishops addressed the “exodus of Christians” from Kandhamal District. Noting the “considerable reduction” of refugees in relief camps, the bishops denied that those who leave the camps are returning to their homes.

“Most of them have migrated to relief camps in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jhanla, Berhampur and also settled down in rented houses and in the homes of relations, friends, acquaintances etc. It is estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 Christians of Kandhamal district are living outside the district,” the bishops wrote.

People in the relief camps want to return to their villages, but fear being attacked on their return trip or in the villages themselves. The refugees also fear being forced to become Hindus “under pain of death or loss of properties,” said the bishops, who reported that returnees are being told to convert or leave the village, the district, or even the country.

The bishops’ letter reported the details of such forced conversions, saying Christians are compelled to “accept Hindu Samskaras under oath and under pain of divine punishment.” Christians are also being prevented from harvesting their fields unless they become Hindus, and one man was denied burial in his village because he was not a Hindu.

Further, many of the criminals involved in the anti-Christian attacks are still at large.

Naming several injustices against Christians, the bishops noted that Christians are still being chased away from their homes and villages, and the state government has not fulfilled its promises to allot land and money to those made homeless.

According to the bishops, criminals are still looting and burning Christian homes, churches, and institutions.

The bishops challenged characterizations of the anti-Christian attacks as an ethnic conflict:

“Hindu Fundamentalist groups have been trying to name the communal violence as an Ethnic Conflict between the Tribals and the Pano Christians. A cursory look at facts reveals that this conflict is a calculated and pre-planned master plan to wipe out Christianity from Kandhamal district, Orissa, in order to realize the hidden agenda of Sangh Parivar of establishing a Hindu Nation.”

This agenda has allegedly been furthered by concealing the fact that the attack victims were Christians.

The bishops expressed happiness that the Orissa government has decided to establish a Fast Track Court at Kandhamal to expedite the trials of cases related to the violence. In addition, the bishops requested that the judge of the court should be from a religion other than Hindu or Christian.

Continuing their requests, the bishops asked that the presence of national police in Kandhamal be extended until the parliamentary and assembly elections in Orissa are concluded, citing the State Police’s low numbers and inability to defend themselves.

Finally, the bishops asked that churches be built or repaired by the first week of December, 2008, to allow Christmas preparations to begin and spiritual traditions to be observed.

“This will also help confidence building among the congregations and bury the past quietly as they approach Christmas 2008,” their letter concluded.

The letter was signed by Raphael Cheenath, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar; Bishop of Balasore Thomas Thiruthalil; and Bishop of Berhampur Sarat Nayak.

Michael Cole said...

The culture of death is advancing everywhere. In Australia, unborn children with disabilities are being targeted:

Australian Committee Proposal to Pay Mothers Late Abortion Cost for Disabled Babies Compared to Nazis

By Hilary White

CANBERRA, November 13, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Australian Parliamentary Group on Population and Development has been slammed by Queensland Senator Ron Boswell for holding to Nazi-style eugenic ideology on the abortion of disabled children.

“This revisiting of eugenics principles is repugnant to a society that prides itself on the contribution of all,” Boswell said.

The pro-abortion group had made a submission, signed by 41 Australian MPs, to the parliamentary committee that is examining the issue of abortion in Australia. The group said paying women a Medicare rebate for second-trimester abortions would save the government about $180,000 a year, due to the high costs of caring for handicapped babies who are allowed to be born.

Removing the abortion rebate, the group said, would place “emotional, physical, mental, and financial stress on families, denying women and couples the right to decide if they are equipped to raise a child with disabilities.”

According to Christian Today, so far 7 of the MPs whose names were affixed to the submission have disowned its statements about abortion and handicapped children.

Boswell heavily criticised the submission, saying that its “underlying premise” is based on eugenic principles that governments should prefer to kill the disabled rather than support them. He said it holds that “some lives are worth less than others because they will cost too much to support.”

“This is the kind of thinking that was typical of the Hitler regime. They set themselves up as judge of who deserved to live and who deserves to die.”

In the period leading up to the Second World War, the Nazi government of Germany began to implement its eugenics policies, meant to “cleanse” the German people of undesirable “racial traits.” This meant in practice the killing of those children, and later, adults, considered by the state to be genetically defective. Thousands of children and adults who suffered from mental and physical disabilities were starved and gassed to death and killed by lethal injection.

More recently, the utilitarian eugenics movement has gained popularity in scientific circles that propose to eliminate undesirable traits by killing those unborn babies, and, increasingly, newborns, who are found to be genetically deficient. Utilitarian philosophers and bioethicists like Princeton University’s Peter Singer, openly advocate for the killing of disabled children in the womb and as newborns.

Currently the abortion rate for babies with Down syndrome is estimated to be as high as 95% in many Western countries, indicating that modern utilitarian eugenics is already being implemented on a widespread scale.

This is exactly how the Nazis started. The question now is: how long before a world government declares certain other groups "unfit to live" just as the Nazis did?

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