Sunday, November 16, 2008

Once the reality of God has been eliminated from society...

It was Fulton John Sheen who wrote, "Once the reality of God has been eliminated from society, what safeguard have we for the human person? What is to prevent planners in a technologically advanced civilization from treating human beings as functions rather than as persons? During World War II, Hitler sent men to the famous Bethel Hospital to inform Pastor Bodelschwing, its Director, that the state could no longer afford to keep hundreds of epileptics who were useless to society and who constituted a drain on its resources, and that they had better be destroyed....

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?"


Anonymous said...

I'd like to share the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller with all of you...

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me." - Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Do WE really want to wait until we find ourselves in a similiar situation?

Michael Cole said...

Vatican cardinal: Obama is 'Aggressive, Disruptive and Apocalyptic'

Saturday November 15, 2008

Father Newman (see below) may have at least one big gun on his side, rhetorically if not canonically or theologically. According to the student newspaper of Catholic University of America, Cardinal Francis Stafford, a longtime American in the Roman Curia, on Thursday night painted an apocalytpic picture of the America he sees in the wake of Obama's victory:

His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as "aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic," and said he campaigned on an "extremist anti-life platform," Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture "Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul."

"Because man is a sacred element of secular life," Stafford remarked, "man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person's life cannot ultimately be controlled by government."

"For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden," Stafford said, comparing America's future with Obama as president to Jesus' agony in the garden. "On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake."

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the "hot, angry tears of betrayal" by beginning a new sentiment where one is "with Jesus, sick because of love."

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

"If 1968 was the year of America's 'suicide attempt,' 2008 is the year of America's exhaustion," said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. "In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins."

This destruction and America's decline is largely in part due to the Supreme Court's decisions in the life-issue cases of 1973, specifically Roe v. Wade. Stafford asserted these cases undermined respect for human life in the United States.

"Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic," said Stafford.

Wow. I bet that wasn't the tenor of Obama's chat with the Pope the other day. Then again, lieutenants are there to do the dirty work so the white cassock stays clean.

Anonymous said...

From HLI:
Election Part I: “We Have No King But Caesar”

The following is the first of a three-part series on the 2008 Elections. In the next two weeks we will deal with issues of Culture and Conscience.

Now that the election is over, we can separate the real Catholics from those who just act the part. Those still reeling from the results of the election can rest assured that they are in good company with the saints. Those who have drawn a line in blood and made a decision to stand with the culture of death need a serious examination of conscience. Now look at what we’ve done to ourselves. America has made her “choice” for maximum leader and it is not pretty. In fact, it is one of the most devastating blows to American civilization that we have ever undergone, and I do not speak in hyperbole. Even such a saintly figure as Mother Theresa said that “a nation that kills its children has no future;” likewise, an authority like Fr. Benedict Groeschel recently commented that we have entered into “the beginning of the twilight” of our country—dire words that touch on the reality of electing the most extreme, pro-abortion candidate America has ever had the misfortune of occupying the highest office of our land.

This has happened before though. When the prophet Samuel complained to God that the people of Israel were asking for a king, the Lord God replied that they were not rejecting Samuel but were in actual fact rejecting God Himself, His sovereignty and His authority over them (cf. 1 Sam, ch. 8). He also told Samuel that the people would have to accept the consequences of their wicked desire, and as we know, the craven need to be like the surrounding pagan nations was a bitter pill for them to swallow. The people of Israel echoed that rejection of their God more than a thousand years later when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords stood before them in Herod’s derisive purple robe and the people shouted, this time with vehemence: “We have no king but Caesar!” In essence, we have chosen a Barabbas over Christ—again.

And choices have consequences they say. The consequences of this election will be imprinted upon our national conscience for years to come, one of which is that, by electing abortion extremists to rule over us, both in the Presidency and in the Congress, we have now lost the blessing promised in Psalm 41:1-4—“Happy those concerned for the lowly and the poor; when misfortune strikes, the Lord delivers them. The Lord keeps and preserves them, makes them happy in the land, and does not betray them to their enemies. The Lord sustains them on their sickbed.” It is hard for Americans to imagine that a land so consecrated could be shriven of that blessing. Yet, we have made our sickbed and we must lie in it.

This did not happen, though, without dire and prolonged warnings about the institutionalization of evil. We can’t say we were not warned. When moral persuasion about the killing of innocents did not work, rational science was our witness. When science was ignored and then co-opted for the works of death, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases came to awaken people’s consciences, but these did little better. God then had to allow such an onslaught of terrorism, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes and tsunamis in the past decade that He surely thought we would wake up to the deadly reality of the culture of death and repent. When that didn’t happen, He hit us in the most sensitive spot on the human body: our wallets. The gas price hikes and the recent financial meltdown surely would do the trick, He thought, but apparently that did not work either because our people adamantly refused to be deterred at any price from our lust for abortion and put into office all those who would serve the interests of this unholy agenda for decades to come. Alas, we all need to get on our knees and repent from the very depths of our hearts for the plague that we have just invited onto our beloved nation.

At the same time, my friends, despite the dismal picture, this is a time to thank Almighty God for the gifts of life, love and family that we have been given. It is also the time to seriously engage in efforts to take the culture back so that eventually our politics will follow the growth of a new pro-life culture from the seeds we are planting today.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Ellen Wironken said...

Things are getting really dark out there. Thanks be to God for pro-life people like these Sisters:

Italian Nuns Refuse to Kill Eluana

By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

MILAN, November 17, 2008 ( – The nuns who run the hospice in which Eluana Englaro has been living for 14 years have refused to carry out the court order to remove her food and hydration tube. On Friday, the highest court of appeals of Italy upheld a previous court’s ruling that Eluana Englaro, the young disabled woman who has been in a state of diminished consciousness since being in a car accident in 1992, may be killed by the removal of her food and hydration tube.

In a letter published in yesterday’s Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, the Misericordine nuns of Lecco said, “Our hope, and that of many like us, is that the death by hunger and thirst of Eluana, and others in her condition, will not be carried out.”

“That is why, once again, we maintain our availability, today and into the future, to continue to serve Eluana. If there are those who consider her dead, let Eluana remain with us who feel she is alive. We don’t ask anything but the silence and the liberty to love and to devote ourselves to those who are weak, poor and little in return.”

At the same time, the Secretary of Welfare, Eugenia Roccella, said in a statement today that there is “no obligation” for government-funded health care facilities to implement the decision of the Court of Cassation that patients can be dehydrated to death.

Legal experts have said that it is possible under Italian law for the sisters to apply for permission from the courts to be appointed Eluana’s legal guardian. Monsignore Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International told that such a possibility could be a real glimmer of hope for saving Eluana’s life.

“It’s more than reasonable,” he said, “that someone who wants to keep the person alive should be appointed the guardian, rather than the person who’s ready to kill her. You don’t have to have a doctorate in theology to say that; it’s just common sense.”

Msgr. Barriero, who was an attorney before being ordained to the priesthood, added that it is a basic principle of law that “you cannot have a conflict of interest between the guardian and the person who is under guardianship. The purpose of a guardian is to look after the well being of the person.”

550 delegates of the Movement for Life, meeting in Montecatini for the 28th National Congress of the Centers for Aid to Life, have written to President Giorgio Napolitano to ask him to “enforce his highest moral authority” to allow Eluana Englaro “to continue to be cared for and loved by the Sisters of Lecco.”

Giulio Boscagli, Assessor to the Family and Solidarity in the region of Lombardy in which Eluana lives, agreed with the nuns, saying, “The ruling of the Court of Cassation seems to have lost sight of the reality” that Eluana is not dead but alive, although currently in a “seriously disabled condition.”

The desire of the nuns to care for Eluana as though she is “a daughter,” he said, “is the right path, the path taken by all those who daily take care of people who are in a vegetative state or very seriously disabled.” Boscagli pledged the “closeness and support” of the Regione Lombardia for the nuns.

At the same time, the decision of the Court of Cassation has alerted lawmakers to a legal loophole that could be used to sanction euthanasia. Justice Minister Angelino Alfano said that parliament must “fill the legislative vacuum in place” that has allowed the court to rule against Eluana.

Read related coverage:

Eluana Englaro to Die by Dehydration after Italian High Court Ruling

Anonymous said...

Your Blog posts are really very timely, and accurately depict what is happening in the Church and in society in general. May Our Lady of Prompt Succor assist you in all your needs.

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