Pasted below are a few selected articles that appeared in the printed pages of Christ or Chaos between June of 2000 and early-2001:
Relativism Is Everywhere
by Thomas A. Droleskey
October 23, 2000
Each of us knows how relativism controls practically every single aspect of our social life. We know that contraception, abortion, euthanasia, divorce and remarriage without a decree of nullity, pornography, sodomy, sex instruction, and a host of other evils are founded in relativism. However, there are many hidden ways in which relativism has manifested itself quite insidiously in our national life.
Relativism may be defined as the belief that there are no absolute truths that exist in the nature of things and bind all human consciences at all times. Relativists believe that both morality and reality are relative to the individual person, dependent upon the circumstances of time, place, and the motives of individuals. Reality and morality are culture-bound. Different people in different cultures can have different beliefs and values, all of which contain equal possibilities of being true. Socrates himself debated with the relativists of his own day, the Sophists, who contended that man is the measure of all things and that all things are negotiable. Socrates quite adeptly pointed out that the Sophists (the forerunners of our modern relativists) believed in a complete and total absurdity: the very belief that nothing is absolutely true is itself an absolute belief and thereby a contradiction of their self-serving contention that nothing is true.
Nevertheless, relativism is the basis of American education, both public and (in many instances) parochial. The goal of outcome-based education, for example, is to empty academic subjects of objective content. Educators must reaffirm the “self-esteem” of their students by refraining from correcting any errors they might make in spelling or grammar or mathematics or history or geography. Objectively incorrect errors must be called “creative answers” derived by imaginative pupils (who must be praised for their originality). Students so indemnified from correction of their mistakes come to believe that there is nothing they can do that is wrong, especially concerning their personal moral conduct. It is, sadly, the case that by the time most of those students arrive at college, they actually come to resent any professor who dares correct anything they do. That attitude is carried over into the workplace once students graduate from college, causing all manner of conflicts with employers who demand that their employees actually know things pertinent to their field of employment.
However, some of the seemingly more intelligent graduates of outcome-based and ideologically based education programs wind up planning and administering corporate programs and policies that are based in relativism. Indeed, the New Age movement (which is relativistic) controls much of the ambiance of the workplace in corporate America today. Reality is what the company says it is. That Orwellian construct, which relies upon mind-numbed robots who have been robbed of their capacity to rationally and logically think their way through to conclusions, is designed to create an atmosphere in which profits can be maximized, employees can be reduced to the level of automatons, and customers can be treated as utilitarian objects whose very humanity must be subordinated to the demands of the synthetic world created by corporate relativists.
Indeed, an entire culture of relativism has been created in corporations, which use New Age “sensitivity training” to advance all manner of ideological goals, especially as it relates to the promotion of sodomy. Also important to the “reality” of corporate America is to force all Christians to remove any displays of their religious faith from the workplace — and to refuse to grant concessions to Catholics who want to observe the Holy Days of Obligation or to make their Sunday Mass obligation. Those who are caught telling politically offensive jokes must be disciplined. And it is in that culture of corporate relativism that employees must be programmed to reject common sense and plain truth in order to maintain the facade created by the corporation.
For example, the bright lights who run the telephone companies that provide directory-assistance information have decided that it is more cost-effective to regionalize their operations. Thus, the products of outcome-based education who are hired to provide you with the telephone number you are requesting are most likely totally ignorant of the area where the person or the business whose number you are trying to find is situated. In most instances, corporate policy requires them to provide a number within nineteen seconds. Consequently, the person who is requesting the information is depersonalized. Gone are the days when the local Bell Telephone Company hired operators familiar with a particular area who were trained to skim and scan through the white pages with the eyes God gave them — a particularly efficient form of providing information and something the old “information operators” took great pride in — so the operator must look up the number in a computerized “file,” which may or may not contain the number you want.
If the computerized file does not contain your number, the operator tells you that the number does not exist (when the actual truth of the matter is that the telephone number you want is not listed in that particular system). If you try to explain that the number does exist (perhaps you had just gotten it but failed to write it down), you are considered to be a crank who must be cut off immediately. The line goes dead as you are, in effect, aborted. The relativism that guides corporate America has taught employees to believe only what is found in a computer file. Any argument to the contrary must not be brooked, as “reality” for one particular corporation is what it says it is, the actual facts of a matter notwithstanding.
As is the case with almost every major corporation in the country, employees who deal with customers are no longer courteous and respectful. Common sense? Perish the thought. Employees have been trained not to think for themselves. Considering the customer to be a distinct human being made in the image and likeness of God? Come on, there are profits to be made and realities to be maintained. Customers must be “talked down” when they present problems to customer-service representatives. That is, employees are taught never to admit that the corporation is wrong. That would be fodder for lawsuits and bad publicity, after all. Thus, employees are taught to wear the customer down by stonewalling him so much that he just gives up in frustration. Truth is what the corporation says it is. Plain facts must be denied. Corporate America is producing a veritable army of future Bill Clintons and Al Gores.
Telephone companies are particularly adept at creating their own reality insofar as billing is concerned. A minute may be less than sixty seconds in some instances. A billing period may be twenty-eight days some months, twenty-nine other months, yet thirty to thirty-three in other months. It’s all relative, right? And you may think you live in a distinctive community, one that is recognized by the august United States Postal Service with its own ZIP code. Indeed, the community in which you live may be incorporated by your state as a village or city or a town with its own municipal government. No matter to the phone companies. I pay rent to keep my belongings (and occasionally my little self) in an apartment in Bethpage, New York. It is an unincorporated village in the Town of Oyster Bay in the County of Nassau on Long Island (which is a geographical entity, not a political subunit of the State of New York). What does Verizon (which used to be Bell Atlantic and NYNEX and New York Telephone Company) list on my bill when I call home to check for messages? Bethpage becomes Hicksville, another unincorporated village where I did actually reside for twenty months between April of 1990 and August of 1992. But I haven’t lived in Hicksville since I left there over eight years ago to move to Sioux City, Iowa, for the year that I taught at Morningside College. Tell that to Verizon. Bethpage is Hicksville in Verizon’s self-created world. Yes, everything is relative.
Relativism has even made its way into baseball, especially under the “leadership” of the ever politically correct Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig. In Selig’s world Marge Schott must be punished for unplanned insensitive statements while Ted Turner must go unpunished for deliberately malicious attacks on Catholics and Protestant Christians. (Turner repeated his attack on Christianity at the United Nations Millennium Conference recently. Idiot that he is, it probably did not dawn on Turner — or on the assortment of tyrants and murderers ruling the world’s nations who gathered for the conference — that the millennium they were celebrating belongs to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!) Selig has strongly suggested that the thirty clubs composing Major League Baseball designate one home game a year to “AIDS awareness.” He is a master of making his own reality, something he did quite consistently in his correspondence with me over the Ted Turner business in 1999.
There are many other ways in which relativism has worked its way into the game of baseball itself. The Official Baseball Rule Book spells out in quite some detail what constitutes the strike zone. Major League umpires, however, largely make up their own strike zone, calling pitches that are visibly out of the strike zone as strikes in many instances (and calling many strikes as balls). Some umpires who work behind home plate calling balls and strikes in a particular game are so inconsistent that neither the pitchers nor the batters have any idea what the umpire will call a particular pitch, though a good deal of the art of both hitting and pitching depends upon decisions that are based on the type of pitch that will be thrown and where it will be targeted. An inconsistent strike zone leads to a diminution of performance in a world where the official rules are superseded by the whims of one who creates a reality of his own making.
Even the spherical object known as a baseball has itself been the subject of relativism and its natural offshoot, social engineering. A study has concluded that the manufacture of baseballs has been changed so as to make them fly faster and farther when hit forcibly by the vortex of a swung bat. In other words, Selig and his fellow relativists wanted to produce more home runs because home runs put people in the seats, something that means money in the bank accounts of the owners, enabling them to pay their overpaid players and have something left over for themselves. The beauty of a well-pitched game? Largely a thing of the past. The great national pastime must be tailored to meet the needs of a relativistic world.
As I have demonstrated on a number of occasions, relativism is rife within the Church herself. Bishops, chancery officials, priests, directors of religious education, theologians, liturgists, and a variety of “pastoral ministers” have created a synthetic religion that has no relation to the true faith. A synthetic, relativistic theology has been created. Anyone who dissents from that theology is a heretic and troublemaker. Those who point out how bishops and their minions have misrepresented the doctrine of the Church — say, as Bishop Robert N. Lynch continues to do with respect to solemn Eucharistic exposition in the Diocese of St. Petersburg — must be denounced without regard for nasty little things known as facts. Those who continue to foster our synthetic liturgy have created a world where the Mass is simply a community banquet and where people cannot sin seriously unless they have made a “fundamental option” against God. Reality is what those people say it is, thereby deceiving a lot of good Catholics who look askance when others try to inform them with actual facts and Vatican documents about the truth of a particular matter.
The relativism facing us today in all aspects of our national life has many roots. The remote cause for relativism is, of course, to be found in the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Original Sin has given rise to all efforts to deny reality, to make ourselves the equal of God Himself. Relativism is simply one of those efforts. It has been given expression by the Sophists of Athens and the Epicureans of the declining Roman Empire.
Although eclipsed by the triumph of the true Faith in Europe during the course of the first millennium, relativism underwent a renaissance during the Renaissance (which really gave rebirth to the old sophistries of the Sophists). Secular relativism, which quickened during the so-called Enlightenment and made itself manifest in violent terms during the French Revolution, found an ally in the theological relativism of Martin Luther and John Calvin. For it was the theological relativism let loose on the world by Luther that helped expedite the triumph of all forms of relativism. If the truths of our Lord can be relativized into meaninglessness, then, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei in 1885, atheism becomes the norm.
A world that rejects our Lord and the authority of his true Church must create a reality of its own. But it is only the true Faith that guides us to see reality clearly by fixing our gaze always upon the wood of the Holy Cross, upon which our Divine Redeemer saved us by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood. We must never waver in our insistence that the world and everyone in it must be converted to the true Faith. For the clarity of vision given us by the Church is the means by which we can see the plain reality that the tendency of human beings to equate themselves with God is what leads to all of the crime and horror and bloodshed and dehumanization that are the fruits of all forms of relativism.
Invoking our Lady’s maternal intercession, may we always stand fast in our efforts to pray and to work for a world wherein the shadow of the Holy Cross defines the reality of who we are — and how we are to treat others as fellow redeemed creatures.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Spinning for Pols
October 24, 2000
Soon-to-be former President William Jefferson Clinton has been looking for something to provide him with a legacy by which his presidency will be hallowed in the annals of American history. But each of us knows that our outgoing president already has a legacy of corruption, venality, vice, deception, the killing of the innocent here and abroad, and an abject distortion of reality to justify whatever he does, both personally and politically. His legacy of spinning the truth may prove to be his lasting “contribution” to American political discourse: people on both sides of the political aisle have exhibited a pronounced tendency in recent years to try to turn one thing into something else.
For example, establishment pro-life leaders went to great lengths in 1996 to try to spin Bob Dole into a genuine champion of the unborn. His votes to confirm Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer were conveniently not included on scorecards issued by the National Right to Life Committee’s political action committee and the Christian Coalition in 1996. His active support for funding fetal-tissue experimentation in 1993 was ignored. The former Senate majority leader’s desire to insert a “Declaration of Tolerance” concerning abortion into the Republican Party’s 1996 national platform was an embarrassment to those who had spun so hard for him during the primaries earlier that year. His spinners assured politically naive and uninformed conservatives that the inarticulate and ever-changeable Dole was more “electable” than the articulate and principled Patrick Joseph Buchanan. The result was a disaster politically, a disaster that was not difficult to predict and one that could have been avoided had simple honesty not been replaced with spin.
The phenomenon is being repeated by establishment pro-life leaders this year with Texas Governor George W. Bush. Bush’s record of appointing pro-aborts and pro-sodomites to the Texas State Supreme Court is not mentioned. His discussion of abortion as a “matter of opinion” (not a matter of fundamental justice founded in truth) is left to stand as though he is right, that abortion is indeed a matter of “opinion” over which “good” people may disagree. His support for the destruction of little babies in certain supposedly “hard” cases as a matter of principle is accepted without complaint. His claim — in his October 3 debate with Vice President Gore — that he would be powerless as president to reverse the FDA’s decision to market the human pesticide, RU-486, was represented by his apologists as virtuous, although the handstands and gymnastics required to pull off that spin were worthy of the Rosemary Woods stretch. Bush’s statement that abortions should be “rare” bordered on the Clintonian. Nevertheless, this man who clearly does not understand the prophetic nature of the life issue must be spun into something that he is not, the truth be damned.
I carry no brief for establishment pro-life spinners and their hapless candidates, who spin as they do partly because they lack trust in the power of the truth of an uncompromising, no-exceptions pro-life message to resonate with voters. However, another reason they feel compelled to spin is that they seek to do battle with pro-abortion Democrats who have the tacit support of the leftist establishment within the highest quarters of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference. The vice president’s partisans are trying to spin the rabidly pro-abortion Albert Arnold Gore into a man who is opposed to all late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortion.
The apparatchiks who populate what I call the “cement palace” across the street from the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., are reflexively attached to the statism, collectivism, and redistributionism of the left wing of the Democratic Party. They are the people who time and again made war against President Reagan in the 1980s, doing everything they could to turn prudential judgments on national defense, foreign policy, and the domestic economy into matters of revealed truth from which there could be no dissent from Catholics in the pew. Their patron saint, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, gave them political cover by inventing the so-called Consistent Ethic of Life, which equated opposition to abortion with all the issues listed above. Abortion was simply one issue among many to consider when voting. That was designed to help elect former Vice President Mondale and other pro-abortion Democrats in 1984. A number of Catholic priests spoke favorably of then-Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, a pro-abortion Catholic, and the ever-arrogant governor of New York at the time, Mario Cuomo. The leftist apparatchiks in the NCCB/USCC believe that the Democratic Party is the repository of moral truth and social justice, so much so that the destruction of our Lord mystically in the persons of unborn children in their mothers’ womb must be subordinated to the interests of the statists and collectivists and redistributionists.
To wit, Robert D. Novak reports that the United States Catholic Conference released a questionnaire which had been sent to Gore concerning his stands on issues. It quoted the Gore campaign as answering in part: “Al Gore opposes late-term abortions and the procedure of partial-birth abortion.” But the Catholic News Service, which is an arm of the USCC, did not question the qualification that Gore placed on that position: namely, that there had to be “provisions to allow doctors to protect the life or health of the mother.” There was no questioning of Gore on his position, which would render such a ban absolutely meaningless.
Indeed, the spinners at the USCC unwittingly find themselves allied with the pro-life establishment on the matter, as even the American Medical Association has said that there is “no identified situation” in which it is necessary to kill a child by the means of partial-birth abortion, giving the lie to establishment pro-life efforts to place a totally unnecessary (and morally unjustifiable) “life of the mother” exception in bills at the federal and state levels to ban partial-birth abortion. And as I have noted on a number of occasions, even a total ban on all partial-birth abortions would not save one single child as there remain other ways in the later stages of pregnancy to slaughter a child that would remain perfectly legal.
You really have to give Gore credit for knowing the politics within the United States Catholic Conference — and for knowing the state of the pro-life movement in this country. He knows that most pro-life voters, so desperate to defeat him, are willing to accept Bush as a pro-life champion principally because he says he will sign (but not work for) a conditional ban on partial-birth abortions. Well, why not tap into that sentiment by trying to convince traditionally Democratic-leaning Catholics that he, Gore, is just as acceptable as Bush on the issue? All Gore wants to do is to win enough votes in enough key states to swing the election his way. And he knows he has supporters in the confines of the cement palace in Washington eager to do his bidding for him. He was even astute enough to use Bernardin’s “common ground” slogan to evoke the image of a mild-mannered man who is open to listening to people who disagree with him about a woman’s “right to choose.”
However, Novak gets it all wrong when he expresses “wonder” that “the Catholic bishops have given [Gore] the unimpeded use of their own transmission belt to communicate.” There is no wonder to it at all.
First of all, there are bishops who support Gore. As cowardly as Roger Clemens, they won’t even reveal themselves publicly. But some bishops believe that the Democratic Party is the true political church outside of which there is no secular salvation. It is those bishops who have been responsible for populating the cement palace with political leftists, theological dissenters, and liturgical revolutionaries. The bishops who support Gore are in the vanguard of an effort to promote, as Pope Leo XIII warned in Testem Benevolentiae in 1899, “a Church in America which is different from that which exists in the rest of the world.” No, there is no wonder at all that there are bishops who support Al Gore, and who are all too happy to have an uncritical interview with him circulate through the auspices of the Catholic News Service.
Similarly, Novak’s belief that the bishops have an “irrational” fear of losing their tax-exempt status is simply wrong. True, there are some bishops who understand the prophetic nature of the life issue but who lack the apostolic courage to run the risk of losing a status that could, if they desired to challenge the matter in court, be established as an inherent right protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. And even if the argument I outlined on this matter in The Wanderer nearly eight years ago (and included in my book Christ in the Voting Booth) wound up being rejected by the positivists who serve in our legal system, a bishop has to understand that there is no blandishment offered by the state that justifies his remaining silent about the promotion of evil under the cover of law by those who aspire to hold elected office in a democratic republic. The Apostles weren’t concerned about losing any benefits offered by the Roman Empire. They were willing to lose everything — including their lives — to bear witness to the truth.
But there are a number of bishops who use the threat of losing their vaunted tax-exempt status quite deliberately as a cover to remain silent about the life issue in the realm of electoral politics. Those bishops don’t believe that abortion is the most pressing moral issue of the day. They — and many of the priests under their direct supervision and control — talk about poverty and welfare and “social justice” in purely naturalistic terms having nothing to do with the true social teaching of the Church, trying to convince Catholics in the pew that we cannot be “single issue voters.” The tax-exempt status is a convenient tool that they use to denigrate the overriding importance of the restoration of legal protection for the innocent unborn.
Indeed, it is that cynical alliance with the forces of death that has led very well-meaning people into thinking that we have to accept whoever it is the Republican Party runs as candidates, even if such candidates are effectively no different from the Democrats being touted as acceptable by leftists within the Church. Many pro-life Catholics, eager to defeat the Democrats, resort to the same spinning tactics employed by the Left. And the loser in all of that is truth itself.
There is no salvation in partisan politics. The forum of electoral politics provides us with a vehicle by which we can speak to the primacy of the Divine positive law and the natural law over us men and our civil societies. The more Catholics spin reality to fit the statists of the Democratic Party or the careerists in the Republican Party, the more the most pressing moral issue of the day will continue to be subordinated to the interests of career politicians, who believe that we exist to enable them to win office as an end in and of itself. We must see the truth clearly for what it is, and then be willing to trust in the power of the graces won for us by our Lord on Calvary to plant the seeds for a day when Catholics will no longer enable the statists or the careerists but will vote only for candidates committed to a land where Christ is honored as King and his true Church is recognized as the one, legitimate arbiter on matters of fundamental justice.
Not possible? It is no less possible than what happened in the First Millennium, when the seeds planted by the Apostles and their successors resulted in the glory of Christendom, where faith informed and directed culture. No matter how small we are in number, our decision to choose as rulers those who are committed totally to objective justice founded in truth will help plough the ground for a day when we will indeed have rulers who, like St. Louis, King of France, know that they must rule according to the mind of Christ and not according to the exigencies of this passing world.
Consider the words of Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas, issued in 1925:
We must love the good more than we fear the evil. We must trust in the power of our Lord’s truth more than we do in our own cleverness to hide the truth and spin reality. For when we do the latter, we can only accomplish short-term goals that wind up retarding — not advancing — the cause of objective justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate.
Hey, Al, I Want a Recount, Too
|November 15, 2000
The recount of the popular vote for the selection of presidential electors in Florida is going on and on and on as this is being written in Lafayette, Indiana, on Friday, November 10. No end appears to be in sight. As noted in the lead commentary in the current issue of Christ or Chaos, leftists use any and all means available to them to browbeat others into complete and total submission. Vice President Al Gore and his minions are using all manner of ever-shifting arguments to justify their effort to win the presidency by brute intimidation.
The allegations of voting irregularities in Florida are nothing new in the history of American electoral politics. The lowering of the voting age to eighteen has resulted in lots more stupid people going to the polls, joining those already in line. Addle-brained people find it difficult to follow directions in all walks of their daily lives. Many people on the roadways these days cannot follow simple directional signs, especially at toll booths for bridges or tunnels or toll roads. Others find a menu in a restaurant impossible to decipher. Lots of people live in states of continuous bewilderment.
That is partly the result of a lack of intellectual ability, and it is partly the result of the dumbing down of the American populace in our schools and in our popular culture — the cultural degradation owing much to so many Americans’ habit of letting their lives revolve around the television, which has become the new tabernacle of our secular era. And a good many such people want others to indemnify them whenever they make mistakes in their lives, an attitude that many of my college students exhibited rather predictably in the past decade or so. It was my fault, you see, that they did not read the clear directions I placed on the top of each examination. I was wrong for holding all students to one standard of competence.
The claim (not yet established as an actual fact) that some voters in Palm Beach County in Florida were “confused” by a ballot devised by a local Democratic Party election official is yet another example of people seeking to establish a right to “correct” whatever mistakes they make in life. It is frequently the case that we have to live with our mistakes. Indeed, we are supposed to learn from them — learn how not to repeat them over and over again. That is part of what we mean when we talk about the learning process.
But voter mistakes are quite a different thing from allegations of actual fraud and/or voter intimidation. Recall what happened in 1960, when it was fairly evident that Richard Nixon’s election to the presidency was stolen from him by Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., working hand in glove with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and Senate majority leader Lyndon Baines Johnson to manufacture the votes necessary to make Kennedy’s eldest surviving son president of the United States (and Johnson vice president). By contrast, the current situation in Florida hinges on a narrow margin between the two major-party presidential candidates produced, in part, by what appears to be simple voter carelessness. Not even Gore campaign chairman William Daley, son of the late Chicago mayor (and brother of Richard M. Daley, the current Chicago mayor), has alleged that George W. Bush’s campaign stole any votes.
Once again, the hypocrisy of the Left is on full display for all to witness. Loretta Sanchez defeated then-Representative Robert K. Dornan in 1996 largely as a result of voter fraud. Resident aliens who were not citizens of the United States were permitted to register as voters and vote for Sanchez. Republicans in Congress, eager to be rid of Dornan, did not investigate the situation vigorously, and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said that she knew of no specific laws forbidding resident aliens from voting. Similarly, Woody Jenkins lost to Mary Landrieux in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race that same year. Charges of wholesale election fraud were dismissed by Senate Republicans, most of whom did not want to be seen as “bashing” another woman just five years after they’d placed Anita Hill under justifiably intense scrutiny during the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on Clarence Thomas.
Actual election fraud has been a common phenomenon in the history of this nation. The stuffing of ballot boxes was common in the nineteenth century when paper ballots were used. Voters were intimidated by means of physical threats. People voted two or three times. Ballots cast for some candidates were thrown out or burned. Dead people voted, a phenomenon still to be found in certain precincts in the country. Most of the popular vote totals of the nineteenth century are merely advisory. They do not truly reflect the actual votes cast by voters.
The tradition of election fraud has continued into this century. It was somewhat attenuated by the traditional voting machine, which is much more difficult (although not entirely impossible) to tamper with than the paper ballot of yesteryear or the computer punch card now being used by a number of states. But even the old voting machine can be “adjusted” in such a way as to make it difficult for voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.
To wit, on the day of my primary election against Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato to be the U.S. senatorial nominee of the Right to Life Party, in 1998, I received reports from all over the state of New York indicating that people who wanted to vote for me had difficulty doing so. Eleven or so people told me that the lever they needed to pull down to vote for me did not work. One man, a lawyer from the Borough of the Bronx, said that an election judge refused even to hear the complaint he brought about the situation. Several long-time enrollees in the Right to Life Party were told at their polling places that there was no record of their voter registration.
It was clear that something was happening. Lacking the resources, however, to mount any legal challenge to the results, I just went about my business, accepting the fact that it was entirely possible that the Republican machine in New York found the threat of my candidacy to be so real that it had to place obstacles in the path of voters who desired to support me in the Right to Life Party.
Frequently sloth in the counting of votes is encountered, as was the case when I served as a Republican poll watcher in a voting precinct in Laurel Hollow, New York, on election day in 1972. When official Republican and Democratic registrars came up with different totals from the absentee ballots, they averaged the differences in the vote totals and then went home! (The registrars are employed by the Nassau County Board of Elections to record the names of voters as they cast their ballots, and to count and report the results to the board; poll watchers are party workers who merely observe the work of the registrars and report back to party officials.)
I was also an eyewitness to the counting of the votes in the presidential caucus in Dubuque County, Iowa, on February 12, 1996 (after serving as a surrogate speaker in behalf of Patrick Buchanan’s candidacy). Buchanan won Dubuque County handily over Bob Dole. But the vote totals from Dubuque County were never reported to the Voter News Service by the Iowa Republican Party. The same thing happened in Woodbury County, Iowa. Knowing the extent to which careerist Republicans went to rig the process against Buchanan in 1996, I was not surprised when a similar effort was made against me two years later.
However, in light of what is happening in Florida right now, which could drag on indefinitely, perhaps I should hold a press conference and demand from Al — D’Amato, that is — a recount from the 1998 Right to Life Party primary. I could argue I lacked the resources to investigate the claims but now realize that I have the obligation to see that the vote is counted over and over and over again. If the recount showed that I had won the primary, there would have to be a new election for the seat now held by Sen. Charles Schumer. Trading on my persona as one of the better-known Mets fans in New York, I would defeat Schumer and D’Amato, taking my place in the Senate next to New York’s recently elected senator, some woman named Rodham or Clinton or something like that. If the presidential election in Florida can go on and on and on, why can’t I reopen my primary from two years ago? Indeed, why can’t the estate of the late Richard Nixon reopen the results of the 1960 election?
Vice President Gore and his minions will do anything to hold and acquire power. As is well known, I do not carry any brief for George W. Bush. Gore is demonstrating just how important it is for us to support candidates who are capable of demonstrating the extent to which the Left believes in mobocracy, not representative democracy or the rule of law. Bush fails that test. You can’t blame Buchanan for electing Gore if it turns out that the vice president prevails in the election. Most of Ralph Nader’s Green Party votes would have gone to Gore if Nader hadn’t run, handing him the popular vote by a comfortable margin and giving him Florida’s electoral votes without question. Gore has come close to winning the presidency because he was faced with an opponent who was either unable or unwilling to make the case against him in clear, articulate, and convincing terms.
The answer is quite simple: dishonesty of any sort is prohibited by the Seventh Commandment (“Thou shalt not steal”) and the Eighth Commandment (“Thou shalt not bear false witness”). A nation founded on the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ would be composed of people who understood that we can never steal that which does not belong to us, and we can never misrepresent the truth.
Yes, the only safeguard against election fraud and manipulation is a nation that lives in the shadow of the Cross. A nation immersed in the confusion that prevails all around us, you see, winds up making a religion out of electoral politics. And when politics becomes a religion, its secular foundation justifies the use of Machiavellian means to acquire and retain power. All the more reason to work for the Catholicization of our land, folks. There’s no other way out of this mess.
In the meantime, however, tell Al D’Amato I want a recount!
Sandra Day O’Connor,
|January 15, 2001
“The Court, the Court, the Court.” That mantra was invoked by all manner of well-meaning people during the late presidential campaign. “We can’t waste our vote on Buchanan. We have to vote for George W. Bush. He’s going to reshape the Supreme Court with his appointments. The Court, the Court, the Court.” I was viewed as something of a nine-headed troglodyte for simply reciting the simple truth that as governor of Texas the man who is now president-elect appointed four pro-aborts to the Texas Supreme Court, each of whom voted in March of 2000 to overturn a mere parental-notification bill that had been passed by the Texas legislature. “That doesn’t matter,” I was told over and over again. “Bush will be different as President. You wait and see. He wants to save the babies.”
Readers of my newsletter Christ or Chaos know how entirely consistent I have been in predicting that a President George W. Bush would nominate to serve on the federal bench the exact sort of people he placed on the bench throughout the Texas judiciary. (Indeed, Bush is so thoroughly predictable that it is really unfair to even make these predictions.) I have gone so far as to say that Bush might even elevate one of his Texas pro-abort pals to the nation’s high court.
Well, guess what, folks? Bush is going to name Texas Supreme Court Judge Al Gonzalez, a pro-abort (termed a “moderate” Republican by the media), as his White House counsel. That is a prelude to Gonzalez’s being tapped to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States as the first person of Mexican-American heritage to be so honored. Bush knows full well that anyone who opposes Gonzalez’s nomination to serve on the Court — perhaps even as chief justice to replace William Rehnquist when he retires — will be tarred and feathered as a bigot. The new president will thus seek to marginalize and isolate the handful of U.S. senators — New Hampshire’s Bob Smith, North Carolina’s Jesse Helms, possibly Oklahoma’s Don Nickles — who might raise a stink over Gonzalez’s nomination. Oh, I can see how a Gonzalez nomination to the Supreme Court would play out. Indeed, it would be Sandra Day O’Connor, Part Deux. How very ironic.
Remember, former California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan was sworn in as president on January 20, 1981 (hard to believe it’s been twenty years since then). A lot of pro-lifers, including me, really believed that Reagan was going to do something to help reverse Roe v. Wade. Republicans had gained control of the Senate for the first time since the 1952 elections. There was a working pro-life majority in the House. There were high expectations as Reagan took office.
However, Reagan was surrounded by pro-aborts within the White House, starting with his wife, Nancy Davis Reagan, who had a lot more influence behind the scenes than anyone truly understood at the outset of the Reagan years. White House Chief of Staff James Baker was a George Bush “moderate.” And the Deputy Chief of Staff, Michael Deaver, was a pro-abort who had been instrumental in advising Reagan to sign California’s baby-killing bill into law in 1967 when the latter was the Golden State’s governor. It was the considered judgment of the Reagan inner circle that the appointment of a woman to the Supreme Court to replace outgoing Associate Justice Potter Stewart, an appointee of President Eisenhower (and a close friend of the late Connecticut Senator Prescott Bush, father of then-Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush), would help Reagan close a perceived “gender gap” with women voters.
Pro-life activists rightly felt betrayed. They had vouched for Reagan’s pro-life credentials despite the fact that he supported abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother. They overlooked his selection of the pro-abortion former congressman, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, former U.S. Trade Representative to China, and former director of the CIA George Bush as vice president, wanting to believe that Bush really meant it when he said he had a change of heart on the matter after Dr. John Wilkie, founder of the National Right to Life Committee, gave him a presentation on the issue. Thus, many pro-life activists really believed that Reagan would come through for them with respect to his Court nominations, which is why they were bitterly disappointed with his nomination of O’Connor, who turned out to be the only appointment to the Supreme Court he would make during his first term.
American Life League president Judie Brown and Conservative Caucus Foundation chairman Howard Phillips testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about O’Connor’s nomination. Both presented incontrovertible evidence about O’Connor’s pro-abortion voting record as a member of the Arizona State Senate. None of that meant a blessed thing to supposedly pro-life senators (most of whom, obviously, supported abortion in the same instances as Reagan). No, the “conservative” Reagan had nominated O’Connor. They were not about to say no to the man who had survived an assassin’s bullet and was beloved by the American public. If Sandra Day O’Connor was the woman Reagan wanted, she was the woman he would get on the nation’s high court. Nobody wanted to be termed a “sexist” by voting against O’Connor’s nomination.
Well, it’s happening all over again. George W. Bush places a very high value on personal loyalty to himself from his associates. One must demonstrate unswerving fealty to him to be included as part of his “inner circle.” The pro-abort Al Gonzalez, who had served as Bush’s gubernatorial counsel before he was placed on the Texas Supreme Court, is just such a man, loyal to the new president-elect to a fault. Bush wants to demonstrate his own appreciation to Gonzalez for his proven loyalty — and at the same time prove to his liberal critics that he really meant it when he said that he had no litmus test for his judicial nominees. After all, there is a working pro-abortion majority of 56-44 in the Senate that convened on January 3. Bush had planned all along to nominate a pro-abort as his first election to the Supreme Court. The political realities in the Senate provide him with great cover to do so. And who is going to oppose a Mexican-American? Nobody wants to be called a racist, right?
The record of Republican nominees to serve on the Supreme Court has been spotty. Reagan gave us O’Connor. He also gave us Antonin Scalia, who, as I have noted in Christ or Chaos, is essentially a legal positivist who eschews the use of the natural law in constitutional interpretation. When Reagan tried to appoint Judge Robert Bork to the Court in 1987, he was met with a torrent of opposition from the pro-aborts in the Senate, then controlled by the Democrats. He had to settle for Anthony Kennedy, who has turned out to be a consistent vote in favor of the “right” of a woman to kill her child in the womb. Remember, this, however: there were several Republicans (Arlen Specter and John Chafee among them) who opposed Bork’s nomination vigorously. They had made support for child-killing a litmus test for themselves insofar as confirmation of nominees to serve on the Supreme Court was concerned.
The first President Bush gave us David Souter and Clarence Thomas, who is arguably the only justice on the Supreme Court who uses, however subtly, the natural law as the basis of his decisions. Souter, however, was exposed by Howard Phillips as a man who had voted to permit so-called elective baby-killing at a hospital in New Hampshire on whose board of trustees he served. Just as Sandra Day O’Connor’s pro-abortion record meant nothing to supposedly pro-life senators, so was it the case that Souter’s demonstrated pro-abortion position was overlooked. He was confirmed by a vote of 99-0 in 1990. How very just it was, therefore, to find Souter on the side of the justices voting for the position of Al Gore in the case of Bush v. Gore on December 12.
The Clinton years have seen Republicans rubber-stamping almost all of President Clinton’s nominees to serve on all levels of the federal judiciary. Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer were confirmed with virtual unanimity on the part of pro-life Republicans, who also voted to confirm Clinton’s picks to serve on vacancies on the 88 U.S. District Courts and twelve U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. The life issue has meant nothing to the senators who say they are pro-life. It is no accident, you see, that neither the National Right to Life Committee nor the Christian Coalition includes judicial confirmation votes on the fraudulent voter “scorecards” they produce and distribute to voters. Can’t do anything that explodes the utter mythology of Republicans being champions of the unborn, can we?
Mark my words: the only people who will register opposition to Al Gonzalez when Bush nominates him for the Supreme Court will be Gary Bauer and Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan and Howard Phillips. Pro-life senators will fall in line for Bush’s nominee. Father Frank Pavone will go into hiding. Wanda Franz and the National Right to Life Committee will send out newsletters praising the nomination (thereby continuing the policy of outright deception they have practiced for so very long). Others will say that we have to overlook Gonzalez’s pro-abortion record, that he will change once he is on the Court. “Scalia will change Gonzalez,” we’ll be told. “If Bush is selecting him, he can’t be pro-abortion, not really.” Thus, Gonzalez will take his place on the Court alongside David Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor. Look for Bush’s second nominee to serve on the Supreme Court to be a pro-abortion Asian-American. Once again, you read it here first.
Obviously, this was all so predictable. Bush is ridiculously predictable. And the placid, compliant reaction of delusional pro-lifers will also be predictable: they will continue to close their eyes, telling themselves (and those of us who are mean enough to remind them of reality) that Bush is better than Gore, a mantra that will replace “the Court, the Court, the Court.” How much better is Bush than Gore when Bush will make it a point to place people on the Court who believe in the destruction of our Lord mystically in the person of unborn children? Sandra Day O’Connor, Part Deux, indeed.
As Catholics, we have the obligation to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true faith. Reality is what it is. Nobody who supports one single abortion as a matter of principle is pro-life. Nobody who believes that abortion is a matter of “opinion” understands the prophetic nature of the life issue. Nobody who appoints pro-aborts to his government cares one whit about helping to foster a culture of life.
The sad part of what we are witnessing at present is rather obvious to me. Just as Al Gore lives in a fantasy world where he has convinced himself he actually won the presidency on November 7, so do many pro-lifers live in a fantasy world where religious faith must be placed in Republican office-holders even after they betray the cause of life one time after another.
Are we ever going to wake up?
Our Lady, Mother of Life, pray for us.
Bill Clinton Will Be Everywhere
|January 19, 2001
William Jefferson Clinton leaves the presidency on January 20. Far from letting that be the last we will see or hear from him for a while, the ultimate narcissist and egomaniac will not observe the unwritten code of former presidents. He will not disappear from public view in order to permit his successor a period of grace in which to establish himself and his new administration.
Oh, no. Bill Clinton will be everywhere. Everywhere. He will be a well-paid “talking head,” probably on Ted Turner’s Cable News Network. He has a standing offer to be the chancellor of Oxford University in England. At one time, rumors even had it that he was considering a run for mayor of New York or senator from his home state of Arkansas. He will be flittering about in the Hollywood crowd. He will be teaching courses at universities and law schools. He will be giving lectures before various groups. He will write articles galore. He will be everywhere. He will be more visible than his successor, whose every decision he will second-guess and seek to undermine.
Clinton will show up at baseball parks across the nation. I predict he’ll get himself to every single Major League baseball park within the first two years of his ex-presidency. He will do play-by-play broadcasting on both radio and TV for every team. He will show up at basketball and football games. He will serve on the boards of zads of corporations. He might even show up at parties in New York City where his former intern, Monica Lewinsky, has become a regularly invited and quite honored guest. He will be at the openings of movies. He will play himself in motion pictures and TV shows and advertisements. He will travel overseas to undermine George W. Bush’s foreign policy. He may even try to launch his own talk show opposite Rush Limbaugh. Clinton would relish the opportunity to tell off his critics on the air on a regular basis. Remember: in 1998 he blasted the ministers he tapped to “counsel” him once they started to tell him how he had to reform his life. He will be the busiest and most ubiquitous former office-holder in world history, outdoing even former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who holds down twelve different jobs (and appears in lots of TV commercials). Bill Clinton will be everywhere.
Ever the music aficionado, Bill Clinton will show up on those purveyors of music videos produced in Hell by Satan himself, MTV and VH-1. He’ll be a regular on the Black Entertainment Network (BET). He’ll host specials on the History Channel. Exploiting his good ol’ boy background, he’ll be a frequent guest on The Nashville Network and Country Music Television. He might even host all of the major award ceremonies — Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Grammys — before he leaves this mortal life. And he would love to be asked to judge the Miss America and Miss Universe contests, both of which he will probably host at some point. Bill Clinton will be everywhere.
Bill Clinton will show up in foreign capitals on a regular basis, seeking the Nobel Prize for Peace that has eluded Jimmy Carter despite the 39th president’s incessant efforts to redeem his own utterly failed presidency by receiving that prize. He will be hailed by foreign crowds. He will engage in missions unauthorized by his successor to broker peace in the world’s hot spots, probably doing so under the auspices of the United Nations (whose secretary-general he may very well become in the not-too-distant future). He will compete with Carter and the Reverend Jesse Jackson for attention in the world’s trouble spots. Bill Clinton will be everywhere.
About the only place he won’t be appearing for a while, it seems, is on the letterhead of any law firm. His deal with independent counsel Robert Ray, announced January 19, lifts his ticket for five years. In return for that and a non-apologetic apology, Clinton doesn’t get indicted. But big deal if he had gotten indicted. On November 16 I e-mailed a friend — who was theorizing that Vice President Al Gore wanted to pull out all of the stops to win the presidency in order to provide Clinton with a pardon — to the effect that George W. Bush himself was likely to pardon Clinton if the latter was indicted upon leaving office. Bush would do so, I wrote, in the interests of “national unity,” hoping to score some points with the Democrats who will be busy delegitimizing his presidency. Bush would receive no credit for the pardon, but Clinton would accept it with glee, saying that he didn’t need it, would have liked to have rejected it, but accepted it in order to help the new president get on with the business of government. We won’t get to see all that played out now, but there’s no doubt that Bill Clinton is one of the few people with the capacity of making the receipt of a presidential pardon (which he could not refuse) to appear to be an act of generosity on his part by selflessly refusing to defend himself against unjust charges.
Clinton will be at the White House quite a lot. After all, devoted wife Hillary is now the junior U.S. senator from New York. She will be invited to White House dinners for foreign dignitaries. Bill will tag along in order to hog the spotlight. Bill Clinton will be everywhere, yes, even back at the White House — hoping all the while that he can move back in with Hillary if she is elected President in 2004 or 2008.
As we know, Bill Clinton is nothing if not shameless. The lives of scores of his friends have been destroyed. He has killed innocent human beings in foreign countries in order to deflect attention from various legal events as they unfolded in the Monica Lewinsky and impeachment sagas. He has promoted the killing of innocent children in this country and the world. He has helped to surrender national sovereignty and to undermine national security (especially as regards the Communist Chinese). He has appointed scores of positivists to every level of the federal judiciary. And he has championed and refined the practice of the politics of personal destruction to a state of sophistication that the late V.I. Lenin would have found truly ingenious. And you can ask Pete Rose to help you bet your bottom dollar that Clinton will use his visibility after he leaves office to continue promoting all of the policies he promoted during his presidency — and doing so in the same manner in which he conducted himself while he was in the White House. Enemies and critics will be vilified. Issues will be distorted. Reality itself will continue to be assaulted with the same sophistry that gave us, “It all depends what the meaning of is, is.”
Bill Clinton will be everywhere all the time. Although he will never have Blessed Padre Pio’s gift of bilocation, Bill Clinton will practice virtual bilocation by means of his omnipresence on our TV screens and CDs and CD-ROMs and books and articles. He will be everywhere.
Thus, while January 20 marks the end of the second term of the 42nd President of the United States, it will not mark the end of Bill Clinton’s public visibility. He is only 54 years old. He will be around for a loooong time. And don’t put it past him to sponsor an effort to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which limits a person to serving two full terms as president, especially if the Democrats recapture both houses of Congress in 2002 or 2004. He may very well live long enough to regain his favorite office. Don’t bet against it. Indeed, I can already hear him saying, “Well, gee. Ronald Reagan was elected when he was 69 years old. Why can’t I run again?” Clinton will be 69 in 2015, a year before the 2016 election.
What did the United States do to deserve this? It’s really quite simple: a plurality of voters in 1992 and 1996 elected a known liar, relativist, and narcissist to the presidency. And now we have to live with him and his ubiquitous presence for the next 30 years or so. Isn’t it a great country?
We must continue to pray for the conversion of William Jefferson Clinton and his wife. Saul of Tarsus converted. Bernard Nathanson converted. Bill Clinton’s conversion is not beyond the realm of possibility, and it is something we are duty-bound in charity and justice to try to bring about by means of our prayers, fasting, and sacrifices. However, grace builds on nature. Even if Clinton does, by the grace of God, come into the true Faith, he will still be Bill Clinton. He will thus have the propensity to go on TV incessantly to talk endlessly about his conversion.
Face it: Bill Clinton will be with us for years to come. He will be everywhere.
Get a Grip on Reality
January 23, 2001
More than 4,000 children are butchered alive in their mothers’ womb each day in this country under the cover of law. Each of those children has an immortal soul made in the image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity. Each of those children has done no wrong. Their only “crime” has been to be conceived as the natural fruit of human conjugal relations. Our religiously indifferentist, culturally relativistic, and legally positivistic society, however, sees fit to misuse language as a means of denying the humanity of those slaughtered innocents, content to anesthetize the evil done to them by enticing us with the empty show of bread and circuses. Even pro-life Catholics have learned to live with the evil in our midst in order to convince themselves that it is neither wise nor prudent to talk in plain terms about it. That is largely for fear of alienating careerist politicians who do not understand the necessity of risking political capital by using the forums provided them to subordinate human law to the binding, immutable precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law.
Sadly, the events leading up to the inauguration of President George Walker Bush on January 20 proved the analysis offered in my newsletter, Christ or Chaos, for the past two years to be only too correct. I take no satisfaction whatsoever in that. But what is truly heartbreaking is the extent to which good, honest, decent people are willing to suspend rational thought in order to place something approaching religious faith in a man who has betrayed the pro-life cause over and over and over again — a shallow, hollow man who does not wake up each morning thinking about the carnage American civil law permits to take place in abortuaries and hospitals from one coast to the other, from north to south. Thus, although I have recited endlessly the facts about the new president’s cynical strategy of appeasing pro-lifers with empty slogans (and actions on the margins of the issue that are designed to do just enough to keep pro-life Indians on the reservation), it is important for the sake of the permanent record to calmly and dispassionately use the light of cold reason to try once more to dispel that misplaced religious faith with facts.
Words Have Meanings
Words have meanings. It is becoming increasingly clear that many pro-life Americans stand ready to spin for George W. Bush and his administration the way that the Left spun for former President Clinton and his administration of criminals. To do that, however, is to continue one of the most pernicious aspects of Clinton’s sordid legacy: his unremitting warfare against truth in every quarter of his speech and his actions. Truth is what it is. It cannot be sugar-coated. The ends never justify the means. To pretend that something is what it is not is of the Devil, not of our Blessed Lord and Savior. It is critical, therefore, to know what President George W. Bush is, not what pro-life Americans wish him to be.
President Bush is not a man of the mind. He does not read. Indeed, he partied pretty heartily until around the time he was 40. He spent two hours of his day as governor of Texas playing video golf to “relax” after going for his daily run (or exercising on the treadmill in a gym if inclement weather kept him inside). He has surrounded himself with fellow careerists, men and women who have expertise in the business of acquiring and retaining political power, but who want to avoid any issues that might offend voters, especially the life issue. That is why Bush, having been assured of tacit support from the so-called National Right to Life Committee and the Christian Coalition, did not even talk much about the issue of abortion until after he lost the New Hampshire primary last year to Arizona Senator John McCain. Bush became a born-again religious conservative in order to win the South Carolina primary, using empty slogans and promises to secure the support of voters only too eager to follow the political path charted for them by Bush’s apologists in the pro-life and “conservative” religious establishments. Bush paid attention to the life issue only intermittently after that, with now-presidential counselor Karl Rove saying quite publicly on several occasions that Bush would not be discussing it much during the campaign. Never mind that, however; pro-life voters wanted to believe in Bush with the sort of wishful thinking that led young Natalie Wood’s character in the original Miracle on 34th Street to wish herself into believing in Santa Claus.
Anyone (Howard Phillips, Judie Brown, Patrick Buchanan, yours truly) who spoke during the campaign about Bush’s actual record on the life issue was dismissed as an irritant. We were accused of wanting to elect Al Gore. We were accused of not being realistic and pragmatic in the face of the evils posed by Gore. My personal retort was rather simple: the more that we enable the so-called lesser of two evils, the higher and higher the dose of the so-called lesser evil becomes with each passing election.
Indeed, I have been contending for years that the more we enabled career politicians to appease us with empty slogans and hollow gestures, the less visible the life issue would become on the radar screen of electoral politics. Most pro-life Americans fear the evil far more than they love the good, far more than they trust in the power of the graces won for us by the shedding of our Lord’s Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross on Calvary to overcome the evils we face by our proclamation of the truth in love but without compromise. The Americanist mindset has such a hold on good people that we believe that silence on the most pressing moral issue of the day is actually a virtue, that such silence will help to promote the retardation of the culture of death incrementally. What has actually happened, though, has been the incremental institutionalization of the acceptance of the evils of contraception and abortion — and the concomitant rise of the belief that it is deleterious even to speak about those issues openly. As I have said repeatedly over the past six years or so, we have come to believe that someone who is conditionally, partially opposed to a certain form of child-killing in the later stages of pregnancy — but who actually reaffirms women’s “constitutionally protected right” to butcher their unborn child — must be hailed as a pro-life hero. We have lost our grip on reality, ladies and gentlemen.
Last month’s lead commentary in Christ or Chaos, “A Long Four Years,” noted the new president’s penchant for avoiding issues deemed to be divisive, especially if addressing such issues might be costly to him electorally. Bush has the same penchant as his father for wanting to appear above partisan politics, above those things that could divide Americans. That attitude is nothing other than an expression of Protestant religious indifferentism and American sentimentality and emotionalism writ large. It is sometimes necessary to challenge a citizenry on issues of fundamental justice founded in truth precisely to plant the seeds that might force them to reassess their uncritical acceptance of the premises upon which our culture of death is founded. Indeed, the host of an overnight radio program on KMOX Radio in St. Louis, Missouri, said that a guest he interviewed over the telephone prompted two hours of discussion of how to think and speak about abortion after the guest’s own interview had been concluded. The host said that the person interviewed “got people to thinking about abortion” rather than emoting about the issue, one way or the other. George W. Bush is not interested in doing any of that whatsoever.
The reality is, quite sadly, that President Bush is doing just the opposite of what one who has been entrusted with the mantle of leadership is expected by the dictates of the natural law to do. He said in an interview televised by CBS News just hours before his inauguration, “What my agenda will be is to try to reduce abortions, is to work on partial birth, banning partial birth abortion, or to work on helping states with parental notification laws. That’s a practical approach. There’s going to be abortion in America and the fundamental question is are they going to be safe, will they be numerous or not.” How is that significantly different from Bill Clinton’s slogan that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare”? Each abortion kills a child dead. It is deadly for each child. And it is inherently unsafe of its very nature for a woman. It is never possible to make an evil act “safe” and free from all of its natural consequences, both physical and spiritual. Does not that tell you something about how hollow George W. Bush is? He believes it is important that abortions be “safe.” Words mean things.
(It is important to leave aside the issue of partial-birth abortion, which, as I have demonstrated in the past, would not save a single, solitary child from extermination; there remain two other methods of child-killing in the later stages of pregnancy that would be perfectly legal to use if the ban on partial-birth abortions should be passed by Congress and then upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is a problematic proposition in and of itself. Moreover, the life-of-the-mother exception in the bill is a loophole through which the proverbial Mack truck can be driven. For all of the good intentions of those who have sponsored the bill and have attempted to illustrate the horror of this particular form of child-killing, it is likely that the bill as currently written would not stop this method of child-killing from being employed. It has become an emotional red-herring to be used by phony pro-life politicians to curry favor with voters who have lost their grip on reality. Furthermore, we have come to believe — falsely — that killing a child by means of partial-birth abortion is somehow more morally heinous than killing a child by means of suction abortion or saline-solution abortion in the earlier stages of pregnancy. It is not. The deliberate execution of an innocent human is the same crime morally no matter what means are employed to effect the execution.)
Tactics of the Bush Clan
Enter Laura Bush, the new first lady of the United States. On January 19, she told Katie Couric on NBC’s Today program that she did not believe that Roe v. Wade should be reversed. She did not say that it could not be reversed, or that it was not possible for it to be reversed at this time, as her husband contended in his CBS interview that aired on the morning of his inauguration. She said that the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that sanctioned the killing of innocent unborn children in their mothers’ wombs under cover of law as a constitutionally protected “right” should not be reversed. All of that is an old trick of the Bush clan that needs to be examined briefly.
There was a time during the administration of President George Herbert Walker Bush when the entire Bush clan was gathered for a July Fourth picnic in the family compound at Kennebunkport, Maine. White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater made it a point to reveal to the media that during the picnic the Bushes had quite a heated discussion about abortion. The men were said to be pro-life, the women were said to be “pro-choice.” It was all quite carefully orchestrated as a means of portraying the Bushes as being just like any other American family: torn apart by this “divisive” issue. However, it also helped complete the portrait that Bush the elder wanted to paint of trying to be all things to all people. The Bush women “understood” how abortion was a “difficult” issue for women. The Bush men were the defenders of traditional “family values,” but more than willing to consider the “opinions” of those who struggled with the issue. I filed that one away in the old cerebral website. Thus, Laura Bush’s proclamation that Roe v. Wade should not be reversed is really not news at all. It is merely a cynical effort to try to let the pro-aborts of America know they have a first lady who, though married to a man who says he is pro-life, understands their point of view and does not want “settled” law unsettled.
Remember, Barbara Bush, the mother of the newly inaugurated president, made a a point of saying that she was “pro-choice,” taking issue with her husband. (Taking that stand, by the way, is evidently a prerequisite for a Republican first lady: Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan were also pro-abortion.) Barbara Bush partly blamed the issue of abortion for the defeat of her husband by Bill Clinton in 1992. And she actually boasted last year about how her husband had appointed pro-abort David Souter to the Supreme Court in 1990, implying that her son would be as open to such a nominee as her husband had been — which, of course, her son had already proved during his time as governor of Texas, appointing pro-aborts to the Texas Supreme Court and to various judicial vacancies in lower courts, most notably the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Martha Hill Jamison to a district court in Houston.
Laura Bush did not speak on her own authority. She is a shrewd political wife. The new president and his advisors want to cultivate the image that the Bush family is as torn by the abortion issue as many other families are. Her public disagreement with her husband, who says different things about reversing Roe v. Wade at different times, is meant to show her to be an independent thinker, her own woman, not a slave to the way her husband thinks. Her position, however, solidifies the position of women who do indeed believe they have a right to kill the fruit of their wombs, that Roe v. Wade was decided rightly. Words matter. Words have meaning. The things we say influence others, for better or for worse.
Demonstrating his utter shamelessness, George W. Bush said in the CBS interview that while he disagreed with his wife, it was not possible to reverse Roe v. Wade. Well, guess what? It will continue to get less and less possible to reverse it if those in positions of leadership and civil authority refuse to use their bully pulpits to try to change hearts and minds — and to try to make it clear that we do not wait until the last mind has been changed before attempting to conform civil law to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. It is a convenient and cynical surrender to the supposed hopelessness of our current cultural situation to say that it is not possible to do those things that are difficult and painful, things that could imperil one’s own electoral survival and popularity. Even the Founding Fathers of this nation, with whom I have outlined a series of profound disagreements, expected that individuals who ran for elected office would be possessed of their own convictions and would be willing to articulate those convictions without fear of electoral reprisal.
An NBC interview with the new president aired at about the same time as the CBS interview. Amazingly, Bush stated that he was pro-life, that he disagreed with his wife, that he would appoint “strict constructionists” to the Court (notwithstanding the fact that his record in Texas belies a commitment to strict constructionism). Bush wanted to appear in that interview as being the pro-life champion. No mention there of keeping abortions “safe and less numerous.” Will the real George W. Bush please stand up? Actually, the real George W. Bush has stood up: he is a man who is inconsistent in his core, does not understand issues of fundamental justice founded in truth, says different things at different times, and wants to be all things to all people. He wants people to read into his statements exactly what he hopes they will, knowing full well that a little bit of wishful thinking on the part of Clinton’s supporters has kept Clinton’s popularity quite high, yes, even after he reached a plea agreement with independent counsel Robert Ray on January 19. As I noted last year, Bush is Clinton with a Texas twang.
But didn’t Bush make an allusion to Mother Teresa? So what? Bill Clinton quoted Scripture regularly. Regularly. Al Gore invoked the name of our Lord in black Baptist churches. Bush did not allude to Mother Teresa — as “doing great things for love” — as a means of discussing her unalterable, unconditional opposition to all abortion without any exception whatsoever. Mother Teresa was not concerned about tax cuts or about establishing “faith” in the American “creed.” Those are not the “great things for love” that Mother Teresa wanted people to do. And the love that motivated Mother Teresa was love of the Blessed Trinity through His true Church. Bush knows that the simple incantation of Mother Teresa’s name or of words such as “faith” will give him a great deal of mileage with people seeking someone in public life to admire and respect. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another. Imagine what good could be done if presidents who invoke words such as faith and love really loved God enough to sacrifice their political careers in behalf of the defenseless unborn.
Obviously, even the phrase “pro-life” has lost its meaning. Those who support abortion in certain instances — rape, incest, alleged threats to the life of the mother — are deemed to be pro-life, when they are in fact just less pro-abortion than others. Additionally, a person who is truly pro-life understands that no one who supports even one abortion as a matter of principle is qualified to hold any public office, whether elected or appointed, not to mention the highest offices in the Executive Branch of the federal government of the United States.
Look at the bevy of pro-aborts President George W. Bush has appointed to his new administration: White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; advisors Karl Rove and Mary Matalin; White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, the subject of an article in last month’s issue of Christ or Chaos; National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice; Secretary of State Colin Powell; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a member of the pro-population control Council for Foreign Relations; and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman. Those people will have important voices in the new president’s administration, seeming to demonstrate once again that good, competent public servants can pursue the common good even though they are committed to an evil that is fundamentally destructive of that common good.
For example, many commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, have been dismissive of the importance of Christine Todd Whitman’s appointment as EPA administrator. After all, it has been argued, what harm can she do there? What does her support for abortion have to do with her new job? Actually, quite a lot. For a person who does not recognize that a human being is the zenith of God’s creative work — and who does not recognize that God Himself chose to be knit in His Sacred Humanity in His Blessed Mother’s womb — will not understand the proper relationship of the human being to the environment. We are not here for the environment. The environment is here for us. Yes, we must be proper stewards of the Earth, as Pope John Paul II recently noted. But God created the Earth for human beings to populate, master, and subdue. A person who believes that the life of even one innocent unborn child is negotiable will have no problem with the current EPA policy that subjects the bodies of aborted babies to all manner of texts to determine the impact on the human body of various toxins found in the environment. It actually matters quite a lot that Christine Todd Whitman has been appointed to run the EPA. Of course, it doesn’t matter at all if abortion is just an issue about which “good” people can disagree, right?
What About Tommy Thompson?
Secretary of Health and Human Services-designate Tommy Thompson is one of the scores of politicians who have traded for years on an undeserved reputation for being pro-life. As is the case with most supposedly pro-life politicians, he supports the killing of innocent unborn children in certain cases and should not be called pro-life. However, the National Right to Life Committee and its various state affiliates have spun reality so utterly that the average pro-lifer has been convinced that it is permissible to kill the innocent unborn in certain circumstances. Thompson is not pro-life. If anyone doubts that flat statement, consider the proof offered below.
Thompson supports embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation. He has called it vital work and has arbitrarily characterized it as moral and ethical. As most of you know, stem-cell research involves the removal of cells from living embryos for various research and transplantation purposes. The embryos, little human beings, many of whom are conceived artificially in test tubes, are then killed when the cells are removed. That is a monstrous Hitlerian nightmare. However, “pro-life” Tommy Thompson supports that monstrous, barbaric practice. Bush is on record in opposition to federal funding for stem-cell research. However, it is quite telling that he appointed a man who believes in such research as vital and ethical to be secretary of health and human services.
Thompson has also caused a furor over the French abortion pill, the human pesticide, RU-486, which the Food and Drug Administration, an agency within HHS, authorized for marketing in September during the presidential campaign. Speaking during his Senate confirmation hearings on January 19, Thompson promised a review of the “safety” of RU-486. As The New York Times reported on January 20:
Excuse me? “Safety concerns”? Sure, the human pesticide is unsafe for women. That’s been proven over and over again. However, it is more than unsafe for a preborn human being; it is deadly. Why is it so difficult to speak about the actual reality of what abortion does: namely, to kill a human being, whether by surgical dismemberment or chemical poisoning? And I don’t want to hear that a nominee won’t get confirmed if he speaks about such nasty little realities. People listen to confirmation hearings. And those who are steeped in cultural relativism need to have their consciences disturbed by articulate, cogent defenses of the standards of objective justice founded in truth. The reason that a pro-lifer is opposed to RU-486 is that it is a means to kill a human being, a handiwork of God’s love, in his mother’s womb. Moreover, as noted earlier, it is never possible to immunize women from the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of killing their unborn children, no matter what procedure or chemical is used to do so.
And What About John Ashcroft?
What about John Ashcroft? Yes, what about John Ashcroft? His story is truly, truly tragic.
As I noted in a sidebar in last month’s issue of Christ or Chaos, the attorney general-designate, though rhetorically pro-life, did a number of things as a senator to contradict his rhetoric. He was no different from 99 percent of other allegedly pro-life legislators, to be sure. Remember, only three (count them: three) senators voted against pro-abort Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993: New Hampshire’s Bob Smith, North Carolina’s Jesse Helms, and Oklahoma’s Don Nickles. Ashcroft was not in the Senate then. However, once there, he did vote to confirm a number of Clinton’s pro-abortion judicial nominees to the U.S. District Courts and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. And therein lies a very interesting tale.
Ashcroft is partly responsible for the vicious attacks leveled against him by pro-abortion former Senate colleagues. That is, Ashcroft and other “pro-life” senators repeatedly rolled over for Bill Clinton, confirming almost all of his nominees to serve in the Executive Branch and on the federal judiciary. If those senatorial “pro-lifers” had half the zeal and commitment to their position as the pro-aborts had, we might have been spared the likes of Janet Reno and Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer and Donna Shalala. But, no, Republicans are ever eager to appear “fair-minded,” “open-minded,” “cooperative.” Never mind the fact that their strategy of callow appeasement to Clinton got them nowhere with the 42nd president or with the media. It got them nowhere with pro-abortion constituency groups. Clinton knew they would cave in to him over and over and over again. He spat in their eye and denounced them repeatedly for failing to cooperate with him, when the truth of the matter was that they cooperated with him all too willingly and all too frequently, as Howard Phillips has demonstrated with thorough documentation in his Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin.
Consequently, the fact that Ashcroft was subject to vicious attacks should have surprised no one. Leftists have been given a free ride by hapless, careerist Republicans. Leftists have an agenda they want to pursue with a perverse kind of apostolic zeal and evangelical fervor. They want to prevent anyone who disagrees with them from getting into positions of governmental power. But the way to deal with those modern-day fascists is not to spin the reality of one’s own positions to cater to their own perversity and positivism. Ashcroft, though a decent man whose record was distorted and whose character was demonized relentlessly in the weeks leading up to his Senate confirmation hearing, did not acquit himself well during the hearings.
To wit, Ashcroft called abortion a “constitutionally protected health service.” It is nothing of the sort. As predicted in last month’s issue of my newsletter, he said that he would enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which has imposed federal prison terms and huge fines upon pro-life Americans who have engaged in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in front of abortuaries, which civil disobedience is arbitrarily called “violence against women” by the pro-abortionists. One can disagree philosophically with the concept of Operation Rescue. However, those who had the courage to put their lives and liberty on the line to express their solidarity with the defenseless unborn and their mothers should not be subjected to tyrannical federal laws. They were willing to face whatever penalties a state or locality wanted to impose upon them. The fact that it is now a federal offense to engage in an act of civil disobedience is itself a crime against the State, as an unjust law is no law at all. What is truly tragic is that FACE passed in 1994 with the help of Republican legislators in both houses of Congress.
Ashcroft said that Roe v. Wade was settled law and that the Bush administration would not seek to reverse it. Bush himself had used such language during the campaign, albeit in his own typically inconsistent style, saying one thing one day and the exact opposite the next day. Settled law. Words matter. Words matter. Words matter. Civil laws that codify evil acts have to be unsettled. Do you believe that Roe v. Wade is “settled law,” and that we have to “settle” for a situation where abortions are “safe and less numerous,” as the new president said in the aforementioned CBS interview airing opposite his somewhat contradictory NBC interview on the morning of the inauguration?
“But Ashcroft might not get confirmed if he didn’t say these things,” someone might protest. Well, what good will he be as attorney general if he is going to take the view that Roe v. Wade is settled law and that Bush is right to have no litmus test for Federal judges? What good will he be if he enforces FACE and keeps in place the FBI task force that investigates “clinic violence”? And if he makes a distinction between his own personal beliefs and his duty to enforce the laws on the books? How is that last point any different from the position taken by the likes of Mario Cuomo or Edward Moore Kennedy or Joseph Biden? A public servant has the duty to pursue justice and to work to change laws that contravene the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law.
A word about that FBI task force. In 1995, during Attorney General Janet Reno’s watch, two FBI agents assigned to the task force visited a woman in Toledo, Ohio, to warn her that a letter she had written to an abortionist could be interpreted as an act of terrorism against the abortionist. The woman had simply written that she was praying for the abortionist’s conversion. The story was reported in The Wanderer at the time. (I met the parents of this woman, who is married with children, when I gave a talk in Toledo in July 1995.)
Surely, Ashcroft came under fire from the despicable Edward Moore Kennedy, who should have been excommunicated in the 1970s, along with all of the other Catholic pro-aborts in public life. Indeed, we would not have a new generation of Republican Catholic pro-aborts (George Pataki, Susan Collins, Susan Molinari, Rick Lazio, Tom Ridge, Rudolph Giuliani, Richard Riordan) if our bishops had excommunicated the Democratic Catholic pro-aborts when the first one of them switched from being pro-life to being pro-death. But the way to handle the likes of Kennedy is to remind him of his own former pro-life stance. Go back at him. He wasn’t going to vote for Ashcroft in any case, was he? Why do our own people believe that they have to use the language of the culture of death to convince pro-aborts that their pro-life rhetoric is simply that, rhetoric, with no relationship to the actual formulation and implementation of public policy?
Some might protest that Ashcroft was being as clever as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. Think again, friends, think again. It is not being as innocent as a dove to call abortion a “constitutionally protected health service.” And he wasn’t fooling anybody, was he? His pathetic attempt to turn himself into a man who could segregate his private views from his public actions was called by its proper name by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein is a militant pro-abort, a senator who once refused to help a refugee from Red China who was about to be deported and forced to have an abortion in her own country. But she saw through what Ashcroft was trying to do. Ashcroft would have done better to speak his mind and let the chips fall where they might, trusting in the Providence of God to bring the result that was most pleasing to Him and for His greater honor and glory.
Consider, for example, a message which was sent to me by attorney Michael Dilworth:
Michael Dilworth has a grip on the reality of the Splendor of Truth Incarnate and His Social Kingship over us men and our civil societies. He gets it. The fact that he and his wife Helen are raising four children, three of whom they have adopted out of the generosity of the love our Lord and our Lady has put into their hearts, is one of the signs of hope in the midst of a world where people do not have a grip on reality. For there are many home-schooling parents who understand the flawed nature of the American regime, founded as it is in the framework of religious indifferentism, the Protestant Revolt, and Freemasonry — each of which rejects the primacy of Christ the King and the authority of His true Church to be the ultimate arbiter and explicator of the natural law. The Dilworths and other home-schooling parents know that there is no other solution for the problems we face other than the patient work of planting the seeds of the true Faith in the souls of everyone, especially the young, who will have to take their places in this culture of death before too long. The fact that people such as the Dilworths see reality clearly means that there will be people in public life, perhaps after many of us are dead and buried, who will speak the truth clearly and in love as a means not of winning office or of being confirmed to a prestigious appointment, but as a means of serving the salvation of souls, the greater honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity, and the establishment of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the Queenship of His Most Blessed Mother.
President Bush will do just enough around the margins of the life issue to keep pro-life Indians on the reservation. His executive order of January 22 reinstating the ban on federal taxpayer funding of “family planning agencies” that promote or perform abortions in other countries is largely symbolic. Planned Parenthood and related organizations have plenty of their own funds to use for their nefarious purposes in other countries. Mind you, it is good that the Mexico City policy, as it is known, has been reinstated. But it can be reversed by another president just as simply as Bill Clinton reversed the original Mexico City policy on January 22, 1993. The principal purpose for the issuance of the order on the day that thousands upon thousands of pro-life Americans were marching for life was to win Bush a lot of support and good will from those eager for a few crumbs. But that is all pro-lifers will get: a few crumbs now and then. Just enough to burnish the record for the next election and to keep people from achieving the grip on reality that the Dilworths and many other good people have achieved by the grace of God and the love of His Most Blessed Mother.
Indeed, the fact that the new president did not see fit to speak to the thousands of pro-lifers who gathered in Washington on January 22 itself speaks volumes about his lack of commitment to the issue. Even his father, the first President Bush, spoke to Nellie Gray, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, each January 22, carrying on the tradition that Ronald Reagan had begun in 1981. President George W. Bush did not so, largely because he knows that Nellie Gray is prone to ask questions of the high and mighty, including presidents. The new president is utterly incapable of answering questions about the issue of abortion.
In lieu of an appearance by Bush, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) read a statement issued in the president’s name. (Let’s get one thing straight: Bush does not write his own copy.) The statement noted: “The promises of our Declaration of Independence are not just for the strong, the independent, or the healthy. They are for everyone, including unborn children. We share a great goal, to work toward a day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law … to build a culture of life, affirming that every person at every stage and season of life, is created equal in God’s image.” However nice the statement may look at first glance, it is at odds with what Bush states he believes. How can Bush say he believes that “every child” should be “welcomed in life and protected in law” when he states repeatedly that he is in favor of the killing of preborn children in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother? The statement issued in his name on January 22 is simply at odds with the real George W. Bush. I do hope the fact that he did not see fit to at least telephone Nellie Gray was not lost on some of the people who were at the March for Life.
The point of this reflection is not to bash George W. Bush. It is our duty in charity and in justice to pray for him and his family, to pray for his conversion to the true Faith. Reality is what it is, however. While Bush is a genial man whom decent people can feel comfortable with, we must remember that those who of us who say we are pro-lifers and disciples of our Lord through His true Church can never grow comfortable or complacent when we consider the simple fact that 4,000 babies made in the image and likeness of God are exterminated each day in this country under cover of law. Until George W. Bush comes to grips with that ugly and horrible reality — and becomes determined to lead courageously in the elimination of the shedding of innocent blood under cover of law, he will be just another careerist politician seeking to please constituency groups rather than use the office he has entered into as a means of subordinating the laws of this nation to the laws of God.
“We must seek to please God rather than men,” Saint Peter wrote. May our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, pray for us to seek to please God rather than men by insisting that those who call themselves pro-life view the situation in this country clearly in all of its reality, and not delude themselves into thinking that rhetoric and a genial demeanor are substitutes for leadership founded in a desire to restore all things in Christ, the only sure foundation of civil justice and social order.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Justice Will Lose No Matter Who Wins
November 13, 2000
As is somewhat well-known, I carried no brief for Texas Governor George W. Bush or the Republican Party this year. Indeed, I made my break from the Republican Party on the national level in 1996, and I am never returning. It is my firm conviction that the only way the multifaceted and interrelated problems facing our society can be ameliorated is by doing in our own day the slow, tedious work undertaken by the Apostles nearly two millennia ago to plant the seeds for a Christ-centered world. Christendom, which flourished in Europe for nearly a thousand years, was the result of the efforts of those who took seriously the Great Commissioning given by our Lord to the Apostles before He Ascended to the Father’s right hand in glory. The missionaries who came to the New World five hundred years ago were intent on doing here in this hemisphere the same sort of assiduous work that had produced the glory of Christendom in Europe. For it is only a world living in the shadow of the Cross and recognizing the authority of the true Church on matters of fundamental justice that has a ghost of a chance of fostering justice within individual nations and peace across international borders.
Pope Leo XIII noted in Sapientiae Christianae that a Catholic’s love of his nation must be premised upon his love for the Church. For just as love of our fellow creatures may become a mere expression of sentimentality rather than of willing the salvation of their immortal souls, so is it the case that love of one’s country can be reduced to merely sentimental and naturalistic terms. A disordered patriotism becomes a form of idolatry in which a particular nation’s mythology becomes more important than even the true faith. Pope Leo put it this way:
Thus, it is not possible to truly love our country unless we first of all love the Church our Lord created upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. There is no secular, nondenominational, religiously indifferentist, or culturally pluralistic way in which to resolve social problems. As I have noted on many other occasions, individual souls need the life of sanctifying grace in order to grow in virtue and sanctity over the course of their lives. So is it also the case that societies need the guidance of Holy Mother Church in order to pursue authentic justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate.
There is no salvation in electoral politics. None whatsoever. Electoral politics in this country merely provides us with a forum where we can challenge our fellow citizens with truths that may be difficult for them to accept. But we do have the obligation to speak the truth in love as a means of planting the seeds that might result in the conversion of hearts and souls to the true faith and help those who are already Catholic to see the world more clearly through the eyes of faith. It is only when we begin to view the world clearly through the eyes of the true faith that the events of this passing world come into clear focus.
The narrowness of the election
The very narrowness of the 2000 presidential election speaks volumes about the fruit of the fallacious nature of this country’s founding. Bad ideas lead to bad consequences. The idea that it is possible for men of differing beliefs to pursue the common good without reference to the authority of the Catholic Church as the ultimate arbiter of the natural law is false. Ironically, that idea is what is common to the Calvinists who landed at Plymouth Rock and the Freemasons of the lodges of the eighteenth century. As Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei, religious indifferentism leads to the triumph of atheism in every aspect of a nation’s life. And a country that relies upon a written document as the sole basis of governmental legitimacy and the propriety of public policy will travel all too naturally down the path of social chaos, expedited by the forces of positivism and deconstructionism. That is why the United States of America is so divided at present.
It is divided into many different camps. Essentially, however, it is afflicted by those who have been catechized and evangelized by the spirit of religious indifferentism, cultural pluralism, legal positivism, moral relativism, and the whole gamut of statist policies into believing that we are the masters of our own destiny. The majoritarianism of John Locke and the “general will” of Jean-Jacques Rousseau have created an atmosphere in which the average person has come to believe that morality is determined at the ballot box or by those who serve in the institutions of civil governance. The very people who reject uncritically even the possibility of the infallibility of the Successor of Saint Peter accept with total faith whatever it is the scions of our popular culture propose to be preached by the ethos of political correctness. The very people who say they do not believe in creedal religion accept secularism as the civil religion of our day, coming to resent anyone and everyone who dares to speak in denominational terms. Thus, the promoters of contraception and abortion and sodomy and state control of education and all manner of statist and redistributionist programs are seen as the defenders of truth. Those who represent any threat to that state of things, no matter how shallow or insincere the threat may be, are seen as enemies of the people.
That is what accounts for the fact that Albert Arnold Gore Jr. won the national popular vote on Tuesday, November 7. Indeed, he would have won the presidency outright in the Electoral College (the allegedly disputed popular votes in Florida notwithstanding) had Ralph Nader not been in the race as the Green Party’s presidential nominee. Gore’s national total would have eclipsed Texas Governor George W. Bush’s by more than a million votes, at least. This is a far different nation than it was in 1980 when former California Governor Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter. Millions of young people have grown up knowing nothing other than legalized baby-killing and a veritable panoply of state-sponsored and administered goodies. Those young people, many of whom are living as the barbarians of yore, are voting. And they are not voting for anyone who appears to be a threat to the lifestyle they have been convinced that they have the right and moral duty to pursue and to uphold.
Added to that mix is the fact that many Catholics continue to support the pro-abortion Democratic Party most reflexively. Viewing the Church as an illegitimate interloper in matters of public policy and electoral politics, many Catholics see nothing wrong with voting for candidates who promote the mystical destruction of our Lord in the womb under cover of law. They incant all manner of slogans designed to put an end to rational thought. Permitting sentimentality and emotion to triumph over rational thought and the truths of the Holy Faith, such Catholics are frequently reaffirmed in their attachment to a pro-abortion political party by their pastors, men who themselves are at war with the Church, both doctrinally and liturgically. It is a matter of great urgency for all believing Catholics, both priests and laity alike, to catechize those people, which is one of the principal reasons I wrote Christ in the Voting Booth, a book that I continue to believe can be of service in helping pro-abortion Catholics understand the faith and act in concert with the truths our Lord revealed to the Apostles and entrusted through them to the care of His Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, however, a great many pro-life Catholics also suspend rational thought in order to place their trust in electoral politics. Rejecting the belief that the faith can be used in our civil discourse, those good people believe that in the voting booth they must prefer anyone who is said to be a “lesser evil” than some other candidate, while eschewing all candidates of conscience as actual obstacles to the advancement of the culture of life. What they fail to realize is that their misplaced (and constantly betrayed) trust in careerist politicians continues to retard — not advance — the very goals they think can be promoted by their belief in so-called pragmatism and incrementalism. Moreover, whenever someone presents facts showing how bad a particular candidate they support actually is, they respond with statements of unjustified “faith” that the candidate will change over the course of time (and for the better), all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Indeed, many pro-life voters simply scoffed at Bush’s firm pro-abortion record in public life. They are unwilling to accept the fact that a person who supports even one abortion as a matter of principle is not pro-life and therefore should not be called a “pro-life” politician. That permits a certain mythology to triumph — the mythology crafted to advance the career of professional politicians who believe that we exist to enable them to win office. Such pols will say just enough during campaigns to convince voters who fear the evil more than they love the good to stay in the Republican camp, and if elected they will do just enough on the margin to demonstrate their bona fides. And just as pro-abortion Catholics are enabled by pastors who are of a like mind politically, many good pro-life Catholics are enabled in their reflexive attachment to the Republican Party by priests who believe that the current embodiment of “electability” will carry the day at the polls and will do at least a few things to promote the culture of life.
Pragmatism and incrementalism have produced disastrous results for the cause of fundamental justice founded in truth. Weak candidates who do not understand the life issue (Bob Dole, George W. Bush) are certified as electable. Candidates who do understand the issue — and who can articulate it eloquently (Patrick Buchanan, Howard Phillips, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer) — never receive the backing of the establishment pro-life community. Nor do they win the backing of certain priests who trade on their reputations as spiritual guides to lead Catholics who do not regularly follow the details of politics into accepting what is represented as received truth from the hand of God Himself. Like lemmings, pro-life Catholics unhesitatingly follow the advice they are given by the pro-abortion National Right to Life Committee and by Father Frank Pavone, who has bought into the committee’s political agenda. Candidates of conscience are viewed with disdain as the instrumentalities by which the supposedly “greater evil” might be elected (by draining votes away from the “lesser evil”), not as the means by which truth itself might be given a forum in the realm of electoral politics — and not as the means by which the voiceless unborn might be given voice in the course of public policy debate.
Although the realities of our current political structure militate against the viability of third parties, those who run as candidates of conscience nevertheless do help keep the life issue alive. They do not succumb to the pressures of political expediency. Such candidates understand that they will be opposed vigorously by those who worship at the altar of pragmatism, which never brings the practical political “success” that it is supposed to produce. And professional politicians do read the results of elections quite closely. The extent to which voters support third parties is a barometer that pols can use to measure how far they can drift in one direction or another; a significant shift of voter support to a third party tells establishment pols that they’d better respond in some way. Those who contend that votes do not carry a symbolic weight are very much mistaken. They do. And while it remains my belief that the current political structure is closed to the sort of “electoral success” promised us by the pragmatists and incrementalists, we nevertheless must be tireless in raising our voices as Catholics in the realm of civil discourse, no matter how much opprobrium we bring upon our heads as a result.
Right on the money
The political analysis I have been providing over the course of the past few years in Christ or Chaos has proven to be right on the money. I expressed my doubt that George W. Bush could win the White House, in light of his intellectual shallowness and in light of the cultural factors facing our nation described earlier in this essay. As noted, Bush lost the popular vote, a loss that would have been exponentially greater had Nader not been in the race.
Furthermore, I indicated in the most recent issue of Christ or Chaos that certain states — New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont — were bound to fall into the Gore camp. Although I believed a vote of conscience was always the right vote to cast as a matter of principle, people in those states had a veritable “free throw” to cast for Buchanan or Phillips. We elect the president through the Electoral College; the national popular vote total is irrelevant. What matters is the popular vote total in the individual states. Anyone who knows anything about practical politics — and it’s amazing to me how unrealistic the so-called pragmatists actually are when they make their supposedly clever judgments about how to vote in particular elections — knows that the states listed above have tended toward the Democratic Party in national elections. The same people who used national polling data to browbeat supporters of Buchanan and Phillips into voting for Bush simply refused to believe the state-by-state polling data that showed Bush the sure loser in the ten states I’ve listed.
To wit, Mrs. Joanne McOsker, president of Catholics for Life in Rhode Island, came under fierce attack by an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Providence, as well as by priests, for her steadfastness in support of Buchanan. Mrs. McOsker was called all manner of names and was denounced as a person who was helping to elect Al Gore. How is a person in a state certain to be won by Gore helping to elect Gore by voting for Buchanan? Indeed, Gore won Rhode Island by a ratio of 58 percent to 37 percent. He won my home state of New York 60 percent to 36 percent. Yet pro-lifers would not believe Right to Life Party Chairman Kenneth Diem when he told them what the results would be. They wanted to be on the “winning side.” They dismissed Father Paul Driscoll’s brilliant pamphlet outlining the rationale for casting a vote of conscience, not even bothering to read it. Those who attacked Mrs. McOsker and Ken Diem were wrong. Imagine what a message could have been sent if pro-life voters voted for a genuine pro-life candidate in a state that was very safe for the pro-abort Albert Arnold Gore.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, which maintains that the November 7 election should have been Gore’s to win as a result of the vibrant economy, Bush should have won it handily. If Bush had understood the prophetic nature of the life issue, for example, he could have hammered Gore for his support of baby-killing-on-demand under cover of law as a constitutional right. Careerist politicians believe that the life issue is a losing issue. (That’s the subject of my analysis of the Hillary Clinton-Rick Lazio U.S. Senate race in New York.) Because that is so, you see, there has never been a candidate for president from a major party who made the life issue the centerpiece of his campaign, including Reagan. Gore was given a free pass on the issue of abortion, especially when it came to the issue of RU-486, the French abortion pill, when it was raised during the first Bush-Gore debate on October 3 in Boston.
Gore was also vulnerable for being a complete and total pathological liar. However, a full-scale frontal assault on Gore’s character was never mounted. It is arguably the case that many voters would have found such an assault too offensive. Still others would have had no problem with Gore’s repeated lies, to say nothing of his demagoguery. After all, Bill Clinton remains very popular, and those who have indemnified Clinton for his behavior are prone to do the same with Gore. Nevertheless, Bush could have tried to make it a central theme of his campaign. He did not, speaking only in general terms about character and trust without reminding people consistently of the specifics of the Clinton-Gore record.
Very importantly, though, Bush’s adoption of his “compassionate conservatism” slogan yielded ground to Gore on the existence and growth of the statist, redistributionist, and collectivist policies that have helped to create a culture of dependency in this country. That is nothing new, obviously. Congressional Republicans talked big about their “Contract with America” in 1994. However, all Clinton had to do in 1995 was to blame them for the “government shutdown” he manufactured, and Republicans in Congress caved like the proverbial house of cards. The meltdown has become so bad over the years that on October 25, in a budget agreement with Clinton, congressional Republicans restored American funding of “family planning” agencies to kill babies overseas. While talking about less government out of one side of his mouth, Bush talked the statist game out of the other, appealing to the culture of dependency. Ironically but naturally enough, the statist part of his pitch rang hollow with statists. Why should voters support a “compassionate conservative” when they could have a real, full-blown Democrat?
Although more competent than the ever hapless and mercurial Dole, Bush is not a serious man of the mind. Anyone who can say that the issue of baby-killing is a matter of “opinion” (something he would never say about racism or anti-Semitism) betrays a terrible lack of depth as a thinker. Anyone who does not see the inconsistency in saying that he will welcome every child (a phrase trumpeted by the National Right to Life Committee) while supporting the destruction of certain children in certain cases is bereft of a solid philosophical core. A man who claims he would be powerless to reverse an administrative decision by an agency of the executive branch he seeks to head demonstrates a woeful ignorance of the powers of the office to which he aspires. And a person who campaigns actively with pro-abortion politicians (New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, and New York Governor George Pataki) tells us that he simply cannot be taken seriously as a defender of life. Could you imagine George W. Bush campaigning with someone who supported racism, for example? But those who support the slicing and dicing of little babies are qualified to hold office and are held up as veritable role models for young people who desire a career in politics themselves.
Thus, there were few things more irksome in the final days of the campaign than listening to well-meaning pro-life Catholics tell me how they were going to vote for “life.” A vote for Bush was not a vote for life. It was an understandable vote to keep Al Gore out of the White House. However, as will be demonstrated in the next section of this essay, a Bush administration would do next to nothing to advance the culture of life. For those who campaign with caution to get elected will govern with caution to get re-elected, and that’s even more the case this year given the fact that even if Bush turns out to have won Florida’s twenty-five electoral votes and manages to take office, he still will have lost the popular vote.
The practical results of the 2000 elections
Here is what we can expect if George W. Bush is sworn in as the forty-third president of the United States on January 20, 2001:
1) Bush will appoint pro-aborts throughout his administration, starting with the pro-abortion, pro-contraception Colin Powell as his secretary of state. Powell will be in charge of population policy. And you can be sure that Powell, a firm supporter of the United Nations program of population control, will pursue policies almost identical to Clinton’s on matters of “population and development.”
2) Pro-aborts will populate the Bush White House. To be sure, we will see a smattering of pro-lifers in certain positions. The various constituency groups must be thrown a few crumbs, after all. However, most of the Bush White House will be populated by very pragmatic careerists who consider their service in the White House to be a reward for their years of service to Bush personally and/or to the Republican Party generally.
3) Forget about the Supreme Court and the other courts in the federal judiciary. Bush will be very careful to nominate only those candidates who he believes are “confirmable” (a variation of “electable,” eh?). That is, the last thing in the world a President George W. Bush will want is for Roe v. Wade to be overturned during his first term. He does not want to give Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, his likely opponent in 2004 — her protestations to the contrary notwithstanding — or some other Democrat that particular issue with which to defeat him for reelection. Thus, Bush will nominate “moderates” in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter. It is even possible that he might elevate one of the pro-aborts he appointed to the Texas State Supreme Court.
For in addition to wanting to avoid a reversal of Roe during his first term, Bush will point to the fact that there is no longer a “pro-life” majority in the Senate. There are five fully pro-abortion Republican senators (Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas) who could bolt Bush on a judicial nominee if that nominee were deemed to be a threat to Roe. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska could be thrown into that mix as well, although it is unlikely he would bolt from Bush on one of his appointments.
Additionally, there are the vacancies that occur from time to time in the twelve Circuit Courts of Appeal and the eighty-eight U.S. District Courts. Bush will appoint a variety of individuals to fill those vacancies, including pro-aborts, all of whom will be dutifully confirmed by supposedly pro-life senators, yes, the very same people who confirmed almost all of Clinton’s pro-abortion judicial nominees. Bush will play the judicial card very, very cautiously.
4) Partial-birth abortion? Even the needlessly conditional ban that has been thrice passed by Congress (and vetoed by Clinton) might be in some jeopardy in the next Congress. However, as I have demonstrated repeatedly, that issue is moot and symbolic. It is unlikely that the Supreme Court would sustain such a bill. And even if it did, the bill’s life-of-the-mother exception would still make it possible for the procedure to be used. Moreover, there are two other methods of killing a child in the later stages of pregnancy that would remain perfectly legal: hysterotomy, and dilatation and evacuation. If the court struck down the bill (and look for Antonin Scalia to join in such a decision, claiming that the issue was a matter for the states to decide), Bush would shrug his shoulders, express his regrets, and say, “Well, I tried.”
5) Reversal of RU-486 and the so-called Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Bill? Not on the Bush radar screen at all.
6) Look for establishment pro-life leaders (National Right to Life Committee and its state affiliates) to indemnify Bush at every turn. Excuses will be made for his judicial nominees. Those who dare to criticize Bush will be called impatient and ungrateful. The specter of Hillary Rodham Clinton will be raised at every possible turn to convince pro-lifers that they will just have to live with silence and relative inaction on the life issue given the political realities of an evenly divided Senate, a narrowly controlled House, and the fact that Bush is a president who won the electoral vote while losing the national popular vote. We’ll be told that we’ll just have to wait until the congressional elections of 2002 or the 2004 presidential election. And if Bush is reelected we’ll then be told that over the horizon is looming some other Democratic Party monster who must be slain by another Republican savior.
If Bush loses to Gore, look for careerist Republicans to blame his loss on the life issue. Never mind the fact that Bush buried the issue. It will bring closer the day when a totally pro-abortion candidate is nominated by the Republican Party. And you had better believe that the National Right to Life Committee, which supported the candidacy of the pro-abortion Rick Lazio, would support such a candidate as being preferable to the “greater” of the two evils in the major political parties. Establishment pro-life figures, including Father Pavone, will never break with the two-party system.
As we know, there is no salvation in partisan politics. But what Father Pavone fails to understand is that a completely acceptable pro-life candidate has not been nominated by the Republican Party because the pro-life establishment has made consistently bad pragmatic choices as to which candidates to support during the caucus and primary processes. Dole was a disaster in 1996. As noted earlier, Bush was a very weak candidate. He stood a chance to win only because there was a residue of hostility among some voters toward the Clinton-Gore era. Father Pavone and others simply do not believe that a man of truth can be elected in this country. They are wrong. It might be difficult. Our efforts might not meet with success the first time around. However, it is time to stop backing flawed candidates who want our votes while they bury the life issue in the campaign and, once elected, take just enough marginal action to keep us on their electoral reservation.
In 1996 Buchanan was wrong, in my estimation, in failing to go over to the then-U.S. Taxpayers Party of Howard Phillips: a substantial number of people would have followed him, thereby building up a base of supporters and revenue which he could have used this year to mount a very credible third-party effort without having to resort to the use of federal matching funds. Similarly, I believe that Father Pavone and others are wrong to place their trust time and time again in our failed and flawed two-party system. Millions of good Catholics would follow them if they broke away.
Again, we might not be successful politically for a long time. But we would be able to get the truth out there in the forum of electoral politics, thereby helping, by means of the graces won for us by the shedding of our Lord’s Most Precious Blood on Calvary, to create an electoral climate conducive to the success which is now so elusive precisely because of the wrong-headed pragmatic decisions that have been made by so-called pro-life leaders. That could do more in the long run to help Catholicize the country — the necessary precondition for stopping the advance of contraception and abortion and sex-instruction and sodomy and euthanasia — than any laws that can be enacted by Congress at present.
Our trust must be in the true faith, not in the American belief that there is some religiously indifferentist and culturally pluralistic way to ameliorate the evils that we face in our land. There is so much fear in the world today. Good, pro-life Catholics fear the election of Al Gore without remembering that God is more powerful than Al Gore. Good, pro-life Catholics fear the invocation of the Holy Name in civil debate, something that Pope Pius XI wrote in Quas Primas was a matter of particular urgency. Candidates fear being defeated if they stand on principle. Fear, fear, fear.
The Apostles would have stayed in the Upper Room in Jerusalem even after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them on Pentecost Sunday if they had been gripped by the sort of fear that grips Catholics in the United States today. Missionaries would never have gone to far-distant lands to attempt to convert barbaric peoples to the Cross of Christ if they had been paralyzed by the sort of fear that paralyzes what should be our Catholic instincts to speak and to act authentically as Catholics, as Pope Leo XIII urged us to do in Sapientiae Christianiae. Martyrs would never have offered their lives as a witness to the faith if they had loved bodily life and human respect more than they had loved Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Father has urged us to “be not afraid.” Indeed, be not afraid. We should not be afraid of making a break from the lies of the Americanist ethos. We should not be afraid of exhibiting the courage of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who believed that enrollment in the Knights of the Immaculata would help to propagate a Christ-centered world in which the naturalists would be converted by the triumph of our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. We should not be afraid to exhibit the courage of Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, who cried out “Viva Cristo Rey!” as the Masonic revolutionaries were about to execute him in Mexico City on November 23, 1927. We must believe that our Lord wants to use us to plant the seeds for the conversion of this nation to His own Social Kingship, the only sure antidote to the poisons that are infecting every aspect of our national life.
With a firm reliance upon our Lady’s loving maternal intercession, let us understand that the more we believe in false ideas, the more we will be disillusioned by a flawed political process. The more we enable the lesser of two evils, the greater the dose will become of the so-called lesser evil with each passing election. May we ask our Lady to be so consecrated to her Immaculate Heart that we will never shrink from believing in the miracle of a Catholic America, one in which all hearts are in total communion with hers — and with the Heart of all Hearts that was formed out of her Immaculate Heart, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us — and pray for the United States of America.
Beyond the Brave New World
|January 26, 2001
This is being written in California, where I am conducting my adult-education courses in Santa Clara, Pebble Beach, and Atascadero. Although I had an amazing set of adventures en route out here via a van given to me last July by Dr. and Mrs. Paul Wolpert of Sioux City, I will save a recitation of those adventures for another column. However, I have not had to face any of the blackouts or brownouts that have plagued parts of California in the past few weeks. Although I am a New Yorker to the very core of my being, there is important work for me to do on the road, and I am very grateful to the Scholz Family Foundation for underwriting my adult-education programs (and the work of my newsletter, Christ or Chaos).
After the conclusion of the Wanderer Forum in Carmel on January 14, I saw quite a sad sight as I returned to the hotel in Dublin that served as my headquarters for the first two weeks of my stay in the Golden State. A long line of toddlers was crossing Dublin Boulevard, supervised by several women. It was obvious that the children were pre-schoolers who had been placed into a day-care program. Some of them looked really lost. If one wants to know the root of a great many of the problems of the young today, look no further than to the fact that children — who desperately need to know they are loved by their parents — are shuffled off to the care of strangers for the better part of their young lives.
Think about it: a child could be placed in a day-care program as early as 6:30 or 7 in the morning and not be reunited with his mother or father until ten or eleven hours later, giving him only a few hours with his parents before he must be put to bed. That would have a tremendously deleterious impact upon a child’s development. Our Lord did not spend time as a Child in Nazareth simply to wait until He embarked upon His Public Ministry. He was teaching us that each person in the family has a role that is appropriate to the mission he or she has in that family (a father, a mother, a child, a brother, a sister). The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is the model for all families, bar none.
Children need the presence of a manly but loving father who is seen as the natural breadwinner of the family. They need the presence of a loving but firm mother who understands that the most important “empowerment” she can realize is the one she received from the vocation of motherhood. A mother has the power to shape little souls for good or for ill. A mother who models herself after the Mother of God will make endless sacrifices to train her children to be saints, to help them love God through His true Church above all other things. Her physical presence in the home during the day is essential to a child’s spiritual well-being and development. And it is essential for her husband to understand that while he is the breadwinner of the family, his presence is vital for the formation of the young souls brought into the world as the natural fruit of the couple’s married love. He is not to be engaged in all manner of extracurricular activities with the “boys” after work. His place is at home with his children, teaching them formally with their instruction (as befits the responsibility of parents as the principal educators of their children) and informally by the example he sets as head of the household.
As we know, there has been a concerted effort over the course of the last hundred years to destabilize the family. It began during the Industrial Revolution, when children were forced to work at hard manual labor in order to help support their families. It included the creation of public schools by Masonically controlled state legislatures in the 1830s and 1840s as an attempt to undermine the natural-law right of parents to be recognized as their children’s principal educators. The push for “liberalized” divorce laws in the latter part of the nineteenth century also was part of that effort. That push — when coupled with the propaganda promoting contraception in the 1920s and 1930s — greatly advanced the destabilization effort, introducing children to the wonderful world of step-parents and step-siblings and half-siblings. Indeed, the situation is so confusing today that some children feel entirely lost as a result of having had a succession of stepfathers and stepmothers and siblings whose exact relationship to themselves sometimes defied their grasp.
Feminism has played its own insidious role in that turn of events, convincing many women that they do not have any inherent worth or dignity unless they take their place in the work world with careers. As I have noted on many other occasions, women are fully competent to do the same sort of intellectual tasks associated with men (and many of them do such tasks far better than men). However, God has so ordered the world that He expects women in their childbearing years who are married and have children to be at home with their children. (That is so in most instances; there are careers, such as nursing and other related fields, that may not necessarily conflict with the overriding duties of motherhood). However, the fact that many women believe they must work has placed them in competition with men for high-paying positions, forcing many mothers who want to stay at home to educate and care for their children to find jobs to help supplement their family’s income. Thus, day-care centers and programs have arisen as a means of providing care for children that should be provided to them in their own homes by their own mothers.
Obviously, there are instances today when it is not possible for mothers to stay at home. Women who have chosen life over death for their unborn children conceived out of wedlock have to provide for themselves and their progeny. Other women have been abandoned by their faithless spouses, who have decided to start new families with others (the logical fruit of contraception and divorce; those two evils feed into and off one another). Still others have been widowed and have not been provided the means by their late husbands to care for their families. My discussion of the importance of mothers to be at home with their children is in no way meant to cast any aspersions upon those women who are in extraordinary personal circumstances.
In many instances, however, many mothers want to work simply to be “fulfilled,” not understanding that the most fulfilled woman in history was our Lady, who was full of grace from the first moment of her own conception in her mother’s womb. The atomistic individualism that is such a big part of the feminist movement has rejected a mother’s loving self-sacrifices in imitation of the Mother of God, who is the model of all legitimate femininity, and instead has emphasized a narcissistic notion of career fulfillment as a necessary part of a woman’s psychological well-being. The Devil wants women to abandon their children in order to be “fulfilled” in a career outside of the home. He wants children to be subject to the ideological brainwashing that is the bane of almost all day-care centers, which stress the deification of the environment, “tolerance” of “divergent” lifestyles, and the promotion of leftist political agendas.
Indeed, the desire for “fulfillment” outside the home is what gave even greater impetus to the acceptance and practice of contraception by married couples. When one tries to fool with one’s own physical nature, however, there are dire consequences. Women who have postponed child-bearing (or spaced out such child-bearing) using various contraceptive devices and pills are increasingly finding themselves unable to bear children at all. The artificial prevention of conception has thus led many women to seek the artificial conception of children by means of in vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood (whether through in vitro fertilization, the use of donor eggs and sperms, or other practices so evil and insidious that they will not be mentioned here). An entire Orwellian industry has arisen to feed the demand for babies on demand: the fertility clinic.
No woman has a right to a child. Even a loving couple who have been wedded together in the bond of a valid sacramental marriage in the Catholic Church do not have a right to children. Children are bestowed upon a couple as the natural fruit of their married love, but they are sent as God sees fit to send them. Those couples who are faced with infertility can devote themselves more fully to the promotion of the Faith (as was the case with Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand) or they can adopt children, providing children not of their own generation the home and the love that they need. My own mother, who died 19 years ago this March 18, was put up for adoption shortly after her birth in 1921. And while she did not have the happiest of circumstances with her adoptive father, the vaudevillian Sioux Indian Chieftain William Red Fox, she nevertheless had a home. Infertility is not a curse. A cross, perhaps; but not a curse. No one has the right to choose to use immoral means to conceive a child, no matter how desperately a child is desired.
In 1987, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement on this matter. Titled Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life), the document stressed the simple teaching of the natural law that a child has the right to be conceived within the context of faithful, monogamous married love. A child has the right to a stable home, one where he is surrounded by the love of his parents, who understand they have the obligation to prepare each of their children to spend an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise. The proliferation of various methods and practices for producing children in test tubes and petri dishes outside the womb has created a situation where children are being robbed of that right.
The irony of all of this is really inescapable: children must be “planned” as objects that will fit neatly into a couple’s lifestyle and career decisions. Naturally, the children can be disposed of in the local abortuary if they do not fit, or, if they are permitted to be born, they can be shunted off to the day-care center and given some occasional attention. But just as children must be planned carefully to conform to materialistic and hedonistic agendas, it is now the case that single women, divorced women, women seeking to make some quick money, and women who practice lesbianism can “order” children on demand by artificial conception. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley had a lot of natural insights about where the path of scientism and evolutionism and socialism was taking mankind.
An entirely new field of law is emerging and being embraced by attorneys, many of whom are on the prowl for new and inventive ways to make money from the moral degradation rampant in our society: fertility law, which is becoming a branch of family law (along with custody law, paternity law, etc.).
For example, take the case in the United Kingdom of the child who was conceived artificially and advertised for adoption on the Internet. Several people have now come forth to claim the child as their own: the people who paid for the adoption; the people who donated the egg and the sperm; and the woman who actually bore the child in her womb after he had been conceived in the laboratory of the fertility clinic. This case is so complicated that even the usual suspects in the world of feminism and positivism and relativism don’t know who has “rights” to the child in question. Alas, that is the nub: the Devil wants complexity to replace the simplicity of God and His laws. It is much too simple to believe that a child should be conceived as the natural fruit of human conjugal love in a valid sacramental marriage. Oh, no, we are much too sophisticated for that, aren’t we? The Devil wants a simple thing such as the conception and rearing of a child to become as complicated as possible, so complicated that people lose sight of the intrinsic evil of the methods used to conceive a child artificially.
There is a direct connection between little children being led like cattle across Dublin Boulevard in Dublin, California, and the transatlantic legal battle over custody of a child artificially conceived. For a world that views it as normal and good to transfer the responsibility of child-rearing to strangers will see no problem with a child’s being conceived and put up for sale to the highest bidder. When we lose sight of the fact that a child bears with his immortal soul the Divine impress, then it is easy to consider him an object to be shunted off to others or planned carefully in the laboratory.
Many bishops in Europe have forcefully denounced the increasingly draconian measures that are undermining the family and the sanctity of marital relations — and subjecting scores more of children to unhappy and unstable lives. It is time for the bishops of the United States to stop issuing silly pastoral letters about arcane subjects and concentrate on the real evils taking place in universities and hospitals and clinics within their very dioceses.
May our Lady, who is our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope, pray for us that we may be ever vigilant in defending the roles proper to each member of a family — and in assuring that motherhood is revered as the vocation that fulfills a woman in the likeness of Mary of Nazareth herself.
Clinton Set the Tone
January 30, 2001
The man protected by angels of darkness helped to let loose the demons in the souls of others. William Jefferson Clinton set a tone in the White House from his very first day in office in 1993 that infected the political appointees who served him. Staffers were disrespectful, insulting, and arrogant to members of the U.S. armed forces, including the man who became Clinton’s ineffectual drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey. Many White House staffers had to receive waivers for their security clearances in order to enter and leave the White House, as they had arrests and convictions related to illegal drug use. And White House staffers in the Clinton years shared their boss’s penchant for believing that all opposition to them was illegitimate, thus justifying all of their lies, personal attacks, leaking of information to the media (about Henry Hyde, Bob Barr, Robert Livingston, Dan Burton), and outright distortions on matters of public policy.
So it should come as no surprise that Clinton’s White House staffers trashed and vandalized many of the taxpayer-purchased and government-owned facilities in the White House offices where they worked. At first, news reports indicated that the W keys on computer keyboards had been “playfully” removed. Even if that had been all that had been done, that is vandalism in and of itself, a willful destruction of the property of the government of the United States of America that would cause more taxpayer dollars to be spent to undo the damage done. Yes, even if the removal of the W keys on computers was “all” that had been done, that would have been a very important indication of the contempt in which the American taxpayer was held by those who worked in the Clinton White House. Those arrogant, self-righteous, sanctimonious barbarians believed that citizens have no inherent natural-law right to their own income and that the vandals could do as they pleased with the property assigned to their use while they were on the federal dole. There is absolutely no difference between that and the attitude of rioters who loot stores to take things that they do not own and have not purchased with their own money.
Reports circulating on January 25, however, now indicate that the extent of the vandalism in the White House by the Clinton staffers before they vacated the premises went far beyond the “playful” removal of the W key. Staffers for President Bush have reported the following to the Drudge Report, even though they were warned not to leak any information to the media:
President Clinton set the tone for all of that. His contempt for the rules and for simple decency was reflected in the personnel he hired, people who reflected the worst of the barbarianism extant in our nation today. Those who do not believe that they live as subjects of God and must conform their behavior to His immutable laws become, in their own minds, gods themselves. They become a law unto themselves who may do and say and act however they want. After all, what’s the big deal about trashing property you do not own and will not be repaired at your own expense if you believe that little children in their mothers’ wombs can be suctioned, poisoned, dissected, and dismembered under cover of law? Really, what’s the big deal about desecrating the office and residence of the president of the United States when you can desecrate the image of God in an unborn child? There is a direct connection between support for abortion and the rise of a personal sense of lawlessness and irresponsibility, especially among young people who have known nothing other than legalized abortion during most of their lives (as is the case with the Clinton staffers).
Indeed, there are so many instances of the Left acting in this way. In 1987, at a conference in Maryland, a staffer for Senator Edward Kennedy spat at a woman who worked for Human Life International. In 1990, homosexual and lesbian “activists” “acted up” at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, desecrating the Blessed Sacrament. Several years ago, urine was sprayed on people participating in a Rosary procession at the Human Life International Conference in Montreal; many of those doing the spraying were self-professed “dykes on bikes.” In 1999, a man working for the campaign of Republican presidential aspirant Gary Bauer found he was suffering from AIDS and decided to try to infect everyone in the office with his own self-inflicted disease, licking doorknobs and other items people would have to touch, in hopes that his saliva would give people the disease. And that is to say nothing of the acts of violence committed in the name of art and funded by taxpayer dollars, including the “painting” of our Lady smeared with elephant dung. Oh, no, the Left is quite good at preaching nonviolence and love while practicing violence and hate against anyone who dares to dissent from their infallible pronouncements.
Bill Clinton will probably smirk and shake his head when asked to comment on the damage done in the White House. He is responsible, however. He didn’t see any of it? None of it was reported to him? Bill Clinton is a pig. It is one thing to sin and to seek out the mercy of our Lord in the Sacrament of Penance. It is another to wallow arrogantly in one’s own sanctimonious sense of being better than everyone else, of believing that one is immune from all of the laws of even natural civility and decency, no less the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law.
Those who are found to be responsible for the vandalism in the White House must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It would be a terrible sign for the Bush administration to let this slide in the interests of “national unity.” Crimes have been committed against the people of the United States. Those crimes must not go unpunished.
I am critical of the new president for his lack of understanding of the primacy of life: he can say on Saturday that the issue facing us is to make sure abortions are “safe and whether they are numerous or not,” while issuing a statement in his name on Monday saying that every child should be “welcomed in the world and protected by law,” a contradiction of his support for the killing of children in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother. Nevertheless he is a decent man who was brought up to respect the property of others. I do not believe pro-lifers have a true friend in the White House — otherwise, Bush would not have surrounded himself with the bevy of pro-aborts who make up his inner circle. However, we are well rid of the Clinton crowd and well rid of all of their indecency and incivility.
However, it remains an open question whether the American taxpayer, who gave Clinton such a free ride on matters of character and integrity the past eight years because of economic prosperity, will come to understand just what contempt Clinton and his people had for the citizens who put them in office and paid their salary, no less the total contempt Clinton and his people had for everyone who disagreed with them and opposed them.
Protected by the Angels of Darkness
|February 1, 2001
As critical as I am of George W. Bush, he is the legitimately elected and inaugurated 43rd president of the United States of America. Those, including his predecessor, who contend that he “stole” the election are engaging in the sort of revisionism and wishful thinking that characterize disciples of the New Age movement. It was Vice President Al Gore and his collection of attorneys and paid stooges who tried to steal the election in Florida during the 36 days between November 7 and December 12. Indeed, at least one recount of the votes in Dade County, that conducted by the Miami Herald, indicated that Bush picked up six votes, putting the lie to all of the nonsense about votes having been stolen. We elect the president in the United States through the Electoral College, and George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote quite legitimately.
However, as I noted last month in “Bill Clinton Will Be Everywhere” the 42nd president is not going away. As shameless as ever, he left office only hours after entering into a plea arrangement with Independent Counsel Robert Ray. On January 21, Ray noted in a news conference that one of the reasons he accepted a plea arrangement with Clinton was that Bush had indeed let him, Ray, know that it was his intention to pardon Clinton if Ray’s office secured a grand-jury indictment of America’s perjurer-in-chief. A jury might not have convicted Clinton if the case had gone to trial, but it would have been quite a reaffirmation of “equal justice under the law” even to put the master manipulator and liar in the dock.
Once again, Clinton skates on the edge of the law. Can there any doubt but that the man is Satanically protected? Who else could enter into a plea arrangement to admit that he knowingly gave false and misleading information when he was deposed by attorneys representing Paula Jones on January 17, 1998, and at the same time act as though he were a conquering hero. Who could remain popular in the eyes of nearly two-thirds of the American populace while doing so? Who else could admit to having subverted the system of justice — long after Judge Susan Weber Wright, in her contempt-of-court citation against him, ruled that he had done so — and then turn around and issue 140 pardons to a variety of fellow criminals, murderers, thieves, liars, scoundrels, and miscreants? The man is shameless to his very core, walking into a delicatessen in Chappaqua, New York, the day after he left office simply to be patted on the back and receive the adulation of mindless people who consider his law-breaking — and his contempt for the law and the courts — admirable.
Among those granted pardon or clemency by Clinton as the minutes ticked away on his corrupt presidency were Susan McDougal; his half-brother Roger Clinton; Susan Rosenberg, a member of the radical Weather Underground (an offshoot of SDS, a Communist-front organization), who was linked to the robbery of a Brinks armored vehicle and the murder of two New York state troopers; and one Marc Rich, who fled the United States owing $48 million in taxes and whose ex-wife Denise is a major fund-raiser for the Democratic Party. Interesting, however, that the man who kept his mouth shut about the extent of the Clinton scandals, former Deputy Attorney General Webster Hubbell, was left out of the pardoning process. Wonder whether Webb is going be writing himself a book about his former golfing buddy Bill and his former law partner Hillary?
There is no need to recite the long list of crimes committed by the former president and covered up by his ever-compliant attorney general (who has returned to Florida, where, conveniently, her pal Donna Shalala is the new head of the University of Miami). Each of us knows only too well about Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Vince Fostergate, Wacogate, Buddhist Temple Fundraising-gate, White House political fund- raisers and coffees and sleepovers-gate, the sellout of American national security to the Chinese Communists-gate, Lewinskygate, the bombing of Iraq and the Sudan and Afghanistan to divert attention from Lewinskygate, the defiance of a federal judge’s order to disclose the members of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s secret health-care advisory committee-gate, the disappearance of computer hard drives containing this nation’s nuclear secrets-gate, and on and on and on.
Those criminal activities do not include the uninterrupted succession of outright lies Clinton and his minions told about governmental policy and the goals of their hapless opponents, the Republicans. He lied all the time about every single bit of policy. Weren’t our troops in Bosnia supposed to be home by Christmas 1996? As for those Republicans, Bill Clinton could not have conjured up a more hapless and inept opposition if he had asked Barbara Eden to fold her arms and blink up a group of political adversaries who would always make him look good: “Jeannie, I want a group of people who will roll over when I say boo, people who will confirm whomever I send up to them to confirm, people who will let me use the American military as my personal plaything whenever I want to use them as such, people who will look the other way as I sell out American sovereignty and claim state lands for federal use, people who will strain to outdo me in my desire to sustain programs opposed to the plain language of the Constitution and violative of the natural-law principle of subsidiarity, yes, people who will be afraid of my very name.” A screenwriter could not have conjured up people better able to fit that request than former Senate majority leader Bob Dole, current Senate majority leader Trent Lott, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, et al.
Clinton blamed Republicans for forcing him into dealing with the issue of sodomites in the military when the truth of the matter was that he had raised the issue the day after his election in 1992. During the government-shutdown crisis in 1995–96, he said Republicans wanted to cut the budget and starve the elderly. In making that charge, he deliberately characterized a proposed cut in the rate of projected government spending as a cut in actual spending — an abject lie. He demagogued on the issues of health care and Social Security, took credit for the “balanced budget” and “welfare reform,” and kept lying and lying and lying about the “rarity” of partial-birth abortions.
Above and beyond everything else, Bill Clinton was the abortion president. From the moment he entered office to the time he left, Clinton did the Devil’s bidding concerning the promotion of contraception, abortion, sodomy, sex instruction, and every other manner of evil and perversion extant in our culture today. And he did it shamelessly in both domestic and foreign policy. He appointed pro-aborts to every level of the federal judiciary (with Republican “pro-life” senators, just going along to get along, confirming almost every single one of Clinton’s pro- abortion nominees). He used slogans (“safe, legal, rare”) designed to obscure the reality of what happens every time a child is systematically dismembered or poisoned in his mother’s womb, which is why President George W. Bush’s expressed intention to see abortions become “safe and less numerous” is so very troubling. (That was an extemporaneous remark right from the horse’s mouth, not a statement issued in Bush’s name that he did not write.) Clinton made war upon the Holy See’s efforts to combat the evils being promoted by the United States in the United Nations and related agencies, and he showed nothing but contempt for Catholics who took their Faith seriously and wanted to safeguard the family from his own vicious attacks and those emanating from the United Nations. He appointed several notorious anti-life, anti-Catholic bigots, such as James Hormel, to government positions.
As I noted three years ago during the impeachment proceedings, Clinton should have been impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate solely because he supported the execution of innocent children in their mothers’ womb under cover of law. No one who supports a single abortion is fit to serve in any capacity in government, much less in the presidency of the United States of America.
The Devil had his way with Bill Clinton. In my piece “From Luther to Clinton to Gore” — in the December issue of my newsletter Christ or Chaos — I made the point that Clinton is just the logical result of a set of forces that have been at work in the world from the days of the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Freemasonry. Indeed, he is a poster boy for what was wrought when Luther posted his theses on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517. As horrible as Bill Clinton is — and as Satanically protected as he is — Clinton was never the problem, ladies and gentlemen. Hillary Clinton is not the problem. Al Gore is not the problem. Those people are only symptomatic of the much greater sickness plaguing our nation and the world: a mindset that accepts secularism and religious indifferentism as culturally normative and beyond human change.
Clinton is gone from office, although he will be everywhere. But his legacy is much more subtle than his overt actions of lying and obstructing justice, and granting pardons and clemency to those undeserving of them. No, Clinton’s real legacy illustrates the Devil’s cleverness of raising up people who are so bad that anyone else looks better in the eyes of well-meaning people. That is why so many people are rushing to repose religious faith in George W. Bush. After eight years of the stench and the corruption of Bill Clinton, good, well-meaning people mistake geniality for a commitment to fundamental justice founded in Truth. However, as I demonstrated last month in my column “Get a Grip on Reality,” Bush’s intellectual shallowness is such that he can have a statement read in his name that seems to indicate his opposition to all abortions even though he has said repeatedly that he supports abortion in certain cases. Glad to be rid of Clinton, though, a lot of good people don’t even want to see the inconsistency; they don’t want to apply the reasoning that the light of cold logic brings to bear on statements. (The principle of non-contradiction states that two mutually contradictory statements cannot both be true.) They want to believe that they have a hero now after eight years of looking at the Devil in the face. What they fail to realize is that that very attitude is one of the ways the Devil triumphs in our popular culture.
We must be about the business of praying and working for the Social Reign of Christ the King, not losing our minds to believe that anyone other than Clinton is our friend and will be committed to the pursuit of fundamental justice founded in Truth. Many of Bush’s appointees could have felt very much at home in a Gore administration; indeed, Colin Powell said last summer that he would have considered serving in such an administration. The only antidote to the poisons that have been spreading through the world in the past 700 years is Catholicism. Never lose sight of that fact, ladies and gentlemen. We place our trust in our Lord through His true Church, not politicians and their empty promises.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, give us the wisdom to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith.
The Land of Windmills and Murder
|February 6, 2001
The Netherlands has replaced Germany as the world’s leading laboratory for social engineering. The recent decision of the Dutch to “legalize” the killing of the elderly and the infirm and the chronically ill is simply the logical result of a set of forces that the Netherlands became home to following the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich in May 1945.
The unification of the Germanic states into a single country as a result of Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 ushered in the triumph of social engineering in northern Europe’s industrial and economic giant. Masterminded by Otto von Bismarck, the “Iron Chancellor,” the social engineering that began in Germany during the Kulturkampf sought to create a brave new world where people would become more and more dependent upon the beneficence of the state. Bismarck knew that one of the ways to solidify political power was to create a sense of dependence on the part of the citizenry, who would become convinced that it was impossible for them to live their lives without the direction and largesse of government bureaucrats.
Bismarck’s Kulturkampf, which started off as a direct assault upon the Catholic Church (viewed by Bismarck as an obstacle to the social and economic advancement of human society), occurred at a time when two complementary schools of thought were coming to the fore: Darwinian evolutionism and the historical-critical method of Scriptural exegesis. The latter was designed by Protestant Scripture scholars in Germany as a means of “demythologizing” Scripture, a goal that dovetailed neatly with the agendas both of the Darwinians and of Hegelian philosophers who were intent on creating the illusion of change in the very nature of God Himself. The old way of religion had to yield to the new ways of progress and social advancement. And that social advancement would entail, among other things, the discarding of those who were economically unproductive and thus relatively useless for the life of society.
Bismarck was not as aggressive as his successors in Germany would be during the period of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). However, he laid the groundwork for the sterilization and euthanasia policies that would be the hallmarks of both Weimar and the Third Reich. One of Bismarck’s principal legacies was the establishment of the modern welfare state, paving the way not only for the Weimar democrats and Hitler but also for V.I. Lenin and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Social Security was the crown jewel of Bismarck’s welfare state. For Bismarck desired to create a world where grown children believed that they were relieved of the natural-law responsibility to care for their elderly parents when they became incapable of caring for themselves. He wanted to rally the elderly to his side by making it appear as though he was their friend — and he wanted to do the same with the young, convincing them that he had made it possible for them to live a more comfortable life materially by relieving them of the “burden” of providing for their parents (never mind the nasty little fact that confiscatory taxes were used to pay for Social Security). Thus, Bismarck sought to pit generations against each other in preparation for the day when those who were retired could be deemed useless to society and thus worthy of liquidation. Bismarck relied upon the German traits of obedience to authority as the means by which he could convince the public that he, their chancellor, knew best.
Social scientists and natural scientists had a field day in Germany during the Weimar Republic. Yes, democratic Germany was home to scores of biological and eugenic experimentations. Science is a tool given us by God to use as a means of assisting the legitimate development of human progress in the natural world. Absent the direction provided it by the true Church, however, science can become a terrible weapon of destruction and of maniacal social and biological engineering. Thus, the fuller development in the Third Reich of the monstrous policies pursued during the Weimar Republic was quite logical. In 1939, the German populace quite docilely accepted Hitler’s implementation of the wholesale extermination of the retarded and infirm. Germans had become used to the principle that the state knew best. Only Clemens von Galen, the Bishop of Munster, had the courage to speak out publicly against Hitler’s eugenics policies.
(Obviously, Lenin and Stalin were playing their own monstrous games in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Psychiatry there became a tool of political reprogramming and raw terror. Social engineering is the very foundation of Marxism’s own brave new world. And the fact that the Bolsheviks had plenty of defenders in the West helps explain the triumph of the spirit of Bolshevism in almost every country in Western Europe, as well as in Canada and the United States.)
In the West, social engineering fell into a bit of disrepute in the wake of the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II. However, in the Netherlands the groundwork was quietly being laid for a recrudescence of the utilitarianism that was the essence of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. The social engineers and eugenicists had taken over the Dutch universities and hospitals and laboratories. The positivists held sway in the courts and in the Staaten, the Dutch national legislature. And Modernists populated much of the Dutch Catholic hierarchy. Indeed, Modernist Dutch theologians even produced a best-selling catechism that was essentially a defense of the very trends developing in the Netherlands in the 1960s.
In that decade, the Netherlands became a playground for hallucinogenic drug use and promiscuity. It was one of the first nations in Europe to embrace every single bit of the sodomite agenda. And it is so radically pro-abortion that it is now the de facto policy in the Netherlands to permit parents to euthanize their newborn child up to a year after his birth, thus giving them from the moment of fertilization to one year after birth to take a crack at the fruit of their conjugal love. And it has been the de facto policy of the Dutch for some time to permit physicians to dispatch patients who are deemed to have outlived their usefulness in society (too old, too sick, too costly to maintain). What was once de facto is now de jure. Although no doctors in the Netherlands have been prosecuted for doing what was once technically illegal, they can now kill their patients with legal impunity.
As I have noted on a number of occasions, arguing against euthanasia on purely natural terms is no defense against the power of sentimentality to trump rational thought. A culture of well-being seeks to anesthetize pain and all other unpleasant realities. Why should a person suffer when the truth of redemptive suffering is rejected as either fantastic or as just simply unrealistic in our modern world? Those who believe that it is possible to combat the “mercy killers” with naturalistic arguments are as delusional as those who believe that a person who supports one abortion as a matter of principle is a defender of the sanctity of innocent human life.
Human suffering is one of the many consequences of Original Sin. Indeed, physical suffering and death are two of the very tangible consequences of Original Sin, as well as of our own actual sins. It is only the Catholic Faith that teaches the full truth concerning human suffering. And it is a rejection of the Catholic teaching on human suffering that has permitted sentimentality to triumph so mightily in the world, even among many Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday.
The Church teaches us that no suffering is beyond our capacity to bear by means of the graces won for us by the shedding of our Lord’s Most Precious Blood on Calvary. Further, the Church teaches us that no human suffering — no matter how intense — is the equal of the pain that just one of our venial sins imposed upon our Lord in His Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross. And she teaches us that our patient endurance of the sufferings we experience in our lifetimes can be the means by which we help the Poor Souls in Purgatory make satisfaction for the debt we owe as a result of our forgiven sins (and our general attachment to sin), and the means by which we can give exemplary witness to the world of the fact that we unite our sufferings with those of our Blessed Lord. Indeed, our patient endurance of suffering is one of the ways we prove our love for our Lord. Knowing that our Lord never permits us to endure any suffering beyond our capacity to endure equips us with the knowledge that the more suffering we are sent, the more we receive a sign of His love for us, that He expects us to do great things for Him and His Church by becoming co-redeemers of the world with Him.
A rejection of those simple truths results in the tyranny of the social engineers and the bioethicists (who don’t practice true biology and are not very ethical). Why not kill “unwanted” babies? Why not kill those who suffer? Why not clone yourself? Why not conceive a child in order to kill it and use its body parts to aid someone with Parkinson’s Disease? Why can’t a woman who is sterile conceive a child by means of in vitro fertilization? Why can’t two people of the same gender who “love” one another get “married”? What’s wrong with surrogate motherhood? Why can’t we use genetics to pick the sort of child we want? The very people who reject the authority of the Church in those matters look to secular “experts” to provide them with guidance, ironically conferring on those pseudo-experts a spirit of infallibility that is rejected as belonging to the Successor of Saint Peter and the bishops who are in full communion with him.
The Netherlands goes first where other nations follow. That has been true both ecclesiastically and civilly. Look for Canada to follow the Dutch lead before too long. And the state of Oregon is already the de jure euthanasia pioneer in the United States. The actual de facto practice in most hospitals in most places in this country is pretty much the same as it has been in the Netherlands. Doctors are liberally dispatching people as a matter of routine, making decisions that certain people have simply outlived their usefulness. That is over and above the instances where poorly formed people (or their families) actually ask to be killed. No, there are all types of “mysterious” deaths in hospitals these days as doctors and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) play God and make cost-benefit analyses as to a person’s “worth.”
It is no accident that the Netherlands is one of the leaders in utilitarian social engineering. At one time under the control of Catholic Spain, the Netherlands, like some other nations of Europe, eventually fell under the sway of Lutheranism and Calvinism. The Netherlands has long been home to relativists. After all, an essential tenet of Protestantism is that a person is saved if he makes a confession of faith in our Lord with his lips and in his heart. Nothing else matters after that profession of faith is made. There is no room for a theology of redemptive suffering in such a belief system. Protestantism rejects Purgatory as un-Scriptural. It contends that we do not prove our faith by good works. And it rejects the simple truth that we gain merit for our good works, merit that can be applied to the Poor Souls in Purgatory and help make expiation for the debt we owe our own forgiven sins. Why not annihilate yourself when pain becomes too severe? A “loving” God would understand that, wouldn’t He?
There is only one weapon that can stop the advance of the brave new world that has been evolving since the time of the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt: the Cross of the Divine Redeemer. When are we going to learn that we cannot fight the culture of death without the weapon that brought us the possibility of eternal life?
Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
Education and Charity Begin at Home
Feburary 9, 2001
The fellow with the horns and pitchfork is dancing up and down for joy these days. The Adversary knew that decent people would be so appalled by the criminal activities of Clinton and Gore and company that almost anyone else would look better by comparison. That is why otherwise sensible, rational people are expressing great hope for President George W. Bush, even though many of his policies are founded in the same statist and redistributionist fallacies as those of his predecessor. Having been pounded mercilessly by the forces of darkness for so long, truly good and well-meaning people just do not want to view Bush’s proposals through a critical lens. It is almost as though they are saying, “We’re so glad Clinton is gone! Cut Bush some slack. Give him whatever he wants.” However, the net effect of that uncritical attitude is going to be disastrous for the cause of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate.
To be sure, the new administration, although replete with pro-aborts, does have a sprinkling of appointees who do seem to understand some of the dangers posed by the evils that lurk in our midst. On February 2, Michael Southwick, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, received a standing ovation from representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations at the United Nations when he asserted the rights of parents and the traditional concept of the family. (He was assessing a UNICEF document prepared for the Summit on the Child that was then underway at the United Nations.) That is a very welcome development, one that augurs well for the battles on matters of the family that lie ahead at the United Nations in the next four years. The people at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute will have allies in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations rather than adversaries. All well and good.
(Although it’s a topic for another discourse, suffice it to say that someone with the courage of Howard Phillips or Patrick Buchanan would remove this country from the United Nations altogether. It is worse than a useless debating society. Its bureaucracy is composed of a gaggle of Communists and collectivists, people who preach solidarity with the poor and the oppressed while living quite luxuriously at the expense of the member nations that fund their salaries. That is a sin against the Seventh Commandment — “Thou shalt not steal.” More importantly, however, the United Nations has long been — and continues to be — one of the chief instruments for promoting the evils of contraception and abortion and sodomy around the world, all in the name of promoting human rights. While efforts to limit the damage done by the United Nations are well-intentioned, the world would be a far better place if the United States led a coordinated withdrawal of a number of countries out of its ranks once and for all. Nothing less than the reality of national sovereignty — and the ability of traditionally Catholic nations to withstand the reach of the United Nations — is at stake. What applies to the United States applies also to the Holy See. There comes a point when attempts to limit the evils done by the United Nations, no matter how well-intentioned, actually lend legitimacy to the unjust nature of the institution itself.)
However pleasing it may be to hear them coming from public officials such as Southwick, philosophical discussions about the primacy of the rights of parents and of the traditional family ring hollow when this nation’s policies continue to subordinate the family to the whims of the omniscient, omnipotent state. Take, for example, Bush’s education proposals.
No level of government — state, local, national — has any role to play in education. Zero. None. Zip. Zilch. State governments have created a government-based school system that arrogates unto itself the right to establish curricula of study for students in all schools, including those in private and religiously affiliated schools (as well as for home-schooled students). That is a fundamental violation of the natural-law right of parents to be the principal educators of their children. Parents may take it upon themselves to work together with other parents to establish schools for the education of their children — or to enroll their students in parochial schools (which are meant of their nature to assist the parents in their divinely ordained function as the principal educators of their children, as Pope Pius XI noted in Divini Illius Magistri in 1929). The state has absolutely no right to establish curricula of study, much less mandate that all students and institutions within its boundaries adhere to such curricula. The only role that a state government might have to play with respect to education is to assure that the buildings of schools run by parents or private organizations or parishes met basic safety requirements. That is it. Period.
As I have noted on a number of occasions in the past few years, public education began in the United States as a means of partly undermining the traditional right of the family in the education of their children. Public schools were one of the many means employed by Masonic organizations — whose members made up a good deal of the membership of state legislatures in the nineteenth century — to promote the American mythology of democracy, egalitarianism, and religious indifferentism. And compulsory-attendance laws were aimed largely at forcing immigrants to send their children to public schools rather than to school them at home in the event a parish did not have its own school (or in the event parents could not afford the tuition at a parish school). The children of immigrants would therefore be forced to learn the importance of “tolerance” and religious indifferentism as part and parcel of the American way of life.
Yes, in many instances public schools did a decent job of teaching students how to read and write and calculate figures in their own mind. However, public schools from their very inception presented a view of world history that was Protestant and Masonic in its orientation. Public schools were an instrument for promoting Protestantism and Masonry in the nineteenth century, just as — all too logically — they have become the vehicle for promoting secularism, relativism, all manner of leftist ideologies, and the occult in the twentieth century. During that century, control of public schools shifted away from localities to centralized state education departments. And those centralized state education departments were staffed by people influenced over the course of time by the likes of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and John Dewey, to name just a few of the criminals responsible for the triumph of a public school system that adopted, as its raison d’etre, atheism and the cult of self-esteem. The advent of sex instruction, school-to-work, and outcome-based education simply completed the tableau that had been developing throughout the twentieth century. Contemporary public schoolers have sought to create a citizenry so unable to think rationally and communicate clearly (clear writing and clear speaking are signs of clear thinking) that it has to rely upon elitist experts to tell it what to think and how to react to current events and public policy.
American public schooling is founded on the French Revolution’s concept of egalitarianism: that all people are not only equal in authority to each other but also equal in ability to each other. That is what can lead George Walker Bush to say that his education program will “leave no child behind.” It cannot possibly be that some children do not have the same ability as others. It cannot possibly be that some children do not possess the aptitude for college studies. It cannot possibly be that children have different aptitudes in different fields. No, the myth perpetrated by American public schooling is that there has to be a “solution” to differing levels of academic performance and achievement. To say that this is utopian claptrap is to state the obvious (although it is obviously not obvious to President Bush).
Leftists believe that the “solution” to differing levels of academic performance and achievement is to spend more money and to create more programs, which invariably are founded on the latest trend developed by educrats (educational bureaucrats) eager to use their captive audience (students) as their own rather elaborate laboratory of social and behavior and educational experimentation. A failure of one particular set of programs to work does not result in the critical reassessment of the basic premises upon which they were based. Oh, no. A failure of one set of programs to work results in the creation of more of what has failed. More conferences. More workshops. More programs. More money. More control by elitists over the education of the young.
Many conservatives essentially agree with that Lockean approach to “solving” the problems found in public education. They simply disagree about the methodology to be employed, preferring the use of vouchers, which, when intended to subsidize private and parochial schools, are an unjust involvement of the state in private education; or of so-called teacher-accountability standards, which are based upon the results of nationally devised examinations in various subjects. Most “conservatives” accept the premise that public schools are just and that they are good. Such schools merely need the right kind of changes in order to equip them to prepare students to participate in the American dream.
Therein, you see, lies the problem: American public schooling rejects the notion that education is about the pursuit of the truth, and that Truth is indeed the Theandric Person, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. No, American public schooling views “education” as the very pragmatic process by which students are prepared to be producers and consumers in our materialist, pleasure-seeking society. Students need the “tools” with which they can make money and thus realize the happiness that is to be had from acquiring and maintaining a high standard of living.
Contrast that “view” of education with that of Pope Pius XI:
That is, a school founded in naturalism winds up, by its nature, promoting academic sloth and moral degradation. Public schools do not need “fixing.” They are evil by their very nature in that they reject Truth Himself, and make war upon Him and His true Church in sundry ways. As Pope Pius XI noted, every aspect of every subject must be permeated by a love of our Lord. Indeed, it is only a love of our Lord through His true Church that gives students an understanding of their true identity, motivates them to pursue academic excellence as befits redeemed creatures, and inspires them to view themselves and the world in which they live by the standard of the Holy Cross.
Therefore, leftists and conservatives are both wrong about “education.” Indeed, as Pope Pius XI explained so tellingly:
The best teachers are parents, who are equipped by God Himself in the Sacrament of Matrimony with all of the sanctifying and actual graces necessary to discharge their duties to teach their children. Even some parents drawn to home-schooling, however, find themselves intimidated by the fact that they lack a professional degree and permit themselves to be browbeaten by family members or friends into believing that education belongs in the hands of professionals, not “amateurs” such as parents. No amount of leftist-based educational ideology and no amount of conservative-based restructuring of public schooling can improve what is fatally flawed in its very foundations.
What is true of education is also true of charity. President Bush is getting high marks for pushing his “faith-based initiative” program, wherein religiously affiliated programs and charities would receive subsidies from the government to supplement some of what is provided by national and state programs to those in material need. Again, the whole concept misses the mark and is fundamentally violative of the principle of subsidiarity.
Most of the people who are in material need today are the direct victims of the systematic and very well-planned attack on the stability of the family as the principal building block of society. Divorce, which was promoted with great fury by Masons in state legislatures in the late nineteenth century, was meant to destabilize families and thus place women and children in the care of the state. Contraception expedited divorce, thus paving the way for the destruction of the family and the alleged “necessity” of teaching children how to keep themselves safe when engaging in “activities” that they simply could not restrain themselves from practicing. Feminism helped convince married women of child-bearing years that they had to work in order to be “fulfilled,” thus creating the need for pre-school and after-school programs, as well as for “day-care” programs for newborn infants and young toddlers. And Social Security made it possible for grown children to shift the natural law and Fourth Commandment responsibility of caring for their elderly parents to the state, and led those children to consider it a burden to have to support the people who brought them into this world. (The economic “burden” of caring for parents increased as the numbers of children brought into families decreased — the fruit of contraception and abortion). It is no exaggeration to state that most, although not all, of the social problems we face that have given rise to the monster state are the direct result of attacks on the family.
President Bush said that “[private] charity cannot replace government.” Oh, no? There is not one word in the Old or New Testament about governmental charity. Charity is a function of individuals, and it is meant to be expressed first and foremost in the family, where each member cares for and loves the others as redeemed creatures, whose eternal salvation he seeks to advance with every beat of his heart. If the family were properly constituted according to the mind of the Divine Redeemer, Who deigned to submit Himself to the authority of His own creatures in the Holy Family at Nazareth, we would have a government concerned only about the administration of justice and the maintenance of public safety.
Thus, while it is nice that the Bush administration is using the United Nations to remind ideologues such as Carol Bellamy — executive director of UNICEF — that the concept of the family will be defended by the U.S. delegation, the family continues to be undermined by “conservative” policy initiatives that vest power in the state in areas where it has no authority to act.
Education and charity begin at home. They begin in the home. That is, of course, unless we know better than Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
May God have mercy on us for trying to reinvent the wheel over and over again.
The Powerful Never Learn
|February 13, 2001
Deceived by the Adversary in the Garden of Eden, human beings from the time of the Fall from Grace to the present have deluded themselves that they are the equal of their Creator. Contingent beings who did not create themselves — and whose bodies are destined for the corruption of the grave until the Last Day — come to believe quite pridefully that they can do whatever they want with utter impunity. No one is to have any authority over them, not God generally, not His true Church particularly, not any of their fellow human beings. And no law is superior to the dictates of their own disordered wills, not God’s law inscribed on the flesh of human hearts and by His very finger on the stone tablets given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and not any human law made in recognition of the binding precepts of God’s immutable laws and in subordination to them. We are rebels by our fallen nature, creatures who believe that we are never in need of any direction or correction from others.
Pride is one of the seven deadly sins that affect all human beings. However, pride affects those in positions of power more than others. Those in positions of power and influence have a pronounced tendency to think of themselves as virtual demigods whose lives and actions fall outside any limits external to their own designs. Historically that has been true of those who have held positions of temporal authority in civil government. It has been true of those who have headed organized-crime families. It has been true, sadly, of a number of ecclesiastics over the years. (The Devil uses that to try to discourage the practice of the Faith by those who do not recognize that the bad example given by bishops and priests is simply that — bad example — and that we do not use the bad example of others to commit spiritual suicide by ceasing the practice of the Faith.) And it has been true of those in corporations and labor unions, men and women who come to view their little fiefdoms as birthrights that authorize them to act as they see fit in whatever circumstances they find themselves.
The likes of Caligula and Nero and Diocletian and Trajan and Marcus Aurelius and Herod the Great and Henry VIII and Napoleon and Lenin and Stalin and Hitler and Castro and Mao and Capone and Gotti, although separated by centuries, have had one thing in common: a belief that they were “special” people whose very acquisition and retention of power justified every means they employed to accomplish their ends. Niccolò Machiavelli even gave philosophical respectability to such lawlessness and pride in his Discourses on Livy. The powerful believe that other human beings are objects for their own aggrandizement or pleasure, and that the property of others belongs rightfully to them as a matter of personal privilege befitting their high station in life. Thus, it is a minor matter for people possessed of such a notion to reward their friends, punish their enemies, loot the treasuries of others, and arrogate unto themselves possessions and privileges that feed into their narcissistic world view.
Former President Bill Clinton is merely one in a long line of petty tyrants and thieves who believes in his own exemption from the laws of God and those of man. Although quite symbolic of his own narcissistic and indulgent generation, Clinton would have felt very much at home in John Gotti’s Mafia crime family. He would have been quite comfortable with Lenin and Stalin, whose essential ideology and methodology of rule he adapted for his own purposes. And he would have had the time of his life with Caligula and Nero and Henry VIII. Boy, the three of them would have had a number of belly-laughs about how easy it is to intimidate people and to make off with that which is not your own.
The number of Clinton apologists, however, is dwindling somewhat. Interesting to note, though, that most of those who still defend Clinton are black liberal leaders, many of whose own people live in poverty as the victims of the destruction of the black family engineered by Margaret Sanger and Rexford Tugwell in the 1930s — and implemented by Lyndon Johnson and his Great Society in the 1960s. Many black Americans have been made wards of the state through the promotion of contraception and divorce, and through entitlement programs created to deal with the state-administered breakdown of the family — programs that create constituency groups who must be convinced that it is impossible for people living in poverty to live without the beneficence of the state. The incongruity of blacks’ poverty and the opulence and naked greed of Bill Clinton does not register for a single moment in the mind of the District of Columbia’s nonvoting member of the House, Eleanor Holmes Norton. It makes not a whit of difference to Fidel Castro’s favorite representative from south-central Los Angeles, Maxine Waters, who defends almost everything Bill Clinton says and does (while refusing to vote in the affirmative to wish former President Reagan a happy ninetieth birthday). Harlem’s Representative Charles Rangel continues to minimize all of Clinton’s contempt for the law and contempt for the dictates of simple decency. Still, more and more of those who have defended Clinton have come to realize that the man they have defended for so long is nothing more than a self-aggrandizing crook.
Indeed, the man who admitted to giving deliberately “misleading” information in his January 17, 1998, deposition in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment lawsuit still likes to live on the edge of legality, defining terms as he sees fit. His pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich was defended by his own former White House counsel (now the lawyer for Rich), Jack Quinn, partly on the grounds that Rich wasn’t really a fugitive because he had never been convicted of a crime and partly on the grounds that no crime had been committed at all. That is just another application of “it all depends on what the meaning of is is.” It all depends upon what the meaning of “fugitive” is. Well, the FBI quite regularly puts people on its Ten Most Wanted list who are wanted for crimes for which they have not yet been tried. Such folks are fugitives from justice precisely because they do not want to be tried. If the case against Marc Rich was so inconsequential, why did he flee the country?
Naturally, none of that matters to Clinton. Rich’s former wife, Denise Rich, has given millions of dollars to the Democratic Party, including loads of money to Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the newly minted junior senator from New York. It has now been documented that Denise Rich has given at least $400,000 to the Clinton presidential-library fund, and the actual figure may be far in excess of that amount. Marc Rich and his ex-wife have money. Bill Clinton likes money. He believes that he deserves to have the money of other people. Never mind the fact that Marc Rich made profits dealing with Iran and Libya when this nation had imposed economic boycotts against those terrorist states. What should a little thing like treasonous activity mean when Rich had renounced his American citizenship? After all, you can’t accuse a man of “trading with the enemy” if he is no longer a citizen of a country from which he is not really a fugitive, right? And what’s the big deal about making a few dollars off the enemies of the United States when you yourself denounced your own country in no uncertain terms while “studying” abroad at Oxford after you had maneuvered to dodge your country’s military draft?
In November 1973, President Richard M. Nixon said, “The people have a right to know whether their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.” A liar and an obstructor of justice, yes, but not a crook. Bill Clinton is a crook and a liar and a perjurer and an obstructor of justice. Through it all, however, he just skates above the fray, giving his usual obfuscatory answers to direct questions, refusing to admit publicly that anything he does or says is in the least bit corrupt or suspicious. He has long believed that no one has any right to judge him or question him or hold him to objective standards of conduct founded on the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. He is so arrogant that he believes that he can not only grant pardons to fugitives from justice but also take whatever he wants out of the people’s house, even though many of things he took had been given to the White House in perpetuity, not to him or his wife personally.
As I noted in last month’s issue of my newsletter, Christ or Chaos, Bill Clinton’s contempt for the rule of law and for the property of others is a relatively minor matter when you consider his contempt for the sanctity of innocent human lives in their mothers’ wombs. He has no regard for others because he, like the legions of the powerful before him, has no regard for God. Indeed, Bill Clinton has nothing but contempt for God’s true Church, the only sure foundation for order within souls and within societies.
The antidote for the poison of pride is to look at the instrument upon which the God-Man suffered to redeem us: the Holy Cross. It is by constantly fixing our gaze upon the Crucified Redeemer that we can come to exercise the virtue of humility, recognizing that we must subordinate every aspect of our lives under the authority of Christ the King as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. Those who fix their gazes upon the wood of the Holy Cross come to realize that we must work out our salvation in fear and in trembling, as Saint Paul reminds us, knowing that we will face Christ the King in the Face at the moment of our own Particular Judgments. The Particular Judgment is rendered upon the souls of the mighty and the weak, upon the powerful and the powerless, upon the rich and the poor. Christ the King is no respecter of persons. Each man will find the sum total of his life reflected in the standard of justice Who is Christ Himself, and there will be no bevy of attorneys present to make rationalizations or to spin reality into something it is not. The fact that a man had political or financial or cultural power in this life will not mean a blessed thing in the next. There is no affirmative-action program in Heaven for the rich and the famous and the powerful.
As always, we pray for the conversion of all people, starting with ourselves. It is one thing to sin and be sorry. It is quite another to persist arrogantly in sin and to pridefully assert that everything one does is right because one asserts that is so. While we pray for the conversion of the former president and his wife, it is important to point out that their insistence on being exempt from the laws of God and man in this life may very well wind up costing them dearly in the next. May we understand that it is so easy for any of us to follow in their perverted wake.
Our Lady, Mirror of Justice, help us to look always to the standard of your Divine Son’s Holy Cross, finding in It the symbol of humility we need to remind ourselves that we must be about the business of obeying God and not to feed the siren sound of our own egos.
The Highest Deference
|February 16, 2001
“The highest deference.” That was the phrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg used late last year to describe the degree of respect in which state law and decisions of state supreme courts should be held by the tribunal on which she sits. It was the phrase David Boies, attorney for the Gore campaign, used in defense of the judicial mavericks on the Florida Supreme Court who had made up their own legislation time and time again. It was the phrase Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman used in the same context, almost reverentially: “The highest deference.”
As applied to the Gore team’s efforts to steal Florida’s 25 electoral votes from George W. Bush, “highest deference” was taken to mean that the Florida Supreme Court had been given a great deal of latitude by the Florida legislature in the interpretation of the Sunshine State’s election laws, especially in the protest and contest phases of disputed elections. It was incumbent, the Gore team argued, for Bush and his supporters to demonstrate their commitment to the principle of federalism by letting the highest court of the state of Florida interpret and apply that state’s election laws. Anything else, they argued frenetically, was a violation of the doctrine of states’ rights.
That newfound invocation of the doctrine of states’ rights by committed centralizers raises a number of very interesting questions.
First, if the “highest deference” is to be given to state law and decisions of state supreme courts, then most of the holdings of the Warren Court (1953–69) would have to be overturned immediately, as most of those holdings — especially as they related to criminal due process — reversed state law and state supreme court decisions, applying various provisions of the Bill of Rights found in the U.S. Constitution to state governments.
Second, if the “highest deference” is to be given to state law and decisions of state supreme courts, then the Supreme Court would never have ruled, as it did in Griswold v. Connecticut, that a state statute banning the sale of contraceptives to married couples is unconstitutional. The court would never have strained to find “penumbras” emanating from “shadows” cast by various provisions of the Bill of Rights. Even Justice Hugo Black understood at the time that the majority on the court was involved in an arbitrary judicial amending of the Constitution.
Third, if the “highest deference” is to be given to state law and decisions of state supreme courts, then why, on January 22, 1973, did not the U.S. Supreme Court pay such deference to the Texas law that forbade abortions in most instances? The court’s holding in Roe v. Wade invalidated laws passed by 33 state legislatures. It was the most sweeping example of judicial review and of the application of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause to state governments in American constitutional history. “The highest deference” was not paid to such state laws. Indeed, as Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong pointed out in their 1979 book, The Brethren, six of the court’s nine justices in 1972 wanted to find a way to permit abortion. They just had to figure out a way to do so. “The highest deference” was not paid to state laws that forbade abortion (either totally or partially) prior to Roe; and the “highest deference” has not been paid to state laws that have attempted to conditionally ban the killing of preborn children by means of dilatation and extraction, that is, partial-birth abortion.
We live in a world where slogans replace rational thought. A phrase such as “highest deference” does indeed have a meaning in a jurisprudence rooted in the natural law. However, its application has been distorted both by conservatives and liberals.
Many conservatives, for their part, have the tendency to deify state governments and the laws they promulgate. However, the plain fact of the matter is that during the past two centuries many state legislatures pioneered the road to legal positivism. It was state legislatures that passed laws in the nineteenth century establishing state-sponsored schools and giving bureaucrats the power to determine educational standards, thereby preempting the natural-law right of parents to be the principal educators of their children. It was state legislatures that passed laws at the end of the nineteenth century liberalizing divorce, something that the founding Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, the Most Reverend John Shanley, fought with all his might in his own state. It was state legislatures (California, Hawaii, New York) in the twentieth century that began to decriminalize abortion, permitting abortion-on-demand. It has been state legislatures in the past few years — most notably, Vermont — that have been attempting to provide legal recognition to “same sex unions.” And Oregon has a law, enacted by means of a popular referendum, that permits “doctor-assisted” suicide. Should the “highest deference” be paid to those measures simply because they are recognized as legal?
Those things are right down the liberals’ alley. They are centralizers when it suits them, but they also want the “highest deference” to be paid to state laws and state supreme court decisions that favor statism and collectivism and all manner of social engineering. In the latter part of 2000 they evinced a decided tilt in favor of a state supreme court’s complicity in the stealing of a national election. “The highest deference” is a phrase liberals invoke selectively and hypocritically.
Lost in the debate is the simple fact that the highest deference is not to be paid to laws passed by any human legislature. The highest deference is not to be paid to decisions of any particular court. The highest deference is to be paid to the primacy of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as the basis of all civil law and of all judicial decisions. No legislature and no court have any authority to transgress the bounds of the Divine positive law and the natural law.
Thus, state legislatures have no authority to pass laws superseding the authority of parents to educate their children as they see fit. They have no authority to permit divorce or contraception or abortion or sodomy or euthanasia. Human law must be subordinated to the law of God, expressed as it is in Divine Revelation and in the law that is written on the flesh of all human hearts, the natural law. Deference to the highest of authorities is required of all judges on all courts in all countries in all circumstances at all times.
This would be a decidedly different nation and world if lawmakers and judges heeded the deference they are duty bound to pay to the unchanging standards of objective justice founded in truth. As long as the highest deference is not paid to God’s law, however, we will continue to justify abject evils under one false pretext after another. And if we can do that, my friends, what’s the big deal about using a court to try to steal an election?
The state of contemporary law — including law in the United States of America — is the result of the chaos unleashed as a result of the Protestant Revolt. Theological relativism begot moral relativism. Moral relativism begot legal positivism. Legal positivism has begotten statism and state-sponsored atheism. The only remedy for all of it is for all civil authorities to recognize that our Lord is the ultimate Lawgiver, and that His Vicar, the Successor of Saint Peter, is the only one who speaks authoritatively and infallibly on matters of fundamental justice. It will not be until nations and their institutions of civil governments pay the highest deference to the authority vested in the Vicar of Christ that the administration of justice will be ordered rightly to the pursuit of the common good.
Our Lady, Mirror of Justice, pray for us.
No Rational Basis
|March 12, 2001
Although it appears the Devil may be withdrawing his protection from Bill and Hillary Clinton, he is not yet through using them to effect his evil purposes. The continued focus on the corrupt pair means that otherwise rational human beings are not focusing on what President Bush is not doing on the life issue. A number of very rational people have told me, “Well, we just have to hope in Bush.” Excuse me, folks, but there is no rational basis for such hope. None whatsoever.
As his presidency proceeds through its second month, it is becoming very clear that George W. Bush intends to run a typical Republican administration. The fact that he has seen fit to appoint one out-and-out pro-abort after another to key positions is proof positive that the man does not understand the prophetic nature of the life issue. As I have kept pointing out rather doggedly for the past two years, Bush would never say that racism or anti-Semitism was a matter of “opinion” over which “good people” might disagree legitimately. He would never appoint overt racists or anti-Semites to his administration. However, he does consider those who support the slicing and dicing of little babies to be perfectly acceptable to hold positions of trust. Not only that, pro-abortion Secretary of State Colin Powell evidently has won some internecine battles to determine who will represent the United States at the United Nations, and they will include two militant pro-abortion feminist holdovers from the Clinton administration! Wake up, ladies and gentlemen, it is not morning again in America.
More to the point is the fact that the president has refused to take some very simple steps to stop certain types of baby-killing immediately. Bush has done nothing to reverse the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to permit the marketing of the human pesticide, RU-486; we must commend Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, for her singular efforts to hold him accountable for that dereliction. Now, Sen. Bob Smith, the well-meaning New Hampshire Republican, said he would introduce legislation to regulate the distribution of RU-486. (He’s the GOP dropout who, after a committee chairmanship opened up following the death of Rhode Island Sen. John Chafee in 1999, dropped back into the party he once denounced on the floor of the Senate.) Smith issued a statement couched in the belief that limiting the distribution of the human kill pill is all that can be done “as long as [the pill] is legal.” As long as it is legal? Well, then, Senator Smith, why not publicly pressure your president — whom you once considered running against on the Constitution Party ticket — to reverse the decision of the FDA, and not on the grounds of the pill’s danger to a woman’s life and health? Though such concerns are legitimate and well-documented, they are secondary to the fact that the first object of the abortion pill is to kill a human being!
George W. Bush doesn’t want to go there. He doesn’t want to spend political capital fighting that battle. Instead, on January 22 he tossed eager pro-lifers a crumb by signing an Executive Order restoring the prohibition (laid down by Ronald Reagan and George Bush the First) on the use of federal taxpayer funds to support international family planning agencies that perform or promote abortions. That order was a good thing in and of itself, but such “family planning agencies” have more than enough of their own funds to kill babies by means of surgical abortion. Not one child will be saved by Bush’s measure, although Bush’s order gave the multitudes much to cheer about.
In actuality, of course, the U.S. government does fund abortions overseas. Our taxpayer dollars fund the distribution of abortifacient contraceptives here and around the world. We are helping to impose a holocaust of the unborn on a global scale, destroying lives, wrecking families, and consigning large numbers of people to lives of the instability bred by a defiance of the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations. The U.S. government is an active agent in the destruction of that Sovereignty, helping ensnare poor and illiterate people into the misery produced by contraception and sterilization. Indeed, the International Planned Parenthood Federation is promoting the distribution of the “morning after pill” around the world. That baby-killing agent is not covered by President Bush’s Executive Order of January 22. George W. Bush has no intention at all of stopping any of that activity.
Judie Brown reports that James Shelton, a physician with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has said that the intrauterine device (IUD) does not cause pelvic inflammation in women — and hence can “safely” be used to prevent conception. Brown notes: “He does not state the scientific fact that the device aborts tiny persons whose lives begin at conception. COMMENT: Will President Bush stop all foreign support for abortion, including those advocated by Shelton?” (Communique, Feb. 16, 2001) The answer — as Brown knows only too well — is a flat-out, permanent “No.”
What has happened to right-thinking people? They have lost a sense of urgency about the life issue, coming to accept contraception and abortion as regrettable evils that are a part of the “reality” of our social landscape. It is just such good, well- meaning people who actually enable do-nothing, careerist politicians such as Bush when they fail to hold the feet of such men and women to the political fire. No, no, can’t do that. Might wind up electing another Democrat. Can’t have that, now, can we? Go tell that to the unborn children who are dying at the same rate during the Bush administration as they did during the Clinton-Clinton-Gore administration.
In addition to his inaction on RU-486 and on the funding of chemical abortions overseas, President Bush has done nothing to stop the National Institutes of Health from funding research and experimentation by “scientists” who harvest embryonic stem cells for a variety of supposedly humanitarian reasons. “It is an outrage that President Bush has not yet stopped the federal funding of research on stem cells harvested from embryonic babies,” Judie Brown notes in a February 14 news release issued by the American Life League. “President Bush must repeal the National Institutes of Health’s guidelines, which allow funding for scientists who experiment on stem cells harvested from embryonic children, children who have been killed in the harvesting process.”
Brown calls upon the president to introduce legislation “which would outlaw the destruction of embryonic persons, whose lives begin at conception/fertilization. There is never a justification for the wanton destruction of even one human being, regardless of the noble platitudes set forth in defense of such egregious practices. The act of killing these tiny boys and girls is not unlike the forced killing and harvesting of body parts from detainees in Chinese labor camps.”
Brown notes that Bush could end the practice unilaterally and that he could call upon Congress to pass a permanent ban. Again, folks, it’s not on the Bush radar screen. Though he ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to “review” the NIH guidelines, HHS chief Tommy Thompson is a strong supporter of embryonic stem cell research and transplantation. Oh, I forgot. The National Right to Life Committee and its Wisconsin affiliate both call Tommy Thompson pro-life. The fact that he supports the harvesting of embryonic stem cells from human beings who must be killed to harvest their cells does not in the least interfere with his being called pro-life. I forgot. Sorry.
When, oh, when, my friends, are we going to wake up? We do not have a pro-life friend in the White House. No one who supports one abortion as a matter of principle is pro-life. George W. Bush is a typical Republican. Government is about the business of “solving” people’s problems. Remember, one of the perduring effects of the Protestant Revolt is the rise of the purely secular state and the purely secular culture. The business of daily life is the making of money, not the pleasing of God by the fulfillment of the obligations imposed upon us by our freely chosen state-in-life. The business of government is to assist people in the making of money (either through the collectivist policies of the Democratic Party or through the somewhat less collectivist, somewhat more free-market-oriented policies of the Republican Party). The principal business of government is not, therefore, the pursuit of justice according to the standards of the splendor of Truth Incarnate. Oh, no, can’t have that in a secular, pluralistic, religiously indifferentist society. All issues pertaining to the pursuit of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate must be subordinated to the pursuit of material success. To dwell on “difficult” moral issues is to unnecessarily divide “good” people and divert our attention from the more- pressing demands that face the nation and the world.
Mark my words. Mark them well. George W. Bush will accomplish as much for the life issue as did Ronald Reagan and Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush. Minor tinkering will be done on the margins, including the unnecessarily conditional ban on partial-birth abortions, which, as I have noted repeatedly, will not save a single child. However, it will all be a show of action, veritable window- dressing that can be erased by the next administration just as easily as a drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch can be erased with a shake of the board. There is no rational basis for investing any hope in George W. Bush and his administration. I will give him credit where credit is due. But I will not place the virtue of hope in a man who demonstrated as governor of Texas and as a candidate for the presidency his utter lack of understanding of the life issue — and his total comfort with appointing pro-aborts to the judiciary and other key positions.
Do we pray for the new president? Of course. We pray for his conversion. He is a nice, amiable man. However, he is also a very shallow, uninformed, unread man. He is a product of his theologically relativistic background. Remember, the Bushes believe in contraception, and the Bush women (except for Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba) believe in abortion. No one who practices and believes in contraception can come to understand the evil he is doing (and how that evil is an abortifacient in and of itself in most instances — and leads to surgical abortions) unless he is converted to the true Faith.
We do not put our trust in the princes of this world. Our focus must be on planting the seeds for the only thing that will serve as the antidote to the poison of all relativism (both secular and theological) and indifferentism: the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. A nation that does not recognize Our Lord’s Social Kingship or the authority of His true Church as the ultimate arbiter on matters of fundamental justice degenerates into the confusion we find ourselves at present. There is no way out except for the slow, methodical process of cooperating on a daily basis with the graces won for us by the shedding of our Lord’s Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross, in order to convert ourselves so that we may be able to assist in the conversion of this nation.
We must place our trust in Christ the King and Mary our Queen, not the false messiahs of a false world that wants us to believe all will be well if we are silent about the rights of God and the duties of man to obey Him as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church.
Put Not Your Trust in Princes
March 19, 2001
The Court, the Court, the Court. Readers with good memories will say to themselves, “Hey, that’s the same phrase Droleskey began ‘Sandra Day O’Connor, Part Deux’ with in January.” Sure enough, my friends, it is the exact same phrase. Ah, but there is a method to my madness.
John Ashcroft had to run a gauntlet of opposition by all manner of hypocritical leftists prior to his Senate confirmation as attorney general. Conservatives reflexively defended him even as he said that Roe v. Wade was “settled” law and that he would vigorously enforce the so-called Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which has imposed monstrous fines and prison sentences in federal penitentiaries on those who engage in nonviolent protests in front of abortuaries. Conservative true believers, though, made excuses for Ashcroft, telling us he “had” to say those things in order to get confirmed. Well, if Ashcroft “had” to say those things to get confirmed, why is it not reasonable for an apologist for Mario Cuomo or Edward Kennedy or Christopher Dodd or Barbara Mikulski to say that those Catholics just “have” to say the things they do in order to get elected? In the end, you see, a person who learns to compromise with evil will lose his way entirely, ultimately seeking to be all things to all people at all times. That is the emerging tragedy of John Ashcroft.
Ashcroft met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Ash Wednesday, February 28. He wanted to reconcile with the caucus members any lingering differences that had grown out of his contentious confirmation hearings. One “reconciliation” of particular interest was Ashcroft’s total cave-in on the matter of Missouri Judge Ronnie White, whose nomination to the federal bench by President Clinton he vigorously opposed when he was Missouri’s junior senator. Ashcroft told the members of the caucus that he would support White’s nomination to the federal bench if President George W. Bush decided to put his name up when a vacancy occurred.
Furthermore, Ashcroft said the Senate should confirm Roger Gregory, whose confirmation to a federal judgeship was held up by Senate Republicans because of his judicial activism. Gregory — who is black — was appointed by Clinton to the federal bench in what is known as a “recess appointment,” made when the Senate was not in session. It was Clinton’s way of thumbing his nose at Senate Republicans. After all, Caligula gets what Caligula wants, the Senate’s role of advising and consenting notwithstanding. Ashcroft, though, caved in on the issue of Gregory in order to curry favor with the Congressional Black Caucus, which is composed of people who will never be satisfied with anything other than complete and total compliance with their agenda by conservatives — no, scratch that. Even then they will not be satisfied.
Ashcroft’s desire to appease the members of the black caucus is typical of what we can expect from a government premised upon President Bush’s desire for less partisanship and bickering. The nasty little fact that both Ronnie White and Roger Gregory are pro-abortion means nothing when you want to be loved and respected by people who will never love or respect you. So what if a couple more pro-aborts get appointed to lifetime federal judgeships? It’s only one issue, isn’t it? The desire to appease, which is certainly a characteristic of the aftermath of the Protestant Revolt — “let’s just agree to disagree on matters of doctrine and Scriptural interpretation” — begets the further cementing of the hold that legal positivists have on the American judiciary.
One of the arguments made over and over again by incrementalists in the pro-life movement is that Republican appointees to the federal bench will help to chip away bit by bit at what judicial activists have accomplished in the past 70 years. Those incrementalists, however, refuse to come to grips with the fundamental reality that Republican presidents have appointed a variety of outright positivists to the federal bench, thereby helping to further institutionalize the very judicial activism that is supposed to be chipped away by the incremental approach. As I have urged time and time again, you’d better believe George W. Bush when he says he has no litmus test on judicial appointments. He proved that as governor when he named pro-aborts and pro-sodomites to Texas judicial vacancies. The fact that Ashcroft is assenting to the nomination of pro-aborts to the federal bench is a clear sign that the Bush presidency will be just as much a boon to the judicial activists as was his governorship in Texas. To be sure, he will make some good appointments from time to time. However, he will also make a number of very bad appointments in order to demonstrate his commitment to “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” As I keep saying, folks, a man who says that the killing of children is a matter of “opinion” over which people of good will can legitimately disagree is not going to make it a point to place defenders of life on the federal bench. Some might get there. But their adversaries will, too.
Indeed, Bush’s proclivity to be “nice” and avoid “divisive” issues extends to how the Justice Department is being instructed to handle the matter of Bill Clinton’s reprehensible last-minute pardons. Bush does not want to appear to be ganging up on the former president and is very displeased that hearings are being held by committees in both houses of Congress to investigate the pardons. As Bush himself comes from privilege, he does not want to be seen as denying anyone else the privileges and perquisites that accrue to those in public office.
Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch writes:
Klayman goes on to explain at some length in a very well-researched article how the Bush brothers have peddled their influence over the years to aggrandize themselves. Now, Democrats are prepared to open fire using the arsenal of facts about the sleaze that has been oozing from the Bush family for years. That’s the real reason Bush does not want his own Justice Department investigating anything the Clintons may have done personally — or anything the Clinton Justice Department may have done to cover up the myriad of crimes committed during Travelgate, Filegate, Chinagate, and Lewinskygate.
As Klayman points out: “During the Clinton years, there were other occasions when the elder Bush also, oddly, came to Bill’s defense. It was almost as if Bush Sr. was trying to tell the American people that presidents and other political elites are a special class of people who should not even be questioned about their conduct — perhaps remembering his own vulnerability in the Iran-Contra scandal.”
Klayman’s entire expose, from February 23, is at WorldNetDaily.com. It is quite a telling commentary, going a long way to explain the new president’s blasé attitude about the transgressions of the previous administration. It is a must read.
Put not your trust in princes, ladies and gentlemen. There is no such thing as a secular savior. Bush is not a knight in shining armor. Although he looks better than Clinton because of the latter’s shameless personal and official behavior, the truth of the matter is that Bush represents a slight change of tone, not a change in policy. Indeed, as Bush plugs his tax-cut plan, the federal budget will continue to grow and grow and grow. The federal bureaucracy will continue to be fed. Bill Clinton and company will get off scot-free yet again. And babies will continue to be killed with legal impunity while the focus of the administration is on that which has been the principal focus of governments since the time of Martin Luther and John Calvin: money and the making of it.
Sadly, what is true of the state is also true of the Church. All manner of good people keep believing that this or that episcopal appointment is going to restore order within a particular diocese. Bishops come and bishops go. The same foxes remain in the chancery offices and in pastorates, save for a few minor changes now and then. The same failed, evil sex-instruction programs are retained in Catholic schools and religious education programs. And in more than a few instances the same liturgical deviations and denials of received teaching continue unchallenged.
Enter Francis Cardinal George. He was hailed by many as being an improvement over his predecessor, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. His apologists, however, said that he needed “time” to put his own people in the chancery office. He needed “time” to stop liturgical abuses. He needed “time” to stop the practice of general absolution in the Chicago archdiocese. He needed “time” to adjust to his new surroundings.
Well, guess what? Things in Chicago are now pretty much as they were when Cardinal George was installed in April 1997. The Archdiocese of Chicago remains a cesspool. Cardinal George has done nothing to stop the practice of general absolution in his parishes. Nothing at all. And he became so incensed when 81-year old Gregory Morrow, a longtime lay activist, questioned him about when he was going to end general absolution that his Eminence grabbed Morrow by the lapels, denounced him as a Protestant, and told him that he would end general absolution in his own good time, probably in about two years. Never mind all the invalid administrations of general absolution — and hence the subsequent sacrilegious communions that continue to be made quite regularly in the archdiocese. No, the “time” is not right to end general absolution.
The “time” is never right for one who is afraid to act, for one who does not want to run afoul of the establishment, for one who does not seek to govern with firmness. The “time” is never right to act for those who hold civil power. There is never a good “time” to be about the business of administering the standards of objective justice founded in truth when doing so might cost you dearly with focus groups and the “moderates” in your own political party. And there is never a good “time” to act for clerics who are afraid what their brethren and the media will think of them if they take measures required for the salvation of souls and the preservation of the integrity of the Faith.
Thus, good readers, do not get enthused about this election or that election. Do not get enthused about this or that episcopal appointment. Stay on your knees in prayer. Inform yourselves about the facts of particular situations. However, understand that the problems we face civilly are the result of a set of forces that began to be unleashed in the world in the latter part of the fourteenth century. And the problems we face ecclesiastically are the result of the infiltration of those same forces into the Church, especially by means of the synthetic liturgy concocted to better reflect the spirit of our times.
While we pray for the princes of the civil realm and for those of the Church, we should never be surprised when, over and over again, we see them fail us. For those who believe in false premises will never bear anything but bitter fruit. How ironic it is that political conservatives suspend all rational judgment to boost the fortunes of politicians who are not the friends of true justice while theological conservatives do the same thing to convince themselves that the problems we face have nothing to do with a synthetic liturgy or a corrupt hierarchy. We just need the right person to straighten things out, that’s all.
Our Lady, Ark of the New Covenant, pray for us so that we will always place our trust in your maternal protection to help restore reverence of worship and thus integrity of doctrine in the Church, the fundamental precondition for the establishment of genuine order in society, an order that recognizes the Kingship of your divine Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Viva Cristo Rey!
You Must First of All Love God
|March 23, 2001
Two recently published reports have amounted to very bad news for advocates of legalized child-killing. According to one report, researchers in the United Kingdom have concluded that there is a definite link between a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer and a history of abortion. The other report deals with a study on the impact of embryonic stem cells culled from aborted babies and then transplanted into the brains of people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Not surprisingly, the condition of the Parkinson’s patients worsened significantly — with some experiencing uncontrollable movements of the arms and legs — rather than improved following transplantation of the stem cells.
While it is very important to marshal all of the medical and scientific facts empirically demonstrating the toll that morally illicit acts take on the human body, those of us who know right from wrong should not lose our head over the recent findings. They are not going to produce a groundswell of new opposition to abortion or to the harvesting of embryonic stem cells. I don’t mean to minimize the importance and usefulness of the findings for one second, but here’s why most people will remain indifferent to them, assuming they even sink into their consciousness at all.
First, most people get their news in little snippets. Sure, an increasing number of people surf the Internet for the full details about the snippets they hear on the radio or TV or that they read in some print medium. But most people are impervious to the real world, interesting themselves in the superficial details of their own lives, in sports, in entertainment, in anything that does not require them to invest too much intellectual energy. Information goes in one ear and out the other.
Second, the spin doctors for the pro-death movement go to work almost immediately to discount any findings that reflect poorly on abortion and eugenics, providing false assurances to the passive listener/reader that not enough is known at this point to come to the conclusions reached by the studies they are attempting to discredit. Thus, those who might be prone to give serious thought to the issues are given an “out” to block from their minds any real reflection — reflection that could force them to reexamine their uncritical acceptance of the premises of the culture of death.
Third, contraception and abortion are unlike any other issues facing a society. Those committed to legalized abortion are concerned for the most part with venereal pleasure, whether licit or illicit, which can be immunized from its ultimate end: namely, the conception of a child. Absent a profound conversion to the true Faith, many people trapped in lives based upon the pursuit of wanton venereal pleasure see no good reason to change. Indeed, it is how they define their very existence, whether in or out of wedlock, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Saint Augustine is only one of countless numbers of people over the centuries who conquered the demons of lust to live a life befitting a child of God; but, despite his realization that he was offending God, even he had difficulty giving up his attachment to vice. “O Lord, grant me chastity, but not yet,” the great Doctor of Hippo wrote in his Confessions. Those steeped in lives of unrepentant sin want to hold on to their behavior, which explains why sodomy is still rampant twenty years after the advent of AIDS.
Fourth, the purveyors of sex instruction (both in public education and in Catholic schools and religious education programs) have convinced nearly three generations of young people that it is neither possible nor healthy for them to deny carnal gratification. Thus, any and all news that casts doubt on the propaganda transmitted throughout their lives is rejected at once. It cannot be that the very premises upon which the so-called sexual revolution has been based are defective, can it? No, other studies will disprove any link between breast cancer and abortion and between heart disease and contraception. Other studies will prove that embryonic stem cells taken from aborted babies or fertilized in Petrie dishes do help Parkinson’s sufferers. Do not discount sex instruction as one of the vital elements helping to addict young people to lives of slavery to sin. Indeed, even secular British psychiatrists came to the conclusion last year that all forms of “sex education” were harmful to children. That report made no impact except in The Wanderer and a handful of other journals that have opposed all of the rot of sex instruction from its very inception.
Admittedly, there are truly intelligent people who read newspapers and watch TV, people who are prone to think rationally and to consider disturbing news with sobriety. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, for example, got out of the abortion business in 1973 for purely scientific reasons: he had become convinced that a fetus was a living human being and that he had been responsible for presiding over the death of about 73,000 human babies. It took him another decade to come to a belief in God and another decade after that to be received into the true Faith. So, yes, there are people out there who will investigate the recent studies about breast cancer and the failed nature of embryonic stem cell transplantations. To be sure.
However, scientific arguments take one only so far. The light of natural reason can be clouded by many things. While technically capable of such reason because of their very humanity, some people descend into so much debauchery that they become unused to rational thought, living their lives on the sensual or material levels alone. There is literally no reasoning with a lot of thoughtless people today, people who just do not engage in rational thought, living only to eat, drink, and be merry. They are not going to be convinced by scientific arguments. They must be taught to love God, our First Cause and our Last End, in order to help them reform their lives. Indeed, even a non-baptized person, if he has begun to open the eyes of his soul to the world as it really is, has been prompted by God the Holy Spirit to start the process of discovering his true identity as a creature of the Father who has been recreated by the Son on the Cross.
You see, as horrible as they are, contraception and abortion are twin manifestations of the collapse of Christendom, which was precipitated by the series of events I outlined in “From Luther to Clinton to Gore” four months ago in my newsletter Christ or Chaos. Human beings are supposed to do good and avoid evil because they love God, Who has created them in His own image and likeness and Who has Redeemed them by the shedding of His own Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. A person must first come to love God in order to be able to see the world clearly through the eyes of Faith. A man must first come to love God in order to see himself clearly, to know fully who he is and Whose dignity he carries within his immortal soul.
Naturalistic, earthbound arguments do not hold sway with the lion’s share of people. There is a simple explanation why that is so. Our very nature is made by God to know, to love, and to serve Him. Our hearts are never completely satisfied until we do get to know Him through His true Church. Indeed, the attachment so many people have to the false gods of this passing world is an expression of their longing to worship something superior to their own selves. The worship of false gods, though, always ends in exasperation or self- annihilation, both in bodily and spiritual terms. Only the fullness of God’s revelation of Himself through His true Church can satisfy the longing of human hearts to know surety and stability in a world of uncertainty and mutability.
Thus, while it is a genuinely good thing to point out the facts provided us by truly dispassionate, objective studies in the scientific and medical spheres, we should not expect the culture to change in any way as a result of those studies and findings. No, we must be about the business of praying and working for the only antidote that is known to redirect a culture of death and transform it into a culture conducive to the promotion of eternal life: the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. For it is only when people live and work in the shadow of the Cross that they come to understand that every sin has repercussions. And that some sins have direct repercussions on the health and integrity of our mortal bodies. The true incentive people need to live upright lives must be to please the Triune God through His true Church with every beat of their hearts, consecrated as they should be to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Natural reason and scientific facts can lead people to God, no doubt. He is the Author of all truth. However, it is only a profound love of Him and the fullness of His Divine Revelation that leads human beings to know things as they truly are — and then to choose wisely in conformity with what they know pleases God, redounds to the salvation of their own immortal souls, and gives good witness to others that our sole motive for right living in this life is our desire to participate in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise.
As I keep saying, you cannot find secularism with secularism. You can only fight secularism with Catholicism. We must never shirk from the effort to convert people to the true Faith. God will work out the rest as He sees fit in His time, according to His Holy Will and by means of His ineffable grace. Our responsibility is to help everyone see the world and themselves clearly through the eyes of the true Faith. In that way, more and more people will understand that contraception and abortion and eugenics are evils that do not merely fail to resolve human problems but actually worsen them and increase the cycle of violence and deceit in our fallen, fractured world.
Viva Cristo Rey!
|March 24, 2001
A friend of mine voiced a most interesting observation in the early 1990s when some Jewish leaders were taking New York Mayor David Dinkins to task for his association with some black leaders who spoke in vitriolic terms against Jews. “Tom,” the fellow told me, “my policy is one of strict neutrality in this dispute. I’m just a spectator looking at the events.” Well, I’m observing my own policy of strict neutrality toward the increasingly open warfare between President Bush and Arizona Senator John McCain over a number of issues, including McCain’s flawed, unconstitutional, unjust campaign-finance reform bill, which he has co-sponsored with Senator Russell Feingold (D.-Wis.).
Mind you, it is well known by now that I carry absolutely no brief for President Bush. Naturally, I pray for the president and vice president and their wives and family members. I pray for their conversion to the true Faith so they can be true instruments in the pursuit of the standards of objective justice founded in Truth. Unlike a lot of other folks, however, I have no expectation that the new administration will attempt anything other than a little tinkering on the margins of the life issue. I hope and pray I am proven wrong. I hope I am proven wrong for the sake of the innocent lives that are being snuffed out under cover of law and for the sake of the common moral good of our country, whose conversion to the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ we must try to advance by our prayers and our efforts in the midst of the world in which we live. As I wrote recently, I do not place my trust in princes, whether of the civil or ecclesiastical variety. That way, you see, I am more than pleasantly surprised when some prince in either realm actually gets it right!
But with the Bush-McCain brouhaha, one can simply take a seat in the stands and watch the amazing spectacle unfold. McCain, though a certified hero of the Vietnam War, has become a prima donna of the highest order. The man seems incapable of facing the simple fact that he lost the Republican presidential nomination last year to then-Governor George W. Bush of Texas. McCain labors under the delusion that there is a great popular groundswell of support for him personally and for his cherished goal of campaign-finance reform, neither of which is the case at all. Encouraged by a media throng that helped create his image for him, McCain is bound and determined to press ahead on his particular issues without regard for anything else. As was the case last year with his failed candidacy for the nomination, he gets more than a little petulant when he faces criticism.
Thus far, Bush himself has avoided all mention of McCain, believing quite correctly that to pay attention to his nemesis would only exaggerate McCain’s sense of self-importance in the making of public policy. Bush has embraced the concept of campaign-finance reform sponsored by a former McCain supporter, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel — a reform that would ban the so-called soft money that can be contributed by corporations and labor unions to a political party’s national committee apparatus — but the president has steadfastly refused to endorse McCain-Feingold. A growing number of Democrats are also emerging in opposition to McCain-Feingold, fearing that their own sources of campaign contributions would atrophy under the measure. Undeterred, McCain holds one news conference after another to try to snatch some of the limelight away from the new administration. McCain has now surpassed former Vice President Gore as the chief resident of Fantasyland: even Gore has accepted the fact he is not president and has faded from public view, at least for the moment. McCain labors under the impression that he is Bush’s equal.
All of that having been duly noted, however, the whole issue of campaign-finance reform is phony from the outset. As I’ve noted several times in the past few years, no level of government (national, state, or local) has any business interfering with a citizen’s efforts to support the candidates of his choice with his own private property, including his money. Individuals should be free to donate as much as they want to a particular candidate or political party. The only reasonable requirement that government could place on donations to candidates or political parties would be full disclosure of the donors and the amount they donated. However, that is it. Period. The whole business of federal and state election commissions is unjust and socialistic. The bureaucratic paperwork required by federal and state election laws makes it especially difficult for candidates of conscience to run campaigns unencumbered by needless bureaucratic oversight, the slightest infraction of which can result in heavy fines or criminal prosecution.
Campaign-finance reform emerged in this country as a result of the hue and cry over the abuses associated with President Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) in 1972, including the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel on June 17, 1972; money-laundering; and efforts to sabotage the campaigns of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination that year. Two campaigns especially targeted were those of Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, who had run for vice president alongside Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who had mounted a last-minute challenge to Humphrey at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, trying to claim the mantle of the assassinated New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
In the wake of Watergate, Congress created the Federal Election Commission in 1974. In 1976 the Supreme Court struck down the part of the law dealing with the appointment of the commissioners, in the case of Buckley v. Valeo, but the justices upheld as constitutional the concepts of the commission itself and of limitations on personal contributions to federal campaigns. Naturally, Buckley v. Valeo was as wrong-headed as Roe v. Wade. However, if a court can permit the killing of little babies in the sanctuaries of their mothers’ womb, what’s the big deal about permitting other things that are in plain violation of the Constitution, a natural-law understanding of the purposes of civil government, and just plain, old-fashioned common sense?
Since that time, as we know, there have come to light a number of notorious violations of existing campaign laws, including President Clinton’s White House “coffees” in 1995 and 1996 (which featured international arms merchants, drug dealers, wanted criminals, and agents of the Red Chinese); his dealings with Lippo Group Chairman James Riady; the illegal fundraising phone calls made from the White House by Al “No Controlling Legal Authority” Gore; the Buddhist Temple non-fundraiser fundraiser; and the whole business of contributions made on behalf of the Red Chinese government in exchange for American missile technology, which will one day haunt this country terribly, perhaps exacting a price in blood from us for the killing that continues unabated under cover of law in this country every day. A bevy of Lockean liberals and social engineers — refusing to understand that a political system premised upon the lie of careerism and religious indifferentism is the problem — believe that it is necessary to reform a system of campaign-finance regulation that is flawed from its very inception and in all of its component parts.
No amount of so-called campaign-finance reform is going to resolve the problems associated with money in American politics. American politics itself is the problem. Corporate giants and Big Labor both believe that government exists to help them advance their own respective interests. Most of those who run for office believe they have a God-given right to get elected to whatever office they are seeking (or to be re-elected to whatever office they hold) and are willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder according to the exigencies of practical political expediency. Thus, for the most part those who run for office — along with many of the big rollers who donate huge sums to political parties — are men and women who believe in the Machiavellian principle that the ends justify the means. Our elections and our national discourse are thereby reduced to a clash of interests among various oligarchies, leaving no room for Christ the King and for any serious discussion of First Causes and Last End as the foundation for order in the life of individual citizens and in the larger life of a nation itself.
Although the American system of government and politics is fundamentally flawed, it is what we have at present. Those committed to right principles do have an opportunity, however limited, to speak to the defense of the just moral order as the foundation of the just state in the forum of partisan politics. But the current election laws — with all their unnecessary and failed regulations — make it difficult to mount any real challenge to the perpetual oligarchies of business, labor, and the major parties as the serious players in American politics.
Real campaign-finance reform, therefore, would entail ending all restrictions on donations, ending all state and local and national election commissions created to supervise such donations, and publishing the names of those who donate with the amount donated. Period. That would permit private individuals of substance to support candidates of conscience, providing them with the means to buy media time for purposes not so much of being electorally viable but rather of trying to break through the media shield and speak to issues of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate. Although electoral politics is nothing but a sideshow (replete with its own freaks and circus acts), it does provide us with a forum to speak to issues of fundamental justice founded in truth. However, current election laws make it almost impossible for anybody but a wealthy candidate (who can spend as much of his own money as he wants on his own campaign) to gain media access.
I repeat: the only reason we should be involved in this flawed system is to speak to the truth. When spoken in love and with conviction, truth has the power by the grace of God and the light of natural reason to help plant the seeds that might result in the changing of hearts and minds. Indeed, the truth spoken in love and with conviction in the forum of electoral politics might do more concrete good to help souls see themselves clearly as redeemed creatures who must abide by God’s immutable laws than anything a person could accomplish in elected office.
The graces won for us by our Lord by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross remain as powerful now as they were nearly two thousand years ago when the Apostles went out into the known world to preach the Gospel. We must rely on those graces to help us — who took the task of apostleship upon ourselves when we were baptized and confirmed — to use every opportunity we can find to proclaim the Cross of our Crucified and Risen Savior to the world in which we live. We can thus be instruments of the only sort of reform that helps any society: the reform of individual lives by free-will acts to love God through His true Church — and that is never a matter of strict neutrality. That is a matter of discharging our duties to be soldiers in the army of Christ, duties that should prompt us to be steadfast in prayer and earnest in our desire to bring all men and all nations into the One Sheepfold of Peter.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Nothing but an American Right
|March 27, 2001
The state of things in our civil government is pretty grim. Babies continue to be killed under cover of law in their mothers’ womb at the same rate now as they were being killed during the Clinton administration. Inspired by the fact that pro-abortion Catholics in the Democratic Party have not been excommunicated, a whole generation of Republican Catholic pro-aborts has arisen — New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former U.S. Representatives Rick Lazio and Susan Molinari, Maine Senator Susan Collins, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. They, too, have largely gone unchallenged by ecclesiastical authorities. (Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., has barred Ridge from speaking in any diocesan facilities. However, Archbishop Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua of Philadelphia has not issued any such edict. Indeed, in recent years Ridge has spoken in at least one Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.) The net effect upon the average Catholic is quite clear: support for the mystical destruction of our Lord in the persons of unborn babies is no impediment to being considered a Catholic in good standing. And support for such killing by Catholics in public life of either major political party is no impediment to being treated with warmth by the very princes of Holy Mother Church.
Enter Edward Cardinal Egan. The Archbishop of New York has had two good opportunities recently to admonish the pro-abortion Governor Pataki and the pro-abortion Mayor Giuliani. He dropped the ball on both occasions, thereby distinguishing himself from the early days of his predecessor, the late John Cardinal O’Connor, who picked some very public fights in 1984 with Governor Mario Cuomo and Rep. Geraldine Ferraro. (Yes, Cardinal O’Connor did apologize to Ferraro, saying that he did not mean to criticize his “good friend.” Well, she wasn’t his friend, good or otherwise. And he was absolutely right to criticize her. The late cardinal had a penchant for a Hamlet-like angst over his public comments about elected officials. And he himself gave Pataki and Giuliani a free pass on their pro-abortion stands.) Recently Cardinal Egan met privately with Pataki in Albany and came out saying that he had not discussed the issue of abortion with the governor. His Eminence said he looked forward to the “happy day” when Pataki would review his pro-abortion position. However, he stressed that Pataki was exercising his right as an American to be “pro-choice.” Only a few days later, Cardinal Egan warmly embraced Giuliani at New York’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, whose grand marshal was a pro-abortion Catholic politician from Staten Island.
“His right as an American?” The heresy of Americanism thus continues to influence the minds of highly intelligent princes of the Church. No one has the right to do evil. Human beings have the free will to choose between good and evil. However, we are only morally free to choose the good. No one has the “right” to choose to do that which is wrong. There is a distinction between having the authority to do something and having the ability to do it.
As I noted in “Get a Grip on Reality” in January, words have meaning. A Catholic — especially one who is a cardinal and is known to be a serious man of the mind — has the obligation to make all of the necessary distinctions required by Catholic moral theology. It is a grave dereliction of duty to speak in sloppy, Americanist terms that reaffirm the belief of ignorant people (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) that one really does have a “right” to support abortion. No one has the right to sin. And abortion is one of the four crimes that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. (The other three are the sin of Sodom, defrauding a widow, and withholding the wages from a day laborer.)
Words and actions speak very loudly. The average Catholic sees the warm reception accorded Giuliani, who doesn’t even make a pretense of opposing partial-birth abortion, and the affirmation that Pataki has a “right” to support baby-killing. Why should a pro-abortion Catholic in the pew reassess his uncritical acceptance of our culture of death when a Cardinal Archbishop of a major metropolitan see fails to communicate the fact that abortion is a grave crime against both the Church and the State? Why should a woman who is suffering the effects of post-abortion syndrome consider reconciling herself to the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth in the Sacrament of Penance when a Cardinal Archbishop speaks of support for abortion as being an exercise of an American “right”? Does not Cardinal Egan see that a woman can easily come to the conclusion that she was (or is) justified in seeking an abortion, if it is a matter of American rights? How can it not be a “right” for a woman to choose to have an abortion if Pataki has the “right” to choose to support it?
Recently Cardinal Egan rightly stated, from his pulpit at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, that the Brooklyn Museum deliberately displays blasphemous, anti-Catholic “works of art” that either are created by minorities or feature minorities as a subject. His Eminence courageously declared that the curators of the Brooklyn Museum were trying to immunize themselves from criticism by creating a “race card” that they could play if Catholics took offense to elephant dung on an alleged painting of the Blessed Mother or to a naked black woman posing as our Lord in a photograph attempting to recreate the Last Supper. Cardinal Egan was very right to point all of that out. Indeed, his remarks were masterly.
As horrible as blasphemous works of art are, however, abortion is a far greater crime. There are hierarchies of evil. Thus, while it is nice to support the sanctity of innocent human babies in abstract terms in one’s preaching, it is also necessary to communicate the seriousness of supporting the death of such babies by withholding handshakes and photo opportunities from Catholics of any political party who seek to capitalize on their Catholic identity while betraying the Fifth Commandment. Is it too much to hope and pray that the day will soon come when the bishops of the United States will excommunicate Catholics in public life who support the mystical destruction under cover of law of Jesus Christ in the person of unborn children in their mothers’ womb?
There was a lot of fuss recently over Ted Turner’s referring to employees wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday as “Jesus freaks.” Once more Turner put his bigotry on display for all to see. However, Turner is what he is: an ignorant bigot who feels safe in shooting off his mouth because of his enormous fortune. And after all, it is his “American right” to do so, isn’t it?
It is a teaching of the Church that no one has the right to blaspheme. No one has the “right” to use our Lord’s Holy Name in vain. No one has the “right” to produce blasphemous or pornographic works of “art” or motion pictures or magazines or books or TV programs or music or sex-instruction programs. But if Ted Turner is denounced for his anti-Catholicism, what of those Catholics considered officially to be in good standing within the Church who are not denounced for their anti-Catholic, anti-Theistic embrace of abortion?
In 1907 Pope Saint Pius X said in Pascendi that Modernism sought to divorce the Church from the State and the Catholic from the citizen. Americanism (which exalts all things American: religious indifferentism, cultural pluralism, the secular Republic, separation of Church and State, absolute freedom of speech and press) is but one of the many expressions of Modernism. Affirming a politician in the fallacious belief that Americans have a “right” to choose to support or do evil just feeds the Modernist notions decried so eloquently by Pope Saint Pius X (and by Popes Blessed Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius XI). Although it gets one good press and avoids a short-term controversy, feeding the Americanist notion of “rights” ultimately helps to perpetuate the culture of death, especially in our own co-religionists.
Our Lady, Mother of the Church, pray for the bishops of your Son’s Church. Pray that they might see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith, speak the Truth boldly in love, and never be hesitant about confronting the mighty with their obligations to be true to the Cross of your Divine Son to the point of their dying breath, no matter what it might cost them in this passing world. Pray, dearest Mother of Life Himself, that the princes of the Church will remind pro-abortion Catholics in public life what your Son wants each of us to remember: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul?”
|March 30, 2001
“Unprecedented access.” That is what a number of nationally known conservative leaders are calling their relationship with the White House of George W. Bush. On March 19 the New York Times reported that staff aides in the White House and Cabinet secretaries have weekly meetings with a variety of conservative leaders, who have recommended many of their associates for subcabinet positions (nominees for which must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate). The administration solicits the conservative leaders’ views on questions of public policy, giving those leaders a heady feeling of influence at the White House. Indeed, some of the leaders report that they have a level of access now with President Bush that they never had with President Reagan. There is only one little problem with all of that, however: their “unprecedented access” has much more to do with the stroking of egos and the satisfying of core constituency groups than with the actual making of public policy.
I remain very critical of President Bush, principally because of his shallow understanding of the life issue and his concomitant failure to do everything within his power to stop the killings at once (such as the immediate cessation of funding for all embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation). But one has to give the new president and his political advisors a great deal of credit. As governor of Texas, Bush demonstrated a capacity for stroking egos to protect his right flank while at the same time working with Democrats in the Texas legislature. In short, Bush is something of a Clinton clone, using the Dick Morris strategy of triangulation to make it appear as though his political base has influence with him when he is actually wheeling and dealing with moderate Republicans and “blue dog” conservative Democrats.
If you recall, Morris, who had an on- again/off-again relationship with Clinton from 1980 to 1996, was brought back in 1995 to advise the president following the Republican capture of both houses of Congress for the first time since the 1952 elections. Morris advised Clinton to talk sweet nothings into the ears of his leftist base, giving them crumbs now and then to keep them happy and make it appear as though he was really sensitive to their hopes and desires. In actuality, though, Clinton successfully outmaneuvered the Republicans, seizing the public-relations high ground on welfare reform and reduction of the deficit and the national debt. Even though Clinton was forced into those positions by the Republicans, Morris was able to portray the president as the architect of welfare reform and the economic boom (which has just come crashing to the ground). Clinton faked left while he moved to the center in order to position himself for the 1996 elections.
Bush did much the same thing when he was governor of Texas. He met quite assiduously with leaders of conservative groups, including the so-called religious right. He supported the passage of a parental-notification bill in the Texas legislature, requiring female minors seeking abortions to notify their parents before they could kill their child, which would give parents an opportunity to dissuade them from participating in the murder of an innocent baby. However, Bush also appointed three fully pro-abortion nominees to the Texas Supreme Court, each of whom voted to strike down the notification bill! He also nominated the notorious Martha Hill Jamieson, a supporter of both Planned Parenthood and the homosexual agenda, to a judicial vacancy in a Houston district court. Thus, while economic conservatives and religious conservatives felt sufficiently stroked by Bush because of his personal interest in them, the Texas governor was merely providing himself the cover to do things that would make him marketable for reelection in 1998 — and position him to run for the presidency in 2000.
The same thing is happening right now with President Bush. It is certainly the case that business leaders are getting a great deal of what they have wanted from the new president. For all the talk about the woefully inadequate tax cut, though, Bush is presiding over an increase of spending by the federal government, including, as I have noted in the past few months, a huge increase for the Department of Education, a bureaucracy that is opposed to the principle of subsidiarity and to the plain language of the U.S. Constitution. (This is yet another illustration of the flawed nature of the Constitution. A written document is meaningless when there is no ultimate arbiter of the meaning of its plain language, leaving such interpretation to judicial autocrats or careerist politicians interested in creating the impression that they are doing something for the people.)
In other words, the Bush administration is going about the business of government pretty much as other Republican administrations have — that is, by emphasizing the importance of money as the foundational principle of public policy and human existence. The only difference between the Bush administration and the previous two Republican administrations is that Bush the younger has learned the lessons that Bush the elder never learned: it is vital to stroke one’s electoral base while faking to the center in order to reach “acceptable” compromises with congressional “moderates.”
In actual point of fact, you see, the conservative leaders whose egos are being stroked so tenderly by Bush staffers do not make policy. The national budget, which is the principal determining factor for the outline of public policy, will emerge as a result of complex and protracted negotiations between the White House and leaders of both political parties in the two houses of Congress. Compromises will be reached that will be difficult for some of the conservative leaders to swallow. However, having developed a close working relationship with those leaders, Bush staffers will be able to immunize themselves against too much criticism by saying that they tried their very best but just had to compromise in the real world of give-and-take politics. The folks accustomed to access in the highest quarters of power in the White House and the Executive Branch will thus push the mute button on themselves out of fear that all of their unprecedented access will be lost, thereby vitiating what they believe to be their influence — which is nothing other than the illusion of influence created by the Bush staffers.
In order to retain their access to the White House, conservative leaders must make all manner of compromises with evil. Each of those leaders is willing to live with the fact that the Bush administration is still dragging its feet on the matter of embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation. Babies are being conceived artificially so they can be killed for the harvesting of their stem cells. Innocent lives could be saved at once by the issuance of an Executive Order to stop the funding of such research and transplantation. Instead, the ever-cautious Bush has decided to order Tommy Thompson, secretary of Health and Human Services, to create a panel of “experts” to study the matter. What is there to study? Embryonic stem-cell research and transplantation is evil. It is monstrous. Why the delay? And why is Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, so lonely in denouncing the needless delay? Why? Precisely because the so-called leaders of various conservative organizations care more about their access to the White House than they do about taking concrete measures to save innocent human lives at once.
Moreover, the human pesticide, RU-486, continues to be marketed. The United States continues to fund the killing of children abroad by means of abortifacient contraceptives. There remains a needless life-of-the-mother exception in the flawed bill to ban partial-birth abortions when even the American Medical Association has stated that it is never medically necessary to use dilatation and extraction — partial-birth abortion — to save a mother’s life. The leaders of conservative organizations are content to accept all manner of exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life in specific pieces of legislation concerning Medicaid funding of abortions, in line with their general acceptance of such exceptions as matters of principle. And thus far there has been zero criticism of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s suggestion that Judges Ronnie White and Roger Gregory, both of whom are pro-aborts, are qualified to sit on the federal bench. Indeed, there has been no criticism of Ashcroft’s embrace of the ideologically laden concept of “diversity” (which means hiring people on the basis of skin color and ethnicity and “sexual orientation”).
Let’s face it: almost every one of the conservative leaders is willing to accept Roe v. Wade as settled law in order not to rock the boat with the Bush administration. One wonders what they will do if Bush nominates White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales — one of the judges on the Texas Supreme Court who struck down the parental-notification bill — to the U.S. Supreme Court as a means of currying favor with the growing population of Spanish-speaking Americans (who have now eclipsed blacks as the largest minority group in the country). One wonders.
Access to the halls of power can be very intoxicating. It can give a person a feeling of self-importance that blinds the intellect and weakens the will, resulting in muted tongues and spin-doctoring (when the tongues are permitted to be loosed) to promote an administration’s “talking points” on TV’s “talking-head” programs. However, such access can actually be deleterious to the cause of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate when otherwise sensible people accept the Protestant and Masonic premise that a secular, pluralistic, and religiously indifferentist society has to make protecting itself its first priority and raison d’etre rather than stopping the shedding of innocent human blood.
As I have noted on so many occasions, all of it is the fruit of the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Freemasonry. Protestantism promoted the belief that people who are saved by their mere profession of faith in our Lord can thereby be about the business of the “real world” without regard to any consequences for their immortal soul. Indeed, the Calvinist strain of Protestantism stresses the importance of wealth as one of the leading signs of a person’s predestination for Heaven. Those concepts have been secularized and embraced by Freemasonry, and their influence accounts for the creation of a secular republic dedicated to the promotion of commercialism as the principal purpose of civil government. Sadly, many Catholics have bought into it, including pro-life Catholics who continue to fear the evil more than they love the good, and who think in naturalistic, earthbound terms and actually eschew any public invocation of the Holy Name and all references to the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ.
As Catholics, we should strive to give “unprecedented access” to the social teaching of the Catholic Church — the only sure foundation for the just society. The Church’s social teaching is neither conservative or liberal. It is what it is: an effort to apply the unchanging truths of Truth Himself to the concrete circumstances of man in this fallen, fractured world. Without that teaching, a society flails about in a vain effort to find some mythical “common ground” as the basis of public policy and popular culture. As Pope Leo XIII explained so well in Immortale Dei in 1885, a society so founded degenerates sooner or later into atheism and barbarism.
It will be interesting to watch the degree to which so-called conservative leaders will permit themselves to be used as a screen for the Bush administration. In the meantime, however, the tiny fraction of us who want to give voice to the voiceless and defend the defenseless must be relentless in our prayers before the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God. And we must be unceasing in our efforts to speak the truth about our current situation, no matter how much “access” to high places or friends we lose along the way.
The Plagues of the Twenty-First Century
|April 4, 2001
News reports flit in and out of people’s consciousness. Ebola erupts again in Africa. A patient with Ebola-like symptoms is admitted to a hospital in the United States. Two people in Denver die of an illness related to “mad cow” disease. A herd of sheep is taken from its owners in Vermont after officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture come to suspect that the sheep might be infected with a variant of mad cow disease. Officials in the United Kingdom admit that they have lost control of the spread of hoof and mouth disease, just two years after those same officials lose control of mad cow disease. It is revealed that 13 percent of feed and grain processors in this country do not take proper measures to prevent infestations of the virus that causes mad cow disease. Two people die of Legionnaire’s Disease in Florida. And from time to time people are sickened by new outbreaks of E-coli and botulism. On and on and on. It’s hard to deny that we are witnessing the advent of the plagues of the twenty-first century.
The modern plagues associated with the food chain have their origin in one simple source: human sloth. Many people involved with the raising of livestock or the processing of feed do not want to do all that is humanly possible to prevent the outbreak of various diseases. Takes too much time. Costs too much money. Involves too much effort. Thus, a godless society helps to bring upon itself public-health disasters that could be avoided or at least attenuated by the sort of care and attention that are but the natural result of a consciousness of living in the Divine presence at all times, of understanding that we are to pursue excellence in the line of work we have chosen for ourselves, as befits redeemed creatures.
Capitalism plays its own ugly role in the triumph of sloth in the world. That is, unbridled individualism, which is the essence of capitalism, seeks to maximize profit and minimize cost. That is what accounts, in large measure, for the long-standing health and sanitation problems associated with the meat and poultry industry. In the early twentieth century, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle documented the problems of the American meat industry. Sinclair’s book led directly to the Wholesome Meat Inspection Act of 1907, which gave the USDA authority to inspect meat and poultry plants involved in interstate commerce. A 1967 act expanded that authority to cover plants involved in intrastate commerce, requiring states either to submit to federal investigation of the meat and poultry plants found within their borders or to establish their own inspection systems meeting or exceeding federal standards. The act included a provision allowing the USDA to preempt a state’s inspection system if it failed to enforce federal standards across the board. Those regulations — legitimate efforts on the part of government to assure public health and safety — represent two of the functions government is expected to fulfill according to the natural law; the other is the proper administration of justice according to the norms of objective justice founded in truth.
Many USDA inspectors are veterinarians trained to look for symptoms of disease. Others work under the supervision of public health veterinarians. All are fallible human beings. And the USDA itself has admitted that its inspection service is understaffed and overworked. Fatigue and inattention to detail can lead to sloppy or careless inspections. Familiarity with the owners and managers of the plants can result in mild warnings when stronger actions are warranted to assure the public health. Even when inspections are done carefully and stern warnings are given, however, bureaucrats not on the scene of a particular plant may very well be inclined to treat a serious situation with less gravity than it actually deserves. That is true in all countries. Bureaucrats generally do not like to be burdened with excessive work, which is one of the reasons the British public health authorities lost control of mad cow disease a few years ago — and why they are now losing control of the spread of hoof and mouth disease. The same is happening in our own country. It is only by the grace of God that pandemics of food-borne diseases have not yet broken out.
Following the sale of his small-animal veterinary practice in Queens Village, New York, in 1972, my father, Dr. Albert H. Droleskey, embarked on a second career. After trying semi-retirement for six months in 1973, he took a position with the Texas Department of Public Health, becoming the regional administrator in charge of meat inspection in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (a move that was quite a change for my parents). My father was disliked rather intensely by his superiors in Austin because he was a hated “Yankee” and a Catholic. However, no one else wanted to go to Harlingen, where my father was treated with hostility by many of the inspectors he had to supervise because he was an “Anglo.” That did not bode well for him when dealing with the owners of the meat-packing plants, either.
Indeed, my father underwent about a year of real persecution as he attempted to enforce the law strictly and equitably, understanding that nothing less than the public health of the people in the Lower Rio Grande Valley was at stake. He was accused of being anti-Hispanic because he forced his inspectors (some of whom were accepting bribes of various sorts, including food, from the meat packers) to actually enforce the law and because he actually ordered several plants shut down for serious violations of the law. The fact that my father was trying to protect the largely Mexican-American community of the Valley from impure meat did not in the least dissuade inspectors and plant owners from accusing him of anti-Hispanic bigotry. They did everything they could to drive him from the Valley.
But in time my father won the grudging admiration of his superiors in Austin for his tenacity in the face of the fire directed his way. The situation he faced was a very serious one. I accompanied him to meat-packing plants during a couple of summer breaks from my doctoral studies at the State University of New York at Albany. The conditions I saw were deplorable — so much so that describing them in detail might ruin a reader’s appetite for days on end. Suffice it to say, however, that the scenes were unbelievably horrific, including very unsanitary and unhygienic behavior on the part of the workers on the kill floor. I could see then what Upton Sinclair meant when he called the meat-packing industry a veritable jungle. It is.
As is the case with all the issues facing our society, the attenuation or prevention of food-borne diseases and plagues is directly related to how human beings view themselves and the world in which they live. That is, a secular, earthbound view of human existence leads people to do the minimum amount of work necessary. It leads people to accept sloth and actual malfeasance as regrettable realities about which little can done. It leads managers to cover up the errors of their employees. And it leads inspectors and the bureaucrats who supervise them to engage in their own coverups in order to make their own jobs easier. The fact that the coverups will come to light eventually does not in the least deter them from trying their very best to prevent bad news from becoming public, which almost always happens.
By contrast, in a world where people loved God through His true Church, the lion’s share of people would understand that they would have to answer to the Blessed Trinity at the moment of their own Particular Judgment for how well they had discharged their duties in their chosen state-in-life. And those involved in meat packing and the inspection of meat-packing plants would take seriously their obligations under the Fifth Commandment to see to it that all threats to the public health were noted assiduously and measures were taken immediately to redress violations and outbreaks of diseases. Certainly, human nature is what it is — fallen, weak, imperfect. In a Catholicized world there would still be people who would act wrongly when confronted with problems they would prefer to ignore. However, the general tenor of the world would be different. People would be more disposed to do what is right for love of God — and for love of neighbor as a manifestation of a love for God through His true Church.
I don’t know whether the scattered reports we are now hearing about outbreaks of various diseases in livestock — and the food-borne illnesses for humans generated thereby — will actually develop into a specific epidemic or the equivalent of a modern plague. But if our descent into sloth continues, those problems will worsen. More and more people will sicken and die from human carelessness. That is something that nobody in his right mind desires. And God does not cause any of it to occur. All bad things happen in the world as a result of sin and its multifaceted ramifications. However, God permits those things to occur so that good may be drawn out of them. Perhaps a serious threat to the food supply might force some people to understand how a world that rejects our Lord and His true Church ultimately negates itself by the very sloth engendered by a forgetfulness of God and a rejection of His Divine Revelation.
Our Lady, Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Thirsting for Souls
Each of us travels down familiar roads every day of our lives. We see familiar sights. And sometimes the very familiarity of the sights we see every day blinds us to their nuances. There are things to do and deadlines to meet. The paths we trod become means to various ends. Indeed, the very routine of life may cause us to curse the paths that make possible the completion of the responsibilities of our freely chosen states in life.
Holy Week sees us walk down the same path year after year. We commemorate the same events we commemorated the year before — and the year before that. Its very familiarity can cause us to think that there is little need to do any more meditation one year than we did the year before. In reality, however, the very opposite is true: the older we get, the more we realize how much we have missed on our annual journey down the Via Dolorosa. For we can never exhaust the depths of the treasures found on the path our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ took to reconcile us to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross.
I ask you to join with me as we prepare to walk down the path of Holy Week in the year 2001, the first year of the Third Millennium.
Our Lord told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well that He wanted to drink of her faith. Our Lord wants to drink of our faith. He thirsted for souls on the wood of the Holy Cross, and He thirsts for the deepening of our lives of faith as the holy season of Lent draws to its crescendo during its final two weeks: Passion Week and Holy Week (which are two distinctive weeks in the Traditional calendar). No matter how dilatory we may have been in our Lenten observances prior to that time, we have an opportunity to use the final two weeks of Lent to withdraw ourselves more and more from the world, focusing our attention on why our Lord became Incarnate in our Lady’s virginal and immaculate womb: to pay back to the Father in His own Sacred Humanity the blood debt of our own sins.
Thirst is a very important Biblical image. The Jews thirsted for water as they made their forty-year journey in the desert. Indeed, they grumbled against God and Moses at Meribah and Massah, causing Moses to lose his patience and blaze with anger against the people he had been charged with leading from their enslavement to the Pharaoh to the Promised Land (itself symbolic of the enslavement of mankind to the Devil prior to our Lord’s New and Eternal Passover effected by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross). The Chosen People thirsted for water to satisfy a need for one of life’s basic necessities. What they did not understand, obviously, was that God thirsted for their faith in Him, Who had freed them from their cruel slavery at the hands of the Egyptians, just as God thirsts for our faith in Him today through His true Church.
When you think about it, however, only a handful of the Chosen People were ever given to see things clearly during the course of their Exodus, settlement in the Promised Land of Canaan, the rise of the era of Kings (and the rise of the Davidic line), the division between the northern and southern kingdoms, the Babylonian Captivity, their rescue by Cyrus, king of Persia, and their resettlement in Palestine prior to the Assyrian invasion and Roman conquest. Time after time after time, the Old Testament tells us that the Chosen People had to be reminded by the minor and major Prophets (Amos, Hosea, Nathan, Gad, Nahum, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) that God was going to save them from their sins.
Isaiah’s Suffering Servant songs, which begin at Chapter 51, foretell the exact way in which liberation from enslavement to sin would occur. An innocent lamb would be sent to the slaughter, opening not his mouth. By his stripes we would be healed. He would be thought of as afflicted, as one smitten by the people, one in whom there was no stately bearing. The people did not understand. They went about their secular business, not too differently from how many contemporary Catholics go about their secular business today, giving the true Faith next to no thought as they do so. And Ezekiel was the instrument God chose to foretell the Resurrection: “Behold I will open your graves, and will bring you out of your sepulchres.” (37:12) “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.” (36:26)
The eyes of most of the Chosen People in the period prior to our Lord’s Incarnation in our Lady’s virginal and immaculate womb were closed to teach us a very pointed lesson: faith is a gift that must be cultivated, a gift we must thirst for with every beat of our hearts. Those who do not thirst for an increase in their level of faith — their level of trust in the Blessed Trinity as He has revealed Himself through His true Church — will have their faith atrophy and be replaced by a disordered trust in one’s own self or the things, people, places, ideas, and allurements of this passing world. The Jews of the Old Testament, at least, had an excuse for their blindness in that their souls were still captive to the Devil by means of Original Sin. We have no such excuse, have we?
Indeed, those of us who are baptized Catholics have been given true spiritual sight through no merits of our own. Each one of our sins, however, can blind us more and more to the extent that we must thirst for an increase in faith, an increase in hope, and an increase in charity. Each one of our sins can lead us away from the Divine Lover who greets us with unsurpassed love in every tabernacle in every Catholic Church in the world, His Real Presence being signified by a red lamp, itself indicative of the ardor of His love for us. Our sins, though — oh, how our sins can make us as blind as the Jews who lived at the time of our Lord’s Passion and Death. Indeed, it was our sins (having transcended time) that helped keep most of the Chosen People from seeing the truth that Truth Himself had been made flesh and had come to Earth to pay back in His own Sacred Humanity the debt of their own (and our own) sins.
Thus, we must truly thirst to look at the events of Holy Week with renewed faith, hope, and love. We must not trudge our way through the end of a six-week period of prayer, fasting, alms-giving, and mortification. We must enter deep into the mysteries contained within the week during which time the new Adam canceled out the sin of the old Adam, stretching out His arms on the wood of the Holy Cross to embrace the whole of humanity for all eternity to lift it up on the vertical beam to the Father in Spirit and in Truth. Holy Week is a summary of the life story of each person. And we must thirst to see our life story contained in all of its events.
There are times we welcome the Lord with joy, just as the crowd welcomed Him with joy on Palm Sunday, shortly after Jesus of Nazareth had raised His friend Lazarus from the dead. It is so very easy to welcome the miracle worker, so very difficult to stand by the foot of the Cross and be known as a friend and disciple of One hated and reviled by all of our friends. Yes, it is easy to praise the Name of the Lord. It is so much more difficult to embrace His Cross, accept His Holy Truths in a spirit of humility and docility, and unite ourselves fully to the Cross as the only means by which we can help repair the damage we have done to our own spiritual sight by our sins.
There are times when we are Judas Iscariot. There are times when we take the thirty pieces of silver — sometimes quite literally — to betray our Lord and to satisfy some longing of ours (illicit pleasure, job security, family peace, financial advancement, human respect). We just turn away, placing our trust in the things of this world — politics, political ideologies, politicians and their programs, our own ingenuity and supposed cleverness, technology — to resolve the problems that are remediable only by means of the cooperation of individual souls with the graces won for them on the wood of the Holy Cross by the Theandric Person, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There are times when we want to stay in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, soaking in the words of our Lord’s last discourse — in which He pointedly told us we would be hated by all on account of Him and His Holy Name — marveling at the wonder of how the simple elements of the earth can be transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the God-Man, Who promised that He would give us the True Manna come down from Heaven Which is His own Flesh and His own Blood. And then there are the times we want to flee from that Upper Room, preferring to hunger and to thirst for the food and drink of this world, treating those who serve us our sumptuous meals far better than we treat the priests (spiritual descendants of those ordained at the Last Supper) who make possible for us the nourishment of our souls with the Bread of Life and the Cup of Eternal Salvation.
There are times when we are very much with our Lord in his Agony in the Garden of Gethsemani. There are times when we do indeed meditate upon the fact that He suffered His Agony in the Garden because He feared in His Sacred Humanity coming into contact with the very antithesis of His Sacred Divinity: sin. However, there are the times when we are very much like Peter, James, and John, each of whom fell fast asleep as the Master sweated droplets of His Most Precious Blood, seeing each of the sins of every human being who had lived on Earth before Him, had lived during His life, and would live until the end of time. Indeed, most of the time we are fast asleep when we should be vigilant and alert in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
There are times when we want to flee from our Lord, just as all but one of the Apostles did. We do not want to profess His Holy Name publicly. We do not want to work for the establishment of His Social Kingship and restore the primacy of the See of Peter as the ultimate arbiter on matters of faith and morals — and on matters of fundamental justice. We just want to keep our mouth shut and keep out of trouble, just as the Apostles left our Lord to be manhandled by the Sanhedrin prior to the night He spent in prison, alone and abandoned.
Most of all, though, we live our lives in the crowd. For the same crowd that cried out “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord” on Palm Sunday called out for our Lord’s Crucifixion just five days later. We human beings are pretty fickle. So quick to condemn, so slow to forgive, especially when it comes to our own family members and friends. Some grudge, real or imagined, causes us to denounce and reject a family member or friend, a fellow human being made in the image and likeness of the Triune God and redeemed by the God-Man on the heights of Golgotha. “Whatsoever you do to the least of My brethren, that you do unto Me.” How slow we are to see Him in the people are who closest to us.
In His ineffable mercy, however, God always wants to draw us close to Him. While it is true that our sins placed us the wrong side of the Cross on Good Friday, our Lord has given us a chance to present with Him every day of our lives (except for Good Friday and Holy Saturday) as His one sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth is re-presented in an unbloody manner on an altar of Sacrifice in Holy Mass. Every Mass we hear affords us the opportunity to meditate upon the sufferings our Lord endured in order to fulfill the Father’s will that we might be reconciled to Him through the shedding of the Blood of the true Passover Lamb.
Our Lord thirsted for souls not only on Good Friday. He thirsts for souls yet. He thirsts for souls to be present at Holy Mass in a spirit of recollection and silence. He thirsts for souls to pray and to work for the restoration of the liturgy in the Latin rite that more perfectly and more beautifully conveys the sacredness of the events in which our redemption was wrought for us by Him. He thirsts for souls to meditate upon how He redeemed every single suffering of our lives through the suffering our sins imposed upon Him in His Sacred Humanity. There is nothing any of us can endure (no bodily pain, no terminal disease, no rejection, no failure, no loss of material goods) that is the equal of what one of our venial sins caused Him to suffer in His Passion and Death. He thirsts for us to realize that, interiorize it, and live it out more fully with every beat of our hearts, consecrated as they must be to the Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother and to His own Most Sacred Heart. And He thirsts for us to be the administrators of the Divine Mercy He extended to us so freely as He made excuses for His executioners (namely, us): “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” He thirsts for us to do the same.
Our Lord also thirsts for us to be totally consecrated to His Mother, who stood so valiantly by the foot of the Cross as she watched the fruit of her virginal and immaculate womb suffer the ravages our sins imposed upon Him. Our Lord thirsts for us to go to Him through His Mother, just as He came into the world through her to effect our redemption. We cannot possibly understand the sorrows and the triumph of Holy Week if we are not totally consecrated to our Lady, placing ourselves completely under her maternal protection as we endeavor to cooperate with the graces won for us by her Divine Son as He re-created us on the wood of the Holy Cross. She was present at the foot of the Cross. She is present during every celebration of Holy Mass. She prays for us to thirst for the things of eternity, to thirst for the salvation of our souls, to thirst to grow in sanctity, and to thirst to be known proudly as the children she gave spiritual birth to in great pain and sorrow.
The Chosen People thirsted for water but died nevertheless. The Samaritan woman was told she would be given water and never be thirsty again. We know that our Lord has given us the Church, conceived out of the elements of Blood and Water that poured forth from His Wounded Side, to be the means by which our thirst for the truths of the Faith are always quenched. The Holy Ghost, Who is the Vivifier (the Lifegiver), means to thirst for a greater love of the Cross, being ever ready to embrace It, ever ready to see on It the One Who has liberated us from the power of sin and death — and to see beneath It the woman who wants us to rely upon her maternal intercession to thirst each day for a greater love for her Son through her as sons and daughters of the true Church.
“O death, where is thy victory? Death, where is Thy sting?” Our Lord’s death on the Holy Cross, which seemed to the world His ultimate failure, is the means of our passageway to eternal life. It is also the means by which we come to know who we are — and how we are to treat all others in a spirit of mercy and true love for the welfare of their immortal souls.
I will save a reflection on the Resurrection for Holy Week. This reflection is aimed at providing some food for thought as we walk through the final weeks of Lent into Holy Week, being prepared to thirst to make it the best Holy Week of our lives.
Stealing Property of the Mind
|April 10, 2001
I rejected the culture of “rock ’n’ roll” back in the 1950s, and I have had zero interest in modern music since then. When I was a little boy, my parents explained to me that Elvis Presley was decadent; I did not fully understand what decadent meant, but I knew that my parents were not going to steer me wrong. Thus, in the fall of 1956, I plugged my fingers into my ears when a fellow kindergartner on a school bus turned up the volume on his radio as it blared Presley’s “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog.”
By the time the Beatles rolled around in 1964, I was 13 and had come to understand by myself that rock music was from Hell and that it was produced by Satan. I knew the Beatles represented the glorification of immorality (relating to so-called free love and the use of hallucinogenic drugs, including marijuana) and a rejection of legitimate authority. Indeed, I wore a crew cut for ten years — from 1964 to 1974 — as my own sign of protest against the long hair then in style among teenage boys as a result of the Beatles. So I am not in the least bit conversant with contemporary music. Don’t listen to it. Have no interest in it whatsoever, except to comment on those things that make the news because of their overt hostility to the true Faith.
One with no interest in contemporary music does not seek it out, obviously. So I had never heard of Napster — the service that until recently permitted its users to download music to their computers for free — until it became the object of news reports and court battles challenging its legal right to use the intellectual property of others without compensating the performers and the creators of that property. As it has been explained to me by several home-schooling students, Napster has thousands of selections that can be downloaded into computers, and these include classical-music selections. Therefore there are users of Napster who are not necessarily part of the culture of death that has arisen in large part as a result of contemporary music and its derivatives. Still and all, Napster was founded on the false premise that consumers should be able to get something for nothing. That is a fundamental violation of the Seventh Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” It is a sin to steal anything that does not belong to us, including the intellectual property of others. This is something that is of particular interest to those of us who create our own works, whether writers or artists or musicians or inventors.
In September of 1987, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) was derailed in his bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination when John Sasso, an aide to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, released an attack video demonstrating that Biden had stolen a speech on foreign policy given only days before by Neil Kinnock, then the hapless head of the British Labour Party (which party Kinnock led to defeats by Margaret Thatcher and the Tories in 1982 and 1987). It turned out that Biden, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee was presiding over the Robert Bork confirmation hearings, had committed plagiarism when he was at Syracuse Law School in the mid 1960s. Although he is said to be contemplating yet another run at the presidency in 2004, Biden’s credibility was forever tarnished by his record of intellectual theft.
Sadly, such theft is more common than one might imagine. A committee appointed by the president of Boston University in the 1980s concluded decisively that Martin Luther King plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation. (However, the university did not posthumously take away his doctorate, something it would have done in any other case.) Intellectual theft is something of an epidemic in the entertainment world. Milton Berle was so notorious for stealing the jokes of other comedians that he made fun of himself during the Dean Martin Roasts in the 1970s. “Could you slow down, please? I can’t keep up with you,” Berle once deadpanned as he feigned copying a young comic’s jokes. Indeed, some of the more prominent comedians actually hire scouts to steal fresh material from young comedians trying to establish themselves. It’s a practice of long standing. (Naturally, almost all of the comedians today are crude, vulgar, and pornographic in their content. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination or wit to mimic their offensive material.) The same is true of magicians. And there are professional spies in the world of computer technology who do their level best to steal programs and operating systems designed by others. Intellectual theft is everywhere — yet another sign of the de-Catholicization of the world.
The Napster controversy, however, has seen a lot of otherwise sensible people crying foul, claiming that they have a “right” to download the material found on the Napster web site. But they do not have any such “right.” No matter how much money a particular performer or record company may have made as a result of a particular piece of music, it is nevertheless a matter of strict justice that each performer or company must receive compensation for the acquisition of that work by a consumer. There is absolutely no getting around it. It is immoral to take something from another without compensation, no matter how much enjoyment it brings the person who is engaging in the theft of another person’s intellectual property.
Unless their just owner voluntarily gives them away, goods and services must be exchanged for something of value, whether that value is in the form of currency or bartered goods or services. One of the many victories wrought by the forces of relativism, though, is the popularization of the belief that a practice cannot be wrong if large numbers of people are engaging in it, especially if people are deriving a great deal of pleasure and convenience from the practice. If Napster is an exception to the Seventh Commandment, where does one draw the line? Can one steal term papers one has not composed and submit them to a professor for evaluation as his own work? Can one rearrange the e-mail of another and then send it out to his own friends, presenting it as his own original creative work and making points he had not thought of himself? Can one bring notes into an examination in order to surreptitiously “review” those notes as he faces questions he is not prepared to answer on his own? (That is the derivation of theft called fraud.) Where is the line to be drawn if there is not one simple standard that is in accord with the Seventh Commandment’s absolute prohibition against all forms of theft?
As alluded to above, some in favor of the Napster service have made the Marxist argument that performers and companies make “too much money,” justifying the theft of services as a matter of personal right. Unfortunately, we live in a world of supply and demand. If there is a demand for a particular product, those who produce the product are going to make more and more money. True, a good many of the “artists” who have become wealthy in today’s world would be in the poorhouse if an authentically Catholic understanding of culture prevailed. There would be no market for their illicit and profane wares, as nobody would want to pollute his ears, which belong to Christ Himself, by listening to their filth. (And the just state would have the right in the natural law to censor those things injurious to the salvation of souls, as Pope Leo XIII noted in his encyclical letter On Human Liberty in 1887.) In today’s market, the purveyors of rot have become very wealthy in the midst of our secularized world. But that is no justification for stealing their “works of art” by downloading them free of charge. If people want rot, they have to pay for it.
Part of the responsibility for producing a culture conducive to the stealing of the intellectual property of others falls on the doorstep of the modern state. As I have noted in many other commentaries in recent years, leftists and collectivists and redistributionists actually believe that there is no right to private property, that our income belongs to society as a whole, and that the government is best able to use our property in order to redistribute it as it sees fit. We are involuntary participants in that redistribution as our private property is confiscated from us by means of taxation, the levels of which are unjust — and the purposes for which are unjust and immoral. Indeed, President Bush boasted in his radio address of March 24 that under his administration the federal budget is actually increasing to the tune of $100 billion. Bush believes that is worthy of a boast! It is actually quite a sad thing, as the so-called conservative participates in the expansion of the size and power of the federal government while giving us a parsimonious reduction in taxes to keep us happy. When the government steals from them all the time, it is little wonder that people believe they have the right to steal from others.
The violations of the Ten Commandments all proceed one from the other. If we make false gods out of the idols of this world, it is easy to profane God’s Holy Name and all sacred things, to profane the Lord’s Day, to dishonor our parents, to kill innocent human beings, to engage in wanton acts in violation of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, to steal the property of others, to bear false witness, and to envy the goods of others. We have the means to obey the Commandments if we cooperate with the graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of our Lord’s Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross, administered to us as they are in the sacraments entrusted to Holy Mother Church. It will not be until people recognize that simple truth that the violations of the Commandments, including the Seventh Commandment, will stop for love of God as befits redeemed creatures who are destined for an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise if they persist until the end in states of sanctifying grace.
Our Lady, Mother of Life, pray for us.
The National Right to Some Life Committee
|April 17, 2001
Myths die hard. They are created by the repetition of lies, and lies repeated over and over again burn into the consciousness of people until they become established as unquestionable truths. That is how the National Right to Life Committee has established itself as the supposed leader of the pro-life movement. Whatever may have been the intent of those who founded it, the committee — having turned into a gigantic money-making machine — considers itself to be the only legitimate player in pro-life circles in Washington. Over the years very few people have been willing to explode the myth that the NRLC has established — namely, its undeserved reputation as a champion of the cause of the sanctity of innocent human life in the womb.
The committee’s undeserved reputation has fooled members of Congress and their staffs. It has fooled countless millions of supporters, including well-intentioned bishops, priests, and members of the Catholic laity. It has fooled the national media into believing that one can call oneself pro-life while supporting the destruction of innocent life in the womb in cases where it is alleged that a mother’s life is at risk. It has fooled pro-life commentators into believing that there is a secular and religiously indifferentist way to oppose the slaughter of the innocent that makes no reference whatsoever to the teaching deposited by the God-Man in His true Church, which He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It is that last lie that has led the lion’s share of those involved in the pro-life movement to take no position on the evil of contraception, the very thing that fostered the mentality resulting in the acceptance of surgical abortion in the 1960s and the 1970s.
Contraception, which denies the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations, is an abject evil in and of itself. It is inexorably linked to abortion, as Pope John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae in 1995. The intrinsic evil of contraception has led to the rise in divorce, the abandonment of children by spouses who have committed adultery with the impunity provided by contraceptive pills and devices, the corruption of the young, the promotion of sodomy, and the proliferation of procured abortion as the “solution” in the event of “unplanned” pregnancies (as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992). Over and above their intrinsic evil, most contraceptives actually kill fertilized human beings. They are abortifacients, especially the so-called morning-after pill, on which the National Right to Life Committee takes no clear position.
The NRLC’s dereliction on the morning-after pill misled many so-called pro-life legislators in Virginia to vote for the legalization of that baby-killing agent in March. Here’s how it works. NRLC’s political action committee “scores” the votes of legislators at the national and state levels on what it considers to be “pro-life” litmus tests. Its determination of what qualifies as a litmus test is crucial. For example, the NRLC does not look at votes cast by U.S. senators to confirm or to reject nominees to serve on the federal judiciary: that paves the way for supposedly pro-life senators (most of whom actually support abortion in some instances) to cast votes in favor of open pro-aborts without being penalized on the NRLC scorecard.
So it was with the legislators in Virginia. “Pro-life” lawmakers felt free to vote in favor of the morning-after pill because they knew the NRLC would not penalize them. The absence of explicit opposition by the National Right to Life Committee on a matter encourages poorly catechized career politicians to take positions that are actually anti-life. What do those poor saps know? They take their lead on such matters from the “leading” pro-life organization. The NRLC’s silence clearly signals them that the issue is not one on which supposedly pro-life legislators risk receiving bad marks on the organization’s scorecard.
Thus, a pill quite plainly designed to kill a living human being is considered to be acceptable in the eyes of career politicians, most of whom have quit thinking for themselves and instead rely on the “expertise” of a secular lobbying organization — one that refuses to take positions consonant with the standards of objective justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate.
Each innocent human life is inviolable from the moment of fertilization to the time of natural death. To assert that there are exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life, as the National Right to Life Committee does as a matter of principle, is to make a mockery of the sanctity of innocent human life. It is to say that a little bit of killing of the innocent in the right kind of circumstances is morally justified, thus making opposition to abortion conditional and relativistic. The irony is inescapable: support for abortion on demand is itself an exercise in relativism and so-called situation ethics, reducing the acceptance of innocent human life to a set of circumstances subject to the relative conditions of those involved in a decision to “terminate a pregnancy.” How can we say that we support abortion in some instances while opposing it in others? The taking of an innocent human life is either always right or always wrong. It cannot be sometimes right and sometimes wrong. That would fly in the face of the principle of non-contradiction (two mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true).
I have documented the way in which the NRLC has sold out the cause of the sanctity of innocent human life in the electoral realm time and time again, certifying as “pro-life” candidates (such as former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio) who actually support the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. It is almost as though the NRLC’s leaders have come to believe that the pro-life cause is a losing one, that opponents of contraception and sex instruction and all exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life are unrealistic extremists who refuse to make the necessary compromises required by prudential judgments in the realm of public policy-making. The NRLC’s betrayals have done terrible violence to the cause of fundamental justice founded in truth and to the political clout of pro-lifers, subordinating the cause of the unborn to the exigencies of career politicians who care only for our votes at election time and do nothing of substance to advance the culture of life once they get elected (if they get elected, that is). And the betrayals have done a great deal to advance the culture of death in our society, to say nothing of altogether removing from the political and public policy radar screens the cause of the restoration of legal protection to all unborn children without any exception whatsoever.
Let me reiterate some things I have been saying for a long time now:
(1) No one who supports a single abortion is pro-life. Such a person is less pro-abortion than others. However, he is not pro-life. The term “pro-life” must be used to refer to those who are unconditionally opposed to the taking of all innocent human life without any exception whatsoever.
(2) No organization that supports the taking of even one innocent human life must be referred to as “pro-life.” “Pro-life” would mean that it was completely and totally dedicated to the vigorous defense of life against all abortions, both surgical and chemical. Instead the organization should be referred to as one that is conditionally and partially in favor of limitations on the right to abortion.
(3) There is no secularist, religiously indifferentist way to oppose contraception and abortion. Truth is not an abstract concept. Truth is a Person. He is Jesus Christ. And He has deposited the totality of His unchanging truths in the magisterium of the Church He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It will not be until we frankly and unapologetically refer to Him and the teaching He gave His Holy Church that we will have any real chance of reversing the culture of death in this country and the world.
Our Lord did not create a powerful lobbying organization to mute His Holy truths. He created His Church to be the instrumentality by which all men everywhere would have access to His saving truths. Indeed, the Apostles left the Upper Room in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday to proclaim the truths of Truth Incarnate without regard for how they would be received by those they were attempting to evangelize. We can do no less. There is only one antidote to the culture of death: the graces won for fallen men by the shedding of the God-Man’s Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and administered to them by Holy Mother Church. Empowered by such graces, we can never fear a loss of respectability in the eyes of anyone. We must be faithful to the Great Commissioning we took to ourselves in Baptism and reaffirmed when we received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
We deceive ourselves and others if we think we can find some substitute for the example of Apostolic zeal given us by the Apostles themselves. Too much ground has been lost and too many innocent lives have been sacrificed on altars of political expediency and human respect for us to continue to refuse to proclaim the truths of the Crucified and Risen Savior as He has revealed them to His true Church.
The National Right to Life Committee not only refuses to proclaim those truths, it steadfastly opposes many of them, believing in its own political cleverness. It is time to recognize that the NRLC is part of the problem we face in this country, not part of the solution.
Flattery Has Gotten the Babies Nowhere
|April 23, 2001
Flattery is a violation of the Eighth Commandment. The flatterer offends against truth by offering excessive — and frequently undeserved — praise to another in the hope that such praise will motivate the recipient to act in a certain way, usually to the flatterer’s benefit. In other words, flattery is a way to distort the truth in order to derive a benefit from doing so. But many instances of flattery are not just distortions but simply outright lies designed to create an impression in the minds of others that is patently untrue.
Many in the pro-life establishment (including the National Right to Life Committee and its various state and local affiliates) have used flattery to stroke the egos and promote the careers of politicians who do not support the absolute inviolability of all innocent human beings from the moment of fertilization through all subsequent stages until natural death without any exceptions whatsoever. Those pols have been garlanded with praise, feted at dinners and banquets as pro-life champions, and given all manner of awards and certificates testifying to their “courageous defense” of life — which usually involves nothing more than their saying that they are pro-life — even though they have made and continue to make exceptions to the inviolability of innocent human life.
The flattery creates veritable Frankenstein’s monsters, as men and women are told over and over again that they are pro-life champions and thus come to believe that any and all positions they take on matters of public policy are correct, no matter how those positions fly in the face of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. At the same time, anyone who dares to point out how the careerists are not pro-life at all is denounced as an extremist and member of some fringe organization. It could not possibly be the case that a committed disciple of the Crucified and Risen Savior, Jesus Christ, had the positive obligation to give voice to the fullness of the truths the God-Man deposited in Holy Mother Church, could it?
Such a Frankenstein’s monster has been created in Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin governor and George W. Bush’s secretary of health and human services. For years the National Right to Life Committee has praised Thompson as a “pro-life” champion. Sure, he makes exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life. However, as I pointed out recently, the NRLC itself supports the slicing and dicing of little babies in instances where it is alleged that a mother’s life is at risk. Thompson’s support for pro-abortion politicians within his own political party has done nothing to diminish his luster as a pro-life champion in the eyes of the NRLC. Nor has his standing as a pro-life champion been diminished by his enthusiasm for embryonic stem-cell research — whether those cells are culled from aborted babies or from embryonic babies conceived in petri dishes for the purpose of killing them for their cells. One wonders whether Thompson’s insistence that the human pesticide, RU-486, is safe for women will be the straw that breaks the back of his undeserved reputation as a pro-life hero. RU-486 — the French abortion pill — is a weapon of murder against unborn children, of course, but medical studies have revealed that it also produces adverse effects on women’s health.
Tommy Thompson is a man who does not know very much about the life issues. He is advised by secular medical experts and scientists who do not view the critical issues of life and death through the prism of the true Faith. Our Lord really did mean it when He said, “You can do nothing without Me.” Nothing means nothing. There is not one aspect of our own individual life or of our social life that is meant to be untouched by the standard of the Holy Cross. All of our decisions are meant to be made in the context of serving the Triune God faithfully through His true Church, something that Thompson, who is a Catholic, obviously considers to be an extremist position taken by religious fanatics desirous of violating the Americanist and Masonic concept of the alleged separation between Church and state. Thompson cannot possibly understand the radicalism to which we as Catholics are called in eschewing human respect and mere naturalism in order to view ourselves and the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith. The Faith is meant to permeate everything — education, government, politics, law, science, medicine. Everything.
Thompson’s insistence that RU-486 is safe for women is akin to President Clinton’s insistence that the numbers of children executed each year by means of partial-birth abortions was in the neighborhood of six hundred to seven hundred. Clinton continued to insist that was the case even after The Record, a secular New Jersey newspaper, revealed that in the mid 1990s a single abortuary in northern New Jersey, in a single year, had slaughtered more than 1,500 children by means of partial-birth abortion. Facts never bothered Bill Clinton. The pesky little things — they must not bother Tommy Thompson, either. Or perhaps he simply lacks the courage to declare bluntly that the abortion pill is inherently unsafe for women and absolutely deadly for innocent children in their mothers’ wombs.
Cheer up. The news gets worse. Thompson doesn’t just ignore right principles and the binding nature of Christ’s unchanging truths as they relate to embryonic stem cell research and RU-486. He ignores the application of those truths to the transplantation of human organs, too. Thompson has said that people should list themselves as organ donors, oblivious to the evidence provided in a number of sources (and most recently summarized by Judie Brown’s American Life League) that medical personnel have admitted carving up living human beings to harvest their body parts before they died naturally. Thompson lives in a world of relativism and utilitarianism. Can anyone show me in what meaningful way he differs from his predecessor, the overtly pro-abortion Donna Shalala? Incidentally, she is also a Catholic.
Pope John Paul II noted a few months ago that human organs can be transplanted morally. However, doctors cannot morally take positive measures to expedite the deaths of those whose body parts have been deemed as possible matches for recipients. The Holy Father warned doctors not to start carving up living human beings who are nearing death in order to save others. However, a world that ignores the Vicar of Christ when he explicates the truths of the Divine Redeemer on contraception and abortion is not going to listen to him on the issue of organ transplants, which is why we should not list ourselves as organ donors. At present there are zero safeguards against the abusive practices associated with organ transplants that the American Life League listed in a news release of April 20. Tell that to Tommy Thompson.
Unfortunately, the “pro-life” Thompson is only one part of a bogus “pro-life” administration. President Bush has retained Title X funding for Planned Parenthood in his proposed 2002 budget, which means that our taxpayer dollars will continue to subsidize the chemical deaths of innocent babies here and abroad by means of contraceptive pills and devices. It still appears as though Bush plans to nominate White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales — who in March 2000 voted to strike down a mere parental-notification bill when serving on the Texas Supreme Court — to fill one of the first vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court. A homosexualist has been hired to recruit civilian employees for the Department of Defense. And on and on and on.
It is time to stop flattering and feting phony pro-life politicians. Men such as Tommy Thompson and George W. Bush are oblivious to their duties before the Triune God to conform civil law to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. How in the world can we expect them to change if we keep lionizing them as pro-life champions? We should be pushing them to embrace the fullness of Christ’s Holy Truths as the basis of both personal sanctity and all social order. We do the babies and the cause of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate no favor by flattering and feting men and women who are ignorant of First Causes and Last Ends. Flattery has gotten the babies nowhere. I say, let there be no more awards for any politician who supports even one abortion as a matter of principle. And no more honors for those in public life who have demonstrated a woeful lack of understanding of the most pressing moral issue of the day.
Once again we come face to face with the reality of a secularized world. Those of us who are baptized into the Mystical Body of Christ have the obligation to Catholicize the world in which we live, planting the seeds in our own era for the rise of a Christrocentric world, just as the Apostles did following the Ascension of our Lord and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them on Pentecost Sunday. The graces available to the Apostles is no less powerful now than it was then. Why are we so unwilling to do the work of the Apostles in proclaiming that there is only one Name by which men by can be saved, Jesus Christ, and only one true Church in which He has deposited His Holy Truths for our sanctification and salvation?
May our Lady, the Seat of Wisdom, pray for us to have the courage to resist flattering the powerful and to insist always that no one who opposes the truths of her Divine Son has anything to offer civil society except chaos and disorder.
A Move with a Hidden Motive?
|April 26, 2001
The Bush administration has taken some long-overdue action to limit the influence of the American Bar Association in the selection of federal judges. Ending a policy that dates back to the confirmation battles in the Nixon administration, the Bush administration has announced that the ABA will no longer receive advance word about the people being considered by the White House and the Justice Department for nomination to the federal judiciary (including the Supreme Court, the District Courts, and the Circuit Courts of Appeal, along with some specialized courts). That is a very good thing, for which the administration deserves a great deal of credit. However, there just might be a hidden motive in this move.
Conservatives have railed long and rightly against the ABA’s leftist and legally positivistic leanings. The leadership of the ABA has been in the vanguard against genuine tort reform in this country, lobbying against legislation at the state and national levels that has sought to place curbs on lawsuits. In addition to a capitalistic, for-profit view of patients and a utilitarian view of human existence that rejects the concept of redemptive suffering, one big reason for the American health-care fiasco is the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed each year.
Surely, some of those lawsuits are justified. A world that does not live in the shadow of the Holy Cross descends into sloth in all fields, including medicine. A surgeon in upstate New York recently operated on the wrong knee of a patient. It was the second time he had made such a major mistake. He did not see that the correct knee had been painted with the word “Yes” in red. That is nothing but sloth, caused by a failure to take seriously one’s work as a means of giving honor and glory to God.
That having been noted, many medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous, driving up the costs of malpractice insurance to the point where some physicians have left their chosen field altogether. Indeed, one of the reasons my father gave up his private veterinary practice in 1972 was that he foresaw the day when even veterinarians would have to purchase malpractice insurance. He had never been sued for malpractice, but he knew the day was coming when lawyers would prod clients to sue vets whenever something went wrong during surgery on an animal. In 1967, one of our own beagles died on my father’s operating table when she developed a breathing problem unrelated to the anesthesia. Today, a customer who owned a dog that died during surgery would be encouraged by attorneys to sue for “pain and suffering” caused by the dog’s death. Complete and utter nonsense.
The American Bar Association has resisted quite mightily all efforts aimed at limiting the many opportunities lawyers have to make money from the tragedies and accidents of life. It has fed the belief that some individual or corporation must be to blame whenever something goes wrong in the course of daily living. It has also been in the vanguard of pushing for a loose-constructionist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, on occasion going so far as to express support for certain decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, including the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. (That support has engendered a good deal of debate within the ABA at some of its annual meetings.)
Although the ABA rated Judge Robert Bork, a former U.S. Solicitor General and Yale Law School professor, “well qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court in 1987, some members of the ABA’s rating panel questioned Bork’s “judicial temperament.” According to a number of commentators who deciphered that, it meant only that Bork had long been on record as believing that the court decided wrongly in Roe v. Wade and that the decision could not be constitutionally justified. In other words, the ABA has had an ideological axe to grind in its reviewing of possible nominees for the federal judiciary. The Bush administration has done the judicial-selection process a service by preventing what is essentially a lobbying organization for the legal status quo from having a say in the nomination of men and women to serve on the federal bench.
But as I have indicated in recent columns, that does not mean that the Bush administration is going to appoint the right sort of people to the federal judiciary. Attorney General John Ashcroft has said that he would not oppose pro-aborts Ronnie White and Roger Gregory if President Bush nominated them to seats on the federal bench. We can expect an assortment of nominees of the kind that we usually get from a Republican administration. Some of the nominees will be quite good; others will be very bad. Which brings us to the matter of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.
Gonzales, not Ashcroft, was the official chosen by the administration to announce its new policy on the ABA. That is very significant. As I have written previously, Al Gonzales is being groomed for one of the next vacancies on the Supreme Court. By having Gonzales take the lead on the ABA announcement, President Bush is attempting to burnish Gonzales’s credentials with conservatives and strict constructionists. They are not supposed to remember (or care) that Gonzales, as a member of the Texas Supreme Court, voted to strike down a mere parental-notification bill that had been passed by the state legislature and signed into law by his own mentor, then-Governor George W. Bush. Bush is being very, very shrewd in giving Gonzales time in the Washington limelight — and shrewd also by including him in some of the weekly White House meetings between Bush staffers and leaders of various conservative organizations.
Preliminary figures from the 2000 Census indicate that Spanish-speaking Americans have now eclipsed blacks as the single largest minority group. Bush, who was popular with the Latino population in Texas, wants to burnish his credentials with Latinos nationally. The best way to do that is to nominate Gonzales to serve on the high court. And the best way to help grease the skids, so to speak, for Gonzales’s confirmation is to have him ingratiate himself with conservative members of Congress and the leaders of various conservative organizations. It will pave the way for the confirmation of a man who has proven that he is not a friend of the innocent unborn. Very, very clever.
Beyond the matter of Gonzales’s possible promotion to the Supreme Court, there is another possible hidden motive in ending the ABA’s involvement in the screening of judicial candidates. The mere fact that a target of conservative ire has been embarrassed so publicly will give the administration cover to nominate almost anyone, including out-and-out pro-aborts: Can’t we just relax now and trust an administration that has kicked dirt in the face of the American Bar Association? No, we cannot, especially when the president himself has said that he has no litmus test for judicial nominees. As he proved when governor of Texas, George W. Bush means exactly what he says. Proof of that is to be found in Al Gonzales and Martha Hill Jamison, whose membership in and active support of Planned Parenthood was no impediment to her being appointed by Bush to a judicial vacancy on a district court in Houston.
As I have noted in my newsletter, Christ or Chaos (and in Chapter Eight of Christ in the Voting Booth), American judicial interpretation lives and dies on the quicksand of the flawed nature of the American founding. A constitution that admits in its own text of no authority higher than itself becomes subject to the vagaries of those who interpret and apply it. Federal judges sometimes make the right decisions. Most often, however, they do not. A system of government that does not accept the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church degenerates into tyranny over the course of time, including the tyranny of the majority in society and the tyranny of those who serve for lifetime appointments as judges. Constitutional interpretation becomes haphazard and inconsistent, with judges making things up as they go along.
The only antidote to the poisons of judicial activism and the legal positivism it engenders is to be found in the right ordering of a society to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as those precepts are taught by the true Church, which is the only divinely-founded body with the authority to teach in the Name of Truth Himself. For while it is nice that the American Bar Association has been stripped of its pre-selection involvement in judicial screening, what we need to pray and work for is the recognition of the primacy of Christ the King and Mary our Queen.
THE COUNTRY IS NOT WITH US by Thomas A. Droleskey May 28, 2001 The decision by Vermont Senator James Jeffords to bolt from the Republican Party has all sent so-called "conservatives" into states of apoplexy. The reflexive apologists of President George W. Bush have really convinced themselves that the fact that their hero is president is a sign that the country accepts his agenda. It does not. Indeed, these apologists have embraced the delusional notion that the 2000 election signaled a return to the "conservatism" of the 1980s, ignoring the inconvenient little fact that the combined popular votes of former Vice President Albert Arnold Gore Jr. and Ralph Nader eclipsed the total won by Bush by more than three million votes, a clear sign that the country has not embraced any retreat from legalized baby-killing and the ever more intrusive growth of the power of the federal government. Secular conservatives are people who are convinced that there is some purely secular and religiously indifferentist way to view the world and resolve various social problems. This belief flies in the face of Catholic social teaching, which instructs us that a society which rejects the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church is bound to descend to the level of abject barbarism, all of which augments the power of state unfettered by any submission whatsoever to the primacy of the Divine positive law and the natural law over us men and our civil societies. Alas, the delusion folks in "conservatom" demonstrate that they are soulmates of the ultimate relativist, Bill Clinton, trying to spin the actual state of the real world to conform to their own delusional notions that everything is going to be fine as long as we exalt the flawed nature of the American founding, avoid any discussion of "divisive" things such as denominational religion, and keep making one compromise after another in order to win the favor of "moderates" and "independents" who want to keep baby- killing legal and who want no end to the entitlements provided them by the government. President George W. Bush himself embraces this very delusional notion. His effusive praise of the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson's Great Society demonstrates that he (or those who write the copy he reads so eagerly and so uncritically) accepts the expansion of the power of the federal government, largely engineered as a result of the various Masonic attacks on the stability of the family, as an unquestioned part of American government. There is no effort on the part of the new president even to make the case against the Great Society on the basis of the clear words of the American Constitution, which do not give the federal government the sort of power it has been exercising since the 1930s and the 1960s, no less an understanding borne of the natural law and of Catholic social teaching which stresses the principle of subsidiarity. No, the addle-brained president mouths slogans to make him appear palatable in our ethos of entitlement. He even goes so far as to praise the likes of Father Theodore Hesburgh, the former president of the University of Notre Dame, for his "contributions" to higher education, ignoring the fact that it was Hesburgh's embrace of government and anti-Catholic foundation grant monies which helped to expedite the de-Catholicization of almost every Catholic university and college in this nation. The delusion state of most conservatives is such that they failed to understand the political dynamics which did indeed exist in the real world following the 2000 election. We were told time and time again by reflexive conservatives that a Bush election would mean the restoration of sanity in the federal judiciary. As I and others pointed out consistently last year, Bush demonstrated as governor of Texas quite a penchant for appointing pro-aborts and pro-sodomites to his state's judiciary. Additionally, though, anyone with a modicum of common sense could have seen that the United States Senate, though nominally in the hands of the Republican Party as a result of its 50-50 split and Vice President Richard N. Cheney's tie-breaking vote, had an effectively 57-43 pro-abortion majority within its midst. That is, there were (until Jeffords's defection) seven Republican senators who supported the destruction of innocent life in the womb as a matter of constitutionally protected rights (in contradistinction to those Republicans who support abortion in some instances while claiming to be "pro-life"). The six who remain the Republican fold are: Maine's Olympia Snow and Susan Collins (who is a Catholic), Rhode Island's Lincoln Chaffee, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, Virginia's John Warner, and Colorado's Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Jeffords's defection to vote organizationally with the Democratic Party only strengthens the hands of the baby-killers in his former party, who will now be emboldened to join ranks with their ideological soulmates in the Democratic Party to oppose any of Bush's judicial nominees who even are suspected of being a threat to Roe v. Wade. That is why I wrote several pieces in the immediate aftermath of the election ("Justice Will Lose No Matter Who Wins," "A Long Four Years Ahead," "Get a Grip on Reality," and "Unprecedented Access") to remind people about the actual reality of the situation we face. How ironic it is that the very people who claim to be pragmatic realists ignore reality to continue to insist that the delusional notion of the pursuit of justice without regard to a frank, confessional reliance on Christ the King and the authority of His true Church is not only possible but desirable. I am not entirely sure that these developments distress President George W. Bush. Oh, I am sure that he is not happy that James Jeffords, a real pro-abort and pro-sodomite, has left the party fold. After all, personal and party loyalty is what matters to the Bushes, not loyalty to the primacy of the Divine positive law and the natural law over us men and our civil society. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush evidently tried to convince Jeffords not to declare himself an independent and to vote organizationally with the Democratic Party. "Moderate" (read: "pro-abort") Republican Senators tried to persuade Jeffords to stay the course as a Republican. However, Jeffords's defection gives Bush the excuse I believe he has been looking for to appoint pro-aborts to the federal bench, such as White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and to push for more and more government involvement in our daily lives, as is being done with his much-touted "education reform' bill -- which paves the way for national testing standards and the permanent involvement of the federal government in a matter that is the sole prerogative of parents. The president will increasingly mimic the failed tactics of his father, who sought endlessly to appease opponents bent on achieving his complete and total political destruction. Efforts will be made to make "moderate" (read: "pro-abort") Republicans feel more "comfortable" in the Grand Old Party. In other words, Bush II is morphing in Bush I, with Tom Daschle doing to Bush the younger what George Mitchell had done to Bush the elder: push the president increasingly to the left while giving him no credit for moving increasingly to left. In actual point of fact, however, President George Walker Bush has been governing with a view to pleasing the pro-abortion wing of his party and the national sentiment in favor of retaining at least some form of legalized baby-killing. This is why the new administration has done nothing to reverse the Food and Drug Administration's licensing of the manufacture of RU-486 and has done nothing to stop the funding of fetal tissue research and experimentation. The new administration continues to fund the chemical abortion of babies internationally by means of so-called family planning programs. And Howard Phillips has conclusively demonstrated the sham that is the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy of denying American taxpayer funds to agencies and programs that either perform or promote abortions. These organizations have more than enough money of their own to continue killing babies, and our taxpayer dollars continue to be used for contraception and sex-instruction. President Bush included funding for Title X programs in his budget, meaning that so-called "family planning" programs are being promoted in this country with our tax dollars. The new administration is proving itself to be exactly what I predicted it would be throughout last year and into this: a careerist effort to maintain itself in power by giving lip service to the life issue on various occasions while continuing to institutionalize the triumph of policies of death in our law and in our culture. The loss of Republican control of the Senate was probably inevitable. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who will turn 99 years of age this coming December, might die before his term expires at the end of next year. South Carolina's governor, a Democrat, would fill Thurmond's seat with a fellow Democrat. Thus, it might have been only a matter of time before the Democrats regained control of the United States Senate. Nevertheless, James Jeffords's defection demonstrates that the delusional hopes of secular conservatives rested not only on a fragile political coalition but upon the false premise that it is possible to pursue the common good without regard to Christ the King and the authority of His true Church, that it is possible for people who are active enemies of the sanctity of life are fit to serve in government without posing a direct threat to the common good conservatives say they want to pursue. An administration which has the likes of Andrew Card, Donald Rumsfeld (who is very homosexual-friendly), Colin Powell, Christine Todd Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Condoleeza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales is flawed of its very nature. It is impossible for pro-aborts, whether they serve in the Executive Branch or in the Congress or in the Judiciary, to promote the common good precisely because they are at war with the primacy of the Divine positive law and the natural law over us men and our civil societies. When are we ever going to learn that secular conservatism is not the answer? When are we ever going to learn that religious indifferentism one of the roots of our problems, not the modus operandi by which we can address difficult issues in a pluralistic nation. When are we going to take seriously the injunction given the Apostles by our Lord before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory to convert the world to the true Faith? When are conservative Catholics going to stop deluding themselves about the state of things and start to recapture the wisdom of Popes Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Pius XI about the necessity of praying and working for the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the Queenship of His Most Blessed Mother? The country is not with us. It will never be with us unless we are united in our efforts to serve Christ the King through His true Church and to plant the seeds for the conversion of this nation to the truth that sovereignty resides not in the people of any nation but in the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man. A FREE COUNTRY? by Thomas A. Droleskey June 7, 2001 We labor under the misapprehension that we live in a free country. We do not. Oh, there is a considerable degree of physical freedom in the United States of America to promote sinful behavior under the cover of law and in every aspect of our popular culture. However, those who dissent from the prevailing cultural and political orthodoxies are not free to express themselves publicly without coming in for a good deal of calumny, as Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn pointed out in his famous June 8, 1978, commencement address at Harvard University. Although formal censorship of politically incorrect thought has not yet reached the stage of the former Soviet Union or even that of Canada (where there are state-sponsored efforts to curb all criticism of abortion and sodomy), fashionable opinions are fastidiously separated from those considered to be reactionary and intolerant. Sadly, this is as true in the Church (where modernists seek to silence all those who dissent from the tenets of the New Age) as it is in society. Even the myths of free speech and the right of freedom of association are becoming more transparent with the passing years. This country is governed essentially by a one-party oligarchy, the Republicrats (as Howard Phillips calls the Republicans and Democrats), whose leaders believe that we exist to enable them to win office so that they can pick our pockets of our private property to resolve our personal problems better than we could if they did not pick our pockets. Naturally, this is designed to create an entire citizenry which is expected to depend upon the beneficence of the State for material prosperity and personal happiness. Citizens are expected to believe that we cannot exist without the established two-party system (wherein the leaders of the two parties disagree only on the degree to which statist, collectivist, redistributionist, relativist programs will control our personal and social lives). Indeed, citizens are expected to believe that minor parties are a threat to the benefits provided us by the myth of the two-party system, and must therefore be done away with in order to prevent nuisance candidates from clogging the machinery of government. Although I am critic of the Founding of this nation in that the Founders were products of the Renaissance, Protestant Revolt, the so-called Age of Reason and the subsequent rise of Freemasonry, some of the Founders did recognize the dangers that would be posed to the nation if established political parties formed and a class of professional politicians were to arise. George Washington, for example, knew that established political parties and professional politicians would result in the crushing of that legitimate dissent from anything that posed a threat to the power of those entrenched in government positions. Indeed, the two established political parties are so entrenched at the state and local levels that it is their hacks who control the election laws which make it so very difficult for minor political parties to form and to compete against them. Can't have any competition to the two-party system, right? After all, this is American, right? Even one who does not understand the flawed nature of the American Founding, however, has to admit that there is not one blessed word about political parties in the United States Constitution. The two-party system is not only not received from the hand of God, it is not received from the synthetic document which created the national government of the United States of America which went into effect on March 4, 1789. True, many of the leading lights of the Founding were involved in the organization of the first political parties in the 1790s and merrily participated in them. However, there is nothing in the context of the Founding of this nation which asserts that citizens must be restricted to choosing between the candidates of only two political parties, as though a political party is a true secular church outside of which there is no secular salvation. Alas, it is the flawed nature of the Founding which gave rise to established political parties and to their entrenchment in power. That is, if people do not recognize the primacy of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ or the authority of His true Church as the ultimate governor on matters of fundamental justice, then individuals must invent their own means to solve social problems, believing in a very Pelagian manner that it is possible for human beings to solve social problems without a belief in or cooperation with sanctifying grace. We can resolve the problems of the world on our own by the use of reason alone, unaided by the light of Divine Revelation or the supernatural helps given us in the sacraments. And as the Protestantism of its nature asserts that believers are saved once they make a profession of faith (or that, in the Calvinist strain, they are predestined for Heaven, which is demonstrated tangibly on earth by the degree of material prosperity they have achieved), there is no need for government to be concerned about the fostering of those conditions conducive to the salvation of souls, No, government and politics can be reduced to the pursuit of commercial and economic goals, with political parties becoming the principal means by which the spoils of a nation may be divided. The established political parties, therefore, have a vested interest in the maintenance of the status quo. Their capture of the levers of power at the state and local levels has given them the ability to limit the ballot access of all potential competitors. Laws have been passed by one state legislature after another to limit ballot access by placing all manner of unreasonable burdens on those who desire to provide voters with alternatives to our class of permanent rulers. Oh, various rationales are given by the permanent rulers to justify those laws (costs too much money to print long ballots, gets too cumbersome to count votes, unnecessary time and money are spent supervising the primaries held by "frivolous" parties). However, the plain fact of the matter is quite simple: the limitation of ballot access in most of the states of the United States of America is an effort on the part of the two organized crime families who rule us (the Democrats and the Republicans) to keep their monopoly on power. As I noted in a column just about two years ago in CHRIST OR CHAOS, the best way to limit the power of professional politicians is to eliminate all campaign contribution and spending limits (which are violations of legitimate free speech) and to eliminate all barriers to the participation of minor parties in the electoral process. Although there is no salvation whatsoever in electoral politics, it does provide us with a forum in which to articulate the primacy of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law over us men and our civil societies. Indeed, more good can be accomplished by a failed candidate running for office who articulates our Lord's received teaching as it relates to the realm of genuine social justice than by a successful candidate who trims his sails in order to win a particular election -- and who therefore governs cautiously so as not to jeopardize his re-election two or four or six years hence. One of the reasons we are stuck with candidates committed to abject evil or those who are concerned only about their own electoral success is that voters are not provided with alternatives who could challenge their uncritical acceptance of the prevailing political and cultural orthodoxy. Ironically, the State of New York has been one of the few states with a fairly generous ballot access provision for minor parties. It has been the case for many years now that a political party needs to receive at least 50,000 votes for its gubernatorial candidate in a gubernatorial election year to secure a permanent place on the ballot for statewide and countywide elections. The Liberal Party of the State of New York formed in the 1940s so as to try to move the Democratic Party to the left. It has maintained ballot access ever since. The Conservative Party of the State of New York formed to move the Thomas Dewey-Nelson Rockefeller Republican Party to the right. The New York State Right to Life Party formed in 1978 when it was evident that both of the major party candidates for governor that year (incumbent Governor Hugh Carey and his challenger, former Speaker of the New York State Assembly Perry Duryea). Its first candidate for governor, Mary Jane Tobin, received well over 100,000 votes, placing the Right to Life Party on the ballot, where it has been for the past twenty-three years. Other minor parties have come and gone. One of the newer parties is the Green Party, which secured its ballot access in 1998 when its gubernatorial candidate, the scatological Al Lewis (who played Officer Leo Schnauzer on CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? and Grandpa on THE MUNSTERS), received enough votes to place the party on the line through the 2002 gubernatorial elections. The Liberal Party has had a degree of success over the years, although it has really wanted in influence in the last twenty years or so. Incumbent New York City Mayor John Vliet Lindsay, who died just a few months ago, won re-election to a second term in 1969 on the Liberal Party line, having lost a Republican primary to Staten Island State Senator John Marchi. The Conservative Party achieved a few successes over the years, the most significant of which was the election of James Buckley to the United States Senate in a three- way race. Indeed, Buckley's victory convinced Rockefeller, who won his fourth term as New York governor in 1970, to forge an alliance with the Conservative Party, alluring its leaders with patronage positions so as to coopt it from being a real threat to the Republican Party. The strategy worked, which is one of the reasons the Right to Life Party was formed. The Conservative Party signed on to pro-abortion Perry Duryea's candidacy in 1978. And though the party ran New York University professor Herbert London against Mario Cuomo and the Republican's hapless Pierre Rinfret in 1990, it merrily backed the thoroughly pro-abortion governor/lieutenant governor ticket of then State Senator George Pataki and Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey in 1994. The Conservative Party also backed the pro-abortion Rick Lazio in 2000. One of its most colorful moments occurred in 1965 when one of its founders, William F. Buckley, Jr., was its candidate for Mayor of the City of New York, running against Democratic Abraham D. Beame and the aforementioned John V. Lindsay, then a member of the United States House of Representatives. The New York State Right to Life Party has been a thorn in the side of the major parties for a long time. It was the votes received on the Right to Life Party line that gave then Town of Hempstead, New York, Presiding Supervisor Alphonse M. D'Amato his razor thin margin of victory in 1980 over then Representative Elizabeth Holtzman and incumbent Senator Jacob K. Javits (who ran on the Liberal Party line after losing to D'Amato unexpectedly in a Republican Primary) for a seat in the United States Senate. The party also gave D'Amato his margin of victory in 1992 when he was challenged by New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams, which is why he wanted to receive the party's nomination in 1998, believing that he could grab the nomination once more without being challenged on how he had worked against life in the Senate and had helped to create and to promote the career of pro-abortion politicians in the Republican Party. More than that, however, the Right to Life Party has been an instrument in keeping the life issue alive during the course of elections. Nassau County District Attorney Denis E. Dillon, then a Democrat, got a lot of attention for the life issue in 1986 when he challenged his fellow Democrat, Mario Cuomo, in the general election that year on the Right to Life Line. (What was the name of his running-mate? Just can't recall right now.) Henry Hewes ran a very credible campaign for Mayor of the City of New York in 1980 against pro-aborts Rudolph W. Giuliani and David N. Dinkins. George Marlin ran against Giuliani and Dinkins in 1993 before he succumbed to the allure of political expediency by joining the camp of George Pataki in 1994. And Bob Walsh, the party's gubernatorial nominee in 1994, helped to defeat the Republican pro-abortion candidate chosen by Suffolk County, New York, machine politicians to replace the pro-abortion Rick Lazio in the United States House of Representatives. Finally, a certain chap helped to keep the focus on the life issue in 1998 when he challenged D'Amato unsuccessfully in the first-ever statewide Right to Life Party primary. Minor party candidates in New York have participated in debates with the major party candidates. Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed debating then United States Representative Stan Lundine and Ulster County, New York, District Attorney Michael Cavanaugh in a lieutenant governor candidates' forum held at THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 14, 1986. And many people I know have run for office locally on the Right to Life Party, doing exceedingly well in televised debates. There is no telling how many souls have been influenced by stands taken by those who do not accept the premise that even one innocent human life is negotiable. Former New York City Mayor Edward Irving Koch, a thorough-going pro- abort, told a caller to his WABC Radio program in August of 1998 that he had nothing but admiration for the man who was challenging D'Amato in the Right to Life Party primary that year, stating that the man had the right to stand up for what he believed in no matter the unlikelihood of winning the primary. If nothing else, candidates who have run on the Right to Life Party line have kept the most pressing moral issue of the day alive at a time when the major parties want it dead and buried forever. Well, using all of the specious arguments listed before, a move has begun in Albany County, New York, to "pressure" (as if any pressure is needed) the state legislature to raise the number of votes required for a party to stay on the ballot for a period of four years from 50,000 votes to 100,000 votes. The Right to Life Party has reached that plateau in 1978, 1986, and 1990. It got just over 50,000 votes in 1982, and slightly more than that in 1994 and 1998. The professional politicians want to get rid of the life issue once and for allñand if that means doing away with other parties to provide them the cover for doing so, all well and good. As I have written endlessly in CHRIST OR CHAOS over the last five years, the only language that career politicians understand is votes. How ironic it is that the pragmatic, expedient-based leadership of both major political parties in the State of New York is composed of Catholics. Indeed, there have been successive elections in the State of New York in which totally pro-abortion Catholics have been the gubernatorial nominees of both major political parties (Cuomo versus Pataki in 1994; Pataki versus New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone in 1998). This is the future of *national* politics, ladies and gentlemen, which is why I have spent so much time detailing this matter. The defenseless unborn need a voice in the forum provided us by electoral politics. And they are not going to have a voice in electoral politics in this nation if the Right to Life Party goes under. Sure, it is possible for the Right to Life Party to meet the 100,000 vote barrier in next year's gubernatorial election. However, it is going to take a lot of good Catholics to make a break from thinking that a pro-abortion Republican is less dangerous than a pro- abortion Democrat. It is going to take a lot of good Catholics to understand that the New York State Right to Life *Committee,* which supports abortion in alleged threats to the life of a mother (as does the National Right to Life Committee) would have found some way to have endorsed Hillary Clinton if she had been a Republican. It is going to take a lot of good Catholics to understand that we must love the good more than we fear the evil. For the more and more we enable the so- called lesser of two evils, the higher and higher the dosage of the so-called "lesser" evil becomes over time. Mind you, I do not believe that there is a secular, religiously indifferentist way to end baby-killing, which has its roots in all of the many factors I outlined in summary form in "From Luther to Clinton to Gore" in the late-December/mid-January issue of CHRIST OR CHAOS. We must work to plant the seeds for the establishment of the recognition of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and of the authority of His true Church as the ultimate arbiter on matters of fundamental justice. To that cause I have dedicated my life and my career, marginalizing myself very much in the process. So be it. I did not invent the papal encyclical letters on the state, which merely summarized Catholic teaching on the right ordering of the civil order to the reality of the Kingship of Christ and the authority of His true Church. However, it is important to plant the seeds to remind Catholics of these truths, no matter the lack of initial fruit or tangible success. Nevertheless, a political party dedicated to the restoration of legal protection for all innocent human life without any exception whatsoever serves a vital purpose in helping to remind voters that there are people who have not surrendered to the prevailing cultural orthodoxy. The very simple symbol chosen by the New York State Right to Life Party, an unborn child in the womb, conveys a great deal to voters when they cast their votes. Thus, regardless of the efforts underway in the State of New York to raise the number of votes required for a political party to stay on the ballots, pro-life voters across the nation must understand that the time to stand up and make the break from professional, careerist politicians has long since passed. As I demonstrate in "No Rational Basis," we are not getting anything but symbolism from President George W. Bush. And we are getting outright opposition from his political allies in the State of New York. May our Lady, the Mirror of Justice and the Seat of Wisdom, pray for us so that we can understand the necessity of giving voice to the voiceless unborn, whose little lives were sanctified when Life Himself sanctified her virginal and immaculate womb. PAID PIPERS by Thomas A. Droleskey A recent issue of CHRIST OR CHAOS examined Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Cardinal Mahony's cozy relationship with archdiocesan donors who had also contributed hefty sums of money to support the pro- abortion Democratic Party. Cardinal Mahony even went so far as to write a letter to then-President Bill Clinton in support of a pardon of a convicted drug dealer whose father was a major contributor to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Democratic Party. Cardinal Mahony later said he was deceived by those who had importuned him. However, he had indicated his readiness to do the bidding of those who believe it is perfectly appropriate to support the candidacies of those who promote the mystical destruction of our Lord in the person of unborn children. A man who has bestowed papal honors on two purveyors of indecency and immorality in our culture, Rupert Murdoch and Roy Disney (both of whom are Masons), demonstrated his utter lack of regard for how stained the money he has accepted from wealthy contributors is stained by the blood of the innocent. Well, an article uncovered by Linda Muller, who runs the website for Patrick J. Buchanan, reveals that blood money flows freely into the coffers of supposedly pro- life politicians in "conservative" Orange County, California. Written in 1998 by R. Scott Moxley of the ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY, the article documented how the notorious baby-killer, Edward Allred, a self-professed "conservative, Reaganite Republican," had donated $436.050 to various "pro-life" politicians. Allred has made a fortune killing babies. He owns ranches and quarter-horse racetracks. (One of the latter in New Mexico also features a gambling casino.) He starts killing babies early in the morning and does not finish dismembering them until around midnight. Reporter Moxley quoted Allred, who cooperated with the article, as saying that part of the reason for his commitment to the practice of abortion was his belief that he was helping to ameliorate social problems caused by urban poverty and illegal immigration. Indeed, Allred is a latter-day embodiment of the ethos of Margaret Sanger, who believed in contraception and "family planning" as ways to engineer "undersirables" (blacks, the deformed, the retarded) out of our midst. He is unabashed in his support of what he does. Allred has supported the careers of U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, California State Senators John Lewis and Ross Johnson, and California Assemblymen Curt Pringle (who ran unsuccessfully in 1998 for California State Treasurer) and Scott Baugh. He also support then-State Treasurer Matt Fong, who lost his Senate bid to pro-abortion Barbara Boxer (whose daughter is married to Hugh Rodham, Hillary's little brother) after he switched his position from "pro-life" to "pro- choice." As I note all of the time, no one who supports a single exception to the sanctity of innocent human life is pro-life and should not be referred to as being pro- life. A person who makes even one exception to the sanctity and inviolability of innocent human life is less pro-abortion than others but he is not pro-life. That being noted (again and again and again), it is interesting to wonder whether Allred's largesse to Fong, for example, caused him to changed his position from his qualified, conditional opposition to some abortions to his embrace of abortion as a matter of a woman's "choice." Allred knows his marks very well. He told reporter Moxley of the ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY back in 1998 that "abortion was settled a long time ago." He knows that establishment politicians who give lip service to being "pro-life" are not going to threaten Roe v. Wade and the many policies passed by Congress to support both chemical and surgical abortions. He is perfectly content to fund people who mouth a few platitudes now and then about how "terrible" abortion is but whose first priority is economic prosperity, something he holds very near and dear to the heart which so coldly beats while he stops the beating of the hearts of the innocent in their mothers' wombs. Allred knows that careerist politicians care only about being elected as an end in and of itself. They are willing to take money from almost any source in order to advance their careers. Clever, astute man. It would take a careful examination of the records of the Federal Election Commission (as well as the various boards of elections and state election commissions) to determine how many more Edward Allreds there are in the country. How many other baby-killers contribute to supposedly "pro-life" politicians as a means of curbing whatever tendencies they might have to advance the cause of objective justice founded in truth is an open question. It is certainly the case that many leading politicians who are conditionally opposed to some abortions accept hard money from donors who are corporate executives whose companies helped to fund Planned Parenthood and related organizations. This helps to explain why candidates deemed to be "pro-life" vote to fund Title X funding of domestic "family planning" organizations while still being labeled "pro-life" by the very misnamed National Right to Life Committee (as I pointed out in a recent issue of CHRIST OR CHAOS). Apart from the fact that the events which have been unfolding since the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt have led to a matter-of-fact acceptance of the secularist and religiously indifferentist ethos which defines our social life, part of the explanation for the reticence of "pro- life" politicians to advance the cause of the restoration of innocent human life rests with the simple reality that they are paid pipers who sing for their dinner, that is, for the money which will enable them to continue on the public dole (all the while receiving awards and honors for their "commitment" to the pro-life cause). "Conservatives" rightly denounced then-President Bill Clinton for the way in which he sold himself to the highest bidder in his desperate, despicable efforts to raise campaign cash in 1995 and 1996. Money was taken from donors who served as funnels for the Red Chinese government, Russian arms merchants, convicted drug dealers, and other nefarious figures. Clinton's mendacity had a direct impact on the policies his administration adopted with respect to Red China. And there was the appearance of a great deal of impropriety in the rash of pardons for the Rich and the famous who received a Christmas present on January 20, 2001, from the outgoing president. Why, then, are "conservatives" so slow to denounce the contributions of baby-killers? It's really very simple: getting elected as an end in and of itself is more important than refusing the money of those who destroy the innocent unborn methodically and in cold blood with black hearts. A feeler was made to me by a supporter of my 1998 New York State Right to Life primary effort against then- Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato who had contacts with the campaign of then-U.S. Representative Charles Schumer. The fellow told me that Schumer's financial backers had let him know that they could send a significant amount of money my way. Obviously, it was in Schumer's interest to have D'Amato lose the Right to Life Party line, which had provided him with his margin of victory in 1980 and 1992. However, I was running not to cause trouble for Al D'Amato nor to help elect the fully pro-abortion Charles Schumer. I waged my primary effort because I was fully pro-life and D'Amato, who supported the confirmation of the pro-aborts Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer ‹ and who supported Title X funding with pride and with enthusiasm ‹ was not. If there is going to be a political party which stands for no exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life, then it has to have candidates who are completely pro-life. As it turned out, D'Amato lost to Schumer even though he defeated me and retained the Right to Life Party line precisely because he tried to portray himself as a man who understood the "pro-choice" position, a man who boasted of his support for exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life in the womb. However, I was not about to accept any blood money from Charles Schumer. I told the fellow who approached me with this proposition in June of 1998, "That's the Devil's money. I want nothing to do with it." The point of my campaign was not to defeat Al D'Amato at all costs. It was to keep the life issue visible in the election and to have a forum in the general election wherein some voters interested in paying attention to the campaign would have heard an articulate and rational defense of the primacy of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law over us men and our civil societies rather than what D'Amato gave them (sloughing off the life issue as a matter of opinion, a la George W. Bush and Bob Dole). Better to lose an election than lose your soul. The paid pipers in Congress and our state legislatures certainly sing the tunes of those who pay them. We have to understand that we must only sing the tune of the One who paid for our salvation by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. Indeed, this month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. As long as we remind ourselves of the fact that our ransom from the power of sin and eternal death has been purchased by the Blood of the Divine Redeemer (which splattered all over His Immaculate Mother), we will be able to resist being bought and paid for by the merchants who spill innocent blood so readily in this culture of death. Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! GOD REMAINS A MAJORITY OF ONE by Thomas A. Droleskey July 9, 2001 When Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed solemnly the doctrine of our Lady's Immaculate Conception, he was doing much more than ratifying that which had always been taught and believed. The Triune God knew from all eternity that the solemn proclamation of this doctrine would be needed at the beginning of the Third Millennium more than it was needed at the end of the Second Millennium. He knew that the proclamation of our Lady's sinlessness from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne, was meant to remind us in our own culture of death that a human being is a person from the first moment of fertilization. A person, moreover, made in the image and likeness of the Triune God Himself in that each human being has a rational and immortal soul from the very beginning of his existence as a helpless embryo. No amount of sophistry and no rationalistic exercises in political expediency can ever deny the distinct, unrepeatable personhood of a fertilized embryo, whether that fertilization takes place in a mother's womb (as it should) or whether it takes place in a Petrie dish in our brave new world of the artificial conception of children (whether as a means of undoing the sterilizing effects of contraception and abortion or as a means of creating human cells to be harvested for immoral experimentation and/or for use in the bodies of other persons). Our Lord's Incarnation in His Blessed Mother's virginal and immaculate womb is yet another testimony to the distinctive personhood of all children from the first moment of their fertilization. Our Lord deigned to be conceived as a helpless embryo in His Blessed Mother's virginal and immaculate womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. It was His Holy Will that He be united to the entirety of the human experience, save for sin. Thus, He is in solidarity with every child at the first moment of his fertilization. Our Lord really meant it when He said, "Whatsoever you do to the least of My brethren, that you do unto Me." To do anything to a human person is to attack the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man, Jesus Christ, mystically. No, our Lord cannot suffer again. He suffered once during His Passion and Death. However, He *does* suffer mystically in the persons of the members of His Mystical Body. He is absolutely united with every human being from the first moment of fertilization. This is a truth which is beyond question. And truth of its nature is not subject to the vagaries of public opinion and the exigencies of electoral politics and public policy decision-making. Catholics have been baptized to bear a visible, tangible witness to the totality of our Lord's holy truths, no matter what it might cost them in the midst of this passing world. Sadly, many who call themselves pro- life Catholics are permitting themselves to be led by the political dictates of phony pro-life politicians, almost all of whom support the slicing and dicing of little babies in some cases (and are thus simply less pro- abortion than other politicians, not unconditionally, unqualifiedly pro-life). These well-intentioned but badly misled people believe that it is not politic to use such stark language as personhood to refer to a newly fertilized embryo. Thus, the needless debate about the licitness of the federal government's funding of experimentation on and transplantation of the cells of living human beings, each of whom has a unique personality as a result of his having a rational, immortal soul, centers around assisting a president who believes that abortion is a "matter of opinion" and his political appointees find some kind of "compromise" which would satisfy establishment pro-life leaders and draconian scientists and medical researchers intent on playing God. We have forgotten that God is a majority of one, that we can never compromise the sanctity and inviolability of even one innocent human life. The fact that the funding of stem-cell research is even open to debate is a very telling commentary on the state of things within "conservative pro-life" circles. *Candidate* George W. Bush said last year that he was opposed to such funding. However, *President-elect* George W. Bush appointed a man who supported such funding quite enthusiastically, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, to be secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. President George W. Bush is soliciting advice from individuals as to what to do, backing off from his stand of last year, trying to find some ground for compromise. Bush is being aided in this process by "pro-life" senators such as Utah's Orrin Hatch. If you will recall, Hatch was the author of a proposed constitutional amendment which would have given state legislatures the right to prohibit, restrict or permit abortion as they see fit, something beyond the authority of any human institution; human institutions only have the authority to determine what penalties will be imposed upon those who do those things which are in contravention of the binding, immutable precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. Human institutions do not have the authority to make exceptions to those binding, immutable precepts. Hatch, however, does not realize that, believing, as most careerist politicians do, that there has to be some "reasonable" way to satisfy all sides. Worse than the "compromise" offered by the Mormon Orrin G. Hatch is that which has been "hatched," pun intended, by Catholic conservatives, intent on aiding their political savior, George W. Bush, navigate the needlessly choppy waters of the funding of stem-cell research. Three such conservatives -- Deal Hudson, Father Michael Sirico, Robert George -- have said that they are open to a plan that would allow the government to fund certain medical experiments that use stem cells from human embryos. A printed report, which ran in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES on Sunday, July 8, 2001, indicated that Princeton University professor Robert George has said that the proposed compromise "might be regarded as acceptable and consistent with church teachings if it ensures that the government never pays for the destruction of another embryo." CRISIS editor Deal Hudson said that he was "open to" the compromise, stating that it would be "a victory for those who want to use embryonic stem cells" and "for the pro-life side, because it ensures, for the time being, that there is no more government support for the destruction of embryos for their stem cells." All of this is total sophistry. Note first of all that each of the "Catholic" experts refers to fertilized human beings in the impersonal mode as embryos, not human beings (most of whom have been conceived artificially in "fertility clinics" for artificial implantation in mothers' wombs). Note second of all that each of these alleged "experts" fails entirely to assert the simple truth that no one has any authority to violate the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. Thus, the issue before us should not be the issue of federal funding for the extraction of stem cells from human beings. No, the issue before us should be the absolute prohibition of all in vitro fertilization and the absolute prohibition of the destruction of fertilized human beings effected by means of the extraction of their stem cells. Period. This is not a "difficult" issue whatsoever. This issue is as clear as abortion and euthanasia. The destruction of living human beings for the extraction of their stem cells is the exact same thing as abortion and euthanasia: it is the killing of innocent human life. Alas, George, Sirico, and Hudson are using almost the exact same sort of sophistry in this matter as was used by Geraldine Ferraro when she ran for vice president of the United States with former Vice President Walter Mondale in 1984. Ferraro said at the time that there was a "range of opinion within the Church about abortion," making it appear as though a person's rejection of received teaching constitutes a legitimate position which must be placed on a plane of equality with what God Himself has revealed through His true Church. Well, Robert George was quoted in THE LOST ANGELES TIMES as saying, "Then they [the Bush administration] could say there's a range of opinion and that this issue is not like abortion or euthanasia." This is an abject lie, a totally pathetic attempt to indemnify a man, Bush, who believes that abortion is simply a matter of "opinion" about which people of "good will" may disagree quite legitimately. Isn't this the American way, after all? Isn't everything a matter of opinion? Isn't everything open to consensus and compromise and common ground? Father Sirico and Robert George and Deal Hudson are making the same tragic mistake as was made by many Catholics, including some bishops and priests, in the 20th century. As it was the Democratic Party which became the means of political socialization for Catholics in the 19th century, the lion's share of Catholics became slavishly attached to the Democratic Party, viewing it as the true secular church, the means of secular salvation. It mattered little, then, in the 20th century when Catholics did the bidding of the anti-Catholic Woodrow Wilson (who supported the Masonic revolutionaries in Mexico, going so far as to state that the slaughter of Catholics in Mexico might produce the promotion of the same "sort of liberal ideas" which flowed from the bloodletting in the French Revolution) and Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal policies were a direct violation of the natural law principle of subsidiarity, defended so ably by Pope Pius XI in QUADREGESIMO ANNO in 1931. The bishops of this country actually silenced Father Charles Coughlin when the Detroit-based priest used his radio program to criticize Roosevelt's policies. And, of course, we have the recent history of inaction against pro-abortion Catholic Democrats. Indeed, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin devised his "consistent ethic of life" in 1983 as a means of providing cover for pro- abortion Catholic Democrats in the 1984 elections. Even though it was wrong of them to support abortion, Bernardin argued, abortion was but one issue in a continuum of the seamless garment. A person who supported "justice" for the poor should not be dismissed out of hand just because he takes a mistaken "view" on abortion. Well, this is exactly what some conservative Catholic leaders are doing now. They have presented Bush as a friend of life, which he is not. They shilled for him during the election when he fudged on RU-486 and repeatedly termed abortion a "matter of opinion." They overlooked Bush's embrace for the slaughter of the unborn in cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother. They ignored Bush's record of appointing pro-aborts to the Texas State Supreme Court when he was governor of Texas. They ignore the fact that the federal government is supporting directly chemical abortions by its funding of so-called "family planning programs" both here and abroad. They have said not a word as pro-aborts (Colin Powell, Andrew Card, Christine Todd Whitman, Mary Matalin, Alberto Gonzales) have been given prominent positions in the new administration. No, these conservative Catholic leaders must enable *their* secular hero much in the same manner as James Cardinal Gibbons, the longtime Archbishop of Baltimore, did with Woodrow Wilson and as a veritable army of bishops did with Franklin Roosevelt. This is a cynical effort. Even the American bishops, not exactly noted for consistency on the life issue, have thus far held the line against the destruction of fertilized human beings by the extraction of their stem cells. Well, God is not satisfied when His truths, which are the only foundation for personal sanctity and hence all social order, are compromised. Baptized Catholics have an obligation to defend Christ's Holy Truths without any compromise whatsoever. However, a country which accepts uncritically the ethos of majoritarianism believes that everything is negotiable, including the words we use to describe the distinctive personhood which every person has from the first moment of his fertilization. The consequences are fatal for a society when Catholics alleged to be orthodox start doing intellectual gymnastics to subordinate the unchanging truths of our Lord and Savior to the exigencies of a civil leader. This leads to one of two things happening: (1) the wrong decision being made; or (2) the right decision being made for the wrong reasons. Let me explain. Although it appears as though some sort of illicit compromise is in the works, presidential counselor Karl Rove evidently has advised President Bush to ban the use of federal funds for the experimentation and the transplantation of the cells of living human persons. He is doing so, however, for fear that a compromise of any sort will anger President Bush's conservative, pro-life base, not because such experimentation and transplantation is evil, yes, evil, of its very nature. As a political strategist, Rove is advising the president on the basis of the exigencies of raw electoral politics just as much as those who want Bush to compromise on the issue (Hatch, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Arizona Senator John McCain) believe there is some electoral advantaged to be gained by reaching some sort of accommodation. How sad it is, therefore, that the president "has to hear from us" in order for him to make the right decision. A president who knew the nature of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate does not have to be lobbied on issues of life death. Our problem, you see, is that the president is not a man of the mind. He is a creature of the majoritarian society from whence he sprang, a world in which those who lobby the hardest get what they want. And this, naturally, is one of the flaws of a world which has overthrown the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it is exercised through His true Church. Secularism winds up trumping Catholicism, especially among pro-life Catholics, who place their trust in bogus secular saviors rather than in the ability of our Lord's grace to effect the conversion of souls over the course of time. We should be resolved, therefore, to speak in plain, unmistakable terms about the life issues. We should refer to the issue being debated at present as nothing other than this: a decision to fund the willful, planned execution of human persons under cover of law. Words count. Words matter. Abortion is the killing of innocent human life. It is the destruction of Jesus Christ mystically in the person of unborn children. The extraction of embryonic stem-cells from living human persons is no less a destruction of Jesus Christ mystically. And it will not be until we start thinking and speaking in such direct terms that we have a chance of making a true inroad in this culture of death. For it will not be until we recognize that God is a majority of One -- and that He has discharged His Mind in Holy Mother Church -- that we will have a chance to call abject evils by their proper names. Our Lady, Mother of Life, pray for us. May God have mercy on us all for failing to work for the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the Queenship of His Most Blessed Mother. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Addendum, 7/23/01 Although Father Sirico, Robert George and Deal Hudson have issued a joint statement to indicate that they were misquoted in Sunday's edition of The Los Angeles Times, the reporter who wrote the story stands by his story and the quotes contained therein. This is what happens when people attempt to do the bidding of professional politicians rather than simply state the fullness of the splendor of Truth Incarnate without regard to any other consideration than absolutely fidelity to Christ the King and Mary our Queen through Holy Mother Church. You cannot fight secularism with secularism. You can only fight the multifacted evils of secularism with Catholicism. We must always keep in mind the words of Pope Leo XIII, contained in Immortale Dei in 1885. These words remind us of what happens to a society not founded on right principles: To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from the business of life, from the power of making laws, from the training of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known about the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the sole guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they not be carried out in action. We need to work for the establishment of the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Queen as the only antidote to the poisons coarsing through the veins of our society and our world. REPOSTEROUS by Thomas A. Droleskey August 12, 2001 Shortly after the Lambeth Committee of the Anglican Church in 1931 endorsed the use of the condom for married couples facing "extraordinary circumstances," the WASHINGTON POST editorialized that the "suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be limited is preposterous." To suggest, as President George W. Bush did in an embarrassing address to the nation on August 9, 2001, that federal funding of research on stem cells derived from living human persons who were killed specifically to harvest such cells would be "limited" to existing "stem cell lines" is just as preposterous. A man who believes that innocent human beings, whose lives are always sacrosanct from direct attack, can be sliced and diced in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to a mother's life can obviously convince himself that research on stem cells derived from human beings conceived illicitly outside of a mother's womb will be limited and carefully monitored. George W. Bush is wrong about exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life. He is wrong about funding research on stem- cell "lines" derived from living human beings who were killed so that those lines could be created and multiplied. And he is wrong in believing that he has not opened the door, as the National Organization for Women's Patricia Ireland noted very accurately, to total funding for all stem-cell research at some later point, including those stem cells derived from human beings created specifically for the purpose of providing a source of stem cells. There was nothing for President Bush to agonize about as he reached this decision. The answer was a simple "no." Period. Once again, however, we see the tragic consequences of the de-Catholicization of the world. George W. Bush was told point blank by the Vicar of Christ, Pope John Paul II, that embryonic stem-cell research was immoral. All Bush could say after he met with the Pope on July 23, 2001, was that he had to find a way to "balance" respect for human life with the promise of medical science. There was nothing for Bush to balance. Indeed, this whole controversy is the direct result of the rejection of the teaching authority of the Church on matters of faith and morals, as well as on matters of fundamental justice. For it is the rejection of the Deposit of Faith our Lord entrusted to Holy Mother Church that gave rise to the ethos of secularism and religious indifferentism, which became the breeding grounds for secularism and relativism and positivism. A world steeped in all manner of secular political ideologies comes not only to reject the Deposit of Faith but to make war against all that is contained therein, especially as it relates to matters of the sanctity of marital relations and the stability of the family. Contraception gave rise to abortion. Contraception also gave rise to the mentality which resulted in artificial conception. If a child's conception can be prevented as suits "partners," then it stands to reason that a child can be conceived "on demand" by using the latest technology science has to offer. The Church has condemned artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization on a number of occasions as offenses to the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations. Yet it is the very rejection of the Church's affirmation of what is contained in the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law which leads people, including George W. Bush, into thinking that artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are morally licit to help couples deal with the problem of childlessness, ignoring the simple little truth that no one is entitled to a child. Children are gifts from God to be accepted according to His plan for a particular couple. If a married couple cannot have a child on their own, they can adopt -- or they can use their time to be of greater service to the cause of the Church in the evangelization of the true Faith. No one, however, is entitled to a child. Indeed, the whole tragedy of harvesting the stem cells of living human beings has arisen as a result of discoveries made by scientists experimenting on human beings conceived in fertility clinics to help couples conceive artificially. That George W. Bush endorses this immoral enterprise (which is big business, by the way) and actually commends it as a way to "help" couples is deplorable. It is as though he is saying the following: "We are not going to kill any more Jews for their body parts. We will only use the body parts of the Jews we have killed already. After all, we have people who will benefit from this research, do we not?" Living human embryos do not have the "potential" for life, as Bush asserted on August 9, 2001. They are living human beings! To seek to profit from their destruction is ghoulish, and will only wind up encouraging the private sector to fund all stem-cell research, creating more "stem cell lines" from the destruction of living human beings. George W. Bush took the advice of all the wrong people. All he had to do was to listen to and obey the Vicar of Christ. Alas, a world which has overthrown the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it is exercised in the person of the Supreme Pontiff winds up making popes of everybody but the Successor of St. Peter. We do not need an "ethics committee" appointed by a professor at the University of Chicago. We have a magisterium founded by our Lord to guide us, and to which we must be docilely submissive. It is our specific rejection of the Church's teaching authority which leads us to believe in and to promote the preposterous notion that we can limit the evils of immoral actions while attempting to profit from those immoral actions. The only antidote to all of this is to pray and to work for what seems an impossibility in human terms: the right ordering of the world once more to the primacy of the Church founded by our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. The rejection of that primacy winds up in our believing in and funding the preposterous and the immoral. WE'VE DONE THIS TO OURSELVES by Thomas A. Droleskey A flume of smoke was visible thirty-five miles east of lower Manhattan. My wife Sharon and I were driving back from a 5:15 p.m. Mass at Saint Matthew's Church in Dix Hills, Long Island, when we saw the flume of smoke clearly visible from the direction of where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood until early on the morning on September 11, 2001. It is one thing to hear reports of the act of warfare launched against this nation by disciples of Osama bin Laden (does anyone believe bin Laden is not responsible?). It is quite another to see the remnants of the carnage rising from the ground more than 35 miles away from the scene. The mind cannot even begin to fathom the thousands upon thousands of lives affected by the cowardly acts perpetrated by the suicide attackers. If an anecdotal sampling of a few Catholic parishes on Long Island is accurate, it does appear as though a number of ordinary people are directly affected by the loss of loved ones in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Scores of people are on their knees in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in lines to go to Confession. Special Masses are being celebrated this very evening for the repose of the souls of those killed and for the recovery of survivors. After giving a few remarks on the matter to students at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University this morning, I went back to get my wife to go to Confession ourselves. For there is nothing to fear from any act of war or terrorism as long as we are in a state of sanctifying grace. A believing Catholic knows how to respond to acts of warfare and terrorism. Indeed, it is only a believing Catholic who has the ability to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith, thereby permitting him to step back from the specifics of a horrific tragedy in order to understand the remote and proximate causes of the terror and destruction which have visited the United States of America with such fury. A review of these causes is important to help us realize that there is nothing we can endure in this passing vale of tears, including such wanton acts of destruction, which is the equal of what our sins did to our Lord and Savior in His Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross, and that it is precisely the promotion of sin under cover of law in this country and in the world which is what makes people believe that they can avenge injustices, whether real or imagined, by killing and maiming those they blame for their problems. The Remote Causes 1. Original Sin. All of the problems of the world are caused by Original Sin. Human nature was irreparably wounded by Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden. Although human beings are not evil, they are inclined to do that which is evil. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became Man in our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb to pay back in His own Sacred Humanity the blood debt of Adam's sin. Our Lord's redemptive act on the wood of the Holy Cross makes it possible for sinful men to overcome the vestigial aftereffects of Original Sin (the darkened intellect and the weakened will) to scale the heights of sanctity by cooperating with the graces He won for us by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood and administered to us by the working of the Holy Ghost in the sacraments Jesus Christ entrusted to the Church He created upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. There is no programmatic or ideological solution to the problems which face us. Individuals must endeavor on a daily basis to live in such a way so as to be prepared to die a holy death, seeking to please God with every beat of their hearts by adhering to the revelation He deposited in His true Church. 2. The ramifications of sin. If human beings do not see themselves and the world through the eyes of the true Faith, then hardness of heart inevitably results. Those of us who have been the unmerited beneficiaries of Divine Mercy understand that we have the obligation to extend that mercy to all others, including those who have injured us or our loved ones. We have the obligation to pray for the conversion of our persecutors, praying especially that our Lady's Immaculate Heart will triumph and that everyone on the face of this earth will come to see in her Son's Sacred Heart the fountain of mercy from which we must drink. If people do not see themselves in this light, however, then they seek to exact revenge upon others. A person whose soul is captive to the Devil by means of Original Sin is therefore especially prone to calculated violence (as is a person whose soul is dead by means of mortal sin). Although those who fomented the violence on September 11, 2001, may have believed they were involved in a holy cause, the plain truth of the matter is that they were seeking to avenge injustices by spilling the blood of the ones they blame for their problems. 3. A culture of death begets death. There are unspeakable truths which must be spoken. A nation which kills more than 4,400 human beings under cover of law by means of surgical abortion, to say nothing of the thousands of others which are killed by means of chemical abortifacients, cannot escape having death visited upon it by others. If we devalue the sanctity of innocent human life in the womb, then why should it surprise us that others devalue the lives of ordinary Americans as they go about their business in their workplaces? We cannot continue to take innocent human life under cover of law and be immune from the attacks of others who view Americans in the same utilitarian manner that many Americans view innocent life in the womb. 4. The overthrow of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. The modern nation state was born in a specific rejection of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church. The belief that it is possible to pursue justice in the framework of religious indifferentism and cultural relativism and legal positivism is delusional. A world which rejects the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church descends into abject barbarism. Just as our Lord submitted Himself in humility to the authority of His own creatures in the Holy Family in Nazareth, so is it the case that all men and all nations are called to submit themselves in humility and in docility to the authority of the Catholic Church for the sanctification and salvation, as well for the right ordering of human societies by the subordination of human law and human culture to the immutable precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. 5. Abandonment of devotion to the Blessed Mother. Our Lady told us at Fatima that we had to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart in order to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. St. Maximilian Kolbe stressed the importance of Mary Immaculate as the key to restoring all things in Christ. It is necessary for souls to consecrate themselves to our Lady in order for them to understand that authentic peace, the peace of Christ, consists of being in a state of grace. Souls which are not in a state of grace are in a state of warfare against the Blessed Trinity, predisposing them to acts of violence and warfare against others. "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph." The fact that many priests and dioceses do not promote devotion to our Lady by means of her Most Holy Rosary and total consecration to her explains to a very large extent why many Catholics embrace the culture of death which has taken so many innocent lives in the womb and has now reached the lives of ordinary citizens. The Proximate Causes Fallen human nature manifests itself in many ways. Although we may never know the exact number of the proximate causes which resulted in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, it is certainly possible at this early stage to list some of those causes. 1. Lax immigration laws. Patrick J. Buchanan has been warning us for more than a decade about the laxity of our immigration laws. He has been denounced as a racist and xenophobe. However, Patrick Buchanan has been right all along. One of the terrorists convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center listed his occupation as "terrorist" when he presented his A-95 immigration card to officials at Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, when he entered this country. No one bothered to look at his card. There is a network of terrorists well in place in this country. We've done this to ourselves. Disciples of Osama bin Laden and other terrorist masterminds are everywhere in this country. Alas, a country pledged to pluralism and religious indifferentism lacks the political will to do such politically incorrect things as to say that certain people are in se undesirable and threats to the national security and that they should not be admitted to this country (or deported out of this country if they are already here). 2. Lax airport security. A lot of the personnel who man airport security counters in this nation are recent arrivals to this country. Could it be that the well-orchestrated attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were made possible by confederates who were placed in security positions at Boston's Logan Airport and Newark International Airport? Could it be that these putative confederates were given the signal that September 11, 2001, would be the day of the long-awaited jihad against the dreaded Satan, the United States of America? And if this scenario proves to be correct, we have to face the rather uncomfortable fact that the infrastructure of this nation has become dependent upon immigrant workers as a direct result of contraception and abortion. There are not enough native-born Americans to staff the American labor force, including security counters at our airports. True, human sloth could be at work here. Some security personnel might have been asleep at the switch. However, circumstantial evidence militates against that as the sole explanation. Either the suicide murderers devised clever ways to conceal their weapons or they had help on the ground. 3. American intelligence is in shambles. It is never possible to protect a free society completely against acts of warfare and terrorism. However, American intelligence should have done a better job of gathering the information about bin Laden's activities. The plan executed on September 11, 2001, had to be a year or more in the making. The timing was coordinated and exquisitely accurate. Answers will have to be sought as to how an attack which involved such planning and coordination occurred under the radar screen of American intelligence. 4. The iron will of those who reject the Mercy of Jesus Christ. This country's unqualified support for the policies of the State of Israel has no doubt hardened the resolve of anti-American zealots, people who are willing to give up their lives in the quest to punish the United States for what are believed to be crimes against the Palestinian people. While it is doubtlessly the case, as many others have documented over the years, that this country has turned a blind eye to the suffering of those whose lands were taken from them in 1948 and forced into refugee camps as though they were so much cattle, one does not advance the cause of justice in the Middle East by targeting innocent Israeli citizens for random acts of violence or by rejoicing in the deaths of innocent Americans in New York and in the Pentagon across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. However, the iron will of those who reject the Mercy of Jesus Christ is one of the proximate causes that should give us pause for reflection: such people are in a state of war against us and they are not going to give up any time soon. Bringing Good out of Evil God does not cause evil. As noted earlier, human beings introduced evil into the world as a result of Original Sin. God permits evil in order to bring good out of it. We may never be able to see the totality of the good God brings out of specific acts of evil until the Last Day, when the intentions of all hearts will be laid bare for all to see. However, it is possible to outline a few ways by which good can be brought out of the evil which took place on September 11, 2001. 1. An increase in Faith among Catholics. As noted at the beginning of this reflection, thousands of ordinary Catholics flocked to churches throughout the metropolitan area in the immediate aftermath of the downing of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The baptismal embers of many souls have been stirred as a result of this unprecedented tragedy. This could very well result in a reawakening of the faith lives of Catholics who have been steeped in our culture of relativism and secularism and positivism. Moreover, this tragedy may help many Catholics to actually meditate on the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell) before they go to bed every night. We do not know when the Master will call for us. He comes like a thief in the night. Perhaps there will be more and more Catholics who will come to understand that the most horrible thing that can happen in the world is to be unprepared for the moment of their Particular Judgments by being in a state of mortal sin at the hour of their individual deaths. It could lead Catholics to come to understand that the graces won for us by the shedding of our Lord's Most Precious Blood on Calvary are sufficient for us to handle every cross we are asked to bear, including acts of warfare and terrorism. And it could lead us to understand that we have the obligation to pray for those who have fomented such acts of violence, as our Lord enjoined us to do in the Sermon on the Mount. 2. Conversion of souls to the true Church. Many priests risked their very lives to try to anoint the bodies of those wounded in Manhattan. At least one priest, a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, died as a result of his valiant efforts to minister to the souls of those entrusted to his pastoral care. The valor and pastoral zeal of these priests will no doubt inspire at least a few souls to convert to the true Faith. Indeed, even non-Catholics are drawn to pray in Catholic churches during times of emergency. Although they may not understand that they are being drawn there by our Lord's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, they are responding an actual grace given them by the Holy Ghost. Perhaps this tragedy will help non-Catholic Christians and unbelievers see that it is only the Catholic Church which offers fallen creatures the means to scale the heights of sanctity and to be prepared for a good, holy death. 3. A re-examination of our uncritical acceptance of our culture of death. It is about time for some Catholic prelate to call a spade a spade: the killing of innocent human babies in their mothers' wombs under cover of law makes us more vulnerable to attacks such as the ones which occurred on September 11, 2001. People have got to be confronted with the reality of what is happening in our midst every single day by the cold-blooded killing of the innocent unborn. Someone has got to raise these issues in order to help to prompt a reexamination of this country's uncritical acceptance of our culture of death. There is a connection between the taking of innocent life in the womb and the acts of warfare and terrorism which took place in our skies and in our cities on September 11, 2001. 4. Acts of charity and heroism. Ordinary citizens lined up to donate blood at hospitals and blood centers throughout the New York City metropolitan area in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Such acts of charity, as well as the heroism of the several hundred police officers and fire fighters who gave up their lives in an attempt to rescue their fellow human beings, can help people on the natural level to see the Divine impress in each other. It can help them to reject the secularism of the world in which we live. Only creatures who bear within them the spark of Divinity are capable of such acts of charity and heroism. And it is only when we live in the shadow of the Holy Cross that we can come to see that we are called to move beyond mere natural acts of charity and heroism in order to become motivated by the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity to live lives of heroic sanctity in the midst of this passing vale of tears. Putting Things in Perspective A Catholic does not live in fear. Our Lord told us to "be not afraid," a phrase which Pope John Paul II has repeated throughout his pontificate. Although we must avoid the sins of presumption and despair, we are called to live in the confident hope that we are loved by Love Himself, the Blessed Trinity. We are called to live quite consciously in an awareness of our eternal destiny to possess the Beatific Vision of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise. And we are called to be serious about the business of getting ourselves straight with God in the Sacrament of Penance if we have been negligent or slothful about our interior lives. We are called to realize that the only way we can deal with the terrorism visited upon us by wealthy madmen is to defeat the terrorism of Satan against our souls by striving ever more readily to cooperate with the graces won for us by our Lord and Calvary and by entrusting ourselves ever more fully to the patronage of our dear Blessed Mother and her chaste spouse, Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church. With prayers for the souls of those who have been killed, as well for the recovery of the survivors, and prayers for the survivors of those killed and wounded, may this moment of national horror help us to become resolved to subordinate our own individual lives and the greater life of our nation to the reign of Christ the King and Mary our Queen, the only sure antidote to the forces of darkness and terror that seek to envelop us ever more fully in a culture of both physical and eternal death. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine unto them. May their souls -- and all the souls of the faithful departed -- rest in peace. Amen. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ EMPIRES COME AND GO, INCLUDING OURS by Thomas A. Droleskey October 2. 2001 This space [in CHRIST OR CHAOS] was going to be reserved for the continuation of my analysis of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). However, I have decided to devote the remaining space in this issue to yet another commentary on the aftermath of the terrorist attacks upon the United States on September 11, 2001. My analysis of GIRM will resume in the December issue of CHRIST OR CHAOS, as well my commentary on Pope Leo XIII's HUMANUM GENUS. One of the warning signs for a nation which is in jeopardy of being overrun by the determination of foreign invaders and terrorists is its collective belief in its own invincibility. "We're Americans. Nobody beats us," is an oft-heard refrain uttered by people in "man-in-the- street" interviews. This sense of invincibility demonstrates a sense of national superiority and national destiny which is nothing other than the idolatry of this nation. While we are called to love our country, true patriotism involves willing the good of our native land, as Saint Thomas Aquinas noted in his SUMMA THEOLOGICA. And the ultimate good of one's nation is to seek her Catholicization, the triumph of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it is exercised by the Church He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Such a triumph is no more a guarantee that a particular nation will last forever or that its social institutions will always recognize the right ordering of things ordained by Christ the King than being in a state of grace at a particular time in one's life is a guarantee of that one will die in such a state. However, just as being in a state of grace is the necessary precondition for growth in the interior life as a preparation for the moment of one's death, so is a nation's recognition of the Social Reign of Christ the King, and the authority of His true Church is the necessary precondition for the right ordering of civil institutions and the pursuit of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate. We are citizens of the Church by means of our baptism before we are citizens of any particular nation, and it is our Heavenly citizenship which informs us how to attempt to subordinate our national life in light of First and Last Things. Pope Leo XIII put it this way in SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE in 1890: "Now, if the natural law enjoins us to love devotedly and to defend the country in which we had birth, and in which we were brought up, so every good citizen hesitates not to face death for his native land, very much more is it the urgent duty of Christians to be ever quickened by like feelings towards the Church. For the Church is the holy city of the living God, born of God Himself, and by Him built up and established. Upon this earth indeed she accomplishes her pilgrimage, but by instructing and guiding men, she summons them to eternal happiness. We are bound, then, to love dearly the country whence we have received the means of enjoyment this mortal life affords, but we have a much more urgent obligation to love, with ardent love, the Church to which we owe the life of the soul, a life that will endure for ever. For fitting it is to prefer the good of the soul to the well-being of the body, inasmuch as duties towards God are of a far more hallowed character than those toward men." Thus, it is a mistake to engage in jingoistic nationalism. A nation has the natural-law right to defend itself against those who threaten her, being careful to use moral methods to do so, however. But there is no guarantee that any particular nation, no matter how many material and technological accomplishments it has manifested over the centuries, will conquer every foe or will last until the end of time. Nations and empires can come and go just as quickly as the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan came tumbling down. Many of us have been saying for years that the moral life of the United States and much of the rest of the developed world mirror those of the Roman Empire in the centuries before its collapse. Yes, it is possible that the seemingly invincible United States of America might go the way of the Roman Empire. And those who do not believe such a thing is possible ought to consider the words of Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans: "Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness; to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause, God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another; men with men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the recompenses which was due to their error. And, as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient. Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness; full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity; whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute; without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they, who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them" (Rm. 1:24-32). Saint Paul's description of ancient Rome could just as well be applied to many of our own cities, including New York and San Francisco, among many others. Sure, there is much good in our people, as has been demonstrated in the acts of heroism and self-sacrifice during the rescue and recovery effort in New York and at the Pentagon in Virginia across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. However, a society which promotes evil under cover of law makes itself susceptible to decay from within and attacks from without. A society which is rudderless as a result of its rejection of the Social Kingship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church decays over the course of time regardless of the "good intentions" who believe that men can live on the natural level alone without referencing the King and Kings and His true Church. Bad ideas lead to bad consequences. Always. Inevitably. The Roman Empire embraced almost every single one of the evils which have been promoted under cover of law in the United States and popularized in our culture. Contraception, abortion, sodomy, pornography, statism, divorce, euthanasia, suicide, pedophilia, and other forms of licentiousness were commonplace in Rome as it was decaying. The government grew in power and expended more and more revenue as the family unit disintegrated. The average person was diverted from the reality of all of this by bread and circuses, the modern equivalent of which is sporting events and television and motion pictures. Why live in the real world when one can be diverted by fantasy and spectacles? The collapse of the Roman Empire in the West at the beginning of the fifth century was considered unthinkable at the time our Lord walked the face of this earth. Rome had conquered much of the known world. Its engineering and architectural feats are still marvels to behold, although those feats are in various states of decay (symbolic of the empire's own decay). Only a handful of people understood that human empires come and go. And the Roman Empire was the most powerful empire in the history of the world, even more powerful than that of the Soviet Union. The calamity of the collapse of the Roman Empire was blamed by many of its apologists on Christians, a fable perpetuated by Edward Gibbons in his famous DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. It was to dispel this lie that Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote ON THE CITY OF GOD. As Pope Leo XIII commented in IMMORTALE DEI in 1885 on the resurrection of this lie by the apologists of modernity: "And yet a hackneyed reproach of old date is leveled against her, that the Church is opposed to the rightful aims of the civil government, and is wholly unable to afford help in spreading that welfare and progress which justly and naturally are sought after by every well- regulated State. From the very beginning Christians were harassed by slanderous accusations of this nature, and on that account were held up to hatred and execration, for being (so they were called) enemies of the empire. The Christian religion was moreover commonly charged with being the cause of the calamities that so frequently befell the State, whereas, in very truth, just punishment was being awarded to guilty nations by an avenging God. This odious calumny, with most valid reason, nerved the genius and sharpened the pen of St. Augustine, who, notably in his treatise ON THE CITY OF GOD, set forth in so bright a light the worth of Christian wisdom in its relation to the public weal, that he seems not merely to have pleaded the cause of Christians of his day, but to have refuted for all future times impeachments so grossly contrary to truth. The wicked proneness, however, to levy the like charges and accusations has not been lulled to rest. Many, indeed, are they who have tried to work out a plan of civil society based on doctrines other than those approved by the Catholic Church. Nay, in these latter days a novel scheme of law has begun here and there to gain increase and influence, the outcome, as it is maintained, of an age arrived at full stature, and the result of liberty in evolution. But though endeavors of various kinds have been ventured on, it is clear that no better mode has been devised for the building up and ruling the State than that which is the necessary growth of the teachings of the Gospel. We deem it, therefore, of the highest moment, and a strict duty of Our Apostolic office, to contrast with the lessons taught by Christ the novel theories now advanced touching the State. By this means We cherish hope that the bright shining of the truth may scatter the mists of error and doubt, so that one and all may see clearly the imperious law of life which they are bound to follow and obey." The United States of America is not exempt from the currents of history. Terrorists from abroad are taking advantage of the decadence that is within our very midst. As my wife, Sharon, noted quite perceptively a few days after the terrorist attacks, "Could it be that we are seeing the revenge of the stem cells?" Her comment was made sardonically. However, she had a point. A nation led by men who believe they have the authority to craft decisions in defiance of the Divine positive law and natural law is going to pay a very heavy price, as we are doing in so many ways. The want of order which Saint Augustine discussed of ancient Rome is very much a phenomenon of our own society today. Thus, citizens of our country should not be convinced of our invincibility, nor should they believe that ours is a "holy" cause to spread democracy and pluralism around the world. God does not want us to spread democracy and pluralism. He wants us to build up the life of the true Faith in our souls and in our nation so that we can defend ourselves against the terror of the demons who seek the destruction of souls and thus the sowing of chaos in our national life. Empires come and go, including ours. May we pray to our Lady the only empire which lasts forever, that of Christ the King, comes of age here in the United States of America. God forbid that we have to wait until our vanquishing as a nation to learn anew what was learned after the vanquishing of the Roman Empire in the West: that both men and their nations must recognize Christ the King and submit humbly to the authority of His true Church in every aspect of their individual and social lives. VINTAGE CLINTON by Thomas A. Droleskey November 19, 2001 Bill Clinton is at it again. As I predicted at the beginning of this year, the former president is everywhere. Everywhere. The easiest way to deal with Clinton is to ignore him. However, a speech he delivered on November 7, 2001, at his undergraduate alma mater, Georgetown University, bears a degree of attention, if for no other reason than to remind ourselves of the kinship which exists between the admitted perjurer and many within the highest ranks of our own Church. First of all, the fact that Clinton was given a forum by the Jesuits at Georgetown University is truly scandalous. As exemplified in the speech he gave at Georgetown on November 7, Clinton is at war with the Church our Lord founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Alas, therein lies the kinship between Clinton and his hosts at Georgetown, most of whom have specialized in making war upon the Deposit of Faith for nearly forty years, inculcating their students in theological relativism. Thus miseducated, many Georgetown students have learned all too well how to make war upon the Church themselves, organizing student organizations in support of abortion and sodomy, all with the approval of the university's administration. Students faithful to the magisterium have had to expend a great deal of energy to do combat with the theological revolutionaries at Georgetown. And they had to battle with the administration to restore crucifixes in the classrooms from which they had been removed after the infamous Land O'Lakes conference in Wisconsin in 1966. Clinton graduated from Georgetown with his undergraduate degree in 1968. He was at Georgetown as its grand Catholic past was in the process of being gutted by many of the Jesuits on its campus. A relativist to the core as a Protestant and as a self-seeker without peer, Clinton found himself very much at home in the emerging theological relativism of Georgetown, circa 1964-1968. The boy from Arkansas found himself among kindred spirits in the oldest Catholic university in the nation. He is still among kindred spirits today. Clinton used his November 7 address in part to criticize the concept of absolute truth. Faithful to the spirit of Protagoras himself, William Jefferson Blyth Clinton continues the same battle the Sophists waged against Socrates, who was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens by his insistence that absolute truth existed in the world. In particular, Clinton condemned Mohammedans (improperly termed Islamic "extremists") as exemplars of how a belief in absolute truth leads ultimately to oppression and destruction. Human beings are incapable of knowing absolute truth, Clinton contended, because God has made us that way. We are limited as human beings. Thus, we have to come to an understanding with others as to the meaning of life and the means by which people of different convictions can get along in the same society. Those who believe in absolute truth become agents of intolerance and zealotry, demonstrating a fundamental disrespect for the rights of those who disagree with them reducing them to legitimate objects of hatred and extermination. Although he did not name the Catholic Church directly as exemplifying the same sort of "false" claim to absolute truth as the Mohammedans, Clinton clearly meant to condemn anyone who claims to have a "corner on the truth." He meant to brand as violent and mean- spirited those who contend that it is possible for human beings to know absolute truth and to live thereby without seeking to impose such truth upon others by the use of brute force. He meant to attack the Catholic Church on the grounds of a Catholic university known for its "openness" to theological and philosophical "diversity," hoping that he could reinforce in the minds of his young listeners the very relativism they are taught unceasingly in one course after another. Clinton's broadside against the Church was such that he was bold enough to condemn the Crusades as an illegitimate war against Mohammedism which helped to create the atmosphere of resentment that led Osama bin Laden and friends to launch their terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. As was the case with Woodrow Wilson nearly 100 ago (who blamed the influence of the Catholic Church for the conditions which led up to World War I; in fact, it was the de- Catholiciziation of Europe which began in the Renaissance and quickened during the Protestant Revolt -- and all of its bloody aftermath, including the rise of Freemasonry and the French Revolution -- which was responsible for the unbridled nationalism at the root of that horrible war), Clinton sees the Catholic Church as the obstacle to social progress at home and an enduring peace in the world. What better contribution can he make than to reinforce in the minds of students at a Catholic university the contempt for a Faith which dares to call itself the one and only true Faith? It is hard to believe that a man can be wrong so completely and so consistently on so many things as William Jefferson Blyth Clinton. On the purely philosophical level, Clinton is as wrong as his Sophist predecessors. Truth exists in the nature of things. Indeed, it can be defined as a phenomenon which exists in the nature of things and which does not depend upon human acceptance for its binding force or validity. Truth is what it is. For example, I will turn fifty years of age on November 24. This is an absolute truth over which I have no control. (Actually, I am pleased to be nearing fifty, honored that our Lord has seen fit to keep this sinner alive to try to do better in his life to serve Him through His true Church.) I could try to deny it gratuitously, lying by shaving a few years off of my age. However, I am the age I am, thus proving conclusively that if something is true it is absolutely true without any qualification or reservation. There are truths which govern the physical world (say, for example, the law of metabolism: if a person ingests more calories than his body can metabolize he gains weight). And there are truths which govern the soul, which is why human beings have the pronounced capacity to feel the emotion of guilt when they do those things which of their nature are objectively wrong even though they themselves do not understand or accept the fact that they have chosen to do something violative of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law or natural law. Furthermore, every declarative statement is true or false of its nature. One cannot say that today is both Saturday and Sunday. A day is either one day or another. It cannot be two days at once in the same place at the same time. This is known as the Socratic principle of noncontradiction. Two mutually contradictory statements cannot both be true simultaneously. And this is where relativists and positivists such as William Jefferson Clinton suspend all rational thought. The very people who contend that there is no such thing as absolute truth contradict that very contention by the words they use. The contention that nothing is absolutely true is itself an absolute statement, containing within it a contradiction of its contention that nothing is absolutely true. As if that absurdity was not enough to generate laughter among human beings blessed with the capacity of cold, dispassionate reason and logic, those who believe in the absurdity that nothing is absolutely true do so quite dogmatically, going so far as to condemn and culturally excommunicate anyone who dares to point out their irrationality. (Socrates, call your office.) For all of his adherence to the absurdity of relativism, however, Clinton was not entirely wrong when he said that human beings are incapable of knowing the ultimate truth about human existence on their own. He is wrong when asserting that human reason cannot apprehend any absolute truth. I have just used simple logic to prove him wrong about that canard. However, our minds are limited. The only way we can know the ultimate truth about human existence is through the Divine Revelation the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity deposited in the Church He created upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. The ultimate expression of absolute truth is not a matter of philosophy at all. It is a matter of Divine Revelation. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us." Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, the God-Man. He declared Himself to be the Way, the Truth, the Life. Not a way, a truth, a life. Using the principle of Socratic noncontradiction, therefore, that declaration of Jesus of Nazareth is either true or it is not. It cannot be both. Our Lord is either Who He proclaimed Himself to be or He is not. The events of our Lord's Incarnation, Nativity, Hidden Years, Public Ministry, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension are meant to affect the entirety of each person's life. The Apostles understood this, which is why they, empowered by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them in tongues of flame on Pentecost Sunday, preached the Cross of Christ fearlessly in the midst of a world of paganism, superstition, relativism, and statism. Our Lord alone provides us the full truth about human existence through His true Church. Those dedicated to the promotion of the old practices of paganism and superstition and relativism and statism (read: Clinton) in our own day must perforce seek to discredit the concept of absolute truth philosophically in order to make war, no matter how subtly, on the God- Man as being the only path by which to know the purpose for which we have been created: to live in such a way as to die a holy death so as to participate in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise. As Pope Leo XIII noted in IMMORTALE DEI: "To hold therefore that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and in practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points, cannot all be equally probable, equally good, equally acceptable to God." Bill Clinton demonstrates time and time again that he is a man who really does not believe in the existence of God. He does not believe that God has revealed anything definitively to man which must guide his individual choices as well as the entirety of a nation's social, political and cultural life. As I noted one year ago in "From Luther to Clinton to Gore," Clinton is a product of the very ethos of the last 700 years. So are his hosts at Georgetown, who intend to produce future Clintons to lead this nation. Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us to submit with docility to all your Son has revealed to us through His true Church. Help us to do battle with the relativists in our midst by lifting high the standard of the Cross under which you stood as our sins broke your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. by Thomas A. Droleskey January 16, 2002 The twenty-ninth annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C., on January 22, 2002. Between 100,000 and 200,000 pro-life Americans will gather to participate in what has become one of this country's saddest annual pilgrimages, which starts from the Ellipse and makes its way up to Capitol Hill. Thousands will have come the night before for a Mass held on the vigil of the March at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Many of those thousands will spend at least part of the eight or nine hours after the conclusion of the Mass in solemn prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament in the Crypt Church of the Basilica. This army of prayer will be joined by thousands more by the break of the first rays of light on January 22 as busloads of marchers make their way to the nation's capital city. The fact that so many thousands of Americans make so many sacrifices to participate in the March for Life (as well as the Mass and all night vigil) should be a source of great encouragement at a time when abortion is as firmly entrenched in our national life as it ever has been. Sadly, though, many of these good people (some of whom make the trip to Washington on buses from the Midwest and Southeast) are so desperate for any kind of good news that they will cheer wildly when President George Walker Bush gives them his annual pro-life crumb to keep them on his administration's reservation, which is composed of so many out-and-out pro-aborts. Last year, for example, the newly sworn-in President authorized Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) to read a letter stating that it was his goal to "welcome every child in life and to protect every child in law," a remarkably meaningless statement in light of the simple fact that George W. Bush does not believe that every child should be protected by law. He believes that certain babies may be executed under cover of law in the cases of rape, incest, or alleged threats to the life of a mother. However, the crowd assembled on the Ellipse cheered wildly as Smith read those meaningless words. The crowd cheered also when Smith said that the president would restore the Ronald Reagan-era "Mexico City" policy of banning U.S. tax dollars for the funding of "family planning" programs and agencies that perform abortions or counsel women where to kill their babies. As Howard Phillips demonstrated a few months later, the actual Bush policy is so porous as to be void of any real meaning. In point of fact, you see, employees of such "family planning" agencies are free to counsel women on "their own time" (during a lunch break, after hours) without jeopardizing their agency's funding. And what is left entirely unexamined by the average pro-lifer, so desperate to find political heroes, is the nasty little fact that this government continues to fund chemical abortions by means of those international family-planning programs and by means of Title X funding in our own country. Little embryonic human beings are put to death by means of chemical abortifacients just as surely as they are put to death by the suction machine or saline solution or by the use of scalpels or scissors. George W. Bush is not pro-life. His administration is not a champion of the babies whatsoever. Nevertheless, George W. Bush is as clever as his predecessor, former President William Jefferson Blyth Clinton. He knows that he can provide meaningless tokens to various segments of his political base while doing nothing of any real substance to threaten his attempt to broaden his electoral appeal beyond that base. This January 22, for example, the president will announce that he has been convinced that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is no longer eligible to receive the $34 million allotted to it in the Foreign Aid Bill he signed into law on January 11, 2002. Citing the evidence provided by pro-life organizations -- and thousands of phone calls made to the White House by committed pro-lifers to convince him to use his discretionary power to issue an Executive Order to deny funds to agencies that engage in or support coercive "family planning" activities, the president will indeed use his discretionary power to deny UNFPA the monies allotted to it in the Foreign Aid Bill. The thousands gathered on the Ellipse will cheer wildly as some surrogate, probably Rep. Christopher Smith, announces the president's decision. While the decision will be a good thing as far as it goes, it is nothing other than a carefully planned exercise in political tokenism, especially in light of the fact that this country continues to fund those chemical abortions with complete and total impunity in this "pro-life" administration. Contraception is simply not an issue that most "establishment" pro-life officials and self-anointed leaders want to deal with. Indeed, the National Right to Life Committee, which is actually a pro-abortion organization in that it supports the execution of the innocent unborn in cases where it is alleged that a mother's life is at risk, takes no position on contraception whatsoever, even though Pope John Paul II pleaded personally with Dr. John Wilkie, the long-time head of the National Right to Life Committee, to oppose this grave moral evil (which is responsible for undermining the integrity of the family, helping to feminize poverty, and promoting promiscuity among the young, and whose cultural acceptance led inevitably to the acceptance of surgical abortion). While I agree that it is very important for pro-lifers to call the White House, as many solid pro-life organizations urged us to do in the last few days, anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that a truly pro-life president would not need to be "pressured" in order to make the right decision. He would simply do the right thing without any phone calls having to be made at all. Among other things, this is an attempt prior to the March for Life to show pro-lifers how much "clout" they have with their "friend" in the White House. Again, the decision to defund UNFPA will be a good thing if it happens. However, this nation is still funding chemical abortions here and around the world in "voluntary" family-planning programs. And a truly pro-life President would issue an Executive Order barring any American individual or company from contributing to UNFPA or UNICEF or Planned Parenthood (and its allied agencies). If presidents can issue Executive Orders to prevent Americans from contributing to organizations with suspected ties to terrorist organizations, they can issue Executive Orders to ban contributions to organizations that make war upon the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations and upon the innocent unborn, both chemically and surgically. No, the thousands gathered on the Ellipse on January 22 will convince themselves that they have a true pro-life champion in the White House. Most of them will either ignore the president's support for some abortions or seek to justify his intellectual shallowness and philosophical inconsistency. Most of them will not say a word of criticism about his horrendous decision to permit limited federal funding on the stem-cell lines derived from embryonic human beings who were killed prior to 9:00 p.m. on August 9, 2001, specifically for the cultivation of their stem cells, a decision that was based on the president's blithe acceptance of the evil of in vitro fertilization as a necessary means to help infertile couples who desire to have children of their own. They will try not to think too hard about the fact that the "pro-life" administration contains numerous pro-aborts within its ranks and that the president himself has lent his political support to pro-aborts, including the pro-abortion Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg to succeed the pro-abortion Republican Catholic mayor of the City of New York last year, Rudolph William Giuliani. Oh, no, most of the thousands gathered on the Ellipse and who will participate in the March for Life will not want to think too deeply (or at all) about the fact that the emerging Republican strategy for dealing with the life issue is to simply say gratuitously that one is pro-life while at the same time saying that Roe v. Wade is settled law and that there is nothing we can do to unsettle it. And many of these good people, most of whom are indeed on the front lines of the abortion battle by praying our Lady's Most Holy Rosary regularly in front of the killing centers, will say nothing about the fact that the one thing Bush said he was going to do -- sign a bill that conditionally restricted the killing of babies by means of partial birth abortions -- is nowhere on the political horizon. The "thousands of babies" we were told by Bush apologists who were going to be "saved" by a Bush administration remain on the chopping block each and every single day. The tokenism of the likes of President George W. Bush takes advantage of the political blindness caused by abortion's institutionalization in every fabric of our national life. This political blindness is one of the many consequences of the heresy of Americanism, the belief that the specific cultural milieu of the United States necessitated a response from Catholics that accepted religious indifferentism and naturalism as the foundations of public policy while eschewing any effort to subordinate our national life to the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as exercised by his true Church. This heresy was condemned in no uncertain terms by the great Pope Leo XIII on, of all dates, January 22, 1899, just seventy-four years before Roe v. Wade. The more Catholics convince themselves that it is somehow an exercise in preconciliar triumphalism to proclaim the truths of the true Faith as the only basis for personal sanctity and hence all social order, the more they will permit themselves to look the other way as those who support one abject evil after another rise to the forefront in America politics. Contrary to the conventional wisdom among pro-lifers, things are not better now than they would have been in the horror of an Al Gore administration. Things are actually worse. Why? Precisely because good people are blinding themselves to programs and policies they would never be silent about in a Gore administration. The current administration is getting a free pass from good people who do not realize that most of what a Gore administration would have done is actually being done by the Bush administration. This is what has happened with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Even though he did, as I have pointed out in recent commentaries, spend himself tirelessly to demonstrate his support for the survivors of those killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center, Giuliani himself supports state-sponsored terrorism upon the innocent unborn in our own country, making us more and more vulnerable to attacks from foreigners who have no more regard for own lives than we have for our own innocent unborn. How scandalous, therefore, it was for Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, to tell Giuliani at the Christmas Midnight Mass that TIME Magazine, which had named Giuliani "Person of the Year" for the year 2001, "got it right." No man who supports the destruction of the innocent unborn is anyone but Satan's man of the year. For a man who supports the slaughter of the innocent unborn under cover of law has no credibility when he talks about the value of the innocent lives killed in terrorist attacks. None whatsoever. Cardinal Egan thus continues to feed into the notion that it is simply a matter of acceptable political expediency for Catholics in public life to support abortion in order to enable them to do the sort of work they would not be able to do if they did not hold the offices to which they have been elected. This is irresponsible and leads the average Catholic into thinking that support for the destruction of the innocent unborn does not disqualify one from holding any office of public trust, whether elected or appointed. Giuliani's star power is such, however, that it blinded many Catholic New Yorkers into voting for Michael Bloomberg to succeed him as mayor in the November 6, 2001, elections. Bloomberg had pronounced himself to be as thoroughly pro-abortion as Giuliani. Alas, Giuliani's hold on the electorate was such that many Catholics of Irish and Italian and Polish descent, grateful to the mayor for the support he showed to the families of the firefighters and police officers and rescue workers killed in the terrorist attacks, just followed his lead without giving the matter of abortion any thought whatsoever. After all, these voters had supported Giuliani himself in 1989 (when he lost narrowly to City Clerk David N. Dinkins) and 1993 and 1997 despite his unapologetic pro-abortion stance. Why should they abandon their political hero and cast a vote on the Right to Life Party line for mayor of New York when could show their solidarity with and gratitude to Giuliani by voting for the man he endorsed, Michael Bloomberg? What difference did it make that Bloomberg is alleged to have said, "Kill it! Kill it!," to a pregnant employee of his Bloomberg media and financial empire whose services he did not want to lose to maternity leave? No, Bloomy was Rudy's boy. That was good enough for most of the ethnic Catholics who remain as residents of the five boroughs of the City of New York. Well, the new mayor is proving his pro-abortion bona fides very early on in his new administration. He is advancing a plan to require all residents (recent graduates of medical colleges) serving in the city's 11 publicly run hospitals who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology to receive training in how to kill babies as a mandatory part of their residency program. Oh, he would provide a "conscience clause" for those who would want to opt out of such a program. However, it should come as no surprise that a man who supports abortion so militantly as Bloomberg would seek to curry favor with his political base by proposing a program that was actually drafted by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARRAL) itself. Even the New York State Right to Life Committee, an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, found this too much to ignore. Although the New York State Right to Life Committee has given the pro-abortion Republican Catholic governor of New York, George Pataki, a free pass by refusing to endorse Right to Life Party gubernatorial candidates Robert Walsh in 1994 and Michael Reynolds in 1998, it is pretty hard for its leaders to ignore Bloomberg's blatant effort to continue the process of politicizing the training of doctors for purposes of making them killers of innocent human lives. However, it is doubtful that even Bloomberg's outrageous decision is enough for the New York State Right to Life Committee to abandon its reflexive support of pro- abortion Republicans while actually opposing candidates of conscience who run on the New York State Right to Life Party line. Indeed, if Bloomberg had taken the lead of the pro-abortion Rick Lazio and said he was opposed conditionally to partial-birth abortions, that would have been good enough for the New York State Right to Life Committee to endorse his candidacy. For, sadly, all it takes for a candidate to receive the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee's political action committee (or the endorsement of its state affiliates' political action committees) is to proclaim himself conditionally opposed only to a certain form of child killing in the later stages of pregnancy. That is all it takes to be considered "pro-life" by the National Right to Life Committee and its state affiliates. Thus, the dumbing down of what it means to be pro-life makes it easier for out-and-out pro-aborts to trade upon the reputation of other pro- aborts whose support for abortion is ignored by prelates (such as Cardinal Egan) or rationalized by "pragmatic" organizations (such as the National Right to Life Committee). Some pro-lifers, who must be living in a fantasy world worthy of Al Gore, said that Bloomberg had "shown his true colors." What are these people using for brains? Bloomberg said he was pro-abortion. Isn't that enough? Have we reached such a nadir in our cultural life that we refuse to be outraged when an aspirant for elected office says matter-of-factly that he supports child-killing under cover of law? Does such an aspirant, once elected, have to do something to stir our outrage? When are we going to accept the simple fact that anyone who supports even a single abortion under cover of law is not pro-life, and those who support Roe v. Wade unconditionally are the sworn enemies of objective justice founded in the Splendor of Truth Incarnate? Bloomberg said quite unapologetically during the course of the campaign that he was a "straight male" who liked to womanize. As a man who is an unrepentant violator of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, Bloomberg has a vested interest in promoting abortion. His own personal pleasure depends upon it. However, once one accepts the public scandal of the married Catholic mayor of New York consorting with a mistress in public, what's the big deal about accepting an admitted Jewish playboy who believes that a violation of personal purity is not a matter for the confessional and thus a call to amend one's life by attempting to live according to the precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law? The unwillingness of Catholics to think and to act as Catholics is astounding. As if the proceeding was not enough, State of New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, attempting to re-do the work of one of his nefarious predecessors, Robert Abrams, is busily issuing subpoenas to those who run and staff Crisis Pregnancy Centers. This is really not new. Abrams, who was New York State Attorney General between 1975 and 1992, waged war on Crisis Pregnancy Centers in 1987 and 1988 after many of them first started operations. Spitzer is attempting to prove himself to be as militantly pro-abortion as Abrams, who came very close to defeating Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato for reelection in 1992. Spitzer is positioning himself to run for higher office, perhaps governor of the State of New York in 2006, especially if the Democratic nominee for that office this year loses to the expected Republican nominee, incumbent Gov. George Pataki. However, it should be pointed out that Spitzer got elected in 1998 because his predecessor, Attorney General Dennis Vacco, refused the Right to Life Party line and refused to take a clear position against abortion. Vacco took the advice of D'Amato, who counseled any number of aspiring Republicans in New York to avoid the issue of abortion or to say that they were "pro-choice," and ran away from the most important moral issue of the day. Spitzer would be in private law practice today if Vacco had had the courage to take a clear stand against baby killing. Again, the political blindness of those who fear the evil more than they love the good, more than they believe in the power of God's grace to effect the conversion of hearts and minds and souls, is resulting in another needless attack upon the brave and selfless volunteers who seek to direct women into giving birth rather than dealing death to the fruit of their own wombs. How very tragic that the state in which most of the deaths caused as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks is busily attacking innocent lives (and those who defend them) quite terroristically. None of the proper lessons from September 11 have been learned. None at all. And no amount of bombs dropped in Afghanistan is going to make us more secure as a nation as long as we continue to protect and further institutionalize legalized baby killing in our own midst. Tokenism and blindness know only one antidote: a defense of the primacy of the Divine positive law and the natural law as those laws are protected and explicated by the Church the God-Man founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It will not be until Catholics take the truths of their Faith seriously and actually believe that it is possible to Catholicize this land and to establish the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the Queenship of our dear Blessed Mother that will stand a chance, humanly speaking, of replacing this culture of death and cynicism with a culture of eternal life. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us to see clearly through the eyes of the true Faith and to act courageously in defense of the standard of your Divine Son's Holy Cross as the only foundation of personal sanctity and hence all social order. THE FASCISM OF THE LEFT by Thomas A. Droleskey January 24, 2002 "Without any censorship in the West, fashionable trends of thought are fastidiously separated from those that are not fashionable, and the latter, without ever being forbidden, have little chance of finding their way into periodicals or books or being heard in colleges. Your scholars are free in the legal sense, but they are hemmed in by the idols of the prevailing fad. There is no open violence as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to accommodate mass standards frequently prevents the most independent-minded persons from contributing to public life and gives rise to dangerous herd instincts that block successful development. In America, I have received letters from highly intelligent persons -- maybe a teacher in a faraway small college who could do much for the renewal and salvation of his country, but the country cannot hear him because the media will not provide him with a forum. This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, to a blindness which is perilous in our dynamic era." These words were spoken by Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn in a commencement address delivered at Harvard University on June 8, 1978. Long before the term "politically correct" had been coined, Solzhenitsyn had noted that Western society is hardly as "free" as it claims to be, that the controlling intellectual and cultural elite censor quite carefully the flow of information to the average citizen, to say nothing of controlling what the average person is supposed to think about the frequently doctored information that is fed to him in newspapers and on television and radio newscasts. The situation is far more blatant now than it was twenty- four years ago when Solzhenitsyn was scorned by America's intellectual elite for daring to assert that Western civilization suffered from the same basic disease which afflicted Russia in her captivity to the Bolsheviks. Those who control this nation's news outlets have a vested interest in managing the news in an ideological manner so as to prevent anyone or any event which might reflect unfavorably on the prevailing cultural orthodoxy from being made known to the general public. Case-in-point: the twenty-ninth annual March for Life, which was held on January 22, 2002, in Washington, D.C. March for Life Education and Defense Fund organizers indicated to the press that more than 100,000 people gathered on the Ellipse before marching up to Capitol Hill to demonstrate their commitment to the restoration of legal protection for the innocent unborn, as well as to ensure the protection of all innocent human life from the first moment of fertilization to the time of natural death. Hundreds of buses carrying thousands of people make their way down to our nation's capital city from points north, south, east, and west of the Potomac River. Others make their way by air or in their own cars. Scores of elected officials address the crowd gathered on the Ellipse. The president of the United States even addressed the crowd by a telephone hookup with March for Life President Nellie Gray. This is a major news story, right? No, not in the eyes of the fascists who control the American media. More than has been the case in recent years (which has seen the amount of coverage given to the March for Life shrivel to next-to-nothing), the March for Life was ignored by virtually ever major media outlet in the United States. My wife and I searched in vain while driving between lecturing engagements in northern California to find even one reference to the March on CBS Radio national news on the hour. Not one. I searched the web sites of THE NEW YORK TIMES, the NEW YORK POST, Associated Press, and Fox News Channel to find out some news of what was happening at an event I myself participated in annually until my schedule called for me to be on the West Coast in the month of January. As I do not have access to a television (and could not watch same even if I did have such access because of my travel schedule), I do not know what coverage was given to the March for Life on the broadcast and cable news programs. However, there was evidently very little coverage from what I have been able to discover. Indeed, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, which is owned and operated by the cult called the Unification Church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, even refused to accept a pro- life advertisement sponsored by the American Life League. And although the paper did have an article on the March, it ran one photograph which attempted to depict pro- lifers as "angry" people. It turns out that THE WASHINGTON POST ran a much more complete story than the supposedly more conservative TIMES, as was pointed out to me by several people following the initial draft of this article. However, the nation's newspaper of record, THE NEW YORK TIMES, itself ran only a photograph in its national edition, complete with a caption making it appear as though an equal number of people on "both sides" of the abortion debate had gathered to mark the 29th anniversary of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Roe v. Wade. That was it. A lone photograph with a misleading caption designed to misrepresent and underreport the facts of this year's March for Life. Although my own search of news stories was admittedly cursory, given the exigencies of my schedule, the only newspaper I could find which contained an actual news story about the March was in the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. It is important to frame this news blackout in its proper context. Imagine this scenario: more than 100,000 American citizens journeyed to Washington to protest the treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees being held at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. Busloads of people made their way to Washington for the demonstration. Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, concerned about this country's human rights image abroad, addressed the crowd by telephone hookup from his office in the Capitol, as did Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The thousands of people who gathered on the Ellipse then marched to Capitol Hill to demand "humane" treatment for the detainees, caught red-handed in their efforts to support terrorism and to kill members of the American armed forces. Does anyone believe that the national news media would not be covering such a story? The cable networks would be providing continuous live coverage of the event. Even the broadcast networks would devote considerable time to the story, perhaps even assigning reporters to travel with the busloads of people as they journeyed to Washington, thus documenting the "sacrifices" made by these concerned citizens. There would be endless coverage on television and radio, to say nothing of column space devoted to it in newspapers. Not so, obviously, for the March for Life. Ah, some sanctimonious apologists of the fascism of the American Left will say that the March is not news, that the same people gather every year to say the same thing. I guarantee you that a gathering of homosexual and lesbian activists which took place every year would receive complete news coverage. Indeed, the very fact that people make sacrifices to travel to Washington to participate in the March for Life is itself newsworthy, as it demonstrates a degree of commitment to persevere in a cause no matter the political and cultural and legal obstacles which make such dedication all the more noteworthy. Scores of stories could be written about the people who bus in from Kansas and Illinois and Wisconsin and Texas and Missouri, to say nothing of those who must leave around 3:00 a.m. from Massachusetts and Rhode Island and New Hampshire to make it to Washington in time for the March. Other stories could be written and broadcast about the Mass held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the night before the March and about the hundreds of people who spend all night praying before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed solemnly in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine. Even the demography of the March, which includes thousands of young people, is a source for dozens of print and television and radio stories. When all is said and done, however, the national news media in this nation support abortion. They must spin for the abortionists and the feminist organizations and the politicians of both major political parties who support the destruction of innocent children in their mothers wombs. Thus, no effort is going to be made to cover completely and objectively a prayerful, peaceful gathering of American citizens who take a politically incorrect and culturally proscribed position on an issue considered closed by those who constitute Americas secular magisterium. The very people who deny even the possibility of infallibly revealed truths safeguarded by the Church Jesus Christ created upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, believe they are infallible and that any dissent from their received teaching is not only unnewsworthy, it is demonstrative of bigotry and ignorance and intolerance. There is a word for this hypocrisy: fascism. Those who fear the truth do not want to report things as they are. They do not want to give anyone an opportunity to make the case against what is considered to be our prevailing cultural orthodoxy. Our news is managed in this country just as much as it is in out-and-out dictatorships, except that the news is managed to the left here quite voluntarily by people who are on a mission to marginalize and demonize anyone and anything which does not conform in lockstep with dogmatic leftist orthodoxy. Those who participate in the March for Life do not do so for public consumption. The lion's share of those who participate in it are Catholics, men and women who offer up their sacrifices and their nearly invisible and unreported witness to the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth. Those who are consecrated to the Mother of God, in whose virginal and immaculate womb the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity deigned to be conceived as a helpless embryo by the Holy Ghost at the Annunciation, give the merit they earn as a result of their witness to her to be used as she sees fit for the honor and glory of God and for the conversion of souls. Nevertheless, it is so sad to see such courageous witnesses ignored with complete impunity by a news media intent on distorting reality in order to advance its own perverted ends. NO CHOICE AT ALL by Thomas A. Droleskey March 21, 2002 It does not take a doctorate to recognize that "liberals" are among the most fascistic of people. The very people who claim to be champions of freedom give others the freedom only to agree with them. Anyone who disagrees with their "received teaching" must be denounced by the use of all manner of slogans. Indeed, those who dissent from cultural orthodoxy experience a sort of "excommunication" from various "privileges" extended to them by our prevailing cultural elite, sometimes including employment. The irony of this is very plain to see: those who incant slogans do not believe in them, as they are as autocratic and dictatorial as they claim the ones whose "intolerance" they oppose are alleged to be. Liberals, who are relativists and positivists, believe that they alone have the authority and the right to define the terms of social debate, no less the very meaning of the words used in such debate. Case-in-point: State of New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. As I mentioned in last month's issue of CHRIST OR CHAOS, Spitzer, who is up for reelection this year, has begun to harass Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the State of New York, focusing in particular on centers that are run by Christopher Slattery, who has dedicated the better part of the past two decades to helping women bring their unborn children to birth (and then to help to provide them with the means to support those children or to arrange for their adoption by loving couples). Spitzer is not ploughing new ground. No, he is merely going over the same ground ploughed in 1987 and 1988 by one of his predecessors, the notorious and nefarious Robert Abrams. Using the model devised by Abrams, Spitzer is claiming that Crisis Pregnancy Centers in se lie to women and therefore deprive them of their "right to choose" an abortion, especially by "pressuring" women with the sort of information that "frightens" them into giving birth rather than making "an informed choice" to "terminate their pregnancies." Herein lies Spitzer's typical pro-abortion and liberal hypocrisy and fascism: how is a woman supposed to "choose" rationally when she is not informed about the specific nature of a surgical procedure which kills her unborn child and places herself in medical risk? Of course, no one has the right to "choose" to kill any innocent human life from the first moment of fertilization through all subsequent stages until natural death. Granted. However, those who claim to be advocates of choice do not want women to choose rationally at all. They want women to act on impulse. And the first impulse of many women who have been convinced by the sex- educators to engage in conjugal relations outside of marriage is to consider killing the fruit of their wombs as a result of their belief that our laws make such killing morally acceptable. So-called family planning agencies, such as Planned Parenthood, do not offer "counseling" about the true nature of abortion. Abortionists do not do so. Women who seek out "counseling" and "advice" from pro-abortion agencies and actual abortionists are encouraged to kill their children as soon as they can. Pro-aborts have done everything imaginable to defeat "informed consent" legislation in state legislatures and in the courts. The very people who scream bloody murder when women are not informed about the consequences of some alleged threat to their health caused by environmental or industrial pollution do not want women informed about the true nature of abortion (and its multifaceted physical and emotional ramifications) precisely because they favor bloody murder. Crisis Pregnancy Centers have offered real information to expectant mothers. Thousands of babies are alive today as a result of the love and generosity and support and hope offered to anxious women who have been on the verge of killing their children. Sure, some women entered Crisis Pregnancy Centers not knowing that they would be counseled to choose life rather than to deal death. How many women know the true agenda of Planned Parenthood, for example? Do not many women seek out Planned Parenthood without realizing the pressure they will receive from its employees to kill their children, no less to consider being sterilized as well? Although those of us who are pro-life know full well the true history of Planned Parenthood from its founding as the Birth Control League by the racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger, the average person, including the average teenager, does not know anything other than that Planned Parenthood "is there" for them when they have an "unplanned" pregnancy. Even married women, especially those who come from Latin America, are pressured to use contraception or to accept sterilization. Expectant mothers seeking "help" from a Planned Parenthood "clinic" are not receiving assistance from dispassionate observers of this country's social scene. No, they are being pressured to have an abortion, being told in most instances of the horrible effects of carrying a pregnancy to term would have on their lives (trap them in poverty, burden them with the care of a child when they could be pursuing a career, impede their social lives). An honest attorney general of a state would investigate and seek to shut down all so-called "family planning" clinics for dishonesty by the use of very manipulative pressure tactics and for medical malfeasance by the withholding of information which, if withheld from a patient in all other medical procedures, would be the grounds for actual malpractice lawsuits. As I noted last month, however, the fact that Elliot Spitzer is in power is the result of his predecessor's lack of moral courage. Former Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who was defeated by Spitzer very narrowly in 1998, refused to take the New York State Right to Life Party endorsement, taking the advice of then U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato that the Right to Life endorsement would be a political liability for him in a tight race. As it turned out, Vacco's lack of courage resulted in his defeat. He would have earned enough votes on the Right to Life Party line to put him ahead of Spitzer. How sad it is that establishment pro-lifers in New York did not seek to persuade Vacco to ignore D'Amato and the fully pro- abortion Catholic Republican governor of the State of New York, George Pataki, and take a visible, public stand in behalf of the babies and their mothers. "He who is ashamed of Me and My doctrine before men, I will be ashamed of before My Father in Heaven." Vacco was ashamed of the pro-life position, thus enabling Spitzer to get elected -- and to thereby use the pulpit of New York attorney general to pummel and harass loving, selfless, giving volunteers who take seriously the words of the Divine Redeemer: "Whatsoever you do to the least of My brethren, that you do unto Me." Spitzer is using this issue to help his reelection this year. However, it will be interesting to see whether the pro-abortion Republican Party in the State of New York will nominate a candidate who will oppose Spitzer's persecution of Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the general election this fall. A candidate unwilling to oppose Spitzer forcefully on this issue is unworthy of the votes of pro-lifers, for a person unwilling to oppose evil in a campaign will never do so once in office. He will continue Spitzer's policies lest he run afoul of the pro- abortion movement, which never hesitates to use its political clout to support only those candidates who are completely pro-abortion, raising the question once more as to why pro-lifers are so reluctant to support only those candidates who are completely and unqualifiedly pro-life. As I have noted so frequently, the more we enable the so-called lesser of two evils, the higher and higher the dose of that lesser evil becomes over time. Our prayers and our efforts must support Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are in many instances the only places where women are going to find themselves given the full truth about the sanctity of life and will be provided with the fullness of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We need to pray to Blessed Gianna, a married woman who carried her last pregnancy to term even though she knew there was a risk that she might die, who bears a loving witness to the truth that "Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for another." Those who volunteer in Crisis Pregnancy Centers are laying down their lives on a daily basis so that others may have life not only here in this vale of tears but for all eternity in Heaven. They are giving women the best choice of all: a chance for eternal blessedness with their progeny. May our Lady, the Mother of Life, help them in their hour of persecution. MONEY SOAKED IN THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT by Thomas A. Droleskey March 26, 2002 Myths die hard. So many pro-life Americans want to believe that they have a true champion of the babies in the White House. Regardless of President George W. Bush's support for the slaughter of the innocent unborn in cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of mothers, regardless of his support for the evil of federally funded stem cell research, regardless of his support for the funding of chemical abortions by means of "family planning programs" both here and abroad, regardless of his appointment of one pro-abort after another to the highest quarters of his administration, he is pro-life because he calls himself pro-life. Well, a gratuitous assertion by Bush that he is pro-life does not make him authentically pro-life any more than his gratuitous assertion that Islam "is a religion of peace and tolerance" undoes the history of the attempt by Mohammedans to overrun and destroy Christian civilization in the past 1500 years. It is well past time for pro- lifers to stop suspending the use of rational thought and to begin to examine quite critically the words and actions of those who profess themselves to be our friends, but who, in reality, are only concerned with their own electoral survival. As Raymond Burr was wont to say while portraying the fictional Chief Robert T. Ironside, "Query." I have a query for you. Would a man who said he was opposed to racism and anti-Semitism help to raise funds for David Duke? Would the leaders of so-called civil rights groups and the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai Brith sit back while an alleged friend of theirs raised, say, $2 million for Duke or some other white supremacist? I don't think so. Then, my friends, why is it the case that pro-lifers cover their ears and shut their eyes to the harsh reality presented to them when they learn that the "pro-life" president raised $2 million for the reelection campaign of the Catholic Republican pro-abortion governor of the State of New York, George Pataki? Would pro-aborts have been silent if former President William Jefferson Blyth Clinton helped to raise funds, say, for the late governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey? Why, then, do pro-lifers keep their mouths shut when a man who is simply less pro-abortion than other politicians works quite hard to elect total pro-aborts to public office? As if the fact of Bush's raising funds for Pataki was not bad enough, it is important to note that he did so in the apartment of the reprehensibly pro-abortion mayor of the City of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who is so pro- abortion that he wants all medical residents who work in the City's public hospitals to be trained in baby- killing. President Bush says over and over again that he "shares" an important goal with pro-lifers, namely, working for the day when "every child will be welcomed in life and protected by law," the mantra of the National Right to Life Committee (which supports the destruction of innocent life under cover of law as a matter of principle in cases where it is alleged that a mother's life is at risk). As I have noted repeatedly, Bush himself does not believe this line that has been given him to read by some in the pro-life establishment. He supports legalized baby-killing in certain instances, thereby contradicting the statement that "every" child should be "welcomed in life" and "protected by law." As he supports the right of mothers to kill children in certain instances, the word "every" is meaningless. Note also how Bush does not say that he favors the reversal of Roe v. Wade. The language which has been crafted for his use is almost Clintonian in its artfulness. The president has said in a number of interviews that the country is "not ready" for the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Several members of his Cabinet, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, have said that Roe v. Wade is settled law, which, as I noted a few months ago, is a line that will be used quite a bit by alleged pro-life politicians fearful of alienating pro-abort voters ("I am pro-life, but there is nothing I can do to reverse abortion, since Roe v. Wade is settled law"). How is this country ever going to be ready for to reverse a heinous Supreme Court decision if its leaders do not believe that is either possible or desirable to take political risks to do so? More to the point, however, how is President Bush going to help to create a climate where "every child will be welcomed in life and protected in law" when he works so very hard to raise funds for the election of people who are committed to the maintenance of legalized baby- killing on demand? There are no fewer than seven fully pro-abortion Republicans in the U.S. Senate (Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John Warner of Virginia, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado). Would the president refuse to raise funds for any one of these supporters of unrestricted baby-killing? Of course not. As evidenced by his willingness to raise funds for George Pataki, who has used his governorship to promote abortion just as much as his predecessor, Mario Matthew Cuomo, the bond created by partisan political ties means more than the blood of the innocent unborn. Abortion, as bad as it is, simply cannot interfere with the election of one's fellow partisans. "Well, what about Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's announcement before a conservative gathering in Washington recently that the Bush administration is going to define a "fetus" as an "unborn child" as a means of providing medical coverage for pregnant women? Isn't that a victory for pro-life?" Think again. The announcement was made as an applause line at a friendly forum to keep pro-life Indians on the Bush reservation. As Judie Brown of the American Life League noted in a special Communique she issued on February 18, 2002, "HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson created a stir earlier this month by announcing plans to expand a federal health program to cover the preborn children of eligible mothers. The announcement drew a pained response from abortion advocates who claimed it would undermine Roe v. Wade by assigning personhood to preborn children. Since then, however, it is reported that the Bush administration has taken no formal action on the proposal. In recent days, Thompson is said to have told members of Congress that he would seek a compromise to 'mitigate the harshness of the rhetoric.' The 'harsh rhetoric' in question involves the use of the term 'unborn child.' Colleen Parro of the Republication National Coalition for Life reports, 'It is our understanding that government regulations are typically announced and published in the Federal Register, whereupon public comment is sought for a period of 30 to 60 days. Thereafter, the regulation is either adopted or rejected. This regulation appears to be unusual, in that the announcement was made on January 31, 2002, but the regulation has yet to appear in the Federal Register and public comment has not been sought.' COMMENT: Why not? Has the supposedly pro-life Bush administration capitulated to the abortion industry and pro-abortion members of their own party?" No, the Bush administration is concerned only about political tokenism, as I noted in last month's issue of CHRIST OR CHAOS.. Pro-lifers in New York cannot let the rush of patriotic sentiment unleashed as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks persuade them to follow George W. Bush like lemmings. They have the moral imperative to vote only for whoever is the candidate of the New York State Right to Life Party. The only language career politicians understand is votes. We have to remind these shallow, cynical careerists that the blood of the innocent cries out to God for vengeance, and that we will remember the blood of the innocent first and foremost when we vote. We do not exist to enable career politicians to gain our votes cheaply by the incantation of slogans and the offering of small tokens now and then. We have been created to give voice to the King of Kings, who is in solidarity with every child in every womb as He Himself was enfleshed in our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb as a helpless embryo. Would our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hold a fundraiser for a pro-abort politician? Then why do we look the other way as a man who professes to "follow Jesus" does so? May the coming Feast of the Annunciation, which will be celebrated this year on Monday, April 8, 2002 (the feast day, March 25, falls on Monday of Holy Week, and cannot be celebrated until after the conclusion of the Easter Octave on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7), remind us that every abortion is a crime against the Incarnation. Every abortion is a crime against the Mother of God, the Mother of Life, the Mother of us all. Is the woman who made possible our salvation by her perfect Fiat to the will of the Father at the Annunciation pleased when those who support baby-killing are enabled by those who claim to be against such killing? If our Blessed Mother is not pleased, then why should we? Our Lady, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us to be courageous in our efforts to pray and to work for the Triumph of your Immaculate Heart, the ultimate expression of which in this vale of tears is the Social Kingship of your Son, our King, and your own Queenship over us men and our civil societies. Here are two articles from The Remnant in October of 2005:
Initial press reports about the background of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers contained, as it turned out, misleading information. Miss Miers, who attended Southern Methodist University, is not a Methodist. She “dedicated her life to Jesus Christ” in the 1980s, becoming a member of an “evangelical Christian church” in the Dallas, Texas, area, Valley View Christian Church at the behest of her long-time friend, Nathan Hecht, a Justice of the Texas State Supreme Court, who was interviewed by The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Justice Hecht, who does not deny an on-again/off-again romantic relationship with Miss Miers, 60, saying that they talk on the phone “all the time,” was recruited by the Bush Administration to reassure “conservatives” that his friend is indeed personally pro-life. Almost seamlessly, however, Justice Hecht said the following, as quoted in October 5th edition of The New York Times:
” ‘Yes, she goes to a pro-life church,’ Justice Hecht said, adding, ‘I know Harriet is, too.’ The two attended ‘two or three’ anti-abortion fund-raising dinners in the early 1990’s, he said, but added that she had not otherwise been active in the anti-abortion movement. ‘You can be just as pro-life as the day is long and can decide the Constitution requires Roe’ to be upheld, he said.”
In truth, you see, Justice Hecht’s view of the separation of one’s “private views” from one’s public duties is of the essence of Protestantism. Consider the following quote from Martin Luther, found in Father Denis Fahey’s masterful The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:
“Assuredly, a prince can be a Christian, but it is not as a Christian that he ought to govern. As a ruler, he is not called a Christian, but a prince. The man is a Christian, but his function does not concern his religion.”
Martin Luther thus provided the blueprint for the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King as it was exercised in the Middle Ages by the Catholic Church and the rationale for the segregation of personal “beliefs” from one’s public duties. A Catholic can never justify either of these two abiding errors, both of which have are common to Protestantism and Freemasonry.
Pope Leo XIII put it this way in his 1885 encyclical letter, Immortale Dei:
“Further, it is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private life and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and never in the least point nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue.”
One of the great tragedies in the case of Harriet Miers, as is becoming evident from the press reporting on her life, is that she should have been familiar with the truths of the Catholic Faith. According to The New York Times, Miss Miers was “born” a Roman Catholic (yes, we know that no one is “born” a Catholic; one is born to the Faith in the baptismal font). Living in the midst of a pluralistic, religiously indifferentist nation, though, Miss Miers evidently had no grounding in the Faith. The Washington Post reported that she had attended Presbyterian and Episcopalian “churches” during her youth. There was an “emptiness” in her life as she approached the age of 40 or so that prompted Nathan Hecht to invite her to the Valley View Christian Church.
Miss Miers “conversion” to the heresies of evangelical Protestantism has resulted in a veritable hodgepodge of “views” that are mutually contradictory to each other. For example, the effort to portray her as a “sincere Christian” to “social conservatives” does not square with the fact that as late as 1999, as Joseph Farah reported on WorldNetDaily.com this week, she had prepared a report for the American Bar Association supporting the “right” of those steeped in unrepentant perversity to adopt children. Her support for women in combat and for the continuation of former President William Jefferson Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies concerning perverts in the military demonstrate that there is no coherency at all to her thought processes, something that is quite typical of those steeped in all of the logical absurdities spawned by the Protestant Revolt, not the least of which is the fact that over 33,000 different so-called “Christian” denominations have arisen since the lustful Augustinian monk named Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517.
Harriet Miers is every bit a victim of the Protestant Revolution’s rejection of the visible, hierarchical church founded by Our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, and the social confusion engendered in one nation after another as its all–too-logical and inevitable result.
Some will protest, saying that Article VI of the United States Constitution forbids any “religious test” for the holding of public office. What difference does it make that Miss Miers has abandoned the true Faith? She is not required to be Catholic to serve on the United States Supreme Court, right?
Well, you see, Article VI of the United States Constitution is one of the principal problems with the Constitution as it enshrines religious indifferentism by its refusal to require that holders of public office confess the true Faith. Once again, some will say that Article VI was meant to enfranchise Catholics at a time when they were disenfranchised in some states. True enough. Article VI, however, was also meant to enfranchise deists such as Thomas Jefferson, thereby leading directly and inexorably to the enshrinement of Protestant-Masonic notion that men of divergent beliefs could pursue the common good while leaving aside their “denominational” differences.
Pope Leo XIII put the lie to this in Immortale Dei.
“To hold therefore that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points, cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.”
Attempts to portray Harriet Miers, an evidently well-meaning but terribly confused product of Americanism, as a friend of Our Lord are thus pathetically founded in the essential premises of the Protestant Revolt.
Furthermore, it really does matter that Miss Miers has abandoned the true Faith. While we pray for her return to the true Church, there is almost nothing that pleases the devil more than snatching a baptized Catholic out of the true Faith, thereby robbing that soul of contact with the sacraments and a willingness to subordinate everything in his or her life to the entirety of the Deposit of Faith entrusted by Our Lord solely to the Catholic Church.
It is bad enough that allegedly practicing Catholics support the prevailing evils of the day while maintaining their “good standing” within the Church. It is worse yet that a soul leaves the true Church and is considered thus fit for public service and/or civic leadership. No one–and I mean no one–who has abandoned the true Faith (or who dissents from the articles contained in the Deposit of Faith) is entitled to our support as a holder of public office, whether elected or appointed. No such person has anything to offer public debate as his or her “ideas” are not founded in an acceptance of the immutable Social Teaching of the Catholic Church and thus the product of the individualism and absurd contradictions that characterize contemporary social “thought” and political praxis. This applies not only to Miss Miers. This applies to those who have abandoned the Faith to embrace the false religion known as Mormonism, founded by a Masonic confidence man, Joseph Smith. This applies also to presidential aspirants of third parties who have placed their souls in the grip of the devil by abandoning the sacramental life of the true Church into which they were baptized.
Harriet Miers is thus a case study in all of the principal errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church. An evidently earnest woman, searching for the “meaning of life,” has been deceived by a well-meaning friend to seek out Our Lord in “churches” that actually belong to the devil himself. How much of the “emptiness” she felt in her life as she approached thirty in 1975 was due to the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council is unknown. What can be stated with certainty, however, is the fact that the very errors of the Founding of this nation that had been embraced by the likes of Archbishop John Carroll and many of his successors helped to make baptized Catholics more and more susceptible to having their Faith undermined in a culture of pluralism and religious indifferentism. Orestes Brownson saw this so very clearly in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Harriet Miers is thus a case study of how a baptized Catholic can wind up to be in her adult life a veritable mass of mutually contradictory ideas and beliefs.
No one as seriously confused and conflicted as Harriet Miers is qualified to hold any public office, certainly not to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Finally, President George W. Bush’s efforts to defend Miss Miers in his press conference earlier this week were nothing short of laughable. His proclamation of himself as being a “pro-life” president demonstrates that he lives in a world of delusion, being reaffirmed in his delusions by his enablers, including a lot of prominent Catholics.
Mr. President, no one who supports one abortion under cover of law is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, no one who supports and funds the chemical abortions of preborn babies is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, no one who appoints those who support baby killing in all instances to governmental positions is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, no one who appoints such pro-abortion individuals as Michael Chertoff to a seat on a United States Circuit Court of Appeals (and then as Homeland Security Secretary), is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, no one who campaigns for pro-aborts in his own political party is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, no one who funds “limited” embryonic stem cell research is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, no president whose administration sends its Solicitor General to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States that a pro-life hero, Joseph Scheidler, is a “bandit” under the Hobbs Act for “interfering” with a “legitimate business,” baby-killing, is “pro-life.”
Mr. President, you are a pro-life fraud. You have been enabled by Catholic sycophants interested in their own access to the corridors of power and “places at the table.”
Once again, the only hope for this nation is for believing Catholics to proclaim the Social Reign of Christ the King without fear of the consequences and to make endless sacrifices for the proper consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart by a pope with all of the world’s bishops. The faithful fulfillment of Our Lady’s Fatima Message will bring about the end of the spreading of the errors of Russia, including all of the anti-Incarnational errors of all modern states, including the United States of America.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, pray for us.
Harriet Miers Withdraws
The withdrawal of White House Counsel Harriet Miers from consideration by the United States Senate to be confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is indeed welcome news. Miss Miers is clearly a very conflicted person, the product of all of the conflicting philosophies and religions that vie in the much-heralded “market place of ideas” in the cultural pluralism begotten by the devil and exploited by him for his evil purposes at every turn.
To wit, Howard Phillips, the Chairman of the Conservative Caucus Foundation, noted recently in his Howard Phillips Issues and Strategies Bulletin, that Miss Miers, who had abandoned Catholicism to join an evangelical sect (from which she recently broke away to join yet another sect, although she attends an Episcopal church on most Sundays when in Washington, D.C., as does her Methodist boss, President George W. Bush), donated to the political action committee of the law firm she managed in Dallas, Texas, that days later sent a donation to the Senatorial campaign of then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2000.
“On May 17, 2000, while Harriet Miers was managing the law firm of Locke Liddell from the firm’s Dallas office, she contributed $415 to the law firm’s political action committee. Federal Election Commission reports show that two days later, Locke Liddell’s PAC contributed $1,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate Campaign Committee. For an unexplained reason, Harriet Miers listed herself as a ‘self-employed attorney,’ according to the FEC Report on her 2000 contribution to the Locke Liddell PAC.”
How does one is who purported by her friends to be “privately” pro-life support Hillary Clinton for anything after having worked for a man, then Texas Governor George W. Bush who was running for the office, the Presidency of the United States, that his father held when he was defeated by Mrs. Clinton’s husband in 1992? Although she says that she had become a Republican to support Ronald Reagan in the 1990s, Phillips reported that Miss Miers gave donations in the 1990s to the campaigns of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. Miers’s confusion is such that she told an audience in 1993 that “reproductive freedom” was a matter of “individual self-determination” even though she had said in 1989 while running for the Dallas City Council that she was “pro-life.” Such contradictions defy all rational explanation. And that is precisely what happens in a world where Catholicism is only “one of many” beliefs in the “marketplace of ideas.” The irrationality of mutually contradictory ideas held by the same person becomes the norm, not the exception.
President George W. Bush does not recognize this as a flaw. Indeed, he shares Miss Miers’s fundamentally conflicted nature, which is probably one of the reasons for his great admiration of her. Bush demonstrated his own irrationality quite specifically when Dr. Alan Keyes pressed him in a televised debate in December of 1999 as to how he could explain saying that he, Bush, was pro-life while he supported abortion in cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to a mother’s life.
Peeved at being asked to explain this inconsistency, Bush smirked and said, “I can’t explain it. It’s just how I feel.”
As I have noted in earlier commentaries on the Miers nomination, Protestantism gives rise to theological relativism and religious indifferentism as the prevailing norms of civil society. Judeo-Masonry built on the foundation laid by the Protestant Revolt, cementing it by the use of various slogans, most notably “freedom of religion,” the false principle enshrined in Article VI and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Harriet Miers is simply a case study in the confusion of a world steeped in the confusion sewn by hell over the course of the past 500 years.
All of this having been reiterated for the umpteenth time, it is important to take note of the tremendous posturing going on in the aftermath of Miss Miers’s withdrawal on Thursday, October 27, 2005.
Senators from both major political parties were very publicly critical of Harriet Miers’s grasp of constitutional law in the three weeks between the time of her nomination on October 3, 2005, and her withdrawal twenty-four days later. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said that Miers was going to need a “crash course in constitutional law” before she could perform adequately during her confirmation hearings. Both Specter and his equally reprehensible fellow pro-abort, Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Miers on Wednesday, October 17, 2005, asking her to redo the questionnaire that the committee had sent her to complete, stating her answers were incomplete and, at times, insulting.
Lo and behold, however, Specter was among the first on October 27, 2005, to call Miers’s withdrawal “disgraceful,” blaming the “radical right” for poisoning the atmosphere of a nomination that many senators were saying privately was in trouble purely on the grounds of her lack of knowledge of constitutional issues.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said from the floor of the United States Senate that President Bush had caved in to the pressures brought by hard-core conservatives. Senator Charles Schumer, who I would have had the opportunity to debate had I won my 1998 Right to Life Party primary against then Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, told President Bush to “take his time” and “get it right” before sending another nomination to the Senate to replace Ronald Reagan’s first appointee to the Court, Sandra Day O’Connor.
There is a purpose to all of this posturing and preening on the part of pro-abortion senators: they are disingenuously blaming “the radical right” for Miers’s withdrawal despite their own conviction that she was simply not qualified to serve on the Court because they are sending a shot across the bow, warning Bush not to nominate someone who would be viewed “favorably” by the “radical right.” It is all posturing and preening signifying nothing.
Bush is also posturing. Miers claimed that she was withdrawing her nomination so as to avoid a “constitutional crisis” that might erupt as a result of the White House’s refusal to release documents related to her work for the President. Miers further claimed that she was upholding the doctrine of executive privilege by withdrawing her nomination. Of course. Miss Miers’s withdrawal had nothing to do with the fact that there was a groundswell of opposition to her in the Senate and that she could not adequately complete the questionnaire that had been sent to her. Sure.
It is probably the case that Bush and his people, preoccupied with the investigation into the leak of Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame’s name to the media by someone in the White House, either Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or Vice Presidential now indicted and freshly resigned Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Jr., did not want to release documents about Miers’s views on the torture of prisoners in the “war on terrorism” and her support of women in combat and related issues.
More to the point, though, is the fact that Bush had been told by senators that the Miers nomination was not going to fly, thus necessitating him to find some sanctimoniously righteous cover under which he could veil the truth and pretend to be defending the constitutional rights of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
A constitutional system that admits of no higher authority than the words of the synthetic document under which it operates will always be the prisoner of narcissistic careerists who preen and posture in order to obfuscate the truth and to promote agendas contrary to the actual common good of a country and to the eternal good of souls. It is thus important as we approach the Feast of the Universal Kingship of Jesus Christ this Sunday, October 30, to remember that those who ignore the rights of Our Lord to reign as King of societies through His true Church will be consigned to the dustbin of history as blind fools unable to see natural truths clearly, no less maintain steadfast fidelity to the Deposit of Faith that has been entrusted solely to the Catholic Church.