If President George Walker Bush has done anything in the first six months of his presidency it is the fact he has raised the bar of moral awareness. It doesn't mean America has learned from it, but it at least is better than the alternative when William Jefferson Clinton was in office for those turpitudious eight years.
In the aftermath of Bush's vanilla decision to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research of existing lines only, there has been reaction from all sides. Most of it is political, but much of it is cleverly disguised as moral outrage that Bush would even allow that. This moral outrage comes from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In Dr. Frank Joseph's column The Bishops' righteousness rings hollow! he puts in perspective the pharisaical tone of their response. He points out that their silence before this is what has caused Bush to be forced into such a Solomonic decision. In that same vein Judie Brown, the solid Catholic head of American Life League, stated, "Countless millions of real human persons will lose their lives as a direct consequence of President Bush's decision to authorize federal funding for stem cell research. Bush was aiming for a Solomon image, but came closer to looking like Salome. Basically, his decision says, 'if babies are already dead, the U.S. has no problem funding research on their body parts.' By refusing to stand firm on his previously stated principles, President Bush has stepped aside and cleared the path for those who demand unrestricted freedom to dissect and discard the tiniest and most vulnerable of our fellow human beings."
Pretty strong, but right on. We are very disappointed President Bush didn't stand his ground. Many thought he would after meeting with the Pope last month. But appearances can be deceiving. Never forget this is a politician. Never forget what happens when we place our trust in man rather than totally on God and the rightful ruler of us all - the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Back in May we ran a column by Dr. Tom Droleskey on the National Right to Life Committee that was not flattering to the organization that supposedly stood for the culture of life. We got flak for the piece but stand by it and Tom's facts were confirmed this week when NRLC came out praising Bush for his decision, failing to realize the pandora's box it opens. Dr. Alan Keyes nailed it minutes after Bush's nationally televised speech from Crawford, Texas. Appearing on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes immediately after Bush had announced to the nation his decision, Keyes didn't mince words.
"It's in the nature of granting a reprieve to the innocent. Since we're doing that I think that it's a good thing that we're not going to kill embryos today. I guess I was disappointed because the rationale for that decision, in spite of all the language about agonizing and so forth wasn't clear. And I think it's very clear. This actually is a very simple and straight forward moral issue. He [Bush] didn't even try. I think he made a decision which he thinks is going to help him survive politically. But the clear case is very simple. Even if there are benefits from killing the innocent, we don't have the right to derive those benefits in that fashion. And that is as simple as that. I don't care that at the death camps at Auschwitz some doctor thought he was going to help cure dysentery by doing experiments on the inmates at the death camps. That evil cannot be justified for the common good.
"It seems to me we fight one battle at a time and the battle I would like to see fought right now is to clearly establish the principle that we still respect the Declaration of Independence, that we are, all of us, created equal, that some scientific board does not get to decide and impose its view of inequality based on whatever benefits we think we can derive from where the line is drawn. In the past when human self interest is put in competition with principle in that fashion, principle ends up losing. I think unfortunately what the president did tonight was put principle on the pathway to extinction, just as in the 19th century our founders hoped to put slavery on the course of extinction, but unfortunately it was revived by economics...
"Look at the speech as a whole which goes into a whole bunch of stuff about the benefits that, at the moment, are questionable. So what do you do? You allow research based on the fruit of the poison tree to continue so that scientists can be given the opportunity to do what? To prove that these lines of research will be fruitful that pressure can build against the principle of respect life.
"When we say 'existing lines' that includes lines that are the result of the destruction of embryos. That's what I mean by the fruit of the poison tree. The tree is poison. You eat the fruit and you have already accepted the violation of principle. And that means that basically what he has done is not only leave the door open, but inviting the possibility that fruitfulness from those lines of research will actually arm those who are trying to destroy the principle.
"I'm about principle. What I see in this decision is a willingness to eat the fruit of principles that have been destroyed rather than to stand firm against the violation of those principles."
Dr. Keyes has put his finger on the causes and effects of the moral morass our country, yea, our world and our Church is in today. It all began with the fruit of another tree - the one in the garden of Eden. Once Eve, and then Adam had been lured by the 'promise' of what that forbidden fruit could bring, we were all 'poisoned' with the stain of Original Sin. The venom of sin strikes deep in the soul and the only antidote is the Sacrament of Baptism and then staying in the state of sanctifying grace.
Yet it is not that easy for even though Jesus reminded us that we are not of this world, only in it, and that we will be persecuted because He was, we still think we have a better idea. Like most poisons that eat away and kill, we do not heed the warning signs. Popes since Saint Peter have warned us and yet we turn a deaf ear. The evils of humanism were outlined clearly, but the people as a whole refused to listen, Rome was not strong enough to keep its own house in order, and the resulting effect was the Protestant Reformation. Rome regrouped and the counter-reformation was created that produced great fruits.
In ensuing centuries Sovereign Pontiffs warned of 'equality, liberty and fraternity' and the populace disregarded their warnings. The result: the French Revolution. In the 19th century Pope Pius IX warned all of the dangers of modernism and freemasonry. Few heeded his omen. Pope Leo XIII echoed the same and warned of another danger on the horizon - communism. He went so far as to compose a prayer to stave off this deadly curse. It was after a vision he was blessed to have that included Saint Michael the Archangel and his eternal nemesis lucifer. Leo mandated that the Prayer to St. Michael be said after every Mass by the priest and faithful. Pope Saint Pius X reinforced this and placed a greater emphasis on the infallible antidote to sin - the Holy Eucharist. Pope Pius XI commanded every priest and bishop to take the Oath Against Modernism. Pope Pius XII ensured that these were all carried out by the clergy and the faithful.
Yet there were those who dismissed these necessities in favor of their own ideas. With the death of Pius they came to the surface. It was Pope John XXIII's rationale to allow these views to be aired in a spirit of love and trust of everyone. Just a little bit of dissent wouldn't hurt. Opening the door for dialogue so opposing views could be discussed and considered couldn't harm anything. Aggioriomento it was called and the result was a sacking of the one moral authority that could hold these 'isms' in check, could stand for principle above all others. However, once they ate of the poison fruit they envisioned they were immune and could do anything they wanted. Unwisely Pope Paul VI followed this warped thinking, listening to the luciferian ideas of his most trusted confidants in Jean Cardinal Villot and Annibale Cardinal Bugnini, both modernists, both masons, both communists who worked closely with then Archbishop Agostino Casaroli to undermine the Church by making a pact with the communists. It was through Casaroli that the Catholics of Hungary were sold out to the Soviets. It was Casaroli, who would be made cardinal in 1979, who was appointed the chief of Vatican delegations to the UN and approved the unprincipled dictates of that corrupt body. Even when Paul VI was warned of the dangers of Bugnini's illicit Novus Ordo by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Antonio Cardinal Bacci, (see Ottaviani Intervention) Paul still thought it would be okay as long as there were safeguards in place to prevent abuse.
Thirty two years later we've seen plenty of abuse. Too much. The Church of our grandparents is unrecognizable. The Church has relaxed its moral stance where it is merely a paper tiger today. Oh, Pope John Paul II will speak out against travesties and for life. But it is mere words, not backed by his bishops - the men he appointed. They speak out only when it is politically expedient to them, when there is no fear of reprisal. And, because the Holy Father fails to call them to task for their permissiveness and lack of staunch vigilance, they continue unabated. In the past we pleaded for the Pope to bring the American bishops in line, but after the results of his confrontation with the German bishops in which, after he harshly rebuked them, he rewarded two of the worst offenders with positions that threaten to further demolish the Church and even made them cardinals! That would be Walter Cardinal Kasper and Karl Cardinal Lehmann, both progressivists intent on weakening the Petrine Papacy; both are committed to compromising the Faith in favor of ecumenism with the Protestants. These are just more obvious and undeniable indicators that if you leave the door open just a bit, all hell will break loose!
Do you think it will be any different when we are told that embryo stem cell research will only be used on existing lines? What happens when those are exhausted? Will they just close shop, or will they
find other excuses to continue and rationalize using more human embryos that just happened to have been killed after Bush's announcement. It's not about science and research, it's about money. It's about playing God. Didn't we learn from the grave error of our first parents? One cannot eat of the fruit of the poison tree and not be poisoned. Despite the various voices praising Bush for putting such an emphasis on the moral repercussions, Keyes is right. "The tree is poison. You eat the fruit and you have already accepted the violation of principle."
It's only a matter of time before the serpent wraps his coils tighter around our souls. It has happened in our Church, it has happened in our country. It's all part and parcel of the cause and effects of rationalizing and holding out false promise. Satan is a master at that. It's called the art of compromise!