Thirty Years of Indifference |
Congress is ready to reconvene and not far away in Washington the Bishops are meeting this week. Will it make any difference? After three decades of indifference don't hold your breath. The only way for the climate to change is for the Bishops to enforce Canon Law, excommunicate pro-abort politicians and the faithful to fight fire with the fire of Catholic truth!
"We do not live in the shadow of the Cross. A secularized society exerts a great influence on those who live within it, including Catholics, who come to think over the course of time that there is some nondenominational or interdenominational way to fight the killing of babies once and for all. There is not. We cannot fight secularism with secularism. We can only fight secularism with Catholicism."
"All that it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke's observation is as applicable to our society at the beginning of the third millennium of the Faith as it was when he made it first over two hundred years ago. Burke, although not a Catholic, knew in his own day that indifference to evil bred a multiplicity of social ills. Sadly, we have failed to learn the lessons of indifference in this most bloody century in the annals of human history.
Indifference causes otherwise "good Catholics" to see little relationship between their spiritual lives and social order. Many Catholics in the United States have been convinced by the media and the neo-pagan intelligentsia, as well as by their local parish priests and teachers at all levels of Catholic education, that there is no ultimate truth which binds the consciences of all people at all times in all circumstances. We are told that it is somehow intolerant and bigoted to attempt to "impose" Catholic teaching upon people living in a pluralistic society.
It is no "imposition" of anything upon anyone to attempt to challenge our fellow citizens with the truth. Every baptized Catholic has the obligation to have an apostolic zeal for souls. The people we attempt to evangelize are free to reject what it is we have to say, but we have been baptized and confirmed to bear witness to the truth. Our obligation to bear witness to the truth is not lessened by the likelihood that our message will be rejected. Our Lord Himself was hated by the Jews because He proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah, something they were not ready to accept as they had conceived of the Promised One as a political leader, not one who would liberate them by the power of sin and eternal death. Persecutions beset the early Church for over three centuries because our spiritual ancestors took the words and actions of Christ seriously.
Yet we find that most public opinion polls reveal the fact that the vast majority of even weekly Mass attendees accept the unspeakable crime of abortion. There is apparently little urgency felt by most Catholics in this country to stand up in defense of the sanctity of innocent preborn human life. This indifference finds us in a situation which, humanly speaking, can be described as catastrophic--and getting worse.
The crime of legalized abortion remains with us as a blight on our national conscience because too many people have done nothing for the past thirty years. Indeed, although abortion-on-demand began in California under then Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1967, most states permitted abortions under certain conditions. One of the ways we got abortion-on-demand on a state-by-state basis prior to Roe v. Wade was that baby-killing pioneer Bill Baird and cohorts Bernard Nathanson and Lawrence Laeder, along with various leaders of Planned Parenthood, argued that it was unfair for only the rich and the famous to be able to have access to abortions. All women have the right to "control their own bodies." Indeed, Baird went to jail in the 1960s in his veritable crusade for full-scale abortion on demand.
As I have noted on many occasions in the past twenty years of speaking and writing about the issue of the sanctity of innocent human life, Roe v. Wade did not simply occur suddenly. In mere constitutional terms, it was the logical progression of a series of decisions rendered by the United States Supreme Court, including the infamous Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 (which struck down a Connecticut statute banning the sale of contraceptives to married couples; Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972 struck down a law in Massachusetts that banned the sale of contraceptives to unmarried persons). Six of the seven justices who voted in favor of the decision in Roe, a case that had to be argued before the court two times, wanted to "move" the court on what was considered to be an important matter in social progress. The seventh justice, Chief Justice Warren Burger, switched his vote from the minority to the majority in Roe for a purely utilitarian reason: although opposed to Roe, Burger wanted to use his prerogatives as chief justice to assign the writing of the Court's opinion in the case, steering that assignment away from Associate Justice William O. Douglas to Associate Justice Harry Blackman, an appointee of President Richard M. Nixon's.
The killing of innocent preborn babies under cover of law, however, is more than a mere matter of constitutional history and/or interpretation. It is the natural result of the long progression of diverse but related forces that began to erode and then eclipse the Catholic Church in the life of men and their nations, starting with the Renaissance, expediting with the Protestant Revolt, and coming to fruition with the rise of Freemasonry, the birth of the modern secular state, and the advent of the ideology of hatred so typified by the French Revolution (and the various revolutions in Mexico, Italy, Russia, and China). I discussed this at great length in "From Luther to Clinton to Gore" in the late-December/early January 2000-2001 issue of Christ or Chaos. The specific manifestations of these forces in the life of the United States of America have been discussed in "To Mine for True Riches" in the July 1999 issue of Christ or Chaos and
"So Wrong for So Long" in the expanded, three-month issue I published in July of this year.
Suffice to say by way of summary, the Renaissance gave us the rebirth of secularism and relativism. Martin Luther and those who followed him overthrew quite consciously the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as an expression of his disbelief that Our Lord ever founded a visible, hierarchical society known as the Church, and that paved the way for the triumph of absolutism-both on the part of individual rulers and allegedly "representative" majorities--in Europe and around the world. Protestantism's elimination of Apostolic Tradition as a source of Divine Revelation left its adherents with only Sacred Scripture, which they were free to interpret individually, leading to the triumph of theological relativism and the radical deconstructionism practiced by modern Scripture scholars in the past 140 years. And if people felt free to empty the plain words of Scripture of their meaning in a display of heady individualism, then why can't any document have the words contained within it be emptied of their meaning to suit the fancies and the fads and the ideological proclivities of any given moment, including governmental constitutions? In other words, abortion-on-demand in this country and around the world is the result of the overthrow of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ, the systematic and planned de-Catholicization of the world, and the influence of these nefarious events upon Catholic theologians and liturgists wedded to Modernism.
We do not live in the shadow of the Cross. A secularized society exerts a great influence on those who live within it, including Catholics, who come to think over the course of time that there is some nondenominational or interdenominational way to fight the killing of babies once and for all. There is not. We cannot fight secularism with secularism. We can only fight secularism with Catholicism.
As a result of secularism, however, the birth of little children--the natural consequence of human conjugal relations--is considered today to be somehow unnatural if "conditions" are not right. Indeed, the little child is to be hated for having the temerity to be conceived. This hatred of humanity, which is an expression of the hatred for the fact that human beings bear within them the Divine impress and have been redeemed by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood (which is the ultimate source of all human dignity), extends to those already born who are considered to be "imperfect," "unwanted," "inconvenient," or "useless." A man, who used the title of "doctor" in Michigan for many years until being put in jail for murder, was taken seriously for his participation in "arranging" "suicides." Far more dangerous than Jack Kevorkian, however, have been and continue to be physicians in white coats who kill people in hospitals for a variety of utilitarian reasons.
Yes, we are to blame for the continuation of the crime of abortion--and its institutionalization as an accepted fact of American life in these last three decades. Two entire generations of young people have grown up believing that abortion is legitimate. Yet a third generation is already on the road to full indoctrination into the cult of pagan self-worship which characterizes public education (right from primary school through graduate programs). We have done very little to demand that the glorification of immorality be stopped once and for all in this society. Instead, we have tended to trust career politicians who say they are pro-life, but who absolutely noting to advance the cause of the sanctity of innocent human precisely because they are not what they are appear to be. These career politicians, looked upon by some well meaning pro-life Americans as champions of their cause, are actually pro-aborts who support the killing of innocent preborn children in some circumstances. They are not pro-life, simply less pro-abortion than other politicians, something I have been trying to hammer home for a long time now. Thus, we stand by as the glorification of sin continues to make advances in every aspect of our law, government, education, entertainment, and popular consciousness.
As I noted all the time, it is one thing to sin. All of us are sinners. It is quite another, however, to justify sin as somehow socially necessary. No sin is ever necessary. Sin is what caused Our Lord to suffer a bloody death on the stinkhole known as Golgotha. Sin is what wounds Christ's Mystical Body today. Sin is what makes each of us less capable of shining forth the love and the mercy of God in our own daily lives. Sin is at the root of all social problems. We cannot even begin to address the national economic debt until we address the debt we owe God because of our sins--and our apathetic indifference to sin.
Sin is no laughing matter. Indifference to sin--and all of the evil consequences which flow from each sinful choice--is the route to personal and societal ruin. "Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it." Perhaps it would be good for us to read the first chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (particularly verses 18-32, included in my piece, "Ashamed of Christ and His Doctrine Before Jews"). This society bears a striking similarity to that of ancient Rome, an "advanced" civilization that collapsed because of rampant immorality.
Indifference to sin, however, is but the natural rotten fruit of indifference to Christ the King, an indifference that has been fostered even in the highest quarters of the Church in the past forty years. As Pope Pius XI noted in Quas Primas in 1925, Our Lord and His Church have been cast out of modern societies in an organized and systematic manner. Respect for things sacred is almost nonexistent. It is when a society loses respect for God that respect for physical life begins to wane. Why should a person respect a fellow human being--born or unborn--if he does not recognize in that person the very image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity, if he does not stand daily by the foot of the Cross from which we take our very identity?
Disrespect for God is expressed very boldly these days. The same God-Man Whose Sacred Humanity was crushed and beaten before being nailed to the Holy Cross has been profaned and subjected to sacrilege in His Real Presence in the Eucharist. Members of ACT-UP and WHAM, militant homosexual and lesbian groups, deliberately crushed the Body of Our Lord on December 10, 1989, in order to demonstrated their hatred for Him and His Holy Church. Two disk jockeys in New York planned their own unspeakable sacrilege at Saint Patrick's on August 15 of this very year. A Catholic cardinal spends $200 million on a monstrosity of a cathedral designed to be testament to man, not Our Lord. Pro-abortion Catholics are praised by bishops and priests during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Are Catholics outraged by these things? Do Catholics make acts of reparation for these offenses to Our Eucharistic King?
Abortion, as horrible as it is, is only the symptom of a much deeper sickness pervading our society: the loss of respect for eternal life! It is an indifference to the life of grace in the soul which deadens consciences, darkens intellects, weakens wills--and reassures confused people that we live in a "new age" of human history wherein the "superstitions"of Catholicism must be seen as impediments for the development of the mature, responsible, fully conscious human being.
The way to overcome this spiritual indifference is to light a fire on the face of the earth: the fire of Christ's burning love for each person. Each of us must be aware of our need to undergo a daily metanoia of spirit that moves us away from sin and towards Christ and His Holy Church. Each of us must be aware of our responsibility to pray for all of those who have had abortions, for those who support, approve or condone abortion, for those who perform abortions--and for those in public life who serve as the apologists of evil under the guise of "enlightened public policy." We must make acts of reparation for abortion--and for our own complicity in abortion by our indifference, inaction, and inattentiveness to our own spiritual lives. And we must pray for an end to the chemical abortions caused by contraception, recognizing in it an abject denial of the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations and the phenomenon that leads directly to the destabilization of families and to surgical abortions themselves.
Mind you, although the scourge of sex-instruction and contraception and abortion are not going to end until we plant the seeds the Catholicization of our world, something that may never happen. However, we must believe that Our Lord expects us to have the apostolic zeal of the Apostles themselves, who were faithful to the mission Our Lord had entrusted to them without looking for success.
Indeed, twelve men were able to go out into a hostile world two thousand years ago to spread the Gospel of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Armed only with the teaching they had received from Christ Himself--and the Sacraments they had been chosen to administer, they changed the face of the world. Twelve men! Imagine what sixty-two million Catholics could do in this country if we took our faith seriously! We could blaze a path for Christ and His Holy Church which would literally change the face of the United States and the world. Indifference would become concern. Lukewarmness would give way to fervor. Darkness would be replaced by Light. Death would be swallowed up by Life Himself. Hatred would be overcome by the profundity of Love Incarnate.
This does not mean that we stand by passively while babies are being killed. No, there are many concrete things that can must be done right here in the midst of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
1) We must seek to catechize our fellow Catholics about the urgency of rejection contraception and abortion.
2) We must continue our presence, both physical and spiritual, in front of the baby-killing centers. Some might be called to be the pro-active sidewalk counselors in the mode of Joseph Scheidler. Others might feel called simply to pray the Rosary in front of the killing centers. Yet others are following the plan of action of an organization known as Life Dynamics, showing the graphic effects of abortion on the innocent preborn out in the open in our nation's cities. And there are many thousands of wonderful people who have devoted their lives to volunteering in Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
3) The agenda of Planned Parenthood and related organizations must be exposed at every turn. American Life League and its STOPP affiliate organization have done much to educate people about the true facts surrounding Planned Parenthood.
4) All forms of sex-instruction, including so-called chastity-based sex-education, must cease. They help to serve as inducements to sin, to breakdown the natural innocence and purity of children, to get teenagers used to talking in the most crude and casual terms about that which should be discussed only in private and in the most delicate terms (as Pope Pius XI noted in Divini Illius Magistri in 1929). The work of Randy Engel and of Judith Ammenhauser's Mothers' Watch should be supported vigorously.
4) We can no longer accept minimalism from allegedly pro-life politicians. Regardless of the results, more and more pro-life citizens must cast votes only for candidates for public office who are completely pro-life. As Howard Phillips has written recently, not a single life has been saved in over thirty years of political maneuvers designed to hoodwink pro-life Americans into believing that "progress" has been made. It must be recognized that the National Right to Life Committee and its state affiliates, each of which support abortion in cases where it is alleged that a mother's life is endangered by a pregnancy, and the Republican Party are not the friends of life. And we must remember as Catholics that we use the political avenues available to us to speak authentically as Catholics, trusting in Our Lady to use the fruit of our fidelity to help win converts for her Son and His Holy Church. (This is something I addressed in my piece on Cardinal Egan, "No Room for Christ at Saint Patrick's.)
5) The Church herself must excommunicate all pro-abortion politicians. She must remove dissenters from positions of influence in chancery offices and at all levels of Catholic education. The Holy Father must establish a Personal Prelature or Apostolic Administration to permanently protect the Traditional Latin Mass, which most fittingly gives God the honor that is his due and prepares souls to do combat with the forces of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, not reaffirm those forces within the Mass.
We must be willing to spend much time on our knees before the Prisoner of the Tabernacle, Who became man for our salvation by first being the Prisoner of Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb. We must spread a deep and tender devotion to the Mother of the Church who gave birth to us spiritually as adopted children of God at the foot of the Cross. We must accuse ourselves frequently in the Sacrament of Penance, the hospital of Divine Mercy, in order to be cleansed of all of own sins and selfishness. And we must be willing to put ourselves on the line--in many and varied ways--to spread a respect for eternal life which will result in a profound respect for physical life from the moment of conception until natural death.
The past thirty years of indifference need not characterize our future. We can change the world by the grace of God. We can make the United States a Catholic nation. We can help restore all things in Christ if we consecrate ourselves totally to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and work daily to fulfill her Fatima requests.
What are we waiting for?
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives
November 13, 2002
volume 13, no. 135
CHRIST or chaos