DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     June 17, 1999     vol. 10, no. 117

Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
    INTRODUCTION
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat addresses the problems that arise when governments throw God out with the bathwater in favor of trying to please the devil by rewording constitutions so as not to offend the minority of atheists. He shows that when man writes laws to please man, they become a jungle of discord where only the fittest survive, but when man writes laws inspired by God they remain on our hearts through love for the Almighty and all He has promised. Without God's Laws we become an anarchy - a crazy life going nowhere - la vida loca!

The Law and God

          "Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." - (G.K. Chesterton: Christendom in Dublin, 1933)

          A move is underway to remove God from the Canadian Constitution. That Canada is a nation under God's guidance is to be removed in deference to those who do not believe in Christianity (As though God specifically refers to Christianity). Instead, say it's supporters, it should read that they are nation under the law, thus assuring safety and freedom for all Canadians. For some, this may seem understandable and acceptable, but it's really a very dangerous step further away from God, from freedom and safety.

          That this is occurring shouldn't come as a surprise. God has been systematically removed from all aspects of life since the French Revolution and the dawning of the Age of Reason. Some point to the Renaissance as the point were man began to remove God from life and science. The reality is that it occurred when the French revolutionaries drove the Bishop of Paris out and placed a prostitute on his 'throne' as the 'Queen of Wisdom'. Ever since, this earthly 'wisdom' has, indeed, prostituted itself.

          Voltaire wrote that if God did not exist, we'd have to invent Him. And that is precisely what many say we did. Christ didn't feed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. No, He got the people to share. He didn't drive demons out of people, rather, He treated their epilepsy or mental disorder. (What is fascinating about this is that the people of the day knew what epilepsy was and considered it a blessing of God. Julius Caesar suffered from it.)

          Science, since then, has bent over backward to show that there is no God. Darwin showed (?) that we weren't created, but rather 'evolved'. No God, just chance. The survival of the fittest. Obviously then, if human life is by mere chance, there is no value in it. Is the Eyohyppus really the ancestor of the horse or just a 'horse like' creature now extinct?

          Dr. Charles Spivak, appearing on EWTN's "Journey Home", used this analogy. If scientists came upon a beautiful cabin home in the middle of the wilderness, they would begin to explain how it came about naturally. How falling trees and climatic conditions made the walls. How winds blew dirt and rain to make the wattle between the logs, sealing them together and keeping the elements from entering. Etc.

          In schools throughout the world, it can't even be mentioned that evolution may not be the answer. Yet, there are a large number of scientists who realize that the Universe (like the cabin) shows signs of an intelligence, planned and made. One reason they give is that the time frame we use isn't long enough for 'chance' to come into play. Things fit too well and work perfectly. Hardly what one would find in something which came about purely by chance. However, if we are chance, if we are nothing more than just clever animals, then we can act as such. Survival of the fittest.

          In the realm of national politics, it may seem alright to 'just' live by law. However, with God, that law is 'subordinate' to a higher authority. By and large, every religion believes in God that is kind, compassionate, merciful. A God by which our laws must refer. What are our laws, after all, but the human extention of the Ten Commandments? Wasn't the American Constitution based on the premise that all men are 'created' equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights? If God is removed, who becomes the 'arbitrator' of what is just and right?

          We've had our example. The Constitution of the old Soviet Union was very similar to the Constitution of the United States, with one exception. No mention of God. It was, in fact, based on the rule of law with the State being the arbitrator of what is just and right. In order not to 'offend' anyone, to foster a sense of unity, they called each other comrade (the French revolutionaries called each other citizen). In both cases numerous atrocities were committed 'under the law' and under the 'age of reason'. Consider that it was 'lawful' to enslave blacks in the pre-Civil War United States. It was 'lawful' in Nazi Germany to confiscate Jewish property, and to exterminate them and any other 'undesirable' in Germany (the terminally ill, the handicapped, etc.). Anyone in the Soviet Union who protested was sent to psychiatric hospitals (or gulags) for treatement (sensitivity training?) since they were obviously deranged and not 'thinking' correctly. And need we remind everyone that it is 'lawful' to abort an unborn child for no more reason than it hampers it's mother's lifestyle.

          Yes, life under a system of law only has been a great success. The novel "Lord of the Flies" is a great example of how society degenerates when God is removed. Just as a boy's choir degenerates into a savage society without the guidance of an adult, so too society degenerates without the 'guidance' of God. We don't need to rely on a novel to see that this is true. Haven't we seen what happens to a child when no adult, no parent, takes an active part in guiding them? According to 'their' law, they are not doing anything wrong, though what they do may (and will) hurt those who oppose them or get in their way.

          "… what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man" (Matthew 15:18-20).

          These things Christ mentions are 'natural' for mankind. Instead of the law of God, we go to the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest. How can the 'law' of God be written in our hearts if we cannot know of God? St. Paul wrote about this: "if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, wrought in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died; the very commandment which promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and by it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good" (Romans 7:7-12).

          St. Paul alludes to the fact that apart from God, the law governs us, and without the law there is no crime. If we live by the law we are subject to punishment according to the law. Yet, with Christ, with God, we transcend the law by writing the law in our hearts. Living according to the law, not for fear of punishment, but for fear of hurting God. A child, for example, without guidance, without 'parental' law can and will grow out of control, according to his own wants and desires. A 'law' unto himself. A child who follows his parent's 'law' for fear of punishment grows, but longs for and seeks ways to escape that law. But a child who follows his parents 'law' for fear of hurting his parents, he writes that law in his heart. He grows strong, able to withstand the pressure of peers.

          So when we live by 'God's law', written in our hearts, fearing to hurt and disappoint Him, we grow strong, able to withstand the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the times) that call us to seek self gratification first. However, without that 'guidance' we become a law unto ourselves.

          "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full…..You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15: 10-11; 14-15).

          Life, without God, is valueless. Laws, without God, are valueless. Without God, we become, godless, soulless, and lifeless. We live, not as we should, but as we want. And instead of truly living, we truly die. "None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license." (John Milton; "Tenure of Kings and Magistrates")

          "The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man" -(G. K. Chesterton; Chapter 19, What I Saw In America, 1922 ).

      Pax Christi, Pat

June 17, 1999       volume 10, no. 117
VIEW FROM THE PEW

DAILY CATHOLIC

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