|Always Fighting the Same Battles|
Thomas Droleskey, Ph.D.
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, California|
The GOP and the Stem Cell Battle
The following editorial appeared in a newspaper on March 22, 1931, shortly after the Lambeth Committee of the Anglican “church” endorsed the use of a certain type of contraceptive device by married couples who found themselves in “extraordinary” circumstances:
It is impossible to reconcile the doctrine of the divine institution of marriage with any modernistic plan for the mechanical regulation of human birth. The church must either reject the plain teachings of the Bible or reject schemes for the “scientific” production of human souls. Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee’s report if carried into effect would lead to the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution, by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be “careful and restrained” is preposterous.
This editorial, which appeared in The Washington Post, believe it or not, predicted quite accurately the trajectory of defying God’s injunction to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” “Legalized” contraception would lead to immorality, divorce, the abandonment of children, promiscuity, and the perverse violation of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. Ultimately, as we have seen in the past three decades, the use of devices and pills to avoid the conception of children as the natural fruit of conjugal intimacy has led to the artificial conception of children by means of in vitro fertilization. The process of creating children artificially has resulted in the freezing of countless millions of fertilized human embryos, many of whom have been killed so as to harvest their stem cells for purposes of medical “research” and transplantation into people suffering from different maladies, especially Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
The existence of so many millions of frozen human beings prompted President George W. Bush to decide on August 9, 2001, to authorize the use of Federal funds for stem cell research on stem cell “lines” created before 9:00 P.M.., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, on that day. Praising the immoral practice of in vitro fertilization as necessary to help infertile couples conceive a child, Bush explained in a nationally televised address that the “embryos” from which the stem cell lines had been derived had long since been destroyed.
The use of Federal funds for purposes of experimenting on the already created stem cell lines, Bush claimed, would involve the destruction of no other human beings, which was a misleading claim as the ban on the use of Federal funds on stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001, did not prohibit the use of other funds (state governments, university research programs, private and corporation foundations) to kill embryonic human beings in order to harvest their stem cells. Indeed, I wrote an article immediately after the President’s speech in 2001 to state that it was indeed preposterous to think that one could limit the use of Federal funds on an immoral enterprise once their use was admitted on a “limited” basis. Our emotion-based culture, the fruit of the ethos of Protestantism and the secularism it helped to engender in the world, never accepts limits on experimentations that hold out the illusory promise of curing various physical maladies.
As was thoroughly predictable, emotionally based appeals continued to be made after the President announced his amoral decision on August 9, 2001. The late Christopher Reeve appealed to Congress to expand the use of Federal funds so as to help paralytics such as himself. The actress Mary Tyler Moore did so to help diabetics such as herself. The actor Michael J. Fox testified before Congress to expand Federal funding of stem-cell research so as to benefit those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, such as himself. And Nancy Reagan and her son, Ronald Reagan, Jr., have appealed endlessly for the expansion of Federal funding for stem-cell research to help those who suffer from Alzeheimer’s disease, such as the late President Ronald Wilson Reagan. A country that does not recognize the Sovereignty of Christ the King as it should be exercised by Holy Mother Church must descend inexorably into the abyss of emotion and illogic as it begins to mirror the barbaric practices of the Weimar Republic and its successor, the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler.
Thus, it should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone possessed of an ounce of the sensus Catholicus to find ourselves in a situation where supposedly “pro-life” legislators in both houses of the United States Congress are supporting a bill to expand the funding of embryonic stem-cell research. In other words, supposedly “pro-life” legislators are supporting a bill that involves the destruction of fertilized human beings for the harvesting of their stem cells. This is one of the many reasons that no sober person could rejoice in the results of the 2004 elections. As most of the supposedly “pro-life” candidates elected to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate make exceptions to the inviolability of innocent human life in the womb, it defied all logic and reason to expect such individuals to comprehend the immorality of actions that are contrary to God’s immutable laws. That is, those who believe that there are conditions under which innocent human beings may be killed licitly by means of surgical and/or chemical abortions are incapable of comprehending why in vitro fertilization is immoral of its very nature and why it is wrong to kill embryonic human beings to “help” others in need. “Conservative” Americans thus find themselves fighting the same battles over and over again: trying to convince their supposed friends not to do things that are diametrically opposed to the seemingly pro-life rhetoric espoused during campaigns.
President Bush is now pondering a veto of the legislation that has passed the House of Representatives and has overwhelming support in the Senate. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) has told the President that there are the votes in the Senate to override such a veto. Yes, this is the same pro-abortion Arlen Specter whose re-nomination in a Republican primary last year in Pennsylvania was supported by the “pro-life” George W. Bush and the “pro-life” Senator Rick Santorum.
Many of us asked the following question at that time: How is the President going to help to build the “culture of life” he says he wants to build when he supports candidates in his own political party who are completely pro-abortion? The willingness of so many pro-life Americans, including traditional Catholics, to accept empty pro-life rhetoric from politicians who are not committed to the complete restoration of legal protection to the unborn without exception emboldens these politicians to act in ways, both electorally and administratively, that help to advance the culture of death by leaps and bounds. Remember, the “pro-life” Bush-Cheney administration is funding the chemical abortions of millions of children here (by means of Title X programs) and abroad (by means of international “family planning” programs) by $11 million per year more than the pro-abortion Clinton-Gore administration.
The pro-aborts could always count on Clinton and Gore to do their bidding for them. Always. Pro-life Americans cannot count on the Bush-Cheney administration to do what is right. They must lobby intensively to prevent this or that policy from being implemented or to prevent this or that appointee from being named to a high office. Sadder still is that there are a lot of high-powered Catholic acolytes of Bush who never criticize him for any of his myriad anti-life, anti-family, pro-sodomite policies. Thus, others must wage rear-guard efforts to defend the truth when it is under attack by “pro-life” legislators and/or a “pro-life” presidential administration.
Mother Teresa and the Altar Girl Battle
What is true of conservatives politically is true of conservatives ecclesiastically: they are always fighting the same and usually losing battles with their supposed friends. I was one of many Catholics, for example, who tried to “convince” Pope John Paul II not to destroy the theology of service at the altar by approving the novelty of female altar servers (referred to by Father Kenneth Baker of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review as “girl altar boys”). The late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., had me track down via telephone the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was in Hong Kong at the time, to request her in March of 1994 to telephone the Holy Father to convince him not to approve altar girls.
Mother Teresa agreed to call the Pope, saying that “This will be a disaster for the Church” if the Pope, who had reportedly assured her that there would never be altar girls as long as he was pope, went back on his word to her, she told me. Petitions were sent to the Holy See. Articles were written. Entreaties were made by various priests. All to no avail. The “conservative” Pope rewarded the revolutionaries. And this is only one example of such battles fought during the twenty-six years, five and one-half months of Pope John Paul II’s long reign.
The Archbishop Levada Battle
Similarly, many conservative Catholics are aghast that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop William Levada as his own successor as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Some believe that they must amass a dossier to prove to Pope Benedict the true nature of Levada’s track record. This, too, is yet another losing battle. Pope Benedict XVI knows all about Archbishop William Levada. It is precisely because he knows all about Archbishop William Levada’s track record, which has been documented in an excellent article written by John Vennari of Catholic Family News, that he has appointed Levada as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The “conservative” Pope will be no more responsive to the entreaties of his fellow “conservatives” than George W. Bush is to his, thus causing truly good people who dearly love the Church to rend their garments and gnash their teeth as their “only friend in the Vatican” begins to betray them as Pope as he had betrayed them over and over again as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
Pope Benedict and the Red Chinese Battle
Our new Holy Father’s desire for a rapprochement with the Red Chinese is another matter that has startled a lot of conservatives. Never mind the fact that the Vatican’s Secretariat of State has been playing footsie with the schismatic and heretical Chinese Patriotic Association for the better part of ten to fifteen years. No, Pope Benedict’s expressed desire to “establish” relations with countries that no do yet have them with the Holy See has sent shock waves through the conservative Catholic world. Why? Pope Benedict XVI has a track record of Modernism and of accommodation to the modern world that he has demonstrated throughout his priestly life. It is no surprise at all, then, that Pope Benedict is making entreaties of the Red Chinese. Earnest conservative Catholics, though, are in the process of spilling much ink at present to “warn” Pope Benedict about William Levada and to express their concern about the pending Vatican sellout of the underground Church in Red China. All to no avail. The same battles will continue to be fought throughout the pontificate no matter how long it lasts.
There is an important lesson to be learned in all of this: the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church without any taint of the errors and ambiguities of the past forty years is the only foundation of order within the Church and in the world. A pope who has written that the Church had to reconcile herself to the “principles of 1789” will become the captive of a world that has created petty career politicians who believe that they can defy the Deposit of Faith God Himself entrusted to the true Church for safekeeping and explication.
The same battles will thus continue to be fought by people who do not believe it is either possible or advisable to work for the restoration of Tradition fully within the Church as the precondition for the restoration of Christendom in the world. Indeed, these battles will continue to be fought until some pope actually consecrates Russia to Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world’s bishops, thus ending the spread of the errors of Russia, which are the errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church.
We need to pray and to make many sacrifices so that the scales of Modernity and Modernism will be lifted from the eyes of good Catholics so that they can embrace the Tradition of the Church without compromise and so that they will storm Heaven for the faithful fulfillment of Our Lady’s Fatima Message. Upon that depends nothing other than the restoration of order in the Church and in the world.