A large number of endangered, unwanted, and unborn children held a town hall meeting on the 4th of July–alarmed at the brutal and untimely killing of millions of their brothers and sisters in recent years. That the murderous war waged on them had the full force and respectability of the law made their plight all the more terrifying.
Their complaint was humble and it was simple. They were not distressed by rising gas prices, or the deteriorating economy in general. They were not even frightened by the exponential increase of natural disasters. The threat of global warming or global terrorism did not greatly disturb them. They had become an endangered species, and little had been done to answer their terrified and silent screams from the womb. They decided that the barbaric treatment that they and their fellow unwanted unborn human beings have had to endure for perilous decades was unconscionable and unbearable. They cried out to their Creator for inspiration and protection, and then unanimously they put forth a declaration. It began as follows:
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS….”
THAT AMONG THESE IS LIFE; THAT AMONG THESE IS LIFE; THAT AMONG THESE IS LIFE!
The first and pre-eminent right is the right to life. This truth the Founding Fathers were sure of, and anyone with any common sense at all is equally sure of it. 232 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed the amount of common sense that seems to be operative in many spheres of influence-most notably the courts and the political arena–can easily be poured into a very small thimble.
The United States of America seems to have a death wish, and we have traveled far down the road to having that wish realized. When law divorces itself from common sense and spawns the illegitimate offspring of distortions of law, resulting in illegal laws-based neither on the natural law nor divine law–this undermines law itself, generating disdain for the law. Erosion of trust in the courts, or the system in general, is inevitable.
The genesis of the death wish is rooted in the fall of man that we see in the Book of Genesis. The substance of the fall is wrapped up in Lucifer’s pride, transferred to Adam and Eve-“You can be like gods, knowing good and evil.” The unholy, yet inevitable, consequence of that pride is disobedience-eating the forbidden fruit. The ultimate end is death, as God said it would be. That’s the way it was in the beginning. That’s the way it is now. That’s the way it will be until time breathes forth it’s last moment. The prototypical sin is pride, the pride that seeks to exalt the creature above the Creator: “I can be like God.” Then, subjectively and arbitrarily, man tries to assert himself, imagining that he knows what’s good and evil for himself without reference to God and God’s law. This was the fall of the angels and the fall of man. The attempt by creatures to usurp what is only the province of God. Only God knows what is good for His creation.
In recent years it took the form of a self-inflicted heart wound when some dissident Catholics rejected the teaching of the Church, a teaching that clearly held that artificial contraception is intrinsically evil. Then, as Pope Paul VI had warned, it metastasized into abortion. From abortion it degenerated even further into partial-birth abortion. It was then a short and easy step to infanticide.
The exclamation point at the end of the death wish is that now there is yet another candidate for the office of president of the United States who has in an extraordinary way done everything possible to breathe life into all of the barbaric elements of the death wish. He and his party make no apologies for their support of abortion, partial-birth abortion, and even infanticide. It’s hard to believe that we have degenerated to the point that we’ll murder a helpless baby should it escape the violence of an abortion and be born alive. Can a Catholic vote for such persons? We are told, “yes” for a “proportionate reason.” What, I might ask, is the proportionate reason so weighty as to excuse supporting those responsible for what is tantamount to genocide?
The judges and politicians that support such barbaric practices are truly guilty of genocide: genocide-the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, national, or social group. “What is the group so targeted?” you might ask. The group is unwanted, unborn children–tens of millions of them.
The Supreme Court justices that gave us Roe v. Wade will have to plead temporary insanity in the court of history. There will be no defense in the highest Court that is the judgment seat of almighty God if they do not repent of the incalculable evil they have wrought.
Yet, despite the life and death importance of this travesty of authentic law, there will be no serious discussion among political candidates, or anyone else. It is as if society has been bewitched, blind to the splendor of truth, deaf to the cries of the most innocent, most vulnerable, and most utterly helpless.
From artificial contraception to abortion to partial-birth abortion, then on to infanticide we march toward the abyss of oblivion, a society marked for death. Is it any wonder we can rationalize the killing of the elderly or the sick through euthanasia? The tragic murder of Terri Schiavo is a logical extension of a morally numb society’s mad march toward its own suicidal death. She wasn’t sick. She wasn’t dying. They murdered her, starved her to death–one of the cruelest forms of death. She was innocent, yet subjected to a most cruel and unusual punishment. Why? Because she was helpless? Because she was too much trouble, too hard to look at?
As Abraham Lincoln asserted, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” We are dying by suicide, moral and spiritual suicide, and the moral demise of a nation almost always precedes the ultimate demise of a nation.
Many of our leaders, political and legal, are reminiscent of the horrid witches in Act 1 Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” chanting shrilly to a morally sick public all too eager to be confirmed in their sins, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.” Good is evil, and evil is good. The truth is a lie and lies are the truth, hover through the fog of moral relativism and the filthy air of a world gone mad with the madness of sin.
The words of the prophet thunder through the ages, ” Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). We have inverted the poles of the moral power grid. We have begun to call the negative pole the positive, and the positive the negative. This inversion of reality begets disaster:
The power fails, the lights go out, darkness falls-and indeed, if your light is darkness, how deep, how very deep will the darkness be! (cf. Mt 6:23).
This death wish has marched toward its logical and inexorable conclusion with little opposition from leaders–political, legal, or religious. The world knows the Catholic Church and any self-respecting and faithful Christian roundly reject abortion and all of the other nails in the coffin of contemporary society, but the defense of life hasbeen weak. Weak leadership, whether in society in general, or in the Church in particular, is punishment for sin. The Old Covenant has examples enough of the Chosen People being turned over to exile and their enemies because of infidelity. They lamented, “We have no priest, prophet, or king.” These were taken away because of infidelity.
In recent times large numbers of Catholics and other Christians rejected Pope Paul VI’s landmark and prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae, on Human Life. A majority of the bishops of Canada did so publicly, formally, and in writing with their infamous Winnipeg Statement. The great Archbishop Fulton Sheen lamented bitterly in the 1970s that the prophetic Spirit of Christ had all but been extinguished in the contemporary Church.
Today there are many CEOs, all too few Apostles. Are we afraid of a fight? Do we fear rejection, misunderstanding, or derision? Are we cowed and intimidated by fallacious notions of the separation of Church and state? Could we be afraid of persecution? Could we be afraid of losing our tax-exempt status? Have we declared détente with evil?
The clock is ticking. Midnight is approaching. Time is running out for our nation, a nation that once was great, and could be great again if enough of us wake up and renounce this curse of a death wish. Will God turn his friends over to His enemies as He has done multiple times in the past? Will radical Islam overrun us? Will the planet cook? Will one too many natural disasters grind us into dust? Will we collapse economically? All of the above? Perhaps these are all merely effects of the underlying cause-a death wish that chokes the life out of us.
In the end it is likely that President Abraham Lincoln had it right: “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” Thus forgetting that we are one nation under God, we become a nation gone under (President Ronald Reagan). And, indeed, “If destruction be our lot we ourselves will be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
May God grant us the grace to awake from this deadly moral slumber, renounce the death wish, and live like truly free men and women-in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Rev John Corapi, SOLT-2008
©2008 REV. JOHN A. CORAPI, SOLT, STD