Filed under: abortion, Culture and Catholicism | Tags: abortion, Angelus Press, Barack Obama, Benedict XVI, Catholic, Catholic church, Catholic values, Miguel Diaz, SSPX, talks with the Vatican, Vatican II
When Pope Benedict XVI met with the new US Ambassador to the Vatican this last week pro-life Catholics had to hear his welcoming remarks to Miguel Diaz with surprise and pain. The Associated Press report quoted the Holy Father’s enthusiastic endorsement of the US’s “vibrant democracy” and his gushing support for Obama’s efforts to provide government health care for all, sentiments not shared by American bishops on the ground in the political carnage.
The pain, now, is constant and unrelenting. What Benedict calls ‘vibrant’ is more like ‘vicious.’ Let us count the ways unlicensed democracy, the “freedom now” democracy, the sweet forbidden nectar of the sexy sixties, has poisoned American life.
In 1970, 77 percent of adults were married; now it is a mere 57 percent, and of that number 60 percent will end in divorce. Only sixty percent of children now are born to married couples, and of that number, only 60.3 of those children even live with their biological parents, let alone a father. These statistics are daily reported by various sociological surveys too numerous to link. An African-American woman has only a one in seven chance of reaching the safe harbor of marriage, and so she will either have to live as a celibate, never recommended by the Church as a way of life for most, or she will become one of the physically or emotionally battered sex toys seen trudging into abortion mills early Saturday mornings, alone, abused in every possible sense. In one of every two pregnancies, the life of a black child is snuffed out there, unmourned and unknown.
Shall we go on? How shall we call ‘vibrant’ what our lives have become? We Americans are less prosperous now. We work longer hours and own less, less real, tangible, property. We don’t take vacations. We kill ourselves through suicide in ever greater numbers at ever younger ages. We stuff ourselves with unneeded food and unhealthy drugs because we are so hungry for love we could die. We hardly know what it is to live a normal life. The most rational of us spend our whole lives fighting the system in an unequal contest.
But Benedict calls our pathetic attempts to tame our out-of-control political system “fruitful dialogue” and chants the same old liberal mantra of “progress, lovely progress” just as they did in his salad days in the Council, when, coming out of the fifties, there might have been some conceivable justification for this willful blindness to the real world. After all, there was a new Buick in every American driveway. The churches were full. They taught the Faith there. (They teach yoga now.)
So the pain is comprehensible. It hurts to hear our Holy Father continually deny the reality. He makes it worse!
But the surprise is unwarranted. We should have seen it coming.
Because the scenario we are enduring in the US is actually the very “ideal” promoted by Vatican II.
That is the reason the Holy Father continually praises the United States in this and very many other speeches. It is not some admittedly bizarre diplomatic custom of make-nice speech, as some of my pro-life colleagues charitably put forward when we stand outside the clinic on Washington Street on a busy Saturday morning passing the time, shooting the breeze in a blessed lull in the steady stream of women on their way to kill a child. No, his remarks are heartfelt and consistent. Vatican II elevated absolute freedom of conscience in a model secular state, a state in which the Church, as merely one among the many, can lobby with all the rest for those principles which the Church teaches and which protected us, before, from the excesses. We are to do this (this is the script) by continually praising what might be good or might be headed in a good direction, and ignoring what is bad, and we call this “forming consciences” and it sure doesn’t work in curing cancer or treating diabetis, but we just keep on doing it, and some even praise it as really creative diplomacy. ‘Way to go, Holy Father!’
Evidently in our Catholic efforts to ‘form consciences,’ as the Holy Father himself put it when he welcomed Diaz, the Church loses gracefully, for Benedict serenely remarked that “the church in the United States wishes to contribute to the discussion,” including “the inalienable right to life from the moment of conception to natural death,” a fight we are daily losing, along with human lives. Yet he warmly praises other Obama initiatives, like the “goal of a world free of nuclear weapons” and “promotion of human rights.” (Father, please! We do not wish to contribute, we wish to win. So we could go home and have one beer we don’t cry in before we die!)
Because pro-life activists know the score, that Obama’s ‘promotion of human rights’ conceals the most aggressive imposition of abortion “rights” ever known, including economic sanctions against states that resist. The assault is certainly not balanced by the very distant step-down of nuclear weapons in world armaments.
The constitutions of Vatican II spell it out. It was right there in the texts all the time! It’s just so hard to get past the double-speak. You have to read them with a good English teacher. You have to get used to smarmy ad-sense nonsense from liberals smiling like baby buddhists delivering koans: ‘Keep the Latin but push the vernacular. Keep God in the public square but insist that all gods be equal before the law. Continue to evangelize but invite the witchdoctor to dinner. After all, “all faiths lead to Christ,” well, eventually, don’cha know?’ No need for us to get all preachy!
Take one small example, the conciliar teaching on the secular state. Vatican II dissolved the remaining Catholic confessional states in favor of the ‘neutral’ secular state. It was first necessary to declare, as does Dignitatis humanae, that everyone must enjoy freedom of conscience to choose whatever god they select. The Church has never taught this crazy talk; consider only St. Paul’s teaching that Christ is the center of all things on heaven and on earth, all powers, all nations, all time (Col. 1:17-22). What did Christ send his apostles forth to ‘teach all nations’–shamanism?
But Vatican II, citing some kind of “progress” mankind had made toward a freedom without Christ, dismissed that teaching. We got brought up to date.
The next necessary step, then, was the endorsement by the council of a secular state that could maintain the peace between all these different gods, and that was accomplished in Nostra aetate. It bears noting that they were not talking about freedom of religion under a neutral state in any pagan country, but in the Christian nations where Catholics, or Catholics and other Christian sects together, formed a majority of the population. And that situation is what we have suffered ever since the Council.
It is the situation, soon to be before the Supreme Court (but already played in smaller communities throughout the United States), a case that calls for the removal of a World War I cross at a national park memorial because the National Park Service earlier refused to allow a buddhist memorial at the same site. Here’s your kick in the head: the new Church will be praying that the cross loses.
Because the only solution possible under Vatican II constitutions is to forbid them both, the Cross of Our Lord and the buddha. That is the perhaps unintended consequence of Vatican II, and those outraged Catholics who think this is a violation of Church policy must read Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra aetate just a little more closely to discover the betrayal. It is our Church that calls now for the absolute equality of all faiths under secular law. Not tolerance and respect on a case by case basis–absolute equality. And so we have what Flannery O’Connor so memorably calls, the ‘Church of Christ Without Christ’. That is the ‘Christian humanism’ taught by Caritas in Veritate, the dross left behind when the juice of Catholicism is squeezed drop by drop out of our world.
But this is not the relation between the Church and the state always taught by tradition. The traditional teaching is clear: the Church is independent, the Church and the state are distinct, one for divine things and the other for civil, and in that sense the state may rightly be said to be ‘secular’–the Church will not build roads and the state will not absolve sins; but they must be unified in action, because they have the same goal, to serve the people, the flock, and thus to preserve marriage, to protect life, to insure work and a dignified death, and, yes, health care. They serve the same people, their aims to promote the common good are the same. They cannot bear to be as divided as they presently are in the US, when the elderly are afraid to vote for health care, less the state come to kill them as they kill unborn babies. That’s the reality of American life now. Leo XIII’s Immortale Dei is only one of the traditional encyclicals ignored by the “pastoral” Council (that means, not infallible, not inspired, and definitely amendable) Vatican II in its rush to accommodate to the World and forcibly separate the Church and state.
Liberals have argued that the situation in the world had changed drastically regarding the Catholic confessional states in which there was this unity between Church and state, and of course it did, and has further since the Council. But as Archbishop Lefebvre noted in They Have Uncrowned Him, it was not necessary to capitulate to the separation, to embrace and celebrate it, and sensible people would wish now that the Church had rather shown resistance, however token, and helped us then, and help us now, to position ourselves politically to combat the attacks atheistic secularism has made on our quality of life, most notably and painfully in the little issue of the lives we have allowed to be taken through abortion, in the name of that “freedom of conscience.”
Contrary to the expectation during the Council of future “glorious progress forward” for mankind and the Church, an illusion based largely on their admiration for the United States and the growth the Church had enjoyed for a temporary period under conditions of pluralism, we have neither improved nor grown since Vatican II elevated the secular state and total religious freedom over the long-enduring civic preference for Christian values accompanied by the tolerance of other religions. We have, in fact, collapsed in every possible indicator, from the dearth of vocations, to scandalous priestly behavior, to empty churches. Benedict continually calls for this preference for Catholicism now, with Europe in shambles and dying, yet never realizes that his beloved Council was the tip of the spear that delivered death to Her.
But liberals are always incoherent thus. Bad writers and thinkers, they don’t mind contradiction as long as they sound pretty. Vatican II was so pretty. Who among all those flower children in cassocks knew it could have such devastating effects? Well, actually a whole roster of popes knew, and said so in encyclicals, but they were ignored. Cardinal Ottaviani rose trembling to say so, and they jeered at him and turned off his microphone.
This is the substance of the talks coming soon between SSPX and the Vatican. This writer, no theologian but, alas, plenty experienced with the suffering on the ground, has put it badly, but with hope that the reader can see the point. Please pray! We are so weary. We have already lost fifty million lives to abortion, and wasted and ruined the lives of living women and men, and most shamefully the lives of African-American women. Please pray! If you want an end to abortion, if you want a growing economy, if you want grandchildlren, Pray SSPX wins!
And somebody buy our Holy Father a fiddle. Because Rome is burning. Hasn’t he heard?
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