All good men love little children. There is something in them that recalls the presence of God, a freshness and innocence which is the mark of His creative hand before sin has marred and almost obliterated it.
Our Lord more than once showed the love of His Sacred Heart for children. When a crowd of women came with their little ones begging Him to bless them, and the disciples tried to push them aside, Jesus interposed: “Suffer the little children to come to Me.” And then He called them one by one and blessed each one, and laid upon each His sacred Hands. What graces must have flowed into the hearts of those favored children! We should pray for all the little ones whom we love, that our Lord may in like manner bless them.
On another occasion, when the children shouted to Him in childish glee: “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” the Pharisees begged Him to silence them. But Jesus rebuked the objection almost sternly: “Have you never read, Out of the mouths of infants and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” (Mt:21:16) Perfected praise! As if there was something in their innocent voices sweeter to Him than in any others of the mingled crowd.
But Jesus bestowed still higher praise on the sweet simplicity of children. He told His disciples that if they wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven they must become like little children, docile, obedient, cheerful, submissive, and affectionate. (Mk:10:15)
Beautiful Pearls of Catholic Truth, Containing the Teachings of the Holy Catholic Church
Rev. Bernard O’Reilly
The humble Virgin of Nazareth, Mary, being the nearest and most intimately united to God, is, of all His creatures, the most holy. A closer union with God never existed, nor could there be a more perfect one than that which resulted from the divine maternity.
Notwithstanding Mary’s intimate relationship with God, her divine motherhood, it would have availed her but little had she not carried Jesus Christ in her heart, even more than in her chaste womb. She shunned the world, abhorred sin, and lived only for Jesus. All her days were passed in the practice of virtue. With greater reason than Saint Paul could she exclaim: “And I live, now, not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gall. 11—20).
She was holy in her eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet; she was godly in her thoughts, desires, words, heart, and in all the powers of her soul; she was saintly in all her movements, all her actions; in a word, she was holy in both body and soul.
Jesus was, by nature, impeccable, Mary having been preserved by a special dispensation of divine grace from the blight of the original defilement, was exempt from any actual stain, even from the least imperfection. Jesus dwelt in Mary’s immaculate womb for nine months, was nourished at her breasts in infancy, and spent thirty of the thirty-three years of his life under her roof. Mary took part in His labors and shared in His joys and ignominies.
From the blessed moment of her conception, super eminent beauty graced her pure soul. In her tender infancy she consecrated herself to God, Whom she loved with an affection beyond that of all creatures capable of serving Him. She had no thought, no desire, save that of honoring Him. She performed no duty, she undertook no task but what tended to His greater glory. Her mind was in perfect harmony with His mind; her heart pulsated only in union with that of her Creator; her soul was filled with joyous rapture in her ecstasy of devotion to Him. Never for one moment in her life did she displease Him in thought, word or deed.
She knew not evil; no shadow of sin ever obscured her life, no stain of any kind ever darkened her soul. She not only lived, but died for love of God, for it was her excessive love to be dissolved and be with Him that caused her soul to wing its flight to his bosom, and the sweet embrace of her divine Son, Jesus.
Like Him, she was tried; nevertheless, her sorrows drew her closer to God, to whom she had recourse for help and consolation. In the spirit of her divine Son, Jesus, who exclaimed, “Not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark XIV— 36), did she humbly submit to God’s holy will in these words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word” (Luke 1—38).
Though she understood not the words spoken to her by the holy man Simeon, concerning her divine Son, her love for, and her confidence in her Maker was such, that, albeit, at almost every step in life, her heart was transfixed with a sword of sorrow, her mind and heart were at all times one with that of God. “Be it done unto me according to Thy word,” came forth every moment from her pure and holy soul.
She was humble, like the meek and humble Jesus, and the Lord “hath regarded the humility of His handmaid” (Luke I—48). Her devotion for Jesus was like that of St. Peter; her charity, like that of St. John; her obedience, like that of Abraham; her patience, like that of Isaac; her resignation, like that of Jacob; her immaculateness excelled the chastity of all the Angels and Saints; her constancy was like that of Josue; her goodness, like that of Samuel; her tenderness, like that of David, and her abstinence, like that of Daniel.
Responding faithfully to every requirement of a perfect life, of exalted sanctity, she is indeed that Holy Mary of whom it is said in the inspired volume: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women” (Luke I—28).
The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: As Set Forth in Her Litany
By Cornelius Joseph O’Connell (1914)
The culture of death so prevalent in today’s society reflects the emptiness and disillusionment so vividly expressed in The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot. This famous poem depicts a world of “stuffed men” who do not fully live life, who go through routine motions awaiting “death’s twilight kingdom.”
The lack of hope in today’s secular culture is evidenced by broken or non-existent family life and relationships, a breakdown of manners and common courtesy in social interaction, and indulgence in lavish lifestyles, sex, food, and media as ways to escape the emptiness.
As a result of this pleasure-seeking mentality, there is also a systematic effort to suppress and eliminate the weaker, more vulnerable members of society who present inconveniences to others and are seen as burdens. Legislative efforts to loosen or abandon restrictions on assisted suicide, euthanasia, and abortion are a direct result of the mindset that encourages us to eliminate people who are inconvenient or unwanted in our pursuit of pleasure. The result? “Hollow men” trying to keep themselves entertained on the death march.
The poem’s vivid imagery likens the world of hollow men to “a valley of dying stars.” Today’s dying stars are the unique lives which are unappreciated and disregarded by those who see them as useless. Parents are encouraged to terminate “unhealthy” unborn life. If the “unhealthy” are already present in the world, they are given the option to terminate their own lives so they won’t be a burden to others.
But eliminating the weak and defenseless will not lead to more happiness and convenience; it will only lead to increased fear and less freedom. When one category of human beings, such as the unborn, the elderly, or the sick are targeted for elimination, what is to prevent other human lives from being considered less valuable or worthy of protection? By what standard is this decided? The elimination and disregard of the weak and defenseless only puts pressure on the “healthy” to work harder to prove that their life has worth so they too, will not be marked for elimination.
Pope Benedict XVI writes in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi(Saved in Hope): “A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and bear it inwardly through ‘compassion’ is a cruel and inhuman society” (#38). The ability to accept those who suffer, those who are weaker and more vulnerable, makes us more human. Christ himself demonstrated this nobility of heart in his treatment of the sick and rejected members of society.
With Christ, we are no longer hollow and empty; we are instead a people of hope, and therefore a people of life. We must not sit by idly as the “hollow men” systematically create a culture hostile to life at its most vulnerable stages. We must strive every day to counter these efforts by witnessing to the dignity and value of each person.
The Hollow Men by T S Eliot
Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
G.K. Chesterton said that “Ideals are the most practical thing in the world.” This is why we still defend the family. This is why we insist on the ideal of marriage as a permanent union between one man and one woman, which creates the only proper setting for bringing new souls into the world, and that this purely natural act should not be interfered with.
The social trends have steadily moved in the opposite direction from this ideal in the last century. It is no longer a matter of a few loud critics getting a little testy at our quaint ideas of morality; we have gone past being attacked to being brazenly ignored. But if the society at large does not understand the moral arguments for the family, perhaps it will gain some appreciation for the practical arguments. And the recent bad news has been good news in this regard. Our arguments have been given a huge boost with the collapse of the world financial markets and the continuing economic fallout.
An economy built on massive lending and spending cannot be sustained. But the reason it cannot be sustained is not merely economic, it is moral. It regards material wealth as the ultimate goal, and people as merely a commodity to achieve that goal. It is selfish and therefore self-destructive.
An economy based on the family is self-sustaining. Its focus is on the nurturing and training of children and not on the mere acquisition of goods. The family ideal as defended by Chesterton is something quite different than the industrialized consumer family, where the family members leave the house each morning by the clock and on a strict schedule to pursue work and recreation and the majority of life outside the home. Chesterton’s ideal was the productive home with its creative kitchen, its busy workshop, its fruitful garden, and its central role in entertainment, education, and livelihood. Unlike the industrial home, life in a productive household is not amenable to scheduling and anything but predictable.
The only thing surprising about this ideal is that it was once shared by almost everyone. Children used to be considered an asset; at some point they began to be seen as a liability.
Chesterton saw the beginning of this problem when he noticed people preferring to buy amusements for themselves rather than to have children. He pointed out prophetically that children are a far better form of entertainment than electrical gadgets. The irony today is that the retailers that sell the electronic amusements are going out of business because there are not enough people to buy this merchandise.
But there is another worse problem why children are now considered a liability. They don’t merely make other material desires cost-prohibitive, they are cost-prohibitive themselves. They must be educated. The cost of educating them is obscene. A college education is the most overpriced product on the planet, and over-rated as well. Parents have the privilege of sacrificing nearly everything to send their children to college, only to have them get their heads filled with doubts and destructive ideas, undermining everything their parents have taught them.
But there are fewer parents because there are fewer children.
When social security was instituted, each retiree was supported by 15 workers. Now each retiree is supported by only three workers. Those of us who are still working spend 15% of our income to support those who aren’t working.
Our lack of domestic life is reflected in the fact that we don’t have a domestic economy. We don’t produce anything. We are suddenly watching massive layoffs, but the people being laying off (no offense to them) were not producing anything. They were either selling things, or sitting at desks and computer terminals, being paid with borrowed money, so that they could also go into debt. Now the financial center of the country has moved from New York to Washington, DC, as Gudge has passed the baton to Hudge,* who has promised that all the problems that were caused by too much borrowing will all be solved by even more borrowing.
But the younger generation cannot pay the older generation because we have committed demographic suicide. We are paying a high price not only for slaughtering our unborn children but for contracepting them. In fact, we have demonstrated that we cannot afford the high price.
We have seen the natural consequences of unnatural acts. We have witnessed a monumental economic disaster that is not the result of inflation or recession but of the devaluation of children.
Chesterton says that every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things. The obvious things are the ordinary things, and we have forgotten them. The modern world that we have created has brought with it great strain and stress so that even the things that normal men have normally desired are no longer desirable: “marriage and fair ownership and worship and the mysterious worth of man.” Those are the normal and ordinary things. Those are the things we have lost, and we need to recover them.
“The disintegration of rational society,” says Chesterton, “started in the drift from the hearth and the family; the solution must be a drift back.”
I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Dt:30:19
Today, we mark the 40th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade abortion ruling . It was on this date in 1973 that the U.S. Supreme Court, in stark defiance of the Constitution’s limits on federal power, imposed abortion as a nationwide “right.”
Millions of babies’ lives have been snuffed out since then, destroying vast amounts of human potential and scarring our national conscience.
Nothing in the Constitution authorized the court to seize from the states the authority to regulate abortion, much less to institute that grisly procedure as some kind of right. Ironically, unborn humans today often enjoy less legal protection than even the eggs of some endangered bird species.
Since 1973 when two women, prompted (some might say, used) by their activist radical women’s rights attorneys, challenged laws prohibiting abortions and won(i), nearly 55 million unborn and nearly born babies have been killed. That is nearly 16% of the current population of the United States. Fifty five million babies who had no choice were sacrificed on the Altar of Choice—proving that when activist attorneys with no moral grounding argue cases before activist judges with no moral grounding, bad things happen. Ironically, the two women whose cases—and one might say bodies—were used by lawyers intent on advancing a pro-choice agenda ended up repudiating the very outcome of their cases and became pro-lifers. As a result of these rulings, millions of children died, countless women have suffered, and babies with all the potential of life were left with no legal right to live. Whether they are ripped from the womb is left entirely to the whim of the mother and The Law does not protect them. The culture of death prevails in the United States and the law will not aid the most defenseless among us.
Because of our abortion laws, millions of children will never grow up. Their families will never know them. They will never sit at the dinner table, be educated, grow up, marry, or work at a job. They will never become presidents, explorers, doctors, inventors, the person who discovers a cure for AIDS or a cure for human hunger. They will remain just a statistic—one more faceless, nameless potential life that never was. They could have been someone; they could have been a treasure to their parents, a father or mother or sibling or grandparent some day. They could have led exemplary lives. They could have soared like eagles. But the Justices of the Supreme Court—ruled by man’s law and not by God’s—disregarded the obvious religious prohibition against harming the little children, and declared that the mother and her doctor may decide which babies live or die. The baby, in short, has no vote and The Law will not protect it.
Which reminds me of eagles. The bald eagle and the golden eagle have now been removed from the endangered or threatened species list by the federal government. This is, of course, wonderful news. I am all in favor of saving the eagles and all other species (including our own) from extinction. In fact, our laws(ii) are so intent on protecting the eagle that simply injuring, molesting or destroying an eagle egg could cost you a serious criminal penalty, civil fines, and a year in the slammer. All for disturbing an egg. The law takes this seriously. Whatever else you do, don’t disturb an eagle egg. We go to great lengths to protect unborn baby eagles while they are vulnerable and in the first few weeks of their embryonic life. In fact, the laws do more than that–they protect unborn eagles from conception to the end of life. That is how much we value eagle life. So too, the plover. Recently, I discussed the Missouri River with a United States Park Ranger who managed a stretch of the river near Yankton, South Dakota—my home state. I asked him why the government was holding back so much water at the Lewis and Clark Dam near Yankton. “To protect the baby plover,” he replied. “If we let out too much water right now, the baby plover will drown and they won’t have a chance to fledge, because their parents build their nests next to the water.” A noble goal I thought—protecting the baby plover. Imagine that…one of the largest rivers in America dammed up and held back for months because the federal government wants to protect baby birds. What lengths will we not go to in order to protect baby birds. We criminalize anyone who disturbs them and we hold back mighty waters so they do not drown.
The esteem in which we hold unborn baby eagles is remarkable. The protection which the law affords them is noble and inspiring. If only unborn human babies had feathers…perhaps we would not kill them.
i Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973); Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973)
ii Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, 16 U.S.C.S. Section 668 et seq.; Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C.S. Section 703 et seq.
In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men… All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! If I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. ~Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908
Although he again lost Protestant voters to his GOP opponent, Obama held onto his advantages among Catholic and Jewish voters. He won 70 percent of the Jewish vote, down from 78 percent in 2008, and he won Catholic voters 50 percent to 47 percent. Romney carried Protestant voters by a 13-point margin, 56 percent to 43 percent. (Source: Politico)
“It’s a girl” has become a three-word death sentence to hundreds of millions of unborn babies across the globe. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of female gendercide. Killed, aborted and abandoned—these are the brutal realities of the actual “war on women.”
The worst offenders are India and China—countries where ancient cultural traditions, dictating a preference for male offspring, join with pro-abortion government policies. It’s a deadly combination that allows for the deliberate extermination of girls. However, no country is immune, including the United States. Recently, a disturbing story and photograph went viral.
A woman, very visibly pregnant with twins, decided to have an abortion because they were girls. Keep in mind that gender is determined via ultrasound near the 20th week of pregnancy, meaning this mother was well into her second trimester when she had her babies aborted. Also, this summer, the investigative pro-life group, Live Action, released a series of videos called Protect Our Girls, which exposed Planned Parenthood’s disturbing practice of actually doing gender-based abortions. They claim to be “nonjudgmental,” essentially stating they don’t question the reasons why a mother wishes to end the life of her unborn child. I can’t think of anything more judgmental than sentencing a baby girl to death simply because she’s female.
And I can’t think of any other act that is motivated by more ruthless discrimination. Pro-abortion activists like Planned Parenthood are accusing pro-life individuals and candidates of participating in a “war on women.” What utter hypocrisy. All the while they’re searching out and killing unborn babies only because they’re female. There’s no graver war on women than this.
Sadly, Planned Parenthood isn’t alone. There are many who refuse to acknowledge this travesty taking place across the globe, or worse yet, they participate in it. However, I’m privileged to know someone who’s made it her mission to combat this ignorance and crime against humanity. She’s bringing it to the forefront in a way that it can be addressed educationally, morally and actionably—she is Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.
Reggie is part of the production team for an eye-opening film releasing this month. It’s a Girl is a powerful documentary that takes this international issue and makes it personal. Shot on location in India and China, you meet girls and women who’ve been impacted by this brutal practice. The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives and of other mothers who would kill for a son. These faces, and the millions of others like them, are the reason female gendercide can’t be ignored any longer. It must be addressed and ultimately it must be ended.
Abortion for the purposes of sex-selection is a horrific testimony of where the so-called “pro-choice” mentality of the abortion industry inevitably leads. When pregnancy becomes a “choice” rather than a child, there’s no limitation to why a woman can decide to end her unborn baby’s life.
Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable. –G. K. Chesterton 1909
Each year in America fewer and fewer disabled infants are born. The reason is eugenic abortion. Doctors and their patients use prenatal technology to screen unborn children for disabilities, then they use that information to abort a high percentage of them. Without much scrutiny or debate, a eugenics designed to weed out the disabled has become commonplace.
Not wishing to publicize a practice most doctors prefer to keep secret, the medical community releases only sketchy information on the frequency of eugenic abortion against the disabled. But to the extent that the numbers are known, they indicate that the vast majority of unborn children prenatally diagnosed as disabled are killed.
Medical researchers estimate that 80% or more of babies now prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. (They estimate that since 1989, 70% of Down-syndrome fetuses have been aborted.) A high percentage of fetuses with cystic fibrosis are aborted, as evident in Kaiser Permanente’s admission to the New York Times that 95 percent of its patients in Northern California choose abortion after they find out through prenatal screening that their fetus will have the disease.
The frequent use of eugenic abortion can also be measured in dwindling populations with certain disabilities. Since the 1960s, the number of Americans with spina bifida has markedly declined. This dropping trend line corresponds to the rise of prenatal screening. Owing to prenatal technology and eugenic abortion, some rare conditions, such as the genetic disorder Tay-Sachs, are even vanishing in America, according to doctors.
“There really isn’t any entity that is charged with monitoring what has been happening,” says Andrew Imparato, head of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), “A lot of people prefer that that data not be collected. But we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg. This is a new eugenics, and I don’t know where it is going to end.”
“I think of it as commercial eugenics,” says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment. “Whenever anybody thinks of eugenics, they think of Adolf Hitler. This is a commercial eugenics. But the result is the same, an intolerance for those who don’t fit the norm. It is less open and more subtle. Try to get any numbers on reproductive issues. Try to get actual numbers on sex-selection abortions. They are always difficult to get. If you are involved in that commerce, do you really want people to go: So you aborted how many disabled children? That’s the last piece of information people want out there.”
Indeed, intellectual arguments in favor of eugenic abortion often generate great public outcry. Princeton professor Peter Singer drew fire for saying, “It does not seem quite wise to increase any further draining of limited resources by increasing the number of children with impairments.” Bob Edwards, the embryologist who created the first test-tube baby through in vitro fertilization, has also drawn protests for predicting that “soon it will be a sin of parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.”
But these comments, far from being unthinkable, reflect unspoken mainstream attitudes and practice. Only through political gaffes (and occasional news stories) is eugenic abortion ever mentioned, such as the time in 2003 when a blundering Hillary Clinton objected to a ban on partial-birth abortion because it didn’t contain an exemption for late-term abortions aimed at the disabled. Women should not be “forced” to carry a “child with severe abnormalities,” she said.
In an interview with TAS, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania recalled his 2003 exchange with Hillary Clinton on the Senate floor in which she endorsed eugenic abortion. “It was pretty revealing. She was saying there had to be an exemption for disabled children being aborted as opposed to healthy children being aborted,” he says. “When she realized what she was advocating for, she had to put in the general niceties. But I don’t think you can read her comments and come to any other conclusion than that the children with disabilities should have less constitutional protection than children who are healthy.”
He added that “the principal reason the Democrats defended the partial-birth abortion procedure was for pregnancies that have ‘gone awry,’ which is not about something bad happening to the life of the mother but about their finding out the child is not in the condition that they expected, that it was somehow less than wanted and what they had hoped for.”
What Hillary Clinton blurted out is spoken more softly, though no less coldly, in the privacy of doctors’ offices. Charles Strom, medical director of Quest Diagnostics, which specializes in prenatal screening, told the New York Times last year that “People are going to the doctor and saying, ‘I don’t want to have a handicapped child, what can you do for me?'” This attitude is shared by doctors who now view disabled infants and children as puzzling accidents that somehow slipped through the system. University of Chicago professor Leon Kass, in his book Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity, writes that “at my own university, a physician making rounds with medical students stood over the bed of an intelligent, otherwise normal ten-year-old boy with spina bifida. ‘Were he to have been conceived today,’ the physician casually informed his entourage, ‘he would have been aborted.'”
The impulse behind prenatal screening in the 1970s was eugenic. After the Roe v. Wade decision, which pumped energy into the eugenics movement, doctors scrambled to advance prenatal technology in response to consumer demand, mainly from parents who didn’t want the burdens of raising children with Down syndrome. Now prenatal screening can identify hundreds of conditions. This has made it possible for doctors to abort children not only with chronic disabilities but common disabilities and minor ones. Among the aborted are children screened for deafness, blindness, dwarfism, cleft palates, and defective limbs.
In some cases the aborted children aren’t disabled at all but are mere carriers of a disease or stand a chance of getting one later in life. Prenatal screening has made it possible to abort children on guesses and probabilities. A doctor speaking to the New York Times cited a defect for a eugenic abortion that was at once minor and speculative: a women suffering from a condition that gave her an extra finger asked doctors to abort two of her children on the grounds that they had a 50-50 chance of inheriting that condition.
The law and its indulgence of every conceivable form of litigation has also advanced the new eugenics against the disabled. Working under “liability alerts” from their companies, doctors feel pressure to provide extensive prenatal screening for every disability, lest parents or even disabled children hit them with “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” suits. In a wrongful birth suit, parents can sue doctors for not informing them of their child’s disability and seek compensation from them for all the costs, financial and otherwise, stemming from a life they would have aborted had they received that prenatal information. Wrongful life suits are brought by children (through their parents) against doctors for all the “damages” they’ve suffered from being born. (Most states recognize wrongful birth suits, but for many states, California and New Jersey among the exceptions, wrongful life suits are still too ridiculous to entertain.)
In 2003, Ob-Gyn Savita Khosla of Hackensack, New Jersey, agreed to pay $1.2 million to a couple and child after she failed to flag Fragile X syndrome, a form of mental retardation caused by a defective gene on the X chromosome. The mother felt entitled to sue Khosla because she indicated on a questionnaire that her sibling was mentally retarded and autistic, and hence Khosla should have known to perform prenatal screening for Fragile X so that she could abort the boy. Khosla settled, giving $475,000 to the parents and $750,000 to the child they wished that they had aborted.
Had the case gone to court, Khosla would have probably lost the suit. New Jersey has been notoriously welcoming to wrongful birth suits ever since the Roe v. Wade decision, after which New Jersey’s Supreme Court announced that it would not “immunize from liability those in the medical field providing inadequate guidance to persons who would choose to exercise their constitutional right to abort fetuses which, if born, would suffer from genetic defects.”
According to the publication Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, “court rulings across the country are showing that the increased use of genetic testing has substantially exposed physicians’ liability for failure to counsel patients about hereditary disorders.” The publication revealed that many wrongful birth cases “are settled confidentially.” And it predicted that doctors who don’t give their patients the information with which to consider the eugenic option against disabled children will face more lawsuits as prenatal screening becomes the norm. “The human genome has been completely mapped,” it quotes Stephen Winnick, a lawyer who handled one of the first wrongful birth cases. “It’s almost inevitable that there will be an increase in these cases.”
The combination of doctors seeking to avoid lawsuits and parents seeking burden-free children means that once prenatal screening identifies a problem in a child the temptation to eugenic abortion becomes unstoppable. In an atmosphere of expected eugenics, even queasy, vaguely pro-life parents gravitate towards aborting a disabled child. These parents get pressure from doctors who, without even bothering to ask, automatically provide abortion options to them once the prenatal screening has diagnosed a disability (one parent, in a 1999 study, complained of a doctor showing her a video depicting the rigors of raising an afflicted child as a way of convincing her to choose abortion), and they feel pressure from society at large which having accepted eugenic abortion looks askance at parents with disabled children.
The right to abort a disabled child, in other words, is approaching the status of a duty to abort a disabled child. Parents who abort their disabled children won’t be asked to justify their decision. Rather, it is the parents with disabled children who must justify themselves to a society that tacitly asks: Why did you bring into the world a child you knew was disabled or might become disabled?
Andrew Kimbrell points out that many parents are given the complicated information prenatal screening yields with little to no guidance from doctors. “We’re leaving parents with complete confusion. Numerous parents are told by doctors, ‘We think there is some fault on the 50th chromosome of your child.’ A number of polls have shown that people don’t understand those odds.”
“There is enormous confusion out there and nobody is out there to help them,” he says. “This is a huge tangle. And it leads people to abort out of confusion: ‘I guess I better abort, because I don’t know. It sounds really bad and I don’t know what the percentages mean.'”
The New Eugenics isn’t slowing down but speeding up. Not content to wait to see if a child is fit for life, doctors are exploring the more proactive eugenics of germline genetic engineering (which tries to create desirable traits in an embryo) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which is used to select the most desirable embryos after extensive genetic testing has been done before they are implanted in mothers’ wombs.
“The next stage is to actually start tinkering genetically with these embryos to create advantages such as height,” says Kimbrell. PGD is a “gateway technology” that will advance the new eugenics to the point “where children are literally selected and eventually designed according to a parent’s desires and fears,” he says. (Meanwhile, doctors are simultaneously reporting that children born through in vitro fertilization are experiencing higher rates of birth defects than the average population, suggesting that for every problem scientists try to solve through dubious means they create multiple new ones.)
Many countries have banned PGD. But American fertility clinics are offering it. Two-thirds of fertility clinics using PGD in the world are in the U.S., says Kimbrell. “Reproductive technology is an unregulated Wild West scenario where people can do pretty much anything they want and how they want it,” he says.
Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, coined the term eugenics in the 1880s. Sparking off his cousin’s theory of evolution, he proposed improving the human race through eugenics, arguing that “what nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly.” As eugenics passes through each of its stages — from sterilizing the enfeebled at the beginning of the 20th century to aborting the disabled at the end of it and the beginning of the 21st — man is indeed playing God but without any of his providence or care.
Andrew Imparato of AAPD wonders how progressives got to this point. The new eugenics aimed at the disabled unborn tell the disabled who are alive, “disability is a fate worse than death,” he says. “What kind of message does this send to people living with spina bifida and other disabilities? It is not a progressive value to think that a disabled person is better off dead.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, the great Russian writer of the 19th century, warned that the denial of sin and hell in education and religion would end in a world Socialism where men would surrender freedom for a false security. He pictured anti-Christ returning to the world and speaking to Christ, thus:
“Dost thou know that the ages will pass, and humanity will proclaim by the lips of their sages that there is no crime, and therefore no sin; there is only hunger? And men will come crawling to our feet, saying to us: ‘Give us bread! Take our freedom.” – The Grand Inquisitor
In this sobering talk, Archbishop Fulton Sheen examines our death-oriented society, from the advent of abortion to the midnight of our headlong rush to self-extinction.
I have never understood the aversion to the crucifix. The West has thrown it aside to its own detriment. But by this sign we can again conquer and overcome our grave inadequacies that have led us down a path of self destruction.
Why is it that so many have difficulty looking upon the Cross of Christ and His suffering? Many argue that Jesus is risen therefore why dwell on His suffering?
However, “It is true and even repetitive to say that the Cross is the crux of the matter.” G.K. Chesterton. The lessons of the Cross are absolutely critical to living a truly christian life. The cross teaches us not only how to live but how to live with meaning and purpose. A christian is not truly a christian if they do not take up their cross.
Unfortunately, the purpose and meaning of suffering is lost on the West. Ayn Rand, the darling of modern atheistic thought rejected the Christian notion of suffering and said: “It’s not that I don’t suffer, it’s that I know the unimportance of suffering, I know that pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one’s soul…”
The West fights against and throws aside suffering and even those that suffer. This “Schiavo-esque” view rejects all suffering as utterly detestible. We simply don’t want to watch the poor soul suffer, so we relieve them of their misery and their life and call it “death with dignity”. This explains our embrace of euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, stem cell research, our “termination” of babies and those that are not perfect. The irony is that our culture attempts to avoid suffering at all costs but in doing so has become the “culture of death”.
Fr. Pablo Straub says the Devil’s one commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Suffer”. Our culture has certainly bought this diabolical line. The prevailing culture tells us to gratify our every desire and not to suffer for any reason. It tells parents not to have another child–it’s too expensive and difficult; it tells us to indulge our every sexual whim and to embrace sterile sex; it tells women that foregoing a career and staying home to raise children is dull, unfulfilling, and irrelevant; it tells pregnant women that carrying a child for nine months will ruin their life.
Christians need to reject the lies of our culture and reclaim the power of Christ’s Cross and our own crosses. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor 12:10)
We can co-operate with God in a profound way by enduring our troubles through the power of His grace. God will strengthen us and, in turn, our cross can become a most powerful prayer. St. Paul enunciated the idea of the redemptive suffering. “I find joy in the sufferings I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” (Col. 1:24).
The Church does not and never has glorified suffering for its own sake; however it does glorify God by the loving acceptance of suffering when His will entails it. “One ounce of patient suffering is worth far more than a pound of action.” J. P. Camus.
The Angel of Fatima told the three children to “Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High . . . Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners . . . Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you.”
It frightens one to think what humanity loses when it ceases to carry the cross and suffer in a manner that glorifies Christ and indeed becomes prayer. Our small acts of sacrifice united to Christ’s Cross can achieve the conversion of entire peoples and nations. When we understand suffering and that bearing our cross has unimaginable power, life takes on a profound meaning and purpose. We will cease to become the culture of death and will truly dignify life and death.
“He who knoweth how to suffer will enjoy much peace. Such a one is a conquerer of himself and lord of the world, a friend of Christ and an heir of heaven. Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ.