Accepting Exceptions as Unexceptional
Thomas A. Droleskey
Two articles on this site earlier this year dealt with the "life of the mother" exception included in the bill passed by the South Dakota State Legislature that is intended to challenge the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Roe v. Wade by prohibiting baby-killing in all instances except those where it is alleged that a mother's life is endangered. State Representative Roger Hunt wrote to me earlier this year to say that the "exception" in the bill he sponsored in the South Dakota State Legislature does permit a physician to take "direct" action against a child (as opposed to the unintentional death of a child caused by a medical procedure designed to treat a mother's illness) if the physician deemed it necessary to do so. All of the protestations by usually staunch no-exceptions pro-life advocates that the bill, which has now been put before the voters of the State of South Dakota in a referendum in next Tuesday's general election, that the bill does not contain exceptions just flies in the face of reality. The bill, though well-intentioned, is morally flawed as it permits direct, intentional baby-killing under cover of law and enshrines, most gratuitously, contraception as a "right."
An article in The New York Times on November 1, 2006, describes the sad phenomenon of some supporters of the South Dakota abortion ban extolling the fact that the bill does contain exceptions:
In the continuing quest to sway wavering voters, the debate in recent days has centered on what the law says and does not say about exceptions — a question that seemed not to be in doubt for many months after state lawmakers passed the bill and Governor Rounds signed it in March.
A month earlier, legislators had voted down amendments that would have allowed abortions in cases of incest, rape or in instances when the pregnant woman’s health would be jeopardized (though not fatally).
But supporters of the ban, including advocates on a television commercial that has been broadcast around the state, now say there are other exceptions written in the law.
In the commercial, as more than a dozen doctors — some of the scores of members of a group calling itself South Dakota Physicians for Life — stand together in white coats, stethoscopes draped around their necks, Dr. Mark Rector says: “This measure does provide exception for the life and health of the mother.”
Asked about the commercial’s assertions, the ban’s supporters say the law includes “an exception” for the health of the mother because it would allow a doctor to treat a sick mother for her illness and, if treatment accidentally resulted in the death of a fetus, that would not be deemed a crime.
The ban also does not apply to the use of emergency contraception — the so-called “morning after pill” — in the first days after conception, a fact that ban supporters say amounts to “an exception” that would cover rape and incest cases.
[The new debate may reflect the polls, the latest of which found that 52 percent of those polled said they would vote against the ban, 42 percent for keeping it. Another 6 percent were undecided in the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey published in the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls on Sunday and the margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.
[But the poll also found that 56 percent of those who opposed the ban or were undecided said they would support it if it carried a clear exception for rape and incest.]
In a recent interview, Roger Hunt, a state representative who sponsored the bill, said he and others were clarifying points that had always been part of the law. “Regardless of how we label these things or whether we use the phrase ‘exceptions,’ what we’re saying is that there are these provisions to deal with such cases,” Mr. Hunt said.
This is all so very sad. An effort to deal with the horror of legalized baby-killing in this country by appealing to voters on the basis that it is legally acceptable to kill some babies in some cases is fighting the devil on his territory under his terms. While some will claim that this is a noble effort to move things "forward in the right direction," the truth of the matter is that the morally-flawed South Dakota ban is a step back to the days before Roe v. Wade (see Good Intentions Do Not Redeem Moral Flaws for a link to the status of state laws permitting baby-killing in some instances prior to Roe v. Wade) when many states had "exceptions" to the inviolability of innocent preborn life in their statute books. It was the existence of those "exceptions" that led advocates of unconditional baby-killing-on-demand to argue that it made no sense to state that the "fetus," as they term the preborn child, is inviolable in some instances and not in others. We got abortion-on-demand in large part as a result of the existence of exceptions.
Those who doubt that exceptions to the inviolability of innocent human life in the womb ought to consider the late Associate Justice Harry Blackmun's footnoted comments, at footnote 54, in his majority opinion for the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Roe v. Wade. Blackman said that the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of life, liberty and property could not be used by the State of Texas to proclaim the inviolability of the life of the preborn as the statute under challenge in Roe v. Wade admitted of an exception to that inviolability. How can a human life be inviolable in some instances but not in all?
When Texas urges that a fetus is entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection as a person, it faces a dilemma. Neither in Texas nor in any other State are all abortions prohibited. Despite broad proscription, an exception always exists. The exception contained in Art. 1196, for an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, is typical. But if the fetus is a person who is not to be deprived of life without due process of law, and if the mother's condition is the sole determinant, does not the Texas exception appear to be out of line with the Amendment's command?
Yes, even though the intent of the South Dakota legislature is to end abortion-on-demand, the plain fact of the matter is that the effect of their legislation would be return matters to where they stood before Roe v. Wade, that, is just a "little bit" of direct killing of the innocent would be permitted under cover of law. This is opposed to God's law and is thus immoral. All direct, intentional killing of the innocent is wrong in all circumstances
The South Dakota bill includes the life of the mother exception because of the advice rendered by the Catholic leaders in South Dakota. A judgment was made, it appears, that such a provision would make it more likely for a divided Supreme Court of the United States to use the bill's provisions as the means to reverse its decision in Roe v. Wade. No thought at all, it appears, was given by the only incumbent bishop in South Dakota, the Most Reverend Blase Cupich of Rapid City (the see of Sioux Falls is vacant at present), that the civil law can never admit of any exceptions to the inviolability of innocent human life. No, legislators were advised that the provision permitting direct attacks upon innocent preborn children were either legislatively and/or morally acceptable to the Catholic Church in South Dakota. The fault here lies not with the South Dakota legislators but with the Catholic leaders in South Dakota, concerned about legislative and judicial strategies and not about fulfilling the following injunction of Pope Leo XIII in Sapientiae Christianae:
But, if the laws of the State are manifestly at variance with the divine law, containing enactments hurtful to the Church, or conveying injunctions adverse to the duties imposed by religion, or if they violate in the person of the supreme Pontiff the authority of Jesus Christ, then, truly, to resist becomes a positive duty, to obey, a crime; a crime, moreover, combined with misdemeanor against the State itself, inasmuch as every offense leveled against religion is also a sin against the State. Here anew it becomes evident how unjust is the reproach of sedition; for the obedience due to rulers and legislators is not refused, but there is a deviation from their will in those precepts only which they have no power to enjoin. Commands that are issued adversely to the honor due to God, and hence are beyond the scope of justice, must be looked upon as anything rather than laws. You are fully aware, venerable brothers, that this is the very contention of the Apostle St. Paul, who, in writing to Titus, after reminding Christians that they are "to be subject to princes and powers, and to obey at a word," at once adds: "And to be ready to every good work." Thereby he openly declares that, if laws of men contain injunctions contrary to the eternal law of God, it is right not to obey them. In like manner, the Prince of the Apostles gave this courageous and sublime answer to those who would have deprived him of the liberty of preaching the Gospel: "If it be just in the sight of God to hear you rather than God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
Wherefore, to love both countries, that of earth below and that of heaven above, yet in such mode that the love of our heavenly surpass the love of our earthly home, and that human laws be never set above the divine law, is the essential duty of Christians, and the fountainhead, so to say, from which all other duties spring. The Redeemer of mankind of Himself has said: "For this was I born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth." In like manner: "I am come to cast fire upon earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?'' In the knowledge of this truth, which constitutes the highest perfection of the mind; in divine charity which, in like manner, completes the will, all Christian life and liberty abide. This noble patrimony of truth and charity entrusted by Jesus Christ to the Church she defends and maintains ever with untiring endeavor and watchfulness.
Civil law must be conformed to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. Catholic bishops must be in the vanguard of reminding legislators, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, that they will not bow to the demands of political expediency but will insist on an absolute adherence to the fullness of Catholic truth. It is the case today, however, that judgments are made by the conciliar bishops and their public policy advisers that such a goal is neither achievable or desirable, that some allegedly achievable compromise standard must be struck in light of the political and legal and judicial realities of our times. Thus legislative concessions are made from the very introduction of pieces of legislation dealing with preborn life rather than making any real effort to pass the most perfect legislation possible, trusting that Our Lady will use our fidelity to the fullness of her Divine Son's truths in ways that will bear fruit far beyond whatever a Supreme Court does or does not decide on the matter.
Why is it, though, that legislative concessions to immoral provisions in pieces of legislation dealing with preborn life are considered the norm by the conciliar bishops while they maintain a steadfast opposition to the imposition of the death penalty, both in theory and in practice? The right of the state to impose the death penalty on those adjudged guilty of heinous crimes after due process is part of the natural law. It is no more possible for anyone, including a putative pope, to say that the state has no inherent right in the natural law to impose the death penalty than it is for anyone, including a pope, to say that there are eight persons in the Divine Godhead. The conciliar bishops show themselves to be far, far more concerned about protecting the lives of those who have committed heinous crimes than they do to protecting each and every single preborn life without exception by means of encouraging legislators to enact no-exceptions legislation. In other words, innocent human life in the womb is, at the very least, strategically expendable while the lives of criminals is deemed to be absolutely inviolable. Does anyone see a problem here?
What applies to flawed legislation applies as well to the biennial lowering of the bar insofar as what constitutes being considered an "acceptable" candidate for public office by "mainstream" organizations such as the National Right to Life Committee and Priests for Life. It is the case now that some fully pro-abortion candidates are concerned more acceptable than other fully pro-abortion candidates, paving the way, ladies and gentlemen, for these same organizations to claim in 2008 that, say, the pro-abortion Rudolph William Giuliani, a Catholic in "good standing." is the "lesser of two evils" over the equally pro-abortion Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Methodist, if these two individuals wind up getting their respective organized crime family's nominations for the presidency of the United States of America. Just as campaigns in 2001 and 2002 floated the trial balloon of "Roe v. Wade is settled law" slogan devised by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to get Republican candidates elected in pro-abortion states, so is the current election cycle a "test-run," if you will, for dumbing down yet again what constitutes being "pro-life" in electoral politics.
To wit, the New Jersey Right to Life Committee, which is not affiliated with the misnamed National Right to Life Committee, an entity that endorses, as a matter of principle, the direct, intentional killing of babies in cases where it is alleged that a mother's life is endangered, has issued a blistering broadside against the National Right to Life Committee's endorsement of the fully pro-abortion Thomas H. Kean, Jr., in his race against United States Senator Robert Menendez, a fully pro-abortion Catholic. Here are the facts, sent to me by Mrs. Kathy Koll of the 100% Pro-Life Pac:
There is a race for the U.S. Senate underway in New Jersey. Three candidates are running: the incumbent Democrat, Robert Menendez who is pro-abortion, Republican Tom Kean, Jr. who is pro-abortion, and a third-party candidate (Solidarity: Defend Life Platform) who is pro-life, N. Leonard Smith.
Over the past weekend, pro-life voters in New Jersey received a mailing from National Right to Life Committee urging them to oppose Menendez and vote for Tom Kean. NRLC spent over $13,000 on the piece which has a picture of a very cute baby on the front, and, on the back compares the records of Menendez and Kean on partial-birth abortion, parental notification for a minor's abortion, and judicial nominations. Without in-depth knowledge of Kean's actions as a New Jersey state senator, a voter reading the NRLC postcard would get the impression that Kean is better than Menendez on these issues. Fortunately, New Jersey Right to Life (not affiliated with NRLC) has all the information available on its web site http://www.njrtl.org/, along with Tom Kean's record in the New Jersey Senate. A response to the endorsement by NJRTL executive director Marie Tasy, follows at the end of this commentary.
Tom Kean is pro-abortion. On December 12, 2005 he provided the only Republican vote and joined with 6 Democratic Senators to release S.2913 from the Senate Budget Committee, a bill that would ask voters to approve borrowing $350 million in bonds to fund embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and trafficking in fetal tissue. Tom Kean supports research that involves the killing of human embryos and urged Congress to override President Bush's veto of a bill that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). On October 19, just a few days prior to National Right to Life's endorsement, Tom Kean said he disagrees with President Bush over the Mexico City Policy that bans foreign aid to international agencies that perform or refer for abortions.
"Tom Kean, Jr. voted three times to advance taxpayer funding of research that allows the cloning and killing of human beings through the embryo, fetal AND NEWBORN STAGES for their organs, parts and tissues." (NJRTL Fact Sheet - 10/29/06)
SEE BELOW - INFORMATION FROM NEW JERSEY RIGHT TO LIFE
October 29, 2006
Dear Pro-Life Friends: New Jersey Right to Life has decided to issue the following statement after learning that National Right to Life has sent out a postcard mailing recommending that pro-life voters vote for Tom Kean, Jr. FEC reports illustrate that National Right to Life-PAC has spent in excess of $12,000 for the use of their mailing list and postage expenses in support of pro-abortion Tom Kean Jr.'s campaign for the U. S. Senate.
New Jersey Right to Life-PAC is not supporting either one of the major party candidates for U. S. Senate. Both Republican Tom Kean, Jr. and Democrat Robert Menendez's voting records and declared support for abortion and life-destroying embryonic stem cell research and cloning are in direct opposition to our pro-life mission and goals and make them unacceptable to pro-life voters. New Jersey Right to Life is the state's largest pro-life organization and is not affiliated with National Right to Life or its PAC.
Although National Right to Life's postcard in support of Tom Kean, Jr. omits the candidates' positions on embryonic stem cell research and cloning, we feel it is necessary to provide the voting records of both Robert Menendez (D) and Tom Kean, Jr. (R) on these issues and a rebuttal to National Right to Life's claims to demonstrate why both Kean and Menendez's positions are unacceptable to pro-life voters. We have notified our members of a third party candidate, N. Leonard Smith, who is running on a pro-life platform.
Voted No on H.R. 534 to ban human cloning (02/27/03 Roll Call Vote #39).
Voted Yes on H.R. 810 to use federal tax dollars on research that kills living human embryos (05/24/05 Roll Call Vote # 204 and 07/18/2006 Roll Call Vote # 206).
Opposed President Bush's July 19, 2006 veto of H. R. 810 and urged Congress to override President's veto.
Tom Kean, Jr.
Provided the only Republican vote in Committee on a Stem Cell Bond ballot referendum authorizing the use of $350M in public bonds to fund clone and kill research as established under NJ Law, P.L. 2003, C. 203 (12/12/05 Senate Budget Committee Vote to Release S2913).
Voted Yes on S2913, a Stem Cell Bond ballot referendum authorizing the use of $350M in public bonds to fund clone and kill research as established under NJ Law, P.L. 2003, C. 203 (12/15/05 NJ Senate Vote).
Voted Yes on S1091, a Stem Cell Bond ballot referendum authorizing the use of $230M in public bonds to fund clone and kill research as established under NJ Law, P.L. 2003, C.203 (06/30/2006 NJ Senate Vote).
Opposed President Bush's July 19, 2006 veto of H. R. 810 and urged Congress to override the President's veto.
Since National Right to Life's postcard does not provide all the facts about Tom Kean Jr.'s record on abortion, New Jersey Right to Life provided the following information below.
Partial Birth Abortion
NRLC Claim: Tom Kean, Jr. opposes partial birth abortion and supports the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Fact: Tom Kean, Jr. was not an elected official when the NJ partial birth abortion ban act passed the NJ Legislature and, therefore, never had to vote for it. Many pro-abortion elected officials who voted against the ban continue to claim they oppose partial birth abortion. For example, Christine Todd Whitman and former President Bill Clinton still claim to oppose partial birth abortion and state they are in support of banning the procedure even though they both vetoed the bill because it did not include a meaningless "health" exception. Since Tom Kean, Jr. did not have to actually vote for it, we don't really know whether he would support a bill without a meaningless "health" exception. We do know, however, that Kean, Jr. voted three times to advance taxpayer funding of research that allows the cloning and killing of human beings through the embryo, fetal AND NEWBORN STAGES stages for their organs, parts and tissues. Some of these methods would, no doubt, include the procurement of brain tissue and may include partial birth abortion and/or procedures very similar to it. Kean provided the deciding and only Republican vote in committee to advance the funding of this research. See above.
NRLC Claim: Tom Kean voted to require parental notice before an abortion is performed on a minor girl.
Fact: NJ passed a very modest parental notice law in 1999 which even pro-abortion Christine Todd Whitman signed into law and two-thirds of the legislature (many of who were pro-abortion) voted for. The law was struck down as unconstitutional by the NJ Supreme Court. Although Tom Kean, Jr. voted with other pro-abortion members of the legislature and pro-abortion Governor Christine Todd Whitman in support of this law, he has since voted for a law in NJ which would allow a minor who is 13 years of age to consent to medical or surgical treatment without parental notice or consent.
NRLC Claim: Tom Kean will vote for qualified judicial nominees. Tom Kean supported Judge Sam Alito of New Jersey for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Fact: Tom Kean, Jr. refuses to state whether he will vote for a pro-life judicial nominee. He only came out in favor of Samuel Alito after it was clear that there was enough votes in the U.S. Senate to approve his nomination and after the NJ pro-life community expressed their doubt and concerns about whether Alito would be a reliable vote to overturn Roe v. Wade on the U. S. Supreme Court. The fact of the matter is that Alito has a mixed record on abortion and life issues and he has not yet been tested. The fact that the U. S. Supreme Court just recently refused to rehear a challenge to the Doe v. Bolton case does not appear promising.
Addenda: In the last week, Michael J. Fox has appeared in TV ads in support of candidates who support embryonic stem cell research and cloning. Tom Kean, Jr. extended an invitation to have Michael J. Fox campaign with him since Kean, Jr. agrees with Michael J. Fox. This has caused even stalwart Republicans like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to speak out against Kean. Rush Limbaugh actually posted his views on his website. [ It may no longer be available there, but you can find it here: http://newjersey.craigslist.org/pol/226225628.html Please do not be misled into believing that Tom Kean, Jr. is pro-life or will vote pro-life if elected to the U.S. Senate. Marie Tasy, Executive Director New Jersey Right to Life 113 North Avenue West Cranford, NJ 07016
This is but par for the course in American electoral politics. After having run for office on the Right to Life Party line in the State of New York--and campaigned actively for Patrick Buchanan in 1995 and 1996, I withdrew from electoral politics by the year 2000 to concentrate entirely on planting the seeds for the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King. It is my noninfallible belief, expressed many times in the past few years, that we are at the point in this country that Italian Catholics faced during the height of the Risorgimento in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. Pope Leo XIII urged Italian Catholics to refrain from voting rather than lend legitimacy to the Masons who had attacked the Papal States and had fomented anti-clericalism and anti-clerical measures throughout the country. We waste our time believing that "things will get better" with this or that election. Things keep getting worse with each passing election. Worse, not better. I could go on and on and on about the various betrayals of allegedly "pro-life" public officials. Alas, I have done that. It's called Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations. This is the inevitable result of a world where Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not enthroned as King and Our Lady is not honored as our Immaculate Queen.
Pope Leo XIII explained that a country that excludes the true Church from its national life is doomed:
So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from the business of life, from the making of laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action.
Americans have the penchant for wanting to "do" something to "fix" problems, part of the quintessential American ideology of pragmatism. We have been taught that "elections" "fix" problems. This is false. All of the problems in the world are the consequences of Original Sin and our own Actual Sins. The only way to ameliorate, that is, lessen, the problems of the world is for Catholics to grow in Sanctifying Grace and for non-Catholics to be converted to the true Church so that they might be introduced to and then elevated by persisting in states of Sanctifying Grace. There is no naturalistic, inter-denominational or secular way to resolve the problems facing us today. (Have I written about that lately?. This is what Pope Leo XIII wrote in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900:
From this it may clearly be seen what con sequences are to be expected from that false pride which, rejecting our Saviour's Kingship, places man at the summit of all things and declares that human nature must rule supreme. And yet, this supreme rule can neither be attained nor even defined. The rule of Jesus Christ derives its form and its power from Divine Love: a holy and orderly charity is both its foundation and its crown. Its necessary consequences are the strict fulfilment of duty, respect of mutual rights, the estimation of the things of heaven above those of earth, the preference of the love of God to all things. But this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor selfdevotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God's law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men's salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man's "Way"; the Church also is his "Way"-Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.
As with individuals, so with nations. These, too, must necessarily tend to ruin if they go astray from "The Way." The Son of God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, is King and Lord of the earth, and holds supreme dominion over men, both individually and collectively. "And He gave Him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him" (Daniel vii., 14). "I am appointed King by Him . . . I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Psalm ii., 6, 8). Therefore the law of Christ ought to prevail in human society and be the guide and teacher of public as well as of private life. Since this is so by divine decree, and no man may with impunity contravene it, it is an evil thing for the common weal wherever Christianity does not hold the place that belongs to it. When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for which, under God's providence, human society has been built up. This end is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and eternal good which is above nature. But when men's minds are clouded, both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow nor end to aim at.
Just as it is the height of misfortune to go astray from the "Way," so is it to abandon the "Truth." Christ Himself is the first, absolute and essential "Truth," inasmuch as He is the Word of God, consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father, He and the Father being One. "I am the Way and the Truth." Wherefore if the Truth be sought by the human intellect, it must first of all submit it to Jesus Christ, and securely rest upon His teaching, since therein Truth itself speaketh. There are innumerable and extensive fields of thought, properly belonging to the human mind, in which it may have free scope for its investigations and speculations, and that not only agreeably to its nature, but even by a necessity of its nature. But what is unlawful and unnatural is that the human mind should refuse to be restricted within its proper limits, and, throwing aside its becoming modesty, should refuse to acknowledge Christ's teaching. This teaching, upon which our salvation depends, is almost entirely about God and the things of God. No human wisdom has invented it, but the Son of God hath received and drunk it in entirely from His Father: "The words which thou gavest me, I have given to them" john xvii., 8). Hence this teaching necessarily embraces many subjects which are not indeed contrary to reasonfor that would be an impossibility-but so exalted that we can no more attain them by our own reasoning than we can comprehend God as He is in Himself. If there be so many things hidden and veiled by nature, which no human ingenuity can explain, and yet which no man in his senses can doubt, it would be an abuse of liberty to refuse to accept those which are entirely above nature, because their essence cannot be discovered. To reject dogma is simply to deny Christianity. Our intellect must bow humbly and reverently "unto the obedience of Christ," so that it be held captive by His divinity and authority: "bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians x., 5). Such obedience Christ requires, and justly so. For He is God, and as such holds supreme dominion over man's intellect as well as over his will. By obeying Christ with his intellect man by no means acts in a servile manner, but in complete accordance with his reason and his natural dignity. For by his will he yields, not to the authority of any man, but to that of God, the author of his being, and the first principle to Whom he is subject by the very law of his nature. He does not suffer himself to be forced by the theories of any human teacher, but by the eternal and unchangeable truth. Hence he attains at one and the same time the natural good of the intellect and his own liberty. For the truth which proceeds from the teaching of Christ clearly demonstrates the real nature and value of every being; and man, being endowed with this knowledge, if he but obey the truth as perceived, will make all things subject to himself, not himself to them; his appetites to his reason, not his reason to his appetites. Thus the slavery of sin and falsehood will be shaken off, and the most perfect liberty attained: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" john viii., 32). It is, then, evident that those whose intellect rejects the yoke of Christ are obstinately striving against God. Having shaken off God's authority, they are by no means freer, for they will fall beneath some human sway. They are sure to choose someone whom they will listen to, obey, and follow as their guide. Moreover, they withdraw their intellect from the communication of divine truths, and thus limit it within a narrower circle of knowledge, so that they are less fitted to succeed in the pursuit even of natural science. For there are in nature very many things whose apprehension or explanation is greatly aided by the light of divine truth. Not unfrequently, too, God, in order to chastise their pride, does not permit men to see the truth, and thus they are punished in the things wherein they sin. This is why we often see men of great intellectual power and erudition making the grossest blunders even in natural science.
It must therefore be clearly admitted that, in the life of a Christian, the intellect must be entirely subject to God's authority. And if, in this submission of reason to authority, our self-love, which is so strong, is restrained and made to suffer, this only proves the necessity to a Christian of long-suffering not only in will but also in intellect. We would remind those persons of this truth who desire a kind of Christianity such as they themselves have devised, whose precepts should be very mild, much more indulgent towards human nature, and requiring little if any hardships to be borne. They do not properly under stand the meaning of faith and Christian precepts. They do not see that the Cross meets us everywhere, the model of our life, the eternal standard of all who wish to follow Christ in reality and not merely in name.
God alone is Life. All other beings partake of life, but are not life. Christ, from all eternity and by His very nature, is "the Life," just as He is the Truth, because He is God of God. From Him, as from its most sacred source, all life pervades and ever will pervade creation. Whatever is, is by Him; whatever lives, lives by Him. For by the Word "all things were made; and without Him was made nothing that was made." This is true of the natural life; but, as We have sufficiently indicated above, we have a much higher and better life, won for us by Christ's mercy, that is to say, "the life of grace," whose happy consummation is "the life of glory," to which all our thoughts and actions ought to be directed. The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that "we being dead to sin, should live to justice" (I Peter ii., 24)-that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. "The just man liveth by faith" (Galatians iii., II). "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith. A system of morality based exclusively on human reason robs man of his highest dignity and lowers him from the supernatural to the merely natural life. Not but that man is able by the right use of reason to know and to obey certain principles of the natural law. But though he should know them all and keep them inviolate through life-and even this is impossible without the aid of the grace of our Redeemer-still it is vain for anyone without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. "If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" john xv., 6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi., 16). We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.
Yes, this is not what is taught by the conciliar church. True enough. This is, however, what has been taught perennially by the Catholic Church. People are going to believe what they want. It is not until they take a step back from the apparent urgencies of the moment and start to familiarize themselves with the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church that they will come to realize that we are but the devil's pawns in his own playground at present, useful idiots whose votes enable various and sundry miscreants to stain public life with crime as they promote evils in public policy that violate God's laws and injure the good of the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. We can do more good for the restoration of Tradition in the Church and for Christendom in the world as the fruit of the Triumph of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate by passing out Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars and saying as many Rosaries as our states-in-life permit than we can by believing that the Judeo-Masonic electoral system is going to resolve any social problems at all.
We need to pray and work for the restoration of Christendom, starting in our own families by eschewing everything to do with the so-called "popular culture." It is when we lower the bar of sanctity, ladies and gentlemen, in our own homes that it is far easier for the bar of simple decency to be lowered in national life, including politics and governance. We must strive as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to be canonizable saints, men and women who look always to the moment of our Particular Judgments as we seek to replicate in every aspect of our lives the spirit that permeated the first Christendom, the spirit that will permeate the restored Christendom, a time when all hearts, consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, will exclaim:
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady, Queen of All Saints. pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.