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March 25, 2005

"Come, come, my dear More, this is not Spain. This is England"

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Pro-death attorney George Felos, who has been working feverishly with Mrs. Terri Schindler-Schiavo's faithless husband Michael to bring her to the point of her impending death by starvation and dehydration, said the following after the United States Supreme Court refused to grant judicial relief to Terri's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schindler:

It should become obvious to everyone and every observer that the entire judicial system of the United States, the state courts in the state of Florida, the entire federal judiciary, has said, this case must end, this case is over." Mrs. Schiavo's legal rights have been ruled on again and again and again. The courts have consistently found that she did not want to remain alive artificially. Her wishes should be carried out. And in that spirit, I hope that the parents do not keep pursing fruitless legal options to the end. I think their time would be better served in reflection.

This is a summary of all that is wrong with Modernity, born as it was in a rejection of belief in the Incarnation as essential to the right ordering of men and their civil societies. The revolutionary path to George Felos, although rooted in man's fallen human nature and his tendency to sin, runs from certain aspects of the Renaissance (especially Niccolo Machiavelli) through Martin Luther and John Calvin and Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer and Elizabeth I to the so-called Enlightenment (John Locke, Jean Jacques-Rousseau, David Hume, et al.)and the rise of Freemasonry. The path continued from there to the American and French Revolutions, spreading rapidly to attack the true Faith throughout Latin America in the early Nineteenth Century, continuing to wreak its savage force in once Catholic Europe, especially in the attack upon the Papal States by the Freemasons in Italy and Otto von Bismarck's Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church in Germany following the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. From such disparate but related spirits as John Dewey and Nietzsche and Karl Marx and Auguste Comte and Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud and V. I. Lenin sprang trends of belief and practice that meant to deify man and to make war upon every aspect of the Deposit of Faith Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ entrusted to His true Church. This is hardly an exhaustive review of the complex, inter-related forces that were let loose in the world following the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King as one of the directly willed consequences of Martin Luther's Protestant Revolt. However, the path to George Felos is a long and bloody one that has one common connecting bridge: a hatred of the Catholic Church in particular and of any and all reference to the Holy Name of the Divine Redeemer in general.

George Felos is not an anomaly of the American system of government. He is a product of it. Bad ideas lead to bad consequences. The belief that social order could be established and maintained absent a frank and confessional recognition of the Social Reign of Christ the King as it must be exercised by the Catholic Church was and remains a bad, heretical idea. The belief that men could pursue the pagan Roman concept of civic virtue on their own without belief in, access to and cooperation with sanctifying grace was and remains delusional. It is not possible to restrain man's tendency to abuse the reins of civil governance absent a recognition of the fact that there are binding precepts that exist in the nature of things and have been revealed positively by God Himself and that the true Church has the right, principally through her Indirect Power of preaching her immutable Social Teaching, to interpose herself when civil rulers transgress God's law and thus disorder the commonwealth. It is not possible for individual men to restrain themselves from the pursuit of vice--and of thus reducing everything in life to the level of relativist sentimentality and emotionalism--without seeking to scale the heights of sanctity by cooperating with the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on this very day, Good Friday. Oh, yes, no matter the "good intentions" of those who thought that they could guarantee "personal liberty" while maintaining social order in a Constitution that nowhere mentions God or the rights of His Holy Church, the events of 1776 and 1787 lead inevitably and inexorably to George Greer and George Felos.

Many people who are sincerely concerned about Mrs. Terri Schindler-Schiavo, who may indeed die on this Good Friday today, are rightly concerned about the more recent events that have brought us to the point of an innocent woman's being starved and dehydrated to death under cover of law. However, most of these people do not understand the root causes of our problems and that there is no secular or religiously indifferentist way to resolve them. Many of the Catholics who are standing by Mrs. Schiavo's side in Pinellas Park, Florida, outside of Woodspice Hospice, which has become a simile for Golgotha (Mount Calvary) itself, do not understand the true root causes of our problems because the Church in her human elements has abandoned the proclamation of the Social Reign of Christ the King. Indeed, the Church in her human elements has sunk so low that the man who should be standing by the side of one of his innocent lambs as she is being slaughtered keeps a steadfast and stony silence, calling only for "mediation" between Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers. No wonder that many good Catholics are seeking "leadership" from people (Protestant "ministers," conservative talk show hosts) who are themselves absolutely clueless about the root causes of the problems of Modernity despite their recognizing the specific evils that are being visited upon Mrs. Schiavo and her loving, suffering parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. No one is teaching Catholics about the necessity of Catholicizing the world and that the world is in the mess that it is in precisely because of the overthrow of Catholicism.

I had noted in an earlier commentary that we are witnessing today the exact situation that faced the German people when Adolf Hitler enacted the Third Reich's Euthanasia Laws in 1939. Many civil officials who knew those laws were wrong simply shrugged their shoulders, believing that they could not jeopardize their careers and run the risk of imprisonment and execution themselves for violating "the rule of law." These officials were not monsters. They were simply cowards who were willing to throw up their hands and to excuse themselves about the supposed impossibility of their being able to change laws that they regretted but could do nothing to change and thus were duty bound to enforce. It is no different--and I mean no different--in our own country today. The killing of people in hospitals as a matter of routine practice is a reality. If you doubt my word, I urge to to review an excellent and informative article, "Are You Being Targeted for Euthanasia?", written by Miss Mary Therese Helmueller, R.N., that had appeared first in Homiletic and Pastoral Review and has been posted online at www.catholictradition.org/targeted.htm. What has been happening to Mrs. Schiavo for the past decade as her faithless husband, who is in a bigamous "common-law" marriage with a woman by whom he has fathered two children in the past ten years, has sought to use the legal machinery of this country to killer is, not unique. As I have noted repeatedly in my commentaries on this tragedy, the only reason that Mrs. Schiavo's case has made headlines is that she has parents and siblings who want her to live.

Our civil officials shrug their shoulders and excuse themselves by saying that there is "nothing more" for them to do. The judges have ruled. It is too bad that they have ruled as they have. However, there is nothing more for us to do. That's essentially what President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush are saying right now. Consider what Pope John Paul II had to say about this kind of excuse-making in his 1984 Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et Paenetentiae:

Whenever the church speaks of situations of sin or when the condemns as social sins certain situations or the collective behavior of certain social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations and blocs of nations, she knows and she proclaims that such cases of social sin are the result of the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins. It is a case of the very personal sins of those who cause or support evil or who exploit it; of those who are in a position to avoid, eliminate or at least limit certain social evils but who fail to do so out of laziness, fear or the conspiracy of silence, through secret complicity or indifference; of those who take refuge in the supposed impossibility of changing the world and also of those who sidestep the effort and sacrifice required, producing specious reasons of higher order. The real responsibility, then, lies with individuals.

"It is a case of the very personal sins of those who cause or support evil or who exploit it; of those who are in a position to avoid, eliminate or at least limit certain social evils but who fail to do so out of laziness, fear or the conspiracy of silence, through secret complicity or indifference; of those who take refuge in the supposed impossibility of changing the world and also of those who sidestep the effort and the sacrifice required, producing specious reasons of higher order." Indeed. This one sentence can be used to describe why those in civil authority in Nazi Germany enforced laws that they knew were wrong. This one sentence can be used to describe why those in civil authority in the Soviet Union never asked any questions about what the commissars ordered. This one sentence can be used to describe why those in civil authority today in Red China and Cuba and Vietnam and North Korea continue to enforce laws that require them to imprison and/or eliminate those people deemed to "useless" or the "unwanted" or the politically undesirable. Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, is demanding a full accounting of the status and whereabouts of the bishops and priests of the true Church in Red China who have been arrested by the communist authorities there. And this one sentence can be used to describe why those in civil authority here in the United States are afraid to take real political risks to confront the evils being done under cover of law, including what is happening at this very moment on the morning of Good Friday to Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

A man in a barber shop in California yesterday recoiled in horror when I compared what is happening in the United States to what happened in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union--and to what is happening in regimes around the world at this present time. "This is America," the man bellowed. "America, do you hear me?" his voice getting louder. "America! We don't do anything wrong. We have our freedoms. Don't compare us to any bad countries. We are good. Good, good, good." Everyone in the barber shop agreed with the man, including a barber who said, "I don't want to hear any of this stuff." Ah, yes, "freedom" is wonderful.

This incident called to mind a scene in A Man for All Seasons during one of the interrogations of Sir Thomas More by his successor as Chancellor of the Realm, Thomas Cromwell. When More, played by Paul Scofield, hinted that Cromwell, played by Leo Kearns, might use less subtle methods of intimidation, Cromwell replied (and this is a paraphrase), "Come, come, my dear More. This is not Spain. This is England."

Yes, "civilized" England could not be compared to the Spain of the Inquisition in Cromwell's mind. In actual truth, however, over 72,000 Catholics who remained faithful to Rome when King Henry VIII had himself declared Supreme Head of the Church in England were killed between 1534 and the tyrant's death in 1547, a little over three percent of the population of England at that time. "Civilized" England could not compare itself to "brutal" Spain while it was systematically rooting out anyone who would not sell out their baptismal birthright as Roman Catholics to save their lives and their property. The killing of over 72,000 people, the seizure of the monastery and convent land and the other discriminatory measures imposed upon Roman Catholics in the wake of the English Protestant Revolt was all done quite legally, thank you. Judges sentenced Catholics to death quite routinely. The England of the Anglican Church just went about its business as though anyone who resisted the new order of things was an unpatriotic extremist.

The parallels between then and now are striking. What is going on now is, as was noted earlier, a direct result of the consequences of what happened then. Law was misused in "civilized England in the Sixteenth Century. Law is being misused in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" five centuries later. People spoke about loyalty to the king then, they speak about the demigod of states' rights and the "rule of law" and a person's "right to die" today, forgetting that Christ the King has rights that must be recognized by all governments and that He has entrusted to His true Church the entirety of the Deposit of Faith to safeguard and to explicate to everyone in the world, including those who hold the reins of civil governance. Consider the words of Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas, issued in 1925:

Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast [of Christ the King] that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God. If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God's kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom.

The Incarnation matters. The Sacrifice of the Cross Our Lord offered to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on this very day, Good Friday, matters. Membership in the true Church matters. Submission to the teaching entrusted to her by her Divine Bridegroom matters. The tragic case of Terri Schindler-Schiavo is thus not about her "desires," which if ever expressed at all are irrelevant to the objectively immoral act of withdrawing food and water, but about fidelity to the totality of the Deposit of Faith Our Lord has entrusted to His true Church, including the Social Reign of Christ the King. It is that simple. Deny (or denigrate the importance of) the Incarnation and deny or overthrow the Social Reign of Christ the King and one arrives inevitably at this particular point and time with all of its multifaceted and inter-related evils.

This date, March 25, is the day upon which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became Flesh in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. All of human history is meant to be changed forever by the fact of the Incarnation, which was meant to lead the Word Who was made Flesh and dwelt amongst us to die for us on this very date, March 25, on the wood of the Holy Cross. The Flesh that hung on the Cross came from Our Lady's flesh. The Most Precious Blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins and for the sins of the many came from Our Lady's blood. The Sacred Heart that was pierced by the centurion's lance had been formed out of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, which was pierced on this very date by the sword of sorrow that the aged Simeon had prophesied at her Purification. Men and nations who ignore these central facts of human existence are doomed to misery and extinction, both temporally and eternally.

As a Catholic citizen of the United States I want what is best for my country. What is best for my country is her Catholicization, that is, the subordination of everything in her national life to the standard of the Holy Cross as It is lifted high by Holy Mother Church. This country is headed for annihilation if it persists in ignoring the truths Our Lord has entrusted to His true Church. Consider this brief excerpt from Father A. J. O'Reilly's The Martyrs of the Coliseum:

The Romans were indulging in every excess, and thought of nothing but the amusements of the Circus and the Coliseum. Their apathy and blindness to the terrible ruin which threatened them was the first sign of the fate that decreed their fall. The haughty Senate and patricians pretended to smile at the audacity of a barbarian king coming to attack their city. They looked at their arches of triumph, the trophies of victory beyond number that met their gaze on every side, the temples of so many gods, and of heroes and emperors deified for their deeds in arms; and with complacent pride they scorned the idea of their becoming a prey to a barbarian. How should she tremble, amid so many pledges of dominion, whose walls, cemented with the gore of so many captive victims, were sufficiently guarded by the terrors of the Roman name, and by the dreadful shades of so many conquerors? But their arrogance was soon humbled by misfortune. Whilst they were yet reclining in their tricliniums, the hands of Alaric, impatient for the moment of assault, came bursting through the marble halls and pleasure-grounds of her suburban villas, and rushed and thundered onwards over every opposition, until they broke like a deluge of blood and confusion against her gates.

The Crucifix will be unveiled during the Mass of the Presanctified this afternoon. Ecce Lignum Crucis in Quo Salus Mundi Pependit: Behold the wood of the Cross, upon which hangs the Saviour of the World. We must pray to Our Lady, who stood so valiantly by the wood of the Holy Cross on this exact date 1972 years ago, to help us lift high the Cross in the midst of our own country, offering all that we do and endure to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slaves so that some pope will indeed properly consecrate Russia and that our country and the whole world will be converted to Catholicism and that the glories of Tradition, starting with the Mass of the ages, will be restored in Holy Mother Church. With the Mass of Tradition restored and with men and nations converted to the true Church there will be no further talk of activist judges or timid executive. There will only be a professed, public allegiance to Christ the King and to Mary our Immaculate Queen.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Patron of the dying, pray for Theresa Schindler-Schiavo.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, cast into Hell Satan and the all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.

Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.

Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.

August Queen of Heaven, Sovereign Mistress of the Angels, thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly implore thee to send thy Holy Legions, so that under thy command and by thy power they may drive the devils away, everywhere fight them, subduing their boldness, and thrust them down into the abyss. Who is like unto God. O good and tender Mother, thou willst always be our love and our hope. O Divine Mother send they Holy Angels to defend me and to drive far away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Archangels, defend and keep us. Amen.



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