July 2018 Print

The Air We Breathe

by Fr. Dominique Bourmaud, SSPX

Lately, with Pope Francis’s latest writing, the question of abortion came up in the front pages of Catholic papers. He explained: “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned.” Here, I am not interested in discussing the question of immigration and defense of one’s patrimony. I wish only to stress that there is an order of things, a hierarchy of values, and that the protection of innocent life must be given primacy of place over many other issues, however pressing. In a besieged fortress, a failing bastion wall is a risk, but a breach in the citadel means despair and doom.

Innocent Life is Sacrosanct

Here is one instance of the primacy of “Thou shalt not kill.” Right after the high school Parkland massacre in Florida perpetrated by a 17-year-old student, people have rightly questioned what could be done to stop this avalanche of violence. One interesting article in the Wall Street Journal by Peggy Noonan drew my attention, not only because she is a conservative Catholic, but also because she was pointing the finger at the remote causes of the problem, the mental disease of this country, and especially the teenagers. Here are some items in her plea:

“A nation has an atmosphere. It has air it breathes in each day. China has a famous pollution problem: you can see the dirt in the air. America’s air looks clean but there are toxins in it, and they’re making the least defended and protected of us sick. Here is one breath of the air. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Senate blocked a bill that would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks...but Democrats said it was an assault on women’s rights. So far, as the Senate is concerned, you can end the life of a 6- to 9-month-old baby that can live outside the womb that is not only human, but recognizably and obviously human.

And I’ll tell you what I think a teenager absorbs about it, unconsciously, in America. He sees a headline online, he passes a television in an airport, he hears the quick story and he thinks: “If the baby we don’t let live is unimportant, then I guess I am unimportant. And you’re unimportant too.

Compromise is often good. On gun law, Republicans oppose banning assault weapons such as the AR-15. Democrats oppose banning late-term abortion...The idea: Trade banning assault weapons for banning late-term abortion. Make illegal a killing machine and a killing procedure. In both cases, the lives of children would be saved. Wouldn’t this clean some of the air?”

What Mrs. Noonan rightly understood was the connection between two forms of violence. What she stressed especially is that the most violent attacks, however shocking, are just the tip of the iceberg. The problem lies much deeper. It touches on the sacrosanct nature of innocent human life, especially of the helpless ones, fetus and babies and geriatric patients. It also touches on the meaning of life altogether: if the nation sees no point defending the innocent natural life, if living has no higher goal than material life, if there is no more to human life after this life than there is to a cat, if man is not created to know, lose and serve God and be happy with Him forever, then it is not worth our while and effort for growing up and living a purposeless life. And this bleak future can only breed distress and despair, and we know all too well where these sentiments originate.

Church’s Teaching on Human Life

The Church, which is God’s spokesman on earth, has always protected the weak and innocent against alleged “rights” of powerful heads of States. Here are some 20th century statements, against the dark backdrop of Communism and Nazism:

“We must reprove totally and hold as false and condemned the theory called eugenism, either positive or negative; we must reprove also the means that it teaches for the betterment of the human race, which neglect the natural or divine or ecclesiastical laws concerning marriage and the rights of individuals” (Decree of the Holy Office, March 21, 1931).

Likewise, Pius XII, in his Allocution of October 29, 1951), said the following:

“Every human being, even the child in the womb, has the right to life directly from God and not from his parents, nor from any society or human authority. Therefore, there is no man, no human authority, no science, no “indication” at all—whether it be medical, eugenic, social, economic, or moral—that may offer or give a valid judicial title for a direct, deliberate disposal of an innocent human life, that is, a disposal which aims at its destruction, whether as an end in itself or as a means to achieve the end, perhaps in no way at all illicit...Therefore, when this practice was initiated, the Church expressly declared that it was against the natural law and the divine positive law, and consequently that it was unlawful to kill, even by order of the public authorities, those who were innocent, even if on account of some physical or mental defect, they were useless to the State and a burden upon it. The life of an innocent person is sacrosanct, and any direct attempt or aggression against it is a violation of one of the fundamental laws, without which, secure human society is impossible.”

For the average American today, it is quite a shock, quite an eye-opening experience to visit a country like the Philippines. People come back saying: “This the happiest country I have ever visited.” People are full of life; joy abounds. Poverty and human misery may reign everywhere, but the Catholic atmosphere, with the sense that God is our Father and that Providence, still gives them peace and hope. Visiting Mexico a few decades ago before the legalization of abortion, gave me the same impression: a young country filled with children, men with deformed arms and legs selling candies on the streets and happy with their lot, a throng of people in plain attire, not very pretty or manicured, but joyous and breathing freely.

It gave me to understand that life was taken as a gift in these countries, that each plain and humble soul was wanted and loved by their family and neighbor and that gave them “la joie de vivre”—the joy of life—which seems absent from our sophisticated culture. In our first world countries, any discolored tooth is an embarrassment, any slight bodily deformity a tragedy to children and parents. The “village idiot” or the physically impaired is out of place, unwelcomed and a shame to “normal” people. But this attitudes back fires on society, because, in real life, everyone has issues, whether physical or emotional or other. And so, every person becomes self-conscious and plays the hiding game instead of thanking God for all His blessings despite their human foibles. Away from the sunny and healthy environment of love and welcome, hypocrisy wins and distracts people from the real life issues.

The Powers of Darkness

Julian Huxley who became the first head of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) used his power to promote eugenism which he had recommended as “the religion of the future” already in 1927 in Man in the Modern World. Such a policy was so alien to men in the mid 20th century—they vividly remembered that eugenics was connected with Nazism—and that this could not be achieved without insistent forcing of “science” and “education”. Bertrand Russell in 1951 wrote in his The Impact of Science Upon Society: “The social psychologist of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at: first, that the influences of the home are obstructive....When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education, for more than one generation, will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.”

“Snow is black” is New Age cryptic language which translates into “evil is good.” This resounds like chilling echoes of the serpent tempting Adam in the earthly paradise. We know all too well that this desire to outdo himself and reach out for the stars, or for being equal to God, led man to experience death. Under the pleasant word of eugenism—happy race—it is innocent and defenseless human life which is sacrificed to the ideology of the perfect race...and to the devil. From a CNN radio program called “The Perfect Child” (2/7/1994), a “Catholic” woman expressed the wish to have “the defective children be killed and offered as a sacrifice to God.” But which God is this? Eugenics has a murderous lust and we know all too well where this originates. Speaking of Satan, St. John warns us: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him” (Jn 8: 44). This translated into what we have seen adopted in our so-called civilized nations after WWII: birth and population control, abortion, euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, and genetic engineering.

A Modern Hero: Professor Lejeune

Professor Jérôme Lejeune, by his discovery of Trisomy 21, has been called the father of modern genetics. John Paul II created him the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1993. The most dramatic moment of his scientific life occurred on October 1, 1969 when he came to the US to receive the William Allan Award, the first prize for Geneticians. That day, to his contemporaries in San Francisco, he explained his discovery of the Down Syndrome and spoke disturbing truths to their face. He knew full well that US scientists were ready to apply his test to eliminate the unwanted fetus and say: “Die, since you are not like me!” He knew that they would never pardon him because he spoke their own scientific language:

“Any student in genetics knows that, at conception, the chromosomic message is already complete, and it is that of a man and not of a duck or monkey. With time, he develops into a full-grown man but there is no essential change. So, when you request the destruction of a fetus, you know full well that you are suppressing a human being simply because he does not suit your norms! But do not deny him his human nature!”

Professor Lejeune was preventing the World Order from peacefully carrying out the dirty job of murdering human fetus in the name of “chromosomic racism.” That same night, writing to his wife, he said: “Today, I lost my Nobel Prize in Medicine.” He knew that he would be treated as a pariah and, even more, that his fight for life was lost before it began.

But, this would not stop him from continuing to fight to the end. In 1973, he was striving with main and might to stop the abortion legislation in his country when he rang the doorbell of the Archbishop of Paris. As he was absent, he was received by an auxiliary bishop. The latter heard his plea for the little ones but told him that it was not the business of the Church to get involved in societal matters: “Let the people choose the laws they wish. We cannot teach them and force their choice in such things. And you, by lobbying against abortion, you are simply a poor Catholic!” The Professor surely felt that the wayward bishop had more need of prayers than himself.

Abortion, which came on the heels of divorce and contraception, is just another “station” ahead of euthanasia and suicide on the journey to the “Culture of death.” During a conference he gave on euthanasia (March 18, 1993), Professor Lejeune explained the well known strategy of the revolutionaries. He exposed the ternary reasoning or diabolical dialectic: diversion invites you to look elsewhere (“the suffering and the worry of the family”); inversion brings out the opposite of what is really taking place (“to relieve suffering”); perversion ends up committing evil (“suppression of the weak innocent person”).

We began this article with the double problem of abortion and immigration which seemed like two opposite fronts to tackle at once. However, it should not be difficult to see that these issues are interconnected. For instance, France legalized abortion in 1973 which sent to death 200,000 human lives. That same year, the country accepted the first wave of 200,000 immigrants. Nature abhors a vacuum! Without the love for life and for God, a nation, no less than an individual, is doomed. A country which does not want to live will necessarily be overtaken by another nation which is young, courageous and prolific. A nation which does not want to do hard labor will be invaded by foreigners. A people which does not want children will be invaded by more prolific immigrants. A country which does not want to defend itself will have an army replete with immigrants. This is the hard law of life: there is no place in the banquet of humanity for the old nations.