Tag Archives: pro-life

Interview 036—Fr. Chad Ripperger: Responses to Critics on wives staying at home, binding prayers, generational spirits, a refutation of Thomistic Evolution and Other Matters

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We are joined today by Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD, to answer objections to his teachings on the obligations of women to work at home, binding prayers, generational spirits, canon law on his book, etc. We also address objections in favor evolution stemming from modern Thomists, that St. Thomas teaches creation was accomplished with primary causes, as well as the sedi-privationalist argument of infallible security which stems into Amoris Laetitia. We also cover clerical celibacy and the consequences of changing this discipline. Join us for another intellectually stimulating hour.

Pre-order St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Moral Theology vol. 2, save 8 dollars between price-point and our 10% off sale.
Fr. Ripperger’s website
Fr. Ripperger’s press

Episode Notes

Feminism, Women & the Natural Order
Prümmer on the obligation of wives to remain at home:
“1. Vir et mulier pares sunt quantum ad substantiam naturae humanae, quantum ad animam, quantum ad substantiam naturae humanae, quantum ad animam, quantum ad gratiam et gloriam obtinendam; idcirco S. Paulus dicit: ‘[In Christo enim] non est masculus, neque femina.’ (Gal. 3:28) Quamobrem Ecclesia Catholica numquam desiit docere, mulierem non esse ancillam, sed sociam viri.
2. Quamvis ordinarie mulier sit debilior viro quantum ad vires corporis et intellectus, tamen haud paucae existunt mulieres vlaentes eadem opera (saltem faciliora) peragere, quae viri praestant. Per se igitur nihil obstat, quominus mulieribus capacibus haec opera et munia committantur. Hinc e.g. nihil obstat, ne mulieribus aptis committatur munus medici, advocati, magistri, etc.
3. Principalis scopus naturalis, propter quem Deus creavit mulierem, est, ut illa sit in adiutorium viri (Gen. 2:18). Ideo Deus prius creavit Adam et deinde Evam, quam fecit ex costa Adae; non autem prius fecit Evam, neque desumpsit Adam ex substantia Evae. Quae quidem videntur esse signa manifesta, mulierem debere subdi viro. Accedit quod Deus tum in Vetere tum in Novo Testamento exclusit mulieres ab officio sacerdotali; quod iterum satis clare demonstrat, Deum nolle concedere mulieri omnimodam aequalitatem cum viro in omnibus muneribus. Ergo emancipatio radicalis mulierum et omnimoda aequiparatio inter virum et mulierem videtur esse contra intentionem Creatoris.
4. Officium principale mulieris est procurare bonum familiae domesticae. Familia enim est fundamentum totius societatis humanae. Iamvero sine efficaci adiutorio mulieris bonum familiae vix est possible. Ergo talis emancipatio mulierum, qualis illas e sinu familiae nimis evellit, aut viris vitam familialem valde difficilem reddit, est moraliter mala, et etiam pro bono sociali nociva. (my emphasis)
Manuale Theologiae Moralis, vol. II; n. 593; translation in the audio.
Donum Vitæ – Children have a right to be raised by both parents
Pope Francis: Children have a right to both parents
CDF document on Exorcism (1995, not ’94)
Manuale Exorcismorum (Mechlen, 1618)
Conference on Generational Spirits part 1 2 3
The 6th Generation
Scripture verses defending binding even by laity:
Revelation 20:2; Tobit 3:17; Mark 3:27; 2 Peter
Gabriel Amorth: An Exorcist tells his story
Deliverance Prayers
Canon 873 §3: Books of prayers for the public or private use of the faithful are not to be published without the permission of the local ordinary.
Minor Exorcisms (which does have an imprimatur)
The Metaphysics of Evolution
Fabian Revol, Le Temps de la Création. Les Éditions du Cerf. Paris. 2015

St. Thomas teaches creation happened by primary sources: De Potentia. q, 3, a. 4. See also ST I, 45, 5; 65, 3; 90, 3; SCg II, 20 & 21; II Sent d.1, q. 1, a3; De Veritate 5, 9.
St. Thomas treated days of creation as 24 hours; I, Q 74 ad 7: The words “one day” are used when day is first instituted, to denote that one day is made up of twenty-four hours. Hence, by mentioning “one,” the measure of a natural day is fixed. Another reason may be to signify that a day is completed by the return of the sun to the point from which it commenced its course. And yet another, because at the completion of a week of seven days, the first day returns which is one with the eighth day.
Lateran IV on period of time of creation:
Deus…creator omnium visibilium et invisibilium, spiritualium et corporalium: qui sua omnipotenti virtute simul ab initio temporis utramque de nihilo condidit creaturam, spiritualem et corporalem, angelicam videlicet et mundanam: ac deinde humanam, quasi communem ex spiritu et corpore constitutam.
God…creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body (D.428).
Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique (DTC) (sous la direction de A.Vacant et E. Mangenot, Paris, Letouzey, 1903, Art. Ange, col 1269,1270): “It seems clear that the text [of Lateran IV] affirms the simultaneity of the two creations—[those of the spiritual and corporeal creatures]—and most theologians interpret it that way.  Indeed, many of them, like Suarez in De Angelis and also it would seem Cardinal Mazzella in De Deo Creante regard those who contest this simultaneity of creation as ‘temerarious’. ”
Pontifical Biblical Commission’s 1909 response on the literal sense of Genesis (I misspoke during the interview and had said 1911. That is the year one of the best handguns ever made was manufactured and I confused that venerable date)
Amoris Lætitia
German Bishops on giving communion to the divorce and remarried
Statement of the Bishops of Kazakhstan against Amoris Lætitia
Maltese Bishops promoting communion for the divorced and remarried
Cardinal Franzelin
De Divina Tradition in English (Franzelin)
Monsignor Clifford Fenton
Vatican II on Obsequium Religiosum: Lumen Gentium 25
The Binding Force of Tradition
Magisterial Authority
Letter to the Argentine Bishops’ Conference by Pope Francis confirming communion for the Divorced and Remarried
Protestant clergy abusing children
Rabbis that have abused children
Islamic clergy abusing children
NB: Pointing this out is not to attack Protestants, Jews and Muslims, but to show the problem is not celibacy, but rather that we have a sick culture and sick people get into positions of authority, no only in the Catholic Church, not only in protestant churches, but also in other religions, not to mention government and that you are 14x more likely to be sexually abused by a government worker in a school or hospital, in foster care or in some other government facility than you are either by a Catholic priest or a minister of any religion.

Interview 018 – Chris Ferrara discusses Laudato Si


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pope_francis_eco-friendlyToday we are joined by Chris Ferrara, the president of the Catholic Lawyers Association, a well known Columnist for the Remnant, the author of The Great Façade, The Church and the Libertarian, and his magnum opus: Liberty: The God that Failed. Chris today, comments on where Francis appears to be taking us with Laudato Si. Should we cheer the anti-globalist sentiments and the condemnation of Malthusian approaches? Should we celebrate the few scant references to abortion? Or are there foundational problems with the language in the encyclical that we should be weary of? Should Distributists harken to the condemnations of globalism and abuse of resources? Or is there a radical departure from the tradition of Catholic thought which we should be worried about? Join us for an in depth conversation on the document.

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Sandro Magister in the Pontificate of Mercy

sandro_magisterMany readers following papal affairs may be familiar with Sandro Magister’s blog. He is a veteran journalist writing for the Italian paper L’Espresso. He is also noted for having the cajones to criticize Francis and not fall in line like so many yes men, even though he is by no stretch a Traditionalist. His blog chiesa (linked above) also has good English translations, making commentary closer to the Vatican accessible for those who do not speak Italian. Continue reading

Interview 013 – Bill Jasper on the TPP


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william_f_jasperToday Bill Jasper, the senior editor of the New American,  joins us to talk about a pending trade deal that you have never heard of called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and it could effect you in a dramatic way, from internet freedom, to your pensions, jobs, wages and many other things that you simply have not been told by the politicians of both parties. We discuss the details from leaked drafts of how the TPP fundamentally means the end of the little freedom we currently enjoy, and what you can do about it. Continue reading

Celibacy, challenging the myths

 Originally published on the original Athanasius Contra Mundum, 10 October 2010.

Epigonius, Bishop of the Royal Region of Bullas, declares “With the rule concerning continence and chastity [which] was already discussed in a previous council, let the same be taught with more emphasis. Namely that there are the three ranks that by virtue of their consecration, are under the same obligation of chastity, i.e. the bishop, the priest, and the deacon, and let them be instructed to keep their purity.

Bishop Genethlius declares: As was previously said, it is fitting that the holy bishops and priests of God as well as the deacons, those who are in the service of the divine sacraments, observe perfect continence, so that they may obtain in all simplicity what they are asking from God; what the apostles taught and what antiquity itself observed, let us also also keep. 1

-Council of Carthage

In the midst of the clerical abuse scandal, one finds increasingly the call for an end to clerical celibacy. According to those claiming that celibacy should be optional, they argue that it is unnatural to be celibate and the requirement is too hard and that’s why we have the problem. Or, that celibacy psychologically unbalances the priest, and that is why he cannot keep away from young boys or women.

Of course we know at a purely natural level, these arguments are false since the percentage of those who molest children are as high (though under-reported) in religions where the clergy are married, and double or triple in education, law, medicine and social work, places where people can get married and there is no requirement which could psychologically unbalance them with respect to marriage. Now in law there are things which would psychologically unbalance anyone, but that is for another day. Thus it is not the mere fact that priests are as a class unmarried.

That however only illuminates what is not the problem. It tells us nothing of its source or its solution. There is something which you will find in common with teachers, lawyers and doctors who molest children and priests, namely it is an unmortified body, or more particularly addiction to sexual sin. The people who commit heinous acts like this are not suffering from a lack of sex, but from too much involvement in it!

There is a false belief today, that once you are married you can have at it and it is perfectly fine. Of course it is true that once married acts ordered toward the procreation of children, which are conducted with due regard for the end (i.e. no heterosexual sodomy) are good, but the failure to commit adultery does not constitute the virtue of chastity. Chastity is rather an interior virtue that mortifies your interior desires and frees one from the attachment to sexual pleasure. It doesn’t mean it is bad, but it means you are not attached to it, as should be the case with other things. The reason for this should be understood by any man who gets married, the desires don’t stop for other women just because you are now lawfully able to engage with one. Neither do attractions, affections, or the potential to be caught in pornography and self abuse. This is because the concupiscible appetite (that part of us that desires food and sexual relations) continues to move the will in that direction, until we have brought that part of us into line by mortification and detachment. When one does not engage in any sexual activity that is called continence, not chastity. Even spouses are required to remain chaste. Chastity simply has a different meaning for them because of their state in life.

Due to the fall, our concupiscible appetites are out of control. As Chesterton said, after the fall we are like a man who jumps on a horse and runs in all directions. Concupiscence, the inclination of our body toward sin, dwells objectively in the body. Grace may remedy it over time, if we are faithful, but it is not automatic. This is the principle error of Mr. West’s Theology of the Body, it gives one the idea that grace will conquer nature through the act of license with one’s spouse and constantly focusing on sexuality, in reality it is the opposite, we conquer concupiscence in this area by focusing on this only when it is proper and suitable. It does not mean you must live a Josephite marriage, but that you must be detached from the goods of marriage. The secondary end of marriage in the old manuals and catechisms was called “The Remedy for concupiscence”, and this did not refer simply to being able to engage in relations, because by itself that does not solve the problem. Rather, it refers to the whole course of married life which serves to mortify the senses of the spouses and move them toward holiness. A man in a state of matrimony is just as capable, if not more so, of committing heinous and evil sins against the 6th and 9th commandment. Now that you are allowed to consider your spouse under this aspect, it becomes tempting to judge someone who is not your spouse by this aspect. If the man is disordered, then this becomes a real problem. That the majority of sex abusers in history have been male should also serve to tell us something.

Now if we look to the clergy abuse crisis, let us also apply this. They say that the priest who has been chaste will not struggle in this area, because he does not have material in his imagination to fuel the flames, that is the fomes peccati. If he fails in this regard, he is going to have problems. If he has already come in with disorders, such as homosexuality or pedophilia, he is going to tend toward disordered behavior even if it never manifests itself. Due to the breakdown in the piety of the faithful prior to Vatican II and the lowering of standards even before the Council, plenty of unhealthy men entered the seminary. They were unhealthy for more than one reason, it is not just the abusers, but those who married their housekeepers and asked to be returned to the lay state (as in the case of one particular ex-priest I knew). The problem that caused the clerical abuse scandal, as well as all the scandals in this regard within and outside the Church, is too much sex, rather than not enough.

Rather, celibacy and clerical chastity are the crowning virtues of a priest by which he is conformed in body as well as the mark of ordination to Jesus Christ, who was perfectly chaste in this life. This is why the western discipline is superior to that of the other Churches, it more perfectly conforms the priest to Jesus Christ than a man who is married but abstains for a period before the liturgy. It can also be looked at in this way, the priest of the old testament is a type of the priest in the New Testament, and the fulfillment of biblical types is superior to what is in the old. In the old testament, the priest would be selected in a certain year to offer sacrifice in the temple, and a year prior to that he had to live apart from his wife. This is so he will be set apart to take part in the things of God. If that is true in the old law, how much more so in the new where the priest offers sacrifice every day (though in some traditions every week), that he should be continually set apart? In the Early Church, while converts who were married were ordained, the general witness is that they had to leave their wives and make a vow of continence. (a more complete treatment of the subject than can be produced here can be seen in The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy, by Cochini).

Many Patristic writers note that the one Apostle who was held in higher esteem than the others was John. Peter is higher than John because of his office, but John is held higher by his purity of life. The Fathers particularly saw a close relationship between Jesus and John based on his virginity:

St. Jerome declares:

“Yet John, one of the disciples who was said to be the youngest among the apostles, and whose faith in Christ started when he was a virgin, remained a virgin, and this is the reason that he was preferred by the Lord and leaned on Jesus’ breast.” (Adversus Jovinianum, PL23, 246b-c)

St. Augustine tells us:

“Among the commentators of the Holy word, several-and those were not men whose opinions we can hold in contempt-think that if Christ loved the Apostle John with a special love, it was because he had never been married and that from his earliest childhood he practiced the most delicate purity. There are no conclusive proofs in canonical Scripture; nevertheless, what seems to support such a feeling and demonstrate its aptness is that John was a figure of the heavenly life, during which no wedding would be celebrated.” (Tractatus in Evangelium Joannis, 124, 7

St. Paulinus of Nola

“Among his disciples he chose the youngest one so as to entrust his mother, as was fit to a virgin apostle.” (PL 61, 416a)

Proclus of Constantinople

The Apostle John received the principle and most eminent gift from God, virginity. And this is why the two sons of Zebedee were called ‘sons of thunder’. (PG 65, 730b, quoted in Patrology, study of the Greek Fathers)

Lastly, chastity is called by scholastic theologians the crown of all virtues, because without it you cannot attain to clarity in this life. Even the demons who tempt men to impurity are ashamed, because they remember how beautiful their natures were and themselves cannot stand the affront to them by tempting men to such low sins. Chastity orders the other virtues to a clarity devoid of carnal affections and it is easier to attain in one who is not married than one who is. This does not mean of course that everyone who is celibate is chaste, we have the obvious example of the 15th century, pre-Revolution France or of the last 40 years, and other periods where the lack of morals of the clergy are notable. One time St. Augustine appeared with St. Thomas, I believe it was to John of St. Thomas but I’m not sure (if someone who knows can enlighten me I’d appreciate it) to give a testimony to the importance of St. Thomas’ works, and he said that they were equal in glory except that in the splendour of virginity, St. Thomas was the greater.

In a certain sense, it is true that a certain aspect of celibacy is not a doctrine, that it is something that can be modified by the Church. This however does not mean that the Church ought to, or even can get rid of a discipline simply because the world or other elements think it should. St. Basil, witnesses for us that

Among the “doctrines” and the definitions kept in the Church, we have received some from the written teaching and we have obtained the other ones, secretly transmitted, from the apostolic Tradition. They all have the same validity with regard to piety as no one would doubt if he has any experience of ecclesiastical institutions; because if we attempt to do away with unwritten customs, by claiming that they have no great validity, we would unknowingly hurt the Gospel on its very essential points. (On the Holy Spirit)

Just because it can be changed doesn’t mean that it should, as Traditionalists well know. Who now are the agents of change? The world. Everyone in society thinks that the only ones who need to get married are priests. Yet, the stuck on stupid generation as I have termed it, will pass away and what then? As we see from the quotes from the Council of Carthage which head this post, the Early Church ordained married men but required of them perfect continence. It was a time when most who came to the faith were converts, or not all who came to the priesthood were unmarried and it was necessary for some years to ordain married men. Yet the early Church maintained celibacy. The Church has always insisted on it, as a means for chastity. Not the sole means of course, because by itself it is insufficient, but as the state in life combined with interior chastity in the soul to lead the priest to true clarity and true conformity with Jesus Christ. The end to the sex scandal is two things then, the double crown of charity and chastity. Chastity as has been said above, is necessary to attain to any vision in this life. Charity however, is among the faithful, and the priest who will love God above all the things in this world. Why among the faithful, that is the laity? Their prayers and mortification will lead to holy priests. There is a quote from St. John Eudes, though I’m still tracking down the source, which says “There is no surer sign that God is displeased with His people than to send them unholy priests.” Well, with the sacrilegious communions, rampant heresy, apostasy, moral failings and hypocrisy, is it no surprise? Or as the ancient maxim goes, we get the leaders we deserve. We need charity to offer to God fitting sacrifices for worthy priests. We need celibacy, to keep the priests separate from the things of this world so they can be holy priests. We do not need more priests, we need more holy priests especially in this time. Ending celibacy does not make one move toward that goal, in fact given our culture, it will move us further away from this goal. What is needed is for the Church to stay true to her age old traditions.

1: Epigonius episcopus Bullensium Regionum dixit: Cum praeterito concilio de continentia et castiate tractaretur, gradus isti treas qui constrictione quadam castitatis per consecrationem annexi sunt, episcopus inquam, presbyter et diaconus, tractatu pleniori, ut pudicitiam custodiant, doceantur.  Genethilius episcopus dixit: Ut superius dictum est, decet sacros antistes ac Dei sacerdotes nec non et levitas vel qui sacramentis divinis inserviunt, continentes esse in omnibus, quo possint simpliciter quod a Domino postulant impetrare, ut quod apostoli docuerunt et ipsa servavit antiquitas, nos quoque custodiamus.

The failure of the pro-life movement

46_lady_of_laundryIt cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism. No doubt it might have been Communism, if Communism had ever had a chance, outside that semi-Mongolian wilderness where it actually flourishes. But so far as we are concerned, what has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt, is the epoch and power of Capitalism. It is Capitalism that has forced a moral feud and a commercial competition between the sexes; that has destroyed the influence of the parent in favor of the influence of the employer; that has driven men from their homes to look for jobs; that has forced them to live near their factories or their firms instead of near their families; and, above all, that has encouraged for commercial reasons, a parade of publicity and garish novelty, which is in its nature the death of all that was called dignity and modesty by our mothers and fathers. It is not the Bolshevist but the Boss, the publicity man, the salesman and the commercial advertiser who have, like a rush and riot of barbarians, thrown down and trampled under foot the ancient Roman statue of Verecundia.

-G.K. Chesterton

Three Foes of the family

Since Obama won his second term, conservatives, religious conservatives in particular have had to lick their wounds. Some reactions go to the extreme, such as the pregnant woman who ran over her husband for not voting, as if his vote really mattered and he is the reason why Obama won when he lives in a state that went for Romney any way. Others blame Catholics who voted for Obama, while others bemoan those who voted for a 3rd party or could not bring themselves to vote for “Mittens”. All of these and the countless string or reactions and “if only we had gotten out the vote” etc. indicate amongst religious conservatives and pro-lifers an underlying problem, why aren’t we winning? The answer is that the movement has failed.

Is the pro-life movement really successful?

In one sense certainly. No other organization has consistently brought several hundred thousand people to the capital every year for over 40 years, not that I’ve ever heard of anyway. Moreover, the Pro-life movement in particular offers real solutions for women, through crisis pregnancy centers, post-abortive counseling, gifts, donations, adoption etc. In my estimation these are the real successes. I should also add before I criticize the movement that I am 100% pro-life, but I am dismayed by where the movement comes up short.

The successes, alas, sadly don’t overshadow the striking failures of the movement politically, and these are due to two factors: 1) A faulty grasp on the real nature of the problem and 2) absolute dependence on the Republican party which does not care. Thus we can say that the pro-life movement is successful socially with all of the good it is able to do for women in need, but not politically.

In the first place, we must correctly realize why abortion in this country (let alone in Europe) came into being. It did not come in with the legalization of contraception 6 years earlier, nor did it come in because of Margaret Sanger, who was a socialist and a Nazi supporter. It did not even come from Eugenics. These are all secondary causes; they are all involved, however, they flow from a primary cause.

Abortion came from Capitalism’s betrayal of the family. The assault of liberalism always realizes itself as economic before it does as political. Until the pro-life movement comes to the realization that abortion is wedded to our economic system, it will fail each and every time. Moreover, as long as it is beholden to the Republican party, which by and large is a party wedded to free market capitalism (the source for abortion) then the movement to end abortion will never be realized.

How Capitalism Causes Abortion

Why is this? Firstly, let us consider the assault on the family resulting from Capitalism. Most are aware of the 18th and 19th century realities, families forced into a small room which is all they can afford, children working and losing limbs in factories, etc. Since the 20th century most of the horrid conditions had been extirpated, at least for the time being. Thus many say we’ve cleaned up our act economically, so how does Capitalism cause the break-up of the family?

In the first place, we operate from a novel notion of “family”. In the past, the family is not only the husband, wife and children, but the extended family as well as those close friends and servants who are considered like “family”. We are all familiar with Hillary Clinton touting: “It takes a village to raise a child”, and Rick Santorum’s response with: “It takes a family to raise a child.” The truth however is both, but in their proper sense. When Clinton uses that African proverb, she means by “village”, something the Africans do not mean with the saying. She means it takes the government to assist parents financially and materially. In the case of the latter, Santorum means to defend the western, particularly American status quo of the nuclear family which should be able to work and provide for all of its needs on its own. This is of course the family created by American Capitalism. The problem lies in that it is not enough.

The term “familia” is an ancient Roman legal derived from the word “famulus” which means, well a slave or a servant. In Roman legal terms, the familia is the unit of the Erus, or Dominus, his wife, his children who are denoted as liberi, (the same word as the adjective “free”) namely the free offspring, and the famuli who vary from slaves who work in the fields, the house, their children, or scholarly foreigners in his retinue. Its name in Latin implies a group of people who are not the blood relation of the father, mother and their offspring. This composition of the family was similar in the Greek world, and in the Germanic cultures which ultimately took over the Roman Empire in the west. This particular conception of family only changed with the outlawing of slavery from slaves to servants, domestic servants attached to the family either by duty or for pay, and until the advent of capitalism this changed very little. Jane Austen for example, refers in one of her works to a family so poor they could only afford one servant. (Today due to taxes and bureaucracy, even a well to do family could scarcely afford to pay one, even well). Why did people have servants? As fathers of large families can affirm, having children, tending to a house and the normal course of female biology take their toll on women. A woman who works in the home often works much harder than a woman in the workplace. In short, women needed (and still need) help that the husband cannot provide while he is earning a living, irrespective of whether this was on the land or at his own business, or working elsewhere for a wage. All of these occupations in the past were sufficient to provide an income to employ a servant or two, until work in the city, the factory, the shop became paramount and because of the centralization of ownership, wages could no longer support a servant.

Who were the types of people employed as servants? They were not all like Jeeves of Wodehouse’s famous novels. Rather, they were widows, poor women, poor landless men, etc. Namely, people who today are on welfare. What could they receive for that? Some pay, no doubt, but also room and board which is no small cost either. They wouldn’t have lived like kings, but they also didn’t suffer a hand to mouth existence dependent upon the government handouts of Hilary Clinton’s “village”. With the ruin of the middle class culturally and economically in the 18th and 19th century, servants became the domain of the rich (enter Jeeves!). Today there is a finishing school in England where women spend a lot of money to be trained to be domestic servants and are thereupon hired by the wealthy. The old virtues had specific etiquette for how to treat servants, how long they might be expected to work, etc. Today these have been lost, so one frequently reads about foreigners recruited to be servants in Europe then treated like slaves. None of this is thought of when speaking of the older virtues of servants. They were not employees, they were family from nannies to those helping with dishes. The point is all these factors added to peace in the home, for the most part, by helping mothers during difficult periods. As I myself have experienced, while women have maternity leave men often do not have paternity leave. Who is going to cook and clean while the mother is recovering? It is a necessary thing for women to be able to relax after having a baby. Birth is a difficult thing, it is a wonderful thing but very painful and trying on a woman’s body. Older children still need to be cared for, fed, etc. Houses still need to be cleaned, as any parent of a large family knows, dirt builds up! True, older children can do quite a bit of work, but what if you are a mother of toddlers? There are people who do hire nannies and domestic servants, but to afford it both parents must work unless the husband is in a high paying job, which today is not most people.

Yet this is only one facet of the problem. The other is the fierce individualistic spirit of capitalism which yields so many bad effects in society. Since capitalism focuses on individual material happiness, grandparents become a drain on modern notions of privacy, not only for children who don’t want irritating elders around, but even for grandparents who want to maintain independence themselves! Thus nursing homes came into being, a place for people to stick their unwanted elderly, and on the other side elderly who don’t want to give up their independence and prefer to go to a nursing home. There is a good bit of both. Another factor is that elderly must work later into life. This is not just because of corporate CEOs raiding their retirement accounts, or social security not paying until later, but the obscene cost of health care and the inability of retirement or social security to pay the rising bills thanks to the effects of inflation. In 2010, the biggest single cause of bankruptcy was individuals with health insurance who could not pay medical bills. Thus grandparents are increasingly unable to help young families manage. Other relatives must make ends meet themselves and the assistance which in the past was there is not now.

The Political Failure of the Pro-life movement

The Pro-life movement politically speaking is similar in its nature and its conduct to the Populist movement of William Jennings Bryan. The Populist movement brought together many people of different backgrounds and opinions, who had one basic premise: take the power from big banks by freeing us from dependence on gold for currency. In this they were right of course and many Americans at the time agreed, but in the end they failed politically. The reason for this is that they were not able to get an effective grass roots movement going and their third party presidential candidates failed. Why did they fail to get an effective grass roots movement? There are several reasons for this, but primarily they didn’t have enough grasp on the plurality of issues effecting government. The left for instance always talks about a one issue voter and how this is bad. There is a sense however in which the charge is correct, they are simply applying it wrong. The left uses the “one issue voter” slogan to say abortion is not a big issue. That is false, it is. Yet they are right in that it is not the only issue and to have a coherent platform one needs to be able to address a plurality of issues. The populists had no grasp of this locally or statewide, and they got eaten up between loyalty to the established parties.

The exact same thing is true for the pro-life movement. The movement itself has almost nothing to say about economic policy, the environment (in its proper sense), healthcare, the war on terror etc. As a whole the movement is shortsighted politically, and it is generally owned and run by the Republican party. Abortion is the biggest gift to the Republicans, because never could a more incompetent party manage to stay alive in modern politics without a major issue to keep people voting for them. For this reason, among many others, the Republicans will never end abortion, nay more, they have, continue to and will in the future continue to run pro-abortion candidates. We even saw the specter of pro-life Rick Santorum defending a pro-abort candidate from a pro-life candidate to maintain the “party interest”.

They will talk, they will stir people up, or offer their token resistance and there are even sincere Republican politicians who want to end abortion, however, in the end the party will never end it. We should not forget that an allegedly “good, christian, pro-life” conservative Republican, George H.W. Bush, while Nixon’s ambassador to the UN helped the Chinese craft the One Child Policy. As a congressman in 1968, George H.W. Bush used every opportunity to praise Planned Parenthood, and offered amendments with fellow Republican Herman Schneebeli to give “Family Planning Services” priority. During the hearings for these amendments, Allen Guttmacher, the successor to Margaret Sanger and equally a protegee in her support of NAZI eugenics and racism appeared as a witness in favor of the amendments. After discussing the problems that Planned Parenthood faces due to its inherent goal of wiping out blacks through contraception and abortion, George H.W. Bush said: “I appreciate that. For the record, I would like to say I am 1,000 percent in accord with the goals of your organization. I think perhaps more than any other type of organization you can do more in the field of poverty and mental health and everything else than any other group that I can think of. I commend you.” In the 70’s, Republican President Richard Nixon’s state department, with the aid of Henry Kissinger, drafted National Security Memorandum 200, a document which decried the rise of African birth rates, because as Africans developed their resources, America would be less able to steal them. (!) In the 90s, as a senator for Pennsylvania Rick Santorum supported Title X funding which went to Planned Parenthood in order to bolster other legislation. John McCain, who so many told us we should support in 2008, has met with Al Qaeda leaders in Syria who have kidnapped and killed little children on youtube to bolster support for his Syria policy. Pro-life over here, not in the middle east apparently, if we could even say he is pro-life at all. No Republican leader has been any different. They will talk but they will not do. The democrats of course have no interest in ending it either, and religious conservatives who make up the pro-life movement are just a political group to be wooed for votes by parties who do not share their interests. The pro-life movement makes no attempt to address the economic and social antecedents of abortion except in the area of personal morality. No one stops to ask the question, why was birth control attractive to modern women?

In the 19th century early feminists like Susan B. Anthony advocated laws against birth control and abortion because these were seen as being used by men to control and use women, thus the laws came on the books which became an issue in the 20th century. Why was Margaret Sanger able to appeal to modern women to use birth control and have recourse to abortion? It wasn’t her NAZI sympathies, it wasn’t her stated goal to get rid of the “morons” and “black babies” that inspired them, no it was the exigencies of modern life. Birth and raising children is difficult, oh here is a way to keep me from being pregnant, why is that illegal? Providing said services is also big business. If you convince the population it needs little rubber sheaths and it needs pills, or doctors trained to murder babies in the womb, there are a lot of people who will buy them, and given our modern culture, quite repeatedly. Capitalism is on the side of abortion. Entrepreneurs want to convince people to buy their products, why should government interfere? Is there force? no. Is there fraud? no. Therefore what’s the problem? Arguing against it on the basis of morality, or even psychologically and sociologically is to import a foreign philosophy to the individualistic spirit of capitalism. As we have seen, pornography, in spite of study after study showing its bad effects, is still legal (See my article of several years ago the Market and the Moral Man). The failure of the pro-life movement to effectively deal with the moral problems of capitalism and how it has transformed the family will always leave it handicapped when dealing with abortion.

Furthermore, let us look to two significant failures of the Pro-Life movement politically, the Partial Birth Abortion ban and Obamacare.

With respect to the Partial Birth Abortion ban, many in the Pro-life movement hailed it as a great victory, or the first chip at Roe vs. Wade. This however, apart from being shortsighted politically, this view is also incorrect legally. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, stated that the ban was constitutional, because it upheld the principles in Planned Parenthood v Casey. That is to say, because the 2007 partial birth abortion ban upheld abortion law in general (adding further precedent to its constitutionality) it was fine. This is not a victory, it is a defeat. The high court essentially said this law is good because it continues the support of abortion on demand. It is not a victory either because it got rid of partial birth abortion, since if you kill a baby by sucking is brain’s out with a vacuum, or do so by dismembering it or boiling it in saline, what is the difference? An innocent child is still dead. Then there is Obamacare. Conservative democrats hailed the Stupak amendment and Bart Stupak’s party of eight resisting Obamacare, and many said this was a victory. Yet in the end when Nancy Pelosi demanded, Stupak accepted the promise that the president would not force abortion to be funded by taxpayers, which is completely ludicrous not only because Obama is not trustworthy, but how can he simply say this bill funds healthcare, and deny funding to something the Supreme Court calls healthcare? Then comes the HHS mandate, the complete support of the Obama regime for Planned Parenthood, and the fact the US Catholic Bishops were compromised while trying to argue against it. Pro-lifers, and Catholics in particular, had virtually no counter health care plan. They only came up with a free market argument in the face of Obama trying to provide a corporatist plan that in reality is nothing more than a bail-out for insurance companies. Where were they all this time prior on health care? It doesn’t matter if now we say abortion is not healthcare, the upholding of the partial birth abortion ban was done under the understanding that it is, it is law. Was everyone blind to this?

Hope for the future?

There are only three ways in which the Pro-life movement could be successful. Firstly, the issue of Capitalism and abortion needs to be addressed. Leaving it out is nothing more than ignoring the elephant in the room. The fact is, abortion clinics are simply made of of entrepreneurial individuals responding to a market demand, and a value free, market based economics such as that of the Austrian School has no means of stopping this, since the claim is that the government exists only to stop theft or fraud. Abortion clinics offer a service, people want to pay for said service, what more is there? (Or at least, someone wants to pay for it, since many times women are pressured or even forced to undergo the procedure). Once the positive law outlawing abortion was struck down, there were plenty of entrepreneur’s responding to market demand. Moreover, it expanded with universities and medical companies paying for the finished product (i.e. a dead baby) to pursue research. How can the Austrian school stop that? It can’t. Furthermore, capitalism in general supports the whole mindset which goes into abortion, from using sex to sell products, to increasingly cheapen human life itself and the destruction of the family which results.

Second, start a 3rd party that does not run for president for a period of at least 5 years. This party would necessarily have to be holistic, though while abortion would be the chief of all issues on the platform, there would also be a well thought out policy addressing a range of issues. It is necessary to participate in government in meaningful ways, that means at the local and state level. Running presidential candidates is a waste of time. It does not engender serious attention to issues no one talks about, it does not advance a message, it just wastes money and gets ignored by the media. I would turn the phrase attributed to Nathan Rothschild on its head, namely “give me control of the currency and I care not who makes the laws.” I would say instead: Give the people control of local and state government, and I care not what Wall Street goon runs a regime in the White house. But this is a longshot, since, if the voting system is not positively rigged, then at least most people do not care. There are higher voter turnouts in under-developed countries in Africa than there is in the “beacon of freedom”. My general opinion is that voting actually doesn’t solve anything anyway.

The other matter is to to attack the root causes of the abortion culture socially and domestically, not only contraception, for that too has antecedents, but the pornography culture and the “me” generation. The pro-life movement would be more politically effective if we worked on the restoration of the family; this is not achieved by merely working for abstinence education and educating about marriage, but to work for families owning sufficient material wealth to survive, support for mothers both from family and community, which is to say it needs to adopt authentic Catholic social principles. This requires, in our current situation, the de-funding of public schools and the strengthening of local communities, businesses and family life at a communal level. Failing a third party this is the only option to tackle abortion. Neither political party wants it to end, nor is committed to it ending. Thus the voter is placed between the Scylla and Charybdis of democrats who want National Socialism, and republicans who want Corporatism, and alternatives from libertarians like Ron Paul who would give us Plutocracy and genocidal austerity. On the one hand the former says abortion is not as important as healthcare, while the other says the market will take care of abortion, when in reality neither is true. In the case of the latter it is actually the opposite, abortion is a market driven demand requiring a market solution, namely the service [of murder]. Working within the framework of the Republican party will never end abortion because at the end of the day it is the same world that creates the demand for abortion. Only by returning to the basic concept of what government, law, society and culture are for, preeminently what the family is, and what the end of it is can we possibly broach an end to abortion. Thus it is not enough to oppose capitalism, or to found a third party, we must work to make Catholic Social teaching happen, restore the family, restore people working and owning capital (not stocks), restore the concept of procreation and education of children, and then, not later, those pro-life goals have a chance of being realized. Until the pro-life movement figures these things out, it will continue to fail politically, in spite of its social achievements.

Mors Peccatorum Pessima

Originally published 10 August, 2010

The saints tell us that the death of sinners is filled with problems. In this sense they do not mean sinners in the broad sense, because we are all sinners, rather sinners with respect to the unrepentant, those who have not yet turned away from their sins and more than likely don’t want to.

There is a aberrant idea today, that on one’s deathbed he is going to get all kinds of graces to convert and have sorrow for one’s sins. While it is possible, no such teaching exists in scripture and tradition. In fact it is the opposite. St. Jerome teaches: “I hold as certain that he who lived an evil life cannot have a good end.” The bible uses the expression “Mors peccatorum pessima” (Psalm XXXIII:22), the death of sinners is the worst. St. Thomas says concerning this:

Deinde cum dicit, mors peccatorum, ponit effectus divinae providentiae quantum ad malos: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo enim ponuntur pericula malorum. Secundo ostenditur quomodo ab his liberat sanctos suos, ibi, redimet.
Corporalis quidem haec est pessima in malis, quia mittuntur ad pessimum locum. Luc. : mortuus est dives, et sepultus est in inferno. item quia perdunt spem gratiae post mortem. (prover. 11) : mortuo homine impio, nulla erit amplius spes. mors ergo peccatorum pessima est, quia moriuntur in corpore et in anima. spiritualis.

Thus when he says the death of sinners, he places the effect of divine providence in such a manner toward the wicked, and concerning this he does two things. First he describes the perils of the wicked; second, it is shown how God liberates his saints from the wicked, at He shall redeem.
The bodily [death] is certainly the worst among the wicked, for they are sent to the worst place. As Luke says: the rich man died and was buried in Hell. The same [sinners] lose the hope of grace after death. As Proverbs 11 says: when the wicked man dies, there will be no hope. Therefore the death of sinners is worst of all, for they die in both body and soul. (Commentary Psalm 33)

St. Alphonsus teaches in his preparation for death:

How will the dying man, who has always lived in sin, be able, in the midst of the pains, the stupefaction, and the confusion of death, to repent sincerely of all his past iniquities ? I say sincerely, because it is not enough to say and to promise with the tongue: it is necessary to promise with the heart? (Book I, ch. 5)

On one’s death bed, the demons will appear and tempt a person with their most predominant fault or perhaps worse things, and if the sinner has not lead a life of grace and holiness there is ample material for one to be tempted. A very holy priest told me once a story from a nurse in a hospital, of an evil man who was brought there to die, and the nurses could tell he was evil just by the things he would say. Once the nurse looked in because she heard the man screaming in total fright, and saw a dark object standing in front of the man, almost like a void which light could not penetrate and immediately the man died. The demon had come to claim him, because when one lives a life of habitual sin the demons will come and claim their property.

St. Alphonsus teaches again from the same work:

The poor dying sinner will be assailed, not by one,but by many causes of distress and anguish. On the one hand, the devils will torment him. At death these horrid enemies exert all their strength to secure the perdition of the soul that is about to leave this world. They know that they have but little time to gain it, and that if they lose it at death, they shall lose it forever. The Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time (Apoc. xii, 12). The dying man will be tempted, not by one, but by innumerable devils, who will labor for his damnation. Their houses shall be filled with serpents (Isa. xiii, 21). One will say: Fear not; you will recover. Another: You have been deaf to the inspirations of God for so many years, and do you now expect that he will have mercy on you? Another will ask: How can you make satisfaction for all the injuries you have done to the property and character of your neighbors? Another: Do you not see that your confessions have been null, that they have been made without sorrow or a purpose of amendment? How will you now be able to repair them? On the other hand, the dying man will see himself surrounded by his sins. Evils, says David, shall catch the unjust man unto destruction (Ps. cxxxix, 12).

These sins, says St. Bernard, like so many satellites, shall keep him in chains, and shall say unto him: “We are your works; we shall not desert you” (Medit. C. 2). We are your offspring; we will not leave you; we will accompany you to the other world, and will present ourselves with you to the Eternal Judge. The dying man will then wish to shake off such enemies; but, to get rid of them, he must detest them, he must return sincerely to God. His mind is darkened, and his heart hardened. (ibid)

There is yet another story, far more haunting as it is educational, from a Catholic midwife in Germany. This was during World War I, of a case where a woman was brought to her who was bleeding inexplicably, and the horrific things this woman saw when she was dying.

The wife of the canteen proprietor had been brought to the hospital- in a high fever, half unconscious, delirious, bleeding. “Some woman’s trouble,” said the matron. At that time the sisters refused on principle to deal with such cases. It was forbidden by the rules of the Order.

Alas! yes a woman’s trouble [that is an arranged miscarriage]. As had happened so often of late. But the woman’s general condition pointed to very grave complications. It was not a normal miscarriage. There must be some cause for the high temperature. I racked my brains in search of a clue. These people had come to our village shortly before the War and had taken over a canteen. When the war industries were in full swing they had added a casino for the workers, and later they had opened a cinema… Of course the proprietor of the canteen made a lot of money. Why he was not called up for military service nobody knew. All sorts of stories were whispered about. Tales of secret uproarious nights behind closed shutters, of secluded little nooks and corners to which people could withdraw when they wished to be unseen; of guests from outside who frequented the place. There was a lot of talk, but not a word of anything good.

I have never seen the wife in Church-neither in the Catholic Church, nor in the Evangelical Hall for Worship, nor among the Jewish congregation which sometimes met in one of the schoolrooms.
There was no means of knowing whether I ought to send for priest or parson. The sick woman had nothing with her that afforded a clue to any religious interests; only powder, lipstick, eye-drops, nail file, comb, mirror- a dozen unnecessary things; and a card with a name and the words “healer and masseur,” and written below it in pencil “Successor of Dr. M” [who was discovered earlier to be a secret abortionist]. Then I knew that there was something at the back of this. I removed a large clot of black coagulated blood and with it the arm of a child about five months old. ‘Matron, you must get everything ready for an operation before the doctor comes,’ I said. ‘If there is any chance of saving her life, it will only be by an operation.’
Then followed a terrible night, the most terrible I have ever known; and some gruesome days and nights succeeded it. Yet I wished that my experience could have been shared by all those whom the devil ever tempts with thoughts of abortion.
A midwife is accustomed to so many things- to groans and screams, pain and anguish, blood and horror. Where other women would have long since fallen down in a faint or run away, we have to stay and do our work quietly, firmly and resolutely, as though it were not a living body we held in our hands and as though our own heart were not trembling and bleeding. But such an ed as that of this young woman of thirty I hope that I shall never again be called upon to witness.
The twelve strokes of the church clock sounded through the still warm summer night. It had been an oppressively hot day. All the windows had been flung open to let in the coolness of the night. As a rule, sick people like to hear the hour strike. But when this woman heard it, she stared at the door with eyes full of boundless horror; her gaze flickered in the wide-open eyes; her hair stood on end and she tried to leap out of bed and fling herself out of the open window. “Away-let me get away-” panted the pale lips. Beads of sweat stood out on her brow. It took all our strength to hold her down. Then she huddled herself under the blanket and cried and whimpered in terror and anguish…
Yet there was nothing there. Nothing. Not a shadow not a ray of light. The room was wrapped in peaceful semi-darkness. We turned on another of the lights, but the room almost dark, but then she was worse than ever. At length we had recourse to an injection [pain-killer].
We were very loath to do it, but we could not let the woman remain for hours in such a state of excitement. We were already worn out. We could not rid her of her delirious fancies; we did not know whence they arose; and our attempts to reason with here were quite fruitless.
For a time she lay back exhausted, line one dead. With her haggard, waxen face she might have been a woman of seventy. The the horror crept up to her again and she began to talk…
“Now…now they’re coming again… one after the other, one… two, three.. that one is quite big, almost full-grown…four…five…that one is still quite small….six…seven…eight.that one has his head torn off, how he’s carrying it in his hand, nine…ten…that one has lost his legs, but he’s still moving…he’s been cut in two and he’s bleeding…eleven…twelve…and now only an arm and a leg… What have you done with your head…and your other limbs? Why haven’t you any eyes?”

Suddenly she pulled up the blanket and pressed over her face. “No…no…no…go away…go away… you have no right to live…” and she fell back exhausted.
After a while she started again: “Can you hear them talking? Can you hear them… ‘we cannot see the eternal light…we cannot see the eternal light…give us your eyes mother! You have taken away our eyes, give us yours’. Can’t you hear them?…there…one two…three…” And again the terrible counting up to thirteen.
My heart stood still with horror as I suddenly grasped what it meant. Not, it was impossible. They must be mere fevered dreams, delirious fancies. But I could not rid my mind of the thought, and her last words confirmed it: an arm and a leg had so far come away from the child which had been criminally done to death in its mother’s womb. But that it should be the thirteenth….
“What do you want here…now…today? You are dead…you have never lived…I have no children…who sent you here? There…there…they’re all coming back…one…two…three…Can you hear them calling…can you hear them? ‘We cannot enter into eternal rest…we cannot enter into the eternal rest. You have robbed us of our peace…made us homeless…driven us out of our mother’s womb…you have stolen our rest…give us the eternal rest.’ And the eyes… the dreadful hollow eyes.”
The thin fingers of the dying woman pointed to the wall as she began to count once more”Two…four…six…go away…go away.” She stretched out against invisible shapes until she once more collapsed. But she could not rest. A new horror assailed her:
“There…there…one…two…three…bruised…naked…” and she shuddered as though overcome with loathing. “Don’t touch me… go away…away. Don’t you see anything…don’t you hear how they whimper and wail, how they sob and scream…there…and now again…’we have no garment of grace to cover our nakedness…no wedding garment for the eternal marriage feast…we are shut out…frozen…hungry…give us light…make us warm’… Can’t you hear anything? there…here…one…two…three…”
And suddenly, growing quite frantic again, she screamed out: “Go away…don’t touch me…let…let me go…they want to take my eyes…my heart…let me go…let me go…”
She thrust the Sister violently to one side. But fortunately at this moment the doctor arrived. The head of the child was pushed out with a stream of blood. A rapid diagnosis: immediate operation.
The result confirmed my expectation. The child had been cut to pieces in an attempt to remove it; the mother had received several injuries and peritonitis was already developing. What with this and the prolonged hemorrhage, the end might be expected the following day. Word was sent to the husband.
He took the news very calmly until he learned that legal proceedings would certainly follow [abortion was still against the law in Germany, and would remain so until the Nazis legalized it]. Then he too, began to storm-about lawyers, who had nothing better to do than to poke their noses into other people’s married life, instead of looking after their own. While he was cursing, the poor woman who was still partly under the influence of narcotic, began to count once more. The man ran away as though the Furies were after him.
The poor woman screamed and groaned for three days and three nights. Not even the strongest doses of narcotic could procure her rest and oblivion for any length of time. Again and again she saw her thirteen children who had been murdered in her womb come to her with their wailings and reproaches and entreaties. She never recovered consciousness sufficiently to enable us to try and bring her to repentance and guide her back to God, or to ease her of this dreadful torment by reminding her of God’s mercy and goodness. And yet her anguish and distress would not let her die.
After four days her mind suddenly cleared; or at any rate, so it appeared. We sent word to the priest to come once more; and we also sent for the husband. The priest came, but after he had spoken a few words she broke in:
“There are thirteen of them, yes. There is no need to ask…” and as he was to speak of God’s mercy, she said with a last effort: “Let me go…I want to go to hell…I want to pay back the dirty scoundrel for all eternity….” “Dirty scoundrel,” she repeated with her last breath as her husband entered-and with that she died.
All for the Love of Mothers, pg. 242-247

Our Lord spoke of this when he said: “Behold, the days shall come wherein they shall say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us, and to the hills: Cover us. (Luke XXIII:28)

Mors peccatorum pessima