26 maggio 2010

How a Strategy of "Silence" Saved Thousands of Jews

Documents and Testimonies Point to Pius XII's Efforts

NEW YORK, May 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Pave the Way Foundation has initiated a document retrieval project to reveal as much information and as many testimonies as possible regarding the papacy of Pope Pius XII, the World War II Pontiff, in order to break the academic "log jam" caused by the lack of publicly available information.

New findings have revealed documents and testimony, which clearly show that on Oct. 16, 1943, it was the intentional lack of a public denunciation by Pope Pius XII against the arrest of the Roman Jews, which saved their lives and enabled their rescue.

We have a signed 1972 deposition of General Karl Wolff, SS commander for Italy and deputy to Heinrich Himmler, which states that in September 1943 Adolf Hitler ordered him to develop a plan to invade the Vatican, kidnap the Pope, seize the Vatican assets, and kill the Roman Curia. This plan was to be carried out immediately.

General Wolff knew that if this invasion were executed, massive riots throughout Europe would ensue, resulting in a military disaster to the German war effort. General Wolff stated that he was successful in convincing Hitler to delay the invasion. This view of a potential military disaster was shared by the military governor of Rome, Major General Rainer Stahel, and German ambassador to the Holy See, Ernst von Weizsäcker.

Pius XII learned of the invasion plan, and likewise believed that the result would be massive riots potentially killing thousands of innocent people and that the Vatican’s neutrality would be breached, thereby enabling German forces to enter all Vatican properties. Handwritten minutes exist, which state that on Sept. 6, 1943, Pius XII secretly called the cardinals together to tell them the Vatican would be invaded and he would be taken to the north and probably killed. The cardinals were to be prepared to leave for a neutral country immediately, upon the invasion of Vatican territory.

He also signed a letter of resignation, and placed it in his desk. He instructed the cardinals to form a government in exile and to elect a new Pope once they were safe. We have a handwritten letter from the secretary of state ordering the Swiss Guard not to resist invading German forces with firepower, and numerous documents detailing how they were to protect the Vatican Library and museum contents.

Throughout this period, von Weizsäcker sent deceptive positive messages about the Pope to Berlin to calm Hitler, not to justify an order to invade. Some critics of Pius XII have erroneously based their theories of papal complicity and collaboration on these intentionally misleading cables -- what von Weizsäcker’s lieutenant, Albrecht von Kessel, later called "tactical lies."

We have additional testimony from Lieutenant Nikolaus Kunkel, a German officer from the headquarters of the military governor of Rome, which corroborates documented evidence and testimony of exactly how Pius XII directly saved the Roman Jewish community and that they were expecting the invasion order from Berlin any day.

When the early morning arrests began Oct. 16, 1943, Pius XII was alerted to this by Princess Enza Pignatelli Aragona Cortes. He immediately took multiple steps to force the Germans to stop the arrests. He summoned the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Maglione, and instructed him to launch a vehement protest against the arrests. Cardinal Maglione warned von Weizsacker that same morning, that the Pope could not remain silent as they arrested the Jews under his very windows, in his own diocese. Pius XII then sent his nephew, Carlo Pacelli, to meet with a German sympathizer, Bishop Alois Hudal, to instruct him to write a letter to his German contacts to immediately stop the arrests.

This too proved ineffective. Pius XII's last effort, the most successful, was to send his close confidant, Salvatorian Superior General Father Pankratius Pfeiffer, to meet directly with the military governor of Rome, General Stahel. Father Pfeiffer warned Stahel that the Pope was going to launch a loud and public protest against these arrests if they were not stopped. Fear that this public protest would result in Hitler's ordering the invasion of the Vatican prompted Stahel to act.

General Stahel immediately telephoned Heinrich Himmler, and fabricated military grounds to stop the arrests. Trusting Stahel's assessment, Himmler advised Hitler to stop the arrests. The order to stop the arrests was issued at noon on Oct. 16, resulting in its implementation by 2 p.m. on the day they began.

This sequence of events was independently confirmed by General Dietrich Beelitz, the liaison officer with Field Marshal Albert Kesselring’s office and Hitler’s command. Beelitz personally heard the Stahel-Himmler conversation. When Stahel’s deception later became known, Himmler punished General Stahel by sending him to the Eastern front.

It was known that the Vatican was infiltrated with spies. The Pope could only send trusted priests and confidants throughout Rome and Italy with verbal and written papal orders to lift cloister, allowing men and women to enter Catholic convents and monasteries, and ordered all ecclesiastical institutions to hide the Jews wherever they could.

According to famed British historian Sir Martin Gilbert, the Vatican hid thousands of Jews in literally one day (See supporting documents here and here). Once hidden, the Vatican continued to feed and support their Jewish “guests” until Rome’s liberation on June 4, 1944.

Documents from Berlin and the Eichmann Trial in Israel also show that the 8,000 Roman Jews that were to be arrested were not supposed to go to Auschwitz, but were to be sent to the work camp at Mauthausen and held as hostages. This order was later countermanded by persons unknown and 1,007 Jews were sent to Auschwitz to their death. Sadly only 17 survived. While there are those who repeatedly criticize Pius XII for not saving the 1,007, they remain completely silent on his direct actions, which saved this 3,000 year old Jewish community of Rome.

It was recently discovered, in the American archives, that the allies had broken the German codes and knew almost a week in advance of the intended arrests of the Roman Jews. The allies decided not to warn the Romans since this might alert the Germans to this intelligence breach. This “military decision” left Pope Pius XII alone, without advance notice, to try to end the arrests.

When speaking of Pope Pius XII, the foremost Jewish scholars of the Holocaust in Hungary, Jeno Levai, stated that it was a "particularly regrettable irony that the one person in all of occupied Europe who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crime and alleviate its consequences is today made the scapegoat for the failures of others."

* * *

Gary Krupp is the founder of Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF), a non-sectarian organization whose mission is to identify and try to eliminate obstacles between religions and to initiate positive gestures in order to improve interreligious relations.

--- --- ---

On the Net:

For more information: www.ptwf.org

Expression of gratitude by the Italian Jewish communities (1946): www.pavethewayfoundation.org/Downloads/Italian%20Jewish%20Community%20Placard.pdf

Jewish praise for Pius XII: www.pavethewayfoundation.org/Downloads/Jewish%20Praise.pdf

Testimony of Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel (Video 9): www.barhama.com/PAVETHEWAY/INTERVISTA_A_GUMPEL/GUMPLE.html

Original Article: http://www.zenit.org/article-29380?l=english

25 maggio 2010

“It’s BP’s Oil”

Running the corporate blockade at Louisiana's crude-covered beaches.

— By Mac McClelland

Mon May. 24, 2010 12:14 AM PDT

Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge, even after all the warnings, looks worse than I imagined. Pools of oil black and deep stretch down the beach; when cleanup workers drag their rakes along an already-cleaned patch of sand, more auburn crude oozes up. Beneath the surface lie slimy washed-up globules that, one worker says, are "so big you could park a car on them."

It's Saturday, May 22nd, a month into the BP spill, and I've been trying to get to Elmer's Island for the past two days. I've been stymied at every turn by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies brought in to supplement the local police force of Grand Isle, a 300-year-old settlement here at the very southern tip of Louisiana. Just seven miles long and so narrow in some spots that you can see from the Gulf side to the inland side, Grand Isle is all new clapboard and vinyl-sided bungalows since Katrina, but still scrappy—population 1,500, octuple that in tourist season. It's also home to the only route to Elmer's, a barrier island to the west. I arrived on Thursday with my former University of New Orleans lit prof, John Hazlett; a tandem kayak is strapped to his Toyota Tacoma. At the turn to Elmer's Island Road, a deputy flags us down. Can't go to Elmer's; he's just "doing what they told me to do." We continue on to Grand Isle beach, where toddlers splash in the surf. Only after I've stepped in a blob of crude do I realize that the sheen on the waves and the blackness covering a little blue heron from the neck down is oil.

The next day, cops drive up and down Grand Isle beach explicitly telling tourists it is still open, just stay out of the water. There are pools of oil on the beach; dolphins crest just offshore. A fifty-something couple, Southern Louisianians, tell me this kind of thing happened all the time when they were kids; they swam in rubber suits when it got bad, and it was no big deal. They just hope this doesn't mean we'll stop drilling.

The blockade to Elmer's is now four cop cars strong. As we pull up, deputies start bawling us out; all media need to go to the Grand Isle community center, where a "BP Information Center" sign now hangs out front.

Inside, a couple of Times-Picayune reporters circle BP representative Barbara Martin, who tells them that if they want passage to Elmer they have to get it from another BP flack, Irvin Lipp; Grand Isle beach is closed too, she adds. When we inform the Times-Pic reporters otherwise, she asks Dr. Hazlett if he's a reporter; he says, "No." She says, "Good." She doesn't ask me. We tell her that deputies were just yelling at us, and she seems truly upset. For one, she's married to a Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy. For another, "We don't need more of a black eye than we already have."

"But it wasn't BP that was yelling at us, it was the sheriff's office," we say.

"Yeah, I know, but we have…a very strong relationship."

"What do you mean? You have a lot of sway over the sheriff's office?"

"Oh yeah."

"How much?"

"A lot."

When I tell Barbara I am a reporter, she stalks off and says she's not talking to me, then comes back and hugs me and says she was just playing. I tell her I don't understand why I can't see Elmer's Island unless I'm escorted by BP. She tells me BP's in charge because "it's BP's oil."

"But it's not BP's land."

"But BP's liable if anything happens."

"So you're saying it's a safety precaution."

"Yeah! You don't want that oil gettin' into your pores."

"But there are tourists and residents walking around in it across the street."

"The mayor decides which beaches are closed." So I call the Grand Isle police requesting a press liason, only to get routed to voicemail for "Melanie" with BP. I call the police back and ask why they gave me a number for BP; they blame the fire chief.

I reach the fire chief. "Why did the police give me a number for BP?" I ask.

"That's the number they gave us."



When I tell Chief Aubrey Chaisson that I would like to get a comment on Barbara's intimations—and my experience so far—that BP is running the show, he says he'll meet me in a parking lot. He pulls in, rolls down the window of his maroon Crown Victoria, and tells me that I can't trust the government or big corporations. When everyone saw the oil coming in as clear as day several days before that, BP insisted it was red tide—algae. Chaisson says he's half-Indian and grew up here and just wants to protect the land. When I tell him BP says the inland side of the island is still clean, he spits, "They're fucking liars. There's oil over there. It's already all up through the pass." The spill workers staying at my motel later tell me they've been specifically instructed by BP not to talk to any media, but they're pissed because BP tried to tell them that the crude they were swimming around in to move an oil containment boom was red tide, dishwashing-liquid runoff, or mud.

The next morning at breakfast, the word at Sarah's Restaurant is that the island will have to be shut down; the smell of oil was so strong last night one lady had to shut all her windows and turn on her AC; if her asthma keeps up like this, she'll need to go on her breathing machine tonight.

I've corralled Irvin Lipp, who drives me and a few wire photographers out to Elmer's. (He tells me ruefully that he has history with Mother Jones, having once been a flack for Dupont.) The shoreline is packed with men in hats and gumboots and bright blue or white shirts. Nearly all are African-American, all hired from around New Orleans. They tell me they've been standing in these exact same spots for three days. It's breathtakingly hot. They rake the oil and sand into big piles; other workers collect the piles into big plastic bags, and still other workers take them to a plant where the sand is separated out and sent to a hazardous-waste dump and the oil goes on for processing. Then the tide comes in with more oil and everybody starts all over again. Ten dollars an hour. Twelve hours a day. When I joke with one worker that he should pocket the solid gobs of oil he's digging up to show me how far beneath the sand they go, he stops dead and asks me if BP's still trying to use the oil they all collect. "Aw, I knew it!" he says. Another leans on his rake to ask me, "Have they at least shut the oil off yet?" He randomly picks three spots in a three-foot-wide expanse of sand that he's already raked clean and drops his rake in an inch deeper to show me how the oil bubbles up from underneath. He can't count how many times he's raked this same spot in the 33 hours he's worked it since Thursday, but one thing he's sure of, he says, is that he'll be standing right here tomorrow and the next day, too.

Mac McClelland is Mother Jones' human rights reporter, writer of The Rights Stuff, and the author of For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story From Burma's Never-Ending War. Read more of her stories and follow her on Twitter.

19 maggio 2010

God is not dead. He isn't even tired

Christendom College Commencement Address

Dr. Charles E. Rice, Professor Emeritus, Notre Dame Law School

May 17, 2010

The following Commencement Address was given at Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia, on Saturday, May 15th. It is reproduced here by kind permission of Dr. Rice.


When President O'Donnell asked me to give this address, I expressed one concern: "Will there be a protest? And will you prosecute the protestors? Or at least 88 of them?" He made no commitment. I accepted anyway.

So what can I tell you? This is a time of crises. The economy is a mess, the culture is a mess, the government is out of control. And, in the last three years, Notre Dame lost 21 football games. But this is a great time for us to be here, especially you graduates of this superbly Catholic college. This is so because the remedy for the general meltdown today is found only in Christ and in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Let's talk bluntly about our situation and what you can do about it.

We are living through a transformation of our federal government. A one-party regime, the leader of which was elected with 54 percent of the Catholic vote, is substituting for the free economy and limited government a centralized command system of potentially unlimited jurisdiction and power. Its takeover of health care, against the manifest will of the people, not only funds elective abortions and endangers the elderly and conscience rights. It was enacted in disregard of legislative process and by a level of bribery, coercion and deception that was as open as it was unprecedented.

To find a comparable example of the rapid concentration of executive power by a legally installed regime, we have to go back to 1933. Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor on January 30. Over the next few weeks he consolidated his power. The decisive event was the Reichstag's approval of the Enabling Act on March 23, 1933, by which it ceded full and irrevocable powers to Hitler. That was the point of no return. The Enabling Act received the needed two-thirds vote only because it was supported by the Catholic party, the Centre Party.[1] Our "Health Care Reform," enacted with the decisive support of Catholic members of both houses of Congress, may be the Enabling Act of our time in the control it cedes to government over the lives of the people. It includes the federal takeover of student aid. What do student loans have to do with health care? The common denominator is control. No student will be able to get a federally guaranteed educational loan without the consent of a federal bureaucrat. This opens the way to make political loyalty a test for educational advancement, as it was in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. This confirms the wisdom of Christendom's decision to forego all federal aid.

Unlike Germany in 1933, we have legal means of redress. I am proud to say I am a Tea Party guy. In November, the reaction may dislodge the Congressional arm of the ruling class. But that reaction will be only temporary unless we go to the source of the evil. The root problem is not political or economic. It is religious. And that is where you come in. "The social crisis," said Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, "happens when we elect people to rule over us who are immoral. .... [P]eople who don't have a moral bearing to elect other moral people, elect immoral politicians to serve over them.... So immoral lifestyles produce immoral leaders."[2] In other words, we elect immoral, rather than moral, people because we have lost the ability, or the desire, to tell the difference. The answer, said Fr. Euteneuer, is "to turn back to God. ... What we need is a conversion of heart."

We rightly urge fidelity to the Constitution. But no paper charter can survive the disappearance of the morality that produced it. In 2001, thirteen days after 9/11, Pope John Paul II, in Kazakhstan, cautioned the leaders of that Islamic republic against a "slavish conformity" to Western culture which is in a "deepening human, spiritual and moral impoverishment" caused by "the fatal attempt to secure the good of humanity by eliminating God, the Supreme Good."

You graduates will enter a culture in which the intentional infliction of death upon the innocent is widely seen as an optional problem-solving technique. The Columbine shootings set a precedent. If you have a grievance against your classmates, fellow employees or IRS agents, the answer is to blow them away. Legalized abortion is the prime example of murder as a problem solver. And the execution of someone like Terri Schiavo occurs routinely, without public notice, when the family and caregivers agree to withhold food and water because it is time for the patient to "die with dignity." The separation of morality from killing has counterparts in the separation of morality from economics, from sex and from personal decisions in general.

There is no mystery in this. We are living through what Fr. Francis Canavan, S.J., called "the fag end of the Enlightenment," the collapse of the effort by philosophers and politicians, over the past three centuries and more, to build a society as if God did not exist.[3] That Enlightenment culture is built on three lies, secularism, relativism and individualism. They are components of what Benedict XVI called a "dictatorship of relativism... that recognizes nothing as absolute and which leaves only the 'I' and its whims as the ultimate measure."[4] Those three lies are weapons deployed by our enemy, Satan, the father of lies. Your job, for which you are well equipped, is to counter his lies with the truth. If you speak the truth, you will have an impact beyond what you know. Cardinal Edouard Gagnon described a conversation he had with John Paul II:

[T]he Holy Father... told me, "error makes its way because truth is not taught. We must teach the truth.... not attacking the ones who teach errors because that would never end—they are too numerous. We have to teach the truth." He told me truth has a grace attached to it. Anytime we speak the truth.... an internal grace of God... accompanies that truth. The truth may not immediately enter in the mind and heart of those to whom we talk, but the grace of God is there and at the time they need it, God will open their heart and they will accept it. He said, error does not have grace accompanying it.[5]

Remember that Truth, with a capital T, "is a person, Jesus Christ."[6] And Christ is not some lawyer, CEO or community organizer. He is God. Cardinal Avery Dulles described three foundational principles: "that there is a God, that he has made a full and final revelation of himself in Jesus Christ and that the Catholic Church is the authorized custodian and teacher of this body of revealed truth."[7] The Catholic faith is not a set of doctrines. It is a lived encounter with Christ, who lives in, and teaches through, the Church.[8]

The Magisterium, or teaching authority of the Church, is a great gift, not only for Catholics but for others to whose conscience it appeals "on the basis of reason and natural law."[9] The forces of evil concentrate their fire on the Vicar of Christ, who is the authoritative interpreter of the moral law. We must respond with loyal defense of him and of the Church. We are not, to borrow Fr. Euteneuer's phrase, the Church Impotent. We are part of the Church Militant. Our job is to fight for the Truth. Don't be conned by their lies:

1). The first lie is secularism: There is no God or he is unknowable. They say that is what the First Amendment means, but that, too, is a lie. On September 24-25, 1789, the First Congress approved the First Amendment and called on the President to proclaim a day of "thanksgiving and prayer... acknowledging... the many ... favors of Almighty God."[10] President Washington proclaimed that day of prayer. The First Amendment required neutrality on the part of the federal government among religious sects while recognizing the power of the state and federal governments to affirm the existence of God. The Supreme Court has now imposed a duty on all governments to maintain an impossible neutrality between theism and non-theism. The words "under God," according to Justice William Brennan's still accurate description of the Court's approach, may remain in the Pledge of Allegiance only because they "no longer have a religious purpose or meaning." Instead they "may merely recognize the historical fact that our Nation was believed to have been founded 'under God.'" [11]

At all levels of government, the suspension of judgment on the existence of God has evolved into an establishment of secularism. Today, affirmations of God are considered non-rational, and are generally excluded from the public discourse which is shaped by utility and power rather than right or wrong.

The existence of God is not self-evident. But it is unreasonable, even stupid, not to believe in God, an eternal being that had no beginning and always existed. The alternative is that there was a time when there was absolutely nothing. But that makes no sense. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence--which is absurd."[12] As Julie Andrews put it in The Sound of Music, "Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could."

The only basis for transcendent rights against the State is the creation of the immortal person in the image and likeness of God. Every state that has ever existed, or ever will exist, has gone out of business or will go out of business. Every human being that has ever been conceived will live forever. That is why you have transcendent rights against the State. The person does not exist for the State. The State exists for the person. And for the family.

2). The second lie of Satan is relativism. To say that all things are relative is absurd, for that statement itself must be relative. The jurisprudence of relativism is some form of legal positivism, which asserts that there is no higher law that limits what human law can do. A law of any content is valid if it is enacted pursuant to prescribed procedure and is effective. Hans Kelsen, the leading legal positivist of the 20th century, said that Auschwitz and the Soviet Gulags were valid law. He could not criticize them as unjust because justice, he said, is "an irrational ideal."[13] Kelsen claimed that relativism is the philosophy of democracy. John Paul II said relativism leads instead to totalitarianism: "If one does not acknowledge transcendent truth, then the force of power takes over, and each person tends to ... impose his own interests ... with no regard for the rights of others."[14]

In your personal and professional lives you will be pressured to be a relativist, to lie, cheat or steal. As John Paul put it, the negative prohibitions of the Commandments, which are a specification of the natural law, "allow no exceptions."[15] But you will pay a price for your fidelity.

Let me tell you a story. Captain James Mulligan, of the United States Navy, spent seven years, half of them in solitary confinement, in the Hanoi Hilton after his plane was shot down in 1966. He was a cell-mate for a time of later Senator Jeremiah Denton. He, as were the others, was tortured severely and often to try to make him betray his fellow prisoners and his country. Captain Mulligan put his reliance on prayer, especially the Rosary. Under torture, he laid it on the line in a prayer he composed that we ought to make our own: "Lord, give me the strength and the guts to see this thing through to the end, one way or another. No one else knows, Lord, but you and I know, and that's all that's necessary. You suffered for your beliefs, and I must suffer for mine. Right is right if no one's right; wrong is wrong if everyone's wrong."[16] That is the answer to relativism.

3). The third lie you will confront is individualism. Social contract theories denied the social nature of man. They postulated a state of nature in which each person was an autonomous, isolated individual with no relation to others unless he consents. That is the origin of pro-choice as we know it today. Planned Parenthood didn't think it up. The mother has no relation to her unborn child unless she consents. The husband and wife have no continuing relation unless they continue to consent. And so on. The autonomous individual is his own god. Conscience is not a judgment about the objective rightness or wrongness of an act. It is the individual's unfettered decision as to what he wills to do. Whatever he chooses is, for him, the right thing to do. That is portrayed as the way to freedom. But "authentic freedom" cannot be separated from the truth.[17]

You are "free" to choose to put sand in the gas tank of your car. But you will no longer be free to drive your car because you have violated the truth of the nature of your car. You are "free" to choose to lie, to fornicate, etc., but you will diminish yourself because you have violated the truth of your nature. You have chosen the moral equivalent of putting sand in your gas tank. And there is one thing the autonomous individual of liberal mythology can never do. He can never put himself out of existence. He is going to live forever and will spend eternity someplace. Where, is up to him.

It is time for us to shed our inferiority complex. We allow ourselves to be conned into thinking that the smart guys are the academics who think that something can come from nothing, who are sure that they can't be sure of anything and who think that freedom means, without limit, the power and right to do whatever they want. This culture has lost not only its faith but also its mind. They need to hear the truth, especially about the right to life.

But there we have a problem. Our prolife efforts are compromised by our timidity on contraception. The Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930 was the first time that any Christian denomination had ever said that contraception could ever be objectively right. The Magisterium teaches the truth, that contraception is wrong, first, because it deliberately separates the unitive and procreative aspects of sex; second, by so changing the nature of the conjugal act, the man and woman make themselves, rather than God, the arbiters of whether and when life shall begin; and third, contraception frustrates the total mutual self-donation that ought to characterize the conjugal act. If man makes himself the arbiter of whether and when life shall begin, he will make himself the arbiter of when it shall end as in abortion and euthanasia. John Paul II described abortion and contraception as "fruits of the same tree."[18] If it is man's decision whether sex will have any relation to reproduction, why can't Freddy and Harry get a marriage license? In 2004, Pastor Donald Sensing of Trinity United Methodist Church in Franklin, TN, wrote that opponents of same-sex marriage are "a little late. The walls of traditional marriage were breached 40 years ago" with the general acceptance of the contraceptive pill.[19]

God has chosen to depend on human cooperation for the creation of new citizens for the kingdom of heaven. The contracepting couple alter the conjugal act to prevent that creation. What they say to God is something like this: "For all we know, God, it may be your will that from this act of ours a new human person will come into existence who will live forever. For all we know, that may be your will. And we won't let you do it." That is awesome. "Contraception," said John Paul II, "is so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God."[20]

Catholics practice contraception at the same rate as everyone else. One reason is that they have not been adequately informed. Many Catholic churches and schools are closing or consolidating for lack of parishioners and students. A fair response would be respectfully to say: "Most Reverend Bishop (or Father), you would not have this problem if you and your predecessors had been doing your job, over the past four decades and still today, of educating your people about the evil of contraception and about the entire positive teaching of the Church on marriage and the gift of life." Christendom graduates know the score on this. Don't be afraid to live it. And teach it, by word and example.

The link is clear between the premises of the Enlightenment and of contraception and such evils as pornography, promiscuity, divorce, in vitro fertilization, cloning and others.[21] Scientists at Newcastle University, in England, announced last month that they had created a "designer embryo" with the DNA of one man and two women, a child with two mothers.[22] Our scientists are probably not far behind.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, addressed this point in 2002. He discussed the description in Genesis 3 of the posting of angels east of Eden with flaming swords to keep man, after the Fall, from eating of the Tree of Life. After the Fall, man was forbidden to eat of that tree which gave immortality, "since to be immortal in this [fallen] condition would... be perdition." People are now, Ratzinger said, "starting to pick from the tree of life and make themselves lords of life and death, to reassemble life....[P]recisely what man was supposed to be protected from is now... happening; he is crossing the final boundary....[M]an makes other men his own artifacts. Man no longer originates in the mystery of love, by... conception and birth... but is produced industrially, like any other product.... [W]e can ... be certain of this: God will take action to counter an ultimate crime, an ultimate act of self-destruction, on the part of man. He will take action against the attempt to demean mankind by the production of slave-beings. There are indeed final boundaries we cannot cross...."[23]

This is serious business. Nineveh repented, prayed and was spared. Sodom and Gomorrah did not and were destroyed.[24] Those options could be ours.

If we look at all this in merely human terms, our cause is hopeless. But we don't depend on our own strength. And we don't know everything. Don't be discouraged when bad things happen. "God permits everything," said St. Maximilian Kolbe, "in view of a greater blessing."[25] Trust God. Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J., who spent 23 years in Soviet prisons, said what God wants, especially in times of adversity or danger, is "an act of total trust," demanding "absolute faith: faith in God's existence, in his providence, in his concern for the minutest detail, in his power to sustain me, and in his love protecting me."[26]

Trust God. And pray, especially, to Mary, his Mother and ours. At Lepanto in 1571, the odds against the Christian fleet were so great that Las Vegas would have taken that bet off the board. But they prayed the Rosary and Mary gave the victory. She can take care of our problems today. This really is a great time for us to be here. We know we are on the winning side. God is not dead. He isn't even tired.

Thank you for the privilege to be with you. God bless you, your families and Christendom College. And God bless the United States of America.



[1]Eliot Barculo Wheaton, The Nazi Revolution: 1933-35 (1969), 286-93; William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, (1959), 88, 276-79.

[2] LifeSiteNews.com, Jan. 6, 2010.

[3] Catholic Eye, Dec. 10, 1987, 2.

[4] Homily, April 18, 2005.

[5] Lay Witness, March, 1990, 6-7.

[6] Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Youth, April 19, 2008.

[7] Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., "Catholic Colleges and Universities Today," Assumption College, Oct. 11, 2007.

[8] Ecclesiam Suam (1964), nos. 30, 55.

[9] Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (2005), no. 28 (a).

[10] Annals of Congress, I, 949.

[11] Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 304 (1963).

[12] S.T., I, Q.2, art. 3.

[13] Hans Kelsen, "The Pure Theory of Law, Part I," 50 Law Quart. Rev. 474, 482 (1934).

[14] Veritatis Splendor, no. 99.

[15] Veritatis Splendor, no. 52.

[16] James Mulligan, The Hanoi Commitment (1981), 48, 93-94.

[17] Veritatis Splendor, No. 87.

[18] Evangelium Vitae, no. 13.

[19] Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2004.

[20] Pope John Paul II, Discourse, Sept. 17, 1983.

[21] See Charles E. Rice and Theresa Farnan, Where Did I Come From? Where Am I Going? How Do I Get There? (2009), 141-164.

[22] Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, April 14, 2010.

[23] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World (2002), 133-135.

[24] Genesis 19:1-28; Jonah 3:1-10.

[25] St. Maximilian Kolbe, Writings, 1205.

[26] Walter J. Ciszek, He Leadeth Me (1973), 77.