by Thomas A. Droleskey

July 9, 2001

  When Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed solemnly the 
doctrine of our Lady's Immaculate Conception, he was 
doing much more than ratifying that which had always been 
taught and believed. The Triune God knew from all 
eternity that the solemn proclamation of this doctrine 
would be needed at the beginning of the Third Millennium 
more than it was needed at the end of the Second 
Millennium. He knew that the proclamation of our Lady's 
sinlessness from the first moment of her conception in 
the womb of her mother, Saint Anne, was meant to remind 
us in our own culture of death that a human being is a 
person from the first moment of fertilization. A person, 
moreover, made in the image and likeness of the Triune 
God Himself in that each human being has a rational and 
immortal soul from the very beginning of his existence as 
a helpless embryo. No amount of sophistry and no 
rationalistic exercises in political expediency can ever 
deny the distinct, unrepeatable personhood of a 
fertilized embryo, whether that fertilization takes place 
in a mother's womb (as it should) or whether it takes 
place in a Petrie dish in our brave new world of the 
artificial conception of children (whether as a means of 
undoing the sterilizing effects of contraception and 
abortion or as a means of creating human cells to be 
harvested for immoral experimentation and/or for use in 
the bodies of other persons).

  Our Lord's Incarnation in His Blessed Mother's 
virginal and immaculate womb is yet another testimony to 
the distinctive personhood of all children from the first 
moment of their fertilization. Our Lord deigned to be 
conceived as a helpless embryo in His Blessed Mother's 
virginal and immaculate womb by the power of the Holy 
Ghost. It was His Holy Will that He be united to the 
entirety of the human experience, save for sin. Thus, He 
is in solidarity with every child at the first moment of 
his fertilization. Our Lord really meant it when He said, 
"Whatsoever you do to the least of My brethren, that you 
do unto Me." To do anything to a human person is to 
attack the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man, 
Jesus Christ, mystically. No, our Lord cannot suffer 
again. He suffered once during His Passion and Death. 
However, He *does* suffer mystically in the persons of 
the members of His Mystical Body. He is absolutely united 
with every human being from the first moment of 
fertilization. This is a truth which is beyond question. 
And truth of its nature is not subject to the vagaries of 
public opinion and the exigencies of electoral politics 
and public policy decision-making. 

  Catholics have been baptized to bear a visible, 
tangible witness to the totality of our Lord's holy 
truths, no matter what it might cost them in the midst of 
this passing world. Sadly, many who call themselves pro-
life Catholics are permitting themselves to be led by the 
political dictates of phony pro-life politicians, almost 
all of whom support the slicing and dicing of little 
babies in some cases (and are thus simply less pro-
abortion than other politicians, not unconditionally, 
unqualifiedly pro-life). These well-intentioned but badly 
misled people believe that it is not politic to use such 
stark language as personhood to refer to a newly 
fertilized embryo. Thus, the needless debate about the 
licitness of the federal government's funding of 
experimentation on and transplantation of the cells of 
living human beings, each of whom has a unique 
personality as a result of his having a rational, 
immortal soul, centers around assisting a president who 
believes that abortion is a "matter of opinion" and his 
political appointees find some kind of "compromise" which 
would satisfy establishment pro-life leaders and 
draconian scientists and medical researchers intent on 
playing God. We have forgotten that God is a majority of 
one, that we can never compromise the sanctity and 
inviolability of even one innocent human life.

  The fact that the funding of stem-cell research is 
even open to debate is a very telling commentary on the 
state of things within "conservative pro-life" circles. 
*Candidate* George W. Bush said last year that he was 
opposed to such funding. However, *President-elect* 
George W. Bush appointed a man who supported such funding 
quite enthusiastically, Wisconsin Governor Tommy 
Thompson, to be secretary of the United States Department 
of Health and Human Services. President George W. Bush is 
soliciting advice from individuals as to what to do, 
backing off from his stand of last year, trying to find 
some ground for compromise.

  Bush is being aided in this process by "pro-life" 
senators such as Utah's Orrin Hatch. If you will recall, 
Hatch was the author of a proposed constitutional 
amendment which would have given state legislatures the 
right to prohibit, restrict or permit abortion as they 
see fit, something beyond the authority of any human 
institution; human institutions only have the authority 
to determine what penalties will be imposed upon those 
who do those things which are in contravention of the 
binding, immutable precepts of the Divine positive law 
and the natural law. Human institutions do not have the 
authority to make exceptions to those binding, immutable 
precepts. Hatch, however, does not realize that, 
believing, as most careerist politicians do, that there 
has to be some "reasonable" way to satisfy all sides.

  Worse than the "compromise" offered by the Mormon 
Orrin G. Hatch is that which has been "hatched," pun 
intended, by Catholic conservatives, intent on aiding 
their political savior, George W. Bush, navigate the 
needlessly choppy waters of the funding of stem-cell 
research. Three such conservatives -- Deal Hudson, Father 
Michael Sirico, Robert George -- have said that they are 
open to a plan that would allow the government to fund 
certain medical experiments that use stem cells from 
human embryos. A printed report, which ran in THE LOS 
ANGELES TIMES on Sunday, July 8, 2001, indicated that 
Princeton University professor Robert George has said 
that the proposed compromise "might be regarded as 
acceptable and consistent with church teachings if it 
ensures that the government never pays for the 
destruction of another embryo." CRISIS editor Deal Hudson 
said that he was "open to" the compromise, stating that 
it would be "a victory for those who want to use 
embryonic stem cells" and "for the pro-life side, because 
it ensures, for the time being, that there is no more 
government support for the destruction of embryos for 
their stem cells." 

  All of this is total sophistry. Note first of all 
that each of the "Catholic" experts refers to fertilized 
human beings in the impersonal mode as embryos, not human 
beings (most of whom have been conceived artificially in 
"fertility clinics" for artificial implantation in 
mothers' wombs). Note second of all that each of these 
alleged "experts" fails entirely to assert the simple 
truth that no one has any authority to violate the 
binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the 
natural law. Thus, the issue before us should not be the 
issue of federal funding for the extraction of stem cells 
from human beings. No, the issue before us should be the 
absolute prohibition of all in vitro fertilization and 
the absolute prohibition of the destruction of fertilized 
human beings effected by means of the extraction of their 
stem cells. Period. This is not a "difficult" issue 
whatsoever. This issue is as clear as abortion and 
euthanasia. The destruction of living human beings for 
the extraction of their stem cells is the exact same 
thing as abortion and euthanasia: it is the killing of 
innocent human life.

  Alas, George, Sirico, and Hudson are using almost 
the exact same sort of sophistry in this matter as was 
used by Geraldine Ferraro when she ran for vice president 
of the United States with former Vice President Walter 
Mondale in 1984. Ferraro said at the time that there was 
a "range of opinion within the Church about abortion," 
making it appear as though a person's rejection of 
received teaching constitutes a legitimate position which 
must be placed on a plane of equality with what God 
Himself has revealed through His true Church. Well, 
Robert George was quoted in THE LOST ANGELES TIMES as 
saying, "Then they [the Bush administration] could say 
there's a range of opinion and that this issue is not 
like abortion or euthanasia." This is an abject lie, a 
totally pathetic attempt to indemnify a man, Bush, who 
believes that abortion is simply a matter of "opinion" 
about which people of "good will" may disagree quite 
legitimately. Isn't this the American way, after all? 
Isn't everything a matter of opinion? Isn't everything 
open to consensus and compromise and common ground? 

  Father Sirico and Robert George and Deal Hudson are 
making the same tragic mistake as was made by many 
Catholics, including some bishops and priests, in the 
20th century. As it was the Democratic Party which became 
the means of political socialization for Catholics in the 
19th century, the lion's share of Catholics became 
slavishly attached to the Democratic Party, viewing it as 
the true secular church, the means of secular salvation. 
It mattered little, then, in the 20th century when 
Catholics did the bidding of the anti-Catholic Woodrow 
Wilson (who supported the Masonic revolutionaries in 
Mexico, going so far as to state that the slaughter of 
Catholics in Mexico might produce the promotion of the 
same "sort of liberal ideas" which flowed from the 
bloodletting in the French Revolution) and Franklin 
Roosevelt, whose New Deal policies were a direct 
violation of the natural law principle of subsidiarity, 
defended so ably by Pope Pius XI in QUADREGESIMO ANNO in 
1931. The bishops of this country actually silenced 
Father Charles Coughlin when the Detroit-based priest 
used his radio program to criticize Roosevelt's policies. 
And, of course, we have the recent history of inaction 
against pro-abortion Catholic Democrats. Indeed, the late 
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin devised his "consistent ethic 
of life" in 1983 as a means of providing cover for pro-
abortion Catholic Democrats in the 1984 elections. Even 
though it was wrong of them to support abortion, 
Bernardin argued, abortion was but one issue in a 
continuum of the seamless garment. A person who supported 
"justice" for the poor should not be dismissed out of 
hand just because he takes a mistaken "view" on abortion.

  Well, this is exactly what some conservative 
Catholic leaders are doing now. They have presented Bush 
as a friend of life, which he is not. They shilled for 
him during the election when he fudged on RU-486 and 
repeatedly termed abortion a "matter of opinion." They 
overlooked Bush's embrace for the slaughter of the unborn 
in cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life 
of a mother. They ignored Bush's record of appointing 
pro-aborts to the Texas State Supreme Court when he was 
governor of Texas. They ignore the fact that the federal 
government is supporting directly chemical abortions by 
its funding of so-called "family planning programs" both 
here and abroad. They have said not a word as pro-aborts 
(Colin Powell, Andrew Card, Christine Todd Whitman, Mary 
Matalin, Alberto Gonzales) have been given prominent 
positions in the new administration. No, these 
conservative Catholic leaders must enable *their* secular 
hero much in the same manner as James Cardinal Gibbons, 
the longtime Archbishop of Baltimore, did with Woodrow 
Wilson and as a veritable army of bishops did with 
Franklin Roosevelt. This is a cynical effort. Even the 
American bishops, not exactly noted for consistency on 
the life issue, have thus far held the line against the 
destruction of fertilized human beings by the extraction 
of their stem cells. 

  Well, God is not satisfied when His truths, which 
are the only foundation for personal sanctity and hence 
all social order, are compromised. Baptized Catholics 
have an obligation to defend Christ's Holy Truths without 
any compromise whatsoever. However, a country which 
accepts uncritically the ethos of majoritarianism 
believes that everything is negotiable, including the 
words we use to describe the distinctive personhood which 
every person has from the first moment of his 
fertilization. The consequences are fatal for a society 
when Catholics alleged to be orthodox start doing 
intellectual gymnastics to subordinate the unchanging 
truths of our Lord and Savior to the exigencies of a 
civil leader. This leads to one of two things happening: 
(1) the wrong decision being made; or (2) the right 
decision being made for the wrong reasons. Let me 

  Although it appears as though some sort of illicit 
compromise is in the works, presidential counselor Karl 
Rove evidently has advised President Bush to ban the use 
of federal funds for the experimentation and the 
transplantation of the cells of living human persons. He 
is doing so, however, for fear that a compromise of any 
sort will anger President Bush's conservative, pro-life 
base, not because such experimentation and 
transplantation is evil, yes, evil, of its very nature. 
As a political strategist, Rove is advising the president 
on the basis of the exigencies of raw electoral politics 
just as much as those who want Bush to compromise on the 
issue (Hatch, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Arizona 
Senator John McCain) believe there is some electoral 
advantaged to be gained by reaching some sort of 
accommodation. How sad it is, therefore, that the 
president "has to hear from us" in order for him to make 
the right decision. A president who knew the nature of 
fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth 
Incarnate does not have to be lobbied on issues of life 
death. Our problem, you see, is that the president is not 
a man of the mind. He is a creature of the majoritarian 
society from whence he sprang, a world in which those who 
lobby the hardest get what they want. And this, 
naturally, is one of the flaws of a world which has 
overthrown the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it is 
exercised through His true Church. Secularism winds up 
trumping Catholicism, especially among pro-life 
Catholics, who place their trust in bogus secular saviors 
rather than in the ability of our Lord's grace to effect 
the conversion of souls over the course of time.

  We should be resolved, therefore, to speak in plain, 
unmistakable terms about the life issues. We should refer 
to the issue being debated at present as nothing other 
than this: a decision to fund the willful, planned 
execution of human persons under cover of law. Words 
count. Words matter. Abortion is the killing of innocent 
human life. It is the destruction of Jesus Christ 
mystically in the person of unborn children. The 
extraction of embryonic stem-cells from living human 
persons is no less a destruction of Jesus Christ 
mystically. And it will not be until we start thinking 
and speaking in such direct terms that we have a chance 
of making a true inroad in this culture of death. For it 
will not be until we recognize that God is a majority of 
One -- and that He has discharged His Mind in Holy Mother 
Church -- that we will have a chance to call abject evils 
by their proper names.

  Our Lady, Mother of Life, pray for us.

  May God have mercy on us all for failing to work for 
the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the Queenship of 
His Most Blessed Mother.


Addendum, 7/23/01

  Although Father Sirico, Robert George and Deal Hudson 
have issued a joint statement to indicate that they were 
misquoted in Sunday's edition of The Los Angeles Times, the 
reporter who wrote the story stands by his story and the 
quotes contained therein. This is what happens when people 
attempt to do the bidding of professional politicians 
rather than simply state the fullness of the splendor of 
Truth Incarnate without regard to any other consideration 
than absolutely fidelity to Christ the King and Mary our 
Queen through Holy Mother Church. You cannot fight 
secularism with secularism. You can only fight the 
multifacted evils of secularism with Catholicism. 

  We must always keep in mind the words of Pope Leo XIII, 
contained in Immortale Dei in 1885. These words remind us of 
what happens to a society not founded on right principles:

        To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, 
    from the business of life, from the power of making 
    laws, from the training of youth, from domestic 
    society, is a grave and fatal error. A State from 
    which religion is banished can never be well 
    regulated; and already perhaps more than is 
    desirable is known about the so-called civil 
    philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ 
    is the sole guardian of morals. She it is who 
    preserves in their purity the principles from which 
    duties flow, and by setting forth most urgent 
    reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to curb 
    all movements of the mind that are opposed to 
    reason, even though they not be carried out in 

  We need to work for the establishment of the Social Reign 
of Christ the King and Mary our Queen as the only antidote 
to the poisons coarsing through the veins of our society 
and our world.

Dr. Thomas Droleskey, speaker and lecturer, is a 
professor of political science, the author of CHRIST IN 
CONDITION (www.hopeofstmonica.com), and editor of the 
"Christ or Chaos" newsletter.

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