You may recall the incredibly insightful encyclical issued by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1995: Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). It was there that I first read the phrase culture of death. And I recall distinctly how the Holy Father defined that culture as a,
war of the powerful against the weak: a life which would require greater acceptance, love and care is considered useless, or held to be an intolerable burden, and is therefore rejected in one way or another. A person who, because of illness, handicap or, more simply, just by existing, compromises the well-being or life-style of those who are more favored tends to be looked upon as an enemy to be resisted or eliminated. In this way a kind of "conspiracy against life" is unleashed.
We have seen, in the past few days, several manifestations of this violent mentality that must not go unrecognized and should lead us to be ever more vigilant in our quest to overcome these evils with the good that flows from God's love for every person, each of whom is created in His image and likeness.
You may have missed these gruesome reports, but I warn you now – take heed.
Recent research has revealed that thousands of sterilizations and more than a few abortions have occurred in Catholic hospitals in the state of Texas. And it is entirely possible that the problem extends far beyond Texas to other states where the same healthcare systems operate "Catholic" hospitals. While it is indeed a tragedy that such practices would be carried out in a hospital identified in name as part of the Catholic Church, we have seen such an erosion in what it means to be Catholic, at least in recent weeks, that it leaves one wondering just how much longer evil will be absorbed into the Church's infrastructure before a blow is struck to weed it out at its very core.
And then there is the incredible decision of a grand jury in Kansas where the infamous abortionist, George Tiller, was being investigated for possible criminal activity. We learned last week that there will be no criminal charges filed against the abortionist because a grand jury said, "After six months of conducting an investigation that included hearing extensive witness testimony, reviewing volumes of documents and medical records of patients of Women's Health Care Services (Tiller's clinic), this Grand Jury has not found sufficient evidence to bring an indictment on any crime related to the abortion laws."
Of course, in Kansas, as in every one of the 50 states, killing preborn children and even maiming their mothers is perfectly legitimate as long as you do not honestly report the damage potentially done to the mother. Far be it from me to suggest, of course, that Tiller would stoop to such behavior.
In another event occurring last week, the United States Senate, that august body that has never met a pro-abortion proposal it didn't like, has decided that it may well pass a massive $50 billion Emergency Plan for HIV-AIDS relief. The problem is that the bill is based on the myth that AIDS is a threat to the general population and not the risk-behavior groups with which it has been linked by honest research. Clearly the treatment for it, then, is chastity.
However, according to expert researcher Michael Fumento, even though the disease is terribly difficult to transmit vaginally or orally, the cries for more relief come from those deceptive arguments regarding how the deadly disease is allegedly spread. And so, he opines, "There is no precedent in history for such myth-driven 'democratization' of a disease, nor for the abominable unfairness in allocating funds away from so many curable illnesses."
People are dying from many diseases which could be at least treated with proper research funding, and yet the Senate is committed to continuing a myth that has existed for as long as the AIDS scare has been around.
As if the lying and the egregious miscarriage of justice are not enough, we also know from this past week's news that preborn babies created by in vitro fertilization doctors can be examined by preimplantation genetic diagnosis, even for potential susceptibility to breast cancer.
There is a case in Britain wherein the couple in question had 11 embryos created in the laboratory and five of these embryonic children were diagnosed as being free from the gene. Two of them were placed in the mother, and only God knows what happened to the rest of the children, though imagination does not have to be stretched too far to figure it out.
And on the heels of this report, we learned, from research conducted in Australia and Greece, that a novel combination of molecular techniques may help researchers identify human embryos produced in vitro that are likely to be "developmentally competent." What does this mean? Well, according to the report I read, it means that, with this research, it may be possible to tell ahead of time which embryonic children will develop properly once moved to the mother's uterus, thus probably condemning to death any of the weaker ones who do not exhibit the full strength required.
Of course, such research is all based on the idea that parents really only want or should receive children as close to perfection as possible! Don't we all know that is how God planned the human family?
And then there's the patient in Oregon. Her name is Barbara Wagner, and at one point in her encounter with the Oregon Health Plan, this woman who is suffering from lung cancer was told that the plan would be happy to pay for her assisted suicide but not willing to pay for the chemotherapy prescribed by her physician!
Unlike the other news items I mention here, this one does have a happy ending. Barbara has been notified by a drug manufacturer that it will provide the expensive medication for her for the first year. We can all praise God for this most welcome turn of events. But it does not change the trend I have reported to you.
When you cannot count on Catholic healthcare facilities to be Catholic, when you witness grand juries pandering to abortionists over the fine print in all those documents they had to review, when you witness politicians playing footsy with the gay rights lobby and stretching the truth regarding how AIDS is spread so as not to offend any special interest group and when you see clinical research focused on killing people because they are less than perfect in the eyes of man, it does not take much to realize that the culture of death is alive and well in America.
This nation may just have celebrated Independence Day, but to my way of thinking, the only thing America is independent about these days is adhering to the laws of God. It is indeed obvious that the "conspiracy against life" about which Pope John Paul II warned so eloquently has taken a serious foothold on our soil and isn't going away any time soon.
Let's keep exposing the unbelievable, praying for our fellow Americans and hoping that they wake up before their names come up on some register somewhere as the next group of expendables.