Friday, March 23, 2012

Really---What is Human Nature?

When I was an adenoidal sophomore in college I was fascinated by the difficulty of definition. It seemed the more basic a term, the more difficult it was to define. A Professor would ask me to define, for example, a book or a rose. I would stumble and sputter. But in handling more complicated terms, I was fluid and verbal. Tautology in human communication, is commonplace. It amused me to observe students in graduate psychology studies who, when asked to define “Intelligence”, would reply that “Intelligence is that which intelligence tests are designed to measure.” There were so many cognitive side streets and copouts to traverse that we could always find some lame justification for our positions. It has always been so with me and as, I suppose, with many others. An intellectual cop-out, in the instance of this essay, could be something like “Human nature is that which empowers human beings to be and function naturally.”

But, recently, a very urbane, sophisticated book publisher jogged me into thinking about a taken-for-granted- term I was using without definition of it. He rejected a monumental manuscript of mine, stating, among other legitimate criticisms, that nowhere did I ever define what I saw as “human nature”, a term I used generously throughout the work. So, dutifully, I asked myself “What really is human nature?” I found many perceptions, my own and a multitude of others..

Some elites say you can buy any one ultimately. Everyone has his “price.” Just offer him enough of some kind of bribe and he’ll give in. Politicians, business people, theatrical people, sports figures, the Church, they all have a weak spot! “It’s only human nature.” We are all envious, proud, selfish, greedy, lazy, insensitive and mean on some level. Sex drives, also, demand outward expression. Spending time trying to promote chastity, especially with young people is a waste of time and a joke. “It’s only human nature.” They all “fool around”. Teens are going to do “it”. Everybody does. It’s doing “what comes naturally.” Everyone needs some affection or love or attention. Whatever human nature is or is not, it demands companionship and “being with others.” Copulation is part of this Human nature and will always be around as long as the human instinct for survival exists! All you really can do is limit the damage done to self or others. All you can do is to make your brief, meaningless span on earth as pleasant and long lasting as possible. So give in and accept reality!

So goes the much thinking in our era. Defeatist. Damaging. Corrosive. Bleak. While partly true, it is the Gospel of the Half Truth. The description above is not really a full picture of the human nature. It is a skewed and inaccurate battle cry of much of our populace. And a tragic battle cry that shrieks boredom and low self esteem. It insinuates that “man” is really too weak and too “human” to resist the call of the easy way out. “I’m only human” is not only a copout but an almost universal justification for anything the human does or endues. But, I am interested in more than function. I seek what this human nature is—in itself!

I suppose the publisher is right. I haven’t defined something I am taking for granted. Yet, commonly, we say “ It’s only human nature…” Perhaps, this is a case of everyone functioning under his own perception while differing from everyone else’s. To a shark mating and hunting for food is its nature—but it is a shark. To a dog pleasing its master/mistress is what its nature demands—but it is a dog, male or female. To a tree, nature means that leaves bloom in the spring and die in the fall. This is its nature—but it is a tree. While one might say that the best one can do is offer a descriptive definition of human nature, Christians claim there is a real possibility to truly plumb this mystery for spiritual and intellectual satisfaction and profound benefit.

But the concern of this paper is the nature of a human being –no other for the moment. So, what is human nature? First of all, the term, Nature. It speaks to that which makes something what it is. It speaks to the reason something exists. Atheists must ultimately claim that nothing has a nature. There is no meaning. There is no purpose. There is, beyond physics, neuroscience and chemistry, nothing but illusion. But, since these physical sciences can give only an abstract understanding of “things”, consistently there is basically nothing, ultimately, to the honest atheist. Physics, for example, tells us nothing about the inner nature of things that flesh out abstract structure. It has been said that physics in fact is unintelligible unless there is more to reality than it tells us. This reduces life to a Reductio ad absurdum. Such dreary fantasy is unacceptable to my mind and to millions of others. Most of us intuit beyond such limitation and ask questions and make challenges.

In my own questing for some kind of reasonable definition of human nature”, I quizzed a colleague[1](who is a professional, academic philosopher-- see footnote) on his perception of the term. Though wedded to intellectual resolution through natural law thinking, he instantly suggested the Genesis insight. Namely that God, the Creator, made man in His own image, with an intellect with which man could reason, analyze, and see humor and with a will with which man could choose, decide and love. “In God’s image” would mean that these faculties would be spiritual, physically non-dimensional. Then I remembered a phrase I had used many times myself that we were called to be “participators in the Divine Nature..” But, of course. Unite the faculties of intellect and will (the Divine Image) to the body and we now have full human nature. And there had to be a reason for this Creation which reason becomes part of the definition.

But, then, I fancied, there is the whole question of the Adam and Eve “thing.” Christianity teaches that somewhere along the generational Line there was some kind of great aboriginal calamity which is commonly called “Original sin.” This Original “Fall” tainted the whole of the then human species, i.e. the primal parents, the aforementioned Adam and Eve. All descendants of this Pair would inherit and pass on the wounded (but not evil nor corrupt) tainted “Nature”. All descendants, because of the wound of Original sin, would be inclined to sin, categorized as the Seven Capital Sins flowing from this original tragedy (i.e. inherent inclinations to a series of misbehaviors). How this recalled for me the famous Wordsworth description of the Mother of Jesus, “Our tainted nature’s solitary boast” as a poetic acknowledgement of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Clearly this all presupposes the role of the “body” in definition. Body and soul “make” the Person who possesses this Human Nature.

But it would be important to note that the “inclination” with its coincidental temptations is not sinful in itself. There would be no pre- determined inevitability for evil or weakness to prevail since the Original sin would only darken the intellect and weaken the will. It did not destroy the original powers of thinking and loving. So, the possibility of rising to share in the Divine Nature looms largely real for the believer. While the Original trial centered on the lie that “Ye shall be like gods” if you disobey Him, the truth is that You shall share in His nature if you obey Him.

This “Nature” of the created tainted human being would be real since the very Creator Who allowed such things as rebellion to His will, at the same time, provides aid and help to resist the lure of Temptation and to rise to holiness and to unbelievable levels of generosity, love, courage and goodness. This is called “Grace” which is powerful and “amazin’”. So while “man” would be ever tempted to Pride, covetousness, sloth, wrath, lust, envy, gluttony, hatred, insensitivity, ingratitude and bigotry as dictated by his wounded, inherited nature, even with the harmful effects of the Original sin, his outlook should be optimistic and bright.

‘Man’ would, as the Blessed Apostle Paul noted, be ever torn by interior tension in that on the one hand he does what he does not will, yet on the other hand , does not what he wills. While his separation from God, the Creator, was healed through the sacrifice of God’s own Son, Jesus, the effects of this Fall would remain and Man would hear the alluring Siren cry “Ye shall be like God”. The central problem of the human being would be the residual echo of the Great Lie: You can be God. So man has ever striven for the perfection which belongs to God alone, with the inevitable frustrating results. Man has constantly compared himself to others in the dynamic drive to be superior, to be above all others as is God. Hence, the commands given by God is Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. All sin is reducible to this order. The temptation not to strive for full human nature is strong. The inclinations to “sin” are powerful and difficult to control. It is not easy to be a truly human being. It is easier to settle for less and “give in.”

Obviously, then, the person, both body and soul, who is informed by and who possesses the human nature is a complex being. Superficial definitions are probably wrong or at least very wanting. “O Man, strange composite of heaven and earth” wrote John Henry Cardinal Newman in the “Dream of Gerontius”. But, Cardinal Basil Hume wrote in his “Turning to God”, “there is in the composition of the human being a need to turn to God.” There is deep within the human nature a certain destiny which must be found if one is to have a satisfactory definition. St. Augustine in the “Confessions” stated the destiny of man in these terms: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” To define human nature by functions and usage is limited and relatively easy. That had been my own failing in perception like scores of others. Human nature, by its own nature, is attuned to God. Any real definition must include that dimension. The Publisher who depressed me with his rejection of my manuscript has perhaps gifted me with a commission to think. Maybe that is what I can do with my eternity!


[1] Fr. Robert A. O’Donnell, CSP, Ph.D., who taught Philosophy at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York and in Europe, received his Doctorate in Philosophy from the Louvain University in Belgium. He has published books and articles in professional journals and has promoted seminars in Israel and Europe.

Are We Allowed to Tell the Truth?

If I am imprudent enough (or brave enough) to speak the truth as I see it and “to speak my speech plainly” I might run great risks to my reputation and my social or financial life. When I have criticized, for example, the policies of President Obama on his economic policy or his veiled hostility to the Christian religion or his blatant “disingenuousness”, I have been accused, with excessive vehemence, of Racism! I was told that if a Caucasian had spoken thusly I would not have said a word. When I have criticized the behaviors and agenda of the Gay community, such as the insulting, disrespectful behaviors toward social communities dedicated to traditional values or when I have voiced negatives toward the self destructive lifestyles rampant in the Gay groups I know, I am accused of being “homophobic.” I am told that if my assessment involved “straight” people, I would be silent. There is not the slightest “wiggle room” that I might be honest or fair. What is unthinkable is to waver from the Party Line.

I am patronizingly told, with the phony mask of “tolerance” thrust into my face, to keep my observations and opinions quiet. I am also told to cover my criticisms with the mantle of a twisted kind of “compassion” which means I must accept those dimensions of the Radical left even if they violate my personal values and meaning. A previous Episcopalian Bishop of Atlanta, Bennett Simms once made the insightful remark that “compassion does not mean endorsement.” Rumor had it that the good Bishop recanted his stance under pressure but the inherent wisdom of the observation stands. A Protestant minister of Florida, Rev. James Kennedy, bravely preached that “tolerance is the last virtue of a degenerate society.” But speaking out against clearly destructive trends invites certain forms of retribution. The unspoken instruction is Join the Crowd or Else!! Such behavior, in root, is really denying absolute truth. When “they” deny absolute truth, I believe with Pope Benedict XVI (classy intellectual company), they mistake politics for eschatology which mistake, by a utopian approach, leads to the gulag. There is no utopia. Life is a struggle and all of us are flawed regardless of our remarkable growth and starry eyed optimism. While Faith tells us to work for an ever better world, Perfection is not to be had in this world. The American Left is headed for the Totalitarian foe we vanquished, at incredible cost, in the 20th century. Not to learn history is to repeat its failures. An aspect of integrity is not to distort its Truth.

So, I must accede to Political Correctness if I wish to be “accepted.” And, of course, horror of all horrors, the ultimate punishment for the obstinate, like me, is “shunning.” Bernie Goldberg, the “shunned” CBS reporter reports publicly that when once he dared to tell the truth in reporting, not only was he fired but the Great Ones of liberal CBS would not even talk to him. This included the eminent Dan Rather. Such emotional decapitation is omnipresent—even, regretfully, within so-called religious circles. With the Left, wherever one finds it, punishment is leveled against the Person as well as the message.

The obvious distinction, within the grasp of any eight grader, that criticisms of human behavior do not necessarily mean attacks on personhood seems to elude these pundits who sport degrees from highly touted universities and famous schools of thought. Intellectual Fascism is rampant even where one would not expect it. Formerly, it was understood that the university level was a haven where one could freely articulate Ideas which might be “different” or out of the prevailing mode. The free exchange of varying ideas was stimulating, expansive and a delicious piece of human experience. Perhaps, it is the modern tendency of academics to place the “Professor” high above the great unwashed who don’t know really what is good for them. Elite thinking apparently shuts out the opinions of political dissenters as incorrect and irrelevant if not irrational.

Yet who among us has not at some time been struck by the incisive insights of the “street” where common sense often surfaces? The construction worker, the cop and the bartender know that most (if not all) terrorist attacks were done in the Name of Allah by Muslim extremists. They all know wonderful, decent and hard working Muslims who would have no part in killing innocents and attacking our values. But they also know that to protect us from sworn enemies, it Is necessary for law enforcement agencies to use all legal enforcement tools available, including specific profiling. But the modern social code is to squash all kinds of investigation lest we become “islamaphobes.” What is so difficult about the distinction? Cognitively, it is child’s play. The suspicion is that we are dealing not with honesty but with thought control, deep seated bias or craven fear.

When one compares the obsequious apologetic stance of American high government officials over the allegedly accidental burning of the Qur’an by several American soldiers with the ho-hum attitude over the ferocious massacre of Christians in Moslem countries, one wonders what is the lodestone which directs loud protest? What kind of pressure is being exerted if the reported rumor is true that out-of-step media outlets of radio, television and print are being squeezed out of existence because they espouse unpopular (from the point of view of government) positions?

A 30 year old unmarried woman petitions Congress for $3000 to support her sexual habits. When her unbelievable chutzpah and arrogance (evidently previously choreographed) are challenged with admittedly inappropriate, vulgar street language on radio, the Left goes ballistic! The criticism unfortunately dropped to the Left level, the Left of Maher or Ed Shultz, which can insult women of conservative thought with the vilest of street language. In their case, no one protests. More irony! The one who lives a wanton unchaste life is praised and defended. “High Places” apologize for her embarrassment. The one who struggles to live righteously is freely insulted. No apology. The approved ones always get a “pass.” Apparently, again, we are allowed only the articulation which is stamped as “correct.” The careers and lives of those who dissent from the Party Line are jeopardized. No wonder we are fearful of expressing our real thinking. What an irony! The Left lectures us about incivility and intolerance but shouts obscenities and vulgarities with impunity. The Political “correction” is now working to squeeze out of the Public Square those who dare to disagree with the Revelations of the Administration.

It begins to look as if the focus is not really about contraceptives or obesity but rather about freedom. The precious Liberty for which so many of our American forefathers suffered, sacrificed and died is, in fact, in jeopardy. The heroes of my youth, the young Marines of Iwo Jima, the dirtied up, terrified GIs of the Italian campaign, the kids who stormed across Omaha beach, and present day Iraq, ---why did they do it? They suffered that we can enjoy the sweetness of liberty - which, now, is about to be destroyed by political visionaries?

The squelching is about not my sexual practices (whatever that may be) or my penchant for any eating dimension I might have, but about my freedom to differ from the “accepted” party line. One’s sexual life is of one’s own choice as is the eating a Big Mac. Adolph is coming back without his mustache and “heil.” Of course, it is much more subtle than that. He is coming in the guise of the smiling, backslapping, smooth talking Organizer with whom you had best agree or you will pay dearly. He will let you keep your little Bibles and rosaries but you had better keep them within the walls of your church or synagogue. Don’t you dare exhibit them in the Public Square. He wants you to be spiritually emasculated so that he can control not like Big Brother but rather Big Daddy.

Wear your religious skull cap publicly, finger your Rosary on the street, read your Bible on the subway but (consistently) you are in violation! If, heaven forbid, you should make the sign of the Cross in a restaurant before dining, the Storm troopers of our beloved leader could call out the I.C.E. and the FBI. Yeah! I am pushing the envelope a bit but my Jewish genes squirm when things begin to smell like Dachau. Or maybe I am just waking up to the modern realities. Freedom of Speech guaranteed? May God protect us from the “Tolerance” and “civility” which are engulfing us.

My Mother Refused to Abort ME!

My mother was 21, a simple Irish Catholic kid from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. She was married to a handsome, good natured, young, non-Catholic fellow, my father. A high powered relative was pressuring her to resolve a very touchy situation: Mother had already delivered, two years previously, a beautiful baby girl who was baptized a Christian. This was difficult for Dad’s parents to accept since they had vivid and painful memories of their hometown, Bialystok, in Poland/ Russia. Discrimination. Pogroms. Insults. Permanently burned into their wounded psyches. “Christian” connoted too much unforgettable pain.

One Christian in the family, it was thought, with our blood, was enough. To put the grandparents to more suffering was out of the question. The conspiracy of silence in the family, up to this point, was stressful and, in hindsight, ridiculous. Everyone avoided the subject. They pretended they knew nothing and practically denied that my Dad had fathered a “Christian”. Even years later we kids were not allowed to even see our non-Catholic grandparents lest the fiction of our non-existence be ruthlessly dissipated.

But while Mother was “carrying” me, there was a huge elephant in every room. This time it could not be avoided. There might be another one. Really one is enough, they said. But what to do? To my high powered relative, the answer was obvious and immediate. Terminate. We will carry all the expenses. There will be no publicity. No one need know. Quick. Clean. Crisp. And we carry on as before. Problem solved. Everybody will be satisfied and protected. Just plain common sense. They were a young couple with little money and an unpredictable future. Another kid would be too difficult for them to handle. From a secular, narrow and selfish point of view it could be common sense to get rid of the child.

Except for two factors. One was me! I would not be euphoric with my own early destruction. I would clamor for justice in some Celestial Supreme Court with my aborted voice. And, the other factor was the conscience and feelings of the little Irish girl who would have to undergo the terrors of the “procedure” and who was thought to be so manipulable. Looking back from the perspective of ninety one years of life I am appalled and I shiver when I think of what I would have missed if Mother had been overwhelmed by the powerful emotional barrage she had to resist.

I have had a wonderful, meaningful, productive life filled with appropriate fun, laughter and excitement. Though Mom and Dad, both actors, never made much money, they managed to give my sister and me the basics of education allowing her to become a college professor and me to become a Ph.D in psychology as well as the astounding privilege of becoming a priest in the Catholic church with all the dazzling opportunities of that role. We lived in near tenement housing with Catholic relatives, unsure of meeting our monthly rent, but were always well fed. We had no car. We had one small radio which we shared with relative ease. But we laughed easily and often. We learned how to “make do” and we learned about God, how to pray and what life is all about. We heard over and over again the pragmatic mantra “God will provide. God will provide.” Now I can give a name to our emotional and spiritual climate. It was a blind trust in a loving God Who always supports us when we do His Holy Will. Do the right thing and He will reward and aid you to do whatever it is you must do.

Both of us learned, viscerally, very early in life, how valuable we were, how much we were loved—almost to a fault. We were encouraged, hugged and appropriately praised when we brought home high level report cards. It was fundamental that life was to be properly enjoyed and fun was an experience worth seeking. Though there was neither Social Security nor Food Stamp safety nets into which we could collapse, we had the confidence that we would “make it” somehow. And we always did. A pox on the kind of “common sense” which presents no options.

The “common sense” so urgently presented to my mother seems so distorted in the light of my personal History. It also makes me quite angry! Common sense would have meant that I would never see the Sistine Chapel or the beauty of the David in Florence or the Moses in Rome. I never would have had the joy of South Africa where I luxuriated as the young priest bringing Christ to hundreds. I would never have known the fun on the streets of New York with pals who spoke New Yawkese and with whom I was deeply friendly for decades. Common sense would have prevented me from seeing and enjoying the beaches of Spain with my closest friends. From relaxing on a summer’s night at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. My years on Television at NBC in New York where I met and enjoyed so many good friends and carried the Catholic banner with pride and enthusiasm. The joy of Graduate school at NYU where I had such exciting times explaining the Catholic message and the late night coffee with classmates in the little Italian bistros on MacDougall street.

I would never have known the glory of the Sisters of Life or the Holy Cross sisters who taught me reading and writing and computing. I would never have experienced the admiration I have for the Courage members who have striven so valiantly for Chastity. I would never have seen the Northern Lights or the beauty of Lake George or Victoria Falls or the southern coast of Australia. Or Ireland or France or Austria. I never would have known the ecstasy of celebrating the Holy Mass. Nor would I have ever known the thrill of baseball and basketball and ice skating. The joys of beautiful music, the soaring of my soul at good theatre, the elation of a walk in the Fall. The profound happiness of having loving friends. I would have missed it all in the name of Common sense. I can even, confidently, with real humility, articulate that my life, through God’s Grace, has meant much to scads of human beings. Common sense would have deprived them of what gifts I could offer them in Christ’s holy Name. Oh, I need at least a year to write all the joys and love and fun I would have missed if that little Irish gal wasn’t so spunky and Faith-filled.

Yeah! Common sense. I have read and studied the psychologic and sociologic data. I have heard the carefully planned pitch of Planned Parenthood, NARAL and Obama. I’ve seen the classy, expensive, slick promos in the debate. But because my experience has been what it has been, I don’t need to listen anymore to the phony arguments of those who advocate or tolerate the killing of millions of kids—in the name of Common Sense. If you have been where I have been, it is a No Brainer.

No matter how you slice it with Madison avenue pizzazz, if you are looking for me, you’ll find me, a 91 year old priest Dinosaur, right in the middle of the Pro Life Camp. I have really enjoyed being alive. I eternally thank my Irish Mother who, without a college degree, figured out the “Right” way with the help of the Rosary and a loving heart.

I Am a Catholic Priest Who Would Sin if I Voted for this P.A. [1]

My personal conscience has been formed by a view articulated by Blessed Pope John Paul II when he condemned those moral conclusions which substantively included intrinsically evil “matter.” Fancy terms like “Consequential proportionality”, often used by some contemporary moralists, are not acceptable to me. Some legislators, often Catholic, tout the good aspects of a particular piece of dubious legislation which contains some clearly evil components, but within which, they believe, the good aspects trump the evil aspects of the proposal. The Pope, on the other hand, argues, and I think reasonably and correctly, that one is never, under any circumstances, morally free to support that which is evil no matter how cleverly it may be disguised. And I am painfully aware of Catholic teaching on complicity in the sins of others. If I am complicit by support of any kind in what I believe to be inherently evil, I become part of that evil in varying degrees. Plainly put: I sin. I believe the Pope articulated unadorned true Catholic doctrine.

My other Catholic conscience dynamic is elementary. My conscience is personal which must direct me according to my lights, intelligence, knowledge and experience. I must do what I think is moral. What others believe is their jurisdiction. My action hero is St. Thomas More of England who dissented from most of his contemporaries at the cost of his head! He was pressured by family, friends, High Churchmen to agree with the Party Line. “Everyone else agrees. Why can’t you?” Yet, Thomas notes that we are judged by God according to our own view of truth, not the view of someone else. Following this insight, he became a Saint! Perhaps, there are other Catholic priests who can, with easy conscience, vote for “dubious” legislation. Each of us answers to God according to his own lights. That includes me.

Yet, my conscience has, all my life, been directed by orthodox teaching and not by dissenting theologians. My notion is that the relativism so rampant in many intellectual, political and church worlds leads to chaos and ultimately to Dachau while absolute Truth, as God reveals it, is His holy Will for the Good of all. I chose to follow that path. This choice centers on what I personally believe to be the clear voice of God as taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Hence, if I depart from the profound personal inner voice I call my conscience, I sin.

It was the forthright, down to earth President Harry Truman who plainly told us about himself: “The buck stops here!” The tone of the country, its success or failure, the programs, the political philosophy ultimately belong, fair or not, to him. Difficulties with Congress, frustrations with small minded legislators who reject his proposals, wars, social problems—all factor in. Yet, when one counts the gaming chips, the responsibility is Harry’s. It was on his watch!

How could I, an ancient Catholic priest, claim that my voting (not anyone else’s) could put me at odds with my God, i.e. in a state of sin? For starters, the relatively sudden announcement that henceforth all Americans will be obliged to pay for abortifacients, sterilization processes, contraceptives and probably and ultimately abortion processes, stunned me. The P.A. had previously given their word that no legislation would be proposed violating Catholic conscience (and I had naively believed them). Now they intend to impose their morality on me and all people who hold personal spiritual values as sacred. I personally can no longer trust this P.A.

We do not wish or intend or try to impose our values on anyone else. We simply want to be free Catholics in America, loving our country and our God as our personal consciences direct. Catholics, from the beginning, have gratefully honored the First Amendment which, in its first place, guarantees every citizen the right to freely worship God as he pleases. Catholics historically always have made outstanding contributions to the defense of this Country which has been so good to their Church and which has guaranteed and protected their right to freedom of worship.

Yet, this P.A., in effect, is telling me that sexual practices (apparently of every variety) of the nation are more important to them than not only our religious freedom but even the huge contributions we are making to the health and social levels. We cannot obey this mandate that we underwrite behaviors which are repugnant to us and which we cannot morally support. Nor is the P.A. so-called compromise acceptable to me. As Bill Donahue of The Catholic Defense league has said: “I wasn’t born yesterday”. The P.A.’s “compromise” is a shell game, well known to those of us who have New York street smarts. It is no compromise at all. Their “change” is not about contraceptives which are available to anyone on the corner drug store. Their real change, I believe, is about depriving me of my basic freedom. To live my life as I choose. And this right is for all even if we fundamentally differ from each other. Remember the cry of the Revolution—“Don’t tread on me”--? I don’t want to live under a Dictator, even a smiling, handshaking one.

Such a one will force us to close down our social programs creating a huge national health problem which will have to be replaced at cosmic public costs and incidentally make more people dependent on the central government, moving us even more close to Socialism. Does the P.A. not realize that we will close down rather than be complicit in the killing of one single child? Does the P.A. not know our view of the value of the individual? Does the P.A. not know that the Catholic Church is totally In favor of universal health care? That we have been practicing such charity centuries before they were born? Does the P.A. not know that every nation which became Socialist, at the same time, became more hostile to religion which values the individual person over the political structure? Socialism diminishes the human being!

David Barton, a noted Protestant historian lists, by date, those facts which enforce my decision. Each of these historical facts [2] is referenced should the reader question his statements which are as follows:

1. April 2008 - Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs and fully implements that plan in Feb. 2011.

2. Feb. 2009 - When speaking at Georgetown Univ. Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech.

3. Obama declines to host services for the National day of Prayer (a day established by Federal law) at the White House.

4. April 2009 - In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican: the pro-life Vatican rejected all three.

5. Oct. 2010 - Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence—an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions.

6. Feb. 2011 — Obama drags his feet appointing an Ambassador for Religious freedom and agrees only after heavy pressure from the public and Congress.

7. Nov. 2011 - Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day prayer in the WWII Memorial.

8. June 2011 - The Dept. of Veterans affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during the burial ceremonies as Houston National Cemetery.

9. Sept. 2011 - Air Force Chief of staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains

10. Feb. 2012 - The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their Archbishop asked them to read.

11. March 2009 - Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

12. May 2009 - The White House budget committee eliminates all funding for abstinence only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education.

13. Sept. 2010 - The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

14. Feb. 2011 - Obama directs the Justice Dept. to stop defending the federal defense for marriage act.

15. Sept. 2011 - The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same -sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the Federal defense of marriage act.

16. Oct.2011 - The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion.

This a mere sampling from a plethora of instances which influence me so greatly!

And all on this P.A.’s watch! Either they are ignorant of our beliefs or they are deliberately inimical to us. In charity, I must assume the former possibility. Some of my fellow clerics turn almost ashen when I articulate these views, nervously cautioning me not only that I might be punished personally but also mumble something like “tax exempt status.” As to the former, it is highly unlikely that I, at 91, will be mustered out of the corps with my epaulets ripped off. As to the latter, unreal. Our Bishops, our various spokespersons, are finally speaking out without the unattractive timidity and need for approval of the past. It is being publicly articulated that Religion is intrinsically fused with the meaning of “American.” It underwrites the American soul.

While I am a priest, I am also a born American citizen. I have zippered my opinions and insights all my life but in the shadow of my years I need to speak out against what I see as terrible evil creeping into my country. I am a citizen with the right to speak out! I could opine about the alarming economic/financial problems of the present and the implications for the future. I could speak of my discomfort at the downplaying our national defense systems. I could speak of my irritation when I see Government leaders obsequiously kowtow to rulers of other countries. I could speak of my embarrassment with friends of foreign lands when they belittle the USA and our weak world persona. There are scores of matters on a secular level which do influence me. But my basic articulation is about what I see as an attack not only on my Faith but on the Faith of all other sincere believers.

I have revered the Office of the Pope regardless of who occupies that holy Role. I will try to skewer those who have betrayed it. But I deeply respect the Chair of St. Peter, chosen personally by Jesus. Similarly, I deeply respect the role of President of my Country regardless who occupies that role. There have been great Presidents and Presidents who poorly suit the role. I will vote against the November—hopefully for a “my values” President. And, woe to me because of my character makeup, since if I were to vote for this P.A., I would sin before my God.

I am a beat-up, antique, mottled faced old priest with ordinary intelligence and limited knowledge. I am crabby and can like St. Peter plead—“Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man.” But with all of that I cry out in fear and desperation. No matter what the cost, I shout out for and fight for Freedom, Freedom, Freedom.


[1] P.A. means Present Administration, a term used extensively throughout this essay. I am forced into this clumsy and irritating mechanism by some kind of great, Political, eternal Law. “Thou shalt not thyself mention or identify any person presently running for public office.” My sometimes passionate criticisms are directed at what I consider unacceptable policies. I do not attack persons. Any mention of persons is by way of quoting some other author.

[2] Please note that specific names are within the quotation and are not the author’s choice.