Reflections July 2011 – The Deluding of the American Mind


Americans, indeed people in most Western nations, are deadly indifferent to the truths of the lives they are leading.  They have warped their thinking and numbed their minds.  They justify behaviors that not too many decades ago were socially intolerable.  Pornography, promiscuity, cohabitation, abortion, same-sex marriage, gender changing, genetic manipulation, and euthanasia, among other pernicious practices, are justified and accepted in society.

We kill millions of children in the womb and call it a woman’s choice.  We destroy embryos in the laboratory and call it medical research.  We tolerate pornography and licentiousness and call it freedom of expression.  We assist in the suicide of the elderly and terminate those in comas and call it death with dignity.

The result is moral anarchy.  Hedonism and self-absorbed narcissism reign.  There is a breakdown in the family, a coarsening of the culture, and a dissipation of the moral underpinnings that are essential to the functioning of a democracy.

Our consciences are salved by changing the definition of terms or substituting new words for the familiar and well-defined.  We have convoluted our language.  A child in the uterus is termed a fetus, just uterine material growing like a tumor inside of a woman’s body.  The decision to excise the unwanted flesh is a woman’s right because there is a denial of the humanity of the pre-born child.  Persons opposed to embryonic stem-cell research are considered to be impeding significant advances in health care.

We dull our minds and deny the reality of what is being done when we describe the tearing apart of an unborn child as a “dilation and evacuation” procedure, or to the skull-crushing in a partial-birth abortion as “intrauterine cranial decompression.”  The terms we use have consequences.  We ignore the most obvious facts in our desire not to know, exercising a willful ignorance that certain actions denigrate our human dignity.

With a Frankenstein-like outlook, we destroy what we do not want and strive to create man in our own image.  We are learning to decipher the human genome, to conduct genetic manipulation, to create life in a Petri dish.  While there is enormous potential for good in these scientific discoveries, they can be used to dehumanize man, to treat him as a product of his own intellect and abilities.  Science pursued for the good of humanity requires a morality and set of ethical standards that recognize that man is a gift of God.

But a culture, motivated by materialism and an over-whelming desire for self-satisfaction is indifferent to the spiritual.  The callous disregard for life, the subversion of language, and the rationalization of untoward behaviors are altering man’s relationship to God and to himself.  The central focus of life is no longer a belief in a Creator God to whom we are guided by an adherence to His commandments, but man and his unbridled desires.

As St. Paul said in his epistle to the Romans, “although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.  Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.  While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man.”  With this societal mindset, the Romans created a culture of moral degeneracy in which they not only engaged in perverse acts, but approved of others who did so.  It was a culture deserving of death.  Is our culture not on a similar path?  Is it no less susceptible to destruction?

Reverence for human life and its protection at all stages is the key societal issue of the day.  The Knights of Columbus can be a potent force in the public arena to raise the public conscience, reverse the trends in our society, and once again establish a reverence for life.   The Knights in Maryland, 27,000 men and their families, are positioned to be the vanguard of this effort.

Many states are passing laws to restrict abortion, with the result that abortionists are leaving those areas to seek more hospitable venues.  Maryland, with the most lenient of statutes regulating feticide, is drawing these practitioners, especially those who specialize in late-term abortions.  The bad news is that they are coming to our state.  The good news is that if we can force them out of business in Maryland there will be few places they can go.  Stopping abortion will require a variety of legal, economic and social action, but it can be done.

If we are to succeed, however, prayer is needed to bolster our actions.  The struggle to establish a culture of life is a spiritual battle being waged in a secular world.  It cannot be won on a solely material level.  That is why programs, such as we have in Maryland, like the Silver Rose, the monthly pro-life Masses, enlisting the home bound to be prayer warriors for life, and the frequent and widespread recitation of the rosary are integral to our efforts to improve the moral culture of the state.  Will your council be among the leaders for pro-life?  Will you?

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