Bishop Aquila on Returning to Nation's Foundations
FARGO, North Dakota, OCT. 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is an excerpt of the homily given Sunday by Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo at the Cathedral of St. Mary.
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Today, Catholic politicians and individual voters on both sides of the aisle have lost the sense of this fundamental principle that underlies every just and enduring society. Most especially, they have lost the sense of the inalienable right to life for the unborn child. Even without considering God in the equation, human life, for every human being, begins at the moment of conception. That is when human life begins. That is when your life began. And that is when Rep. Pelosi’s life began. That is when Sen. Biden’s life began. That is when Sen. Obama’s life began and Sen. McCain’s life began.
Sadly, the dignity of human life from the moment of conception is lost today. The truth nonetheless exists. Our forefathers recognized it but present day politicians and voters do not.
Furthermore, we have lost too this fundamental principle in what it means to pursue happiness. We see the attempted pursuit of happiness without God and the collapse of this pursuit in Wall Street and the economics of today. Greed has guided the hearts of men and women, in which a 40 million dollar bonus is not enough in one year. When you take God out of the equation and life is lived as if he did not exist, the only thing left to pursue is materialism, because there is no life after death, there is no judgment. And so greed guides the hearts of men and women when we lose that basic essential understanding of the presence of God.
We see that abandonment of God’s presence, too, in the area of human sexuality. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Women are treated as sexual toys and objects. People proclaim a “good” in same sex unions, living promiscuously, and moving from one intimate relationship to the next.
Once we lose God in the pursuit of happiness, and once we lose the sense of the dignity of the human person and the God in whose image and likeness we are truly created, then we lose all sense of any moral compass or any moral standard. Without God, can there be any morality at all? Or is it set by the thinking of the day that can change from generation to generation, rooted in no truths that are valid for every person in every generation?
We as a nation stand at a crossroads. There is a fork in the road between the culture of life and the culture of death. The culture of death made great inroads with activist judges in the 1973 court that created a so-called right to abortion. They, like the pharisees and the Herodians, hid behind lies, they hid behind deceit, they hid behind a lack of reason and the majority said, “It is okay to destroy human life in all nine months of pregnancy.”
Judges, politicians and voters who went so far as to state that human life may be destroyed at the beginning are now attacking human life at its end by support for assisted suicide. The next step will be to deny healthcare for the elderly and handicapped because they are no more of any use to society. Once the right to life is no longer understood as a gift from God, but attributed to people by the state, the road to further atrocities against human life is a spiral downward quite rapidly.
What many Catholic politicians and citizens have done by their actions and votes today is to sell their souls, because what they have done is to say, “We will be created in the image and likeness, not of God, but of a Democratic platform, of a Republican platform -- that’s whose image and likeness we will embrace.” There is neither reason nor logic in their statements, but anything to gain power and this compromise leads only to blindness and darkness.
My sisters and brothers, you and I are not created in the image and likeness of Obama or McCain or a political party. We are created in the image and likeness of God. We must, as our forefathers did, place the God-given inalienable rights first, beginning with the right to life from the moment of conception until natural death. As bad as the economy is, as bad as the war is, the destruction of innocent human life, especially in the womb, is a greater evil, and correction of this grave evil must take place. Each of us has a role in making this correction in our duties as citizens. To say that “the battle is lost” is to condone an intrinsic evil that will only lead to further evils.
A hundred years from now, this election will just be a moment in history. A hundred years from now all of us, or certainly most of us, will be dead. But I assure you, a hundred years from now, if we continue as a society on the course that we are on, embracing a culture of death, our society will no longer exist, because tyranny will have its way, as will atheism.
When there is no recognition of the primacy of God and human beings decide what is good and what is evil, anything can be justified. All we have to do is look at history and the atheism of China, the atheism of Russia, the atheism of Cambodia, and the atheism of Nazi Germany. Countries that embrace atheism reveal the truth -- that is, if we do not embrace, as our forefathers did, the laws of nature and nature’s God, we will eventually collapse as a society.