Sunday, November 16, 2008

"We Will Know Gethsemane"

A native of Baltimore and former archbishop of Denver, the scholarly Vatican official responsible for dispensing the fountain of mercy in the church offered an ominous impression of the state of things during a Thursday lecture at DC's Catholic University of America:
James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

"For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”

This destruction and America’s decline is largely in part due to the Supreme Court’s decisions in the life-issue cases of 1973, specifically Roe v. Wade. Stafford asserted these cases undermined respect for human life in the United States.

“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” said Stafford.

Meanwhile, at the Vatican, last week the global church's Health Czar warned that embryonic stem-cell research "serve[s] no purpose" and the pursuit of advances from the destruction of embryos was "good for nothing."

On a related note, the next anniversary of Roe's 22 January 1973 publication by the Supreme Court comes just two days after the 44th president takes office.

While Washington always plays host to a significant throng for the Mass and March for Life that span the eve and day of the anniversary, the push is already on for a larger than usual turnout in the hope of sending a strong message at the outset of the new administration.