No Moral Relativism
Relative to “Justice Kennedy’s Dictatorship of Relativism,” by Father Raymond J. De Souza (page one, July 12 issue): Irrespective of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, if we are, indeed, sliding into moral relativism — and I don’t believe we are, on the whole — then this is the fault of the American people en masse.
Society, when it is truly society, is the macroscopic community comprised of numerous smaller communities, and as the word “community” implies, there is “communion” to some measurable degree. No five justices of the Supreme Court can unravel and destroy whatever societal communion we have left in this country; only the constituent members of our society can manage this destructive enterprise. It is difficult to argue that we, as a society, have rejected moral principles and are in the process of destroying the foundation of our nation. Instead of looking at so many areas in which members of our society disagree, why don’t we look at obvious points of agreement?
I submit we still share many cherished, common values and convictions. For what it’s worth, approximately 75% of Americans say “there are clear guidelines about what’s good or evil that apply to everyone, regardless of their situation,” according to the Pew Research Center. It’s pertinent to also mention that the overwhelming majority of people adamantly oppose teenage promiscuity, pornography, suicide, adultery, polygamy, human cloning and any number of other issues. A still-solid majority even personally oppose abortion.
Yes, attitudes and perspectives have loosened up and become more liberal over the last two decades, but where core values are concerned … no, I really don’t think so; and add to that what most people would view as good and right and beautiful, such as: charity, showing mercy, creativity, equal rights under the law, freedom of speech and religion, courtesy and gratitude, honesty and integrity.
True, most of us may not live according to what we know to be good, right and beautiful, but again, we are talking about whether or not we are sliding into the slough of moral relativism, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision. I believe the answer is: We simply need to reorient our lives by the moral compass we do still have in place — that is, since we are not, it would seem, drowning in moral relativism, then we ought to stop living as if we are and start living lives of character and integrity.
Jonathan D. Noble
The excellent article by John M. Grondelski (“Anesthesia as a Prelude to Killing,” In Depth, June 28 issue) describes how a purely political decision can stop legislation backed by scientific evidence and basic morality. Legislation passed by the Montana Legislature requiring the anesthetizing of 20-week fetuses prior to abortion was vetoed by Catholic Gov. Steve Bullock. The original bill had already been watered down by requiring that the decision to administer this anesthesia be subject to the mother’s choice.
At 20 weeks of pregnancy, every bodily system is functional. Since this developing baby already has a skeleton, the abortion procedure involves the gruesome dissecting (i.e., tearing up) of this little body, followed by removal, piece by piece, from the womb. The fact that endorphins (morphine-like substances produced by the body to help withstand physical pain) are found in the fetal blood at 20 weeks indicates that the fetus feels pain and, therefore, that the anesthesia should be mandatory. To make the anesthesia subject to the mother’s choice is preposterous. Abortionists may use this requirement to attempt to convince her, erroneously, that the child will suffer no pain, in order to remove any qualms or hesitation of the mother to undergo the abortion.
Anesthesia of the fetus at earlier stages of development should be given careful consideration, because development of the sensitive portion of the nervous system from the seventh week of gestation suggests that the unborn baby may feel pain much earlier than the 20th week. The protocol for killing criminals by lethal injection starts with a drug designed to induce sleep, and even stray animals are euthanized using more humane procedures than those used for the murder of developing, innocent and defenseless human beings.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Hell to Pay
Pertinent to “Following the Money,” (World, June 28 issue): When I was a kid, there was a saying, “There may be hell to pay for that.”
For those in Ireland, those who voted to impose “gay marriage” on their respective societies, and for the religious clergy who did little or nothing to stop it, we must pray.
The Catholic U.S. Supreme Court justice who voted for Roe v. Wade in 1973 (William Brennan), which forced abortion upon America, had no public admonition for that public and grave scandal, sin and evil. I lament, and also anticipate, the Catholic U.S. Supreme Court justices who forced “gay marriage” upon America (Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy) will likewise suffer no public admonition. Who is at fault if a child continues to publicly sin and is not admonished by the father, regardless of the frequency or gravity of the sin? Can someone please explain to me how anyone who voted to impose “gay marriage” on his respective society is not culpable of a grave and mortal sin? Is there any sin perpetrated by government or citizen that today will be publicly admonished by Church leaders? Yes, there may be “hell to pay,” but are the children guilty, or the fathers of country and/or Church — or both?
Flower Mound, Texas
Regarding “Call for ‘Ecological Conversion’” (June 28 issue): On June 18, Pope Francis released his encyclical on global warming. The Pope is a holy, brilliant and clever pontiff. For example, those favoring global warming were invited on April 28 to the Vatican for a conference, but those opposed were ignored. Again, on June 18, all of the presenters of the encyclical were aggressively in favor of the theory of global warming.
Throughout history, when the popes got involved in science, bad things tended to happen. In 1508, the scientist Copernicus stated that the Earth was not the center of the solar system; and for this Pope Paul III placed his writings in the “Index of Forbidden Writing” for almost 300 years. In 1632, Galileo wrote a book supporting Copernicus; and for this Pope Urban VIII placed Galileo on house arrest until Galileo’s death eight and a half years later. In 1992, Pope John Paul II publicly apologized to Galileo. Will a future pope have to apologize to the world for the indiscretions of Pope Francis?
Joseph E. Kincaid, M.D.
Knowing the ‘Why’
God bless our priests and bishops for giving so unselfishly of themselves in order to serve us. I urge them to speak, teach and lead from their pulpits regarding the Church’s positions on the very important public-policy issues that we Catholics must deal with in today’s culture. We, the people in the pews, need to know not only what the Church’s positions are on issues concerning respect for all human life, from conception until natural death, the protection of traditional marriage and the restoration and protection of religious liberty — we need to be informed as to “why” the Church has taken these positions.
In addition to our abiding by the Church’s teachings, we should also encourage others to do the same. And, if we are to succeed in our efforts, we must rely on our clergy to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of the Church’s teachings.
Unfortunately, some of our elected officials view our Catholic faith as something we’re only entitled to practice for one hour a week in church. We must make it clear to all of them that we are resolved to practice and live out our faith every day, in every way, for our entire lives. It is not only our right, it is our responsibility to communicate with our elected officials and urge them to support legislation that protects and promotes moral values. And, of course, we must also urge them to reject legislative efforts that would violate these same values. I’m confident that, with the guidance and leadership of our priests and bishops, we can make a difference in our efforts to influence our culture in a positive way.
Communication is vitally important, and not all practicing Catholics subscribe to Catholic publications, but they do faithfully attend Mass. Therefore, the pulpit is the best and, more importantly, the most powerful means of communication with Catholics. With the help of God and our clergy, we can make a positive difference in our efforts to right the many wrongs in today’s world.
Jill A. White
Hamilton, New Jersey
Only God Is Supreme
Pertinent to “America’s Marriage Moment” (page one, July 12 issue): If the U.S. Supreme Court had not interfered with true democracy, the citizens of the U.S.A. could have continued to democratically vote for or against same-sex marriage. Instead, a majority of one dictator ordered all Americans to accept an anti-scientific belief system. It does take a man and a woman to have a child; just as it takes a woman and a man to make a marriage.
Until now, marriage had been the government’s best attempt to guarantee that every child might have a mom and dad to care for him or her. A man cannot be a mom, nor a woman a dad. Anything else is not true; it’s an illusion or a delusion.
To what court can a child appeal now? There is none in America! How sad for everyone involved — how life-lastingly sad! This one decision has created a devastating impact on the world’s opinion of American justice. It shows how supremely unjust that court can be, and it is a powerful reminder of just how unjust the court was when it voted for the continued slavery of black people (1857) and for the slaughter of persons of all races yet to be born (1973).
Supreme justice can only come from God — the Author of science and music; of love and life; of parents and children; of joy and all living things; and of hope and change for the better. Only God is supreme; and our highest court has proven, once again, that it is not.
George A. Morton
Hopewell Junction, New York