Ethical Blind Spots

When I traveled to Auschwitz a few years ago, one question played over and over in my mind: Did they know?

Did the German people know what was happening in this camp near their own border, in their own occupied territories? With the trains coming and going year after year, with the long lines of prisoners and the billowing smokestacks, did they just turn a blind eye to the atrocities? Had they become desensitized to the point that they could no longer see the carefully choreographed death operations nearby?

Some concentration camps, like the one in Dachau, were set in comfortable suburbs right inside Germany itself and the townsfolk could stroll past them during their daily routine. The grass in those suburbs continued to grow as green as anywhere else, young people got married, babies were born, men went to work and life went on.

Walking through a place like Dachau or Auschwitz, one wonders: could it ever happen again? Could a similar scenario play out today in middle-class America? Most would instinctively say "no" — after all, we live in a more enlightened time and culture. A more perceptive eye, however, can discern troubling parallels. Nowhere are these parallels more evident than in the bioethical issues of our day. Our society, in fact, faces virtually the same temptation that Germany did: the temptation to normalize certain well-scripted death operations in the midst of polite society.

 If we look within our own culture and within our own time, we will see that suction machines have replaced smokestacks, and that fertility clinics and women's health centers have replaced the barbed wire. Unborn humans and embryonic children are now dispatched with the same desensitized ease as camp inhabitants once were, and never a word is mentioned in respectable society. Our great universities, which need to serve as a moral voice, remain mute or even foster such evil, as does the press, and few dare mention the pall of death that quietly permeates the air.

We need look no further than the Planned Parenthood clinics which are dotted across our country. Future generations are likely to be appalled by the statistics: nearly 2 million deaths per year. They are sure to wonder about a people that ended the lives of their own children at the rate of 1 every 23 seconds through elective abortion. They are sure to ask, "How could they?" and, "Did they know?"

We need look no further than the fertility clinics present in every major American city. Future generations are sure to be scandalized by the numbers: in vitro fertilization making hundreds of thousands of embryonic humans, to be chilled in liquid nitrogen and turned into, in the words of one commentator, "kidsicles." They are sure to deplore the many other human embryos treated as objects, discarded as medical waste, poured down the sink or experimented upon and strip-mined for their embryonic stem cells.

There is a certain banality about evil. It doesn't necessarily present itself in a monstrous or dramatic way. It can take the shape of simple conformity to what everyone else is doing, to what the leadership says is right, to what the neighbors are doing. The gradual encroachment of evil in our lives can be something we might not even notice because we are not paying attention; it can be something barely on the periphery of our consciousness.

The majority of those who collaborated with some of history's most terrible crimes and falsehoods need not be cast as inhuman monsters; instead, they were often like us. They were capable of giving and receiving sympathy and love; they could have beautiful feelings and noble ideals; heroism, loyalty, family and culture could all co-exist with almost unbelievable evil.

During the Nazi years, there often were no momentous decisions to be made for or against evil. People were concerned with their daily affairs, and on that level, Nazism seemed good: it seemed to bring prosperity, it made things work, it allowed people to feel good about themselves and their country. The moral issues — the ones that we now see as having been central — were carefully avoided.

When the full horror of Nazism was revealed at the end of the war, the German people responded, "We didn't know." When a local townsperson was asked whether he knew what was going on in the camp, he gave a more complete answer. "Yes, we knew something was up, but we didn't talk about it, we didn't want to know too much." Primo Levi, a writer and a survivor of Auschwitz, described the German ethical blind spot this way:

In spite of the varied possibilities for information, most Germans didn't know because they didn't want to know. Because, indeed they wanted not to know. … Those who knew did not talk; those who did not know did not ask questions; those who did ask questions received no answers. In this way the typical German citizen won and defended his ignorance, which seemed to him sufficient justification of his adherence to Nazism. Shutting his mouth, his eyes and his ears, he built for himself the illusion of not knowing, hence not being an accomplice to the things taking place in front of his door.

Martin Luther King Jr. used to say that what pained him the most was the silence of the good. Albert Einstein, who fled Germany when Hitler came to power, articulated the same sentiment in an interview for Time magazine on Dec. 23, 1940. He stressed that sometimes it was only the Church and religion that could challenge the status quo as evil made inroads into a society:

Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany I looked for the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom. But they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I had never any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom.

The courageous, even daring question we must ask is, "What is our own response to the evil around us?"

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    Just yesterday I was saying to a friend that I hope someday very soon the scales are removed from our eyes, and we look back on the age of abortion and IVF with the same horror as the holocaust and slavery.

  • Guest

    "We the People" exist no longer. There is no American correlate to " the Nazis" such as " today's American society" or  "the vast majority of Americans today believe that…".  

    We undertake numerous opinion polls on a host of topics, but there is thereby rendered only a plurality of opinions divided up into various categorioes and subcategories of responders and "statistical analysis."  

    Most individuals hold opinions which are merely ad hoc, not grounded nor informed by underlying principles or beliefs. There is no American soul. The is no " American". Just many species of " Americans". There is no "will of the people",because there is no longer " the people".  We have somehow ruined ourselves from being truly and authentically The People of God which would have forged us as a people and would have allowed us to speak one lcommon language of good.

     But we have re-created a Babel of an incompatabile and conflicting diversity and plurality of beliefs, morailties, life values, jurisprudence, and social vision. We find ourselves adrift at sea. "We" are mostly unable to understand, hear or be moved bythe various natural and social languages and pleadings of the most suffering and deprived of our "culture".

    Diversity, relativism, skepticism towards truth, mistrust of grand metanarratives ( the French philoospher Jean Lyotard's apt description of postmodern culture as a readiness to deny all overarching paradigms for living one's life such as religion, morality, etc.), a greatly troubled Church, widespread ignorance of Catholicism and Scripture within and without the Church, rise of fundamental Protestant evangelism and mega -churches, an insouciance towards the decay of Western Europe and the rise of Islam, maximizing leisure time, a neurotic and idolatrous love of technical gadgetry, seeking more and more fun and possessing more and more things, while minimizing the habit of reading, art, and family, an embarrassingly inept and immoral Federal government rife with deceivers and liars of all stripes…. A recent poll discloses that only one in every four Americans read a book last! Ubiquitous anti-intellectualism.

    Grim picture? Yes. But fairly accurate as far as it goes.

    The point: To whom is Fr. Poch's closing question addressed? That is to say and ask, just what evil is this culture precisely because it is so radically fragmented that it can not even be univocally addressed?

  • Guest

    Iwall,

    despite the accuracy of your observations, there is a single  Truth!  And it can be found.  Yesterday's Chuch Colson essay, "Anger in Public Discourse…" reminds us of Dorothy Sayers, "The Lost Tools of Learning".  (Fact gathering, applying logic, effective rhetoric strategies).  He points out that some people don't/won't engage in Classical Discourse, though.  So he further shows that by patterning ourselves on Christ, our essential goal is to "convert the hearts and minds" of the people.  (The essay provides examples of Jesus' techniques.)

     

    I think it is fair to say that Jesus, sadly, accepts that on Judgement Day the goats and the sheep will be separated.  Free Will reigns even with God's outpouring of Grace and Mercy.  Therefore, some will reject the paths to discovering the Truth, prefering the "diversion and distractions" (Pachal's terms) of which you wrote.

     Regardless of who we are, we can continue to grow in holiness.  Therefore, Fr Pacholczyk's question, "What is our own response to the evil around us?" is relevant to even CE readers.

     

    PS Father's other articles are outstanding!  Check them out.

    Claire, I hope you're recovering well.  (You can post your answer on the Infertility IV page so I don't cause I distraction to this line of thought, if you want.)

  • Guest

    "Grim picture? Yes. But fairly accurate as far as it goes." Allow me a correction on that statement Iwall. One of the most accurate analyses of American culture that I have read. The shallowness and fragmentation is beyond belief. The department store slogan of "smiling faces, lower prices" will soon be the national motto. This did not happen haphazzardly. There's orchestrated brainwashing going on at every level. One form of extremely effective brainwashing is to put up the sacred and sublime to ridicule. This is done at our schools so that it's inculcated at a young age. Ex: A speaker, who is an invitee will be subjected to the antics of detractors who have invited themselves. The school at that point acts as a disinterested third party trying to maintain decorum. Are not these ingredients of organizational insanity? There are examples of classic brainwashing techniques ad infinitum, all designed to put either nazis or bolshevics into power. Take your pick now because in a generation that choice will be made for you.

  • Guest

    Our family response is to pray the rosary at an abortion mill on Saturday mornings.  We hate to go–we truly do.  We moan about going the week prior to the trip (we try to go one Saturday a month).  We can literally feel the evil surrounding that place.  We can see the evil working in the volunteer "greeters" as well as those entering the clinic to have an abortion.  We usually have one or more serious discussions with one or more of our children who don't want to go…..but it all comes down to this—we HAVE to go.  We cannot know that abortion is happening and do nothing about it.  We have the time(we MAKE the time), the transportation, the Holy SPirit guiding us….how can we turn our backs?

     

    It is uncomfortable and even painful at times to do what we MUST.  We get grief from friends and frankly we have not even shared it with family members due to the grief we would get–(I see clearly that the next step is to share with family so they too will face the murder in our midst–am praying for the grace to do that).

     

     

    Jesus, I Trust in You!  

  • Guest

    All is a gift from God, Creator, who is the giver of all gifts. Gifts are removed from some so others can value the gifts they have received.

  • Guest

    goral,

     

    There is very little difference between Bolshevics or Nazis/Fascists.  I know the theoretical differences.

    However, neither had any respect for the individual or human rights and the state was all powerful.

    Both had large armies, concentration camps, large secret police agencies, etc. 

    While Hitler was insane, he was not crazy enough to start a war with Britain & France on the west and the Soviet Union on the east.  Without the treaty with Stalin, WWII would never have happened.

    The Communist take over of the world's largest nation and the millions of refugees seeking shelter from Communism in Germany felt that only the Nazis & Hiter could save them from the Red Menace.

     

    There were 6 million to 12 million reasons that people did not know about the death camps.  These are the low & high estimates on the number of Germans killed by  Hitler to achieve power.  These included many high ranking govt officials before he was even elected.  The bomb plot to kill Hitler involved 84 people at the most, yet he had 5000 people killed for that attempt on his life.

  • Guest

    My theory is that Communism and Nazism/fascism forms the left & rght halves of Hell.

    The above comment is for anyone who sees my previous quote as a defense of Hitler & the Nazi/Fascists.

  • Guest

    Tom…

    I had no idea that Hitler killed so many opponents PRIOR to the outset of the death camps!

    Let us also remember the 3 million Catholic Poles exterminated by Hitler.

    Stalin killed tens of millions in the USSR during his Reign of Terror too.  Despite the West's abhorrence for communism, we seem to know/care very little for the souls who suffered in communist gulags.

    A good book to help educate children about those goings on is

    I Am David (it's a good movie too).

    In order to act, one must recognize that evil exist, seek it out, and work to destroy it.  Thanks to one and all for reminding me that Satan never rests….and neither can I filled with zeal and love for souls powered by the Holy Spirit!

  • Guest

    The death camps gave out an odor that, on the days they were using the ovens, could be smelled for five to ten miles, even further if you were downwind.  Once you experience that pungent smell of a crematory, there is no mistaking it. They knew.

    The thing that made the Nazi death camps uniquely evil, and considerably more evil and threatening than the things Father Pacholczyk describes, is that they were not a matter of a national culture – they were sponsored by a democratically elected govermment of a state, state financed, built and operated by the state of Germany, declared legal by democratically elected representatives of the people, and sanctioned or ignored by German courts, for a single purpose – to murder enemies of the state. 

    The cultural evils of the USA, as bad as they are, do not compare to the Nazi death campls.

  • Guest

    I must agree with the first commentator … I do believe a time will come, when our daughters (perhaps great grand-daughters) will look at us and wonder, "how? why?" about abortion.  And I will have to explain that some women thought it was liberated and enlightened, and others called it a "right", and some like me worked the crisis pregnancy centers, an Underground Railroad for the unborn, until the dark times passed.

     

    I encourage all to find their local crisis pregnancy center and support it in some way.  They are making a huge difference, one woman at a time.

  • Guest

    danny et. al. : I think if an institution is elected by the people  -democratically elected as you say of Nazism - and is financed by the people of the state as you also say of Nazism, this very well qualifies that institution as precisely " matter of culture."  It was the cultural mileu behind and allowing all this, no?

  • Guest

    Tom, that was my inference. They both arrive at hell from different directions. My bigger point is that capitalism not tempered by heart and soul will also get us there. Iwall keenly asked the question where is this evil and how do we get at it. If we don't have a soul, what are we fighting for? So it is with Western Europe and this continent. It's all fragmented. The enemy broke through the ranks and both flanks. What we are doing now is hand to hand combat like the courageous 'on a journey' family. We can all do our share but where there's no integrity there's marginal effect. We must take back the institutions like Gioia did at the NEA. The Church must exercise it's Christ given binding authority in all these cases. It is doing it as far as the abortion issue is concerned but what about our prominent catholic? politicians: Kennedy, Pelosi, Kerry and others. If they were to receive a letter from their bishop, they would write back "what is Hecuba to me or I to Hecuba?". Then they would apply for a godparent certificate at their parish and would surely get it. A house divided can not stand.

  • Guest

    I am looking into my own soul and am wondering what I do not see as evil.  I have thought of fasting more recently.  I think the Holy Spirit is calling me to fast.  I will fast for purity and my children's future spouse (even if that spouse happens to be Jesus or the Church).

    As and NFP teacher I have a hard time trying to get the word out that classes are available.  We will continue to teach and pray and knock on the door.  God is good and will provide a path.  It is humbling because we cannot make an impact and people still have to dig in order just to find an NFP class. 

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    What a joke this article is! For the past 50 years conservatives, religious, and freedom-loving citizens everywhere have been making the same arguments comparing the contemporary leftist culture-of-death, to what the Nazis did during World War Two. And yet, it has had absolutely no effect whatsoever. Indeed, the culture has deteriorated and steadily gotten worse. When are you going to realize that these imprimaturs of malevolence could care less about how you define them? It actually encourages them to treat the American people like the Soviet's did their Christian communities. Because afterall, that is where they degenerated from. To these villians, you are the Nazi's.

  • Guest

    Lazar, take out the words up to the exclamation point and your comment is basically sound. GK is onto something – fasting and prayer will give us the clarity of vision and action.

  • Guest

    Goral, most of your comments are not ingenuous.

    It's time to rethink our strategy on reversing the culture, or it will soon be amsterdam in america. I believe this starts with identifying clearly what our goals are and who we're confronting in this clash.

  • Guest

    I went to Auschwitz in the summer of 1992 along with a group of Polish and American college students (we were touring southern Poland doing Christian concerts). When we got to the camp, the Polish students refused to go inside — they waited in the bus while the rest of us went in. When we asked them about it, there was suddenly an insurmountable language barrier between us.

    While the Germans ran the camp, the people immediately outside the gates were Polish, not German. Some did resist, and were themselves exterminated. Others grew wealthy by cooperating. Still others fled. It's a comforting thought, I suppose, to tell ourselves that if we were in that situation, we would not have turned a blind eye, that we would have paid with our lives, if necessary, to resist such a monstrous evil.

    So the question remains: What are we doing today — individually and as a society — besides talking? I recently read of one Catholic man who promised an unwed mother that he would pay for her expenses for her pregnancy and delivery, and continue the payments for the first two years of the child's life, so she would have time to get back on her feet and be able to support herself and her child. How many of us would make that kind of sacrifice? Or how many would say, as Blessed Teresa often did, "Give the child to me. I will take care of him for you."

    It is this kind of witness, this kind of sacrifice, that will make the abortion mills obsolete. We must give more than words. We must give ourselves.

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    In an interview, Dana (singer from Ireland), who is one of her country's representatives at the European Commission, inndicated that the reps who are pro-life count on & look to the pro-life groups in the US for their support. Without the fighting witness of the US groups/persons, situation would be much worse for the pro-life effort in Europe.

    I thank you all for your witness. Some descriptions of present times have been 'post-modern or neo-pagan.' However, we sing choruses… 

    'God is not dead, He is alive,'  and 'He's the same God today as He's always has been, Yesterday and today and forever the same, There's no reason to doubt, God can do it again.'

    May our Heavenly Father through the merits of the Passion of Christ, strengthen our faith and deepen our love for Him & neighbour that like the early Christians we may have the courage to do the 'next good thing.'

    Just a few minutes ago, a visitor reminded me that if we were to look at the full million miles ahead of us, we may not take the 1st step.

  • Guest

    Lazar, from someone who thinks this article is a joke, I take that as a compliment. Just a little bit of charity could dust you off.

  • Guest

    iwall:  In a democracy, the culture of the people can be expected to produce or result in government policies and laws that mirror the culture.  After all, the people that produced the culture are the same people voting for the politicians that make the policies and pass the laws. A disconnect, in a democracy, would be unusual and not long-lasting.  However, to explain my point, the American culture has resulted in a government that legalizes abortions – with some limitations, and indirectly funds abortions.  Yet, the American government has not built abortion facilities, employed people to perform abortions, or passed laws requiring women when, where and how to have abortions.  The US government is not implementing any sort of policy as much as they are allowing, legalizing and enabling non-state others to perform abortions.  The state of China, on the other hand, has built and maintains abortion clinics from public funds, employs people to conduct abortions, has passed laws requiring aborton of a second child, imposed severe punishment on those that do not abort, does not permit dissent, and is actually implementing a government policy of abortion intended to prevent population growth. 

    The evil (abortion) is the same, but the greater threat is posed by China because, as a soveriegn nation, it can legalize the evil, give it respectability, disguise the evil as "good and necessary to improve the common good", make dissent illegal because it opposes the common good, and implements it through government resources as a public service.

    Quick note to Lazar.  The article is anything but a joke.  The bad guys may not care how we define them, but it is very important how we define ourselves.  The article asks some troublesome questions in that respect and they are worth pondering.

  • Guest

    "While the Germans ran the camp, the people immediately outside the gates were Polish, not German. Some did resist, and were themselves exterminated. Others grew wealthy by cooperating."

    Heidi, get a grip. The extermination camps were purposley build on occupied territory, it's just convenience and good politics. Once the occupier puts up the barbed wire fence and holds the machine gun there are just two choices. There was precious little provocation that would take you from outside the fence to inside, too late. There are always cowards and opportunists who know how the game is played. I also made the trip to Auschwitz during a summer program and the Polish children are so saturated with the war and concentration camps that it's a turn-off to them. They live with that horrible presence, we're just visitors. In the present situation, it's not too late. With the next good supreme court appointment the case may be revisited. Let's work and pray for that.

  • Guest

    About a year ago CE published an essay called "Modern Day Malech". I printed it and deceminated it to friends.  I think it helps explain the whys of what is going on with Satan's use of the "Culture of Death" to destroy society.

    Priests for Life has many suggestions for ways to work for the end of legal abortion in THIS country….it's a global horror/slaughter, of course.

    My family prays nightly for an end to abortion.

    We have prolife stickers on our cars.

    We pray at a mill on 1st Saturdays.

    We teach NFP (if anybody signs up).

    We try to Live a Culture of Life.

    We donate to prolife organizations.

    We use teachable moments in public forums to bring up abortion.

    I don't care if people think I'm a single issue person.   Literally "to hell with them" (sadly).  Unlike my former pastor, nobody has to guess where I stand on abortion and contraception.

    Perhaps becoming trite, the statement stands:  We are not called to be successful, only faithful.  Each one of us will be held accountable to the Almighty, Invincible God of Justice.

    I still find my husband,s Saturday morning comment proferred over a cup of coffee several years chilling, "If  abortion is really murder, are we doing enough to stop it?"

    I don't know if I can answer yes.

    Thank you for all your comments, folks.  I know it takes time to post;  but, I think you are all performing Spiritual acts of Mercy by taking time to synthesis your thoughts and write them to inspire, encourage, educate, and even admonish your fellow lover of Christ.

     

  • Guest

    Get a grip? Just because I point out a simple fact — that the camp was built on Polish soil? Goral, my friend, my grip is just fine, thank you.

    My point remains: That it is actions, not just words, that will make a difference.

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    Heidi, there are plenty of people who, like Mother Teresa, would say to a woman contemplating abortion, "Give the child to me;  I'll take care of him/her".  I know I speak for many others;  I have been trying to conceive for three years;  I had a miscarriage one year ago and I just miscarried twins this week.  I would gladly raise a baby for someone who is considering abortion, and there are many others who would, too.  Women have many options other than abortion, and there is no justification for their decision to abort.

  • Guest

    Claire –

    While I do not post here regularly, I am a daily reader of CE articles and the accompanying comments. I want to reach out a hand of sympathy to you. I rejoiced with you when you announced your pregnancy, and I doubly rejoiced when I read that you were expecting twins. I now join you in sorrow with this miscarriage. I am so sad that this has happened.

    I'm sure there are many other readers who are feeling the same way and are praying for you. May God bless you and comfort you through the upcoming days.

    Guitarmom

  • Guest

    one thing that can help on this issue is more orginizations like this one:

    http://www.holyfamilyadoption.org/

     

    - an adoption agency that specifically targets abortion clinics

    - adoptive parents are required to be catholic in good stand

    - they are required to attend eucharistic adoration and mass

     

     

  • Guest

    Thank you, guitarmom.  It really helps to know that people care and are praying for me.

  • Guest

    Heidi, your point smacked of history revisionism. Perhaps my reading of it was too sensitive. I know from your other comments and articles that you do have a grip.

  • Guest

    These little public tiffs some of you have are cute, even if the subject matter is rather grave. I think it is unjust to call people Nazis when they do something we don't like, even if it is quite dreadful, certainly sinful and wrong under any circumstance. It won't get you anywhere.

     

    Christ and the apostles told people they were wrong, but they didn't call them names.

     

    I also believe that comparing Americans, any Americans even when they are pro-choice to the purveyors of death that ran those camps is unjust to both those Americans and to the Jews that suffered and died under a growing antisemitism that had been growing for quite some time, not just in Europe but all over the world.

     

    It is certainly true that the people nearby must have known, but there was no NRA in Nazi Germany, and people couldn't just rise up against the government. And when word spread to the Allies about what was going on, it was considered unbelievable at first. This is understandable when you consider that the people it was happening to had trouble believing it themselves.

     

    I'll pray for an end to abortion, and I'll pray for the people who perform and believe in the practice. But I'm not going equate them with SS guards and commandants or the people who put the "Final solution to the Jewish question" in place. The comparison is simply unfair.

     

     

  • Guest

    danny : Our culture has desired abortion on demand and the desire has been codified by law and upheld by the supreme court. The US goverment does not intefer with the private enterprise of abortion clinics as opposed to China where the goverment usurps private entrepreneurship as means of assuring "equal" access. Still uncleas on tour first post and on your latest response.

    It certainly is our culture that is behind both the private and the public/government aspects of abortion and much else sinful in our society.   

  • Guest

    To All : The posts thus far have deteriorated into sqabbling once again and have drifted far from Fr. P's article and from my initiating comment that was intended to spur discussion about our postmodern culture. So…back on track, please.

    The title of Fr. P's article is " Ethical Blind Spots."  In the closing, he addressed a challenge to "us". I commented initially that the he addresses only an imaginary us, a people no longer united by common ideals and ethical/social vision but fragmented as perhaps never before. I pinned this fragmentation on the various outcomes of the postmodern rejection of truth etc. whereby pluralism and diversity have taken on supreme a priori value. Our culture has devolved into  multiple pockets of incompatibilities and incommensurabilities. I was hoping comments regarding this. 

    My next new comment concerns another aspect of our postmodern culture  – insouciance towards evil and the denial of sin. Certainly one notable effect of postmodernism is a denial and/or re-description of sin and evil such that, due to their absence to much of the American culture, there now reigns a widespread permisiveness given the honorific title of postmosdern tolerance.

    Fr. P captures a species of insouciance and tolerance in his next to last quote where he desribes the mentality of ordinary German's post war. Re-read it.

     

    One must ask just what role the long legacy of German subterranean anti-Semitism of Christian Germany actually informed such silence and this not wanting to know.

    One wonders if our own culture's postmodern fragmentation,insouciance, and tolerance are also informed by a weak-kneed, nominally Christian society gone insipid.

  • Guest

    Bruce, I see your point to a certain extent, in that MOST but not all "pro-choice" people do not have the same evil motive that the Nazis have. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my family is "pro-choice", and I have a brother and sil who did IVF and have no qualms about their 16 frozen embryos who will probably never see the light of day. I can honestly say that my family's position does not stem from evil motives, but from a strong sense of denial about the humanity of an embryo from the moment of conception, and from a misguided notion that abortion and IVF help people in desperate circumstances. However, abortion and the embryo destruction that occur as a result of IVF are rightly labeled a holocaust. These are barbaric practices which occur in shockingly high numbers. Even slave owners back in the 1800s often did not have evil motives, yet their actions were evil. We need to call a spade a spade here. Until people realize what is really going on, the denial will continue and these practices will continue to be justified and accepted.

         Furthermore, I see nothing "cute" about the disagreements in this thread.  The topics here are very serious, and the disagreements (I hope) stem from faithful Catholics who differ on how to approach these problems. 

  • Guest

    Sure the comparison to Nazis is unfair at times and even inappropriate. It's overuse makes it inaffective. In both of these cases the life of the innocent is snuffed out by someone else's whim or "good reason". Don't forget that one of the major reasons for abortion is population control by the advocate's own admission. We're also comaring the mind-set and blind-eye that was and is symptomatic today. In both cases the comparison tragically fits.

  • Guest

    goral and claire: Get back to point…please! You have turned this topic into a private argument about abortion etc.

    How about this : The fragmentation that is our postmosderrn American culture owes much to the failure of the Church now so weakened in the public's eye by massive sexual scandal such that many in our day all but dismiss Her as a cultural-forming power.

  • Guest

    Claire,

    Have you looked into NaPro Technology.  It is part of the Creighton Model of NFP.  NaPro injections help women who cannot carry to term.

    Regardless, you and your husband are in my prayers.  I will ask those twins to help you as well.

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    all,

    "I think it is unjust to call people Nazis when they do something we don't like, even if it is quite dreadful, certainly sinful and wrong under any circumstance. It won't get you anywhere."

    Points such as this are very true and valid.  But, as lwall is trying to say, the article's main subject is not about the Nazis or the people in Planned Parenthood.   The article is about the people around the Nazis but more importantly the people of today around Planned Parenthood.  That is us.  This article is not meant to be seen by Planned Parenthood or the like!  It is meant only to be seen by us.  The people with the blind spots!  And I for one am the blindest.  I like Sergeant Schultz say to myself "I know nothing.  I know nothing."

    lwall,

    "there now reigns a widespread permisiveness given the honorific title of postmosdern tolerance"

    Very true.  And I find it hard to stay on track myself because the bar is set so low by those around me.  I also find it hard to bring up anything about morality because I feel so far away from my fellow man.  My love for Christ has isolated me and put me on the outside looking in.  I need to get engaged … but it is scary to me.

  • Guest

    GK, thank you for your prayers.  I have pursued pretty much every infertility avenue there is.  My hormone levels at this point are perimenopausal (early menopause runs in my family), and my husband has low sperm motility.  Based on that, I am not confident about my ability to conceive again or to stay pregnant. I would prefer to pursue adoption at this point, rather than to stay on the infertility roller coaster.

     

    Iwall, coming from someone who frequently goes off on lengthy tangents (especially in response to Mark Shea articles), I find it ironic that you're asking me to "get back to the point".  Other than my above response to GK, every comment I've posted relates to the point of this article, which is titled ethical blind spots.  I have been trying to point out that our society is blind to a lot of evils, particularly the destruction of human life that occurs in abortion and IVF.   I believe that one approach to curing this blindness is to call a spade a spade when it comes to these practices.  If I can tolerate your lengthy tirades, I think you can suffer through my comments.

  • Guest

    GK

    why do you say "my love for Christ has isolated me and put me on the outside looking in….it is scary to me"?  (I am just probing an interesting self disclosure not judging.)

    I do feel on occassion a deep longing for Christ such that I would describe myself as a "sojournor in foreign land."

    I know your love for souls will help you gain the gift of zeal such that you won't fear anymore.  Pray Jesus'  own words, "Do not fear little flock."   Also, you can pray St Paul's words, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"  "Put out into the deep!" said JPII.

    I think very often we don't act because we're afraid of..something….we don't even know what it seems!  Perhaps that is why people in the aggregate don't act and "turn a blind eye".  Satan's goal is to frighten and paralyze people with fear.   The fires that never burn out, is all Jesus told us to fear.

    GK, I think you are on the right track because you have the humility to  see your soul as it is….quivering in the face of  Almighty God.  His same power will overcome you and help you become engaged where he needs you most.  (And maybe that is through your prayer, and humility  which helps somebody like me recognize and root out my pride.)

  • Guest

    And on it goes. The reason we keep stringing these comments is because we're looking outside ourselves. Once Jesus starts to write in the dirt, none remain. Fr. Tad's article would be archived commentless. This way all of us got informed, entertained, slighted in some way and hopefully inspired to act.

  • Guest

    brucemiller wrote;

    Christ and the apostles told people they were wrong, but they didn't call them names.

    Check out Chapter 23 of St. Matthew's gospel.  Jesus calls the Scribes and Pharisees names for the whole chapter. "Hypocrites", "whitewashed tombs", "serpents", "a generation of vipers." 

    Great stuff.

    Jesus commands us to engage our neighbor in love, but that does not translate into avoiding all offense.

  • Guest

    Hi Claire,

    The cute comment was flip, so please accept my apologies. I may also have bothered you a bit by calling our friends on the other side of the issue by the name they choose to use. I would prefer that they simply refer to their movement as pro-abortion, because that would be honest. I certainly identify myself as anti-abortion and see nothing wrong with being against something I believe to be wrong.

     

    Again, my apologies for any offense, as it was unintentional. 

  • Guest

    Hi,…Rock,

     

    You make an excellent point, but I have to conclude that your example actually makes my position more solid. Jesus was not calling them names, that is to say, something they were not that was bad simply for effect. That would be cruel and Christ was anything but.

     

    No, he was calling to their attention precisely what they were. They were hypocrites, liars and empty suits who lavished in the trappings of their authority, holding others to different standards than themselves.

     

    But He loved them so! The Pharisees were for the most part, good and faithful people who had become so caught up in the trappings and rituals of their faith that they had completely lost sight of the point to it.

     

    I suppose to drive my point home, he didn't call them Romans or Egyptians et al. That would have been akin to calling someone a Nazi when they are not. I respect your opinions though, and hope you don't mind if we disagree a little.

  • Guest

    Here's the "end all" in name calling! 

    My FORMER pastor called me (Repect Life Group coordinator at my church) and all pro life people, "white washed tombs" and "pharasees"!  And he meant it! 

    When I called him on it, he told me most pro life people just care about saving babies, not about the mothers and the poor.  Oh!  But he didn't mean me specifically because he knows how much I do/give to the poor!  Oh!  And he didn't mean my close friend who runs a terrific home endorsed and sponsored by the neighboring diocese for women in crisis pregnancies and their children.  It's just all the "other" prolife people who are hypocrites.  (You know, the ones who bomb abortion mills….)  This priest considers himself pro life….go figure!

    I did forward the email to my bishop along with other materials.  My family and others like us, were driven from that parish into the neighboring diocese because of our vocal advocacy of unborn babies!

  • Guest

    Elkabrikir, that is unbelievable.  It's so sad that a pastor would have that attitude.  The Respect Life committee at our parish does so much to help not only the babies but the mothers as well.  They have baby showers where they collect baby supplies for single mothers, they have baby bottle drives where people fill up their baby bottles with change and donate  them to crisis pregnancy centers, etc.  I'm sure it's no different at your parish.  

  • Guest

    Bruce, I wasn't offended about your use of the term "pro-choice". I always put that term in quotes out of habit, because of my distaste for how the pro-abortion movement has taken control of the word "choice" and distorted its true meaning. No offense taken. As I said, I do agree with your original post, up to a point.

  • Guest

    brucemiller,

    I reckon it comes down to a matter of fairness. If you think a comparison to Nazis is unfair, that's okay.

    I think the scale of the deaths, the denial of the humanity of the victims, the official government approval of the policy, and the silence of the otherwise decent citizenry all make the comparison a fair one.

    But anyone is free to disagree with the fairness of the comparison.

  • Guest

    Well said, PTR.  That's why I use the holocaust comparison myself, although I do think the one difference is that not all "pro-choice" people share the same evil motives as the Nazis.

  • Guest

    what evil motives did ALL nazis have? I'm sure there were a number of them who were well meaning and caught up in blindness about 'national pride'.  There were more then a few catholics that were member of the nazi party just as today there are 'pro-choice' catholics. 

     

    I suspect there is more then one reason the concentration camps were mostly in occupied territory rather then in … say 'berlin' .

     

    ' Deutschland, Deutschland über alles'

    ' america is the greatest contry in the world'

     

    patratism is dangerous to the soul if it is stronger then ones attachment to the Jesus, becuase just as all men sin so do all nations.

     

    It is always right to consider where we might be blind to our own sin.

    The german people and thier sin is a good example to us all how 'civilized' , 'well educated' , 'patriotic' individuals can be blinded.

     

     

     

  • Guest

    Fishman, I'm sure you're absolutely right that there were many Nazis who honestly thought they were doing the right thing, just as there are many "pro-choice" people whose warped thinking tells them the same thing.

MENU