Several years before becoming Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger published two candid interviews with Peter Seewald. The first was entitled Salt of the Earth and the second was entitled God and the World. The second interview was published in German in the year 2000 and did not receive its English title until 2002. The timing of the God and the World interview is significant since about one year later the events of September 11, 2001 took place and the interview contained a stunning prophecy concerning human embryonic experimentation.
The future Pope told Peter Seewald: "God will take action to counter an ultimate crime, an ultimate act of self-destruction, on the part of man. He will take action against the attempt to demean mankind by the production of slave beings. There are indeed final boundaries we cannot cross without turning into the agents of the destruction of creation itself, without going far beyond the original sin and the first Fall and all its negative consequences" (pp. 134-5). In the interview, he basically pointed to human embryonic research and human cloning reaching a point that would force God to 'take action'.
Jews and Christians might remember that God takes the ritual murder of innocent human life seriously; whether thrown off a cliff (Amorite/Canaanite ritual), burned at a pillar (Amorite/Canaanite ritual), or dissected under a microscope (Post-Modern ritual). Almost four thousand years ago God told Abraham that He removes such peoples once such abomination "reached its full measure" (cf. Gen 15:16 & 1 Kg 21:26). Even chosen nations can quickly become abominations when they adopt ritual child-sacrifice.
According to the Times Online, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Willams recently "poured scorn on the 'chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God's purpose for humanity'". He apparently forgot who saved England in World War II and where the chosen nation "myth" began. However, he may be right that the status is fast becoming a myth, that the salt is losing its flavor, as America hemorrhages from its moral superiority artery with its lack of abhorrence to human embryonic research.
With the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and America's entrance into WWII on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we should take time for national reflection on God's providence, the connection between human embryonic stem cell research and the events of September 11, 2001. Have we passed a chance for re-conversion to Christ? Now that American scientists have crossed the barriers that had prevented cloning of primates, we should consider whether we really want to see Cardinal Ratzinger's prophetic statement in God and the World fully realized.
Providence and WWII
We simply do not understand divine providence while it is happening. It requires faith-filled reflection. Let those who wish to mock the eyes of faith mock it. It was Vatican II that reminded us of the need for eyes of faith to discern "genuine signs of the presence or purpose of God" (GS #11.1). During WWII, America was a nation chosen to deliver humanity from the grip of murderous fascism and its eugenicist underpinnings. America was the salt of the earth. It was December 8, 1941 when America declared war on Japan for Japan's December 7 bombing of Pearl Harbor. What many Americans forget is that December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, not just our national entrance into WWII. That Feast Day is of national significance to the USA because, according to the Catholic Church — since the 19th Century –, the Virgin Mary is the Patroness of the United States under the title of the 'Immaculate Conception'. It is why the Basilica in our nation's capital is called the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Sitting between Virginia and Maryland is our nation's capital and the Basilica that honors our national patroness. America may not be Catholic, but God certainly wills that all men freely choose entrance into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
The connection between our WWII providential mission and the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception could easily be ignored if not for the fact that Japan surrendered to the United States on public radio on August 15, 1945. Yes, on the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the United States heard the public surrender of Japan via radio. The Feast of the Assumption, which theologically further reveals the Immaculate Conception, was the public surrender that ended WWII and led to the final treaty. The Virgin expressly revealed her concern of the coming World War at Fatima and now, through Catholic feast days, had revealed she was with America in halting WWII. America was a chosen nation. There is not the space here to discuss why the good are allowed to suffer evil; we have only the crucifixion of Christ as God's answer to these questions. God loves us and chose to suffer with us. God does not take away human freedom in order to prevent evil and he knows human cruelty and personal suffering first-hand due to such freedom.
What is at point here is that dates can have significance for the recognition of divine providence. At Fatima, the Virgin Mary appeared on May 13, 1917 and warned of how to prevent WWII through a special consecration to her Immaculate Heart. Sadly, the requested consecration was delayed until after the Pope was shot on May 13, 1981 and dates again revealed Fatima's importance to the world. Despite the delay of the consecration, the Virgin still chose a nation united to her as the Immaculate Conception to reveal her power in heaven and still intervened to deliver humanity from WWII. God never stopped trying to save us from the horrors engendered by misuse of our freedoms. God was not to blame for the horrors of WWII; evil men were.
WWIII and America
President Bush continues to point at Iran and ask if we really want to see WWIII. Obviously, we do not! The solution however is not bombing Iran before it gets nuclear weapons. Rather, the primary solution is becoming a moral light so bright that the other nations listen to us. The solution is listening to what the seer at Fatima had to say in a letter to the Pope from 1982. It still has application. Even though the Pope did the requested consecration in 1984 and the Virgin did free us from the Cold War with Russia, the delayed consecration has left us with the consequences of our delay and the spread of moral errors. Listen to Sister Lucia from the Vatican's own release of the Fatima messages:
The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: 'If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, etc.'.
Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfilment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence.
There is greater promise of peace through conversion and the rejection of sin than there is in the might of our arms and pre-emptive strikes which the Church has warned against.
2001: Salt Need Not Lose its Flavor
When Ratizinger gave Seewald his prophetic statement on 'slave beings' in God and the World, he could not have known that just a few months later in 2001 the world would be consumed with George W. Bush's deliberations as to whether to allow further funding for destruction of more human embryos with federal funds. Such funding had quietly begun in the administration before him. The whole world watched from early 2001 until early August to see what the superpower of the world would rule concerning human embryonic stem cell research and the use of 'spare' human embryos. Would it be halted or would the door remain open to the future production of 'slave beings' and human-animal mixes?
Bush came down in favor of protecting human life where federal funds were concerned. However, the door was left open for laboratories across the U.S. to create and destroy human embryos at will and most of our elected representatives lacked the moral compass to outlaw the horrible affront to human dignity. Laboratories merely would not receive federal funding involving further destruction of human embryos. Thirty-three days after Bush's decision, America was terribly shaken. Its financial center in New York was in flames and its military center in D.C. was disabled. Travel and finance came to a halt. The worst attack on American soil in 60 years almost brought America to its knees. That same morning, the front page of the New York Times had run an article that Congress was demanding more funds for new human embryonic stem cell research. It was September 11, 2001.
On the coming anniversary of Pearl Harbor (the vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception), America might reflect with its Patroness on the value of every human conception. America might reflect how the Virgin called America to be a witness to life and used us as God's instrument to preserve civilization. America might reflect that God has seen to the destruction of nations based on their addiction to the murder of the innocent. America might decide in its public institutions and its international standing to follow all that Sister Lucia suggested and: "reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence." With such conversion, there is hope for the future and all humanity.
If we will not reject the path of sin and creating slave beings, we should recall that Our Lady appeared in Fatima as "The Lady of the Rosary". We launched our response to the attacks of September 11 on October 7 when we rightfully invaded Afghanistan for Al-Qaeda's murderous attack. October 7 is the "Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary". What this coincidence will mean for America is still in God's hands. We only know our freedom will make us responsible and accountable. The ink was not even dry on press announcements of the recently-discovered ethical means of deriving stem cells before the demonic wails for continuing embryonic research (for "scientific advancement") filled in the air.
"O Mary, conceived without Sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"