By Deacon Keith Fournier
As the world watches the indices of global stock markets plummet and succumbs to the dull fear which the collapse of much of the financial system has caused, we need to examine what truly brought us – and keeps us- here. We also need to ask, honestly and forthrightly, what, and who, can help lead us out of the wasteland.
I suggest that the financial collapse is simply the sordid fruit of the greed and the idolatry which has elevated the accumulation of stuff over persons to the level of something to actually be emulated - and dragged us all down with the indices. This practical materialism is a cancer,caused by a fundamental loss of basic values such as a respect for all human life, no matter how old or young, large or small. It has also given rise to a counterfeit set of purported “values” which place consumption over care and ultimately eat away at true and authentic human freedom, whether that freedom is expressed in a market economy which purports to promote it or other structures of social, cultural and political life which are also succumbing to its corrosive effects.
When a society fails to recognize that persons are more important than things, when it loses sight of the primacy of the inviolable dignity of every single human person at every age, every stage and of every size, it soon devolves into a form of practical materialism, worshipping a new golden calf. It uses the language of human rights but has lost its true moral content. When there is no recognition of a preeminent right to life, there will soon be an erosion of the entire structure of human rights. Human rights do not exist in a vacuum; they are goods of the human person. This is why I absolutely insist that to be “Pro-Life” is NOT to be a political Partisan or a “single issue” voter. Rather, it is to be truly human and to recognize that there is a hierarchy of rights. Without acknowledging the preeminent right to life, all derivative rights and the entire infrastructure of human rights is placed in jeopardy. The further legitimate questions and positions of political parties become moot. Without the freedom to be born, all of the talk about compassion for the poor and the promotion of freedom throughout the entirety of life, and how we attain it, is hollow and empty. Failing to recognize our first neighbors in the womb as having a right to be born and then to live a full life in our community is a foundational failure of our obligation in solidarity to one another and the entire ethic of being “our brothers (and sisters) keeper”. There can be no enduring lasting solidarity in a culture that kills its own children and then calls it a “right”. This is a moral crisis.
Mother Teresa, whom the Catholic Church now rightly calls “Blessed Teresa”, put it so clearly: “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign."
What is really needed is a Moral Bail Out.