Dr William Tighe sent out an e-mail with the text of Leon Kass: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial. Gosnell, according to the evidence given by the media, is a quack specialised in abortions “on the cheap”. The story is grisly, and had this man been charged and convicted of such crimes in England just a few years ago, he would have surely been sentenced to hang! The story is indeed revolting to any of us, whether we are fully committed to the Pro-Life movement or are simply human beings.
Abortion is not the only evil in our society, by which humanity sloughs off the Christian Gospel to slide into barbarianism. There is an entire culture of death that pervades our society as Pope John Paul II warned us so long ago. I have been operated on by a surgeon who showed absolutely no concern for my well-being. I was just a subject of research, or perhaps just a “job”! When we are faced with evil, we can only be filled with horror – or die spiritually. This is undoubtedly how it was when the Allied discovered the Nazi concentration camps in 1944 and saw the extent of the horror and barbarity. As commentators of the Second World War have said, “This was a world that came close to dying”. Only heroism and self-sacrifice of the Allied forces, and of the various Resistance movements in occupied countries and in Germany itself, redeemed our world for the future in which we now live.
We are faced with ever greater evils against humanity in the form of “Frankenstein” science, every time man attempts to put himself in the place of God the Creator. We are faced with euthanasia and cloning too. Could euthanasia one day become compulsory for the elderly at a fixed age? Cloning has been found to be impractical and incredibly wasteful of life, but some are still bent on it.
The true dignity of humanity is our spiritual nature, what makes us independent from material wealth and the desire to live forever in our bodies. We are faced with systems promoting the destruction of innocent human life, and contradictorily, for the indefinite maintenance in life of those who can afford it. It is monstrous.
Just at the moment, perfect babies, ageless bodies and the stuff taken out of Huxley’s Brave New World are true threats to humanity. We also face the incorporation of mechanics and electronics into human bodies. It is difficult to see where the line is drawn between prosthetics like hip joints, prosthetic legs, false teeth and mesh devices for operating on hernias – on one part – and something like the bionic men of science fiction movies. Even conventional medicine has its limits.
The idea of the post-human man is chilling and a product of materialism. We have already seen the relegation of art to museums, the perversion of science and a society that has less and less compassion for the elderly, the poor and the sick.
It would be salutary for us all to read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and take a critical look at what is happening now. Morality and spirituality do not always progress with science and technology, and this is where the danger is.
I am all for science and discovery, man trying to understand the natural world and the universe as best as possible. I am of a curious nature myself, and I like to learn and discover. But what I discover, I respect and refrain from manipulating or interfering with it. This I learned in childhood discovering little animals and insects. My father would tell me that they have as much right to live as we do, and that they should be observed without frightening them. The problem is not science and the use of man’s intellectual faculties in his discovery of our world, but “scientism” foisted on everyone as a kind of “religion”.
It is natural to fear death, but it is also natural to accept it to save someone else’s life or simply when our moment has come as God wills. Wisdom begins with the fear of God, as the Holy Scriptures teach us. There are certain branches of science that have gone way beyond morality, such as being able to tamper with genetics and human neurology. They fail to take man’s spiritual nature into account.
This reserve about science run amok has been with us since the days of Mary Shelley and the tale of Frankenstein. The idea of resurrecting a corpse (or bits of different corpses sewn together) by purely human means seems to be – and is – blasphemous. The idea, nearly two hundred years later, horrifies us. We know that such a deed is physically impossible, but many things these days are far from impossible!
Christians have a completely different attitude to suffering and illness and mortality. It all comes back to the same word, which is far stronger than compassion: