In his book Render Unto Caesar, Archbishop Charles Chaput (now in Philadelphia) points out that too few Catholics living in Germany in the 1930’s listened to the warning of the then Pope Pius XI, who told them, “What is morally indefensible can never contribute to the good of the people.”
He was referring to the way Adolph Hitler, as the political leader of Germany, was gathering up all the Jews and many Catholics: practicing unethical human experimentation, enslaving them in concentration camps, murdering them in gas chambers and then burning their bodies in huge furnaces.
Did Hitler have a bright vision for the German people, that they would one day be world leaders? Yes.
Did Hitler’s plan give jobs to most of the German people so they could make a living for their families by making war supplies? Yes.
The only problem was that Hitler’s plan included the grave moral evil of genocide…the mass extermination of the Jewish people and any others deemed “inhuman”. Nevertheless, because of fear, ignorance and selfishness, many Germans looked the other way when it came to the evils that Hitler was advocating. Not only were innocent, defenseless people being tortured and murdered; but, also, he was having his doctors perform all kinds of experimentation on the Jewish captives.
Pope Pius XI scolded the people who allowed this, saying: “Thousands of voices ring in your ears a false gospel which has not been revealed by the Father in Heaven.” (Mit Brennender Sorge, 1937) Here we are…70 years later…and we as a people still struggle in having solidarity when it comes to life and liberty. As we approach our 239th year of celebrating our freedom as a nation (…given to us “by a group of old white men”…as the nescient proclaim), it would be a good time to remember the words of Thomas Jefferson (who helped draft our Country’s Declaration of Independence and who served as the Third President of America), when he said: “The God who gave us Life, gave us Liberty!”
How wonderful that the Founding Fathers of our country recognized God as the Giver of these great gifts, which we have enjoyed, and which we hope to preserve for the future. Sadly, there are Americans running at every level of public office with plans which oppose God and life and liberty!
As Catholics of the 21st century, we must close our ears to the false gospel of the world and follow the Gospel of the Father in Heaven. He said, “You shall not kill.” And Jesus, “You must protect the widow and the orphan.” We simply cannot celebrate a government which endorses abortion (the murder of babies in the womb), euthanasia (the murder of seniors and the sick), or experimentation on human embryos. Starting this Father’s Day, let us pray for the vision of those old white men who saw the greatness of man in the sanctity and wholeness of the human person. For the sacrifices of all those who gave us our comforts and leisure (in comparison to theirs)…take time…for each of the next 14 days (a fortnight)…to visit the church and Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and pray for our confused country listening to yet another false gospel.