The Death of God and the Loss of Human Dignity

COMMENTARY: ‘If there is no God, then human beings are dispensable — so why not trade the organs of infants for a nice Lamborghini?’

07/28/2015 Comments (4)

Editor’s note: Bishop-Elect Barron’s article was written in advance of the third undercover video posted online today by the Center for Medical Progress. WARNING: This latest video contains graphic content that many viewers would find disturbing.

I am sure by now that many of you have seen the appalling hidden-camera videos of two Planned Parenthood physicians bantering cheerfully with interlocutors posing as prospective buyers of the body parts of aborted infants. While they slurp wine in elegant restaurants, the good doctors — both women — blandly talk about what price they would expect for providing valuable inner organs, and how the skillful abortionists of Planned Parenthood know just how to murder babies so as not to damage the goods. One of the doctors specified that the abortion providers employ “less crunchy” methods when they know that the organs of a baby are going to be harvested for sale. Mind you, the “crunchiness” she’s talking about is a reference to the skull-crushing and dismemberment by knife and suction typically employed in abortions. For me, the most bone-chilling moment was when one of the kindly physicians, informed that the price she was asking was too low, leered and said, “Oh good, because I’d like a Lamborghini.”

Now it is easy enough to remark and lament the moral coarseness of these women, the particularly repulsive way that they combine violence and greed. But I would like to explore a deeper issue that these videos bring to light, namely, the forgetfulness of the dignity of the human being that is on ever clearer display in our Western culture. One has only to consider the over 58,000,000 abortions that have taken place, under full protection of the law, in our country since Roe v. Wade in 1973, or the ever more insistent push toward permitting euthanasia, even of children in some European countries, or the wanton killing going on nightly in the streets of our major cities. The figures in my home town of Chicago typically surpass those recorded in the battle grounds of the Middle East.

What makes this sort of startling violence against human beings possible, I would submit, is the attenuation of our sense of God’s existence. In the classical Western perspective, the dignity of the human person is a consequence and function of his or her status as a creature of God. Precisely because the human being is made in the image and likeness of the Creator and destined, finally, for eternal life on high with God, he is a subject of inalienable rights. I use Jefferson’s language from the Declaration of Independence on purpose here, for the great founding father knew that the absolute nature of the rights he was describing follows from their derivation from God: “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” When God is removed from the picture, human rights rather rapidly evanesce, which can be seen with clarity in both ancient times and modern. For Cicero, Aristotle, and Plato, a cultural elite enjoyed rights, privileges, and dignity, while the vast majority of people were legitimately relegated to inferior status, some even to the condition of slavery. In the totalitarianisms of the last century — marked in every case by an aggressive dismissal of God—untold millions of human beings were treated as little more than vermin….

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10 Responses to The Death of God and the Loss of Human Dignity

  1. toadspittle says:

    “COMMENTARY: ‘If there is no God, then human beings are dispensable — so why not trade the organs of infants for a nice Lamborghini?’”
    Or even a nasty Lamborghini.
    You might as well say, “If there’s no God, then there is no sense of right or wrong, or decency, or mutual regard for others, or for telling the truth, or not slaughtering and eating one another.” No sense of a Social Contract, in fact, – which says, “Promise not to be horrible to me, and I will promise not to be horrible to you, and so we will both be considerably less miserable on Planet Earth.”
    …What rubbish.
    For Barron to judge the whole of mankind on the words of one clearly crazed woman.
    Well, it happens every day. Ludicrous generalisations.

    “In the totalitarianisms of the last century — marked in every case by an aggressive dismissal of God—untold millions of human beings were treated as little more than vermin….” true, and so were untold numbers of African blacks, The Indian sub-contintent, the Chinese, the Malayans, The Celonese, not to mention millions of indigenous natives of The Americas – by Christians for hundreds of years. In fact all the colonial nations of Europe.
    Glass houses, anyone?

  2. ginnyfree says:

    May the Lord have mercy on their souls. I really don’t have any words to describe what I just watched. All I could think of was “That is a SOMEBODY who needs to be buried, not picked apart for parts!” God bless. Ginnyfree.

  3. dfxc says:

    A wild Kant appears! He uses Religion Within the Bounds of Bare Reason! It’s super effective!

  4. Michael says:

    Another article on this topic worth reading here:

    It provides some powerful testimony as to the real horror of what goes on during abortions, as well as the extent to which we have been able to either desensitise ourselves to or sideline the reality of it (which is part of Fr. Barron’s point too).

  5. Michael says:

    Ludicrous generalisations…Glass houses, anyone?

    Erm, no. Fr. Barron was not claiming that no violence occurred in previous ages, nor that faith in God effects some kind of magic charm over a society preventing violence and injustice from occurring. He was pointing out that the extent of the violence in the last hundred years or so vastly outweighs anything we’ve seen before, and that there is a staggering indifference to both the reality of that level of violence, as well as an attitude towards the dignity and worth of human life that is, at best compromised and relativised, and at worst non-existent. This attitude, that is so widespread in our age, is precisely what leads to the large-scale violence of our age and the indifference to murder in our own communities everyday.

  6. Michael says:

    Some more news on the continuing exposure of Planned Parenthood:

    It seems that as the liberal media’s attempt to ignore this story and hope noone else would notice hasn’t worked for them, the abortionists are themselves now trying to take legal action to stop more video footage from being released.

  7. johnhenrycn says:

    No one’s interested in babies harvested for livers, hearts, etc. Major media ignores piffle like that in favour of breaking news about the death of Cecil the Lion 😦 in Rhodesia, even on *right-wing* Fox News:
    Jimmy Kimmel gets choked up over killing of Cecil the Lion
    He get’s choked up at about the 4:00- 4:20 mark. What an ignoramus. Where is his Planned Parenthood monologue?

    There is NO moral equivalency involved here – except in the mind of our local amphibian possibly. Is there a major exposé of the Soylent Green Planned Parenthood factories on MSM, not just a page 33 mention here and there? I haven’t read of one.

  8. Ah yes, the lion…
    At least it wasn’t a Hapsburg Lion he killed:
    If it was, then I’d be mad.
    P.S. It seems that the killing was set up on the African end, and all the dentist did was shoot.
    P.P.S Sad about the media, but really Cecil was only a convenient distraction, as I’m sure you know.

  9. Robert says:

    The Passion of the Church is something that was known to the Fathers. That the Church (mystical Body) of Christ is destined to recreate the Life Of Christ. The Passion and Crucifixion of the mystical Body (the Church Militant) is part of Fatima (understanding Fr Malachi Martin the key message has never been released).
    The Passion of the Church and its Resurrection seems to be indicted in the massive Apostacy predicted by Our Lord and which we seem to be living (a masonic Curia and Protestant Reformation is a reality we see coming out of Rome).
    Man throwing off the yoke of God Ten Commandments. Thou shalt NOT commit Adultery! follows from Divorce and remarriage. Licensed prostitution.
    Rome today is severing its links with Christ, remember Our Lord said to think Adultery is to have committed Adultery in Our hearts! Rome is thinking of legalising Adultery.
    Henry VIII that serial sinner and Adulterer. Despot and tyrant who put off a good wife for a prostitute.
    So the Death of the Mystical Body is a real possibility but this followed by its Triumphant Resurrection (after discarding those who brought about its death! which is what happened to the Jews).

  10. Michael says:

    Major media ignores piffle like that in favour of breaking news about the death of Cecil the Lion

    Indeed. I bet the liberals are thanking…well, whoever modern, liberal secular types thank when they have something to be pleased about (‘the universe’, or something of equivalent vagueness probably) that the ‘Cecil the Lion’ story came up, so that they could have yet another means of exploiting people’s sentimentality in order to distract them from the genuine horror that has been going for decades in their own communities.

    This is, it seems to me, yet another sign that secular humanism is (ironically, given the name, and the obsessive desire to, in many ways, place human beings at the centre of the universe) a worldview that is decidely ill-equipped to provide a proper basis for protection and promotion of human dignity, welfare, flourishing, etc. It is a shallow philosophy that relies on emotion instead of reason and replaces genuine compassion with sentimentality.*

    *Actually, all this Cedric business reminds me of an interview given by Pope Francis to ETWN (or at least broadcast by EWTN) just before his election to the papacy, where he drew attention to the fact that more money is spent in the West on pets and cosmetics than on charitable donations to human causes, and used this to highlight how much our thinking about ethics had become shaped by sentiment and narcissism.

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