By Fr. George Welzbacher
October 21, 2012
When asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention just what it was that the Founding Fathers had given to our newly liberated nation, Benjamin Franklin replied: "A republic-if you can keep it!" And to the follow-up question as to just how the new republic might best be kept, our Founding Fathers stressed one factor first and foremost: the contribution of religion. For a republic to be strong and just, not degenerating into mob rule, a great majority of its citizens must be virtuous. And for most of mankind it is only strong religious faith that can inspire the kind of discipline that enduring virtue requires. That is why George Washington declared: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity religion and morality are INDISPENSABLE supports."
Our nation's second president, John Adams, one of the drafters of our Constitution, agreed: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." [Emphasis added].
In the light of such admonition from the generation that gave us our republic-and many another statement from our Founding Fathers could be cited to the same effect-a report that recently appeared in the media gives cause for genuine concern. The report verified with such statistical precision as surveys of this kind can achieve what many thoughtful observers have long since sensed, namely that religion's role in forming the conscience of Americans is steadily diminishing. The survey conducted by the prestigious Pew Research Center found that one out of five Americans today professes NO religious affiliation, and for young Americans, ranging from the age of eighteen to thirty, the percentage is one in three.
It is of course true that, compared to West Europeans, Americans today remain more observant in their outward practice of religion. But even on this side of the Atlantic the prevailing attitude towards the Ten Commandments has become visibly more relaxed than it was just a couple of generations ago. Could anyone, for example, plausibly imagine that back In Harry Truman's or Dwight Eisenhower's day one of America's major political parties could have called in its official platform for the granting of a marriage license to any and every man who wished to marry - another man? Or could one plausibly suppose that back in Truman's or in Eisenhower's day half of America's citizens would have accepted with nonchalance --"So what's the problem?"-- the ongoing murder, the mass murder, of the innocent unborn, with over fifty million future Americans, together with the gifts that they would have brought to our society, consigned to the ash heap? Or that back then a major political party would have dared to demand that this mass infanticide be funded with tax-payer dollars? We've come a long way, baby!
This sad decline in our nation's moral sense was of course predictable-and by many it was indeed predicted---once the Sexual Revolution of the 1960's began to hit its stride. The Revolution caught fire back in 1959 (with some irony it was on the Monday after Mothers' Day) when the Federal Drug Administration authorized within the United States the unrestricted distribution of The Pill. The disintegration of our nation's sexual code accelerated with the so-called Free Speech Movement originating at Berkeley University in 1964, which with amazing speed succeeded in breaking down all of the existing barriers to obscenity in public SPEECH. Emancipation from all traditional restraint on public sexual BEHAVIOR followed in 1968 with Woodstock - celebrating "Summer of Love," which coincided in turn with the scandalous revolt within the Catholic Church of many priest-theologians (of widely varying quality), seconded by a multitude of parish priests moved perhaps by a misfocused sense of compassion, against Pope Paul the Sixth's reassertion (in his encyclical Humanae Vitae) of the Church's age-old teaching on sexual morality. And very large numbers of the Catholic laity were misled by these false prophets. The most visibly Satanic hallmark of our new sex-for-its-own sake, anti-chfld culture appeared with the Roe v. Wade decision in January, 1973, the judicial dictate that opened the flood-gates to abortion without restriction.
Like an unchecked forest fire the Sexual Revolution rages on. And the grim reality is that sexual immorality, if sustained and unrepented, KILLS religious faith.
And since "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6) the decay of faith that follows from the corruption of sexual decency constitutes an enormous threat to the salvation of souls. But the widespread loss of faith also threatens the integrity of our republic. A citizenry enslaved by an unlimited appetite for sexual pleasure is a citizenry so immersed in self-gratification as to feel scant concern for the common good, that good of the entire body politic that so often requires for its survival the sacrifice of a citizen's selfish interests.
In a culture increasingly hostile to God and to the moral law that is rooted in the very nature of man, in a culture, that is to say, that thanks to the prevailing thrust of movies, television, music filled with obscenity and hate, and video games feeding a lust for violence and contempt for law, and with internet pornography now reaching down, via a host of electronic devices, to poison the minds even of grade school children-in a culture reinforced further by a system of public education which permits little or no mention of God and in which Planned Parenthood shapes the program of sex education, a culture, in sum, that is conspiring to seduce our citizens into behaving like beasts instead of acting as befits the image of God-in this decadent culture with its concomitant subversion of that self-sacrificial civic virtue on which our republic rests, we would do well to spend some time reflecting humbly and prayerfully on Psalm 127, President Harry Truman's favorite psalm: "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain."
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Our humble thanks to all who helped make the Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction a success. We thank the VFW for sponsoring the Pancake Breakfast with all of the proceeds going to the Church. The profit from the Pancake Breakfast was $1039.00. Thus far the profit from the Silent Auction is approaching $1,800.00.
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