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Bishop John C. Nienstedt
Bishop John C. Nienstedt

Parish Directory

And miles to go

by Bishop John C. Nienstedt
February 2006


Moral Corruption

One of the five moral topics I treated in my doctoral dissertation on The Moral Implications of In-Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer was the so-called "slippery slope" argument, which implies that once one begins to tolerate or even reluctantly participate in an objectively evil action, one opens the door to the next step in a greater cooperation with evil. (For example, contraception severs the connection between sex and reproduction, which severs the connection between marriage and life-long commitment (i.e. divorce), which severs the connection between marriage and gender. Thus the first serves as a precedent for the second and the second a precedent for the third.) Dr. Leon Kass contends that the reason behind the inevitability for this process lies in the fact that the assumptions accepted to start you down the slope will eventually bring you to the bottom of the slope.

Two recent events have alerted me to the fact that our society is indeed on a slide toward moral corruption. The first event was the 6-3 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on January 17, 2006 to uphold the constitutional right of doctors in Oregon to help terminally ill patients to die. This is a rejection of the Fifth Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, and a complete reversal of the Hippocratic Oath to "Do No Harm." By issuing this decision, six Justices have shoved all of us further down the perilous slope toward a state of moral anarchy. What message does this send to the 17 and 18 year old teens in Fort Lauderdale who allegedly beat a homeless man to death with their baseball bats and severely injured another victim who survived? Critically ill persons do not contribute to society's economic growth and neither do homeless persons. What's the difference? Who gets to decide? On what basis are these decisions made? Perhaps one might argue that the critically ill want to die and the homeless victim does not. But what if the latter did desire death as a way to escape the everyday agony of living on the streets? Would those boys be doing him a favor? Would they be guaranteeing his constitutional rights? Here is where a strict separation of Church and State simply does not work. God is the author of life. Only God can give it and only God should take it away. The slide down the slippery slope to moral irresponsibility begins when we refuse to acknowledge God's dominion over our destiny as individuals and as a nation.

The second event involves the movie, "Brokeback Mountain,"

which I do not recommend for your viewing. Hollywood seeks to make this film into a contemporary version of "Romeo and Juliet" with, of course, the necessary changes in gender. The story is about two lonely cowboys herding sheep up on a mountain range. One night after a drinking binge, one man makes a pass at the other and within seconds the latter mounts the former in an act of wanton anal sex. This sets off a lustful passion in both men that "grabs hold of them" and which they find impossible to control. Rather than a sad symphony to a beautiful love that our homophobic society will not allow to show itself, this is a human tragedy in which their lust leads to the neglect of their work (i.e. sheep ravaged by wolves during the pair's frolicking), infidelity against their wives (i.e. divorce, anger and grief) and the psychological harm inflicted on their children (i.e. sadness, alienation and grief). In the end, their lust even turns on their own relationship by the further infidelity of one of the two. Lust seeks to possess. Love seeks to liberate. This is a story of lust gone bad.

I wonder if the trend makers in Hollywood really think they know where this is leading us as we slide further and further down the slope of immorality. Surely they must be aware that they have turned their backs on God and the standards of God in their quest to make evil look so attractive. There is an agenda here, of that you can be sure. It is an agenda directly opposed to God's and to the salvation offered in Jesus Christ.

We often say that Jesus takes us "up" to heaven, for that's the direction to which he points. A slippery slope, on the other hand, takes us in a downward direction precisely because of the laws of Nature. By opposing those laws of Nature, "Brokeback Mountain" pushes us along the descending slope, forcing our society to ask, "Which way do we want to go?"

God love you!

February 2006 




Falta Mucho por Recorrer

Por el Obispo John C. Nienstedt


Unos de mis cinco temas en mi disertación doctoral sobre las Implicaciones Morales de la Fertilización in Vitro y la Transferencia del Embrión, fue el argumento  "cuesta resbalosa" es cuando uno empieza a tolerar e incluso a participar de mala gana en una acción malicia objetivamente, uno empieza a aceptar el siguiente paso con gran cooperación con la maldad. (Ejemplo,  la anticoncepción separa la conexión entre la unión y la reproducción, y este con la conexión entre el matrimonio y el compromiso a largo plazo (ejemplo: divorcio), y este con la conexión entre el matrimonio y el genero. Así pues el primero sirve como un antecedente para el segundo y este un precedente para el tercero). El Doctor Leon Kass firma que la razón detrás del inebitable de este proceso consiste en el hecho que las suposiciones aceptadas para que empiece el declive, ya que eventualmente te traerá cuesta abajo. 


El evento que a continuación voy a mencionar me ha alertado ya que nuestra sociedad se encamina a una corrupción moral. La decisión del 17 de enero del 2006 por parte del Tribunal de la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos, con resultados 6-3 en apoyar el derecho constitucional de doctores en Oregon en ayudar a pacientes desahuacidos a morir.  Este es una resistencia contra el séptimo mandamiento, "No mataras," y un cambio drástico contra el juramento médico "No dañar." Al publicarse esta decisión, los seis jueces nos han impulsado hacia un estado de anarquía moral. ¿Qué mensaje reciben los adolescentes de 17 y 18 años de edad en Fort Lauderdale que según se alega golpearon con un bate de béisbol a un hombre que vive en la calle e hirieron  a otra victima que sobrevivió? Críticamente, las personas enfermas no contribuyen al desarrollo económico de la sociedad, tampoco las personas que no tienen un lugar donde vivir. ¿Cuál es la diferencia? ¿Quién decide? ¿En qué términos se toman estas decisiones? Uno podría argumentar que las personas críticamente enfermas quieren morir más no las personas que viven en la calle. Que pasa si la persona que vive en la calle prefiere morir para escapar de la agonía cotidiana de vivir en la calle? ¿Será que los adolescentes le estarían haciendo un favor? ¿Se estaría respaldando sus derechos constitucionales? He aquí la separación estricta entre la Iglesia y el estado. Dios es el autor de la vida y él es el único que nos la puede quitar.  La irresponsabilidad moral empieza cuando rechazamos en reconocer la supremacía de Dios sobre nuestro destino como individuos y como nación.

February 2006




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