Conducting a Symphony

Enter with a bright staccato …

Prenatal testing can now detect up to 95 percent of pregnancies with a strong risk of Down syndrome.  The tests aren’t conclusive.  They can’t give a firm yes or no.  But they’re pretty good.  And the results of those tests are brutally practical.  Studies show that more than 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome now get terminated in the womb.  They’re killed because of a flaw in one of their chromosomes – a flaw that’s neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable.

And and the second layer with a bit more vibrato …

Catholics need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith.  What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV.  And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral.

Volley back and forth between the trumpet and violin …

As the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb observed more than a decade ago, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized.”  But even more importantly, she added, “As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant.  The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral – the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called – is now seen as pathological” and exclusionary, concealing the worst forms of psychic and physical oppression.(6)

Cue the bass strings and tympani in the back …

My point is this:  Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak.  When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it.  So it always has been.  So it always will be.  And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.

Soft woodwinds in the front..

A friend of mine has a son with Down syndrome, and she calls him a “sniffer of souls.”  I know him, and it’s true.  He is.  He may have an IQ of 47, and he’ll never read The Brothers Karamazov, but he has a piercingly quick sense of the people he meets.  He knows when he’s loved — and he knows when he’s not.  Ultimately, I think we’re all like her son.  We hunger for people to confirm that we have meaning by showing us love.  We need that love.  And we suffer when that love is withheld.

Decrescendo to a close.

(emphasis mine)

The preceeding are three snippets from “Weaving a Thread of Joy” given by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life (March for Life) January 22, 2012 Washington, D.C. (link to speech text)


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