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Archive for April, 2018

For the second time within a year, England has a high-profile case of court-mandated murder of a desperately ill child. The first was Charlie Gard, and now comes Alfie Evans.

Alfie missed several developmental milestones in his first seven months of life, which did not alarm physicians at the time. It’s not known precisely what his neurodegenerative disorder is, and some say it may be something akin to Charlie Gard’s Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome (MDS). That’s key to understanding the full horror and depravity of the English judiciary in this case, as well as that of the National Health Service (NHS).

While the English physicians are quite certain that Alfie cannot recover, they do not know what they are facing. They are so possessed of medical certitude that they have not only sought to end life-sustaining treatment, but have argued against the boy being brought abroad for treatment.

Why?

And why the complicity of the courts?

And since when are parental rights to seek treatment for their desperately ill children abrogated by the physicians who can’t even identify the disease, and the courts with no evidence of incompetence on the part of the parents?

What’s worse is that the global narrative has shifted from arguing over whether a patient is still alive, cardiac vs. brain death, to arguing that they have no hope of recovering their former functionality and quality of life. In other words we are now squarely within Eugenics and Euthanasia.

This particular expression of euthanasia is actually First Degree Murder. When Alfie’s ventilator was removed, along with oxygen, food, and hydration, Alfie breathed on his own, and continues to breathe on his own. After several hours of fighting with staff, Alfie was given oxygen and hydration. At this writing,more than 48 hours later, he continues to live, and the courts have determined that he may not be taken abroad.

Alfie. MUST. Die.

The police ringing the building are a frightening testimony to this malignant judicial resolve.

The courts have stated that parents understandably want to hang on after hope has been lost. Tragically, there are far too many physicians, nurses, and judges who have never understood that hope is the irrational driving force behind many medical and scientific breakthroughs.

Take cancer for example. Hope drives cancer research, and the trillions of dollars and hundreds of millions of researcher hours over the past half-century. Looking at the daunting challenge in the 1950’s, before we knew anything about DNA and its role in cancer, how irrational would it have sounded if trillions of dollars, and millions of collective years of research would be required to cure this umbrella group of diseases? Yet, here we are, with many cancers either curable, or with outstanding five-year remission rates. A similar story could be told of HIV/AIDS, and the fact that it is a very manageable disease today.

Imagine if the pessimists were in the driver’s seat at the outset. As the AIDS quilt tells the tale, a frightening number of people died on the way to today’s manageability. The same for cancer.

As any cancer or HIV researcher will attest, even in cases of seeming futility, experimental protocols yield vital data for future treatment designs. They also will attest that surprises happen when we least expect them to. Alfie has already surprised everyone by his continued breathing. Imagine if he were given a fair chance.

Fair chances point toward a central reality in biomedical research: You can’t advance the therapeutic ball if you kill all the hard cases.

There is a war on for the soul of humanity. The Culture of Death has been holding high carnival for decades with abortion, and now the slippery slope from physician-assisted suicide, to euthanasia, to outright court-sanctioned murder rooted in a pervasive eugenics. There is no room in this worldview for faith, hope, or love. There is only expedience, and expedience in the place of faith, hope, and love, never solved a biomedical riddle. None of us who has ever labored in a lab was ever driven by expedience sans hope. The work of healing research requires a soul, the kind of soul missing in action in the Gard and Evans decisions. Faith, hope, and love are the forces that sustain our greatest minds in science and medicine. They inspire and sustain in the face of repeated failure and setback.

So what’s it all about, Alfie? It’s about faith, hope, and love, Alfie.

Alfie.

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In speaking with young people (and not-so-young people) who support gay/lesbian “marriage,” transgender medicine and sociology, abortion, contraception, cohabitation, and all the rest of the agenda on the other side of the great divide, two words are constantly thrown down as the great gauntlets of the left:

Choice and Consent.

To those given to support of the aforementioned lifestyle choices, choice and consent are the imprimaturs of the end behaviors and lifestyles. For them it is quite literally the case that having arrived at a given behavior through choice and consent that the behavior is imbued with all moral virtue, because it has been chosen by the individual and consented to.

“My body, my choice.”

It is radicalized autonomy on parade. The self determining all that is right and good.

At first blush it seems to be a return to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. But there, Adam and Eve blushed at their nakedness after their eyes were opened. Nobody blushes today when they taste evil. It is celebrated precisely because it was chosen, because it was consented to. At least our original parents had the moral sense to hide from God after getting a taste of evil.

To an intellectually and morally mature person, choice and consent are immediately recognized not as moral virtues, but as capacities and components of the moral decision-making process. They are neither objects, nor ends. They are components of reason and free will. They are used to arrive at what is good and what is evil. As Pope John Paul II said,

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

Boil down all of the differences on both sides of the great divide and it comes down to that last word from John Paul: “Ought.”

“Ought” presupposes a locus of moral agency outside of the self that makes certain demands.

Demands. Not suggestions.

Adam and Eve knew that, because they were in intimate relationship with that Moral Agent. He was their loving Father and Creator. His only demand was that they not opt for experiential knowledge of good and evil, that they abide in Him in faithful obedience. The narcissism and hedonism of the other side today can no more abide in faithful obedience to demands that run counter to the will than light can coexist with darkness at the same point in space.

Such is the spiritual malaise that conflates choice and consent with moral goodness. The sickness that is narcissism and hedonism sees the desires of the self as good, and cannot abide any suggestion to the contrary. One need only look to the persecution of those who dare to stand in the way of the LGBT agenda to see how disordered desire is elevated to the heights of moral acclaim simply because such a lifestyle has been chosen and consented to. Bakers and florists have been sentenced to Maoist reeducation for having the temerity to choose fidelity to their God over obeisance to the gods of hedonistic desire in customers. And this leads to the greatest of all moral confusion regarding choice and consent.

Choice and consent are the moral coin of the realm only insofar as certain deities are being obeyed. To the narcissist and hedonist the god of self cannot desire anything other than that which is good, and so it is that the God of revelation becomes the false deity. It is Cardinal Ratzinger’s tyranny of moral relativism. The moral relativists of our day see choice and consent as virtues precisely because they have become twisted hallmarks of the narcissism and hedonism afflicting them, persons who never experienced an impulse they didn’t love.

In the end, both sides of the great divide speak radically different languages. The narcissist and hedonist never moves past the impulses of self-indulgent disordered desire. The one who sees choice and freedom as consisting of having the right to do what they ought, knows and practices sacrificial love for God. That one prays and practices the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”

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.image via: https://moa.byu.edu/events/exhibition-opening-art-after-dark/

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