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Rules is a Losing GameTheir Playing by

by Christopher A. Ferrara

One of the most depressing developments during the "springtime of Vatican II" is the way that Vatican functionaries have ceased to speak with the authority of God and now treat with the powers of the world according to their rules. Rule #1: Civil society does not recognize God’s authority over it. Playing by this rule, the Vatican issues various bland pronouncements on the "moral unacceptability" of this or that feature of the New World Order, but it refrains from stating, quite simply, that God’s law prohibits what men are doing.

Take the Vatican’s recent call for a universal ban on human cloning. As reported by Zenit (September 24, 2002) "Archbishop Renato Martino, permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before the Ad Hoc Committee On An International Convention Against The Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings. He reiterated the Holy See's ‘well known’ position on this question…"

So, the Holy See has a "position" on cloning. That’s nice. And what is the Holy See’s "position"? According to Archbishop Martino, "Based on the biological and anthropological status of the human embryo and on the fundamental moral and civil rule, it is illicit to kill an innocent even to bring about a good for society." No mention of God.

Martino added that "the Holy See looks upon the distinction between 'reproductive' and so-called 'therapeutic' (or 'experimental') cloning to be unacceptable. This distinction masks the reality of the creation of a human being for the purpose of destroying him or her to produce embryonic stem cell lines or to conduct other experimentation." No mention of God. But notice the politically correct "him or her."

Then Martino said: "Attempts at human cloning with a view to obtaining organs for transplants ... insofar as they involve the manipulation and destruction of human embryos, are not morally acceptable." Morally unacceptable to whom? The Vatican? Again, no mention of God.

Ah, but Martino did thunder from his UN pulpit that "cloning a human embryo, while intentionally planning its demise ... is repugnant to most people…." So what? Other people don’t find it repugnant, even if they should. And, once again, no mention of God or His law.

Martino also expressed worry that "there is a risk of a new form of racism, for the development of these techniques could lead to the creation of a 'sub-category of human beings', destined basically for the convenience of certain others." So, cloning is racist, and repugnant, and morally unacceptable. But where is God’s law in all of this?

Finally, Martino played his trump card: "[T]he Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the sanctity of all human life" and "international law guarantees the right to life to all, not just some, human beings." Thud.

So, Martino cites a UN declaration, international law, racism, the repugnance of many, and moral unacceptability as bases for the Vatican’s "position" on human cloning. But not once did he say that human cloning involves the murder of innocent human beings in violation of God’s commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Thus, in announcing the Vatican’s "position" on cloning, Martino abided by Rule #1 of the powers of the world: God has no authority over civil society. Therefore, do not mention God in connection with moral questions confronting society. But without God, the Vatican’s "position" on human cloning is just that - a position that the world can take or leave as it wishes.

And ponder this: Why has the Vatican not called for a universal ban on abortion? A suggested answer: Because to demand a universal ban on abortion is to offend the powers of the world, whereas the cloning "issue" remains debatable even among liberals.

When you play by the other guy’s rules, you lose. And that is why the human element of the Church, which has stripped itself of the kingly majesty that is but a reflection of the divine Kingship of its Founder, can no longer command respect, and must content itself with stating "positions." May Our Lady of Fatima intercede soon for the restoration of Holy Church.