When Disorder Metastasized

Posted on 2023-11-08
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Hays, Kansas – Our own Sheryl Collmer has a new piece up in Crisis Magazine on what I call the Synod to Nowhere. She and I are clearly on the same page on the subject, though her humor about it is a little kinder and gentler than my own. The “Synodal Church” that some authorities opine affectionately about is clearly not the Catholic Church to which I joyfully belong. Contrary to what these Joan Langley’s think, the Holy Spirit did not come to Rome to negotiate sodomy with them. (You’ll have to read Sheryl’s piece to fully understand that last bit.) More largely, I am not as concerned about the Synod as many orthodox Catholics are because nothing from it will be acted on for a year. By that time, I think it will be moot, just as I think elections will be moot. What most concerns me now is that the head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Victor Manuel Fernandez, is a South American Bishop who is noted for writing erotica with homosexual overtones and believes that anything Pope Francis says is binding on all the faithful, even if it contradicts all previous Popes, the Magisterium, or even Christ, Himself. That is neither Catholic nor synodal. It would make of the Pope an authoritarian witch doctor rather than the Vicar of Christ. Abp. Fernandez could make a lot of mischief before the inevitable correction comes. But perhaps God will use him to bring the confrontation between orthodox Catholics and the clerical vandals assaulting the faith to a head.


The global outpouring of support for Hamas and Palestine is breathtaking in both its angry malice and utter ignorance. The left uses words like “colonizers, apartheid, genocide, and captivity” completely divorced from their objective meaning. In fact, leftists rarely use – or even understand – the objective meanings of the words they use. They are all just synonyms for things they don’t like, carefully calculated to be put in terms that normies wouldn’t like, either. It is an effort to make you think they are just regular folks like you who are opposed to evil and suffering. The butchery of Hamas on Oct. 7 has created some cognitive dissonance among normal people who know that they would NEVER eagerly celebrate the rape, torture, mutilation and murder of innocents.

Some will object that I have written Hamas and Palestine as if they are synonymous. Leaving aside that the Palestinian Arabs elected Hamas to govern them, I have seen the extensive videos of entire neighborhoods in Palestine coming out to jubilantly celebrate the butchery and take their turns spitting on the battered corpses paraded in the back of savages’ pickup trucks. Who does that? If a group of toughs brought a battered, dead body into your neighborhood, would you consider it an occasion for a jubilant block party and want to get your vicarious licks in on the dead body? I am understanding better why, in the more primitive times of the Old Testament, God sometimes ordered His people to wipe out entire populations that had been besieging them.

The primitive, sub-human savagery of Islamic purists is one thing. How, though, to explain the enthusiasm for such sub-human savagery among college students, Congress Critters, the media and entertainment elites? How long can they sustain the illusion that they are the noble, compassionate ones while cheering on the beheading of babies and the raping of young women on the backs of the corpses of those women’s friends? I am reminded of Mark Twain’s dictum that it is easier to fool someone than convince them that they have been fooled.

We are at the beginning of a new fundamental transformation, a correction to the horrific fundamental transformation that Barack Obama achieved: now all must choose or perish. Whether you choose God or not, the results of your choices now become permanent.


Disorders in society are always bubbling away beneath the surface. The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned three decades ago that, “defining deviancy down” would ultimately leave us awash in deviancy that would threaten the very stability of our nation. Moynihan was a Democrat I much admired. I had him call into my radio show shortly after he penned this essay. That, of course, was before Democrats went crazy with rage and malice.

Ever since the genuinely racist and genuinely elitist administration of Woodrow Wilson, America has been steadily getting more and more deviant and dysfunctional. The large-scale institutionalization of abortion with the Roe v Wade decision in 1973 was when that dysfunction began to metastasize into the cancer that is now destroying us. It was not decisive. At the time it was enacted, many of the gullible could genuinely deceive themselves that the baby in the womb was not human. Planned Parenthood and the other leftist enthusiasts marketed it under the banner that a fetus was just a “blob of tissue,” and not human at all.

I was a fool. I thought the already rising technology of ultrasound imaging would quickly put an end to abortion as it revealed the fullness of the humanity of the unborn child. It did. But we did not step back from the abyss. In 1983, Planned Parenthood sent a message to its affiliates. It acknowledged, ironically, that the “blob of tissue” argument was no longer viable. What it did not do was acknowledge that abortion was a horrible mistake that butchered human beings in an early state of development in the womb. Rather, it encouraged its affiliates to adopt a “woman’s right to choose” as their rallying cry to justify abortion. That was the moment the cancer among us became inoperable.

No one has the “right” to do evil. We all have the capacity, but none has the “right.” To intentionally kill an innocent human being who poses you no threat is evil. There can be no justification for it. Oh, it might make your life easier, just as slavery made the lives of some southern plantation owners – and the southern economy overall – easier. But if you indulge this method of convenience, you have chosen evil. As St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

It is more even than this, though. Once abortion is accepted as a “right,” the concept of all men created equally gives way to a simple power equation: those with more power can do as they will to those with less power. It eats away at the founding principles of this nation. Unchecked, it will destroy them. For the first 80 years of the Republic, we were riven by a similar controversy, that of slavery. If it were to be admitted that some men had arbitrary power and “rights” over other innocent men, it revealed our founding principles to be lies that could not be sustained. The issue was finally settled through a great civil war in which we stood by our principles rather than convenience.

There is only one salient question in the matter of abortion: is the unborn child human or is he not? If he is not, there is no moral dispute at all. If he is, then he is equally entitled to the rights of man as the rest of us who are more powerful. All other questions on the matter are just dodges to evade the central question. Antebellum Southern Senators taunted Northern Senators, telling them, “If you don’t like slavery, don’t buy one.” Abortion advocates taunt pro-lifers, saying, “If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one.” Antebellum southerners argued that the only people entitled to have an opinion on slavery were those who had to make the decision: southerners who could own slaves. Abortion advocates argue that the only people entitled to have an opinion on abortion are those who can independently make the decision. Advocates of both decided that human rights were NOT universal if it interfered with their convenience. Issues of fundamental human rights are the province of all mankind.

With the rise of ultrasound technology, science belatedly caught up to and agreed with what faith already knew: a child in the womb is a fully human person in an early stage of development. Though there are a few cranks in both science and religion who pretend otherwise, there is no daylight between credible scientists and orthodox Christians on this subject.

Leftists believe they can make abortion the exception to fundamental human rights without damaging the structure of our foundational principles. They cannot. Once admitted that rights can be suspended for one group’s convenience, when another group wants an exception carved out, there is no philosophically coherent reason to deny them. It also subtly undermines the concept of rights altogether. In natural law, rights are granted by God and are inalienable. Government has no power to suspend them. In fact, the test of legitimacy of any government is how vigorously it defends the rights of man.

I detest the damage abortion has done to our culture primarily in three ways. First, I hate it for the obvious damage it does to the child who is killed. Second, I hate it for how it has deranged our national discourse. Finally, I hate it for the damage it does to the moral sense of the advocate of abortion who must deaden her conscience to justify what she, too, knows is objectively evil.

I well know that governing our sexual behavior is hard. Though celibate for 19 years, I still have moments of profound temptation. But choosing to kill children as a substitute for governing sexual appetite is an offense that cries out for justice. You may think you are aborting a baby, but in the end, you are aborting the very concept of human rights and, ultimately, the society that once protected them.

Last night conservative Ohio voted overwhelmingly to enshrine the “right” to abortion into its state constitution. In 2008 I declined to work with the Republican National Committee on messaging, in part because I feared the ignorant had become the majority in America – governed by appetites rather than coherent principles. In that case we would just have to let events take their course and work to rebuild from the ashes the ignorant would leave behind.

The ashes approach.


Hays, Kansas was once the most violent of western towns. Wild Bill Hickok served briefly as its sheriff after the Civil War before moving on to Deadwood, South Dakota. It is the site of the original Boot Hill Cemetery. More personally, after my Mother died, Hays is where I began the last leg of my pilgrimage, going north on 183 into Nebraska and then west into Colorado. My brother, Steve, dropped me off at the Walmart parking lot to begin my last leg of the journey. I can see the Walmart from my hotel. It brings back some memories.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim


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