Are you “cool” with evil?
Following World War I, under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forbidden from stationing military forces in the Rhineland. This is the area of Germany bordering France, Belgium and the Netherlands, loosely defined by land on either side of the Rhine River. Under the treaty, Germany could station no military forces anywhere on German soil west of, and within 50 kilometers east of, the Rhine River. Ostensibly, this was to further guarantee the security of France, Belgium and the Netherlands by providing a demilitarized zone to deter future German aggression toward these countries. The 1925 Treaty of Locarno further affirmed a permanent demilitarization of the Rhineland. By 1930, allied forces, primarily France, also withdrew from the Rhineland. Thereafter, France constructed the Maginot Line of fortifications as its defense strategy, coupled with reliance on the demilitarized Rhineland and Belgian neutrality to stave off future German aggression. Well, we all know how that worked out.
In January 1933, Hitler and the Nazis took power in Germany. Hitler quickly began plans to remilitarize the Rhineland, initially planning to do that sometime in 1937. In the interim, there were several international treaty developments, including a 1935 French-Soviet mutual defense treaty that could serve as a pretext for reoccupying the Rhineland. At this time, however, Germany was relatively weak militarily compared to France and in 1936, even Joseph Goebbels felt the time was not yet ripe for such a move.(1) Nevertheless, (and for a lot of reasons not germane to this week’s topic) on March 7, 1936, in what was termed Operation Winter Exercise, Hitler marched 20,000 troops and associated heavy armament and aircraft into the Rhineland. As one might imagine, this was met with wild jubilation throughout Germany, particularly in the Rhineland, where, in Cologne, German troops were greeted with cheering crowds, waving swastika flags and throwing flowers on the troops. The reaction of the world to this blatant violation of the Versailles Treaty? Pretty much crickets. France had a few strongly-worded statements, Britain felt this was Germany’s business and not really a threat, while Franklin Roosevelt went on an extended fishing trip. Even conservative firebrand Winston Churchill, angling for a cabinet position, made no significant comment. (As an aside, Hitler specifically chose March 7, 1936, for the invasion as it was a Saturday because the French and British really liked their weekend time off. This pattern continued throughout the war. Bizarre, and says something about German work ethic, but I digress.)
Hitler characterized the two days surrounding Operation Winter Exercise as the tensest of his life. He stated, “The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life. If the French had marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tail between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even a moderate resistance.”(2) As mentioned, Germany was relatively weak and could not engage in a wide-ranging conflict. When Germany learned that several thousand French troops were massing on the border, they strongly considered halting the plan. As it was, there were instructions in place that German troops should pull back at the slightest hint of French aggression.(3) Indeed, Hitler held Britain in high regard and was prepared to immediately disengage if there was any resistance whatsoever.
There was none.
Historians may debate the topic, but it is widely believed that if the world definitively resisted the move into the Rhineland, Hitler would have been stopped in his ambitions for lebensraum and world domination and might have been seen as a failure to the German populace, thus there might be a much larger Jewish population in Poland today. After all, Hitler made no secret of his ideology and goals. It is possible that the Wehrmacht might even have staged a military coup and removed him. Certainly, there was not wide support for this move in the German High Command.(3) By 1935, the Nuremberg race laws had been enacted and Germany had instituted wide-ranging anti-Semitic policies. Dachau, the first concentration camp, had been built in 1933 and by 1936 several more were under construction. The German media widely trumpeted the idea of German Aryans as a “master race” and castigated Jews as bent on destroying “Christian civilization” and deceptively dominating Europe and the world through commerce and banking. Jews were stigmatized and characterized as less than human “untermenschen” and a stain on society. The horrific events subsequent to the remilitarization of the Rhineland should have been a surprise to no one.
Dear readers, I suspect you are wondering, what has happened to this blog about Catholic biomedical ethics. I appreciate your patience.
I was a history minor in college and still am an aficionado of all historic scholarship, particularly around the fall of civilizations and empires. My wife, who does not share this interest, has asked, “what is it with you and history?” Quite simply, I like to be able to predict the future. There is no shortage of adages about “history repeats itself” and “those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is true, with the exception that we seem to never learn from the past. We tell ourselves stories and like to think that the past has taught a lesson, but not really. As we have discussed in these columns, cruelty, inhumanity and genocides are repeating themselves over and over and over. Of course, it does not necessarily come in brownshirts and swastikas, but it comes, nevertheless.
China, as we have extensively noted, is a society completely unmoored by any sort of ethic, aside from its ideology of communist hegemony and power. Unrestricted abortion, involuntary organ harvesting, monetization of human beings and their component parts, ethnic cleansing of minorities and unethical experimentation on humans are just the tip of the iceberg of all things inhumane in China. North Korea is just China’s sidekick in human rights abuses, and they really seem to have mastered the whole concentration camp thing. The “greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere” has been redone for the 21st century.
Canada is a more polite China. (To quote Weird Al Yankovic in “Canadian Idiot”, “Punch them in the nose and they’ll say they’re sorry. What kind of freaks are that polite?”) Canada has among the most liberal abortion laws in the world. Not being content with eliminating the unborn, Canada has now moved, aggressively, to euthanasia, even coming up with a catchy acronym, “MAiD”, for “medical assistance in dying”. (So much better than the Nazi’s “Aktion T4”, no?) Under the death-fetish Trudeau government, Canada is widely using and expanding euthanasia to far more than incurable and terminal diseases. They are painting “disease” with a pretty broad stroke and including mental illness, distress and even poverty to the indications. Most disturbing, and sad, Canada is even proposing involuntary euthanasia for children “suffering” from illnesses.(4) The involuntary euthanasia of children is EXACTLY how Nazi Germany started the Aktion T4 euthanasia program in 1939.(5) In 2021, there were over 10,000 euthanasia murders in Canada, which constituted 3.3% of all deaths in Canada that year.(4) Given the expansion and enthusiasm for murder of the Canadian untermenschen, they seem to be just getting started. As a side effect, Canada today (2023, not 1943) makes up 50% of organs harvested following euthanasia worldwide!(6) Repulsive. Another side effect and, perhaps motivation, is balancing the Canadian health care budget. Canada’s single-payer health care system, darling to the Sanders-Warren socialists in the US Congress, dominates their yearly budget. For example, elective surgery is undertaken until the yearly money runs out, usually in November. Thereafter, they operate on emergencies only and everything else rolls over to the next year, hence, long waiting times for elective surgery in Canada. I was a visiting professor of anesthesiology in Montreal during the year of the SARS epidemic. That year, they had run out of money by September, so in October when I was there, the anesthesiologists sat around eating Tim Horton’s donuts and reading the paper, with the occasional emergency operation. Thus, MAiD releases more Canadian health care dollars for things like elective abortion and gender transition surgery, both covered by their single-payer system.
Not to be outdone, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, a professed “Roman Catholic” is pushing a legislative agenda that would make even Justin Trudeau blush. He has touted California as a sanctuary for abortion, advertising it to out of staters for murder, I mean, abortion, tourism. Newsom’s administration now requires California colleges to dispense abortion medication, advocates same-sex marriage, promotes gender ideology, and, as we know, California has the most liberal IVF and surrogacy laws in the world (medical tourism of a different nature.) Newsom (Nancy Pelosi’s nephew) also married in the Church, divorced and subsequently “remarried” in a civil ceremony. (I suppose adultery is small potatoes relative to murder of the unborn, but someone who cheats on their spouse will not hesitate to cheat on anything else.) Recently, Newsom has formed a coalition of 20 democrat state governors to increase abortion access nationwide, taking their pro-death lobbying to a new level.(7)
Michelle Lujan-Grisham of New Mexico (Kim Jon Un to Newsom’s Xi Jinping) stated that the Dobbs decision “horrified” her and put pressure on the governors to act.(8) This is the same Lujan-Grisham (“Catholic”, by the way) who allocated $10 million of New Mexico taxpayer dollars (including mine) to build a new abortion clinic in Dona Ana County, near El Paso, so Texans could more conveniently kill their unborn children.(9) (Do you think she and Newsom exchange Valentine cards? Maybe a grim reaper with a pink heart on his scythe and a caption that says, “You kill me”?)
Topping this all out, is “devout Catholic” President Biden, who never met a pro-abortion policy he didn’t like. The Biden administration’s bloodlust for abortion following the Dobbs decision is unprecedented, as is their push for all things homosexual and transgender. The President even had the temerity to be pictured recently with ashes on his forehead during the photo-op visit to Poland and Ukraine. (Does he have no shame?)
Governors Newsom and Lujan-Grisham, as well as President Biden, are typical of the US “but Catholics”, whom we have previously discussed. Also called, “cafeteria Catholics” (since they choose what they like from a menu of options;) the “but Catholics” (You’ve seen them… “I’m Catholic, but there should be right to choose, marry, change sex, etc., etc.,”) stumble through life, content in their tolerating, or “being cool with” various offenses against the Church and humanity, since no one tells them differently and they face no consequence. As truly repugnant, pro-abortion cheerleader, democrat representative Ted Lieu of California has said, “I dare them to deny me communion.”(10) The most infuriating and nonsensical position of the “but Catholics” is the “choice” argument. “I’m personally pro-life and would never have an abortion, but I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose” is like reading from a playbook for the “but Catholics.” This is precisely like saying, “I personally support the Jews and have no problem with them, but that is Germany’s choice and not my business.” The “but Catholics” are supported in their misguided fantasies by evil organizations like “Catholics for Choice”, which is an oxymoron in every sense of the word.
As we all know, Iceland is proud of having exterminated each and every unborn child with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome and unabashedly is pursuing a eugenic agenda against the unborn.
The Catholic Church is a massive organization, with over 1.3 billion members. It is a worldwide authority on ethics and morality, looked to by its membership for spiritual guidance. The Church enjoys a strong and well-defined leadership and legal/canonical structure, supported by the Vatican, which is itself, a sovereign state, having diplomatic representation around the world. To say this organization has great power is a massive understatement.
So why doesn’t the Church use this power? What is it afraid of? The Catholic Church is widely disparaged by the liberal media. Is its silence in the face of evil winning it friends? This organization, which has done more in human history than any other to liberate people from oppression, slavery, poverty and injustice, seems to shrink in the face of public criticisms and everyone’s favorite “whataboutism” of, “well, the Catholic Church protects pedophiles,” or whatever nonsense is trending on Twitter.
His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke is not among the Catholic wallflowers. This true man of God is bizarrely castigated by the media echo chamber for the fact that he is not willing to stand silent in the face of evil and he is not “cool” with “choice,” “murder,” “euthanasia,” “transgenderism,” and all other things that lead our immortal souls to damnation. Very soon, every member of the Catholic clergy, numbering nearly 50,000, including all bishops, will receive a copy of Cardinal Burke’s booklet, written in 2007, which directly and explicitly spells out instructions and guidance on denying Holy Communion, specifically to politicians and others who participate in and perpetuate evil, while claiming to be “Catholic”. To quote His Eminence, “The Church cannot remain silent and indifferent to a public offense against the Body and Blood of Christ.”(11) This is sponsored by Catholic Action for Faith and Family, a group devoted to defending the principles of the Catholic faith. Cardinal Burke continues, “No matter how often a Bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow. To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law.”(11) Thomas McKenna, founder and president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family stated, “I hope that mailing the book out will help clergy understand church teaching. “And in some situations,” he added, “where it is warranted, take steps to privately confront public figures who are defiant of church teachings, and begin a process to correct them, and if they don’t repent and continue to publicly cause scandal, then to ask them to not present themselves for Holy Communion.”(11)
Cardinal Burke wrote this book in 2007, before Barack Obama became president and it is not aimed at any specific politician or public figure, but even then, Catholicism was becoming a decorative accessory for politicians and celebrities, rather than the religion it is expected to be. Certainly, he likely did not anticipate the bloodlust of the Biden administration for abortion and the novelty of gender ideology in the current era, but his work is vital and more important now than ever.
This is a good first step, but it is not nearly enough. In 1936, the slightest French resistance in the Rhineland would have stopped Hitler cold. Instead of campaigns against the Traditional Latin Mass, it is time for the Church to forcefully resist the mass genocide of the unborn, systematic murder of the elderly, infirm and disabled, the mutilation of people (particularly children and adolescents,) the promotion of gender ideology, and it needs to take direct and affirmative action over and above statements of concern. The Vatican is a sovereign state, albeit small, and should act accordingly. To that end:
- The Holy Father should issue an apostolic constitution restating and definitively setting out Catholic positions on life, gender identity and marriage.
- After appropriate warning and opportunity to atone, if “Catholic” politicians and other prominent figures continue to support and condone evil, they should be publicly excommunicated.
- The Holy See should sever diplomatic relations with Canada, China, Iceland and any other country whose behavior is dramatically in contrast to fundamental Church principles. This means the passports of the citizens of these countries would be invalid for entry into the Vatican.
- The Holy See should enact an economic embargo against these said countries and forbid any commerce with these entities. While churches could still function, the Church, as a matter of policy, should engage in no commerce with these entities.
- Faithful Catholics should be encouraged to follow suit with their own economic decisions. I will never again set foot in Iceland and do not buy any Icelandic products. You’ll never see me buying Lululemon athletic wear for Christmas Gifts or flying Air Canada (yes, both Canadian companies.) Many Americans already boycott Chinese products, albeit with difficulty, given the widespread use of slave labor by multinational conglomerates. As much as I love green chili, my spending dollars are not going to New Mexico anymore. The Catholic Church, through its dioceses and parishes, should publish a Catholic buying guide. Government decisions and business are closely related. Liberal MP’s may think twice before advocating legislation that appeals to a tiny vocal minority of transgender furry activists (don’t google that; you’ll regret it,) if the legislation alienates a massive Catholic population and changes spending habits. Idaho is just as nice of a mountain vacation destination as abortion-crazed Colorado.
Obviously, the Vatican is a tiny state, indeed the world’s smallest. Nevertheless, its influence is far above its size and these actions would make the world take notice. Unless the Vatican is the world’s largest purchaser of maple syrup and moose meat, an economic embargo on Canada will not mean much, but perhaps Portugal may follow suit. And what of the buying power of 1.3 billion Catholics? Perhaps Malta would also sever diplomatic relations. If Canada was condemned as a pariah by the Catholic world, might the Canadian military stage a coup and remove the new Hitler?
Humanity is under attack and tanks are rolling into the Rhineland. Someone needs to resist. It is likely that other strongly Catholic countries may follow suit. Again, a lot of this is small in practical terms, but the hue and outcry will make “Catholic” politicians and the “but Catholics” think twice before assaulting human life and dignity. I am confident this will result in a re-awakening of the sleeping Catholics in the US and around the world. Lukewarm Catholicism is neither effective nor desired. To quote the Lord in Luke, 12:49, “For I have come to cast fire upon the world.”
We’re through being cool.
George Mychaskiw II, DO, FAAP, FACOP, FASA
Saint Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering
School of Osteopathic Medicine
- Kershaw, Ian. Hitler Hubris, New York: Norton, 1998. ISBN 978-0393320350.
- Shirer, William. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, New York: Viking.