By Hilary White
January 5th, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The following is the complete text of LifeSiteNews.com’s interview with Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International:
LSN: We see the crisis of abortion sometimes in isolation. We look at individual problems like the health care bill in the US, or the threat to national sovereignty presented by the Lisbon Treaty, or we look at a particular political party or candidate and we focus our attention on those things, but we need also to look at the larger picture. What does the abortion crisis, and the moral crisis, presage in the larger realm?
TE: A moral degradation precedes social and political degradation. And we see a take-over of the financial system. We see a dismantling of the free market as we know it, which is a hallmark of western democracy. We see a socialization of huge industries, such as the health care industry, even the insurance industry is part of this process of socialization. I say it is not remarkable that it is happening now.
You mention that it has already happened in Europe and we’re now catching up. Of course, because Europe legalized abortion, Europe had their moral degradation prior to us. And now they’re seeing a rapid systematic dismantling of their economies.
LSN: Can a line between legalized abortion and the financial crisis be drawn clearly?
TE: The line to me is the spiritual and moral dimension of it. The spiritual and moral affect everything that we do. But usually because there is a greater accountability in the financial and economic realm of things, it takes longer for that to degrade. When people start losing money, they begin to wake up. And God allows that because when people do not recognize the demands of morality and the demands of God, the only thing they’re willing to listen to oftentimes is their pocket book. There’s a great possibility in all these structural changes that are happening now that people could turn around and become moral again, because of the financial crisis. Also, any type of disaster turns people back to God, as we saw after 9-11. We didn’t sustain that because we got back on our feet economically.
LSN: Do you anticipate a social crisis similar to that of Britain in the US?
TE: The social crisis happens when we elect people to rule over us who are immoral. That is not an isolated incident anymore. We have immoral activists at every branch of government and everywhere we turn around the pagans are in charge of our institutions. So people who don’t have a moral bearing to elect other moral people, elect immoral politicians and people to serve over them, eventually end up reaping the fruit of those immoral decisions. So immoral lifestyles produce immoral leaders.
LSN: This should come as a surprise to no one, though.
TE: It’s not. It’s happened in every society that has reached its pinnacle of civilization and then collapsed. Look at Carthage, the Phoenician empire was much more powerful than Rome for a period of time. But Carthage had a religion that offered human sacrifice of babies. Eventually it degraded from within and collapsed on itself.
LSN: What do you anticipate then, with our global culture?
TE: We’ve got a serious crisis on the horizon. I’m not a prophet of doom but I don’t see this going any other way but a serious political crisis that’s going to affect the globe.
LSN: You don’t think there is going to be a backlash? A natural return to moral sanity? In Britain, even if most people don’t understand why the situation is so bad, they are clearly fed up with Blairism and are going to kick the Labour Party out. Do you think that people will say “enough” before a global social disaster?
TE: The only way we can avert a global collapse is by a moral conversion. Once again, we have to reverse the process. Just to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, is not a way to stop the collapse, the sinking of the Titanic. We have to turn back to God. And if people get fed up and just elect another political party that is just as bad as the previous political party, it does nothing to stem the global crisis that’s going to come upon us. What we need is a conversion of heart.
LSN: How is this going to come about, barring a massive disaster?
TE: It’s going to be the natural result of suffering. People turn back to God when they suffer. People can turn back to God because they listen to reason. Or because they hear good preaching or because they have good moral leadership. It could also happen that way, where if the Church were living up to its vocation – and I mean mainly Church leadership – then the people have a fighting chance of turning this back.
A good example of where it’s not happening was this summer. Many of us were happy that people were attending the townhall meetings and tea parties and yelling and screaming, but it was all about the economics. Where were these people when they were killing babies? Where are these people since they are continuing to kill babies. Where is this kind of anger generated by that?
Biblically, we see Nineveh, as a sign that this kind of thing can happen. They responded to God’s grace.
LSN: So where’s our Jonah?
TE: (Pope) Benedict, and John Paul before him, they are true prophets. We have witnesses such as Terri Schiavo who was a victim. They are victim witnesses. We have the witnesses of holiness in the lives of sanctity that we see proposed to us by the Church throughout the ages, but in the modern age we are not lacking at all.
LSN: But we’ve had martyrs, modern martyrs, so where’s the miracle? Where’s the big conversion?
TE: I think because the seriousness of the shedding of innocent blood through the 20th century into the 21st century, the spiritual deficit is too great. The scales are tipped too low, and I really believe that we’re going to need a great martyrdom in order to return the balance. Abraham Lincoln, believe it or not, said that the cost of slavery was all the blood shed in the Civil War. And I believe ... how will we pay back the cost of abortion? Our trillion-dollar debt in the United States isn’t anything in comparison to the actual debt that we owe to reality and to God and to the human race even for the killing of innocents.
50 million is what is killed every year around the world. It’s a global genocide and it’s totally unrepented.
And with contraception and abortion, we’re basically committing mass suicide on a global scale.
LSN: Lots of people have been sounding the trumpet of warning for a long time…
TE: It’s human nature. Human nature doesn’t listen. My mother always says those who do not listen must feel. You get the message when you feel it hurting you and striking you back. I believe that is very much the way human nature operates. It’s the law of nature that we are slothful until we’re woken up. The Gospels have so many messages saying not only ‘stay awake’ but ‘wake up!’ and see what is happening around you and if you don’t then death happens.
LSN: Death happens?
TE: The principle is that what happens under the surface eventually comes out into the open. So the killing of babies eventually leads to the euthanizing of elderly and sick people. That’s the law. It happens infallibly. It’s part of the moral law of nature, the moral dimension of nature, that if you don’t see something that is so necessary to see on a personal scale, eventually it becomes social, so that you can’t miss it.
The sad part is that we might as individuals and even as a majority of society we might see it, we might get the message. But we’ve elected these clowns who don’t get the message.
LSN: Why do we who see the problem and keep electing the same ‘clowns’ then?
TE: They see it but they don’t really see it. Because seeing it has implications for action. And if they’re not willing to act according to what they see, then they’re not part of the solution.
But it’s probably more a question of people not having good leadership. People become paralyzed very easily when they feel isolated. You’re only one vote, you’re just one person, what can you do? But if you had leadership that is saying ‘follow me, we’ll all do this together’ then we would have much more impact on society.
LSN: Where is the leadership? Here we are, there’s the dome of St. Peter’s right out that window…
TE: We have individual leaders that are stellar. Such as here, in Archbishop (Raymond) Burke. I think the man is just a modern saint. And his leadership does not go unnoticed. However as just one individual bishop there’s only so much he can do. We don’t have conferences of bishops that are giving us leadership as a body of bishops. When will that come? It will probably only come when [the secular governments] start forcing the bishops to pay for abortions. Those who do not listen must feel.
LSN: People are saying that there has been a surprisingly strong reaction from the US bishops to abortion funding in the American health care bill. Where’s that coming from?
TE: I think there are more bishops who are seeing it for what it is. There are more bishops who have less of the liberal agenda and are just more Catholic. When their number increases then we have more leadership in the body of bishops.
LSN: Has there been a backlash by the Catholic bishops against the attempts to force Catholic health care services to provide contraception and abortion in places like Massachusetts?
TE: In some ways the bishops’ hands are tied because they don’t have control over the Catholic health care any more. In most cases the bishops are not the owners of these institutions. They can only exercise moral leadership and not legal control over an entity. That being said, they can exercise a great deal of influence over these institutions as well and when they’re willing to do it, they have incredible influence.
Pro-abortion forces in the US government are becoming more aggressive against [the bishops]. That’s where I think the bishops as a body will stand up and make stronger statements as time goes on because more is going to be threatened. Not just the tax-exempt status but Catholic institutions, Catholic identity and they will have to defend that or they will not be Catholic.
That’s why I think that something like abortion, because it’s proposed and spread as a personal choice, is much more difficult to deal with than communism because communism is imposed from the outside. This health care situation, the socializing of medicine and the attack on our fundamental values, could be the wake-up call that we need. Because it is an external imposition on us that runs contrary to our values, militates against our values. And in order to defend those basic identity issues the bishops have to do something.
LSN: I’ll give you the case of the government of Britain forcing the closure or secularization of Catholic adoption agencies. When the British Labour government, in the person of Tony Blair, refused to give a religious exemption to the Sexual Orientation Regulations, the bishops shrugged and secularized their adoption agencies. So they’ve lost the Catholic service of adoption in Britain.
TE: And they may lose more. As the attacks against our values and institutions get more militant, they’re going to have to make those very hard decisions. Our point is that they’ve had the question of the salvation of souls as a perennial question for them and in a lot of those cases they haven’t done anything. Souls are being lost. Now they’re talking about the loss of health care institutions, which is nothing in value to compare with the loss of a soul. So maybe this is the way that the Catholic leadership will wake up and realize that there is so much that potentially can be lost here and get them back on their mission putting the salvation of souls as their primary concern.
I’ve always said, and I’ll continue to say it, for a bishop to be a real bishop, he has to be willing to go to war. That is a war not only with the secular culture but often times the most difficult part of that is the war with his own people. To make them truly Catholic and to witness to them.
LSN: Have there been concrete gains from the faithfulness of the people in the movement to restore sanity?
TE: We need to watch the things that don’t get a lot of press, and that is the movements, such as the pro-life movement. It’s important to keep an eye on the people who are doing good things and the way they are doing them. I think the unsung heroes of the pro-life movement are the crisis pregnancy centres. This very humble, down-to-earth grassroots movement that gets no press at all but they’re saving babies and saving souls every single day out there. 40 Days for Life, positive things like that, the March for Life, we have plenty of things to keep us enthusiastic in this war.
Every war is discouraging because you lose some battles. And sometimes you lose a lot of battles before you actually win one and then turn the tide. So I think we need encouraging things, to find and promote them to show people that all is not lost.
LSN: Are there signs that the tide is turning?
TE: No. I don’t think the tide is turning. I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet. I think the crisis we were talking about earlier will be the way in which the tide turns. Again, I’m not predicting anything, I just have this intuition that the way things are going, they’re getting worse, they’re declining, they’re dismantling, and that can only mean some form of major destruction down the road. The ones who are now presently on the side of the angels are the ones who are going to get through that. And to bring others along with them back to God.
We can talk about the wonderful people who are already doing that, the saints who are out there on the streets, living their faith and making great sacrifices and those stories need to be told.
And we have to keep in mind that Obama doesn’t define life. I’m an exorcist, and I tell all the people who I work with that the demons do not define your life. They are painful and terrible, however long it may take to remove them and get you back to health, you have to keep this message in mind. That you are not defined by evil. You are defined by God, by Jesus Christ. And the return that some of these people have to make after living terrible lives, and paying the price for that, is part of the reason why God allows evil in the world. It serves a purpose in the overall work of the Kingdom. He allows evil in order to bring something good out of it. In fact something even better than it would have been had evil not been present.
LSN: So this unimaginably huge evil, 50 million people being killed a year…
TE: ...will produce an unimaginably marvelous good, if we are men and women of faith and we look for it.