by Robert Moynihan
The human body is a temple. It is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, given to us by God. We must treat the body with the same respect with which we treat a religious building, dedicated to God: with reverence and piety
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” —1 Corinthians 6:19
“The purveyors of darkness in the world are many and growing. Perhaps the COVID crisis is the Lord’s way of awakening the Church to the powers and principalities that threaten us — the health of our bodies, the freedom of our souls.”
—Robert Kennedy, Jr., son of Senator Robert Kennedy, assassinated in June of 1968, 52 years ago. His son, devastated by the loss of his father, passed through many years of difficulties. Now he leads a global movement in defense of the health of children. We interview him in our “Lead Story #1” in this issue on the question of a (hypothetical) vaccine for the coronavirus
“We are all called to assess the current situation in a way consistent with the teaching of the Gospel. This means taking a stand: either with Christ or against Christ… Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be erased under the pretext of a virus, and an odious technological tyranny to be established.” —Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a May 8 Appeal to the Church and to the world, signed by more than 50,000 people around the globe. The Appeal is the subject of our “Lead Story #2” in this issue
June 15, 2020— These recent months have been “times that try men’s souls” as the coronavirus has spread worldwide, countries have “locked down” their economies, travel has been greatly reduced, schools have been closed or gone “online,” millions of jobs have been lost, thousands of businesses have closed, at least temporarily, and all of this was followed by the death of George Floyd, 46, on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, followed by protests again police violence and racism throughout America and worldwide, including the toppling of many statues and the burning of many businesses. It appears that our entire world is in a state of danger, confusion, violence, and looming poverty.
At the same time, there are many noble souls who continue to calmly do their work: so many doctors, so many mothers and fathers, and so many in every profession, seeking to “hold fast” what is right in spite of the dangers of these times. We would like to salute all of you, the “unsung heroes” who go about the duties of daily life with heroic patience and courage.
But we would also like to salute those who have been brave enough to take a public stance against the confusion and chaos that seems to be springing up all around us. One is Robert Kennedy, Jr., who has become a defender of the health of children worldwide, and the other is Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who continues to speak out regularly in defense of the Catholic faith in a time when that faith is increasingly regarded as unacceptable in “polite” circles. This does not mean that either man is perfect. It does mean that our public discourse would be lamentably impoverished if we did not have the voices of these men to provide an alternative vision for how to cope with this crisis.
In this sense, both men are a little like the young lad David who went up against the Philistine giant, Goliath, with only a slingshot and five smooth stones.
The first is trying to defend the bodies of human beings, particularly the bodies of children, from the potential harm stemming from medical technologies — vaccines, but not only vaccines — which are very profitable, but not always without side effects, and sometimes quite harmful. He is calling insistently for more science, more knowledge, not for ignorance and throwing science away. “How can we do things better?” is his insistent question. And he is right, and courageous, to ask the question in a time when very powerful interests do not want such questions asked.
“What of the healthy children whose health may be permanently damaged by experimental vaccines in the name of the ‘greater good’?” interviewer Stefanie Stark asks Kennedy in our interview with him. “And what of the unborn babies upon whose remains vaccine manufacturers are building a vast new enterprise?”
And she suggests: “Perhaps the COVID crisis is the Lord’s way of awakening the Church to the powers and principalities that threaten us — the health of our bodies, the freedom of our souls. It seems that we, the faithful, are being called to take up our own slingshots with the bravery of our forebear David, and stand against the Goliaths who believe our health and freedom are theirs to grasp.”
Archbishop Viganò is increasingly becoming a sign of contradiction, with many appreciating what they see as his courage and candor in denouncing abuse and calling for fidelity to the traditional faith of the Church, but with many others beginning to condemn him as intemperate and exaggerated, and dangerously so. I have spoken to him recently about this growing division in how Catholics view his declarations. “I am trying to follow my conscience,” Viganò told me. “I am trying to go deeper down to the root of the problem. I am praying to the Blessed Virgin and to Our Lord to grant me the wisdom to see clearly.”
However one judges him, Viganò is certainly right that, collectively, we ought not “allow centuries of Christian civilization to be erased under the pretext of a virus.” To use the words of Stefanie Stark, “It seems that we, the faithful, are being called to take up our own slingshots with the bravery of our forebear David, and stand against the Goliaths who believe our health and freedom are theirs to grasp” — who believe the heritage of faith handed down to us is theirs to forget, discard, condemn.
Peter was the first leader of the Church, chosen by Jesus to become “the rock” upon which He would build His Church. We know Peter denied the Lord three times on the night He was arrested. When the cock crowed at dawn, Peter realized what he had done, and “wept bitter tears.” We know Jesus said to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Lk 22:31-32) May it be always so.