Friday, February 25, 2005

Prayer and the UN

I was talking today with a senior official from the Holy See's Mission to the UN for a story I'm doing for the National Catholic Register. The legal committee of the UN passed a resolution calling for member states to forbid human cloning.

That action was less than what was originally hoped for which was a treaty or convention on the matter. But countries like Belgium, Finland, France and the UK were adament that the UN's language and any future treaty only condemn "reproductive" cloning and not "therapeutic" cloning. (The only difference between the two, of course, is that the first allows a newly conceived human person to come to birth and the second allows a scientist to destroy a newly conceived human person after about five days.) The impasse could not be broken and Italy suggested the resolution compromise.

When talking with the Holy See Mission's official, he said a treaty or convention would have made a stronger statement than a declaration, but the politics there "made it impossible" to get that accomplished.

That statement jolted me. "Impossible" to get a world body to agree that nations should bind themselves to not destroy human life. It seemed to me that that impossibility was "impossible" -- not for man, but for God.

When God's will is involved, what Isaiah prophesied holds true: "For just as the rain and the snow come down and do not return without watering the it is with my word. It shall not return to me void but shall do the end for which I sent it" (Is. 55.10-11, my rough paraphrase). Obviously, God's will is to protect human life. And when His will is involved, "nothing is impossible for God" (Luke 1.37).

Not that I am faulting the Holy See's Mission to the United Nations, because I know they work very hard there. I am faulting us laity, particularly those of us in the U.S. who ignore what goes on at the UN as being irrelevant to us. You see, the Holy See is dealing with evil imbedded in national and international policy. As the late Cardinal O'Connor was wont to say when it came to dealing with abortion, which he rightly termed diabolic, the only way to deal with that particular devil was what Jesus said about the devil he cast out of the epileptic boy after the Transfiguration: "This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting." (Matt. 16.21)

So when you have countries willing to, not simply condone, but promote and protect by law the destruction of newly conceived human life for scientific and financial profit, that is as diabolic as abortion. So how can it be dealt with? Prayer and fasting.

Please keep Archbishop Celestino Migliore and his staff at the Holy See's Mission to the UN in your prayers as they go about trying to defend human life and dignity in a place where people are all too willing to destroy it.

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