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PRI Review for March 17, 2017: European Union’s Demographic Whimper; Vatican Hosts The Enemy; Can Rogue Federal Judiciary Be Controlled?

The European Union strikes out at Third World Babies in doomed attempt for demographic survival; The Vatican Hosts The Enemy, starring Paul Ehrlich; Can Rogue Federal Judiciary Be Controlled? Yes, but Congress has to assert its constitutional powers.

PRI Review for March 17, 2017

European Union’s Demographic Whimper; Vatican Hosts The Enemy;

Can Rogue Federal Judiciary Be Controlled?

Our friends in the European Union are going through a profound identity crisis. Slowly but surely, the demographic winter is creeping up on them like an early autumn blizzard – because the warm and sweet summertime of Christian Europe is long past.

Europe’s leaders are scratching their heads. Of course, they don’t want to offend anybody, especially Moslems, Homosexuals, and international elites, but they have no answer for the questions that are arising throughout what was formerly known as Christendom: does Europe have a future at all, and, if so, who will the future Europeans be?

An inordinate number of Europeans have decided that, whatever the future holds, it’s not their problem – they simply aren’t having any children at all. Many of their countrymen are tiptoeing towards the future, limiting their family size to the amazingly low capacity of most European apartments – one or two bedrooms, seldom three – no matter how large the family.

And most European families indeed are not large. So when it comes right down to it, there are only two responses to this demographic reality: either Europeans are going to have a lot more children, or they’re going to stop other people from having them.

In this regard, Europe’s elites appear to assume that the Third World is as decadent as the European Union is. And so, having concluded that Europeans simply will not have more babies, and ignoring totally the massive influx of Moslem aliens that is inundating Europe, Europe’s governments – led by people still known as “leaders” – Have decided massively to subsidize abortions in other countries where people are actually having babies.

In short, Europe has declared war on the peoples of the Third World, aiming to abort children abroad so they will never have to deal with them at home. An aborted potential immigrant is not an immigrant at all – in fact, he is dead, eliminated long before he becomes a problem. And for Europe’s so-called leaders, other people’s children are a big problem indeed.

Let’s start with France. Remember the French Revolution? Well, it’s not over – as Chinese Communist leader Chou En Lai told Otto von Habsburg when standing on the Great Wall of China some 85 five years ago. Our friend Marie Meaney reports on Lifesite News that the French government “is forbidding anybody from trying to convince women not to abort their unborn child. No information may be tendered on the internet or in counseling regarding potential negative consequences of abortion. The latter are considered lies and if caught spreading them, one faces 2 years in prison and up to $37,000 in fines.”

Now this is curious: are the French trying to catch up with Communist China’s one-or-two-child policy? Or are they trying to do them one better by sending a message to France’s potential mothers that it’s better not to have any children at all?

This is bad enough, but France is not alone.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that Canada will spend $650 million in the next three years to increase access to abortion in developing countries. And PRI’s Jonathan Abbamonte recently reported that Australia and Norway were joining in the fun, sending tens of millions to international abortionists to keep Third-World babies from seeing the light of day, lest they pollute the planet so beloved by the world controllers.

What is it that motivates such a public repudiation of basic human rights on the part of the world’s self-anointed elites? One reason might be Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, and his promise to end US government support of abortion worldwide – a direct reversal of the policies of Barrack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In their presidential campaigns, both Obama and Clinton had the stalwart support of the international abortion industry, which in reality is merely a subset of the international population control monolith.

So on the face of it, the new funds coming from the world’s pro-abortion leaders might be seen as simply a repudiation of Donald Trump. But there is more to this resentment then the extermination of Third World babies. Indeed, the international left, unfortunately including many figures in the Vatican, resents not only Trump’s policies but Trump himself. The new President’s opposition to American decline is in diametric opposition to the decline of Europe that is being fomented by the European Union’s bureaucracy and its nominal leaders. In virtually every country in Europe, opponents of the destructive policies of the EU are becoming an increasingly important political community, against which the entrenched elites have no argument other than to scream “Hitler!” and “we have to confront Russia!”

With regard to the influx of millions of young Muslim males into every cranny of Europe, the EU’s leaders are paralyzed. Turkish dictator Recep Erdogan threatens to send millions more into Europe if the EU does not grant him the privileges of EU membership – even as Turkey sinks into the mire of the 21st century’s largest dictatorial Muslim caliphate.

Europe is dying at its core. The European Union confronts the Third World not with the loving wave of a neighbor but the savage brandishing of the curette of the abortionist. Its only answer to the challenges of international relations is death to Third World babies. Oh, Europe’s elites will fret about the perceived threat from Vladimir Putin and Russia, but the people of Europe have other concerns. They are aghast at the speed with which Christendom has been brought crashing down by secular internationalists, ravaging population controllers, and spineless bureaucrats who avert their gaze as the face of Europe is changed forever.

Over ten years ago, the European Union refused even to acknowledge Europe’s Christian roots. And yet, one abiding truth persists, haunting the entire continent: a Christian West can triumph over any adversary. But a decadent, secular West will collapse in the face of any opposition that is fueled by religious fervor, however misguided and even perverted.

This is PRI Review from When we come back, we’ll have news from the Vatican.

Segment Two

A recent symposium at the Vatican was hosted by Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sarondo, who has been crusading for left-wing causes ever since Pope Francis brought him to Rome from Argentina.

PRI’s Jonathan Abbamonte reports:

A recent symposium at the Vatican hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences aimed at discussing the implications of biodiversity loss and finding ways to promote sustainable development.

While Catholic teaching promotes stewardship of the environment, some of the participants invited to speak at the symposium have a history of promoting interventions directly contrary to Catholic teaching such as contraception and population control.

Among the more notorious controversial figures invited to participate at the Vatican workshop was none other than Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, the world-famous author of The Population Bomb and longtime advocate of population control.

“The biggest problem we face is continual expansion of the human enterprise,” Ehrlich said last week at Casina Pio IV, home of the PAS, “perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell and we really have to look at the size of the human enterprise.”

According to United Nations Population Division data, however, fertility rates on average have declined considerably since the mid 1960’s. The Population Division projects that world population is set to peak sometime around the end of this century. Far from being overpopulated, the entire world population could presently fit twice into Long Island.

“We are already in a societal collapse,” Ehrlich warned, “when you get a diminishing…marginal returns (sic) [on society’s efforts to supply demand through increasing] complexity.”

Ehrlich cited the comparatively high profits made on oil drilling in Texas during the early part of 20th century and the much lower per unit present-day returns made on extracting oil from the tar-sands in Canada as a recent example of diminishing marginal returns. Ehrlich appeared to suggest that the same holds true not just for oil, but for resources generally. “This goes across all society,” Ehrlich said.

While it may be true that Texas petroleum provided greater returns per unit of investment than the tar-sands do, the example is not as readily applicable across all sectors of society as a whole as Ehrlich seems to imply. For one, the marginal return on oil can quickly increase if an easily accessible oil reserve is discovered or if technology makes extraction cheaper. After the Texas oil fields started to go dry, vast reserves were subsequently discovered on the Arabian Peninsula, reserves, that to this day, continue to supply much of the world’s petroleum. Certainly, there will come a day when all our oil reserves will run dry, but humans are not simply consumers, but also innovators.

In The Population Bomb, Ehrlich predicted that humanity would outstrip its capacity to feed itself by the 1980’s, resulting in mass starvation and famine. But as the 80’s came and passed, Ehrlich’s prediction was proven wrong. Far from the mass starvation prophesied by Ehrlich, undernourishment has actually proportionally decreased in recent decades.

According to the United Nations, since 1990, even as the world population increased by 2 billion people, undernourishment dropped from 24% to 14% in developing countries. Certainly, human dignity demands that we continue to reduce the prevalence of hunger in the world. But the point remains: significant progress has been made even as world population has continued to grow considerably.

While only fifty years ago it seemed impossible that the planet could support today’s world population, human ingenuity has more than accounted for the gap. Crop yields have continued to increase predictably over the past decades and are higher today than they have ever been. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as of 2014, the world now grows 69% more food on only 28% more land than in 1961.

In terms of annual average food production, there is more food available per person in the world today than there has ever been before.

And this not just true for the world as a whole. A similar trend is also apparent when the data is restricted just to Africa alone.

The Vatican symposium also counted among its participants John Bongaarts, Vice President and Distinguished Scholar at the Population Council, a well-known and widely-regarded scholar whose research centers largely on promoting contraception and on studying the factors that affect fertility.

Bongaarts’ research has also delved into abortion on occasion. Some years ago, Bongaarts wrote an article on the “efficiency” of menstrual regulation as a method of family planning. In it, he found that while it was not preferable to contraception, menstrual regulation “appears to be a rational procedure” under certain circumstances that “should not be performed unless a positive pregnancy test has been obtained” [1]—meaning that if one is obtained, then the procedure is advisable. “Menstrual regulation,” of course, is simply a euphemism for a very early term vacuum aspiration abortion.

The Population Council is currently, publicly opposing the Mexico City Policy recently reinstated by President Trump. The Mexico City Policy prevents millions of taxpayer dollars from subsidizing foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion in other countries.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is an excommunicable offense and “willed either as an ends or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” (CCC 2272; CCC 2271).

Likewise, the Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception is not morally licit for the purpose of spacing or postponing births. Pope Paul VI’s papal encyclical Humanae vitae states “the direct interruption of the generative process already begun…are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.”

Among the topics covered by Bongaarts in his presentation was the so-called “unmet need” for contraception, a semantic tool often used by contraception advocates to place a certain sense of urgency for ramping-up contraceptive procurement in foreign aid programs.

Having an “unmet need” for contraception is roughly defined as women 15-49 years of age who are married or cohabiting, fecund, don’t want a child within two years, and are not currently using a method of family planning. Using this definition, Bongaarts correctly cited the estimated proportion of women in the developing world having a so-called “unmet need,” but failed to mention that a significant percentage of these women don’t even want contraception.

In Kenya, for instance, the latest Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) found that out of the 38% of women not using contraception who don’t intend to do so in the future, only 0.2% of respondents cited cost or lack of access as the reason for choosing not to use contraception. The vast majority of women not intending to use contraception in the future instead cited reasons like side-effects, health concerns, infrequent sex, and personal or moral opposition as reasons for not using family planning. Similar trends were evident in the 2008 Sierra Leone DHS and in other places in Africa.

Bongaarts also made numerous references to contraception as a means to prevent unplanned pregnancies, or equivalently, what contraception advocates outside of the Vatican grounds will as often refer to as “unwanted” pregnancies. The notion “unwanted” births is antithetical to the Christian understanding of the human person which values each and every individual as a unique and irreplaceable gift from God. The notion of an unplanned or an “unwanted” pregnancy as something to be avoided at all costs springs from a contraceptive mentality that cheapens the value of human life and the meaning of marriage.

Rather than seeking to reduce population growth through artificial methods of contraception that pose hazards to women’s health and cheapen the dignity of human life, the Church has always had a very different view. The Church has taught that couples should observe responsible parenthood through natural family planning methods such as NFP by having the number of children that they can reasonably expect to support physically, emotionally, and financially, not only with respect to their duties in family life but also with respect to their duties to society at large. Yet, couples are always to remain open to whatever new life God may choose to bring into the family regardless of the circumstances—for every life is valuable and has the right to be accepted. No price tag or socioeconomic indicator can be compared with the value of a single human life. And that’s as it ought to be.

This is PRI Review from When we come back, we’ll take a look at rogue judges in the Untied States – and what the Congress can do about them.


Jesus’ words mean whatever the listener wants them to mean

In recent weeks we have seen federal judges intervening in foreign affairs, marriage law, school bathroom privileges, and a host of other issues that are not the province of the courts, but of the executive or legislative branches of the federal government. Many are no business of the federal government at all, because the Constitution endows the federal government with certain express powers, and no more; the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states and to the people all other powers that preexisted the Constitution of 1787 in the first place.

Of course, this is all news to today’s law students and lawyers, all of whom stand in awe of the courts and consider their words to be supreme indeed. Today let’s take a brief look at how this attitude has come to pass.

Let’s start with abortion. Right now, Planned Parenthood and other similar groups are bombarding the Senate with demands that senators defeat the president’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Since these are all single issue groups, it’s easy to perceive their single issue – unlimited abortion on demand. They perceive Judge Gorsuch as a threat, apparently because he might know something about the Constitution.

For America’s founders, the right to life was fundamental – in fact, it existed long before the Bill of Rights was written, and was acknowledged in both the law and the culture. That’s why the right to life is central to the argument made by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

But today the courts have declared that they are no longer bound by Jefferson’s “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” With regard to the right to life, the courts simply cannot trusted. And before calling that view “extreme,” consider: there is ample precedent for that judgment.

Let’s review it briefly:

New York Gov. Charles Evans Hughes, before he became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, affirmed 110 years ago that “we are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.” To soften the radical character of that assertion, he sugar-coated it with some happy-talk: “… and the judiciary is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property under the Constitution,” he added.

Actually, Your Honor, the Constitution is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property. Every official in every branch of government swears an oath of office to uphold the Constitution – and nowhere does a federal official swear to uphold the whims of what Antonin Scalia aptly called a committee of five unelected lawyers.

But the Supreme Court thinks otherwise, and has been pleased to arrogate to itself the august task of telling us what the Constitution says. In Cooper v. Aaron (1958), a unanimous Court made it clear:

Article VI of the Constitution makes the Constitution the “supreme Law of the Land.” In 1803, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for a unanimous court, referring to the Constitution as the “fundamental and paramount law of the nation,” declared in the notable case of Marbury v. Madison that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” This decision declared that basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this court in the country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system.”

Which brings us to the metaphysical level – or, rather, to the denial of metaphysics altogether. If “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” – that is, the Natural Law – no longer constrain the Court’s powers, what – beyond a capricious judiciary — is to protect our Right to Life? Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez acknowledges America’s Christian roots, but goes on to observe that “our freedoms are also being eroded as the result of constant agitation from de-Christianizing and secularizing elements in American society.” Unfortunately, those “elements” now dominate our legal system, where “the Dictatorship of Relativism” abounds in the robes of Legal Positivism.

And with the destruction of metaphysics comes the destruction of limits. The denial of a natural order flows from what Augustine called the libido dominandi, the love of power. No one talks much about that fundamental defect of pride these days, for the simple reason that, in politics, virtually everybody suffers from it.

So let’s talk about it, and let’s start with legal positivism.

This radical concept rests on the assumption that the law need have no basis in morality. In fact, it can’t have a basis in morality, because moral standards don’t exist.

This theory tells us that, as long as the mechanics and procedures of the government and its agencies – courts, legislatures, and so on – are followed, their decision is above reproach, since there is no higher law to appeal to.

As PRI’s longtime friend and board chairman Charles Rice, Notre Dame Professor of Constitutional Law, has noted , “Hans Kelsen, the father of legal positivism, observed that Auschwitz and the Soviet Gulags were valid law. He could not criticize them as unjust because justice, he said, is ‘an irrational ideal.’”

Kelsen had formulated his theory before the outbreak of World War II, but he survived the war. Did its horrors perhaps change his mind? Not at all. In fact, after the war he could not condemn the murders of tens of millions because, he insisted, according the laws of the countries where they occurred, they were all legal.

Kelsen’s view holds not only for Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, but for America today. During the Senate hearings considering the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden repeatedly browbeat the nominee about the dangers of applying the Natural Law in American jurisprudence. “You come before this committee with a philosophy different from that which we have seen in any Supreme Court nominee in the [last] 19 years,” he sniffed. What did Biden find so “different”? Simple: “You are an adherent to the view that the Natural Law should inform the Constitution.”

Senator Patrick Leahy then asserted that the Natural Law is “elastic,” a notion which Biden seconded by alleging that his version of the Natural Law protects abortion rights. But Judge Thomas would not engage the legal issue. “My interest in the whole area was as a political philosophy,” he told Biden.

Biden, Leahy, and Thomas are all Catholics. So is Justice Kennedy, who wrote in 1992 that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Clearly current jurisprudence has sundered the courts from the true source of justice. They simply cannot be trusted.

Catholic? Or American?

Senator Biden stated a simple fact: appeals to the Natural Law will fail in the Supreme Court. And we can count on Senator Leahy and his Democrat colleagues to press Judge Gorsuch on the issue of natural law, since Gorsuch actually studied at Oxford with Professor John Finnis, who has studied the natural law all his life.

So Biden insists that natural law arguments must fail at the Supreme Court. Well, must they then fail in the Catholic Church as well?

In His commencement speech at Catholic University in 2012, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, then President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), exulted “that this university is both Catholic and American, flowing from the most noble ideals of truth and respect for human dignity that are at the heart of our Church and our country.”

Indeed, ever since the efforts of Cardinal Gibbons a hundred years ago, American prelates have labored to make Catholics “good Americans.” But today the bishops — longtime supporters, collaborators, and beneficiaries of the federal government — have suddenly awakened to the fact that the government might have filed for divorce.

And the grounds? The government, like Hans Kelsen, insists that truth and human dignity are “irrational ideals.”

Clearly, like all Americans, Catholics have every right to demand that the courts respect the right to life. However, our positivist courts roundly reject the notion that they might have any responsibility to do so. The courts have revised the Constitution repeatedly over the years, and they are likely to do so again. After all, “the Constitution is what they say it is.”

What cannot be revised, however, is Humanae Vitae . There, Natural Law and the Teaching and Tradition of the Church combine to illuminate our troubled world with the brilliant, saving light of eternal moral truth. Alas, it’s a rare occasion indeed when a bishop ever mentions Humanae Vitae, at least en passant, in advocating the right to life.

After all, the Truth is still the Truth, whatever the courts say it is.

And Americans cannot count on a court that has abandoned metaphysics, the Natural Law, and The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

Clearly, since Engel v. Vitale , Roe v. Wade , and a host of other deleterious Supreme Court decisions, any sane person can tell that the Supreme Court, like Senators Biden and Leahy, has only contempt for the Natural Law.

Now Thomas Aquinas says that a bad law, lex malla, is no law at all – lex nulla. But for the Church formally to announce that fact as the basis for its refusal to obey a lex malla would bring on certain retaliation – defunding of its welfare agencies, attacks on its tax exemption, abuse, derision – even persecution, driven by the cultural and political elites whose power relies on the progressive degeneration of our culture and the corruption of our politics.

Persecution – really? Professor Rice and the late Cardinal George of Chicago both warned that persecution will indeed come. But are we ready for it?

The Constitution itself contains the best prescription for dealing with rogue judges. let’s look at what it says.

Article III, Section 2, gives the Congress the power to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and to restrict the classes of issues over which it now claims appellate jurisdiction. As Professor Rice testified to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution in 1981, Congress can enact narrowly conceived and narrowly drawn exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction of the Court in a particular class of cases, without abolishing altogether the appellate jurisdiction of the Court itself. “It is quite clear that Congress does have the power,” he testified.

In fact, nine years earlier, my father, Clarence Manion, former Dean of Notre Dame’s Law School, wrote that the power of the Congress to restrict, control, and/or abolish selected categories of the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction is unlimited.”

Since that time 45 years ago, increasingly leftist professors in the field of law and political science have chided their students who dare to raise this issue – but all they can do is to bluff, assuring the students that “the Supreme Court would merely find such restrictions to be unconstitutional.”

Of course, such admissions are and admixture of wishful thinking and outright lobbying, but they also reveal the realization on the part of the legal profession that the Constitution plainly places such power in the hands of the legislature.

But does our Congress, so riddled with special interests, have the backbone to take back its responsibility and use that power?

We’ll see. For now, what it boils down to in our own age is this: today the out-of-control judiciary has declared that the Constitution is simply unconstitutional.

This has beenƒ PRI Review from Thanks for listening.

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