Saturday 20th October 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

The Incredible Enlarging Child

April 16, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

Psychologists who study perception tell us that we interpret things against a background. We notice what is called the figure, but we interpret the figure in relation to a background which we do not notice. A candle is holy when set on an altar, romantic on a piano, eerie in a jack-o-lantern, and elegant on a table. Toys are clutter when strewn on the floor, but are treasured gifts under the Christmas tree.
Against what kind of background to people interpret the unborn child? There are two competing backgrounds. One is “choice” and the other is the “sanctity of life.” How do we know which background gives us the truth of the unborn child?
One interesting feature of old movies is that they are set in a radically different kind of background than those of contemporary vintage. 1957 was the year that the Soviet Union launched the first space satellite, Sputnik I. Slinkys, Frisbees, and Hula Hoops were popular. American Bandstand made its television debut and Elvis Presley purchased Graceland. The cost of a new house was $12,200 and a gallon of gas averaged 24 cents. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States.
It was a different time with a different background including a widespread anxiety over being contaminated by atomic radiation. One concept that decidedly was not part of the background was “choice.” Abortion was understood as killing an unborn human being.
1957 was the year that Universal Studios released The Incredible Shrinking Man. The main character, Scott Carey, played by Grant Williams, passes through a strange radioactive mist while boating. There is no immediate effect, but he slowly begins to shrink. His wife notices that his clothes are unexplainably too large for him. His wedding ring slides off his finger. He resides temporarily in a dollhouse. He is menaced by a cat, and then by a spider. He becomes so small that no one can hear his screams. His size now is approaching the zero point, or the microscopic size of a zygote. Is he still a human being?
At the close of the movie, Scott finds himself on a basement windowsill looking out at a starry night. He wonders whether someone as small as he is has any meaning. Existential screen writer Richard Matheson provides an answer: “So close — the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly I knew they were the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet — like the closing of a gigantic circle….And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!”
Viewing the Scott Carey character shrinking to a decimal point and observing the enlargement of the unborn child from a one-cell zygote to a mature organism of 35 trillion cells is looking at the same object from opposite ends of the telescope. One gets smaller; the other, larger. But both remain the same being, namely a human being. The movie title employs the word “incredible” to describe its character’s diminution.
Yet the enlargement of the unborn child is at least equally “incredible,” in the sense that it is inexplicable. The movie’s protagonist is “incredible” because his metamorphosis is unknown to us. But the enlargement of the human being, from a zygote to an adult is not only believable because it is observable but even more stupendous than the process of shrinking because the unborn not only increases in size, but develops. His development is not simply an enlargement but a growth in which new modifications arise that are appropriate for each ensuing stage.
In the movie, Fantastic Voyage (1966), a surgical team is microminiaturized and injected with a hypodermic needle into a patient. This Lilliputian team endures a truly harrowing odyssey as it maneuvers to the location of the pathology where it applies the therapy. These stouthearted medical missionaries, “micro-biologists,” finally make their exit from the patient, appropriately enough, through a tear. There never was any suggestion in this motion picture that a person loses his humanity once he is shrunk to a certain lowly size. Nor does this suggestion arise in the more recent 1989 movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (titled The Micro-Children) in its Japanese version.
Existence, nature, and intrinsic value are not controlled by size. In 1968, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity appeared. Here, the future Pope Benedict XVI returns to the familiar question that Scott Carey once again raised: “What is man! (‘…that little speck of dust’) that God is mindful of him?” He answers by pointing out: “The boundless spirit who bears in himself the totality of Being reaches beyond the ‘greatest,’ so that to him it is small and he reaches into the smallest, because to him nothing is too small. Precisely this overstepping down into the smallest is the true nature of absolute spirit.”
The gap between the largest and the smallest human being is infinitely small in comparison between the gap between being and nothingness. If something exists, it stands outside of nothingness. As the screen writer reminds us, from the perspective (or background) of God, there are no zeros. Scott Carey sees himself in relation to the infinite — God — as his background. In this figure/ground perspective he understands that he has meaning and is human.
If time could be reversed, we would all be getting smaller as we approach the zygote point. At no stage, however, would we forfeit our humanity. Whether we shrink or develop, our alteration does not efface our humanity. The Incredibly Shrinking Man has been named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant. We might add, that it is “morally and philosophically” significant as well.
(Dr. Donald DeMarco’s latest book is Why I Am Pro-Life and Not Politically Correct, available at amazon.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…Continue Reading

Michigan AG seizes Catholic dioceses’ records in sex abuse investigation

(CNN)Michigan authorities have seized records from every Catholic diocese in the state as part of an investigation into possible sexual abuse by clergy, the dioceses said in separate statements released Wednesday. The Archdiocese of Detroit, and dioceses in Gaylord, Grand…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal reproves US archbishop for criticizing Youth Synod’s working doc

VATICAN CITY, October 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A second prominent cardinal has publicly rebuked Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput for publishing last week a letter critical of the controversial working document being used at the upcoming Youth Synod in Rome. At a press conference at the Vatican…Continue Reading

Catholic lay leaders: We were wrong about Church, McCarrick on sex abuse crisis

In 2004, Anne Burke went before the City Club of Chicago to say the Catholic Church was beginning “to set things right” by appointing a lay board — which Burke chaired — to address the sex abuse crisis then embroiling…Continue Reading

Protesters demand resignation of Catholic University professor over Kavanaugh tweets

WASHINGTON (RNS) — Demonstrators at the Catholic University of America are calling for the resignation of a dean over tweets he published criticizing a woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. In addition, some demonstrators insisted…Continue Reading

Catholic Magazine Rescinds Endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

America, a weekly Roman Catholic magazine published by members of the Jesuit religious order, on Thursday rescinded its endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh after the Senate hearing on an attempted sexual assault accusation leveled against him by Christine Blasey Ford. “Even…Continue Reading

Pedophilia Isn’t The Main Problem With Catholic Priests, Homosexuality Is

The editorial board of the New York Times declared it had identified the source of “The Catholic Church’s Unholy Stain.” It names pedophilia and asks: “How have so many pedophiles been allowed into the priesthood?” The question was purely rhetorical…Continue Reading

A Persecuted Priest Speaks Out

Here is a link to a 10-minute on-camera Church Militant interview with Father Paul Kalchik, the Chicago priest who is now in hiding after being tossed from his parish by Cardinal Blase Cupich. Kalchik lost his position after presiding over…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Viganò issues third testimony, refutes accusations of Cardinal Ouellet

ROME, October 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a third explosive testimony, in response to an open letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. Here below we publish the official English text of Archbishop Viganò’s third testimony, dated October 19, the liturgical Feast of the North American Martyrs. To bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and remains so. But I am…Continue Reading

FEDERAL GOV’T LAUNCHES CRIMINAL PROBE INTO CATHOLIC CHURCH IN PA

WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) – The federal government has issued subpoenas to multiple Pennsylvania dioceses in a criminal probe into sex abuse cover-up. The subpoenas were served last week, but news of the investigation only broke Thursday. So far, seven out of eight Pennsylvania dioceses — Erie, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh and Greensburgh — have confirmed they have received subpoenas, some stating they will cooperate with the investigation. Two Easter

Youth Synod group calls Church to attend to ‘realities’ of gay ‘marriage’, surrogacy, adoption

VATICAN CITY, October 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group at the Vatican’s Youth Synod has called for the Catholic Church to pay more attention to homosexuals and the “realities” they face, specifically mentioning “marriage,” surrogate pregnancy, and adoption. “[…]There is the issue of what to do and how to act with homosexuals, which cannot remain outside of our pastoral activity and other realities such as marriages between homosexuals, wombs for rent, adoption on the part…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl blasts Viganò testimony as ‘not faithful to the facts’

October 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Donald Wuerl had a few choice words to say regarding Archbishop Carlo Viganò when he was interviewed by a liberal Catholic magazine yesterday. In a long and laudatory article published by America magazine today, the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. – and its apostolic administrator until his replacement is named – denied Viganò’s allegation

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. By Christopher Wells Cardinal Wuerl had submitted his resignation three years ago, when he turned 75, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law (can. 401 §1). In September, the Cardinal met with Pope Francis and requested that his resignation be accepted. At the time, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. said…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Pope Francis . . . Laicizes Two Chilean Bishops For Sexual Abuse Of Minors

VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Pope Francis has officially expelled two Chilean bishops from the clerical state. Both men were accused of sexual abuse of minors. The decision was issued without the possibility to appeal, the Vatican announced on Saturday, October 13. The Vatican announced that Francisco José Cox Huneeus, 84, archbishop emeritus of La Serena,…Continue Reading

Pope Orders Investigation Of Vatican’s McCarrick Files

By J.D. FLYNN VATICAN CITY (CNA) — The Vatican announced Saturday, October 6 that it would review its files pertaining to allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused in recent months of serially sexually abusing two teenage boys, and of sexually coercing and assaulting priests and seminarians…Continue Reading

After Holy See-China Agreement… Persecution Continues In Wenzhou, Henan, Hubei

ROME (AsiaNews) — The “provisional” agreement between China and the Holy See, signed on September 22, does not seem to have stopped persecution and violence against Catholics. The morning of October 11 in Lingkun, in the district of Yongqiang, the cross that stood on the bell tower of the Catholic church was torn down; the…Continue Reading

Bishops Of Ireland . . . Condemn Lack Of Safeguards In Irish Bill

DUBLIN (CNA/EWTN News) — The Irish bishops on October 5 lamented that the draft bill to legalize abortion in the Republic would require pro-life healthcare professionals to provide abortion referrals, calling the provision “an affront to conscience.” “The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 poses a very real practical and moral dilemma for…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Truth: The Casualties In The Current Controversies

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. How many times can you receive Communion in one day? I have had priests tell me once and twice. Which is it? — J.S., Massachusetts. A. Twice a day. Canon 917 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law says that “a person who has received the Most Holy Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only during…Continue Reading

“St. Michael The Archangel, Pray for Us!”

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, www.hli.org. It first appeared at www.hli.org on October 8. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able…Continue Reading

Our High Priest Sacrificed Himself

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 53:10-11 Heb. 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45 In the second reading St. Paul says we are to hold fast to our confession because we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. In this statement St. Paul summarizes our reason for…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Youth Synod Repeats Old Errors

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We are now making things up as we go along. As if the Church had been founded yesterday. This nonsense was already tried in the sixties and found wanting. Paolo Ruffini reported on Twitter that at a press conference for the 2018 Youth Synod now underway in Rome a speaker called for “a liturgy that…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Confession… Indulgences!

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 The “indulgences” of the Catholic Church have acquired a bad name ever since Luther’s Reformation. In Luther’s days, it is true, the Church was going through one of those periods of crisis. Yes, there was a great crisis, almost as bad as today. The crisis was chiefly among the decadent clergy of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Luke

By CAROLE BRESLIN Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — these are the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels. There is a children’s prayer that many have learned to say before bed with a variety of versions, but who are these men? Actually, little is known about them except what is in the Bible. There are some other traditions handed down…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Alexander Sauli

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church was blessed with many saints including a lesser known but deeply loved man, Fr. Alexander Sauli, who labored in a little-known order, the Barnabites. Alexander was born of a wealthy and highly regarded family of Lombard on February 15, 1534. His father, Dominic, was the Marquis of…Continue Reading