Saturday 20th April 2024

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

November 20, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

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 of Catholic Social Scientists. Among his books are: Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution; The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic, and most recently Catholicism and American Political Ideologies. This column originally appeared in Crisismagazine.com. All rights reserved.)

+ + +

While there is not so much mention of it in the media anymore, the American public is still reeling from the inexplicable massacre in Las Vegas, the largest mass murder in history in a country where mass murders of innocent people have become almost a regular occurrence. Some of the usual responses came from the usual quarters.
The left called for more gun control, even though in a moment of frankness increasingly uncommon for prominent left-of-center public figures Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California admitted that more gun control would not have stopped what happened. The response of prominent public spokesmen on the right was mostly not to try to explain how an event such as this could have happened, but just to counter the left’s gun control drumbeat.
The “era of mass murder” in the U.S. seems to have begun in 1966 with the University of Texas Clock Tower shootings. That was also the year marking beginning of the ongoing cultural turmoil that has turned America upside down. Nineteen sixty-five was the transitional year, marking a new sad era in the country’s history as things became progressively more morally unhinged.
While I have not studied the terrible phenomenon of mass shootings and their perpetrators, the connection between the moral and cultural odyssey of America and the mass gunning down of the innocent seems unmistakable to me.
What has characterized American life since 1965? We can start with the tearing apart of the American family. Indeed, when one looks at the Clock Tower and Las Vegas gunmen fifty years apart what is readily noticed is that both had wretched fathers — the father of the first had a history of physically abusing his wife, the gunman’s mother, and the other’s was a bank robber on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list. I suspect that a detailed study of the killers in the mass murder era would show some kind of a troubled family background for most if not all of them.
This is a time when divorce could be resorted to with increasing ease and became hardly controversial or discouraged. It’s a time when illegitimacy has skyrocketed and outright fatherlessness abounds, especially among some demographic groups and in certain areas (such as big cities), with the result that many young men even if they are not mass murderers have become all other kinds of criminals.
The time since 1965 has also been one of rampant secularization in America. To be sure, this didn’t happen suddenly or without a progressive development in that direction, but the turning away from religion both personally and on a culture-wide level has been sweeping since then.
Where people have not exactly become unbelievers or shapers of their own novel versions of “spirituality,” they now decide what religious teachings they want to believe. They have made themselves the arbiters of religious truth, often urged along to be sure by various clergy and leaders of what not too long before had been traditional Christian churches.
I strongly suspect that if one were to study these American mass murderers he would find that none were devout, regular practitioners of traditional Christianity or Judaism. Indeed, he would likely find that they in general had had weak or inadequate religious upbringings.
Along with the turning away from religion and traditional religious beliefs during this period was the deep engraining of the attitude that man is his own moral arbiter; that he was free to choose what moral principles he was going to follow. Instead of religion and traditional moral thinking — forged especially by solid family and religious upbringing — being his reference point it was now the strong winds of a deepening secular culture that blew him along.
The basis of this, of course, was the moral relativism spawned initially by the intelligentsia that came to take hold in varying degrees of mainstream American thinking down the line. The result of all this was a grossly insufficient personal moral formation for an increasing number of people that, as the classical Greek philosophers would have put it, led to their souls being out of order. This certainly didn’t lead the typical person to become a mass murderer, but it seems likely that, given a particular set of circumstances and conditions, it helped cause a few to.
A typical response to a mass murder episode is that the person who committed such an action is mentally ill. That may indeed be so, although we can’t say for sure that was the case with most of them. As far as mental illness goes, however, while its causes may often be uncertain, one’s life circumstances can give rise to it or stimulate a tendency that was there.
In other words, it seems likely that upbringing, family situation, and cultural conditions can have an effect, in at least some cases, on the manifestation of mental illness. Then, one also wonders if the pervasiveness of illicit drug use after 1965 has not also meant more mental problems and illness.
In speaking about cultural conditions and attitudes, it’s worth noting that the period since 1966 in America and the Western world generally has been one which has witnessed a striking undermining of the ethic of the sanctity of life. It has been the era of abortion, and now it may become the era of euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, infanticide of handicapped newborns and the like. It is hard not to wonder if in the face of such an attitude an already twisted mind might be emboldened to commit unspeakable crimes.
Is it possible even that the heightened confusion sewn by some as to whether there is even a difference between men and beasts — that animals have the same, or even more, dignity and worth as men — could further contribute to the twisted mind’s devaluing human life enough to wantonly stamp it out like insects?
The period since 1966 has been one marked by increasing violence in American life, at different levels and with many manifestations. To be sure, this has reflected and followed from many developments in American life and culture — those mentioned here and others. It has been a time when crime in general has seemed to spin out of control. Can it be surprising that in such a context we might witness some people indiscriminately and with no provocation killing other people, even many people at once?
There may legitimately be some issues to discuss about gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy — for example, about whether certain types of firearms or accessories should be readily available on the market. While the left has been so busy creating a whole slew of ersatz rights — especially related to sex — and essentially ignoring the Second Amendment, we have to concede that gun rights like all other rights are not absolute.

The Regime Of
Moral Relativism

Still, what I have suggested here is that there are more fundamental questions to focus on after Las Vegas, such as: What has to be done to restore the American family? Shouldn’t we consider about whether divorce should be so readily available and, indeed get our heads screwed on correctly about what marriage is? Has the sexual revolution, which has been a main cause of family breakdown, been a good idea?
Indeed, isn’t it time to question the regime of moral relativism? Should our culture consider the implications of the loss of the sanctity of life ethic?
Hasn’t the loss of our nation’s traditional religious character helped lead to our present troubles? It’s long overdue, to put it mildly, that we put aside ideological imperatives and the usual ensuing narratives — a particular problem for the left — and start to focus reflection and discussion by public intellectuals, commentators, and the general public on such basic questions.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…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

Catechism

Today . . .

Kamala Harris Heads to Arizona to Promote Abortions Up to Birth

Kamala Harris is visiting Arizona today to showcase the Biden-Harris Administration’s radical support of unlimited abortion. “Kamala Harris has become the abortion czar of the Biden Administration,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. “Instead of joining with the pro-life movement to build programs and safety nets to help promote real solutions for women and their preborn children, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have engaged in fearmongering and propaganda,” Tobias continue

May Everyone Have a Blessed and Joyful Easter

Is Easter being replaced with the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’?

Two observances — Easter and the recently contrived “International Transgender Day of Visibility” — fall on Sunday, March 31 this year, causing some to wonder “Is Easter being replaced with the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility?’” It’s a valid question. For more than a few, it certainly will. Others might dismiss this as nothing more than a coincidence. That would be a mistake. On the last day of this month, we will witness a clash of religions as…Continue Reading

Abortion Advocates No Longer Consider It “A Necessary Evil,” They Celebrate Killing Babies

Last week, Kamala Harris became the first vice president in U.S. history to make a public visit to an abortion clinic. Though the Democratic party’s support for abortion is nothing new, Harris’ Planned Parenthood appearance does illustrate how that support has become a flagrant celebration of abortion as a public and personal good, essential to both “freedom” and to “healthcare.” At the appearance, Harris proclaimed,  It is only right and fair that people have access…Continue Reading

Wisconsin Supreme Court says Catholic charity group cannot claim religious tax exemption

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a major Catholic charity group’s activities were not “primarily” religious under state law, stripping the group of a key tax break and ordering it to pay into the state unemployment system. Catholic Charities Bureau (CCB) last year argued that the state had improperly removed its designation as a religious organization.  The charity filed a lawsuit after the state said it did not qualify to be considered as an organization…Continue Reading

The King of Kings

Cindy Paslawski We are at the end of the Church year. We began with Advent a year ago, commemorating the time awaiting the coming of the Christ and we are ending these weeks later with a vision of the future, a vision of Christ the King of the Universe on His throne before us all.…Continue Reading

7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)