He was about four years old at the time. His mother had taken him and his siblings (a brother of eight, a sister of seven, and another brother of five) to play in a wooded lot down the street from where they lived. The lot was slated to be sub-divided into three lots for houses; but for now, it was our “playground.” Three of us were swinging on a wild vine, sort of “Tarzan style,” while my four-year-old brother – too young to safely “swing” – was amusing himself by sitting down on what was left of an old ladder (about three rungs or so). My mother had convinced him that it was a “boat”; and in his adorable, trusting, childlike innocence, he took her word for it. With a beaming grin (that still melts my heart to this day), he was enjoying himself immensely in his little “boat.”
That is the enduring (and endearing) memory that I have of my little brother. No, he is not dead; he is in a nursing home. A few years back, he underwent a “heart-valve replacement” operation, during which he was put on a “heart-lung machine.” Because he was on it “too long,” his brain got oxygen-starved, causing some brain damage. This was the beginning of a dementia that worsened over the years to the point where he had to be admitted to a nursing home. He is now there. He responds to my calling his name, and he is visibly happy to see me when I go there to see him. But when I say something to him or ask him a question, he mumbles something unintelligible to me. I’m really not sure “what’s going on inside his head”; but it doesn’t matter: he’s in a safe place, where he’s being taken care of. I thank God that he did not suffer Terri Schiavo’s fate (and that his spouse didn’t let such a fate befall him) – because he has far less “cognitive function” than Terri. If he had received the same “care” as she had, he’d be in a coffin right now.
Now it turns out that this nursing home is one that today’s “traddies” would derisively refer to as “Novus Ordo” -- latter-day “Samaritans.” It also turns out that the priest who fought for Terri Schiavo’s life was “Novus Ordo.” Okay, now, before continuing on, let’s look at the following excerpt from Scripture:
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Does the reader see any “parallels” here? To paraphrase what Our Lord asked in that parable, who was it that proved to be “a neighbor” to Terri Schiavo? Who was more truly Catholic: the “traditional” priest or the Novus Ordo “Samaritan”? I think you know the answer to that one. Why is it that a man who calls himself a traditional priest (Anthony Cekada) not only “passed by on the other side” but actually had the gall to justify Terri’s husband decision that his wife be put to death? Cheesy Checkie’s exact words were: “A wicked husband still maintains his headship over the wife before God and his "domestic and paternal authority. He has the right to say yes or no to ice chips and Jello, unless and until an ecclesiastical or civil court, for a grave and just reason, legitimately impedes him from exercising his right.” No he doesn’t, Tony! He might have the power (under our warped, immoral legal system)– but not the right. NO ONE has the right to starve (and dehydrate) someone to death -- especially when they are not in danger of death. God have mercy on you, you warped, miserable wretch!
It is interesting, too, to note Cekada’s comment about the “ice chips and Jello”: this is a tacit admission on his part that she (Terri) was indeed able to swallow (as she was when she took the Sacred Species in holy communion) – contradicting what he has stated on that at other times. But that’s vintage Cekada: saying what is expedient for the moment, not realizing that it might contradict something that he’s said before. He has a long and storied history of “foot-in-mouth disease.” For those who never took the time or trouble to read up on all of Cekada’s “gems,” here are a few more (in italics):
“Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers were very generous in spending everyone else's money. Such expense is a grave burden on society, and as such falls within the definition of "extraordinary means." There is accordingly no moral obligation to continue it.”
“This is now a grave burden on society. If someone wants to make every effort to sustain life for as long as possible in a body that is obviously shutting down for good, he is free to pay for extraordinary means himself but it is wrong for him to impose this burden on everyone else.” [Cekada’s bold-face emphasis]
“Had Terri Schiavo not received a $750,000 malpractice settlement - i.e. some trial lawyers shook down an insurance company, which in turn calculated that it would be cheaper to pay them and the Schiavos off, rather than gamble with the Oprah-watching idiots in the average jury pool- you can bet that her husband and parents would not have sold off their own houses to sustain her for all this time. Instead, you and I- not merely the Schiavos or the Schindlers - got stuck with the "grave burden" of paying for it. If something is immoral in the whole affair, it is surely this.”
What kind of a warped, sick mind would utter such monstrous comments? First off, Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers were NOT spending “everyone else’s money” (nor was Terri Schiavo’s body “shutting down for good”). No “public money” was spent on keeping Terri Schiavo alive -- but quite a bit of public money WAS spent on putting her to death. And, as far as “grave burdens on society” are concerned, let us ask Tony this: How much public assistance is given to illegal immigrants and to deadbeats who have been “on the dole” for generations? The answer, Tony – as you well know – is trillions. And even if public money had been spent (which it wasn’t) to keep her alive (as is done every day in government-supported nursing homes), what does that have to do with “moral obligation”? The answer: NOTHING – as you (and everyone else) well know. Tony, to borrow your own words: “if something is immoral in the whole affair, it is surely” you.
It is hard to imagine how someone who calls himself a “traditional Catholic” priest could utter such mendacious and depraved nonsense. But it is even harder to imagine how people who call themselves “traditional Catholics” could listen to and/or follow such a man -- as some still do. But it is hardest of all to imagine how fellow “traditional” CLERGY could do the same: shamelessly remain silent in the face of such a travesty. Why is it that the laity had to bring all of this to everyone’s attention?! Where is moral leadership in “traddieland”?
When one of the laity – a woman – politely and respectfully voiced her concerns to Cekada about Schiavo, here is how he answered her: “Finally, the larger problem I see is that lay traditionalists like you are trying to turn something into a mortal sin that isn't. You have no business doing so. You don't have the training in moral theology that priests have, and you certainly don't have the confessional experience we do in applying moral principles. But this doesn't stop you from boldly expressing your "opinion" on the moral issues in the Schiavo case, because in the practical order you simply cannot accept the fact that a priest probably knows a lot more that you do about certain subjects ‹ chief among them, moral theology.”
“I am supposed to make the distinctions for you between right and wrong, because I have the training, the sacramental graces and the experience to do so. But because you do not have the humility to recognize this in practice, you will go on endlessly arguing for your "opinion," rendering exchanges like this a waste of the priest's time, and in the process, I fear, turning traditional Catholics into members of the Church of Lay Opinion.”
At the end, Tony sanctimoniously added: “Be assured of my prayers. Yours in Christ, Father Cekada.”
Again, it is hard to imagine a more condescending (and erroneous) reply than what Cekada gave that woman – or a better example of supreme arrogance coupled with supreme ignorance. [For those who want to read a more complete account of the correspondence between Cekada and her, click here.] Cekada says that this woman doesn’t “have the training in moral theology that priests have.” Well, Tony, she’s got more than you! Cekada’s remarks not only showcase his trademark arrogance and ignorance, but they expose him as the liar and misogynist that he is. Why would any rational person take him seriously? But, more importantly, why would any traditional CLERGY take him seriously – on anything?!
Before closing, a few more the Blunderer’s “gems”: “Mrs. Schiavo’s husband (as horrible a person as he seems to be) - and not her parents - had the right before God to determine whether these means should have continued to be used. A husband does not somehow automatically lose his headship of the household or his God-given ‘domestic and paternal authority’ if he becomes a moral reprobate. An ecclesiastical or civil court may for a grave reason, of course, prevent him from exercising his authority. In the Schiavo case, however, the civil courts examined the matter and repeatedly reaffirmed Mr. Schiavo's rights.”
“Mrs. Schiavo’s husband (as horrible a person as he seems to be)…” -- SEEMS to be??!!! Tony, are you kidding?! For your information, Michael Schiavo DOES automatically lose “his headship of the household or his God-given ‘domestic and paternal authority’ if he becomes a moral reprobate“ – at least in God's eyes. And he WAS a moral reprobate. For you and the “civil courts [who] examined the matter and repeatedly reaffirmed Mr. Schiavo's rights,” he might have been “right”; but for the rest of us -- and for GOD -- he wasn’t. You know it. Those blind fools who follow you know it. Every traditional cleric knows it. And God certainly knows it.
Yet there are those who still listen to what this buffoon says, and who will accusingly ask us why we are “harping on Schiavo again.” We, in turn, respond, “Because you are not listening again.” The fallacy of Cekada’s arguments – not to mention, his arrogance and ignorance -- is glaringly obvious – even to the profoundly “mentally challenged.” It is time for people to stop pretending that he never said what he did. It’s there in black and white. And we will keep “bringing up Schiavo” as often as is necessary until these pretenders open their eyes. Perhaps, this time around, this will be the “shock therapy” that finally awakens them into recognizing the embarrassing truth that has been painfully present all along – and which, in their pride, they keep ignoring. And we will keep “bringing it up,” whether they “get it” or not, because it is a message that needs ALWAYS to be kept in front of humanity’s eyes – or else there is no hope for humanity. If respect for the dignity of life is lost, then we are lost.
I realize, of course, that Cekada’s and Dolan’s followers stick with them because they “put on a good show.” But it’s not about “the show,” folks. It’s not about pontifical pageantry. It’s not about elaborate rites and rubrics. It’s not about impressive, polyphonic music. And it’s certainly not about boondoggles to the desert southwest (disguised as “sabbaticals”), and travel junkets to Europe and Latin America (disguised as “apostolates”). It’s about truth. It’s about standing up for the dignity of human life. It’s about Catholic justice. And it’s about Catholic charity – none of which these two have. It is time for traditional laymen and clerics alike to come to the realization that these two are not Catholic, but simply a couple of worldly con men who are destroying Catholicism.
With the present tenant in the White House, standing up for the dignity of human life is now becoming more of an uphill battle than it has ever been. Obama and his political cohorts have already done enough damage – and lepers like Cekada have helped them do that damage. The murder of Terri Schiavo helped pave the way for the present pro-death agenda that permeates “Obamacare” – and we can thank Anthony Cekada for “doing his part” too. We can do our counter-part by putting both him and Obummer out of business. Perhaps we can’t stop the latter, but we can certainly put Phony Tony (and his fellow huckster) out of business. Terri Schiavo will thank you for it, and so will my little brother. So let’s do it.