Casey Anthony and The Human Tragedy of our Time


Whenever there is another story on the news involving a woman who has killed her child, I do everything I can not to listen or I change the channel. If I do learn any details (which seems to happen inevitably since every few months there is another incident and the media loves to give us every shocking detail over and over again), I am overwhelmed with emotions. When I heard the details about the woman who drowned all of her children in a bathtub, running after them one by one and then holding them down while the others waited their turn, I actually threw up. When I heard about the woman who put her babies in their car seats and then drove off a bridge, with one escaping to tell us the story, I could not help but have nightmares of her children’s frightening last moments. 

Recently, I heard that in New York a newborn baby was thrown down a laundry chute to be incinerated. Thankfully, the chute was filled with garbage causing the mechanism to fail resulting in the discovery of the infant by another tenant following its tiny cries to the garbage room. In a town very near mine, a newborn baby was discovered last month near a dumpster in a parking lot. That baby also survived. However, many, many children do not.

So here we are again, another mother, accused of the unthinkable, killing her child. While I have not followed the specifics of this case and therefore do not have a commentary on the case itself, I am wondering what has the world come to that every day there is another story on the television in which another beautiful little baby has died at the hands of its mother. The case of Casey Anthony has been live-streamed on the web and cable. The entire trial can be watched at any given moment and every image pertaining to this horrific tragedy is shown to us. 

The images evoke a deep a profound ache within my very being. It is not the images of Caylee, nor of Casey, but rather of the images of them together that are the most difficult for me to view. 

Why is it becoming common place to turn on the evening news and see that a mother has killed her own child? I am sure that there are many contributing factors that have gotten us to this place, one of which is the shift from the family to the individual.  The other factor is that we have lost our understanding of the human person. We have objectified life, seeing each other as objects for use instead of looking at a person and knowing that the reason they were created was to love and to be loved. Theology of The Body holds that the body makes visible the invisible. Our bodies demonstrate a nature and that nature discloses our Creator and our Creator reveals our great dignity. 

Here we have the precise antidote to this downward spiral where mothers no longer embrace their great ability to bring life into the world. It is to re-establish the dignity of the human person. What does that mean? It means we must understand our nature to understand our value and our purpose. We must help the people of this wounded world see their inherent value and reveal that they are not something to be consumed, to be used, not a means to an end. A person is somebody, not something.

We have fallen under the tyranny of moral relativism,that is a subjective idea that there is no right or wrong, but rather we decide for our selves what is right or good. It is this error that is paving the way for people to make arbitrary rules for living out their lives. When a personal “truth” replaces intrinsic truth, the individual and his “rights” or “wants” circumvents all others’ rights or wants. The result is mothers who kill their children and we call it “choice” in one circumstance and murder in another. Moral relativism has given mothers like Casey Anthony “permission” to decide what actions are good or bad. Who is teaching the concepts of moral relativism? The voices are everywhere.

At the heart of liberty is the right to define ones own concept of existence of meaning, of the universe, of the mystery of human life (Planned Parenthood Vs. Casey 1992)

Really? The Supreme Court has defined a “right” to “define our own concept” and our own “meaning… of the mystery of human life”? No wonder so many mothers have “defined” it as expendable. I reject this statement which is devoid of love and instead encourage you to consider something far more beautiful that is a remedy for a hurting world. 

The remedy for this tragedy is to rediscover our value, our great goodness, our dignity which comes from being made in the image and likeness of God. Until we address the real issue, which is the loss of the dignity of the human person, we will continue treating the symptoms of the disease rather than healing it.

Mary, Mother of Jesus, Please pray for all mothers and grant us the grace to be the mothers we are all called to be. Jesus, take our hearts and give us yours.


About Author

Speaker for Catholic Answers, CMG Booking, TMG, St. Joseph Communications and others. Freelance writer and mother of 8 children ages 2 to 21. Married to Shawn King for 17 years who is a convert from Jehovah's Witness.

  • I’m an avid reader of Catholic Lane and I hope more people comment on the various great articles because I hate to be one of the few that logged comments lately.

    This site deserves better!

    Now to comment on this moving article I must restate what has been said many times: abortion cheapens life. For most people without the philosophical wits to split hairs and distinguish a “fetus” from a “viable baby” it must be hard to understand why you can kill the baby before birth and cannot do it just one hour later or five years later: a kill is a kill isn’t it? Once we made abortion legal the rest is pretty straightforward: kill me, kill thee, kill, kill, kill.

    But there is damage also for those who were not aborted or killed. Eventually they found out way before they become adults able to rationalize the brutality of the society we live in.

    When I was less than seven years old I learned about nuclear weapons. It was 1961. I remember reading something about it on a newspaper someone left lying around. I remember hoping for a direct hit and not having to die of radiation sickness like the little children of Hiroshima. I was not even seven, allow me to remind you.

    Well, small children hear about abortion. More so in our country where the issue is discussed fairly often on TV and other venues. Children listen to all of this and sooner or later they realize that they are the survivors of a massacre. They also realize that society is completely arbitrary when it comes to aborting. Some live, some die.

    Think of how many kids who should be thinking of cowboys, or dolls is now thinking terrible thoughts that no mind should be forced to consider.

    • Carlos,
      I feel the depths of your anguish due to the atrocity of abortion being committed in our world today. The lack of of respect for life is such a deep wound in our world that must be healed before we can bring the truth and reality of the dignity of the human person.

      I pray that the wounds within all of us begin to heal so that the dignity of the human person can be re-established in our world.

  • Atrocity is the right word, Christina. The Apocalypse of St. John says something about men being allowed to kill each other in atrocious ways. We have become worse than the Romans who in spite of their barbaric ways managed to have some notion of order and nobility. Modern is the opposite of classic and in that sense the modern society has magnified the Roman vices through technology and what I would call an increase of unnatural conduct.

    God put in our bodies the ability for self healing. Then we must remember that all of us here are mysteriously connected to everything that God created. The sin of Adam breaks the matrix of creation plunging everything into a state on increasing disorder. I believe the sins of modern society will trigger mechanisms of defense in nature. Just like nature grew thorns and thistles to punish the original disobedient humans, today we may see the equivalent punishment descend upon us for the murderous ways of our lawmakers and citizenry. The thorns and thistles of Adam foretell the Cross, they are a form of automatic penance. The huge disasters visiting our country so frequently these days fulfill a similar function. Even the pagans saw natural disasters as a call to return to virtue. Modern man, blind and murderous as he has become, believes the atmosphere is warming up because he has not aborted enough, he has not killed enough, there is too much breathing life he says.

    To heal this enormous wound will require much love and penance. Who knows what is waiting for us around the corner! It is a good thing that the Lord told us “do not fear, little flock.” We can trust He will see us through the days to come.

  • Carlos, you are a philosopher and theologian. It is a truth that the world, in fact all of creation aches for the redemption of man…it groans in fact says scripture because unlike us, creation was made for our sake, we were made for our own sake. So, all of creation aches and groans for man to be redeemed. We must trust because right now there is a special grace flowing to the church through the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. The sacraments are so important so that we can be open and filled to overflowing so that when this goodness and grace flows over and out of us, it will convert those around us who are “splashed” onto. Like the image of the heart of Christ being pierced, the water and blood flowed out and when it splashed onto the guard at the foot of the cross, he was instantly converted. We need to manifest this in our own lives.

  • noelfitz

    In Ireland we seem to be different from America. In our Constitution there is a right to life.

    Most here would agree that abortion is killing. However in Ireland there is generally sympathy for parents who kill their children, as it is so unnatural that mental problems may be at the root of the killing and those who kill their children (it seems to me) do not end up in prison but in mental hospitals.

  • Narwen

    While I agree with most of the article, bringing in the Andrea Yates case (the bathtub drownings) seems a bit out of place with the rest. She certainly valued her children – I believe she was an Evangelical Christian, quiverfull type. Her severe postpartum psychosis gave her the delusion that she was such a terrible mother that her children would go to Hell if they didn’t die before the age of accountability. That’s sad and sick, but hardly selfish.

  • Narwen,

    I see your point with Andrea. My point in mentioning her was to say it was a news story that I tried to avoid getting details on or watching for it is hard as a mother to do so. It was not meant to equate her to Casey.
    Clearly, based on your thoughts, they are equatable in terms of motive.

    Thank you for your insight.