Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My nation has betrayed me

My nation has betrayed me. My motherland has violated the ideals, the very milk I drank as a babe at her once nourishing breasts, the notions of right and wrong on which she weaned me. My country, my mother has spat upon me as though I was a second class citizen and my conscience no more worth respecting than that of an animal used for lab testing.

She has done so by implementing a rule in the Obamacare law that will force employers – especially religious institutions such as hospitals, schools, etc. – to violate their consciences by providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion as part of the health plans they offer employees.

Oh, what a cruel trick, Mother. To tell me, to make me believe I have basic freedoms. You have taken away my most basic freedom after life itself – the freedom of conscience and to act in concert with that most precious gift – and you will take away more. Mark my words, Mother, you will take away more, and soon.

Oh, what a cruel trick, Mother. To tell me, to make me believe we are a diverse country, and this diversity makes us stronger. To tell me, to make me believe you have valued the contributions of your sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters, whose creed is also mine. That you have valued the men and women who fought and died in our wars, whose sweat erected our buildings and laid our roads, whose artistic endeavors made us shine, whose contributions in the public square made us great. Except it is only the right type of diversity that you want, isn’t it? Except that in your burning, glaring, despising eyes, our creed is like so much used toilet paper: repugnant, unbearable, and best when disposed of as quickly as possible.

Oh, what a cruel trick, Mother. To tell me, to make me believe we ought to have tolerance for opinions different than our own. Except when it comes to my opinion. For that, you reject me from your embrace, you cast me from our family’s home, you disinherit me with your coldness.

Your coldness, dear Mother, your coldness. Well have I imbibed it. I have drunk it to the dregs, and it has made me hot with fury.

Consider this:

·       The Catholic Church in the United States has 68.5 million members (some estimates put it at 77.7 million) representing 22 percent of the nation's population.
·       That makes it the single largest denomination in America. The only countries with more Catholics are, in order, Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines.
·       In the US, the Catholic Church has the third largest number of churches. Only the Baptists and Methodists, respectively, have more.
·       These cathedrals, basilicas, parishes, and missions are spread amongst 178 dioceses.
·       There are the 18 additional dioceses for the various Eastern rites. This does not count dioceses in overseas territories (e.g., Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.).
·       We have 33 metropolitan archbishops, and at least 17 cardinals.
·       Of the cardinals, at least nine would be electors if a conclave were held today.
·       This doesn't count several archbishops who occupy traditionally cardinatial sees who are simply waiting for the space in the College of Cardinals to open up (canon law allows for only 120 electors, so the red hats are going to archbishops in order of importance, or so it appears).
o   These include Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Los Angeles, whoever gets named to the open seat in Baltimore, and, if Detroit continues to be a cardinatial see (which is open for speculation), Archbishop Allen Vigneron. St. Louis was once a cardinatial see, but hasn’t been since 1979. Keep in mind that the equivalent political rank of a cardinal is a prince.

With all of that is backdrop, will the Obama Administration reconsider their hubris or are they so arrogant, they have convinced themselves the Catholic Church in the United States is a paper tiger?

If so, that tiger is at least fighting.

See what various bishops have said. These are the most heated episcopal statements I can remember in my nearly five decades upon the earth.

It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’ There is no other way to put it.” ~ Bishop David Zubick of Pittsburgh (emphasis mine)

If these regulations are put into effect, they could close down every Catholic school, hospital and the other public ministries of our Church, which is perhaps their underlying intention. What is perfectly clear is that this is a bigoted and blanket attack on the First Amendment rights of every Catholic believer. I am honestly horrified that the nation I have always loved has come to this hateful and radical step in religious intolerance. [We must] vigorously [oppose this] unprecedented governmental assault upon the moral convictions of our faith. Have faith! Have courage! Fight boldly for what you believe! I strongly urge you not to be intimidated by extremist politicians or the malice of the cultural secularists arrayed against us. [As it says in First Letter of John,] ‘the One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’” ~ Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria

In opposing unjust laws, we can positively articulate the truth we have been given. In the weeks and months to come, we can witness to the Catholic belief that sexual relations are a beautiful and integral part of marriage, and that contraceptives rob them of their true and full meaning. If the Catholic Church is forced to comply with this rule, it will be forced to compromise the core principles of its Christian identity. This is a grave violation of religious liberty and is unacceptable. [This action treats pregnancy and fertility] pregnancy and fertility “as diseases instead of gifts. [Pointing to the example of the Servant God Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, he said the] greatest failure [in leadership is for the leader to be] afraid to speak and act as a leader. Today, more than ever, Christianity needs leaders committed to truth in the face of injustice. Imitate the courage of [Cardinal] Van Thuan. Commit to Christian leadership. Let’s join together in witnessing to the truth of the Gospel and the dignity of the human person.” ~ Auxiliary Bishop James Conley of Denver

Although this new rule gives the agency the discretion to authorize a ‘religious’ exemption, it is so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social-service agencies and health-care providers. Under the new rule our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics.” ~ His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

The administration’s brazen attempt to attach the binding strings of its secularist agenda to something as basic as health insurance constitutes an unprecedented threat to individual and institutional religious freedom. Never before has the government required private health plans to include coverage for such morally objectionable procedures as contraception and sterilization. In a free society, women and men of faith cannot be compelled to fund medical practices that violate their religious principles.” ~ Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Military Services Ordinariate

Pregnancy is not a disease. We must insist that sterilization, prescriptions, and contraceptives be dropped from the list of preventative services that the federal government is mandating. This is especially important to exclude any drug that may cause an early abortion.” ~ Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn

“[George Washington said,] ‘Conscience is the most sacred of all property.’ Scarcely two weeks ago, in its Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically reaffirmed these longstanding and foundational principles of religious freedom. The court made clear that they include the right of religious institutions to control their internal affairs.

“Yet the Obama administration has veered in the opposite direction. It has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good—including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals—from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees.

“ ... As Catholic Charities USA’s president, the Rev. Larry Snyder, notes, even Jesus and His disciples would not qualify for the exemption in that case, because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.

Since then, hundreds of religious institutions, and hundreds of thousands of individual citizens, have raised their voices in principled opposition to this requirement that religious institutions and individuals violate their own basic moral teaching in their health plans. Certainly many of these good people and groups were Catholic, but many were Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, who recognize that their beliefs could be next on the block. They also recognize that the cleverest way for the government to erode the broader principle of religious freedom is to target unpopular beliefs first.

“Now we have learned that those loud and strong appeals were ignored. On Friday, the administration reaffirmed the mandate, and offered only a one-year delay in enforcement in some cases—as if we might suddenly be more willing to violate our consciences 12 months from now. As a result, all but a few employers will be forced to purchase coverage for contraception, abortion drugs and sterilization services even when they seriously object to them. All who share the cost of health plans that include such services will be forced to pay for them as well. Surely it violates freedom of religion to force religious ministries and citizens to buy health coverage to which they object as a matter of conscience and religious principle.

“The rule forces insurance companies to provide these services without a co-pay, suggesting they are “free”—but it is naïve to believe that. There is no free lunch, and you can be sure there’s no free abortion, sterilization or contraception. There will be a source of funding: you.

“Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Organizations fear that this unjust rule will force them to take one horn or the other of an unacceptable dilemma: Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries—so that they will fall under the narrow exemption—or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees.

“The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.

“This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead.” ~ President of the USCCB Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York

Catholics of America, unite! Take back our land from those who look upon us as vermin and scum, benighted souls unworthy of consideration, who see us as slaves to beliefs that are not only antiquated now but were never acceptable in the first place. Refuse to let this go unchecked. Refuse to let this stand. Take a stand, make a stand with your holy mother, the Church, who is Christ’s spotless Bride on earth and is His Body. Do not let them sully and blasphemy Our Lord Jesus in this reprehensible, filthy manner.

The bishops have provided this website www.usccb.org/conscience. Go to it and make your voice heard. You non-Catholic Americans, too. Or do we too soon forget the poem about the Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany that starts off, “First they came for the communists,and I said nothing for I was not a communist …

2 comments:

  1. I have noted your guidelines for commenting. So, I would say this to Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Lord, our Catholic leaders and many laity are up in arms concerning the HHS mandate that will "force employers – especially religious institutions such as hospitals, schools, etc. – to violate their consciences by providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion as part of the health plans they offer employees." This is a horrible violation of our Catholic conscience.

    But, Lord, I can't help but think the leaders of our Church are paying the price for decades of neglecting to form the consciences of the Catholic faithful entrusted to their care by careful teaching of Catholic moral issues. I have not, in my adult life, heard a bishop or priest talk about the evils of contraception. It has never been preached in any pulpit where I have worshiped. Are there any rank and file Catholics who will even understand what this fuss is about? Yes, Lord, some of us do, but not many.

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    Replies
    1. Ruth Ann, you are so right. And it's not like there's a lot of speaking out on this on the pulpit/pew level even now, is there? I'm lucky to live in a diocese with many faithful, hard charging priests, even the older ones. I can't imagine the same is true in, well, let's just say certain other dioceses.

      Here's what worries me, however: Judging by what Ron Paul and the MSM are saying about Rick Santorum's (and even Mitt Romney's) standing with the bishops on this, the real message about what's at stake isn't getting out. They want to make this about our wanting to focus on the dross of fringe issues when we need to put our efforts into the gold of finding our way back to greatness. They say it's that we are simply reactionary, and that we Catholics want to take away contraception from women. It'd be nice if they saw the wisdom of the Church on this and other life issues, but no one's going to hunt through their medicine cabinets, nor is anyone proposing to do so.

      They don't get that it's about this and this alone: "At first they came for the communists, and I said nothing because I was not a communist ..." How do we get them to acknowledge that this is the issue?

      Keep up the good work, Ruth Ann. You're lighting a torch in the darkness, and it's needed.

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