Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Choose: Religious Freedom; or "Straight-Jacketing Mandates"

Last Friday, the Archbishop of New York sent a letter to all Catholic bishops in America. Here's part of what he said:
"...Since January 20, when the final, restrictive HHS Rule was first announced, we have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it. We recall the words of our Holy Father Benedict XVI to our brother bishops on their recent ad limina visit: 'Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.'...

"...As pastors and shepherds, each of us would prefer to spend our energy engaged in and promoting the works of mercy to which the Church is dedicated: healing the sick, teaching our youth, and helping the poor. Yet, precisely because we are pastors and shepherds, we recognize that each of the ministries entrusted to us by Jesus is now in jeopardy due to this bureaucratic intrusion into the internal life of the church...."
(Letter by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, to all Catholic bishops in America (March 2, 2012)) [emphasis mine]
I've archived the letter, and strongly recommend reading the whole thing:

Feds say "Kill:" Bishops say "No!"

Archbishop Dolan - and every bishop in America - has protested the American government's decision to force us to either perform or pay for abortions: or get out of health care, insurance, and any business that has more than about 50 employees.

America's establishment has done a pretty good job of 'educating' many folks about 'women's health services.' The Catholic Church's position may seem a bit unreasonable.

It's not.

Catholics, the Church, and Rules

Catholics - those of us who pay attention to what the church says - aren't allowed to kill babies. Even when the kids are really young.

That may seem unreasonable, given the values of today's America, but that prohibition on infanticide actually makes sense:
Basically, I don't think killing my neighbor's baby would be a very 'loving' thing to do. Not even if I paid someone else to do the job.

That's why I am particularly peeved that America's current administration has decided that Catholics don't count - and will shortly be forcing many of us to either kill babies ourselves, or pay someone else to off the little dears.

I'm sorry - but it's not a nice situation, and I do not want to dance around the truth with the little euphemisms we've been taught. The kid will be just as dead if someone 'terminates the pregnancy,' as if a more blunt word is used.

Rogue Rulers: Been There, Done That

This isn't the first time the Catholic Church has had to deal with a ruler who wanted to be the boss of some territory and change definitions of what's right and what's not.

About a half-millennia ago, Henry VIII of England was unable to produce a male heir - one that would live long enough to be a grown-up king, anyway.1 He figured it must be his wife's fault, so he decided to chuck her out and try another one.

Then the Pope said 'no.' Apparently the desires of some island nation's king didn't trump Church teaching.

Henry VIII decided that he'd set up his own little mini-church, right there in jolly old England, and proceeded to go through a succession of wives. A few of them weren't killed, by the way - a tribute to Henry VIII's humanitarian impulses, maybe.

At the end of the game, the score was
  • Viable male heir
    • Zero
  • Wives
    • Catherine of Aragon: Divorced
    • Anne Boleyn: Executed
    • Jane Seymour: Died
    • Anne of Cleves: Divorced
    • Kathryn Howard: Executed
    • Katherine Parr: Widowed

'Official Catholic Teachers' - By Order of the President

I could be wrong about this, but it looks like America's president may be trying a variation on the Henry VIII gambit. He's setting up his very own private little magisterium, right there on Capitol Hill. I am not making this up:
"...At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops' conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom--that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption--are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for 'working out the wrinkles.' Instead, they advised the bishops' conference that we should listen to the 'enlightened' voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America. The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers...."
(Letter by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, to all Catholic bishops in America (March 2, 2012)) [emphasis mine]
I'm fairly confident that the "handpicked Catholic teachers" will dutifully tell the President and his ministers that they're absolutely right.

The sycophantic yes-man can be effective comic-relief in a story. When an American administration sets up an ersatz Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I get concerned.

Am I overstating the situation? I sincerely hope so.


Unless there's a last-minute schedule change, America will have a national election this November. I plan to study the candidates, and vote for those who are least likely to make a mess while in office.

I haven't made up my mind yet - there's about eight months left before the election. But right now, I think America would be better off with a president who wasn't doing quite such a good job of role-playing the national policies of England's last Henry.

Like the fellow said - do we really want these guys in charge?
More posts about forcing Catholics to violate our conscience:
The Department of Health and Human Services vs. Conscience
Related posts:
In the news:

1 Henry VIII's son, Edward VI of England (October 12, 1537 – July 6, 1553), was king of England for about six years: Starting January 28, 1547. He was nine years old at the time, and died at 16: probably not quite what Henry VIII had in mind.

Interestingly, the Wikipedia article on Edward VI says that the kid was quite healthy - which agrees nicely with the official line of Henry VIII's administration.


Brigid said...

Wrong form of the word: "America's establishment has done a pretty good job of 'education' many folks about 'women's health services.'"

Stutter: "of the game, the score was was"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Oops. Fixed, and thanks!

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.