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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How Obama Bamboozled Notre Dame

“How could this great land of plenty produce too few people in the last 30 years? Here is the brutal truth that no one dares to mention: We’re too few because too many of our babies have been killed. Over 45 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973. If those 45 million children had lived, today they would be defending our country, they would be filling our jobs, they would be paying into Social Security. Still, we watch as 3,700 babies are killed every single day in America. It is unbelievable that a nation under God would allow this.” — Former Democratic Senator Zell Miller

Consider Catholicism’s most prominent academic leader, the Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. Jenkins took a serious risk in sponsoring Obama’s 2009 honorary degree and commencement address — which promised a “sensible” approach to the conscience clause. Jenkins now complains, “This is not the kind of ‘sensible’ approach the president had in mind when he spoke here.” Obama has made Jenkins — and other progressive Catholic allies — look easily duped.

At the time of Obama’s address at Notre Dame, the icon of Catholic-based education in the United States I was furious. I saw this move by Fr. Jenkins as pandering to his big progressive, left-wing Chicago donors and nothing more than throwing his Catholic principles overboard in favor of his progressive politics and his Chicago donors.

Well, yesterday Jenkins and other Catholic progressives finally saw an unmasked version of Obama. As the implementation of ObamaCare rolls into high gear, we’ve been given insight into how it will be implemented in general. On January 20, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would not exempt health plans provided by non-profit religious employers from the requirement to provide “contraceptive services.”

In politics, the timing is often the message. On Jan. 20 — three days before the annual March for Life — the Obama administration announced its final decision that Catholic universities, hospitals and charities will be compelled to pay for health insurance that covers sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the former governor of Kansas, a Catholic, and supporter of the famous abortionist Dr. Tiller announced:

“Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception. Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services.”

The category of “all FDA-approved forms of contraception” includes the abortifacients like the “morning after pill.” At the same time I couldn’t help but note that the group of health plans provided by “non-profit religious employers” who do not support contraception winnows the field down rather quickly to those provided by either the Catholic Church or one of its social service or medical subsidiaries.

Now, undeniably, the church milquetoast of past decades that refused to discipline pro-abortion Catholics allowed the impression to form that while the hierarchy may protest, eventually it will go along to get along with a Democratic Party that was once home to most Catholics.

Obama's problem today is that not only is he forcing the Church to violate her conscience, he dissed the highest prelate in America.

In November, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, held what he describes as an "extraordinarily friendly" meeting with Obama at the White House.

The president assured the archbishop of his respect for the Church, and the archbishop came away persuaded Obama would never force the Church to adopt any policy that would violate her principles.

Ten days ago, Obama sandbagged the archbishop

He informed Cardinal-designate Dolan by phone that, with the sole concession of the Church being given an extra year, to August 2013, to comply, the new policy, as set down by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, will be imposed. All social and educational institutions of the Catholic Church will offer health insurance covering birth control, or face fines.

"In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," said Archbishop Dolan, who went on:

"To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable. This represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty."

Where do Obama and Sebelius get the power to do this?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law on March 23, 2010, the colloquial name for which is "Obamacare."

NARAL Pro-Choice America is celebrating the new policy. Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, calls it a "health care issue . based on what's best for women's health." Others have argued that many Catholic women practice birth control.

But that Catholics choose to ignore doctrine does not justify the U.S. government imposing on Catholic institutions a policy that violates Catholic teaching.

The Democrat party has been anti-Catholic in its political positions since George McGovern ran for president yet the priesthood and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in America tend to hail from Democrat constituencies. On the one hand the Magisterium is teaching very traditional social values while on the other it is embracing without even a hint of credulity every lefty scheme that comes down the pike.

For instance, in 1983, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops declared nuclear weapons to be immoral and weren’t terribly fond of deterrence either. By 1988 they had decided SDI was destabilizing as was the US linking a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan to future arms treaties. When communist terrorists were trying to create a people’s paradise in El Salvador, many of our bishops ignored what was happening to personal liberty under the Sandinistas in Nicaragua as they stumbled over themselves to create the “sanctuary movement”, which was one of the offshoots of the so-called “Liberation Theology’, something Rome condemned.

Without putting too fine a point on it but there was no daylight between the position of the Magisterium and that of the Kremlin on these issues.

Not that they are all commies or anything. But there were MOVEMENTS out there that had Pete Seeger singing protest songs and James Earl Jones and Ed Asner at their rallies. How could you not be in favor of these things?

Similar stampedes took place on global warming and immigration.

This is where the cognitive dissonance comes in. When given the choice between seeming to endorse a religious conservative for office (like a Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum) and seeming to endorse a sacrilegious leftist there is no limit to the contortions a large share of our bishops won’t put themselves through to help the lefty. To wit: by the black letter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church supporting abortion is forbidden. If a public figure does so this failure is compounded by “scandal”, that is, an action that could cause others to question their faith. The fact that there are very few bishops in the nation who have taken steps to discipline pro-abort advocates and politicians especially when they proclaim themselves to be devout like a Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, or Kathleen Sebelius.

The Catholic Church has taken a rather strong stand in opposing the Obamatimthumb.php administration's requirement that the church provide contraceptive medicine and treatments as a required component of ObamaCare. Apparently the administration is in accord with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in shrugging off concerns about the "conscience thing" that has forced the Catholic Church to denounce this policy from the pulpit during Mass on this past Sunday all over America.

The government is requiring the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and the congregants who are devout Catholics, to fund such contraceptive medicine for all lay employees of Catholic grammar schools, high schools, colleges and universities and for all of the Catholic Church's hospitals and any other church operation that employs lay people across the nation, regardless of their strong opposition on religious grounds.

The Church's stance on this issue is admirable, but not nearly dramatic enough; nor is it something that Obama and his merry band of Liberal-Progressive-Democrats would worry about. Right now they can just give a collective yawn, and assume that Catholics, a traditional Democrat voting block, will continue to vote for anyone with (D) after their name. This response is particularly valid when they know that the IRS and the Department of Justice would jump all over the church if there was a "Don't Vote for Obama" sermon given from the pulpit. No church of any denominations is allowed to make such overt political endorsements under the threat of losing their tax-exempt status.

The Church has a way to seriously threaten the administration and still not lose their tax exempt status. I'm surprised that it hasn't already been voiced somewhere in the media, considering how disruptive it would be to the entire nation.

The Catholic Church maintains the largest private education organization in the country. Currently there are 1,489,000 primary school students within the Catholic school system, and an additional 516,500 secondary school students. That is a total, for those of you without a calculator handy, 2,065,500 kids in Catholic schools.

Suppose, just suppose, those two million plus kids were told that in the near future the school would be closing because the Church refused to remain open and be forced to fund contraceptive services for the lay faculty. It would be a matter of conscience, and who could say that it was anything but adherence to their faith? Even Jeremiah Wright would be hard pressed to say that their actions were not a matter of conscience.

The parents of those two million kids would be up in arms, though. And to be honest, there would be very few parents who, in addition to paying school taxes for someone else's kid to go to public school, dip into their own funds to pay even more to educate their kids in the beliefs and morals attendant to going to a religious school without strongly held views themselves. It wouldn't be likely that those parents who spend a fair amount of money to send their kids to such a school would disagree strongly with the Pope.

So who would they take their anger out on? Probably not the local priests and nuns. Probably not the local bishop. Politicians? Well they are local, they are available, and ultimately they are the proximate cause of the schools shutting down.

You know who else would be up in arms? The local board of education. The most recent statistic for the cost of education for grades kindergarten through high-school indicates that it costs $11,000 per student per year for public schooling. And with over two million kids leaving parochial schools all over the nation, local school districts would have to supplement their budgets by an aggregate cost of $22.7 billion annually. That's just under twenty-three billion dollars. That's billion with a "B." That's how much more the local school boards, state governments and Washington will have to shell out to educate these additional millions of students.

On top of that, the Church could also advise the governments at the local and state levels that effective on some date in the near future, every Catholic hospital will stop accepting patients.

Now in addition to the nearly twenty-three billion that will be needed for the children that will overwhelm the school system, where will the money come to fund hospital expansions, build new school facilities or buy additional school buses to name just a few ancillary, but costly, expenses? Where will the money come from to fund additional unemployment benefits for laid off teachers, nurses, lab technicians, maintenance workers, and so on?

That would an effective way to get the government to understand how seriously Catholics take the "conscience thing", don't you think?

While I do not recommend any of these moves it is about time the Catholic Church get off their left-wing, progressive butts and start speaking out and informing the public of what would happen it they took these actions due to the mandates of ObamaCare, something they supported like Bart Stupak (D-MI) did when he threw off his professed Catholic principles to support ObamaCare, some I hope he regrets today. This is the reason he refused to run for Congress again.

On January 19th Pope Benedict XVI warned a group of Catholic bishops from the United States in a speech at the Vatican last week that some cultural trends in the U.S. are “a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself.”

The pope made the observation, as he addressed a group of bishops from the mid-Atlantic region, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., and Archbishop Timothy C. Broglio, who leads the archdiocese for the military services. The bishops were in Rome for their “ad limina” visits, which they are required to periodically make to the Vatican to meet with the pope.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have been in an escalating conflict with President Barack Obama and his administration over a number of administration efforts that curtail religious freedom in the United States. Among these are the argument the administration is making in federal court likening opposition to same-sex unions to racial discrimination and the ObamaCare regulation recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services that requires all health insurance plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and artificial contraceptives, including those that induce abortions. Because the ObamaCare law also requires all American to buy health insurance, the new HHS regulation presents Catholics with the choice of either acting against the law or against the moral teachings of their church.

In the same address, the pope noted that: “Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”

In his letter to the bishops the Pope stated:

“Dear Brother Bishops,

I greet all of you with fraternal affection and I pray that this pilgrimage of spiritual renewal and deepened communion will confirm you in faith and commitment to your task as Pastors of the Church in the United States of America. As you know, it is my intention in the course of this year to reflect with you on some of the spiritual and cultural challenges of the new evangelization.

One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture.

At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.”

The letter continues:

“The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.

In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.

The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.

Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.”

One of the things the devil works hard on is to convince people he does not exist and he is doing a good job with Catholics. This is why I, a baptized Catholic and the product of a Catholic grade school education, gave up on the Catholic Church. When I see prominent Catholics such as Rev. Jenkins pandering to left-wing progressives and anti-Christians like Obama, Pelosi, and Sebelius I find myself wondering just what the Catholic Church stands for.

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