It is the first day back to work for many of us after some delightful holy days, during which we have been able to reflect on eternal and heavenly realities.

And in this New Year we are going to have many blessings but also some important challenges. Among the challenges we will continue to face and must battle are significant and persistent threats to religious liberty. These issues affect not only Catholics, but people of many religious backgrounds. However, the Catholic Church is particularly targeted and threatened because we have stood so vocally and firmly in opposition to many cultural problems in America such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, the gay rights agenda, gay “marriage,” and so forth.

As the wider American culture continues to move away from biblical teachings and norms, our Catholic adherence to this age-old wisdom has come to be seen by many as obnoxious, and we are considered to be an influence that must be strongly resisted. Rather than understand our concerns as a principled stance rooted in biblical norms that we cannot simply set aside, many in the wider culture, have chosen to describe our stance as bigoted, reactionary, hateful, and broadly intolerant.

As such, many see the repudiation of our religious rights and liberty as righteous and as a vindication of their cultural agenda. But the rejoicing in some circles and the active attempt by some to suppress our religious liberty is short-sighted. For if the government can deny the liberty of one group, all are threatened. If the government can attempt to legally force a large segment of the U.S. population to act contrary to their conscience, no other segment is safe either.

As we have discussed before, the threat to religious liberty is both real and growing. This New Year of 2012 will be a critical year for religious liberty issues since a number of important issues are on the table.

Over the Christmas Octave, all priests in the Archdiocese received a letter of concern from Cardinal Wuerl, which stated in part,

We have all heard much over the past few years about the cause of reforming health care in the United States. Until now, federal law has never prevented Catholic institutions like the Archdiocese of Washington from providing for the needs of their employees with a health plan that is consistent with Catholic moral teachings. However, the Department of Health and Human Services is currently considering adopting regulations that would threaten that freedom.

Under the proposed HHS regulations, virtually all Catholic hospitals, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and charitable organizations would be required to provide coverage for sterilization procedures and contraception, including drugs that may induce abortions, unless they stop hiring and stop serving non-Catholics.

The letter goes on to reference A Letter from Catholic Leaders and Health Care Professionals, which expresses grave concern that the HHS mandates in the new healthcare legislation are too sweeping and contain no real religious exemption. The letter states, in part,

As written, the [HHS] rule will force Catholic organizations that play a vital role in providing health care and other needed services either to violate their conscience or severely curtail those services. This would harm both religious freedom and access to health care.

The HHS mandate puts many faith-based organizations and individuals in an untenable position. But it also harms society as a whole by undermining a long American tradition of respect for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. In a pluralistic society, our health care system should respect the religious and ethical convictions of all. We ask Congress, the Administration, and our fellow Americans to acknowledge this truth and work with us to reform the law accordingly.

Real and subtle – Please understand that the threats to our religious liberty are very real, but also at times subtle.  For much of it is carried out in incremental ways, hidden in the deeper details of legislation and emerging from the interpretations of various judges. As such, it requires the Church and other religious organizations to fight on multiple fronts in a wearying number of often arcane (but very significant) legal minutia.

At some level, the erosion of religious liberty is happening simply due to the repeated quality of the multiple legal maneuvers. The Church and other religious entities may win an individual battle in one case only to face multiple appeals and/or similar battles in other jurisdictions.

Keeping the faithful organized and alert and having the legal and financial resources in place to meet every challenge is difficult,  and this is part of the erosive technique of the extreme secularists.

Here are just some recent examples of the kinds of cases and issues that emerge:

  1. In 2009 the Baltimore City Council passed a bill regulating the speech of pro-life pregnancy centers by requiring them to post a sign listing services they do not provide (abortion and contraception) or face a daily fine. Abortion clinics and other such pro-choice centers faced no similar requirement. (Montgomery County soon approved a similar regulation.) The ordinance has been declared unconstitutional by a federal court, but even though the courts may overturn these sorts of laws, such legal actions place a huge time and financial burden on these charitable organizations and are a distraction from their mission.
  2. 600 Catholic  hospitals are finding themselves under increased scrutiny since they provide care in accordance with Catholic religious  beliefs. The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the federal government to investigate Catholic hospitals for declining to provide abortion and emergency contraception. The ACLU alleges that Catholic hospitals are violating federal laws by adhering to their religious beliefs.
  3. The District of Columbia government informed Catholic Charities that it would no longer be an eligible foster care and adoption partner, since as a Catholic organization Catholic Charities was devoted to placing children in homes with both a mother and a father. Moreover, when district residents filed an appeal to bring the issue of marriage before voters so that they could have a voice in the debate, their request was repeatedly denied by the D.C. Board of Elections.
  4. Last November the same thing happened in Illinois. The Church there would have been required to provide adoption services to same-sex couples, based on a civil union law that had been passed. “The decision not to pursue further appeals was reached with great reluctance, but was necessitated by the fact that the State of Illinois made it financially impossible for Catholic agencies to continue to provide these services due to the legal cost of continuing the battle.”
  5. There has also been a growing trend of government intrusion into the institutional and administrative life of the Church. One of the most disturbing examples of this was in 2009 when a bill was introduced in the Connecticut legislature that would have allowed the state of Connecticut to mandate the structure and organization of Catholic parishes (and only Catholic parishes—it applied to no other denominations). The measure, which ultimately failed, would have removed many administrative and pastoral responsibilities from the pastor and placed them instead in the hands of committees whose membership was defined by the state legislature. Here, too, though we won, that such an intrusive principle could see the light of day was disturbing and fighting it cost the Church and Catholics a huge amount of time and money.
    Christians cannot speak of their values publicly? Medina Valley Independent School District allows the class valedictorian to deliver a graduation address. The speech is written by the student and delivered in his or her own name and is a means to provide a personal reflection on what has helped him or her attain  success, and to give an encouraging word to fellow students. Last year, valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand, a Bible-believing Christian, was valedictorian. Many knew that Angela would give thanks to God for blessing her work as a student, and that she might offer a prayer. Alleging that hearing a prayer would cause serious and irreparable harm, lawyers at “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State” (AUSCS) filed suit for an agnostic family. A federal judge … issued an order that no prayers could be offered, and also that Angela could not utter certain words in her speech, including the phrase “bow your heads” or the specific words “prayer” or “amen.” The reality is, the judge’s order, not a prayer Angela might offer in her speech, violated the First Amendment. A student is given the stage to speak about her values and priorities and to thank whomever she wishes for helping her succeed in school. Because she’s a private citizen (not a government agent), her speech is protected by the First Amendment Free Speech Clause. For the government (including a judge) to censor her private speech is unconstitutional. On June 4, the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion to reverse the district judge’s ruling.
  6. Grants denied on Religious Grounds – In 2008 the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts brought suit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops seeking to eliminate a grant to programs that aid victims of human trafficking. Because Catholic programs don’t refer for abortions, the ACLU alleged that public support amounts to the establishment of religion. The Obama Justice Department defended the grant in court. But last month, HHS abruptly ended the funding.
  7. And again – It is now standard procedure in the Obama administration to deny funding to some Catholic programs based solely on their pro-life beliefs. [4]
  8. The latest and most pervasive threat is the new HHS law described above.

As we begin the new year, please take these threats seriously. The extreme secularists presume they can simply wear us down by their repeated and numerous legal maneuverings. And, frankly, they may be right—unless people like you and me are vigilant and unflinching in supporting the Church as she battles these attacks.

And don’t be too sanguine about how we should be willing to endure persecution. We should, but that does not mean we should simply surrender our constitutional rights at the door and let secularists and proponents of the cultural revolution isolate us. We have every constitutional right that any American does and we cannot simply let the Church be silenced by either ignoring the problem or minimizing it.

Are you ready for 2012? There is an important battle underway. Where do you stand? What will you do? To quote Martin Luther King Jr., “My daddy always said, ‘If you find a good fight, get in it.'” Well this is a good fight, a necessary fight. Get in it.

Please go to the Bishop’s website and find more ways you can become informed and join the struggle to protect religious liberty: The USCCB Website on Conscience and Religious Liberty.

32 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    Amen. Thank you for serving as a good shepherd.

  2. Fr Michael says:

    With the NDAA signed into law, Obama apparently now has the power to detain any of us without trial.

  3. Howard says:

    Yes, the threats are real, but we have been told many times in Scripture to expect them. The desire to believe otherwise was never more than wishful thinking.

    America is an odd place. To many observers we appear to be among the most religious countries in the world, but I wonder if we really are. Somehow it seems that it is usually in countries where the Church is strongest — England in the early days of Henry VIII, France just before the Revolution, Russia just before their Revolution, Mexico, Spain — that the persecution breaks out most fiercely. I wonder if we would stand up as well as they did. I also wonder if our relative peace is not an indication that we, unlike the apostles, have not been “accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.”

  4. Jo the Housewife says:

    Ummm, do ya think the Community Organizers can help us on this one??? You know, IAF, Gamaliel, PICO, etc. The ones that HELPED Obama pass the healthcare bill. The ones that are funded by dioceses all over the U.S. The ones who get money from CCHD, through our donations… JUST SAYING… New Years Resolution #1 for the Catholic Church. Drop funding for any group that is not 100 PERCENT PROLIFE. If the community organizers (i.e. Alinsky) are NOT helping with this, they need to go away very quickly.

    • Well, while your concerns are right, why be so nasty about it? One might argue that not every group has to explicitly pro-life, would it not be enough for them not to advocate abortion? Take for example, oh , I don’t know, a group in the Church devoted to the sacred liturgy, say that they are very solid, trying to advocate for correct observance of the liturgical norms. Now a group like that may never mention abortion. But, why should they, they are focused on the liturgy. I suppose if you asked their members most would report that they are pro-life, but you never know, there may be a few members that are not 100% But really, why would ask a liturgy group a question about abortion anyway? You probably would not. Hence, for example, I work with some agencies who serve the poor and advocate for them. I do not ask them about abortion usually. It doesn’t come up usually. Now, if I were to discover that a liturgy group, or an advocacy group I worked with had a pro-choice position I would immediately disassociate from them. However, most advocacy groups I know of do not advocate choice or abortion. However, they are not necessarily out on the front lines of the abortion issue either. Why? Because that is not why they exist, any more than the liturgy advocacy group would be on the front lines of the march in Washington, that just is not their purpose.

      Do you see what I am trying to say? Somewhere we have to accept that certain organizations exist for certain purposes, not others. God forbid that they advocate the killing of the unborn, then we disassociate. But I am not sure that it is good for the pro-life movement for us to be unkind and cast aspersions or accusations in a broad sort of way. If we’re going to be up for this Religious liberty battle then we need to work for unity. I realize we cannot have unity with some groups, but I am not sure the tone of your remark helps and it seems rather to be missing some important distinctions. Telling people to “go away quickly” is not helpful.

      As for the healthcare bill, I am not aware that IAF helped pass it. I know for a fact that the local IAF chapters here in DC and Baltimore (WIN, BUILD, and the Montgomery and Norther Va chapters (I don’t know their names)), took no public stance on the bill since, as they realized, many of their member institutions were divided and they only take stances where all the members agree. I don’t really know about the other organizations you mention but I do have some familiarity with WIN and BUILD and the other IAF organizations. I also know that Saul Alinski (Rules for Radicals) is not on the reading list of IAF members.

      • John Flaherty says:

        For all that I agree that Jo’s tone might be moderated a fair degree, I would not be so hard on her.
        I don’t think her point aims to chastise IAF’s support for health care in particular.
        Rather, I think Jo intends to legitimately warn against being too willing to work with organizations whose motives..aren’t precisely what you might think.
        I don’t know the particulars about PICO, IAF, or whomever, but I DO know that SEIU–or whatever they’ve morphed into–has been infamous for promoting themselves as a group that wishes to fight poverty, but who behaves in a manner that doesn’t even come close to matching that stated intent.

        And I will comment that, in general, I have almost no confidence at all in unions, especially the large, publicly active ones. I think we’ve seen ample cause these past few years to be concerned about the greed they might foment, regardless of what they say–or don’t–about abortion.

        I agree with Jo about the need to be VERY picky about the organizations we work with, especially those who might receive any kind of funding from resources provided by the Catholic Church. I think we’ve seen ample evidence these past few years that, if our hierarchy and bureaucracy do not demonstrate a very discerning eye, we’re prone to be exploited for purposes we would otherwise oppose.

        It’s very unfortunate that we must be so finicky, but we’ve seen ample cause these past few years to believe that abortion advocates and others will be only too willing to exploit even the smallest crack we offer.

  5. Jon White says:

    Monsignor,
    You wrote, “And don’t be too sanguine about how we should be willing to endure persecution. We should, but that does not mean we simply surrender our Constitutional rights at the door and let secularists, and proponents of the cultural revolution isolate us.”
    We all are called to be martyrs for Christ – all as living martyrs for Him, and, when necessary, dying for Him.
    In the play, “A Man For All Seasons”, the writer has Thomas More say (my paraphrasing), “I do not want to be a martyr. I have used the law wherever possible to avoid being a martyr AND to please God. But, having done all I can in good conscience to avoid it, I now am condemned by the government to death, and I accept the now-seeming inevitability of my martyrdom.”
    So, we shouldn’t go looking for a bloody martyrdom; if God wants us to have such, we will not be able to avoid it other than by betraying Him.

  6. mdepie says:

    Howard asks” I wonder if we would stand up as well as they did. I also wonder if our relative peace is not an indication that we, unlike the apostles, have not been “accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.”

    The answer is We do not know, and we should be working so as to not find out. We do not want to romanticize martyrdom, particularly by presuming that we are personally so holy that when the thumbnails are really being pulled out ( metaphorically perhaps…) We are going to be the ones to stand fast. This kind of thing might prove the down fall of any of us. One can imagine situations in which the pressure is applied to ones family rather than oneself… as pressure is increased and slowly turned up, and the targets are not just you, but are children, spouses, brothers and sisters… The ability to withstand the onslaught is difficult. It will be harder as some family members of lower resolve began to ask you… Why do you love that silly religion more than your child…… Can’t you just compromise a little..In a world in which the government is being asked to do more and more to “help us” and take care of us, I can imagine a world were holding the right attitudes, towing the right line etc is the difference between getting into a college, or holding a job… or getting health care or not getting the same health care…. you get the point..Once a little comprimising is underway for the sake of protecting one’s family.. well the wall has been breached.

    Keep in mind the people who are behind this are not just misguided, or wrong as if we are talking about the precise way to fix Medicare. No the people who are behind this are evil, The seek to ghettoize Catholicism specifically and the Judaeo Christian moral tradition in general.

    As for being worthy to “suffer for the name”, I know I am not of the caliber of the Apostles so I am more inclined to say “deliver me from temptation”.

    All that said what to do? It comes down to politics. At all levels we need to be electing people who recognize this as a problem, and not just voting, but financially supporting, writing letters, stuffing envelopes etc to elect people who will oppose the onslaught. From School board to the presidency. Right now in Iowa, there is, in Rick Santorum former Senator from Pennsylvania a full spectrum Catholic, who is comfortable looking at political questions through the lens of his Catholicism. Of note he has recieved praise from even those on the moderate left for his work in helping the third world poor ( specifically working with President Bush for AIDS treatment and relief in Africa. ) He is fully pro-life and is on our side in all the issues related to the Culture of Death. If every Catholic who attended mass weekly sent his campaign 5 dollars he would have enough to compete for the Republican nomination for President. Would he win? Perhaps not , but at least his issues, or rather our issues would get a hearing… and that is a begining. And for all you liberal Catholics out there , here is someone you should be able to support…

    • Nate says:

      You are right. It does all come down to politics. The Catholic Church is under assault because the majority of its members continue to support the Left in elections, often decisively so. If a Catholic supports a pro-gay rights, pro-abortion candidate, then that same Catholic can’t complain when the Church is attacked by the State.

      • Yeah but that’s an individual, we’re talking about all Catholics here Nate. According to your theory, then I have every right to complain and, I suppose, so do you, since I have not supported the candidates. What about us Nate?

        • Nate says:

          You and I can complain but I’m not sure that the Church itself has a right to complain about anti-Catholic politicians when a majority of its members routinely votes them into power and its institutions shower the same politicians with accolades.

          • But Nate, the Church is not an institution as you seem to conceive her. She in her Lord and her people. Some of her people are as you describe, but many, many are not.

            • John Flaherty says:

              I’m afraid I must agree with Nate to no small degree, Msgr. The Church IS an institution in the sense the Nate suggests in many ways. While it’s true that we can’t precisely declare that the Church should be forced to be quiet when Her individual members err, it’s ALSO true that the errors committed by Her members DO intensely undermine Her efforts to promote virtue.
              I have long wondered why many people don’t understand that we can’t expect the nation to be more virtuous if the clergy won’t clean house more thoroughly. It’s not nice, but it still needs to be done if we seek to save souls.

  7. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    Excelent article.

  8. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    I’ll second that excellent.

  9. mdepie says:

    I think Nate’s point is expressing frustration with the fact we frequently hear calls to be concerned about this or that grave evil, for example the assault on religious liberty, abortion etc.. and yet when push comes to shove there is indeed timidity about stating clearly what needs to be done to fight these attacks. ( The people who are promoting this most be relentlessly opposed politically by removing them from power. This means working hard to support their political opponents. IT means basically driving the Democrats out of power. It is all very well to go to the USCCB website and sign petitions and letters to congress. Such petitions will be taken a lot more seriously when the USCCB stops funding those who support the political left. Last go round in 2008 the Catholic Campaign for Human Development run by the very USCCB that the Monsignor has linked to gave 7.3 million dollars to ACORN which was instrumental in electing the very administration that is pursuing this jihad against religious liberties. The fact that Catholic “official dom” sees no problem with this is what leads to the frustration expressed by Nate. Why on earth should any left wing Politician heed these letters and petitions if they know that it does not matter, as Catholics and in particular the Bishops will support them or more precisely at least not openly oppose them in any but the most effete manner? Of note the states with the greatest Catholic populations have the consistently pro-abortion senate representation. ( NY, Mass, Conn, NJ). So last election if you gave money to the USCCB’s CCHD, you helped elect the guys who Monsignor accurately notes are out to push the Church into a ghetto. It is this knowledge that leads to the extreme frustration expressed by Nate.

    Still we can only bash the USCCB for its past perfidy so much, they claim to have corrected the massive system failure of the CCHD. Well we shall see. I frankly have my doubts, hope I am wrong. Moving forward we have a real opportunity in this election. We have a sincere Catholic politician in former PA Senator Rick Santorum who has made amazing gains by battling uphill to a near tie in the Iowa Caucuses. He is very well aligned with many of the Bishops positions ( for example he has been very engaged in supporting the poor in third world, with AIDs relief, TB treatment, etc. ) He has been a staunch defender of the right to life, and a supporter of traditional marriage. In fact while I do not agree with him on every issue ( He tends to like a bigger government than most traditional conservatives), But it really does not matter. What is crucially important is that He is the very first Presidential Candidate in American History to explicitly campaign as someone who openly admits his Catholicism informs his politics. John Kennedy was of course elected by explicitly stating his Catholicism would not affect his politics ( in his famous speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston). It is about time we finally have an authentic Catholic openly campaign as such. God knows we have plenty of heretics like Nancy Pelosi in the limelight . Interestingly Santorum did better in counties that were heavily evangelical as opposed to heavily Catholic. I find it amazing that any serious Catholic would not at least consider rallying around him, While perhaps the Bishops can not openly endorse him, I find it amazing that they are essentially ignoring him. Gee he got more favorable notice from a liberal like the NY Times David Brooks than any of the Bishops. ( for his work with AIDS relief efforts among other things.. ( By the way memo to the Bishops, if Obama stays in power the IRS is going to be gunning for you anyway…)

    In any case if we are serious about opposing the relentless aggressive secularization of our culture, its time to stop moaning about it, and even more time to stop petitioning those who will ignore us, and time to start working to elect our allies.

  10. Dan Buckley says:

    Our government is going broke, spending more than the revenue it takes in. If our leaders will not have the resolve to cut spending, they must find a new source of revenue, and more taxes are never popular because they “trickle down” in the long run. So whence new revenues? THE CHURCHES. Tax the churches! They’ve beeen going tax free for all this time. About time they paid their “fair share.” I really see this as a potential theme of the socialist mindset. Despoiling the church is something in which it delights

  11. Theresa says:

    What I notice is the defeaning silence from our pulpits at least at my parish regarding all that is going on. I especially felt abandoned the morning after our “Catholic” governor made “gay marriage” legal in our state. I went to Mass and when it came time for the sermon he said something like “well I have nothing to talk about today so there will be no homily” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????????? Why don’t our parish priests talke to the people about these things? The silence is defeaning!

    • But you still want a seven minute sermon dont you? And if not you then surely the person next to you. And if Mass goes over and hour…..see, the people of God have a role in this too. They want everything covered and they insist that mass be an hour or less. Something has to give.

      • Theresa says:

        Oh no I’m not one of “those” people. The people of God would love it if their shephers would guide especially in matters such as these.

        • Theresa says:

          Msgr I was surprised at your comment and would like to further explain. I so wish that we would hear about these things from our pastor or at least have a bulletin insert or something…..I am perhaps one of those that you might consider a reactionary or whatever else I might be called. I was a revert almost 26 years ago and am now in my late 40’s and am in love with the Church and cherish Her teachings. I feel like those of us that want to hear what the Church teaches are dismissed and it surprised me that you would say comment back to me the way you did. I love reading your blogs daily-what are we in the pews supposed to do? How can we change things? I teach confirmation, I volunteer for the church, I try to raise my children in the Faith-support the local Catholic school, pray for my priests, yes I’m a sinner and have a long way to go but what do we do??????

          • Generally I think the answer is to get on with your work and stop waiting for the clergy to lead. It might be nice if all my brother clergy did lead in every matter, but that may not happen right away. Further, the temporal order is the domain of the laity and it is my historical understanding that most authentic reform movements begin at the grass roots, with the laity. Not usually the clergy. Here in DC I am trying to animate and promote more traditional Catholics, and Catholics of a more politically conservative point of view to organize and begin to develop relationships with the Bishop’s conference and even at the Vatican. Some informal meetings have begun but its time for traditional and conservative Catholics to stop being outsiders and to go inside and develop real relationships with actual bishops, and staff members at the the USCCB. A little less decrying and a little more dispatch (action). If conservatives don’t have the bishop’s ear that isn’t only the bishops fault. Cultivating an “outsider” status means, by definition you’re not inside and too many conservative and traditional Catholics seem content to stand outside and criticize. But that isn’t the way things work. Things work through relationships, people who know people. Time to put down the protest signs and secure a seat at the table. This is what we’re working on here in DC. Relationships are more important and effective than being reactionary and indicating unhappiness. At any rate that is my answer to people here.

  12. mdepie says:

    “They want everything covered and they insist that mass be an hour or less.” But With all due respect Monsignor, one can drone on about nothing for 7 minutes or make a concise homily about any subject that says what needs to be said in 5 minutes. You of all people already know all this, because I bet you can and do give a pretty good sermon in under 7 minutes, all you have to do is read aloud any of your blog posts. I doubt this would even take 3 minutes. Surely there is in the archives a post about gay marriage, or religious liberty or what not.. that you could lend to some of your colleagues ? it sounds rather disengenuous to imply that homilies simply can not cover this stuff because you folks would think it takes too long…. Can you be serious? I have heard a priest spend 7 minutes being critical of “pro-lifers” and another spend 7 minutes talking about the Joe McCarthy hearings in the 1950s and how great Edward R Morrow was to stand up to him….., it seems to me 7 minutes is plenty of time to say just about anything.

    You well know that priests and bishops have a unique pulpit, and one of the reasons we have unprecedented societal decay is failure of some to use this pulpit and some even abuse it. Most of the rest of us, do not have such a pulpit. Sure we can speak with friends about these issues but for most people the opportunity to do so is limited. Some of us are involved in professions in which issues like this present themselves and we can do our part to make a case, as professionals in our given spheres but it is a lot tougher if by word or deed the clergy undermines us, For the vast majority of non professional lay people they do not even have this. I know a woman whose Pastor told her he was supporting Obama, in spite of the fact that he realized he was vigorously pro-abortion because he did not regard abortion as a central political issue. ( I guess he has a passion for massive federal debt.. but I digress)

    The woman asked my wife how she could possibly compete with that, if the priest clearly conveys that in his comments at Mass, and his actions etc.. truth be told she can’t…. that is why dissent from the clergy is so pernicious, But in reality saying you are going to support Obama is not really dissent is it? Even the USCCB document on “Faithful Citzenship” says this is ok so long as you don’t do it for the wrong reasons. If one is not willing to say this kind of thing is pernicious nonsense, one can not be serious about complaints regarding Obama’s subsequent attacks on religious liberty. They are predictable attacks, on some level it is cowardice to not say the obvious. If one wants the attacks to stop one needs to will the means to end them. Imagine how repulsive it would be to read a Church statement that said it was ok to support segregationist politicians so long as you do it because you like something besides their racist agenda.

    The people like Theresa are asking for help, (indeed probably praying for it) Help that is in telling their brethren in the pews what needs to be done to end some of the evils you decry, and the response she gets is “we can’t because if priests did this … well you would complain about the Mass length…

    I know… sigh…. you get tired of hearing this from the frustrated Catholic right, but ….sigh…. we get tired of dealing with the consequences of this kind of clergy malpractice. It is pretty irritating ( well actually its infuriating…….) to try and go out into the secular world and make the case for what the Church claims to believe and then find that many of your colleagues really do not appear to believe since they undermine us by what they say or fail to say. Really the “seven minute argument” is pretty lame.

  13. Kurt says:

    “Illinois. The Church there would have been required to provide adoption services to same-sex couples,…”

    And these contracts should be given to another grant applicant. Not because of the gay issue but because such government grants should go to no organization that would view this as a “service” to the prospective foster parents. It is NOT a service to the foster parents, it is a service to the CHILDREN. And if you view it as a service to the foster parents, as you just stated, it is totally inappropriate to be in this work.

  14. […] Some jurisdictions have sought to compel Catholic hospitals and pro-life clinics to provide information about or referrals for abortion and to provide “emergency contraception” (i.e., the abortifacient known as the morning-after pill). Several branches of Catholic Charities have been de-certified from doing adoption work because they will not place children with gay couples. In 2009, the State of Connecticut sought to regulate the structure, organization, and running of Catholic parishes. And recently a number of Christian valedictorians in various states have suffered legal injunctions when it was discovered that they planned to mention God and/or Jesus in their addresses. (More details can be found HERE.) […]

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