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Would You Go To Prison --- With Your Bishop? (Mrs. Don-o's Challenge on the HHS Mandate and More)
April 2, 2012 | Mrs. Don-o

Posted on 04/03/2012 5:22:44 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o

Would you go to jail – with your bishop?

It’s not often happened, in my lifetime, that the U.S. government would flatly require what God forbids, or forbid what God requires. Usually political judgments have had to do with teaspoon measuring and prudential reasoning, sorting and bargaining and trade-offs of competing goods. The policy picture is made by pencil: we sketch and erase, we compare estimated costs and benefits of differing public policies. These things are negotiable; and the negotiation is called politics.

So it was most shocking, in the first few months of 2012, for American Catholics to face not the usual shading, tinting and cross-hatching, but a true black-and-white crisis. Through the HHS “Contraceptive Mandate,” Catholic institutions would be required to subsidize in practice programs and policies which we utterly -- morally, ethically, religiously --- reject in conscience. We faced not “politics”, but coercive force which threatened the existence of every Catholic institution in the United States.

As I write, some temporary abatement seems likely: the U.S. Supreme Court may strike down the huge, lumbering, tractor-treaded “Obamacare” machine in its entirety. Or the Court may knock out its key part, its money engine, the “Individual Mandate,” which would eventually collapse the entire Federal health insurance apparatus.

But what if the Supreme Court fails us?

Or what if the legal authority of HHS director Kathleen Sebelius to define and enforce nationwide insurance policy requirements somehow survives the wreckage?

Or what if the Obama Administration or some successor Administration tries to re-impose mandatory contraception/abortion coverage by separate legislation at a later date?

I am convinced that even the most favorable Supreme Court ruling will not prevent such crises from cropping up again and again in the near future. We will no longer being asked to tolerate evils: we will be ordered to participate in them: as payers first, then as providers.

And since Catholic institutions can not both forbid sins and offer them as benefits, most Catholic commentators narrow the possible Catholic response to only two: don’t offer any health coverage at all, and pay the resultant fines, or shut down.

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “Couldn’t we, as a temporary tactical expedient, simply pay (in the case of Obamacare) the damned insurance--- ---- to buy time to mobilize our forces, and fight?

"Couldn’t we do so under protest, while launching noisy campaigns on the electoral, legislative, and judicial fronts to change the mandate? Couldn’t we do it while attacking politicians who support the mandate, networking with state governments and other allies to overturn it, and suing every HHS official in the country?

"Couldn’t we go along with it for a time, but only in order to survive, fight, and win?”

The answer, I think, is “No.”

I can’t see how it could be morally all right to offer immoral services, even if “under protest.” I would argue that offering one’s workforce chemical neutering, sexual mutilation, and/or embryotoxins as a form of employee compensation, is malum in se.

Why wouldn’t cooperating with the disposal of unwanted embryos be as bad as cooperating with the disposal of unwanted bishops? Would the USCCB do this, but only “under protest”?

I doubt that the American Cancer Association would pay to subsidize monthly cartons of Marlboros for their employees, even under protest. That’s because they would consider it outrageous. They have, perhaps, stronger convictions than we do.

Why would anyone believe that we believe that cooperation in evil is damnable, if we would do it to save our assets? How would we “mobilize” our so-called “forces” if we immediately enfeeble them with the example of compliance? This would not inspire and electrify the laity. It would cause us to collapse right back into our customary slump. Who will spring to their feet to save an institution whose ongoing strategy is finessing a compromise? Who will follow an uncertain trumpet?

So we’re back to the question: say the Supreme Court fails us, or a newly- legislated push-and-shove is upon us, and the Government goes forward with its demand that you pay for universal insurance coverage of contraception/ sterilization/ abortion. What do you do?

Answer:  A. Stop offering insurance altogether, and pay the fines.

This answer is INCORRECT. If this is what you choose, then you will hand incremental but certain victory to the Culture of Death.

• The fines will be financially crippling. They will cause you to shrink your institutions, radically scale back your services to those in need, or disband your ministries altogether, and

• The fines will be used to pay for contraception /sterilization /abortion, thus resulting in the Catholic Church funding the Culture of Death anyway. Big fines are just another avenue of collection, and thus of collaboration and submission.

 B. Shut down, sell off, or secularize the Church-related institutions (schools, hospitals, charities) and thus avoid both morally repugnant insurance policies, and fines.

This answer is ALSO INCORRECT. Once again, if this is what you choose, it amounts to preemptive surrender.

• The shut-down of Church ministries is exactly what the Culture-of-Death Statists wanted to begin with. As Cardinal Timohy Dolan has said, “If I tell [the Albany NY political establishment], ‘I'm going to close all my schools,’ you don't think there'd be somersaults up and down the corridors?” /

This is what the Statists have been aiming at from the git-go, almost by definition: they want the State absorb, usurp, or take effective control of all human services, caring professions, and charities.

• Additionally, the shut-down or sell-off option gives the Culture of Death a massive propaganda victory, allowing them to claim that, to preserve its ‘irrational’ ‘rigid’ ‘taboos’, the Catholic Church now petulantly refuses to help the sick, assist the needy, and teach the next generation.

But there is, possibly, a third answer, one which would make possible a truly Catholic moral witness:

 C. Refuse to pay any fines OR to shut down, and simply continue our mission --- anticipating the State’s next move: inexorable legal prosecution: the overt, forcible political repression of the Church.

THIS IS THE CORRECT ANSWER. This is the glory of the Gospel and all of Salvation History.

We will worship God first and only. We will run our health, education, charitable, publishing, and human service institutions according to Catholic principles of Moral Law. We will continue to do this even if the HHS, the DOJ and the IRS haul us into court, throw us in jail, and forcibly seize Church-related properties, assets and institutions.

We will not choose either submission or self-extinction. Not willingly. We have to tell the Statists —- we have to show them —- that we’ll celebrate the Paschal Mystery in prison first, thanking God that we have been found worthy to suffer.

The two most important things we must guard against, in my view, are

• the further enfeeblement of our moral witness by saying, in effect, “This is a deadly sin, but if you press us, we’ll pay for it”; and

• the further scandal of saving institutions “on the outside” while they approach a state of advanced decomposition “on the inside.”

The increasingly obvious weakness of the Catholic ‘teaching” is that we have not been teaching it.

Many Catholics --- let alone non-Catholic employees of Catholic institutions ---- have never in their lives encountered a powerful Natural Law argument for sexual integrity. They don’t know there is such an argument.

One of Nancy Pelosi’s five adult children has said that the seven members of their family have spent an aggregate of 100 years in the Catholic schools, and not once have any of them heard why the Church “has a problem with” homosexuality. I’d bet good money that they’re similarly clueless on why the Church “has a problem with” the disabling of our sexual reproductive physiology and the disposal of our offspring.

So something in me cringes when I hear our very own leadership, from the very top, repeating itself hoarse: “This is not about contraception, this is about religious freedom."

Oh, really? That must explain why we’ve missed the last 10,000 “teachable moments” when we could have explained how junk sex, queered by contraception-sterilization-abortion, will cause the destruction of immortal souls, marriages, families, nations, and civilizations.

Tactically, no doubt, it makes sense to interpret the present crisis in terms of religious liberty only; and no doubt religious liberty is hugely important. But human sexuality itself is even more hugely important, and it has been under attack from every direction and in every way, for my entire adult lifetime.

The present crisis is the end-game, where the perverse Program--- splitting men from women, splitting sex from marriage, splitting procreation from lovemaking, splitting soul from body ---- is to be installed as the permanent software of our lives, presumptively normative for all.

We have a better teaching. And we must teach the teaching by living the teaching.

No one --- no one --- will stand up and fight, if the hospital is still called “Mercy” but its leadership is in its 40th or 50th year of saving their 501(c)(3) by temporizing with the merciless.

But if every school and hospital is forcibly seized and re-named “St. Sebelius,” and our principals and administrators and bishops are all in Federal prisons? Rejoice and be glad. Historically, prison has always been an excellent pulpit and a school of saints.

Objection: “They will levy additional penalties, put a lien on our assets, and sell us on the courthouse steps, thus accomplishing what they want: shutting us down. It has to be either practical/ compromise, or judicial extermination.”

Response: “Either/or? I'll take Judicial for 500, Alex.”

We cannot win this battle if we merely find some plausible way to finesse an inherently unjust situation.

WORSE: If we craft a little opt-out for Church-related institutions only, we will be ignoring the fact that every person legally resident in the United States will ultimately be forced to become an accomplice in this sin, as payer, provider, or participant.

If we settle; if we fudge; if we signal that in the end we would quietly pay the fines or willingly secularize our institutions --- in other words, submit --- we are absolutely, positively guaranteed defeat. The only tactically sound, logically sound and morally sound response to the HHS and the Culture-of-Death Statists is this: the Works of Mercy and the Cross.

I think if our Catholic leaders would show us an admirable spectacle of “Acts of the Apostles” sacrifice, it would electrify the laity. There’d be waves of people saying YES to the Church, if a bishop or two said (via a televised, manacled perp-walk), “NO to this tyranny.”

Catholics would surge from their comfortable pews if “Bishops jailed” was the top of the news. The Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod --- the best of them: Richard Land (SBC), and Matthew Harrison (LCMS), Chuck Colson (Prison Fellowship /Wilberforce), and Leith Anderson (National Association of Evangelicals) --- might well saddle up at the sound of a certain trumpet; the best of the Orthodox would be shouting “Axios!”

And we’d have something like a Catholic Church.

Venerable Pope Pius XII, pray for us. Mit brennender Sorge.

TOPICS: Government; Health/Medicine; Politics; Religion
KEYWORDS: catholic; mandate; sebellius; tyranny
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1 posted on 04/03/2012 5:22:47 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: NYer; spokeshave; Tax-chick; netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; ...

Class, discuss.

2 posted on 04/03/2012 5:25:34 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The Catholic Catechism (2246) advises we are not bound to obey unjust laws.

It does suggest passive resistance.

I am not so inclined, to wait until the last minute, wherein, that is the only option.

Fight NOW, not after it is too late!

3 posted on 04/03/2012 5:34:54 AM PDT by G Larry (We are NOT obliged to carry the snake in our pocket and then dismiss the bites as natural behavior.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Four Things
Posted by Ann Barnhardt - March 11, AD 2012 7:22 PM MST

Miss Barnhardt kicks ass in that essay.

4 posted on 04/03/2012 5:35:09 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the prisons and fines or accept the Mark of the Beast, that is the question. ObamaCare may not be the actual Mark but the principle is the same, do we serve God or do we serve Mammon? If any Church is to be true to God, they must have principles and stick to them. Don’t compromise. Don’t pay the fine. Make them shut the doors. There has to be a line. let them cross it.

5 posted on 04/03/2012 5:36:25 AM PDT by BipolarBob (If I had a son who jacked jewelry and dealt drugs, he would've looked like Trayvon.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Brava!!! I could not agree more. The only option is refusal—refusal to comply, refusal to pay the fine.

Our frail humanity may fret about our temporal misfortune. But what the heck country are we leaving to our Catholic kids? One where they lick the boot that presses on their neck?

6 posted on 04/03/2012 5:42:08 AM PDT by Claud
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Are you kidding me? Our Bishops - notably their spokesman - advocated for "universal healthcare." We warned them what would happen -- though they are not to be excused for failing see it for their exalted selves. Now that they got it, they start with all the dramatic "martyr" talk.

This is theater, that's all it is. It's the Timothy Dolan show.

7 posted on 04/03/2012 5:49:03 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand
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To: Mrs. Don-o


I fancy myself a fine judge of prose, and as I read this I asked myself “Who’s this cardinal with the ponderous stones?” Or perhaps a bishop? Or Ann Barnhardt.

So good it substitutes for coffee, this beautiful morning. Many thanks for posting a splendid product!

8 posted on 04/03/2012 5:58:26 AM PDT by Lady Lucky ( Romney -- the pink slime of presidential politics)
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To: Mrs. Don-o; Anoreth; BlackElk

I’m afraid our bishops have read the wrong books and watched the wrong movies. If they had read “Last of the Breed” or seen 189 episodes of “Stargate: SG-1,” they would understand that it’s just more fun to go down fighting, while making slightly rude jokes. You don’t get any good lines if you’re the cringing and compromising character - just contempt from the rest of the cast and the audience.

“Who wants to live forever, anyway?” “Brave up, my brothers - this is a good day to die!” “I am Breitbart!” “Your mother was a gerbil and your father smelt of elderberries!” “Bite me, you (redacted)!”

I already have what most people are freepin terrified of: ten children. (Chorus of omg omg, and the little running-around-in-circles guy.) I’m supposed to be scared of Darth Sebelius and that little homosexual twink who calls himself President? Sorry, not happening.

Do they really think the National Guard - my neighbors - are going to shoot down old people and babies and the youth group, in order to shut down our homeless mission over “free” contraceptives? Zero and his possessed minions probably do, because they’re that nuts, but if our “leaders” - I’ll take the scare quotes off when they demonstrate leadership - also believe it, they’re blithering fools.

(No, I’m not intoxicated at nine in the morning - I just don’t get enough sleep. I’m attempting BlackElk-quality vociferous verbiage, but I just don’t have his gift for alliteration.)

9 posted on 04/03/2012 6:02:55 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Read "Radical Son" by David Horowitz to understand the Left.)
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To: agere_contra

Ann Barnhardt is brilliant. We have been e-mailing back and forth about this for weeks.

10 posted on 04/03/2012 6:03:52 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: the invisib1e hand
It's time for the USCCB to make a clean break with their past public policy blunders. Of course, it won't be a "clean break," though; it will be a season of tugging and pulling, one man learning and another failing to learn.

You might have noticed, though, that they're unanimous on opposing the HHS Sexual Sabotage mandate. I hope only to sthrengthen their hand on that one, and rouse them to go on in this new, sane direction.

I think some of them are stunned. Good. It's a moment of grace, in its way.

11 posted on 04/03/2012 6:11:20 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Tax-chick

I love you when yhou’re in this altered mental state :o)

12 posted on 04/03/2012 6:13:26 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o


13 posted on 04/03/2012 6:15:50 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Read "Radical Son" by David Horowitz to understand the Left.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I agree. Too bad that it has taken a crisis to see the Light, but so be it. It is not the first time in history that the church has gotten so taken up by the world and lost its way (almost), but in the past, persecution grew the church, strengthened the flock, and purified the Gospel. Maybe, should the Supremes uphold ObamaCare, we will get an opportunity to live our faith in a meaningful way once again and restore the church’s glory. After all, Revelation does say that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. It may look like death for a while, but God will preserve her.

14 posted on 04/03/2012 6:26:14 AM PDT by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Inspired, Mrs. Don-o. I woke this morning with thoughts about this Holy Week and how far I am from my Lord.

I live with the fear of loss, fear of pain, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment that removes me from active participation in carrying the Cross to being merely one of the bystanders shedding tears as Christ passes.

Everyone does.

It’s that choice that comes down to the Will, trust and whatever little courage we are granted. I hope I don’t fail.

Our shepherds have been exercising a little courage. We have to pray that they become lions because another Obama term will have America resembling the bifurcated church in China. The PRC have started arresting the Mongolian bishops and priests and the Church there has had to go underground.

The left can move very fast. They have no restraints to bridle them.

15 posted on 04/03/2012 6:27:14 AM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: OpusatFR
I have scant courage myself, and it drains out of me quick. But...

There's a famous novelette -- "Song of the Scaffold" or something like that? ---- about the Carmelites who were martyred during the French Revolution, focusing on one of them who was really timid, quaking, fainting, not "suited" so to speak for martyrdom. But...

Weak-kneed. Yo. If and when the time comes: honest to God I don't know about myself. Martyrdom? Who am I kidding? A raised voice sends me weeping, nose running, red and bulbous. Heck, a mere cross look and I dissolve like a salted slug.


16 posted on 04/03/2012 6:47:23 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Somebody Personal Messaged me for permission to reprint this, so I'll write here what I wrote in the PM reply:

As far as I'm concerned, you have a free hand: you can use this in any way that seems most productive to you.

A chunk of it was written by Ann Barnhardt, who gave me permission to adapt into a letter to the bishops, or however I saw fit, and give it more circulation. ("Have at it," was her response.) You might want to run it past her at Ann Barnhardt

(Don't worry about this e-mail address: she publicizes it herself at her website.)

Now there's a lady who needs to publish bigtime.

17 posted on 04/03/2012 6:51:37 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Tax-chick
Excellent rant!

Do they really think the National Guard - my neighbors - are going to shoot down old people and babies and the youth group...?

Cogent observation. As goes the Legions, so goes the Republic. Pray that the legions side with their neighbors when the inevitable comes.

18 posted on 04/03/2012 7:22:58 AM PDT by jboot
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Communism requires an answer. The Church has never failed to give it one. In today’s jargon, it goes something like this - “NO SALE”.

Neither in jot nor tiddle is compliance and cooperation with evil an option in Catholic teaching, even with “nuance”.

Let our yes be “yes”, and our no be “no”.

19 posted on 04/03/2012 7:26:56 AM PDT by RitaOK (LET 'ER RIP, NEWT.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Communism requires an answer. The Church has never failed to give it one. In today’s jargon, it goes something like this - “NO SALE”.

Neither in jot nor tiddle is compliance and cooperation with evil an option in Catholic teaching, even with “nuance”.

Let our yes be “yes”, and our no be “no”.

20 posted on 04/03/2012 7:27:05 AM PDT by RitaOK (LET 'ER RIP, NEWT.)
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