Skip to comments.Would You Go To Prison --- With Your Bishop? (Mrs. Don-o's Challenge on the HHS Mandate and More)
Posted on 04/03/2012 5:22:44 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
Would you go to jail with your bishop?
Its 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: dont offer any health coverage at all, and pay the resultant fines, or shut down.
Wait a minute, you might say. Couldnt 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?
"Couldnt we do so under protest, while launching noisy campaigns on the electoral, legislative, and judicial fronts to change the mandate? Couldnt 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?
"Couldnt we go along with it for a time, but only in order to survive, fight, and win?
The answer, I think, is No.
I cant see how it could be morally all right to offer immoral services, even if under protest. I would argue that offering ones workforce chemical neutering, sexual mutilation, and/or embryotoxins as a form of employee compensation, is malum in se.
Why wouldnt 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. Thats 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 were 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 States 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 well 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, well 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 dont know there is such an argument.
One of Nancy Pelosis 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. Id bet good money that theyre 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 weve 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. Thered 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 wed have something like a Catholic Church.
Venerable Pope Pius XII, pray for us. Mit brennender Sorge.
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”.
In fact, let our “No” be “NO - NO - NO” :o)
All y'all, I'm interested in your thoughts, and sorry if I've pinged multiples. I have fast but fallible fingers on the keyboard today.
The military, police, and most especially the federal agencies WILL fire on us, arrest us, round us up and drag us off to the reeducation camps if ordered to do so.
Count on it.
The leftist secular media will cheer them on, and the 0bama voters will say we’re a bunch of terrorists who deserved it.
Your opening statement observing government's assuming a role that "forbids what God requires" and "requires what God forbids" describes a role inconsistent with the Founders' ideas and of those the sources and minds from which they drew their ideas.
Perhaps this is illustrated by the "Natural Law" concept described in the following essay, which is reprinted with permission.
"Man ... must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator.. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature.... This law of nature...is of course superior to any other.... No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this: and such of them as are valid derive all their force...from this original." - Sir William Blackstone (Eminent English Jurist)
The Founders DID NOT establish the Constitution for the purpose of granting rights. Rather, they established this government of laws (not a government of men) in order to secure each person's Creator endowed rights to life, liberty, and property.
Only in America, did a nation's founders recognize that rights, though endowed by the Creator as unalienable prerogatives, would not be sustained in society unless they were protected under a code of law which was itself in harmony with a higher law. They called it "natural law," or "Nature's law." Such law is the ultimate source and established limit for all of man's laws and is intended to protect each of these natural rights for all of mankind. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 established the premise that in America a people might assume the station "to which the laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them.."
Herein lay the security for men's individual rights - an immutable code of law, sanctioned by the Creator of man's rights, and designed to promote, preserve, and protect him and his fellows in the enjoyment of their rights. They believed that such natural law, revealed to man through his reason, was capable of being understood by both the ploughman and the professor. Sir William Blackstone, whose writings trained American's lawyers for its first century, capsulized such reasoning:
"For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the...direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws."
What are those natural laws? Blackstone continued:
"Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to every one his due.."
The Founders saw these as moral duties between individuals. Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"Man has been subjected by his Creator to the moral law, of which his feelings, or conscience as it is sometimes called, are the evidence with which his Creator has furnished him .... The moral duties which exist between individual and individual in a state of nature, accompany them into a state of society . their Maker not having released them from those duties on their forming themselves into a nation."
Americas leaders of 1787 had studied Cicero, Polybius, Coke, Locke, Montesquieu, and Blackstone, among others, as well as the history of the rise and fall of governments, and they recognized these underlying principles of law as those of the Decalogue, the Golden Rule, and the deepest thought of the ages.
An example of the harmony of natural law and natural rights is Blackstone's "that we should live honestly" - otherwise known as "thou shalt not steal" - whose corresponding natural right is that of individual freedom to acquire and own, through honest initiative, private property. In the Founders' view, this law and this right were inalterable and of a higher order than any written law of man. Thus, the Constitution confirmed the law and secured the right and bound both individuals and their representatives in government to a moral code which did not permit either to take the earnings of another without his consent. Under this code, individuals could not band together and do, through government's coercive power, that which was not lawful between individuals.
America's Constitution is the culmination of the best reasoning of men of all time and is based on the most profound and beneficial values mankind has been able to fathom. It is, as William E. Gladstone observed, "The Most Wonderful Work Ever Struck Off At A Given Time By he Brain And Purpose Of Man."
We should dedicate ourselves to rediscovering and preserving an understanding of our Constitution's basis in natural law for the protection of natural rights - principles which have provided American citizens with more protection for individual rights, while guaranteeing more freedom, than any people on earth.
"The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom." -John Locke
Footnote: Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part III: ISBN 0-937047-01-5
(End of quoted material)
Mrs. Don-O, hope this contributes to the discussion you have begun here. Easter Blessings!
This is a great and thought-provoking gift.
“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.) Im supposed to be scared of Darth Sebelius and that little homosexual twink who calls himself President? Sorry, not happening.”
I would give a weeks pay, to know what you redacted : )
Rest easy. Obama castigated the SCOTUS, because
the “Bulldyke” told him O Care is toast. There is no other
reason for O to have thrown a “fag fit” on SCOTUS.
” The military, police, and most especially the federal agencies WILL fire on us, arrest us, round us up and drag us off to the reeducation camps if ordered to do so”
Won’t last long...we out gun them 500 to 1..and most of the military is on our side.
“The leftist secular media will cheer them on, and the 0bama voters will say were a bunch of terrorists who deserved it.”
I have read on leftist blogs their objection to bowing to “Catholic Sharia Law.” I’m afraid you may be right.....
Well, I don’t know if it will involve going to prison with the bishops or not.
But I do know that active cooperation with evil is not an option. This is not a prudential choice. This is a matter of complicity with killing babies. And complicity with attacking and attempting to destroy the Roman Catholic Church.
Incidentally, this is one reason why I can never vote for Romney, either. Because he is responsible for exactly the same evils in the state of Massachusetts. He was the pioneer, and Obama is following in his footsteps. Not that either one of them ever saw a baby he didn’t want to kill—and make Catholics pay for it.
Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Vespasian respected the legions. Even the Soviet and Chinese Communists celebrated their military. Our Democrats (pfui) are openly contemptuous of soldiers. If they try to use them against Americans, I think the last words of some "elites" will be, "What happened?"
Three boys from my street are in the local National Guard unit. One's from a family with five children, one with seven, and the Ukrainian evangelical family has ten. (They live in two houses!)
I have a large vocabulary of Shakespearean invective.
I hope I would have the courage to be martyred for the Faith, but you can’t really know how you will respond until the test arrives. Peter couldn’t imagine that he would ever deny his Lord but did so three times in one night.
” Our Democrats (pfui) are openly contemptuous of soldiers. If they try to use them against Americans, I think the last words of some “elites” will be, “What happened?”
Yeah, the Dems are that obtuse : )
“Our Democrats (pfui) are openly contemptuous of soldiers. If they try to use them against Americans, I think the last words of some “elites” will be, “What happened?”
No doubt : )
I pray you are right. When it comes (note that I did not say "if it comes") it will be the sorest test of America since 1861. I hope we can stay strong.
I would like to think I would be given the grace.
But now, of course, not paying the fines is not an option. They’ll just take then unless I convert everything to gold and bury the gold.
Bless you for starting this thread and helping us all do some soul searching!
I undersrand that the IRS is going to be the enforcement/collection agency. If about 10 million ordinary people, well-prepared and well-versed in such things, got out of withholding somehow, and then invested a lot of energy in questionable, corner-cutting hiding, loop-holing, obscuring and off-shoring (like I guess rich people do)(or so I'm told), wouldn't that make enforcement and collections get all twisty-tailed around and effectively impede the IRS' abilty to carry out their mission? I'm told that just filing for extensions would shut down the IRS System, if a million people did it.
But I don't know about such things. Wouldn't it be worthwhile to turn the 10,000 page tax code to our own advantage via its labyrinthine built-in complexities?
Serious question from a seriously unknowledgeable person.