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.
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.
I particularly like this line:
“We cannot win this battle if we merely find some plausible way to finesse an inherently unjust situation.”
This finessing is exactly what the church in the US has gotten into the habit of doing; instead of standing against injustice we are generally told “obey authority” regardless of the justness (or legitimacy) of that authority’s commands.
See #38 and #41.
How COULD we resist, effectively, if it came to that? Meaning, how could we impede them from just instantly confiscating the funds out of our bank accounts, plus whatever penalties the Dark Lords demand?
This may be the beginning of the end, so go down fighting and assure your place in heaven.
Aha! NOW you’ve got my cheeks pinking, my eyes sparkling, and my heart going boom-boom-BOOM!
I was thinking of what I read somewhere where the California tax people just went into somebody’s savings account and took money. THEN they notified him. If CA can do that, so can the Feds.
>How COULD we resist, effectively, if it came to that? Meaning, how could we impede them from just instantly confiscating the funds out of our bank accounts, plus whatever penalties the Dark Lords demand?
There are several ways, the first that pops into mind is violence. An option, but perhaps perhaps harmful because it would be seen as counter to Jesus’s example given when He was being arrested. (Though, for a counter-example see the book of Esther; these people, make no mistake, mean to see our people beat down/eradicated.)
Secondly, there is the possibility of simply spending all the “church funds” before the government can get involved, giving it to the poor directly or funding missions (home or abroad, it matters not) and allowing the government to try to “squeeze blood from a stone.” After depleting savings, the church should instruct its parishioners to give their tithe directly [to mission/use X]. — This has the advantage of getting people more directly involved in ministries, and it provides the opportunity for the Church (organization) to rely on God for sustenance.
Make them try to seize and sell properties. Go ahead and try. Occupy can do sit-downs at foreclosed properties, so can I. And ten-thousand I's.
It is time for the USCCB to make an open break with the Democrat party, to denounce Biden, Pelosi, et al. by name, or rather to mention with sorrow how it came to pass that these worthies came to misrepresent the teachings of the Catholic Church, and take some baby steps away from the embrace of the Government.
From your keyboard to God’s ear.
And you are SO right about the missed Teachable Moments. There is so much material for good homilies, but I think too many priests are afraid of offending contracepting couples, or making college aged kids mad. Too bad; it's the perfect opportunity to show the problems in society caused by sexual sins.
there is only one response to the government in this: no. It doesn’t need to be shouted, so much as said resolutely, and never backed away from. Should the current regulations from the HHS not vary between now and 2014, when they are supposed to take effect, I’ll have to cease insurance and taxes. You do know, that those who do not offer insurance (and I’m sure this goes for joe blow on the street also) will have a 1 dollar portion of their taxes monthly that is specifically segregated for payment of abortions, do you not? Insofar as the government is concerned, I’ve always been a law-abiding citizen, and outside of the musical career of my relative youth, rather staid. But we cannot, and must not comply here. Period. I may not be the bravest, (save that for my dad, vet and fighter pilot) but better to be true to my faith than true to obamacare. Or, as a long deceased friend of mine would have said, of sebellius and obama: weasels.
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