Ever since the January 20 Obama edict which denies freedom of conscience to those who honor the laws of God, there has been a black cloud hovering over much of the nation. Secretary of Health and Human Services, pro-abortion Catholic Kathleen Sebelius, has not wavered in her commitment to ensure free access to a full range of so-called reproductive services to all women. Not only that, but her boss has made it clear, even with his recent “adjustment,” that the new mandate does not exempt religious institutions which provide health insurance to their employees.
Given this dire circumstance, the latest statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is weak. It merely “objects” to the new ruling and advises the faithful, “We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.”
So while the USCCB seeks a political solution to what is clearly a morally bankrupt event, we are pleased that George Weigel, senior fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, puts his finger on this problem, writing, “The HHS-mandate battle is bringing to the surface of our public life many problems that were long hidden: the real and present danger to civil society of certain forms of Enlightenment thinking; the determination of the promoters of the sexual revolution to use state coercion to impose their agenda on society; the failure of the Catholic Church to educate the faithful in its own social doctrine; the reluctance of the U.S. bishops’ conference to forcefully apply that social doctrine—especially its principle of subsidiarity—during the Obamacare debate.”
Weigel makes valid points, but others have nailed the difficulty in a far more straightforward manner. My friend Arturo Benedetti wrote me, “Women are being USED politically to stand in OPPOSITION to their Church’s position since many/some/few have selected to USE contraception and abortifacients in DISREGARD to their Christian faith and upbringings.”
Benedetti does not leave men off the hook either, opining, “If we were truly MEN, we would love our ladies, our families, our God enough in support of our Faith, that WOMEN would never have conceived such a horrific CHOICE in the first place . . . and this “Religious Liberties” question would never be posed.”
The fundamental crisis triggered by Obama’s arrogant act runs deeply into the nooks and crannies of the Church’s catechetical failure that few are willing to expose and then correct.
As Father Michael Rodriguez points out in his analysis, “Truth or Freedom,” the central problem in this debate will be solved only by addressing the absolute moral truths revealed by God which are being trampled upon by the state. Calling the Obama decree a “brazen and blasphemous assault on the holy law of God, the sanctity of life, and the good of souls” Rodriguez sets forth a 10-point plan which he encourages the bishops to implement—providing every thinking believer with not only food for thought but a blueprint to victory over these recent affronts to human dignity. Rodriguez exhorts the people of God with these words, “If the majority of Catholics no longer believe as the Church believes (e.g., that abortion, contraception, and homosexual activity are intrinsically evil and thus forbidden) this is necessarily a consequence of Catholics no longer worshipping God as the Church has always worshipped God. . . . The Son of God did not come down from heaven to ‘be free’ and guarantee ‘First Amendment rights.’ No, He took flesh from the Immaculate Virgin Mary, in order to die on the cross, vanquish sin, and witness to the truth. Only the truth safeguarded in the ‘womb’ of the Catholic Church can set us free.”
We join Catholics nationwide in encouraging the bishops to move forward with the courage to preach and teach this truth. The darkness can and will be overcome through the light of Christ and His Truth, not through politics.