More than 500 Catholic men recently walked a mile in the rain in Peoria, Illinois. Their mission was to show the community their willingness to defend their Catholic faith against the threats being posed by the new Obama mandate. Why? Because, as Peoria’s bishop Daniel R. Jenky put it, “We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.”
At a rally following this April 14 march, Bishop Jenky spoke to the men about the importance of their action, telling them that Catholic schools, healthcare institutions, and Newman Centers could easily be shut down if the Obama mandate actually goes into effect. The bishop explained, “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and healthcare. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama—with his radical, pro-abortion, and extreme secularist agenda—now seems intent on following a similar path.”
Jenky not only put the current situation into accurate historical context, but motivated those listening by saying,
The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire. The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism. And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry. The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the president of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.
May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.
Catholics all across America cheered when they read Bishop Jenky’s honest assessment of what is needed now and who the enemy is in this struggle to protect the teachings and the identity of the Church. But others, including Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, were not so joyful. In fact, Lynn filed a complaint with the IRS claiming that Bishop Jenky has wrongly gotten involved with a political campaign! Lynn “alleges that a fiery homily delivered by Peoria bishop Daniel Jenky last Sunday effectively urged Catholics to vote against President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.”
Not only that, but some of the faculty members of the University of Notre Dame, from which Jenky graduated, have written a letter alleging that Bishop Jenky is ignorant of history and insensitive to victims of genocide.
As ridiculous as these claims are, the point is well taken as we assess where the real Catholics stand on the question of infallible Church teaching versus those who mistakenly believe that elasticity rules in the public arena on matters of faith and morals.
James Kruse, the vicar general for the Peoria diocese, pointed out that those who are critical of Bishop Jenky’s homily have clearly not read or heard the exact words the prelate spoke. I would add that such people are angered when the truth is spoken and are using the occasion to politicize what is, at its core, one Catholic bishop’s articulate explanation of truth.
Calling Catholics to act in defense of the Church is not a political question, it is an inspiring ideal that we only wish was being replicated in every diocese throughout the nation. Bishop Daniel Jenky is a brave hero and we are grateful to God for his rousing call to action.
Thank him for his courage!