HHS Mandate Hastens The Demise Of Liberal Catholicism & Ensures The Growth of Catholic Orthodoxy

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012

In a bizarre way President Barack Obama, through his Health and Human Services Mandate (HHS) has united religious orthodoxy across the spectrum as never before. In its wake liberal religiosity is going the way of striped pants, bell bottoms and lava lamps; something that is only seen on rare occasions usually when too much alcohol is flowing. At the precipice stands liberal Catholicism, for soon there will be no need for them to retain any religious presence. Liberal Catholic mouthpieces like the National Catholic Reporter are destined to go the way of so many other products whose users outgrew the usefulness of what they read and believed.  Mainline liberal churches have imploded all the while the numbers of Catholics and Evangelicals continue to grow. Apparently the liberal religious elite are so smart, they have disappeared into the mists of history.  Even if the current baby boomers remain religious, their liberal minded children have by and large abandoned the faith to the whims of Hallmark and Deepak Chopra styled spirituality.

In my last book The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that having worked in the Church with a good deal of liberals I cannot think of a single instance in which their children retained their liberal views and also practiced their Catholic faith. I have met their children and while some have become Evangelicals and others have seen the light and come over to orthodox minded Catholicism; those who have remained liberal would only darken a church door if a close relative passed away. Sadly not only have they left their faith but many can’t find a single good thing to say about it. Their compliments are reserved for Big Government and Libertinism.

I am not writing this to sound clever or flippant or negative, simply to relate what I see. In many ways, the tide is turning like never before, and we can’t say that Jesus didn’t tell us that wheat would be separated from the chaff. Indeed we can’t serve two masters and the liberals by and large have thrown their lot in with the Herod’s of the world. While the liberal elite pretend to live oh so sophisticated lives; they in reality are nothing more than a fallen character in a 1980s hair band ballad video, succumbing to the vices on Sunset Boulevard that the liberal elite relegated to some degenerative red state tourist. As angry as we may be at the religious left’s venom and their apostasy, they most certainly need our prayers and we should never forget that supposedly wise people can be fooled as much as anyone by the dark side.

In my previous article, I noted the striking metaphor of the pall of smoke hanging over the Acropolis in Athens caused by rioting Greeks who could no longer pay for their extravagant lifestyle. They are merely the first example of a culture that has aborted and contracepted itself into oblivion, prophetically predicted by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae. For the Greeks, Big Government had the answers and their Epicurean ancestors had the lifestyle that seemed oh so appealing. However in reality they couldn’t pay the bills because charged with the simple mission of reproducing they felt it too complicated of a task.

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9 Responses to HHS Mandate Hastens The Demise Of Liberal Catholicism & Ensures The Growth of Catholic Orthodoxy

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  • when they get rid of the carol keehans and all the clowns running our
    institutions their own way i’ll believe the tide is turning.

  • The Holy Spirit is truly at work here to rejuvenate our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by separating wheat from the chaff just as Jesus Christ Himself promised us, oh so, so long time ago. + Laudetur Iesus Christus +

  • Good essay, Doug. But Donald’s essay on “The Catholic Left Falls into Line” is sadly depressing because the regime in charge will listen only to the Catholic Left. The Bishops have to start public excommunications. 1st Corinthians chapter 5 comes to mind.

  • How will this affect our Catholic universities?
    Wouldn’t it be great if a Catholic college taught Catholic faith, doctrine and morals. Girls living in an all girls dorm. No overnight visitors. Religion classes, including Catholic philosophy and Church history be taught for 4 years. Wouldn’t it be great to have Catholic universities that teach science AND morals.
    And I agree with Paul P above, the Church REALLY needs to address the Liberal Left, anti-Church Catholics who work against the Church Monday-Friday, but go to communion on Sunday and publicly call themselves good, devout Catholics. This would be HUGE for us folks in the pews – I find it hard to talk to my children about the faith when Catholics in public life (politics) promote ideas opposite of the Church teachings but call themselves good Catholics (“I will punch you in the face with my rosary”)

  • too many gifted and talented individuals are not even attempting to dip their toe in the waters of entrepreneurialism because it may be too much work.

    And: too much financial punishment — high taxes, in other words — for those who do dip their toe in that water.

  • Amen. Amen. Amen. I can sense the shift in the air… a slow grinding shift building momentum… the teeth gnashing from the enemy is sentient also.

  • Mr. Hartline, I would love to read your books. Have you considered formatting them for kindle?

  • Vicki I hope that when my new book tentatively titled; “The Tide Continues to Turn Toward Catholicism” comes out, we should have a kindle option available for my books. Thank you for your interest. Honestly all of you out there who fight the good fight in your special way are all part of that turning tide.

59% of Catholics Disapprove of Obama’s Job Performance

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012




Interesting numbers from Rasmussen:

Catholics strongly disapprove of the job President Obama is doing as the debate continues over his administration’s new policy forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception they morally oppose. While the president’s overall job approval ratings have improved over the past couple of months, they have remained steady among Catholics.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of likely Catholic voters nationwide at least somewhat disapprove of the president’s job performance, while 40% at least somewhat approve. But the passion’s on the side of those who don’t like the job he’s doing: 44% Strongly Disapprove versus 19% who Strongly Approve.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of Catholics voted for Obama in November 2008. However, Republican hopeful Mitt Romney currently leads the president among Catholic voters by a 52% to 35% margin. Among all voters, however, President Obama leads Romney and all Republican hopefuls.

These results are from surveys conducted over the seven days ending February 12, 2012. Among all likely voters, 50% approve of how the president is doing and 49% disapprove.  This includes 26% who Strongly Approve and 38% who Strongly Disapprove. Rasmussen Reports also provides daily updates of the president’s Job Approval and match-ups between President Obama and both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

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6 Responses to 59% of Catholics Disapprove of Obama’s Job Performance

  • It appears there is something seriously deficient among 41% of Catholics.

  • What percentage of the 41% could pick the Pope out of a line-up?
    I love our big fuzzy universal Church but it can be difficult having to continually explain away the bizarre behavior of my self-identifying Catholic brethren, particularly those currently forming the warp and weft of the P’resident’s doormat.

  • “If Obama loses the Catholic vote in the fall, he can kiss Ohio and perhaps Pennsylvania goodbye.”

    And probably Wisconsin too. Not to mention the concerned Protestant evangelical votes (e.g. Rick Warren) that he will also lose over the HHS issue. That means, I’m guessing, he loses EVERY state in the Midwest other than Illinois and maybe Minnesota. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lose every Illinois county outside of the Chicago metro area and East St. Louis as well.

  • Good analysis Elaine. The Midwest could well decide the election. I think the South is gone for Obama. New England will be solid for him except for New Hampshire. In the West Obama keeps the coast, with the Republicans taking everything else, except possibly New Mexico. The Great Plains states will be entirely Republican as usual. The Mid-Atlantic is Obama’s except quite possibly Pennsylvania. If Obama can only hold on to Illinois and Minnesota in the Midwest, the elction becomes a rout against him.

  • I did a little playing around with the 270towin.com electoral vote map, based on your projections, and the results were:

    Without PA or OH, Obama loses 337-201.

    With PA but not OH, he loses 317-221.

    With PA and OH, he still loses 299-239.

  • “What percentage of the 41% could pick the Pope out of a line-up?”

    Maybe 5% of that I’d say.

    I wish these polls would a make a distinction between church going catholics (~20%) and the rest of catholics, who are asleep in a coma.

Newt Fading

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012

I wanted to followup on Don’s post from yesterday about National Review urging Gingrich to exit the race.  As I said in the comments, I owe NRO a slight mea culpa.  I thought that by including Santorum (and Huntsman) with Romney as the candidates they thought worthy of the nomination they were merely blowing smoke.  Yet they have given Santorum fairly favorable coverage, so much so that angry Romney fanboys like Old Fan think that NR is in the tank for Santorum.  I still think the hatchet piece on Gingrich was out of line, so I’m not totally ready to forgive them for that.

As for the actual meat of their suggestion, there is much merit to it.  There have been nine primaries and caucuses thus far.  Gingrich was the landslide winner in South Carolina, but has otherwise done terribly.  He’s finished a distant second twice, and has barely hovered around ten percent in the other contests.  Right now one poll has Gingrich in fourth place behind Ron Paul, and other polls show a clear trend towards Rick Santorum as the favorite among the anti-Romneys.  Now, polls have shifted mightily throughout the campaign season, so Gingrich shouldn’t head for the exits quite yet.  But poor showings in Arizona and Michigan should just about do it for Newt.  Considering the fact that the bulk of his supporters will likely flock to Santorum (where as Santorum supporters are evenly split between Romney and Newt as their backup choices), and that Newt is much more favorably disposed to Santorum than Romney, I would imagine that Newt will not stay in the race if he has another pair of fourth place finishes.

That being said, if National Review wants Gingrich out of the race the last thing it should have done is publish an editorial making this feeling public.  Republican primary voters in general, and Gingrich supporters in particular have, to a large extent, been driven by spite.  It’s practically impossible to read a screed written by a Gingrich supporter that doesn’t mention the “Establishment” once or a dozen times.  Throw in the fact that National Review is already reviled with a special kind of intensity in camp Gingrich – and with good reason – and I can envision Gingrich supporters doubling down.  Newt himself has shown that he is prone to fits of spite, so National Review may have just guaranteed that Newt will stay in the race longer than intended.  In fact I’d submit that if National Review wanted Newt out of the race the best thing it could do is endorse the man.

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5 Responses to Newt Fading

  • I don’t know how GOP can survive 11/12 unless RP loves the country enough to very soon allow RS & MR get to springtime.

    And – valuable Newt Gingrich who does love this country can best serve as leader of the Catholic Church’s struggle for freedom to exist. Essential and God-pleasing need. He needed someone for the struggle with the Philistines …

  • One can overstate it’s importance but the moon colony idea during one debate prior to Florida was a turning point…as in downward.

  • I don’t know if it was the moon colony thing specifically, but certainly that entire debate performance could be pinpointed as the night his candidacy died, which is fitting since his entire candidacy was based on debate performances (and the word performance is very apt with regard to Newt). It was amazing to watch a candidate, over about a 2 or 3 week stretch, do the complete opposite of all that he had done previously to shoot up in the polls.

    That said, I think the moon colony idea is actually not that crazy. The main negative about it is that this is not necessarily the best time to suggest new spending schemes. But of all the reasons not to support Newt, it doesn’t even crack the top ten.

  • That said, I think the moon colony idea is actually not that crazy.

    Oh, yes it is.

  • Yes, moon colony crazy like prohibiting the Keystone Oil Pipe for three years, shutting down refineries and coal plants, and priceless Obama whining about the price of gas soaring from $1.81, the day before he took over, to $3.51 today.

Archbishop Chaput: HHS Mandate Dangerous and Insulting

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012



Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Philadelphia Archdiocese has never been one to mince words, and he does not disappoint in regard to the Mandate and the “compromise”.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services refused on Jan. 20 to broaden the exception to its mandate that nearly all Catholic employers must cover contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization in their health-care plans.  


An “accommodation” offered Friday by the White House did not solve the problem. Instead, it triggered withering criticism from legal scholars such as Notre Dame’s Carter Snead, Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon, Princeton’s Robert George, and Catholic University of America president John Garvey, along with non-Catholic scholars including Yuval Levin, the religious liberty law firm the Becket Fund, and numerous Catholic and other organizations.  


Many Catholics are confused and angry. They should be.  


 Quite a few Catholics supported President Obama in the last election, so the ironies here are bitter. Many feel betrayed. They’re baffled that the Obama administration would seek to coerce Catholic employers, private and corporate, to violate their religious convictions.  


But it’s clear that such actions are developing into a pattern. Whether it was the administration’s early shift toward the anemic language of “freedom of worship” instead of the more historically grounded and robust concept of “freedom of religion” in key diplomatic discussions; or its troubling effort to regulate religious ministers recently rejected 9-0 by the Supreme Court in the Hosanna Tabor case; or the revocation of the U.S. bishops’ conference human-trafficking grant for refusing to refer rape victims to abortion clinics, it seems obvious that this administration is – to put it generously – tone deaf to people of faith.  


 Philadelphians may wish to reflect on the following facts: The Archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Human Services spends $278 million annually on services to the community. About 4,000 employees make up our secretariat’s workforce. Catholic Social Services is the largest social-service agency in Pennsylvania and the largest residential care/social-service subcontractor with the Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia.  


There’s more. Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Services is the largest faith-based provider of long-term-care services to the poor and elderly in the five-county area, and the seventh-largest nationally. And our Nutritional Development Services ministry serves more than eight million meals a year to schoolchildren, summer programs, and child-care centers. It also provides 2 million pounds of nonperishable food to needy families and the elderly through its Community Food Program.  


Much of the money used by these ministries comes from public funding. But of course, the reason these ministries are trusted with public funding is that they do an excellent job. The service relationship works well without compromising the integrity of either the government or the Church. In fact, in a practical sense, government often benefits more than the Church.

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13 Responses to Archbishop Chaput: HHS Mandate Dangerous and Insulting

  • I believe that those who use contraception actually have lower medical costs than those who don’t. A couple who has 6 children will have used resources for 6 pregnancies and 6 newborns, which is more expensive than a couple who has 5 children and 10 years of contraception, or 5 children and sterilization. If a woman has a medical condition that would be exacerbated by pregnancy, contraception also reduces medical expenses. Be careful what you ask for. The current ruling has the expenses of choosing TO reproduce distributed among those who choose not to.

  • As usual, Abp. Chaput is on the money. I disagree, however, with one sentence:

    “The White House response on these points is ambiguous and weak.”

    The WH is responding very clearly and firmly. It will lie, obfuscate and try to distract us from its consistent position. But it will not be moved.

    We are at war. The thing is we’ve always been at odds; the bishops just thought the situation could be tolerated. But tolerance only works in one direction with the Left. This situation is reminiscent of the film Braveheart. The heads of the clans thought their situation was tolerable with the English. But of course, it was always going to end in war. I know it’s not very Catholic of me, but now that both sides are facing each other, like William Wallace, I’d kinda like to go “pick a fight.”

  • Gail-

    I think I understand . . . if you could explain who the “you” is in “Be careful what you ask for.” If it’s the current administration, then I snicker alongside you. If not, then perhaps some exposition to further develop this interesting idea.


  • “At its heart is a seemingly deep distrust of the formative role religious faith has on personal and social conduct, and a deep distaste for religion’s moral influence on public affairs. To say that this view is contrary to the Founders’ thinking and the record of American history would be an understatement.

    The HHS mandate is bad law; and not merely bad, but dangerous and insulting. It needs to be withdrawn – now.”

    This time the Philistines are on the Hill in our Capitol are loading dangerous and insulting weapons of distrust, distaste with a vengeance barely disguised behind reasonable presentations:
    on the internet wideworld to children and adults, …children
    on the productions of MSM,
    on school curricula,
    on entertainment venues,
    and on the appearances/statements of their catholic ‘co-workers’.

    This with public funds they don’t have.
    They’ll use all their insinuations to destroy knowledge of good and bad in the name of inclusivity.

  • I wonder if Abp Chaput will finally stop crawling into bed with the radical illegal alien lobby like Rep Guitierrrez demanding children of illegal aliens get instate tuition. IOW, he think taxpayers ought to help finanace the breaking of our immigration laws. Maybe he will stop showing contempt for legitimate Catholic viewpoints on issues like immigration and capital punishment. Make no mistake Chaput is part of the problem.

    Lest anyone think this has nothing to with the present problem. Think again. It has everything to do with it.

  • I wish people would stop and think a minute…this is a First Amendment Freedom of Religion Issue. It’s not a special “Catholic” issue or “Evangelical” issue. It’s not a “contraception/abortion” issue, either. The freedom to practice religion is a large part of the reason why America exists. And is still the reason why so many continue to come here. Freedom of Religion was so important to our Founding Fathers that they put it first in the Bill of Rights. Doing an end-run around it by the diktat of unelected officials is extremely dangerous, setting precident for other end-runs around the Bill of Rights. So, this is something ALL Americans need to be concerned about.

    Further, and just to quantify, by nature the Christian faith is evangelical. We are required as part of our Baptism to go out and live the Gospel. It’s an active Faith. It’s not like a coat where you put it on and take it off depending upon the climate. It’s more like a second skin. Something that is deeply a part of a person. So, it is offensive to Christians, and all people of faith, when the government tells us how we are now going to have to practice our Faith or be punished if we don’t acquiesce. This mandate is completely antithetical to Christianity because it is hampering our ability to live the Gospel as we are called to do. To serve others in need, no matter who they are or what they believe.

    Catholics wake up! It’s St. Jude time.

  • Excellent historical discussion about why the church is where it is at now.

  • People keep talking about what percent of Catholics agree or whatever. Even if ONLY ONE Catholic thought that God didn’t want him to pay for abortifacients, he would have the RIGHT not to do that. Even if I made up my own religion tomorrow, and I thought God did not want me to bathe, I should have the right to refrain from that.

  • CatholicLawyer, Wow. Powerful article with many truisms.

    I am not sure I entirely agree with saying the bishops embraced Obamacare. The bishops always expressed disapproval based on inadequate respect for pro-life issues and a lack of conscientious objection. But, the article’s overall point is in agreement with mine. Even with pro-life and conscientious objection considerations, Obamacare is poison. A Church of the past the articles describes would recognize it as so.

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George Will: This Is What Liberalism Looks Like

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012

George Will on ABC’s This Week last Sunday made three points in regard to the HHS Mandate “compromise” that are undeniably true:



Three points.

As Paul Ryan said to you, this is an accounting gimmick that they’ve done that in no way ends the complicity of Catholic institutions and individuals in delivering services they consider morally abhorrent.
Second. You asked the question, ‘How did this come about?’ George, this is what liberalism looks like. This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.
Third. The Catholic Bishops, it serves them right. They’re the ones who were really hot for Obamacare, with a few exceptions. But they were all in favor of this. And this is what it looks like when the government decides it’s going to make your healthcare choices for you.

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11 Responses to George Will: This Is What Liberalism Looks Like

  • I hope the Bishops have learned a lesson now about the dangers of the Church getting into bed with the Welfare State, but I doubt it….What the Obama administration has done in regard to contraceptives and abortifacients was as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

    C’mon, Donald. Thomas E. Dewey did not institute this policy. Edmund Muskie did not institute this policy. Jimmy Carter did not institute this policy. It is a decision local to the current cohorts of soi-disant social reformers. We have had federally financed medical care for 46 years and had a network of municipal and veterans’ hospitals for decades prior to that. The sort of arrogance incorporated into the Administrations latest crime is not a structural feature of common provision of medical services.

  • C’mon Art. Modern liberalism, since the 1990’s, as feminists and gay rights advocates became increasingly influential, has had a hostility to Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that was not overtly present in earlier manifestations of that creed. What the Obama administration did was not only predictable, but inevitable. Increase the power of the State, and the Church is always at peril that individuals who bear the Church undying animosity will eventually control that power.

  • Yes. I’m glad Will called the bishops on their support for “universal health care.” I suppose I should admire their lack of guile, but honestly. Why would anyone think that any state which sets itself up as the sole proprietor of your healthcare would do otherwise? The land of nice, Canada, prohibits people from paying for their own healthcare. Why would the U.S. do differently, if given the chance? I sincerely hope the bishops have learned that freedom is best preserved in smaller, more local institutions.

  • What the Obama administration did was not only predictable, but inevitable.

    No, it was not. It was a clear policy choice and a bad one.

    Modern liberalism, since the 1990?s, as feminists and gay rights advocates became increasingly influential, has had a hostility to Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that was not overtly present in earlier manifestations of that creed.

    True, but that is a cultural factor, not a structural one.

  • A mythic committee set out to improve on the race horse. They invented a camel.

    You can’t have a committee deciding on objective truth. What you get are loose interpretations and inconsistent applications.

    The USBBC (conference/committee) set out to improve health care. The salvation of souls is so yesterday. They invented Obamacare and abortion/birth control mandates.

    That is why we have the Pope.

    If in 2008 the majority of US bishops (supposed to be our shepherds) had preached the Pope’s “Four Non-negotiables”, they might not be in their current embarrassing fix.

    Will is right. When the shepherds gave the state the corporal works of mercy, they ceded their moral authority in that area.

    They subordinated the salvation of souls to peace, justice, and aiding and abetting cynical political posturing.

  • “No, it was not. It was a clear policy choice and a bad one. ”

    And a policy choice that was inevitable Art given those who were going to make it. Obama didn’t put Sebelius in charge of HHS by accident.

  • Like I said before, until the bishops take responsibility for their part in bringing this about all their cassock ruffling over teh HHS mandate is not going to have the crtedibility it needs to have.

  • The principle of Subsidiarity is too easily abandonned.
    That’s what western societies have been doing for the past 100 years or so – of course secularists will grasp the opportunity to impose more and more control over the people.

    Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

  • The Bishops forgot this:
    “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    Here’s another article on this very subject:


  • Let’s talk about the root of the problem: “Faithful Citizenship” from the USCCB which
    listed multiple issues worthy of consideration.

    It did say that a person could not vote for a pro-abort IF they were doing so to promote
    abortion. It should have said a Catholic could NOT vote for a pro-abort/choice candidate
    period – St. Louis Bishop Robert Hermann told Catholics to vote pro-life and after the
    2008 election wrote that if one made the mistake of voting for a pro-abort they should go to Confession. “FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP” needs to withdrawn yesterday. Bishops should tell priests and laity to vote pro-life in the Primaries. Their silence is deafening!

Randians on the Right

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

Speaking as a former Rick Perry supporter, I promise you that not all of us are petulant brats.  I cannot speak for others, unfortunately.

Red State’s all-out assault on Santorum comes as no surprise.  This is a blog that perceives all who fail short of achieving purity as a conservative (whatever that’s supposed to mean) as heretics.  So they have taken a few incidents where Santoum fell short – and in some cases, he did cast a wrong vote or endorsed the wrong candidate – and have now transformed Santorum into some kind of statist.

The shrill attacks on Red State are to be expected.  What’s disappointing is seeing an otherwise insightful blogger like Ace of Spades hyperventilate ignorantly about Santorum.  What set Ace off was this comment by Santorum from much earlier in the campaign:

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

Ace is displeased:

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33 Responses to Randians on the Right

  • I don’t want to over-generalize here as there are obviously exceptions, but it’s hard to miss the deep resentment towards traditional morality expressed in certain quarters on the right, often by young, single individuals who are perhaps not as sympathetic to traditional conservatism as those who have moved on from that lifestyle.


    I’ve mentioned before– maybe not here, I’m not sure– but hard-line libertarianism seems to be ideology of choice for those who would be anarchists, but they like getting paid for their work.

    More sympathetically, it’s a lot easier to “win” with libertarianism– there are a few core beliefs, you don’t compromise on anything, and there’s not a lot of history to hold against it. It’s like “conservatism redesigned to use the liberal playbook.”

    Amusingly, I recently had a conversation with my husband that boiled down to him pointing out that people our age aren’t usually going to accept an obligation of the sort moral conservatism involves.

  • (You would not BELIEVE how much re-writing I put into those three paragraphs, and I’m still not quite satisfied. Five bucks says that someone shows up and decides to take offense, rather than trying to understand the point. I don’t think anyone would take the bet on your post, that’s a sucker’s bet.)

  • Paul:

    One major problem from a purely political perspective:

    One wants the GOP nominee to be able to rally the relevant camps within the GOP “big tent.”

    One of those is the libertarian-leaning portion, which at last look was about 15% of those who typically vote Republican.

    Now, the GOP-leaning libertarians are pro-life libertarians, largely. The Bill Mahr (or however that clod’s name is spelled) kind of “libertarians” define libertarianism so as to make it identical to libertinism, and all all going to vote for Obama in the end because they care only for sexual libertinism and not a whit for the liberty of the unborn or the infirm or for free markets.

    So it isn’t Santorum’s pro-life credentials that will turn off the libertarian-leaning portion of the GOP. Indeed, being pro-life is a requirement of libertarianism, if one is well-informed enough to know that a fetal human is a human.

    But Santorum has twice now stated his opposition to libertarians and libertarianism by saying they (and I quote) “believe in having no government.”

    This is a problem. It is basic ignorance of libertarianism.

    Libertarians don’t believe in no government. Libertarians believe in government’s use of violence or the threat thereof — which is to say, all government’s activity — to be limited to those areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified. And Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons. Libertarians believe that policies directly involved with such violations offer clear and sufficient justification for violence or the threat thereof; policies indirectly or tenuously involved with such violations offer only tenuous justification for government action; and policies not even tenuously involved with such violations offer no justification for violence at all and therefore no justification for government activity.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    And it’s a view which resonates well with Catholic teaching in at least some ways. It recognizes that violence (whether done by an individual, or the armies of a nation-state, or by the police) is always something requiring extraordinary justification — like the requirements of a Just War. (It is morally nonsensical to have a very high threshold of justification for holding prisoner another nation’s soldiers captured at war, but a very low threshold of justification for arresting a man captured in peacetime activity.)

    I don’t think Santorum knows that this is the libertarian view. At least, his public pronouncements show no recognition of the existence of pro-life libertarians (not a majority, but a large minority). He shows no recognition of the distinction between libertarian and libertine. He shows no understanding of what libertarians think.

    And he shows no recognition of the notion that maybe something being a morally wrong thing is not, by itself, sufficient justification for outlawing it. Since outlawing it requires empowering government to use violence (to lock up those who do the morally wrong thing, and to shoot them if they try to escape), it must not merely be morally wrong, it must be morally wrong and of a character for which forcible opposition is fitting.

    Generally, that means a moral wrong which is, itself, forcible. Rape may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Theft may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Fraud may be opposed by force; it is forcible (for to make someone, through trickery, do what they otherwise would not have done is to wield intellectual force over them). Violation of legitimate contract is fraud and is therefore forcible.

    Libertarians support strong government to oppose all these kinds of evils. Santorum’s comments suggest he’s unaware of this.

    So I fear that 15% of the GOP electorate, if Santorum is the nominee, will be turned off and possibly turned away for no better reason than that Santorum is ignorant about them, and consequently believes statists’ popular libel against them.

    And libertarians (and libertarian-leaning conservatives) consequently begin to believe Santorum is a statist, who hopes not only to outlaw abortion (which he should) and Federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which he should) but also sales of condoms…all while caring not a whit about crony capitalism and corporate welfare. They begin to suspect that Santorum is fine with government using its compulsory power to pick winners, as long as they’re supporters of conservative causes.

    I don’t think a GOP nominee can win the general election, if he shows utter disregard for that whole arm of the Reagan coalition. (An increasingly larger and more youthful segment, please note.)

    So that’s a political problem. A very solvable one, I think, if the man would just show himself aware of libertarian concerns and sensitive to the moral limits of government activity, instead of just repeating ignorant misunderstandings about libertarians.

  • They need to understand that Obama must be stopped.

    That probably means nominating a GOP candidate that constantly emphasizes jobs, jobs; is not 100% of the time pounding for legalizing weed, ending all “entangling alliances”, and abolishing the Fed. Not that that is bad. But, those are not the main threats to our liberty and our way of life.

    The ones I know are really nice people. And, the Fed certainly needs to be pushed back to being the clearing house and lender of last resort for banks.

    If he gets another term, Obama pack the supreme court and repeal the Second Amendment, etc. Health care will permanently retard economic growth: you will look back on full-employment as a dream of your youth.

    If the libertarians are turned off by the GOP, Obama will get four more years to finish us off.

  • If the media can paint Santorum as a guy who wants to take away everyone’s pills and condoms, not only libertarians but many, many Protestant social conservatives (who make up the majority of socons in this country) will stay at home or vote against him. Do you think a married Baptist in Alabama who uses the Pill and sees nothing wrong with that is going to read Human Vitae or the Theology of the Body and come around to the Church’s position on BC? Heck, while I don’t believe the Guttmacher figures stating 97% of Catholics use artifical BC, let’s be honest – many, many of them do. Outside of the Tridentine Masses, I don’t see a lot of families with more than 3 kids.

    I agree that Ace willfully ignored evidence which shows Santorum is not going to ban BC; however, remember that just last week he wrote a great critique of the HHS directive. And I believe the man is pro-life as well. He’s way overreacting here, but I wouldn’t call him a heartless Randian.

    We are falling right into the trap being set for us by leftists, who want to turn the discussion away from the violation of religious freedom and make it into a debate about “ooooh, my, scary, weird Santorum wants to take your birth control pills away! The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!” That keeps the focus off of Obama’s dismal economic record.

  • Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons.

    And yet the arch-typical figurehead, Ron Paul, disagrees with this when he wants to push actually killing the most innocent people possible down to a state level. About the only libertarians I know who have a sizable minority of pro-lifers are the Catholic ones; even my husband went from being a Republican leaning Libertarian to a libertarian leaning Republican before he was pro-life for non-tactical reasons.

    I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.

    Donna V-
    so we fight the lies the media puts out. What else would we do? We know they’re going to lie like a rug, and it looks like there are libertarian conservatives who will gladly help them spread the false claim that Santorum is coming for your Pill.

    The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!

    *lightbulb* Hey, isn’t that an angle they used against JFK?
    Can someone who actually remembers back then maybe cook up some sort of a response based on that?

  • “I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.”

    Yep. What you said, Foxfier.

  • Ron Paul is a fair-weather libertarian apparently. When asked about the imaginary “right to privacy” created in the Griswold case and brought to fruition in Roe v. Wade, all Paul could weakly say is that there IS a right to privacy, referring to the Fourth Amendment, which of course, specifically refers to the right against illegal search and seizure.

    Now, for such a staunch “constitutionalist” I find this very ironic.

  • I agree with Donna. The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate. Saying that he only wishes to use the bully pulpit to speak out about the dangers of contraception is not, repeat not, going to reassure voters on this score. That’s not to say that Santorum is wrong on the issue. He’s not. But it’s still a view held by only a small minority of Americans. My hope is that Santorum understands this and that the comment Ace quoted was/will be an isolated lapse. Otherwise we could be in real trouble.

  • What Blackadder said. The administration is rocked back on its heels with the HHS mandate–focus on that as the social issue. Otherwise, stick with fighting on the economy and this administration’s cluelessness on it.

  • Santorum merely responds when asked about it that he supports Catholic teaching against contraception. He then notes that he has voted for government funding of contraception under TItle 10 and would not favor legislation seeking to ban contraception. The video below is from 2006:

  • Once again I will let noted Christian so-con Jeff Goldstein dismantle Ace’s arguments (language warning).

    Oh, and I see that Ace and his co-bloggers are doubling down today. Hell hath no fury like a blogger whose favorite candidate was scorned.

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

  • Of course you can Greg. I accept the teachings of the Church on divorce. That doesn’t mean if I were a legislator that I must lead a futile effort to ban divorce or strip funding from courts that hear divorce cases. I do appreciate the bleak humor of Santorum taking fire for being too hard and too soft on contraceptives. The simple truth is that there is no way on God’s green earth that contraceptives could be banned in this country at the present time, and that any candidate suggesting such would be committing political seppuku.

  • Mac, that would be a good politician.

    Santorum doesn’t have a chance.

    Obama can point to $1.81 gasoline prices the day before he took over and tout today’s $3.50 (earliest date gas hit that level)! It’ll probably be $5 a gallon by Summer. Yeah, that ought to him re-elected.

    Santorum doesn’t have a prayer.

    Obama can sing about improving unemployment rates when tent cities are rapidly expanding. That’ll get Obama re-elected.

    Hey, if they live in tents they don’t count.

    Walter Russell Mead: WH flubs BC compromise: “First the Obama administration managed to alienate both its liberal supporters and its religious critics by pushing and then pulling back its HHS contraception mandate. Now the White House has succeeded in hitting the political sour spot yet again by producing a compromise designed to placate the Catholic bishops…without consulting the Catholic bishops.”


  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

    If the line item is in an appropriations bill that funds the entire foreign aid apparat, it does create rather a dilemma for the legislator (unless he favors dismantling the foreign aid apparat).

    We had a similar controversy here in New York many years ago when the question arose as to whether the Right-to-Life Party (now defunct) should refuse to endorse legislators who had voted in favor of passing the state budget. New York was the odd state that had retained Medicaid funding of abortions.

  • The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate.

    Depends on who he is running against, and what the ambient circumstances are.

  • tom: The right to privacy extends to the womb. Nature’s God does not allow invasion of privacy of the unborn in the womb. Any attempt to abort the unborn is a violation of privacy in its truest sense. A murdered victim, whose body is concealed in a closet, warrants search to be rescued from the crime/crimnal without the proscribed legal warrant, because the person is dead but not annihilated. Any evidence collected from such a search without a legal warrant, revealing a murdered victim to be set free, rescued, is evidence admissible in a court of law through the sovereign personhood of the victim. Searches to find jewelry, art or anything that is not a person is illegal.

  • Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning. You see, the Church allows civil divorce. Look it up in Catechism if you don’t believe me. Not the same with contraception. I was not talking about leading an effort to criminalize contraception, but voting IN FAVOR of forcing taxpayers (many of whom are Catholics) to pick up the tab for people’s contraceptive use. This is really not much difference in substance with what the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.

  • P.S. In fact, diocesan tribunals require that petioners present a civil divorce decree before they will even begin to process requests for decree of nullity.

  • wE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION BAN. We are talking about the funding of contraception. On some level people using “the pill” know that it is wrong. It seems to me that they want to blame Santorum for their addiction to the pill. If they are honest, and Santorum removes funding for BC, they need to feel relief. It would not hurt if they realized that Obama’s math is different from their arithmetic. Funding for BC involves ten for Obama and one for the taxpayer. In this way, they could buy eleven times the BC for the cost of one from Obama. SANTORUM DOES NOT WANT TO BE AN ACCOMPLICE TO THEIR EMBOLISM.

  • Yeah, Ace has gone nuts on Santorum again today. I think I’ll be avoiding the HQ for a while. He did a lot of needlessly destroying of non-Perry candidates before he dropped out (I supported Perry to the bitter end. Sigh.) and now that he’s on the Romney bandwagon it’s death to the “unelectable” non-Romney’s. These threads are getting pretty vicious, too. And I’m seeing a lot of anti-Catholic and anti-general Christianity sentiment being expressed over there right now. Very disturbing.

  • “Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning.”

    Complete and total rubbish Greg, and betokens a fundamental lack of understanding of the Church on your part in regard to divorce. The catechism provisions demonstrate that:

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    As recently as 2002 Pope John Paul II was stating that attorneys should refuse to undertake divorce cases:



    Your criticisms of Santorum would be equally applicable to all Catholic legislators who refuse to strip funding from courts handling divorces.

  • Mandy, I agree, Ace has come a little unglued. What’s striking is that on top of the ideological differences he is motivated by this fear that Santorum can’t win (funny, since not that long ago he was arguing against Romney’s inevitability). The thing about that: Santorum’s social conservatism is in line with the majority on most things. His personal feelings about contraception are another thing, and that’s why the Dems are pivoting hard on contraception.

    I don’t normally agree much with Dick Morris, but he’s right about the Dems ceding the ground on an issue like abortion where they are increasingly out of touch with where most people are headed, and are focusing on an issue where the public would seem to be in line with their beliefs. That’s what is disappointing about what Ace is doing. He is actually conceding leftist talking points and giving them more ammo. Because if this is a debate about religious liberty, Santorum is with a majority of the people.

  • Don, because civil divorce does not invalidate sacramental marriage, a civil dorce is morally permissible under certain circumstances.

    “2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Sacramental marriage is indissoulable whereas non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved, hence the Pauline privilege. Strictly civil marriages do not carry sacramental weight.

    This citation you provide proves my point. Now, iunless you can provide something that says the same for contraception, I’ll save you trouble because you can’t, then your shilling for Santorum on this has absolutely no basis. Whereas my calling him out does.

    As to JPII’s urging attorneys to refuse to take divroce cases, notice the qualifer “should’ as opposed to “must”. THat’s the operative word there.

    Really Don, if you are gonaa accuse me of misunderstanding Church teaching on anything, please at least take the time to learn the difference between prudential judgments and doctrinal imperatives.

  • You still miss the point Greg. The Church is against adamantly against divorce. It reluctantly allows participation in it where it is the only way to protect other rights as listed in 2383.

    John Paul’s Discourse to the Roman Rota of January 28, 2002 which I linked to indicates that clearly in this passage:

    “Among the initiatives should be those that aim at obtaining the public recognition of indissoluble marriage in the civil juridical order (cf. ibid., n. 17). Resolute opposition to any legal or administrative measures that introduce divorce or that equate de facto unions — including those between homosexuals — with marriage must be accompanied by a pro-active attitude, acting through juridical provisions that tend to improve the social recognition of true marriage in the framework of legal orders that unfortunately admit divorce.”

    In regard to contraceptives actually the Church has allowed their use in very limited circumstances in regard to disease.


    As in the case of divorce, use is permitted where it is not undertaken to reach a forbidden end: divorce or contraception, but for other purposes, custody of children or to stop the spread of disease.

  • Paul Z.,

    What kills me is that he’s doing the same purity nonsense he’s accused others of. If you don’t agree with his brand of conservatism you’re a dirty statist. His comments to you were pretty out there and he went off on the poster Y-not as well; he gave her both barrels for supposedly trying to force him to convert to Catholicism. It was bizarre.

    The thing is, even though he wrote a really good piece about the contraceptive mandate the other day, I think his disdain for whoever is not currently his candidate- in this case the target is Santorum- is so palpable right now that he’s going way over the top in his attacks implying things that were never actually said. And in the comments section- and apparently on twitter- today he even went down the Karen-Santorum-is-creepy route, using her personal past to bash the both of them, which has been off limits as far as Mrs. Obama goes over there. Because, racism. So yeah, I think it’s got a lot to do with him being angry that Perry never took and now his next candidate of choice is faltering as well. It’s a gigantic temper tantrum. On a blog.

  • No, contraception is NOT allowed even for the purposes of stopping the spread of disease. This is something both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI made clear. In fact, when B16 made the statement regarding condoms in an interview with Peter Seewald that got spun as him giving his approval under those circumstances, he prefaces those remarks with saying that it is not morally permissible. Only that it might signal something positive regarding the INTENTIONS of those who take such a position. Don, you really need to do your homework on these issues.

  • Here is what Benedict XVI actually says. From page 119 of Light of the World:

    Question from Peter Seewald:

    “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed to in principle to the use of condoms?”

    Answer from Pope Benedict XVI:

    “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or thast case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

    And since condoms are the only form of contraception that even have the prospect of preventing disease, the idea that contraceptives, the idea that contraceptives are a morally permissible means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases even as deadly as AIDS, is not consistent with Church teaching.

    Now, Don please find a more reliable source than the NY Slimes if you are going to try and argue with me on matters of Catholic morality. Okay?

  • Actually Greg the story quoted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is a link to the note in which the Congregation explained the Pope’s remark:

    “This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that “also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.” The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead – and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) – humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.

    On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition – and indeed not only of the Christian tradition – to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: “Flee from fornication” (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.

    In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment – because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute “the real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS and also that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality” in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom “with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.” This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father’s previous statement that this is “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

    Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”


  • Don,

    None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.

  • This is the week to save ‘intellectually dishonest’ for the proclamations of the Executive Branch.

  • “None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.”

    Reading comprehension Greg is obviously not your strong point in this debate. The prostitute in the Pope’s example clearly was not engaging in an intrinsically evil act by using the condom to prevent disease. That much is clear from this passage in the note:

    “Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    None of that would have made any sense at all if the prostitute’s use of the condom to prevent disease was intrinsically evil.

The Militant Secular Left Shows Their Cards, Proving That The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

The militant secular left thinks they have won a victory with President Barack Obama’s “Accommodation” with regard to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate ordering religious based institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilizations and the morning after abortion pill. Some of the left couldn’t contain their glee, one guest on MSNBC described President Obama’s move as “brilliant.” In their distorted thinking they surmise that since not all Catholics adhere to the Church’s teachings, especially on birth control, they can cause a split in the Church.

First of all, the militant secular left continually cites the Guttmacher Institute’s polling, which is about as accurate as the daily pronouncements of Syria’s Bashar Assad. Secondly, it is one thing for Catholics to go against the Church’s teachings, it is quite another to say they are proud of it and want more Big Government telling them what they and the Catholic Church to do. The sheer nuttiness of this was illustarted in a discussion which occurred on Sean Hannity’s the Great American Panel seen on Fox News last week. One of the participants Jehmu Greene told fellow panelist Andrea Tantaros that without birth control she wouldn’t be here. When the incredulous Tantaros wondered how that could logical be, Greene went on a tirade that demeaned women who have children and or decide to work at home.

For years the militant secular left has treated pregnancy as a disease and families as inconvenient truths interfering with their own narcissistic ends. Powerhouse television shows like Sex and City helped to illustrate this point. Katharine Jean Lopez of the National Review wrote some time ago how disgusted she felt seeing men demeaned as objects in the Sex and City movie, the very treatment feminists have railed about for years.

However with the narcissistic Sex and City lifestyle comes another reality playing out in the streets of Athens, Greece and soon to come to a city or country near you in the western world. The declining birth rate means the youngest among us will have to eventually have to pay for a culture that aborted or contracepted itself into oblivion. The generous benefits demanded by those cultures, especially from the militant secular left can only last so long. As the old saying goes; “The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.” The ancient Greek world gods who hailed narcissism and hedonism and whose lifestyle was proselytized by the Epicureans seem as irrelevant as ever as the pall of smoke hangs over the Acropolis, a fitting metaphor for what the militant secular left has wrought.

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11 Responses to The Militant Secular Left Shows Their Cards, Proving That The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism

  • November 2012 cannot come soon enough!

    Here is additional evidence (as if it were needed) that one is repreating oneself when one uses the words liberal and idiot in the same sentence.

    This rank stupidity is the reason the economy continues to flounder and why government should be limited so that it can inflict limited harm on us.

    With his talents, Obama ought to be on an urban street corner dealing “three card monty.”

  • T. Shaw – but instead liberalies are letting the executive branch play monopoly in the WH with other people’s money and no rules because cheating etc. is easier. The jail corner says send someone you don’t like directly to court. The community chest cards are awards for using racist and bigot on opponents.
    What a waste.

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  • Regarding – The Militant Secular Left Shows Their Cards, Proving That The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism
    Published Monday, February 13, 2012 A.D. | By Dave Hartline

    I agree with everthing the writer has said, but I have trouble with one thing.
    Are we willing to fight as hard for the living child after birth as we are for the child in the womb? Are we willing to provide a higher level of education, of health care, of food and housing OR do we prefer to pay in the back end when the unwanted, uncared for, fatherless child becomes a miscreant; someone on drugs, alcohol or at least in poor health or pertetuates more unwanted pregnancies…
    I would rather put the same energy and money to providing the programs the child would need to be a caring, involved citizen rather than a fatherless child in a broken home with little love and education. I hope to see Catholics turn a cheek and start realizing that if we want to lower the abortion rate holistically, the best way to do it is to educate and provide the necessary programs so woman don’t find themselves in an unwanted pregnancy to begin with. It does start at home, but the home alone will not win the battle…we must help, with love.

  • My friend, I have no doubt that you mean well and sincerely believe that old canard that the Militant Secular Left has been pushing concerning not caring for those who have been born. Let me tell you why it is a canard. My wife and I have been blessed with the gift of adoption. I can tell you first hand what a great gift it is and how long it took. Sadly parents wait untold lengths of time and spend untold amounts of money to adopt, jumping through all kinds of hoops.

    Years ago when we decided to adopt, we sat down with an adoption specialist who told us that before Roe v Wade there were about two million couples who couldn’t have children and wanted to, and about two million women who didn’ think they could raise a child in their current situation. It was a Providential give and take, something that Roe v Wade took away. Adoption wait times and costs continue to grow because millions of parents who want nothing more than to love a child have to wait while millions of unborn babies are aborted.

    Sadly ever since Roe v Wade, and most notably now the militant secular left treats pregnancy as a disease, all the while children are called “punishments” by our very leaders. We are also told that we are ignorant because we “cling to religion.” God help those who will have to answer for that.

  • “In their distorted thinking they [the Militant Secular Left] surmise that since not all Catholics adhere to the Church’s teachings, especially on birth control, they can cause a split in the Church.”

    The split is already present in the Church in America, and has been since Vatican II. Many “liberal” Catholics feel more animosity toward the Church, and her Bishops, than they do toward the militant secularists who oppose the teachings of the Church. Obama is merely using that split in an attempt to secure his political base for 2012. You may think this will not work, but many “liberal” Catholics, in the end, will side with Obama versus the Bishops.

    I hope I am wrong, but the political calculation that Obama has made may work. Those who oppose his HHS mandate, did not vote for him in 2008 and will not vote for him in 2012. However, many on the Left who voted for him in 2008, who have recently had serious doubts about Obama, will now be MORE inclined to support him in 2012, not less inclined. It is a classic divide-and-conquer electoral strategy, based on the very theological and ideological split that already exists in the Church.

    President Obama is merely exploiting what already exists. Again, I hope and pray that I am wrong, but he may very well succeed in exploiting the divisions that already exist in the Church.

  • Tom D, I have no doubt that militant secular left who call themselves Catholic will rally behind President Obama, including those who work within the Church. Having worked for the Church in various capacities, I know their names, believe me. However, the rank and file Catholic will be upset by this, even those who voted for President Obama, believe in contraception and attend Mass here and there. Those Catholics who have a nagging suspicion of Big Government will also find this more than a little disturbing.

    However, I must reiterate this point again. There are people who vocally call themselves Catholics who haven’t attended Mass regularly since the Ford Administration. Yet, they proudly they say they are Catholic. Take for example someone who is a lukewarm Methodist or Lutheran; they will probably say they are Christian but won’t attach a demoninational tag behind their name, thus taking their church off the hook when it comes to matters that may look heretical to their respective churches. This doesn’t take place with Catholics because of our strong sacramental and ethnic identity. In the depths of their soul, they know what is right but their flesh is weak.

    The only Catholics who will openly rally to President Obama are those who wear their heresy on their sleeve as a badge of honor. Even though far too few of the faithful actually follow the Church’s teachings, in their heart of hearts they know the Church is right and thus will abandon those who openly want to stick it to the Church.

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  • I think the joke is on the Left–because the mandate is not only unconstitutional but also illegal; see this long article: http://www.eppc.org/publications/pubID.4654/pub_detail.asp. It made me realize the mandate really was an assault on the Catholic Church–and a stupid one, blatantly violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, for no rational reason because contraception IS readily available. You wonder whether the most powerful man in the world ever listens to the numerous lawyers he has available (never mind the people in his inner circle who give him contrary advice, like, in this case, Joe Biden and Bill Daley). I think many Catholics will still vote for Obama, but hope and believe fewer than in 2008, and I hope that people of other faiths will stand and work with us in turning him out of the White House.

The United Nations, sustainable population development, and the Easter Bunny…

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

In contrast to the Vatican’s steadfast opposition to the use of artificial means of birth control, the United Nations continues to sound the drumbeat of “sustainable population development,” asserting that it’s nothing short of an “imperative” for the 21st century and cannot be achieved without improving women’s reproductive health.  In short, the hypothesis is that reducing fertility ensures economic success.


No one is more convinced of the validity of this hypothesis than is the Executive Director of the United Nations’ Family Planning Agency (UNFPA), Babatunde Osotimehin.

In a February 2012 press release, Osotimehin asserted that reducing fertility through family planning—including free access to contraceptives and abortions—is the key to ensure economic development.

The problem with well-intentioned ideologues like Osotimehin is that they conveniently overlook the demographic facts and economic implications that contradict their hypothesis.

Consider the example of Japan.

Based on a “moderate” interpretation of Japan’s 2010 census in a report published by the Daily Yomiuri Online, by 2060:

  • Japan’s population will fall 30% (<90M), with those aged <14 years numbering less than 8M, compared to those aged 65+ who will number 35M (or, 39.9% of Japan’s population).
  • Japan’s fertility rate (the expected number of children born per couple) will be 1.35 in 2060, down from 1.39 in 2010 and far below the 2.08 needed to keep Japan’s population from shrinking.
  • In 1960, 11.2 workers supported 1 retiree. In 2010, 2.8 workers supported 1retiree. By 2060, 1.3 workers will support 1 retiree.


So, Japan is now confronted with an increasing aging population and a decreasing young population.  The economic implications of these demographic facts are nothing short of devastating!  Topping the list: What these facts imply for Japan’s social security and taxation systems.

While the Church has been warning about these matters for decades, The Motley Monk was pleased to read an article in ZENIT that the global stock markets are beginning to pick up on the Vatican’s argument and projecting what “sustainable population development” means for almost every developed market.

A strategist for Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, Ajay Kapur, believes it would be a crucial error for politicians and economists to believe that Japan’s economic stagnation in the last two decades was something unique.  Kapur said:

In the next five years, all of the 18 developed countries for which Deutsche has property market data going back more than half a century will see a decline in their working age population ratios.


Kapur then warned that this combination of fewer workers in the labor force and high levels of indebtedness is sure to affect the global economic environment adversely.


Many other nations—for example, Taiwan, the European Union, the United States—are only now beginning to deal with the consequences of near- to below- replacement fertility rates.  The President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, has warned that her nation’s lack of children presents “a serious national security threat.”

As bad as that is, it’s worse yet for Latin America.


Forget the region’s endemic poverty.  It’s a region where UNFPA-sponsored programs have proven especially effective in reducing the region’s population.  To wit:

  • In 1960, Brazil’s fertility rate was 6 children/woman.  In 2010, Brazil boasted a lower fertility rate than the United States, at 1.9 children/woman.
  • In 2025, 26% of Latin America’s population will be 60+ years old.


The estimated impact on the region will be an even lower standard of living.  Considering the region’s overall current standard of living, that’s lower than lower!


The Motley Monk has thought for decades that Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae” is an infallible pronouncement because, in that document, the Pope presciently forecast some of the implications of what today is called the “birth control mentality.”  Despite the data gained in the 45 years since the document’s publication, ideologues continue to assert the hypothesis that reducing fertility ensures economic success.

All The Motley Monk can say in response is “And there’s an Easter Bunny, too.”



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13 Responses to The United Nations, sustainable population development, and the Easter Bunny…

  • At the risk of getting yelled at (again), there is a silver lining: liberals, progressives, feminists and homosexuals don’t breed. So by the Darwinian Law of survival of the fittest, they will die out and Catholics who believe in Humanae Vitae will be left breeding.

    I suppose that makes them mad as hades and why they want to force contraception and abortion on the rest of us.

  • Paul-
    problem being that it’s a LOT easier to persuade people to go for sex and indulgence without personal responsibility.

  • Quite right, Foxfier.

    Indeed, I see little difference between addiction to sexual pleasure and addiction to cocaine or heroin except for the speed with which the latter brings one to one’s final fate.

  • PS, I wonder how popular this program is among the contracepting, aborting liberal left:


  • Paul, I can’t see how firmly your tongue is in your cheek. Are you suggesting that straights only have straight kids, and that children automatically follow their parents’ beliefs?

  • Did I say that, Pinky? No. But homosexuals and lesbians don’t breed unless they use sperm or egg donation banks. So the percentage of population that would be homosexual or lesbian (assuming it’s a genetic disorder and not environmentally contracted) would always be very low.

    I guess my attempt at sarcasm didn’t carry over very well. 🙁 Sorry.

  • More waste. UNFPA and Babatunde Osotimehin. Unfamily planning.

    The little baby with her good book even looks worried, like she wants to tell the two with initials B and O something they won’t hear.

  • I think there is a correlation between declining fertility rates and economic growth, but liberals are confusing cause and effect. Countries don’t grow because they stop having babies – if that were true, Europe wouldn’t be facing a crushing entitlement tax burden. But as economies develop from labor-intensive agrarian bases to more capital intensive manufacturing bases, or knowledge-dependent technology bases, and as public health (namely clean water supplies and malaria reduction programs) improves infant mortality statistics, then there does seem to be support in the data that fertility rates go thru some natural decline. The argument that access to contraception is essential to economic growth, however, is simply a wish-fulfillment fantasy. It’s not been tested, has no basis in fact, and is simply a point of UN dogma.

    I think Paul is right – there is a silver lining in this cloud. Poor economies, as yet uninfected by baby-hating Western ideologues, are growing at a rapid pace, and at some point in the future, perhaps could help reshape the debate in more rational terms. I just returned from India this weekend – 1 year CD’s are going at 9.5% – of course, there’s inflation, so the real return is significantly less – but that’s because there’s rapid growth. And that rapid growth is not, despite the UN’s assertions, because of access to contraception. I imagine a future in which grumpy Danes are cleaning the toilets of Tata executives, and Italians are playing Nanny to little Shiva. Shoulda’ made more babies, you European crybabies, and maybe spent a little less time shaking glo-sticks down at the rave. At least you can remember how good you looked in your purple spandex as you whither away into irrelevance.

  • The Motley Monk has thought for decades that Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae” is an infallible pronouncement…

    I fully agree with you. To my mind it is a definitive demonstration of the authority vested in the Holy Father. The worthies of his era had some quibble or other but the Pope held fast and now we know how right he was.

  • “I think there is a correlation between declining fertility rates and economic growth, but liberals are confusing cause and effect.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, and truly thoughtful economists have said the same for many years. To assume that “countries… grow because they stop having babies” is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. They stop, or at least slow down, having babies BECAUSE they grow economically.

    Some natural decline in fertility rates is due simply to women and men delaying marriage as their educational and employment expectations rise — instead of stopping their education at, say, age 14 or 16 and marrying soon afterwards, they stay in school to age 18, then 20, then 22, etc., and they may wait a few years beyond that to marry in order to establish themselves in a good job. Meanwhile, as infant mortality rates decline, it becomes, for lack of a better term, less “necessary” to have multiple children in order to insure that some survive to adulthood. Even so, a First World replacement level birth rate of 2.1 or so children per woman requires some families to have MORE than 2 children to compensate for those who have only one child or none at all.

    Also, liberals completely forget that the real reason world population grew so quickly in the 20th century was because of declining death rates, NOT skyrocketing birth rates. As Steven Mosher put it in a really wonderful interview I once heard on EWTN radio — and this quote has always stuck with me — “People didn’t start breeding like rabbits; they stopped dying like flies.”

  • Elaine – the Mosher quote was brilliant – I’ll have to remember that one.

  • This is not a cheerful observation – but I think leftists realize perfectly well that they are being outbred by conservatives and religious types. That is why keeping a stranglehold on education and pop culture and pressing for open borders is so important to them. If they can indoctinate children with Gaia worship and “diversity” studies and have the kiddies practicing putting condoms on bananas, if they can get them to believe that any expression of disapproval of the gay lifestyle is hateful “bullying” and all the cool people vote Dem – well, the leftists don’t need to reproduce themselves, do they? All they have to do is poach – and keep poor immigrants and inner city residents dependent on government handouts to ensure another steady stream of voters.

    Look at the youth vote in 2008 or listen to the whiny, entitled “Occupy” brats – the strategy certainly seems to be working.

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National Review Calls on Gingrich to Drop Out and Endorse Santorum

Monday, February 13, AD 2012


Interesting.  I had assumed that National Review was in the tank for Romney.  However, this morning the editors have called for Gingrich to drop out and endorse Santorum.  They follow this up with a blast at Romney:

We hope so. Gingrich’s verbal and intellectual talents should make him a resource for any future Republican president. But it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee. It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.

We hope so. Gingrich’s verbal and intellectual talents should make him a resource for any future Republican president. But it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee. It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.

Santorum has been conducting himself rather impressively in his moments of triumph and avoiding characteristic temptations. He is doing his best to keep the press from dismissing him as merely a “social-issues candidate.” His recent remark that losing his Senate seat in 2006 taught him the importance of humility suggests an appealing self-awareness. And he has rightly identified the declining stability of middle-class families as a threat to the American experiment, even if his proposed solutions are poorly designed. But sensible policies, important as they are, are not the immediate challenge for his candidacy. Proving he can run a national campaign is.

Romney remains the undramatic figure at the center of the primaries’ drama. Lack of enthusiasm for him has set it all in motion. Romney is trying to win the nomination by pulverizing his rivals. His hope is that enthusiasm will follow when he takes on Obama in the summer and fall. But his attacks on Santorum have been lame, perhaps because they are patently insincere. (Does anyone believe that Romney truly thinks poorly of Santorum’s votes to raise the debt ceiling?)

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6 Responses to National Review Calls on Gingrich to Drop Out and Endorse Santorum

Here is What a Pro-Life Democrat Looks Like

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

Dan Lipinski (D.Ill) has always been fiercely pro-life, as was his father Bill Lipinski, a Democrat Congressman from Illinois for decades.  Lipinski voted against ObamaCare and he is not fooled by the President’s fake “compromise”.  Here is his statement on the “compromise”:

I am enormously disappointed by today’s announcement. All the facts indicate that the ‘new’ mandate is the same as the ‘old’ mandate. New words, same policy.
“Our understanding of the new policy is now limited to a Fact Sheet put out by the White House. This document says ‘Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide contraception.’ But the health care law says that all employers must provide health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty. And according to the White House these same insurance plans that employers must provide ‘will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.’ So religious organizations have to provide health care coverage from insurance companies that are required to provide abortion drugs, sterilization, and contraception. What changed? This is the same policy.
“We need a rule that protects religious liberty by allowing employers to provide health insurance coverage that does not include abortion drugs and other services that violate their conscience and religious doctrine. Instead we got a so-called compromise that is no compromise at all and provides no options for those with profound religious and moral objections to providing these services. To say that the insurer and not the employer is required to provide the coverage is a fiction. There is no accommodation for religious liberty. The rule remains coercive and still violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law.

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13 Responses to Here is What a Pro-Life Democrat Looks Like

  • He looks fine. Haven’t heard any around this neck of the woods which is rife with higher education and closing churches.

  • I still don’t get the request for a religious exemption. Why should only religious organizations be exempt from violating their consciences, while non-religious organizations (who may share the exact same religious principle) are required to do so?

    If you don’t like the coverage your employer is giving you, get a different job or buy the coverage on your own. What ever happened to the “if you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one” mantra. What about “if you want an abortion, pay for it yourself?” Oh yeah, it only works one way.

  • “Future Democrats will be as ashamed of their support of abortion as they are today
    for their support, as a party, of slavery”.

    I truly hope we see that day dawn. However, I would note that the Democrats have yet
    to issue any sort of mea culpa for their support, as a party, for slavery, for Jim
    Crow, or for support of the Klan. Rather, they have simply thrust such inconvenient and
    shameful facts down the memory hole. They appear to be embarrassed, yes. But
    ashamed? No.

    On the dawning of that glorious day when abortion is universally condemned, I rather
    think the Democrats will proclaim that they were against it all along, and trust in the
    public’s short attention span.

  • If he endorses Obama in November, all his pro-lfe rhetroic is meaningless.

  • Disagree Greg. Obama stands as much of chance of being beaten in Illinois, due to the Chicago incubus, as he does of being elected Pope. A pro forma endorsement by Lipiniski under those circumstances is truly meaningless. On the other hand his constant attacks against Obama on abortion, ObamaCare and the HHS Mandate are important, since they are coming from within the Democrat party, and from a Congressman in Obama’s own home state. I have been very hard on Democrats who pay mere lip service to being pro-life, and that is not the case with Lipinski.

  • See? There is such a thing as a pro-life Democrat. Even if just one, it’s more than zero.

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  • It’s great that Lipinski is pro-life, but I’ve heard a rumor that he’s also pro-gay-marriage. I hope it’s not true. Does anyone know for sure? Please say it ain’t so!

  • He voted for the Stupak amendment which provided for aborting rape/incest babies. And which enabled Obamacare. Not prolife in my book.

    Don’t tell me Chris Smith did same. He also says Christie is prolife and he’s got rape/incest exceptions too.

    Lipinski was just lucky his vote wasn’t needed to put Ocare over the top – the dems counted carefully and excused every dem that had done duty on other fronts.

  • “Not prolife in my book.”
    Yes, but strongly pro-life in this frame of reality.

    “excused every dem that had done duty on other fronts.”

    Rubbish. Lipinski has been outspokenly pro-life since he got into Congress and his votes have matched his speech. I am very cynical about pro-life Democrats, since almost all of them, like Stupak, crumbled under pressure. Lipinski has not.

  • I don’t understand how anyone can be against abortion but be a member of the pro-abortion party. Things have to make sense and that doesn’t make sense. Catholics who go to Sunday Mass and stand to profess their faith in which they say they believe “in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,” and stand again and pray the Our Father where they pray for God’s “will be done on earth and (they be)delivered from evil” have to have something wrong with them if they turn around and give their name identification and votes to the pro-abortion party? What? Do they think God creates life for it to be aborted? Is God in contradiction with himself, or are Catholics who are Democrats? Fifty-four percent of Catholics who voted in 2008, voted to elect the first pro-abortion, pro-infanticide President ever! Things have to make sense, or there is something wrong. Such Catholics don’t make sense, and there is something seriously wrong with our country because of this President and those Catholics who elected him.

  • I am a committed, prayerful and very active Catholic. I have had the honor of voting in the past three presidential elections, since becoming a citizen. I must say that I have voted for members of both parties, and that I cannot in good conscience label the Democratic party as the “abortion” party, any more than I can label the Republican party the “death-penalty, white-collar-crime, feed the rich” party. Both parties have policy stances that are horribly devaluing of life. I feel that we do the debate a great disservice when we rely on cheap labels and branding instead of engaging each other in the meaningful but challenging dialogue.

    As long as we allow ourselves to remain stuck in the cheap politics of labeling and insulting, we will never lift our country to a true life-affirming culture, no matter which party is in office. As long as members of either party see defending themselves and their part as the only option, they will never engage in authentic dialogue . . . which is the only action that has the capacity to move hearts and minds.

    I pray for an end to abortion. I pray for an end to poverty and the increasing wealth gap. I pray to an end for the corporate greed that has dehumanized so many. I pray for an end to the military machine that has killed so many. I pray for an end to the divisiveness that has devalued so many.

  • @RAS
    “I must say that I have voted for members of both parties, and that I cannot in good conscience label the Democratic party as the ‘abortion’ party….”

    And why is that, RAS? The Democrat Party supports the Roe v Wade decision that ended any state restrictions against the medical procedure of abortion. The Democrat Party Platform supports abortion-on-demand remaining the-law-of-the-land for over 37 years. The overwhelming number of Democrat elected officials at all levels of government are pro-abortion. Every Supreme Court nomination by a Democrat President since Roe v. Wade has been supportive of the Roe v Wade decision. And Democrat Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committees have attacked any Republican Supreme Court nominee suspected of being supportive of overturning Row v. Wade and have voted against almost every one of them. The Democrat Party is not ashamed of their support for murdering unborn babies. And this President we now have, thanks to 54% of Catholic voters, is even on record as being supportive of infanticide if a baby happens to survive his or her abortion. So, I don’t understand how you can deny that the Democrat Party is the pro-abortion party. The Democrat Party opposes a Right To Life Constitutional Amendment. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable voting for Democrats, of which I used to be one until they became the pro-abortion party and I left them because I didn’t want to become a hypocritical Catholic. In other words, I believe what I profess and pray for in Sunday Mass and that is more important to me than thinking I am “morally superior” to those other people in that other party that you mentioned. By the way, what intrinsic evil is committed by the “prudential judgment” issues you attributed to that other party? In fact, which of them are even sins?

What if the Obama “Compromise” Were Not a Transparent Fraud?

Monday, February 13, AD 2012



I think it is obvious to all, except for the invincibly ignorant, the terminally gullible or the cynically partisan, that the Obama “compromise” on the HHS Mandate is nothing of the sort, but a transparent fraud with the sole goal of eliminating a political problem for Obama in a presidential election year.  But what if it was not?  Leaving aside the fact that the “compromise” is morally unacceptable under Catholic teaching, here are some of the practical problems:

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8 Responses to What if the Obama “Compromise” Were Not a Transparent Fraud?

  • “the Obama “compromise” on the HHS Mandate is nothing of the sort, but a transparent fraud with the sole goal of eliminating a political problem for Obama in a presidential election year.”

    It could be IMHO the worst federal government “compromise” on a critical issue since 1850, or even 1820:



  • Indeed Elaine. I can’t think of a bigger political blunder since the Democrats pushed the Kansas-Nebraska Act to “settle” the question of slavery. With the rise of Santorum we may, just may, have a Republican nominee who will hammer away on this issue in the fall. Obama thinks the issue is resolved. The only issue that is truly resolved is that more and more Catholics are realizing that we are confronting an anti-Catholic administration.

  • ‘What if the Obama “Compromise” Were Not a Transparent Fraud?’
    Busy lawyers and ‘a high blood pressure pills for free accommodation’ in Sept. or Oct. 2011 …

    ‘I think it is obvious to all, except for the invincibly ignorant, the terminally gullible or the cynically partisan, that the Obama “compromise” on the HHS Mandate is nothing of the sort, but a transparent fraud with the sole goal of eliminating a political problem for Obama in a presidential election year.’
    Countless, like termites – just saw a clip of the would-be pope in a workplace wearing – yup – a blue collar shirt with zipper jacket. Just say ‘free contraception’ today, and then, coming soon to a speech near you, work on another voter block .

  • My beloved American Catholics, I beg you, DO NOT GIVE THIS RATTLE SNAKE ANOTHER TERM. He is obviously trying to wish away a problem he was not aware would gather the momentum it has. The entire Universal Catholic Church is behind you. Do not “sell Jesus for Thirty Pieces of Silver” by listening to Obama lies and half-truths.

  • Obama’s move must not be characterized by his word “compromise”.

    If you check the Federal Register of Friday, Feb 10 2012, you will find that the rule first proposed in August 2011 was finalized WITHOUT CHANGE. And this happened as he was speaking.

    In other words, he lied, and no one checked the facts.

    Please do not take anything this administration says at face value. If he says ‘the sky is blue’, go outside and check it out for yourself.

  • Its a good thing that Obama has a big mouth.

    I just hope for his sake, that his shoe size is not too big –

    Nah! Shoe size doesn’t matter – its the number of times that he swallows shoe leather, he must have dentures.

The HHS Mandate: It Was Never About Healthcare

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

Daffyd at the blog Big Lizards has a post which spells out what everyone should understand now:  ObamaCare in general, and the HHS Mandate in particular, was never about healthcare:

Never was it about health insurance for the poor and uninsured; it was always about the federal government seizing control not only of the health care of individuals but also nationalizing those state and local health programs already in place.  ObamaCare was, first and last, a power grab by the federal government at the expense of states, local governments, and individual Americans.

So please, let’s not imitate Captain Renault in Casablanca — shocked, shocked to discover that Barack Obama has violated our First-Amendment right to freedom of religion!  In fact, that specific mandate was at the heart of ObamaCare tyranny:  a frontal assault on the Catholic church in particular, which is so virulently hated by the gay-activist and feminist wings of the Left.

The only element of this policy that should shock anyone is the unbelievably hamfisted way that Obama decreed it:  A politically savvy politician would have patiently held off until after the election, giving himself two years to allow the furor to die down.

Instead, the president once again mistook unanimity among his left-liberal friends for a Progressivist “consensus” among the American people; he lives in a bubble of epistemic closure, talking only to true-blue believers on the left.  I formerly gave him the nickname “Lucky Lefty,” because (a) he is left handed, (b) he is left-leaning, and (c) he was extraordinarily lucky.  Well he’s still (a) and (b), but not so much (c) anymore, so I can no longer call him that.

Obama’s new nickname is “Bubble Boy,” honoring his world view.

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17 Responses to The HHS Mandate: It Was Never About Healthcare

  • Pro-Church is it. It is both pro-choice and pro-life. It is where unchanging, all encompassing Word does bring hope and change when that becomes one’s choice.

  • “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force; like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” George Washington, Farewell Address

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” J. Adams

  • Obamacare was a power grab? I knew that in 2009 and wrote a little blog entry to record my thoughts on it.

    I would like to see American Catholic’s thoughts on George Will’s comments over the weekend. I can’t say I entirely disagree with him.

  • Government can only testify to the NO commandments. No killing, adultery, stealing, lying, coveting, because at this point, another citizen’s civil rights are being violated, but there is no civil law being broken in not loving a neighbor. We wish the High Priest, and the Levite stopped to help the man who fell among robbers, but it took a Samaritan.
    If government could heal the sick and raise the dead, then, and only then, could government mandate insurance coverage to pay for these works of mercy.
    Obamacare cannot mandate that the Catholic Church buy Obamacare and then make non-participation a criminal offense with penalties, because a crime has not been committed. If Obamacare could heal the sick and raise the dead without Divine Providence, then Obamacare could mandate coverage, but Obamacare cannot. All healing and raising the dead is accomplished through Divine Mercy, through the laws of nature and nature’s God, the works of mercy and charity. The bronze serpent from the desert of sin on a pole is the symbol of the medical profession. Government cannot mandate healing, nor raising the dead, nor works of mercy, nor of charity. Government can only mandate what government can do- civil obedience to the laws of nature and nature’s God.
    In Hillarycare, a doctor was to be sent to federal prison for two years for healing a sick person not authorized by Hilliarycare, thereby criminalizing the practice of medicine. If Hillary care could have healed the sick and raised the dead, then there might be a penalty for not adhering, but Hillarycare could not. Likewise, Romneycare penalized non-participants for supposedly not healing the citizens, but Romneycare could not heal the citizens nor raise the dead, either.
    Obamacare is trying to mandate a penalty for not healing the sick and raising the dead. Obamacare cannot heal the sick and raise the dead. But the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of healing and reconciliation, and especially the Holy Eucharist, prayers and petitions to God can heal the sick and raise the dead. Furthermore, the Catholic Church is not mandating any penalty for the government for non-compliance. The penalty must be commensurate to the crime. If the Catholic Church refuses to comply with an unlawful mandate, so too, the government can refuse to comply with an unlawful mandate.

    This is one step away from Hitler ordering the massacre of Jews and if one did not obey one suffered the penalty of death, like treason in war. The Catholic Church has never taken an oath to buy Obamacare and cannot be held to disobedience or treason.

  • T. Shaw
    The crown of king was offered to then President for two terms, George Washington. George Washington turned down the crown as king, nor would George Washington accept a third term as president.

  • It never was about healthcare and the Bishops were wrong to support ObamaCare. This was entirely foreseeable. It is time to pay the piper.


  • Obama once said he’d rather be an effective one term president than an ineffective two term president. This was one of the few times he wasn’t lying. By effective he means, of course, advancing (er, imposing) leftist ideology. And at that he has been amazingly effective. He has done more toward that end in just over three years than Reagan ever could in advancing conservatism in eight years, no matter how hard he tried.

    Obama, like any other good bully (and that’s what he is a leftist bully), is a master at preying upon the fear of his victims. And the right in this country are, by and large, to use a childhood term, frady cats. I mean, Obama openly attacks the First Amendment and the best the one who many conservatives look to as the futire, Marco Rubio can do is come up with is to propose a “Conscience Protection Act” that is an erroneously unwitting admission that the First Amendment doesn’t mean what it says. Furthermore, for this “act” to become, it would require the president’s signature. And you can forget about overriding his veto in Harry’s Hellhole, aka the U.S. Senate.

    He also knows that he is gonna be running against an empty suit in Novemeber. Okay, Santorum is probably the best empty suit, but an empty suit nonetheless.

    And he also knows the USCCB are nothing but a bunch of empty cassocks, whose collective episcopal motto ought to be “Ideology Runneth over my Theology”.

    And when you consider that leftist bureaucrats run all the important government agencies, including the Pentagon (after 27 years working in DoD if you include my eight years of active duty in the Navy), the left runs the government no matter who gets elected.

    So, against theis backdrop, you really don’t have to be all that politically saavyf you’re a commtted leftist like Obama.

  • We are at war. The left in this country must be put under the figurative ” ban “. It is a fight to the death weather we Catholics realize it or not. Obama and the democrats are for real, people! Even now I am afraid that most people cannot or will not see this reality. Oh well, what to do?

  • Tom,

    You have a good idea. For the Church it would be “interdict.” I looked it up.

    Here is a part of the blurb. “Whereas excommunication is exclusively a censure, intended to lead a guilty person back to repentance, an interdict, like suspension, may be imposed either as a censure or as a vindictive punishment.”

    The clerics, especially the society of judas dastards, and laity that signed that petition supporting the state denial of Church liberty need to be placed under interdict.

  • The original “debate” over health care reform, ie, the propaganda, was to about portability, accessibility and affordability. It was never about those things, nor about ‘health care’ reform. This was all along a power play and Sebeilius and others are given unfettered and unreviewable powers to impose slavish adherence to their statist principles. Instead of accessibility, you now or soon will have “coercive self rationing” and government control over the human person and the subsidiary institutions entrusted with care; instead of efficiencies leading to cost savings, you will see onerous taxation and penalties; instead of portability you will soon have the private sector intentionally put out of the health care business and full, complete and dominant control by HHS committee over what will be covered—so that portability will no longer be an issue.

    This was all in the original house bill which CHA and USCCB advocated—with of course the lip service to protecting conscience and excluding public funding for abortion. You are playing a game with marxists so it’s important to understand that the broader issue concerning ‘health care’ is about control. Soon, as in a mere few years, “Catholic” will be removed from every hospital, and then next they will be coming for your schools.

  • T Shaw,
    I was actually thinking more of the ban as in Joshua conquering the promised land. Every last vestige of leftism needs to be rubbed out with extreme prejudice. Leftism is extreme and is in the business of rubbing out the Church in the US. I know this sounds perhaps a bit intense, but we are really facing an existential threat and have been for close to forty-five years at least. One could argue the threat goes all the way back to the Enlightenment, or Eden for that matter. My point is that the response of many in the Church right now is inadequate to the challenge. We are not responding with the same level of ” fight ” with which we are being attacked.

  • Tom and CTHEMFLY25,


    This HHS mandate is about control and malice toward Holy Mother the Chruch.

    Paul A. Rahe at ricochet.com, ” . . . reason why Sebelius, Pelosi, and Obama decided to proceed. They wanted to show the bishops and the Catholic laity who is boss. They wanted to make those who think contraception wrong and abortion a species of murder complicit in both. They wanted to rub the noses of their opponents in it. They wanted to marginalize them. Humiliation was, in fact, their only aim, and malice, their motive.”

    There are not enough bullets.

  • Tom & T Shaw,

    How does one without recourse to violence stomp out liberal leftism, progressivism, liberal democracy (two wolves & one sheep voting on what’s for dinner) or whatever term we may use to describe this phenomenon. I do not support initiating force to achieve that end. In the times of the ancient Israelites, God did order the initiation of force, but those times and circumstances were different. If we initiate force today, then we become as evil as those whom we seek to replace.

    That being said, I do think that even should we be successful in ejecting Obama from the Oval Office in the November elections, the liberals won’t go quitely. They will evenutally initiate force against us and I think we have to let them. It would be far preferrable to convince them of the rightness of our position, but I fear they have gone too far down the path to be persuaded. Even if SCOTUS were to reverse Roe v Wade, they will not give up abortion without a physical fight. But once they initiate force, then we have every right to defend ourselves and the game changes. That game of course would be civil war and that’s not something any of us should work towards or even want. Yet it took a civil war to free the slaves (and with all due respect to Catholic Knight, regardless of whether or not that was the original reason for the war), so I think (based on that history alone) one might sadly be required here (please, dear God, no!).

  • Paul and T. Shaw,
    Although I love to use violent metaphors, mostly because it tweaks so many noses out of joint, I am not advocating civil war. I am afraid though, history and culture being what they are in this country, there is a very real possibility of our ” culture war ” turning hot. It is quite evident from the history of radical secularism that the rhetoric eventually turns to action. The secularists preach an intolerant brand of atheistic humanism, which is used in a public way to ostracize and separate the opposition. They have no allies and allow no neutral parties. We as Catholics have a great heritage of facing these kinds of totalitarians and that history can serve us well in dealing with the current crop of tyrannical wanna-bees.

    So I think we should never advocate to initiate violent means as long as so-called civil society is in place ( kind of ). Will we have to face violence in America in our struggle with the culture of death? Yes, I believe we already are, just ask the millions of dead children. The culture of death is not just a metaphor for bad actors misbehaving. It is a description of the enemy. Our weapons are fasting, praying, self-denial and obedience to the Majesterium. We must also fight the good fight in the arena of politics, friends and family. The workplace too is an area where we can bring on the struggle. Every day in every way.

Food, Guns, and Contraception: A Random Followup to Some Random Thoughts on the HHS Rule

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

Instead of responding to comment on my previous post in the proper place, I decided to do a followup of sorts to clarify two issues and to expand on a few of the initial thoughts and their reactions.  As a starting point, I want to consider the following comment left by “Mary”:

What about an employer forcing their religious beliefs onto their employees? My daughter is a nurse and works at a catholic [sic] hospital. She is not Catholic and feels birth control should be a woman’s decision. The woman has the right to decide when she wants to start a family. She was surprised when she found out that birth control was not part of the insurance program. She has been buying it on her own, and it is not cheap. What about those who can not afford to purchase birth control? Viagra is covered under the insurance program, and that is health care? Don’t think so. I’m not surprised that the article and comments here are all by men. It is not your body and you should not make the decision for women who want to use birth control.

It seems to me that this misses the point I was initially trying to make, and I take responsibility for any lack of clarity in my presentation.  To make up for this, I want to consider Mary’s argument from two perspectives.  Both perspectives will consider Mary’s assertion that women have the right to use birth control.  First, I will temporarily grant Mary this assertion and re-present the argument that it still does not make it right to force Catholic hospitals, Catholic-owned businesses, or Catholic-run insurance companies to cover contraception.  Second, I will challenge Mary’s assertion by arguing that women don’t in fact have the “right” to oral contraceptives.

1.  What if Mary is Right?

What if we temporality lend credence to Mary’s statement that women have the right to use birth control?  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will direct you back to my initial analogy of gun ownership.  I firmly believe in the right to bear arms, but this in no way means that I believe the government should purchase a gun for me, still less does it mean that the government to force my employer to purchase a gun for me.  There is a difference between the right to posses and use something and the “right” to have it at no cost to ourselves.  This distinction has been lost in the national conversation.  Even if Mary is correct that women have the right to use oral contraceptives, it still leaves me wondering why the cost for this should come out of the employer’s pocket or the pocket’s of the insurance companies.

Allow me to illustrate this point with another analogy.  I think all of us can agree that the human person has the fundamental right to eat food.  Should our employers then be required to provide us with our weekly groceries?  Should they be required to give us vouchers with which we can obtain meals?  Correct me if I am wrong here, but I thought the point of employment was to provide labors with a fair and honest wage, and the wage earners then get to decide how to spend those wages.  Think here for a minute how you would feel if instead of providing you with a paycheck, your employer gave you vouchers for very specific kinds of food.  Is this not a restriction of freedom rather than its expansion?

Actually, when you see the contraceptive coverage in this light, I think you will come to see that having the employer/insurance company forced to cover it is actually the more inequitable scenario.  Allow me to explain.  First, understand that contraception itself is not “free.”  It is a product, and as such it has a cost associated with its production.  If an employer is forced into providing this coverage for all employees, the cost of the plan will be effected somehow.  I will leave it up to the actuaries to weigh in on how this cost works out, but the fact remains that the cost needs covered in some form or another.  Contrary to popular belief at the moment, money cannot be arbitrarily created out of thin air.  (This is a more complicated way of putting the age-old adage, “Nothing in life is free.”)  Now, once the employer has this cost added to the plan, his budget must take that into account somehow, which will translate eventually into wages in some form or another.

Why is this inequitable?  Because it effectively means that all employees will suffer the economic effects of some people choosing to use contraceptives.  Of course, I am not naive enough to think this is a dollar-for-dollar transaction.  Rather, the costs will be spread out through actuarial means.  Nevertheless, would not a more “fair” system be to not cover contraceptives, to pass on the savings in the form of wages and salaries, and to allow those women that choose to use oral contraceptives under Mary’s claimed “right” to do so?

This is precisely what happens with both food and guns.  The employer pays the employee, and the employee then decides what to spend his or her wages on: food, guns, or oral contraceptives.  I would think that the advocates of “choice” would prefer this system anyway, for in taking money in the form of wages and then making an active choice how to spend the money, is that not a more powerful statement than having an employer (by means of government coercion) tell you how you have to spend your wages?  Said differently, the problem with Mary’s “right to contraception” plan is that is actually takes away the right not to purchase contraception – it results in less choice, not more.  If the insurance plans are forced to cover it, all employees are forced to purchase it, although some will choose to leave their supply at the pharmacy counter.  In effect, Mary’s argument actually reduces choice and freedom.

Two other points are worth considering here.  First, Mary claims that contraception is expensive, and that is why insurance companies should provide it “for free.”  The problem with this is the illusion of “free.”  It is basic economics here, something that seems to be absent from the Obama administration’s manner of administrating.  As I pointed out above, the production of contraceptives costs money, and to think that this cost will not be passed on eventually to the employees is naive at best.  The insurance companies are not going to take this “bottom line” hit – their very bright actuaries will work to makes sure that the cost is covered in the premiums charged.  The employer won’t take the “bottom line” hit either.  They employee likes to think of wages and benefits in two separate categories, but to the employer they are both part of a compensation package, and they both cost money.  Whatever is added to the cost of medical insurance will necessarily be made up for in salaries.  Of course, it won’t be right away, but it will be reflected in future salary negotiations.  Anyone who has been a part of contract negotiations knows that it is never simply about salaries and wages.  The “bottom line” will eventually be covered by all employees.  Thus, Mary’s daughter will end up paying for the contraception anyway through lower-than-would-be salaries.  When insurance plans cover something like contraception, it does not “save” the employee money, it simply forces them to spend some of their money in a particular way.

An analogy here is a local collect some years back that “gave” all entering Freshman an iPod.  On the surface, it seems like a “free and generous” gift.  However, the university is mindful of its finances, which means that the cost of this iPod is somehow or other figured into the cost of tuition.  Seen in this light, it is not a “free gift,” but rather forcing all entering Freshman to purchase an iPod.

Returning to the forced purchase of contraception, even from a women’s dignity perspective, I would think that most would find this reprehensible.  It is as if the government is saying, “We don’t trust that you will spend some of your money on contraception, so we are going to force you to spend it just to be sure.”  Once more, apply this to something like food.  It would be like your employer, under government coercion, withholding part of your wages and instead giving you food vouchers for specific items that the government deems “essential” to “healthy eating.”  (Actually, the more I think about it, the more fitting this analogy is.)  Wouldn’t it be better to have the money passed on in the form of wages to allow the individual the right to choose how to spend it?  Once you understand that you will be paying for the contraception in some form or another, does not the whole thing sound rather insulting?  In fact, I do something similar with my kids allowance: I give them a certain sum of money, and then I mandate that they put a portion of it in the Church basket on Sunday.  Why?  Because without the mandate, they won’t do it.  Why?  Because they are children.  When it comes to the forced purchase of contraception, the government is treating women as if they are children: they don’t trust that you will purchase contraception on your own, so they are going to make you purchase it.  (This is what they are doing with the health care mandate itself, by the way.)

The other more obvious problem is that this also forces women who chose not to use contraception to carry plans that cover it, thereby essentially purchasing it themselves (one the cost of the plan is passed to the employee in the form of not-as-high-as-they-would-be wages).  In this way, then, the whole issue is not about the right to obtain contraception, it is about the right not to purchase contraception.

Further, Mary brings up the idea of Viagra coverage.  There is an obvious difference, pointed out by one commenter, in that Viagra is correcting a bodily system that isn’t functioning as it should (and is thus much closer to actual “health care”), whereas birth control is doing nothing of the sort.  However, I will say that in this case I agree with Mary.  I also think that the government should not force insurance companies to cover Viagra, but that the employer should simply pay salaries and wages to its employees  and allow them to choose how to spend their money.  The difference here is that, to my knowledge, the government is not doing this in the case of Viagra.  In fact, it may help to clarify the outcry over the contraceptive mandate to imagine the vitriol reactions that would surface if the HHS mandate required the coverage of Viagra.

2.  But in the End, Mary is not Right.

All of the previous argument is null and void however, if Mary is not correct in her assertion that women have the natural “right” to use oral contraceptives.  In order to address this, we must first re-think the whole notion of “freedom” and “rights.”  The problem with our pluralistic society is that everything is couched in terms of “rights,” and further that this terms is never fully defined.  Even so, a discussion bases solely on rights, defined or undefined, could never actually be consistent, because “rights,” understood in simple unqualified terms, will necessarily lead to situations of “competing rights.”  In this case, we end up arguing over which has precedence: the “right” to religious liberty or the “right” to use oral contraceptives.  When we find ourselves at the inevitable impasse of unqualified and competing rights, the only thing left to decide a “winner” is pure power.  Whichever “party” finds itself in control will force its priority on the populus, and this is exactly what we see happening with the Obama administration.

The difficulty here is that freedom is not the random ability to choose between contraries.  Rather, it is the ability to choose the good.  Servais Pinkaers gives a great illustration of this in his book Sources of Christian Ethics by giving the example of a well-trained piano player.  An individual who has no respect for the “rules” of music and the instrument is “free” to bang randomly on the keys (a “freedom of indifference”), but a trained pianist who has been taught the “laws” and “nature” of the piano is able to create music, a freedom that is much more authentic (a “freedom for excellence”).

The moral life is not much different than the musical arts.  We are created with a purpose, a sort of definition of what it means to be “fully human”, what the Greeks called a telos.  We are “free” insofar as we act in a manner consistent with what it means to be human.  In a dilapidated view of freedom, we are of course able to act arbitrarily.  But such a view is not authentic freedomAuthentic freedom is found when we act according to our design, according to the natural law inscribed on our hearts.

Understanding the natural law is the only way to avoid the inevitable conflict of arbitrary and competing rights.  The only “right” we have is the right to act according to our design, to act in a way that is authentically human.  Religious liberty falls generally under this one “right” because we know that we need to freely pursue and accept God.  One can never be coerced into faith (even if the “faith” into which they are coerced is objectively “true”).

The question then is, does an individual have the “right” to use artificial contraception?  Does the use of contraception allow an individual to be more “fully human.”  From a Catholic perspective, the answer is clearly, “No.”  Now, it is not my intent here to defend the Church’s teaching on contraception – numerous arguments far better than what I could produce have been written about this already.  My point here is much simpler: we cannot approach this argument purely from some abstract and ill-defined notion of “freedom” and “rights”, but rather must conceive (pun fully intended) of “rights” and “freedom” under their proper telos of natural law.

I will give only one attempt at an argument against the “right” to oral contraceptives.  I mean this not as the only, and maybe not even as the best, but I do think is it the most important one to publicize: oral contraceptives are abortifacient.  It is in the very design of the pill that on the off chance (the measure of which is hotly debated) that fertilization occurs, the lining of the uterus is renders unstable so as to prevent implantation.  In this case, a newly created human person is destroyed – a life is ended.  Now, the fundamental “right”, if we are to speak in these terms, is the right to life.  Understanding the notion of “freedom for excellence,” the path towards fulfillment as a human person, or the ability to choose the good … none of this is possible without the possibility of living in the first place.  (Another “silver lining” to this tragic situation in which we find ourselves is the mere mentioning of this fact on national television by those members of the Episcopacy (un)fortunate enough to land an interview.  It is about time the terrible truth about abortifacients in oral contraceptives gets more press.)

This is not the best argument against the “right” to use oral contraceptives, because it is conceivable (there is nothing worse than the same pun twice in one article) that someday the pharmaceutical companies will develop an effective oral contraceptive that is not abortifacient.  Even then, seen in the light of Catholic teaching, there will still not be a “right” to use such medication to prevent pregnancy, the prevention of which drives a wedge in the very definition of marriage which by its nature is both unitive and procreative.  In doing so, contraception thereby does not allow a couple to strive towards their fulfillment as human persons in their marital vocation.  (For marriage, after all, is a vocation, and hence a “path to fulfillment.”)  Nevertheless, it the abortifacient argument is an effective argument here and now, because oral contraceptives here and now are abortifacient.

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15 Responses to Food, Guns, and Contraception: A Random Followup to Some Random Thoughts on the HHS Rule

  • Jake,

    Most liberals like Mary and her daughter have neither the patience to read your logical analysis, nor (if they do not lack the patience) the ability to follow the logic. I do not necessarily say this of either Mary or her daughter because one cannot necessarily deliver an accurate judgment in a specific case where so few details are missing, however, as someone so aptly commented, “Sin makes you stupid.”

  • Nevertheless, I hope in some way it adds to the conversation.

  • I agree, Jake. I like your essay. Good job. I shared it on Facebook and at my blog.

  • Aside from the contravention of Catholic Moral teaching,or the debate on whether this is actually health care or a lifestyle choice, what astounds me is the compulsion in this legislation.

    This is the iron hand of Totalitarianism – Soviet Union, Communist Chinese, here we come – Obama is leading Uncle Sam to join you.

    This is not the America that the world has known.I wonder how many Kentucky Long rifles have been kept oiled up in the closet?

  • As a matter of fairness, and perhaps Mary can answer this, but why should I be compelled at the point of IRS asset seizure, to subsidize the promotion of sexual activity in any context. I suppose in a pun loving way one might say I’m getting (rhymes with rude) …nuff said. Perhaps this is the illogical destination of the 60s culture of “free” love.

    As a matter of policy, the contraceptive culture, and the availability of contraceptives, is responsible for the total breakdown of sexual mores. In turn, the promotion of the contraceptive culture has lead to the increase of both “unwanted” pregnancies and of course abortions, as well as STDs. Again, I would like that addressed by (and I’m not picking on Mary) perhaps by Mary.

    Finally as a matter of simple economics, and being an employer, the greater my costs for providing a subsidy for sexual activity (I trust that it is obvious to Mary et al that this will not be free) by way of higher premiums means that salary increases and bonuses and other benefits will be affected. Employees like Mary’s daughter will be paid less, but so will others who want no part of this nonsense. So again, as a charitable invitation to civil discourse, I’d like to know why employees who choose to live differently than Mary’s daughter must pay for the “free” love.

  • All of the previous argument is null and void however, if Mary is not correct in her assertion that women have the natural “right” to use oral contraceptives.

    I would say moot rather than null and void.

  • Let’s bring the discussion back to basics.

    Is the Obama/state-control solution optimal for the lethal (It could be tragic: Mary’s daughter may be diagnosed with a fetus! – sobbing in background) health care crisis?

    Why did Pharaoh not follow precedent and copy the state solution to the starvation crisis: provide need-based health care vouchers?

    I bet a silver dollar that was not an option. It leaves control over people’s health care with people.

    That would never do!

    Don, Please pray for the conversion of sinners and America.

    Altogether approximately 200,000,000 weapons in citizens’ possession. The libs have been trying to disarm us. They don’t like the thought of us slaves shooting back.

  • Good points! Do not let those who choose to use contraceptives force everyone to pay for it. In the end all it actually is a gift from the government to a few companies. What’s worse than stealing from the working (and working poor) to pay for the “luxuries” of corporate execs at drug companies and their rich democrat buddies??? Just like the democrats: steal from the working man and woman and give it to the rich! Check their record they specialize in it while saying they are helping the poor. There have been no increases in Social Security for several years but there have been plenty of huge government give-aways to the wealthy during the Obama administration.

    Another point I would like to make is that Viagra treats a disease (impotence) and could therefore be considered treatment for a disease. Contraceptives don’t treat a disease but sure can cause some diseases and some nasty ones too!!!!

  • Cthemfly raises a really frightening specter, the ability of the IRS to seize private property. Obama’s Executive Order 13575 Rural Councils gives the government the power to seize private property. Obamacare gives the government the excuse to seize churches and schools and turn them into Mosques for non-compliance. This explains why Obama is so hardened to reason. 200,000,000 guns will not be enough to face down military weapons. Remember Tienenman Square. the only thing the Chinese had not counted on was that the information about the attack was outside China in eight minutes via the internet which now Obama controls, but who is left on the outside anymore?. Only the Pope and the Vatican. Tell Mary, she will not need contraception in the grave and they will not give her any in the concentration camps er nursing homes.

  • Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Victory, Our Lady of Pompeii, pray for us.

  • Or pharm-aoh.
    The era of ‘free love’ liberals is over and done. Their experience and education credentials serve to contort ‘love’ into ‘sex’ual activity of any kind as a norm. They are imposing such ‘free’dom upon working adults now with HHS, as they have done with welfare population and public school children – with money they don’t have.

    To the detriment of Honor, The Constitution of the United States, The Catholic Church, other religious groups and institutions, and private enterprise.

    A proverb (source forgotten): To change and to improve are two different things.
    Someone is profiting, the only motive behind calling conception a disease to prevent.
    They can’t or won’t see blood on their hands. If they do: first probably visiting psychiatrists, finally churches.

  • The defenders of the HHS mandate want to put The Pill on the same level of “preventive” health care as, say, vaccinations against deadly and crippling contagious diseases such as polio, rubella, diptheria, etc. This overlooks two glaringly obvious facts:

    1) pregnancy is not “contagious” in the same sense as polio — you don’t get it simply from breathing the same air or drinking the same water as someone who has it; you can only get it by engaging in a very specific and (the vast majority of the time) readily avoidable activity;

    2) most vaccines, antibiotics, etc. are the only means available for preventing or controlling the disease they target, whereas oral contraception is NOT the ONLY means available for avoiding pregnancy.

  • Contraceptives!


    Once you are over 70-whatever-years, whatever your expiration-date the Death Panel decides, no soup for you!!!

    No Life, no hope.

    No liberty, no faith.

    No property, no charity.

    It ain’t about birth control or about health. It’s about control.

    “The brave new world begins when every man is paid for existing and no man pays for his sins. ” Kipling, “The Gods of the Copy Book Headings.”

  • I would like to commend you for a very well written article covering this topic. I’m not Catholic, I use contraceptives (although not the pill) to prevent my family from growing until we are somewhat ready for it, and I do not believe that this is an attack on the Catholic or religious freedoms. (Stay with me, here.)

    That being said, I would like to say that the arguments you put forth make sense. It makes me step back and take a look at the whole thing from a different perspective. My knee-jerk reaction to this whole situation has been to try my best to ignore it, and to ignore those who are shouting from the rooftops that this is religious persecution – because I do not agree. I also had the immediate reaction that no one should be exempt from laws, because otherwise what is the point?

    I had to start paying attention, however, when I heard the president say that if church-run organizations still had moral objections to this ruling, then they could opt out, but the insurance provider had to provide the contraceptives free to the person who was requesting it (did I get that right?). That makes me go, whoa, wait a second, for exactly the reasons that you laid out in the first point. It seems as though many people, especially my generation and younger (I’m an 80s baby), seem to have forgotten the very salient point that nothing in life is free. Someone somewhere has to account for the cost in the contraceptives. It makes sense that it would be rolled back into the premiums and accounted for.

    Now that I am beginning to pay attention to this whole debate, it is starting to seem to me, especially in view of the points laid out above, both economic and religious, that this is a case of the government interfering too much. No, women do not have a “right” to have birth control provided to them by the government, by hook or by crook. I believe that we have the right to obtain it for ourselves (but again, I’m not Catholic). I believe that if the pill is too expensive, switch to something else less expensive. You can’t tell me that a nurse can’t afford the $7 or whatever it is for a box of condoms. I also believe that birth control (in whatever form) should be made available at a cheaper cost, but that is an argument with pharmaceutical companies that has absolutely no bearing on this discussion.

    Thank you for bearing with me as I ramble in my reply, somehow trying to figure out a way to let you know, Jake, that I have read your article, and it touched a chord with me. It gave me something to think about. I’m not going with my knee-jerk reaction anymore on this debate, even if it isn’t for the reason that you might wish. It was a very well written, cogent article that did not simply attack someone who had a differing opinion than yourself.

    And to the commentor Paul, who equates being liberal with being stupid or incapable of following a well-reasoned argument, I say to stop painting everyone with the same brush. I am more moderate than liberal, but I still am imminently capable of following a logical argument, as long as one is presented to me. It’s when the debate breaks down to name-calling and mud-slinging, with whoever shouts loudest being heard, that I lose patience.

  • Becky, thank you for sharing your perspective. It helps to know that people other than “traddie” Catholics can and will listen to rational arguments against this policy. There are, as you point out, other valid objections to the HHS mandate besides the religious freedom issue.

    It seems to me that the mandate is a prime example of a solution (“free” birth control for women) that demanded a problem (an alleged lack of access to affordable birth control), even if the “problem” had to be created from scratch (by attacking the Church for not providing it via health insurance).

The HHS Mandate: Why the Cost Issue Is Irrelevant

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

One issue that mainstream and even some Catholic commentators seem to be bungling to my mind is the relevance of costs. According to the Obama Administration, under the new rule insurance companies will provide sterilization and contraception free to employees of Catholic institutions like hospitals and universities. Further, the Administration has claimed that insurance companies are happy to do this because the costs of contraceptives and sterilization are lower than the costs of pregnancy and all of the associated doctors visits. This certainly seems plausible. Pregnancy and the associated doctors visits cost a lot of money. I’ve heard it claimed that policies without contraceptives typically cost more than their counterparts that include them, and so it’s possible that the new policies will be even cheaper than the prior policies (absent all of the costs imposed by other new regulations, but that’s another story).

But this just brings into starker relief the fact that no compromise has been offered at all. Let’s assume for a moment that it is actually cheaper for an insurance company to offer sterilization and contraceptives without charge than to not offer them at all. In that case, Catholic hospitals and universities have historically been able to purchase plans at a higher cost that enables them to avoid providing coverage that violates their consciences. The original rule said that they could no longer purchase such plans, and most right thinking people recognized this as an infringement on religious liberty. The new rule says: “good news, you won’t have to pay more than you currently do!” Which, of course, is completely non responsive.

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9 Responses to The HHS Mandate: Why the Cost Issue Is Irrelevant

  • Fri. noon, he served the people who want free contraception in whatever affiliation with embarassingly ‘all on the same side of the scale’ approval. Spoke to voters whose minds are concerned with maintaining things ‘below the belt’. Pretty insulting to the rest of their lives in progress with possibilities of growth and development.

    For the nation as a whole, an unspoken mandate to comply with yet deeper disturbance of any higher minded spiritual beliefs, sort of enabling another form of disease of schizophrenia. Insulting and dismissing the concerns of healthy spiritual life found in the Catholic Church and other religions, he pandered for the votes that will strengthen his culture of death. The cost won’t be counted in $.

  • “The cost won’t be counted in $.”

    First will come loss of jobs for employees or loss of businesses for business owners. Then will come denial of purchasing food and other necessities for life. Then will come imprisonment. And final the ultimate solution. The people in the 1790s who cried “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” followed this route and employed Dr. Guillotine’s “merciful machine” to ensure their liberty, equality and fraternity.

  • Arguments for a “religious employer” exemption have gone from wrong to ridiculous.

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have occasionally confronted such issues and have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, negligence, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/494/872/case.html http://www.aafcp.org/cplm/files/12.pdf.) Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    When moral binds for individuals can be anticipated, the legislature may, as a matter of grace, add provisions to laws affording some relief to conscientious objectors.

    The real question here then is whether there is any need for such an exemption in order to avoid forcing some employers to act contrary to their consciences. Those demanding such an exemption initially worked themselves into a lather with the false claim that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved–except perhaps for an employer who really desires not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather wants to retain control of his employees’ health plans, limit their choices to conform to the employer’s religious beliefs, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer would need an exemption from the law.

    Indeed, some continued clamoring for just such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments they would be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of their tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for a war, health care, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral?

    In any event, they put up enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required. Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain. They fret that somehow religious employers ultimately will pay for the services they oppose. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They counter what they call the government’s “accounting gimmick” with one of their own: the “Catholic dollar.” These dollars remain true to an employer’s religious beliefs, it seems, even after paid by the employer to others, e.g., insurers or employees, in that they can be used only for things the religious employer would approve. The religious employers’ aim, we are assured, is not to thereby control the actions of others, oh no, but rather is merely to assure that the employers themselves do not somehow act contrary to their own beliefs by loosing “their” dollars into hands that would use them for things no self-respecting religious employer would himself buy. Their religious liberty, they say, requires not only that they be exempted from the law, but further that anyone to whom they pay money also be exempted and thus “free” to act according to their desires.

    I wonder what they would think of their follow-the-dollar theory if they realized they had some of my “atheist dollars” in their wallets that can be used only for ungodly purposes, lest I suffer the indignity of paying for things I disbelieve.

  • @DougIndeap: The mission of the Catholic Church is to present the dignity of the human person, the common good, the subsidiarity of the government. The destruction of the human being, the obliteration of human existence, class warfare, tyranny, denying the act of creation to the will of God, none of these Is true.

  • Mr. Indeap is parachuting into various religious blogs, attempting to hit us with some knowledge.

    It’d be nice if he’d explain why he thinks everyone has a right to no-cost abortifacients and birth control first, but hey–he gets his licks in on the religious types he despises.

    And that’s what’s really important.

  • I believe Mr. Indeap’s arguments deserve a response. They are plausible and reasoned, and that’s a refreshing rarity. If he does indeed despise religious people, I see no evidence of such in his post. The comparison to taxation is especially interesting.

    1) The paying of an “assessment” is not a worthy alternative. You’re correct that it would let us off the hook as far as violating our consciences, but it is flatly unjust. Would you attempt to make the case that the government is justified in levying such a fine? Why not a fine against Mormon employers who fail to serve real coffee in the break room?

    2) On whether the employer in question is wishing to “limit their [employees’] choices to conform to the employer’s religious beliefs”: this stands out among your plausible arguments as flatly silly. Failing to buy your employees condoms impinges on their choices about contraception no more than failing to buy them parachutes impinges on their choice to skydive. Your freedom does not mean other people have the obligation to buy you things.

    3) Is the situation analogous to paying taxes for a war one doesn’t want? Certainly, to some extent. I’ve been trying to think that through myself. How could our society function if every socialized expenditure/service were optional? This question can’t be blithely dismissed. And yet, surely it does not follow that governments may therefore compel their citizens to pay for anything at all, and that citizens are never justified in rebelling against said coercion. I suggest that the burden of proof falls on the side of the government. In the matter at hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone even attempting to make such a case. The White House’s statements, riddled as they are with red herrings, misrepresentations, misdirection, and bizarre assumptions, serve to illustrate the futility of the project.

    4) Are we inventing an irrational notion of a “Catholic dollar?” No… and your analogy about your own “atheist dollar” fails. A Catholic institution would be guilty of such an invention if, for example, they claimed authority to stop employees from spending their wages for contraception. The money has changed hands: it isn’t theirs anymore, end of story. But that is not analogous to the matter at hand. The reason is that it is still the employer who is buying the controversial product. It’s a shell game to claim that “no, now it’s the insurance company providing it.” Everything the insurance company does, is done with money from the employer. The contraceptives etc. will not come out of executive’s paychecks, nor will they be delivered by the Progesterone Fairy. Even if it is true that money will be saved – and this is indeed a plausible claim – it remains true that the Catholic institution is being forced to pay for contraception. That’s the problem. The “accommodation” fails to address it.

    As much subtlety as may arise from tangential questions, the core issue is really very simple. The HHS policy makes precisely as much sense as forcing synagogues to pay their employees in bacon. None. And if you, an atheist, are ever forced by the government to buy Bibles for people you may employ, I will oppose it just as fiercely.

  • A telling illustration of the main point of the post:
    Would the Catholic employer be held accountable if there was a rider on the insurance contract hiring an assassin to kill someone? Would anyone accept the excuse that since it was an action of the insurance company, the Church was not complicit? If that’s true, then I will also accept the President’s “accommodation.”

  • I am glad the Steven Beatty took the time to give Doug Indeap’s atheist objections a thorough response. When a sincere objection like Doug’s is raised (however many times he may have parachutted onto Catholic blogs to voice his objections), then a serious response is warranted.

    On a different note, if an atheist like Doug does believe in rule of law, then what pray tell ought that law be based on if not God’s? The whim and fancy of whatever atheist makes the law? I fear we would have Maximillien Robespierre all over again. Oh wait, we do have him: Barack Hussein Obama. The cry of “liberty, equality and fraternity” never fails to result in the death of the innocent, this time to the tune of 54 million unborn babies.

Doubling Down

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

The video above is a Democrat National Committee ad celebrating the fact that Obama is giving women “free” contraceptives and is doing so in a way which “respects” religious freedom, and those mean old Republicans want to take this away.  The Democrats are betting that the voters are both venal and stupid enough to allow them to reap a rich yield of votes in the fall on this issue.  My guess is that they are wrong.  A poll by Rasmussen found that 28% of Catholics support the government making rules that violate a church’s teachings while 68% oppose;  among the general public the numbers are 39-50, which I think is an accurate reflection of where the politics lie on this issue.  Here is Rasmussen’s commentary.

Every sports fan knows that close contests are often decided by mistakes rather than heroics. In this year’s Super Bowl, Tom Brady threw just one interception, but Eli Manning didn’t throw any. Manning’s team won.

What’s especially disheartening for fans are unforced errors. Right now, President Obama’s fans have reason to worry about a substantive unforced error that threatens his support among Catholic voters.

The Obama administration recently ruled that all insurance policies must offer contraceptive services with no co-payments required. In and of itself, that decision is neither positive nor negative. Forty-three percent of voters favor it, while 46 percent are opposed.

That mandate violates the beliefs of some churches. Normally, religious exemptions are granted in such cases, but not this time. Thirty-nine percent support the administration on this point, while 50 percent are opposed. Even worse for the White House, support for the ruling comes primarily from people who rarely attend church. That’s a group that voted strongly for Obama in 2008 and continues to support him today. In other words, no upside.

But, among Catholics, only 28 percent believe religious organizations should be required to implement rules that conflict with church doctrine. Sixty-five percent are opposed. This is true even though many Catholics disagree with church teachings on birth control.

The impact is stunning since 54 percent of Catholics voted for President Obama in 2008. Today, just 39 percent of Catholic voters approve of the way he’s doing his job.

Perhaps some strategists thought that Catholics would welcome government help in battling the church on birth control. But Catholics who disagree with the church deal with the situation in the privacy of their own bedroom. They don’t need federal help. In fact, it is hard to imagine any person of faith wanting the federal government to have any say in church doctrine and how Holy Scripture should be applied.

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5 Responses to Doubling Down

  • 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Racists!

  • What blows me away is the claim that 98% of Catholic women use birth control. From what I have read this survey/study completely leaves out any women who are single and celibate such as religious or older women who are not childbearing age and also the young who are not sexually active. I know this is about religious liberty, but the premise that almost all Catholic women use contraception is totally based on a prejudiced study.

    This is truly built on lies. The truth shall set us free.

  • Who do you think should make decisions about contraception………………….
    You, or your employer ?

    Exactly – your employer should not be involved in any way.
    It is a private personal decision, and a lifestyle choice – not a health issue.

    Do those who choose Natural Family Planning have their programs paid for?

  • elm, that claim is based on a poll by… wait for it: the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which was founded by a former president of Planned Parenthood. Gee, do you think those results are just a wee bit tainted? It’s like being presented with a poll showing 98% of all Americans prefer poultry to meat or seafood and not being told the poll was conducted by Chicken Farmers United. And yet, the media keeps repeating it as fact – yet another example of how the Big Lie works.

The Urgently Relevant Pope Leo XIII

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012



By the patrons of liberalism, however, who make the State absolute and omnipotent, and proclaim that man should live altogether independently of God, the liberty of which We speak, which goes hand in hand with virtue and religion, is not admitted; and whatever is done for its preservation is accounted an injury and an offense against the State. Indeed, if what they say were really true, there would be no tyranny, no matter how monstrous, which we should not be bound to endure and submit to.

                                             Pope Leo XIII, Libertas

In his great encyclical Libertas (1888), examining the nature of liberty, Pope Leo XIII gives present day American Catholics much food for thought.   A few selections:



13. Moreover, the highest duty is to respect authority, and obediently to submit to just law; and by this the members of a community are effectually protected from the wrong-doing of evil men. Lawful power is from God, “and whosoever resisteth authority resisteth the ordinance of God’ ;(6) wherefore, obedience is greatly ennobled when subjected to an authority which is the most just and supreme of all. But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God. Thus, an effectual barrier being opposed to tyranny, the authority in the State will not have all its own way, but the interests and rights of all will be safeguarded – the rights of individuals, of domestic society, and of all the members of the commonwealth; all being free to live according to law and right reason; and in this, as We have shown, true liberty really consists.

29. From all this may be understood the nature and character of that liberty which the followers of liberalism so eagerly advocate and proclaim. On the one hand, they demand for themselves and for the State a license which opens the way to every perversity of opinion; and on the other, they hamper the Church in divers ways, restricting her liberty within narrowest limits, although from her teaching not only is there nothing to be feared, but in every respect very much to be gained.

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13 Responses to The Urgently Relevant Pope Leo XIII

  • Hey, Donald, please change “Leo XII” in the title to “Leo XIII”. Thanks. Am sharing on facebook and at my blog.

  • Leo’s observations were accurate and in light of subsequent events seem prophetic. In the mid-nineteenth century a liberal believed in free trade and laissez-faire economics. At the time of the Irish potato famine Peel’s Conservative ministry was prepared to countenance direct government interference to alleviate what was becoming apparent as a vast human tragedy; the incoming Liberal ministry (1846) was unwilling to go against the free market and insisted that relief be dependent on public works. As a result too little was done, and too late.

    At least classic liberals believed in free speech and (at least in theory) feedom of conscience. Their present-day counterparts seem to have little time for either. In fact the definition of a liberal is someone who will fight to the death for your right to agree with him.

  • Is it wrong for some to accept what is extorted from others? The issue of fairness is being brought into Obamacare. Possession of stolen property is against the law.

  • I always thought Pope Leo’s vision was of the coming wars of the 20th century but maybe he also saw the spread of contraception and abortion and the way the faith has been watered down. I think Bishop Jenky’s addition of the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel during the intentions is very appropriate.

  • “Hey, Donald, please change “Leo XII” in the title to “Leo XIII”. Thanks. Am sharing on facebook and at my blog.”

    Oops! Done! That is what happens when I am racing to complete a blog post just before heading off to Mass with the family!

  • John, I believe the Pope’s comments were more directed at Continental liberalism, and that of South America, than they were at liberalism in the Anglosphere. In the United States and the British Empire liberalism evoked little of the hostility to religion that was often a hallmark of liberalism in other areas. Popes grew fond of the “hands off” policy towards religion in the United States. One 19th century pope, his name eludes me, was no fan of liberalism in general, but noted that no where else was he more Pope than in the United States where the Catholic Church was not interfered with. Would to God that this was still true! Modern liberalism in the US fully embraces the anti-clericalism of Continental and South American liberalism of the time when Pope Leo wrote Libertas. In addition it goes much farther in exalting the power of the State over the individual than most of those liberals would have.

  • John Nolan’s right. The autocratic czar of the Russias closed to export of foodstuffs the ports of Poland to alleviate famine in Poland. See Paddy’s Lament.

    For the Brits it was more than laissez faire economics. Some saw starvation as a solution to the Irish problem.

    Pharaoh’s next diktat will be that Catholic priests must celebrate Nuptial Masses for gay couples.

    Mark Steyn makes a point.

    “The president of the United States has decided to go Henry VIII on the Church’s medieval ass. Whatever religious institutions might profess to believe in the matter of ‘women’s health,’ their pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities and immunities are now subordinate to a one-and-only supreme head on earth determined to repress, redress, restrain and amend their heresies. . . . But where’d all the pandering get them?”

    O, Say,
    Does that star spangled banner still wave,
    O’er the land of the spree
    And, the home of the slave?

  • “One 19th century pope, his name eludes me, was no fan of liberalism in general, but noted that no where else was he more Pope than in the United States where the Catholic Church was not interfered wit.”

    Don, I think that was Pope Gregory XVI.

  • It should also be remembered that what is called liberalism in the US is called in Europe socialism. Referring to T Shaw’s comment, no-one has properly explained the extraordinary population growth in Ireland in the century preceding the Famine, so that in 1845 its population was 8m, compared with 16m in the rest of the UK. (It’s now 4m compared with over 60m in the rest of the British Isles). To see famine as a solution to demographic/political problems might have a utilitarian logic to it, but the prevailing Christian ethic in Victorian times would never have allowed it to become policy. It took a 20th century Stalin to do this.

  • It is noteworthy that Pope Gregroy XVI is often cited (his encyclical Mirari Vos in particular) by the more anti-American element within the “traditionalist” movement as “proof” that American principles are inherently anti-Catholic, although nothing coould be further from the truth.

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  • George Weigel gave the annual Simon Lecture for the Ethics and Public Policy Center in D.C. just last week. The topic was the relevance of Leo XIII for our time. I imagine the lecture will be published soon in an upcoming issue of First Things.


The Nation is Worth Fighting For

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

Lincoln, six feet one in his stocking feet,

The lank man, knotty and tough as a hickory rail,

Whose hands were always too big for white-kid gloves,

Whose wit was a coonskin sack of dry, tall tales,

Whose weathered face was homely as a plowed field–

Abraham Lincoln, who padded up and down

The sacred White House in nightshirt and carpet-slippers,

And yet could strike young hero-worshipping Hay

As dignified past any neat, balanced, fine

Plutarchan sentences carved in a Latin bronze;

The low clown out of the prairies, the ape-buffoon,

The small-town lawyer, the crude small-time politician,

State-character but comparative failure at forty

In spite of ambition enough for twenty Caesars,

Honesty rare as a man without self-pity,

Kindness as large and plain as a prairie wind,

And a self-confidence like an iron bar:

This Lincoln, President now by the grace of luck,

Disunion, politics, Douglas and a few speeches

Which make the monumental booming of Webster

Sound empty as the belly of a burst drum.

Stephen Vincent Benet

Today is the 203rd birthday of the Sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.  The above video is an interesting and imaginative interview of Lincoln, if the film technology of the Thirties of the last century had been available in 1860.

Lately I have been reading a book on Lincoln with my autistic son.  I point at the words and he reads them aloud, an early morning ritual we have carried out for the last 14 years.  Young Lincoln’s struggles against the poverty of his early years, and his lack of more than one year in total of formal education, strikes a chord with me in regard to my son’s struggles against his autism.  One of the many reasons why I find Mr. Lincoln’s life endlessly fascinating is the theme throughout it of the most extraordinary possibilities in all of us, no matter the cards that Fate dealt to us initially.

Lincoln in a speech to the men of the 166th Ohio  as they were returning home, their enlistments completed, on August 22, 1864 touched upon this:

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4 Responses to The Nation is Worth Fighting For

  • For Don and all Lincoln/Civil War buffs who visit this blog… save the dates May 1-3, 2015, now, as plans are underway for a massive historical reenactment of Lincoln’s funeral in Springfield, Illinois:


  • I am marking it on my calendar Elaine!

  • ” … endlessly fascinating is the theme throughout it of the most extraordinary possibilities in all of us, no matter the cards that Fate dealt to us initially. … ” – Donald McClarey

    ” … that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright–not only for one, but for two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel. ” – Abraham Lincoln

    The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179 S. 1467) is the next battle for our Nation and the Catholic Church (among others as well). The USCCB urges contacting US Reps. It is the least we can do for our ‘inestimable jewel’.

  • I don’t know if this fits – but for God and Country…
    There’s a Becket Fund petition linked on the EWTN site.