Things are beginning to heat up between the USCCB and President Obama…


The Hill is reporting some potentially disastrous news for President Obama concerning his bid for re-election: His support among Catholic voters is slipping and, perhaps, is bleeding badly.


For example, a Pew Research Center in March 2012 found a “noticeable shift in opinions” among White Catholics with 31% now describing the administration as “unfriendly” to religion.  In August 2009, only 17% described the administration that way.

Then, too, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is organizing for two weeks of public protest in June and July against what the USCCB  believes is growing government encroachment on religious liberty.  A confrontation with Catholic activists could cause major headaches for David Axelrod and his crew in Chicago.

Of course, that would require the USCCB to prove itself capable of whipping up fervor among U.S. Catholics.  It’s a possibility, The Motley Monk would note, but there are many obstacles, not the least of which the majority of U.S. Catholics who are reported to support the President’s healthcare policies, especially as they concern “women’s freedom of choice.”


To wit, James Salt, the Executive Director of Catholics United—a politically left Catholic social justice group—told The Hill that the USCCB’s public relations campaign is misguided:

It reflects a great misplaced priority of the bishops.  In no way is it apparent to me how Catholics in America are oppressed.  Their positioning in society is greater than their numbers.  There are six Catholic members of the Supreme Court.

This is part of a very orchestrated campaign by the bishops to make contraception the focus of the 2012 election.

Salt believes the USCCB’s broader goal is to get Mitt Romney elected so he can nominate a fifth conservative justice for the Supreme Court.  That would make it possible for the Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

If the USCCB is successful in its efforts—irrespective of whether they are motivated by concerns about religious liberty or to elect Mitt Romney—organized civil disobedience could feature Catholics in cities across the nation being hauled off to jail.


According to The Hill, Republican strategists are enthusiastic about the possibility.  One Republican strategist is quoted as saying:

These would be devastating images for the Obama administration.  You have a very important religious demographic coming out in protest of Obama’s policies and being arrested for their expression. These images would be politically damaging for the president’s campaign.

That’s a hope, one supported by the President of Catholic Advocate, Deal Hudson, who told The Hill:

This is the most dynamic situation I’ve ever seen since I’ve been involved in Catholics and politics.  I think civil disobedience is almost inevitable. I think that kind of protest is on the way.

Of course, all of this is all about the so-called “war on religious liberty” initiated by the Obama administration, which The Motley Monk thinks is best understood in terms of the Obamacare mandates announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  Those mandates—and the ham-handed “compromise” announced subsequently by the President—could end up having been a terrible political miscalculation.


But, don’t expect President Obama to attempt to mollify the USCCB before November.  The Motley Monk believes the President and David Axelrod are confident that the 90% of Catholic women who use artificial forms of birth control are firmly in his camp.  (The reality is that it’s 60%.)  Furthermore, they are confident that Catholics who are aligned with political left are likely to view any protesters who get arrested for demonstrating for religious liberty as “right-wing, conservative nut jobs.”  Catholics aligned with the political left are not going to march in lock-step with the USCCB.

Time will tell.

But, just like the spring weather, the political season is heating up.  Religious liberty may end up being an important factor in deciding who will be the next President of the United States.

The all-important question is: Will the “Church militant” align itself with conservative Christians across the nation to teach a lesson to the President and David Axelrod come November?



To read the report in The Hill, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk daily blog, click on the following link:

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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.


  1. This is music to my ears, quite frankly (well, really, my eyes…), but I can’t believe Obama ever had a 51% approval rating among Catholics…which Catholics?! How can you be Catholic and in favor of a pro-abortion president? Craziness…

  2. With a rational, immortal soul, man’s conscience must be acknowledged and respected. “Right to choose” and “right to privacy” must adhere in man’s immortal rational soul, not merely in codifying words, unless the words mean something, and the words mean that the human being has an immortal, rational soul that government must acknowledge and respect. If contraception violates the inner man, nothing the government can say will change it. Let them exert themselves to death, contraception violates the innerman.

  3. “How can you be Catholic and in favor of a pro-abortion president? Craziness…”

    It’s quite simple, Sr. Colleen. You just have to have a conception of Catholicism in which your private opinions are more important than Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

    Of course we know that such a conception is false. But we live in a society in which people demand, as an absolute, unquestionable, divine right that they can call themselves whatever they want and have it socially and legally recognized.

    Homosexual fornicators wish their relationships to be called “marriages.”

    Feminist radicals would like sluts and whores to be thought of as independent freedom-fighters.

    Reckless warmongers who want to commit the U.S. to trillions of dollars worth of military engagements consider themselves to be in the camp of fiscal conservatism.

    And people who show up to Mass once a year, root for Notre Dame in college football games, and brazenly use artificial contraception and even approve of abortion in some cases would like to be considered Catholic.

    We’ve done a heck of a job as a modern society reducing the amount of physical violence we use to settle conflicts. Most of the energy that was once spent on that sort of war is now channeled into the war of words, the construction and/or deconstruction of language to try and shape reality and control minds. It has seeped down into the public among the average citizen now. In the past a spade was a spade, and both spades struggled for supremacy. Now various groups conquer through assimilation, by taking over words and names and labels. We wage war primarily with lies instead of swords and guns.

  4. The O has miscalculated the Bishops resistance on this, but I am not so sure about the average American Catholic voter. Probably has cost him some Catholic votes, but I am not sure it cost him enough. I hope I am wrong, but as you say, time will tell.

  5. “The laws of nature and nature’s God” comes from The Declaration of Independence. If atheists want to subvert our founding principles they need to get two-thirds of the United States of America to ratify the change, not just standing there catterwailing “civil rights”. Civil rights are endowed by Our Creator-God. God creates and endows our sovereign personhood which becomes our citizenship. People come into existence through the will of God. Not one single person comes into existence without God. Without God, man is destined to go to hell. If Christians do not see an “alter Christi” in the other person because the other person has destroyed the image of God in himself, he is not to be trusted, not even to renting a room or a hall, but also to giving him credence. It is self-preservation, survival. There is self-defense in not trusting another individual because he does not trust in God. Reposted from Creative Minority Report

  6. The increase in the perception of unfriendliness to religion is significant, but the change in approval rating is strictly within the margin of error of that kind of thing.

  7. “But, don’t expect President Obama to attempt to mollify the USCCB before November. The Motley Monk believes the President and David Axelrod are confident that the 90% of Catholic women who use artificial forms of birth control are firmly in his camp. (The reality is that it’s 60%.) Furthermore, they are confident that Catholics who are aligned with political left are likely to view any protesters who get arrested for demonstrating for religious liberty as “right-wing, conservative nut jobs.”

    Bingo. I have never seen a more arrogant bunch than Obama and his cronies. They have complete contempt for their adversaries and think they have this election in the bag. I pray they continue to think this.

  8. “How can you be Catholic and in favor of a pro-abortion president?”

    Actually, it’s not that difficult. You simply tell the pollsters that you are Catholic, despite the fact that you haven’t darkened the door of a Catholic church since last Christmas, or your cousin’s wedding 10 years ago, or since the Reagan Administration, and your religious education consisted of a few years of hit or miss CCD/PSR classes, which didn’t include any mention of concepts such as mortal sin or formal/material cooperation. If you belong to a family of dyed in the wool “yellow dog” Democrats or union laborers, and everyone you know is pro-choice — there you have it.

  9. Donald McClarey: “Bingo. I have never seen a more arrogant bunch than Obama and his cronies. They have complete contempt for their adversaries and think they have this election in the bag. I pray they continue to think this.” They have complete contempt for their adversaries and their constituents.

  10. Interesting to compare the results of this poll with the recent electoral projections of none other than Karl Rove, who foresees Obama winning with at LEAST 284 electoral votes (if the election were held today):


    The Rove map shows OH, PA, MI and WI all going to Obama, with VA, SC, NC, MO and IA and (of course) FL as toss-ups/too close to call. Now, isn’t the Catholic vote supposed to be decisive, or at least very, very important, in at least 3 of the states Rove believes Obama already has in the bag?

  11. I have long thought Elaine that Rove is the most over-rated man in politics, almost blowing two Presidential elections (2000 and 2004). His projections are based on current polling and he notes on his web site that he believes that the states will change in Romey’s favor:

    “In the first Karl Rove & Co. 2012 Electoral College map, there are 18 states (220 Electoral College votes) where Obama has a solid lead and 15 states (93 EC votes) polling solidly for Romney, according to the latest polling average in each state. There are six states with a combined 82 EC votes classified as “toss-ups;” five states with a combined 64 EC votes that “lean” Obama; and six states with a combined 79 EC votes that “lean” Romney. In other words, there are 17 states and a total of 225 Electoral College votes up for grabs. These projections will change as more polls are conducted in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the “toss-up” and “lean” states where Romney now has an advantage: just about all of the “lean-Romney” states are generally Republican-safe states, while all of the “lean-Obama” states will most likely move to the “toss-up” or “lean-Romney” column as the campaigns progress.”

    The poll to keep your eye on this far out is Rasmussen, who has a likely voter screen and who makes sure his poll respondents match current party strength. Here is his daily tracking poll today which shows Romney with a three point advantage:


    Most polls, those which poll adults or registered voters and do not weight for party affiliation, are simply much more inaccurate than Rasmussen, who nailed the 2008 Presidential election result.

  12. Boy, if this isn’t the Emperor’s New Clothes, I do not know what is.
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations: Progressive, atheist, and existential.
    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
    Article 1.
    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
    Comment: The United Nations sovereign persons came into being at birth, “born free and equal in dignity and rights, endowed with reason and conscience.” from WHOM? from the United Nations? The Declaration goes on to say that never was there ever such a declaration of human rights, that people should not be killed, lied to, stolen from, people ought to be given rest and recreation and have their needs for food, shelter, clothing and education met.
    The Ten Commandments tell us to remember the Sabbath to rest, not kill, nor commit adultery, nor steal or nor bear false witness. The corporal works of mercy tell us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless. You are men sacred to me.
    “Whereas, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Freedom, Justice, and peace come from God, not as the United Nation says from “the inherent dignity and of the equal inalienable rights of all members of the human family”, for that is existentialism, another name for atheism.
    The Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    Thomas Jefferson’s sovereign persons were created equal and came into being when two became one, and were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights to LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Thomas Jefferson’s sovereign persons’ reason and conscience are attributes of the human being’s rational, immortal soul, the breathe of God’s life in his human body.
    By not affirming the sovereign persons rational, immortal soul, the Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nations arrogates to itself the creative power of God, and assumes the power to assign inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    Several months ago, President Barack Obama, no less than three times recited our Declaration of Independence, or what we assumed was our Declaration of Independence, incorrectly on video. Obama did not mention “their Creator” and used the word “inalienable” rather than the word “unalienable”, indicating that Obama was reciting from the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nations, not from our founding principles. The United Nations Declaration denies our God-given sovereign personhood as it denies our God-given rational, immortal soul, since the United Nations is an atheistic establishment, that repudiates the existence of God. Therefore, all rights come to people and nations from the United Nations.
    For Obama to try to impose the atheistic agenda of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations against our nation is treason. Unbelievably, the Universal Declaration includes the mention of man’s conscience. Unfortunately, man’s conscience is mentioned as a reality only after the man has been born.
    Thomas Jefferson also said that any government that gives you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.
    The Ten Commandments of God:
    1. I AM the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
    2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
    3. Remember thou keep holy the Lord’s day.
    4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
    5. Thou shalt not kill.
    6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    7. Thou shalt not steal.
    8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    9. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife.
    10. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s goods.

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