I know that there are those among you who do not like harsh rhetoric. Heck, one of my most recent posts was about the militaristic rhetoric of the president. Yet, sometimes we need to take a look around at what’s happening and realize that something like a culture war is truly raging.
There was no clearer demonstration of this fact than the HHS mandate regarding health insurance coverage of abortificants, contraception, sterilization, and other grave evils. The impact of this ruling has been stunning. Not only has the decision outraged conservative Catholics, but even erstwhile left-wing Catholic defenders of the president have taken this decision to be the last straw. Bishops, often reticent to enter the political fray, have issued clear condemnations of this decision, even suggesting that Catholics engage in civil disobedience. The mild-mannered visiting priest at our parish offered a blistering homily, discussing how this mandate violates the very principles that this country was founded upon. Like the ents awakening from their slumber, Saruman and his orcs – meaning President Obama and his allies – have awakened a sleeping giant.
But our anger is not enough, nor are our prayers. Patrick Archbold puts it all in perspective today.
As I said, this is just the latest battle, but it’s one we must win. We can’t win the war here, but we can lose it. And to win a war you don’t just need chaplains, you need generals.
In the wake of the Obama Administration’s decision to force contraceptives on Catholic institutions many Bishops have been calling for prayer and fasting, and that is right and just. But when faced with an existential threat, you don’t just pray the Nazis away, you have to fight on all fronts.
It is fine to pray that the Nazis will stop being Nazis, but it is also right and just to pray for good aim.
Our Bishops need to realize what is at stake here and act accordingly. Many Bishops have already written letters and made videos condemning the unconstitutional actions of the administration. That is good, but more is required. Open and vocal defiance is required. The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin issued a letter this Sunday in which he proclaimed “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.” That is a good start. Every Bishop needs to do the same. It must be made clear that we WILL NOT COMPLY.
Yet even more will be required. Some have called for very visible civil disobedience by the Bishops to the point of getting arrested. I think this may be a good idea. Yet even more. Kathleen Sebelius is at the spear point of this war on our Church promoting and now forcing abortion and contraception at every turn. If the scandal caused by this “Catholic” woman does not merit excommunication, the remedy is meaningless. Any Catholic who is complicit in this war must be held to account, publicly. This is a war.
We will not comply. We should never have to choose between being a Catholic and being an American. This is an existential threat for the Church in this country as well as for the life of the country as a whole. If we are to win the war, we must win this battle and we need generals willing to fight to the last.