Archives for April 2012

Obama’s war on religion (update #6)

More and more people are beginning to understand the staggering implications of the war on religious liberty. It has united all of the Catholic bishops, together with leaders of other religions and other people of good will who simply want to preserve and protect the constitution.

This is not a war we started or want, but it will not end until the unprecedented attack on our basic freedom is neutered, one way or another. President Obama’s mandate is carefully crafted to protect everyone except Christian ministries. He could literally end this tomorrow if he so wished.

My last summary was 4 weeks ago. This is the latest update. To see the whole series, click here.

Face the Nation

On April 9th, Cardinal Dolan appeared on Face the Nation:

Missouri Rally

Archbishop Robert Carlson (Archdiocese of St. Louis) spoke at the Rally for Religious Liberty in Missouri on March 27th. Check-out this brief clip:

Chelsea Zimmerman has some good coverage of the event. A longer version of the video is available here.

“Balancing” rights

On April 26th, Kathleen Sebelius testified before a congressional hearing on the “balance” she used against religious liberty. This video starts out a little slow, but things pick-up after 2 minutes:

Religious Liberty

The Newark, NJ Newman Center produced this video on Religious Liberty:

Further Reading

Here is a good sampling of the new articles written on this topic in the last few weeks:

  1. A True Champion of Religious Freedom
  2. Alabama stands for religious liberty
  3. Authority and Its Discontents
  4. Becket Fund Fires Back at Administration’s Attempt to Dismiss HHS Mandate Lawsuit
  5. Bishops Issue Call To Action To Defend Religious Liberty
  6. Bishops urge rejection of laws that attack religious freedom
  7. Bp. Jenky (D. Peoria) unloads about “Judas” Catholics and Pres. Obama
  8. Cardinal Burke explains: Catholic employers cannot provide contraceptive coverage because they would be materially and formally cooperating with sin
  9. Catholic Cardinal: A Sin to Cooperate With Obama Mandate
  10. Catholic Clergy Continue to Speak Out Against HHS Mandate
  11. Catholics urged to resist unjust laws, join in ‘fortnight for freedom’
  12. Congress to Sebelius: “This mandate is going to end up in the Supreme Court”
  13. Democrat candidates in Connecticut favor forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions
  14. Don’t Be Tricked by the Lowest Teen Birthrate Ever
  15. Flash! Bishops Love Bloggers!
  16. Fortnight For Freedom-Input Wanted!
  17. Good piece by Catholic League on links between Obamacare, HHS mandate, and ACLU
  18. HHS Mandate Remains Unchanged
  19. HHS hire of Planned Parenthood spokesman reflects close relationship
  20. Hey Bishops: Offer to fund NFP for Mandate!
  21. In 2008, Who Could’ve Predicted This?
  22. Is the Health Care Law Constitutional? No, Strike It Down
  23. Justice Served to Obama
  24. Miami archbishop laments pressures against religious liberty
  25. Obama Misunderstands
  26. Obama’s Monumental Misunderstanding
  27. Old Contraception Talk Given Youthful Jolt
  28. On Hope and Hate: Week One of Obama v. Romney
  29. Our First, Most Cherished Liberty
  30. Peoria bishop’s Hitler, Stalin references in homily stir controversy
  31. Pope asks US donors to pray for religious freedom
  32. Pres. Obama undermining free-speech
  33. Proposed Law Would Force Churches to Host Gay Weddings
  34. Religious liberty: Why a battle 1,700 years ago is relevant today
  35. Salvatori Prize Goes to Advocate of Religious Liberty
  36. Sick Chickens and Sick Laws
  37. US Bishops: Bloggers play ‘critical role’ in defending the Church
  38. US Bishops Call for Summer “Fortnight for Freedom”
  39. USCCB appeals ruling that Constitution forbids religious accommodation
  40. Why Religious Freedom?
  41. Why We Have Gone to Court against the Obama Mandate
  42. Xavier Drops Contraceptive Coverage!
  43. Yes, Congresswoman Pelosi, We’re Serious
  44. Young Catholic women try to modernize the message on birth control

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #61)

This week: A powerful video: If I wanted America to fail. Father Z takes us on a trip down memory lane with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Mississippi governor nails it. What a post-ObamaCare world will look like. Wheelchairs are so 20th century. Federal debt is an enormous social justice issue. A quote of the week.

— 1 —

Hope and change. Not my hope and not my desire to “fundamentally change America”:

Spotted by Patrick Archbold at CMR

— 2 —

Catholic women religious are, and always have been, outstanding examples of service to the Church. HOWEVER, some among them – particularly their leadership – are seriously heterodox. They have repeatedly taken positions in opposition to the teaching of the Gospel and have rejected the authority of Christ’s Church. The scandal this caused has done real damage.

This is finally being addressed in a respectful and sensitive manner. Father Zuhlsdorf assembled a compilation of incidents to remind us why this action is necessary: Nuns Gone Wild: A Trip Down Memory Lane.

— 3 —

Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently signed into law a bill requiring physicians performing surgical abortions to be board certified and have admitting privileges at a hospital. Yes, this is a pro-life law (Planned Parenthood is “sick about” it). It also protects the women receiving surgical abortions.

On a radio talk show, he opines that the left – enamored with women’s health – should rush to support this bill. Gov. Bryant bluntly explains why they don’t:

Supporting his view of their hypocrisy, we see in California the pro-abortion lobby pushed for (update: and achieved) *less* protection in not requiring a doctor AT ALL. The left will have to update their mantra that the “choice” is between a woman and her doctor to “abortion practitioner”. Planned Parenthood thinks this is a dandy idea.

— 4 —

With ObamaCare gone, either by judicial or legislative remedies, what happens to healthcare? Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar suggests in a recent piece – The next health care overhaul? Look to employers – the probable positive outcomes. Worth a read.

— 5 —

Wheelchairs are so 20th century.

— 6 —

The crushing impact of federal debt on the economy, the resulting impact on families and the burden placed on our children is an extremely serious social justice issue. This graphic sums up our free-fall from prosperity:

In the coming months, you will be *ceaselessly* bombarded by class-warfare advertisements, backed by biased, liberal media to question if Mitt Romney has too much money. It is a ridiculous distraction.

— 7 —

Quote of the week:

Deconstructing one of President Obama’s speeches can be a bit like taking a trip to an alternate universe.

Michael Tanner in the National Review Online


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Not in scripture: on abortion

Catholics believe human life begins at conception. At that time, a new human being is created with his or her unique DNA. Regardless of circumstances, even very tragic circumstances, choosing to terminate that life is murder in God’s eyes. This is the well-documented belief of the Church from the time of Jesus onward.

The Holy Bible itself recognizes human life commencing not at birth, but in the womb in both the Old and New Testaments. As usual, it takes significant and creative effort to explain this away. Let’s try anyway! Not in scripture are words shown in strike through. Words shown in bold actually are in scripture.

When was I “formed”?

Thus says the LORD who made you, your help, who formed you from birth the womb: Do not fear, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

The word of the LORD came to me: Before I formed you as a child in the womb I knew you, before you could speak were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

When did I become a child of God?

You formed my inmost being; you knit my fetal material me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, When my biological components I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw pre-human cells me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.

What was that in the wombs of Mary and Elizabeth?

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the product of conception infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the cellular fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the future mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the non-human life infant in my womb leaped for joy.”


Also in Biblical Times…

What were the first medical ethics?

I will provide neither give any deadly drug, having been asked for it, and nor will I guide the same advice. Similarly, I will readily not give an abortifacient pessary to a woman. In purity and in holiness I will maintain my life and my art.

Hippocrates circa 400 BC
The original Hippocratic Oath

What does the first Christian catechism say?

You shall not kill that which is born, but until then your right to choose is sacred.

You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born.

Didache, Chapter 2 (as early as 65 AD)

What was Christian thinking in the time of the Apostles?

A woman’s body is her own, but thou shalt not terminate a child after it is born.

Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born.

Letter of Barnabas 19, 74 AD

Church Fathers

Now we allow that life does not begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins at birth from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does.

Tertullian, 210 AD (Apology 27)

Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but otherwise innocent of killing also of suicide and child murder.”

St. Jerome, 396 AD (Letters 22:13)

The above quotes only touch on this topic. There is much more. One excellent resource of scriptural references is Priests For Life. Some good articles on the teaching of the early Church on abortion are here, here and here.


The specific word of God notwithstanding, sometimes folks read Holy Scripture as if certain words and phrases have been removed – or as if others have been added. I am here to help!

I call this series not in scripture. These are Bible quotes with a twist: words and phrases not actually present are shown with strike-through. Scripture simply does not say that! Conversely, words that are actually in scripture (but sometimes overlooked) are shown in bold.

Baltimore Catechism: on the gifts and fruits of the Holy Ghost

Lesson 16

*176Q. What are the effects of Confirmation?
A. The effects of Confirmation are an increase of sanctifying grace, the strengthening of our faith, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

“Increase,” because we must be in a state of grace, that is, having already sanctifying grace in our souls when we receive Confirmation. “Strengthening,” so that we have no doubt about the doctrines we believe.

*177Q. What are the gifts of the Holy Ghost?
A. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
*178Q. Why do we receive the gift of fear of the Lord?
A. We receive the gift of fear of the Lord to fill us with a dread of sin.

On account of the goodness of God and the punishment He can inflict.

*179Q. Why do we receive the gift of piety?
A. We receive the gift of piety to make us love God as a Father, and obey Him because we love Him.
*180Q. Why do we receive the gift of knowledge?
A. We receive the gift of knowledge to enable us to discover the will of God in all things.
*181Q. Why do we receive the gift of fortitude?
A. We receive the gift of fortitude to strengthen us to do the will of God in all things.

Some know the will of God – what they should do – but they have not the courage to follow the dictates of their conscience. For example, a person goes with bad company: the gift of knowledge will teach him that he should give it up; but the gift of fortitude will enable him to do what his conscience shows him to be right.

*182Q. Why do we receive the gift of counsel?
A. We receive the gift of counsel to warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation.

The devil is much wiser than we are, and has much more experience, being among the people of the world ever since the time of Adam – about 6,000 years. He could therefore easily deceive and overcome us if God Himself by the gift of counsel did not enable us to discover his tricks and expose his plots. When at times we are tempted, our conscience warns us, and if we follow the warning we shall escape the sin. Counsel tells us when persons or places are dangerous for our salvation.

*183Q. Why do we receive the gift of understanding?
A. We receive the gift of understanding to enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith.

“Mysteries,” truths we could never know by reason, but only by the teaching of God; and the gift of understanding enables us to know better what His teaching means. The Apostles heard and knew what Our Lord taught, but they did not fully understand the whole meaning till the Holy Ghost had come.

*184Q. Why do we receive the gift of wisdom?
A. We receive the gift of wisdom to give us a relish for the things of God and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and glory.

“Relish,” a liking for, a desire for.

*185Q. Which are the beatitudes?
A. The beatitudes are:

(1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (2) Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. (3) Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. (4) Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be filled. (5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (6) Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. (7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (8) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

The beatitudes are part of a sermon Our Lord once preached to the people on the Mount. (Matt. 5). When Our Lord wished to preach, the Jews would not always allow Him to enter their synagogues or meeting houses; so He preached to the people in the open air. Sometimes He stood in a boat by the seashore; sometimes on a little hill, with the people standing or sitting near Him. Did you ever think how you would have acted if you lived at that time and were present when Our Lord preached? How anxious you would have been to get near to Him? How you would have pushed your way through the crowd and listened to every word? Why, then, do you sometimes pay so little attention in church or at instructions when the words of Our Lord are repeated to you? Our Lord instituted a Church which, as we know, is sometimes called the kingdom of Heaven. In this sermon He laid down the condition for being good subjects of His kingdom; that is, He gives the virtues we should practice to be good children of the Church. He tells us what rewards we shall have for practicing these virtues and leading a holy life: namely, God’s grace and blessing in this world and everlasting glory in Heaven.

(1) “Poor in spirit.” One is poor in spirit if he does not set his heart upon riches and the goods of this world in such a way that he would be willing to offend God in order to possess them, or rather than part with them. Thus one who has no money but who would do anything to get it, would be poor, but not poor in spirit, and therefore not among those Our Lord calls blessed. If we are really poor and wish to be poor in spirit also, we must be contented with our lot – with what God gives us – and never complain against Him. No matter how poor, miserable, or afflicted we may be, we could still be worse, since we can find others in a worse condition than we are. We do not endure every species of misery, but only this or that particular kind; and if the rest were added, how much worse our condition would be! The very greatest misery is to be in a state of sin. If we are poor and in sin, our condition is indeed pitiable, for we have no consolation; but if we are virtuous in poverty, bearing our trials in patience and resignation for the love of God, we have the rich treasures of His grace and every assurance of future happiness. On the other hand, if one is very rich and gives freely and plentifully to the poor and works of charity, and is willing to part with riches rather than offend God, such a one is poor in spirit and can be called blessed. It is a great mistake to risk our souls for things we must leave to others at our death. Sometimes those who leave the greatest inheritance are soonest forgotten and despised, because the money or property bequeathed gives rise to numerous lawsuits, quarrels and jealousies among the relatives, and thus becomes a very curse to that family, whose members hate one another on its account. Or it may happen that the heirs thoughtlessly enjoy and foolishly squander the wealth the man, now dead, has labored so hard to accumulate, while he, perhaps, is suffering in Hell for sins committed in securing it. Again, how many children have been ruined through the wealth left them by their parents! Instead of using it for good purposes they have made it a means of sin; often lose their faith and souls on account of it; and in their ingratitude never offer a prayer or give an alms for the soul of the parent, who in his anxiety to leave all to them left nothing in charity to the Church or the poor. Surely it is the greatest folly to set our hearts upon that which can be of no value to us after death. When a person dies men ask: What wealth has he left behind? But God and the angels ask, What merits has he sent before him?

(2) “Possess the land” – that is, the promised or holy land, which was a figure of the Church. Therefore it means the meek shall be true members of Our Lord’s Church here on earth and hereafter in Heaven, and be beloved by all.

(3) “That mourn.” Suffering is good for us if we bear it patiently. It makes us more like Our Blessed Lord, who was called the Man of Sorrows.

(4) “Justice” – that is, all kinds of virtue. “Filled” – that is, with goodness and grace. In other words, if we ask and really wish to become virtuous, we shall become so. St. Joseph is called in Holy Scripture “a just man,” to show that he practiced every virtue.

(5) If we are “merciful” to others, God will be merciful to us.

(6) “Clean of heart” – that is, pure in thoughts, words, deeds, and looks.

(7) “Peacemakers.” If persons who try to make peace and settle disputes are called the children of God, those who, on the contrary, try to stir up dissensions should be called the children of the devil. Never tell the evil you may hear of another, especially to the one of whom it was spoken; and never carry stories from one to another: it is contemptible, and sinful as well. If you have nothing good to say of the character of another, be silent, unless your duty compels you to speak. Never be a child of the devil by exciting jealousy, hatred, or revenge in anyone; but on the contrary, make peace wherever you can, and be one of the children of God.

(8) “Suffer persecution.” Therefore, when you are badly treated on account of your piety or religion, remember you are like the martyrs of your holy faith, suffering for virtue and truth, and that you will receive your reward.

*186Q. Which are the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost?
A. The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity.

“Fruits,” the things that grow from the gifts of the Holy Ghost. “Charity,” love of God and our neighbor, “Peace” with God and man and ourselves. With God, because we are His friends. With man, because we deal justly with all and are kind to all. With ourselves, because we have a good conscience, that does not accuse us of sin. “Benignity,” disposition to do good and show kindness. “Long-suffering” – same as patience. “Modesty, continency, and chastity” refer to purity in thoughts, words, looks, and actions.


This is timely in this season of Easter, beginning with the effects of Confirmation. The description of “fear of the Lord” while not incorrect, would be described today more as respect of the Lord related to the virtue of hope. Fr. Hardon describes it as filial, not servile. Finally, we do not date the time of Adam as 6,000 years ago (this was written in 1891).

Click here to see the Baltimore Catechism portions published to date.
For general info on this series, see my initial post.

Elsewhere: administration operative says moms do no work

Ann Romney is the mother of 5 boys, 16 grandchildren, wife of 43 years, and a cancer survivor currently battling multiple sclerosis. Mitt met Ann when he was a Cub Scout and in the ever-optimistic parlance of the liberal media, this is the “first marriage” for each of them.

This is widely known, including by Hilary Rosen. She is an Obama operative, Democrat strategist, gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender activist, feminist and very frequent guest of the White House. In an unguarded moment, she spoke frankly on CNN about Ann Romney in her role as a homemaker (translation: lacking life experience) and mother of a large family (translation: failure to use contraception or avail oneself of “abortion services”; disregard for the environment). On this occasion, Ms. Rosen spoke specifically of Mitt’s respect for his wife’s counsel saying “guess what, his wife has never actually worked a day in her life.” Note that Ms. Rosen is described as a “communications specialist” and managing director for a strategic communications firm – this was an intentional statement.

This is how liberal feminists honestly view mothers and their traditional (translation: pathetic / unimaginative) lifestyle. It is understood. It is not supposed to be admitted in public, particularly on the record:

Naturally this distracts from the narrative, ironically disclaimed in this interview, that it is the other party who disrespects women and is waging war on them. (BTW, that other political party reportedly wants to outlaw contraception and deny women health services at the bidding of the Catholic Church, undoubtedly in their effort to return women to the dark ages.)

In damage control mode, the White House has forgotten how many times Ms. Rosen has been their guest (35) and made her apologize. She did, sort of, explaining that she “didn’t mean it personally” and that “this is going to be an ugly campaign season.” For his part, Obama’s campaign quickly found some nice things for him to say about mothers.

Media watchdog group NewsBusters noted that not everyone thinks an apology is warranted:

Back up the bus! After bouncing Hilary Rosen beneath the Greyhound, President Obama and friends might have to throw it in reverse again over the person of key Dem coalition member Terry O’Neill. The NOW president suggested to Ed Schultz tonight that Ann Romney, along with Mitt, lacks “life experience” and “imagination” needed to understand most Americans.

For good measure, in the very same segment Dem congresswoman Maxine Waters called the Republican candidate for president Mitt “Rot-ney.” Classy bunch! View the video after the jump.

Watch O’Neill and Waters at work.

TERRY O’NEILL: What would we be saying if Hillary Clinton [sic] had said this: that Ann Romney has never, has not worked for pay outside the home a day in her life? That’s my understanding that’s an accurate statement, and that raises the exact issue that Hilary Rosen was trying to get to, which is do Mr. & Mrs. Romney have the kind of life experience and if not, the imagination, to really understand what most American families are going through right now? I think that that was what Hilary was getting out, and so she left out the words “for pay outside the home.”

. . .

MAXINE WATERS: The Republicans have now raised this issue in this campaign in ways that young women now understand: oh my goodness, we’re at risk! We have taken two steps forward, and this administration, under Mitt Rot-ney, would take us backwards.

The referenced video is in their post: NOW Prez: Ann Romney Lacks ‘Life Experience’ And ‘Imagination’. Typical MSNBC fare.

What I do not understand are the poll numbers showing support for Obama among women. Interviews show that many believe he has their interests at heart and his political opponents do not. Who are these women? The women I know (family, friends, neighbors, parishioners, etc.) are not that gullible and resent the administration’s demeaning attempts at manipulation.

I wonder how many women actually identify with the administration’s lesbian / bisexual / transgender / pro-abortion / anti-family / anti-religion values vs. traditional American ones. How many are comfortable with the repercussions soaring federal debt will have on their children? I just don’t get it.

UPDATE – additional Catholic reaction:

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