Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
November 27
, 2011

Back in the 1870's a newly united Germany, the Second Empire or Reich, was proudly flexing its muscles as a major new power in Europe. (The First Reich had been founded by Charlemagne and was dismantled a thousand years later by Napoleon, while the Third Reich would make its appearance down the road a piece, waiting for Hitler's appointment [1933] as chancellor of the Republic that took the place of Bismarck's Reich in the settlement after World War I. This Second Reich was principally the construct of Otto von Bismarck, Prussia's prime minister and, from 1871, the newly constituted empire's "Iron Chancellor."   A multitude of principalities, free cities, minor domains and major dominions populated by German-speakers beyond the borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had come together under the leadership of Prussia in the wake of a war against Austria and a subsequent war against France, guided by Bismarck's skillful, determined and often intimidating diplomacy. Having established his writ as Germany's law, Bismarck turned next to bringing the Catholic Church to heel. He accordingly unleashed a Kulturkampf, a culture war, against the Catholic Church and its political ally, the Center Party. Among the measures imposed by Bismarck to give teeth to his Kulturkampf was the government's assumption of direct control over all of the new Reich's schools, including the Church's schools and even its seminaries, with expulsion of the Jesuits as a follow-on. The Church and the Center Party fought back-and within little more than a decade won! Bismarck himself grew weary of a struggle that he had come to view as increasingly pointless, even as he found himself more and more preoccupied with a rising threat to his major policies from Germany's socialist party. And he had come to regret the response to persecution shown by so many of Germany's Catholics, who simply took ship for America. Among whom, I might note, for those of you who are fond of poetry, were five Franciscan nuns, forbidden to teach in Germany, who in consequence embarked for America to teach recently arrived German-speaking children in St. Louis, Missouri. The nuns' ship, the Deutschland, foundered off the coast of England, and of those aboard many, the nuns included, drowned. The nuns' faith-sustained calm in the face of death, as attested by survivors, inspired Gerard Manley Hopkins, perhaps England's greatest lyric poet in the late nineteenth century, to write his longest and greatest (though admittedly formidable) poem: "The Wreck of the Deutschland."

But I digress. Today, this side of the Atlantic, in the land of the free, we are faced with a new Kulturkampf. Enter to a blast of trumpets Barak Obama and friends! In the past month or so they have made it clear, indeed, they have been shouting from the rooftops, that they consider themselves to be in a state of war against the Catholic Church. They gleefully boast that they will compel America's Catholics to violate their faith's tenets in the matter of "gay marriage", sterilization, contraception and  abortion. Though the governmental action they have undertaken is illegal under federal law, and stands moreover in flagrant  violation of our Constitution's First Amendment, scruples about legality seem never to have been a problem for this administration.

Do I exaggerate? May I share with you here a report that appeared in the National Catholic Register for November 10, 2011, written by Mark Rienzi, at the Catholic University of America a professor of Constitutional law.
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Sebelius' War Lands Her In Court

Belmont Abbey College enters David-and-Goliath fight against the feds over mandate to cover contraceptives.
Mark L. Rienzi
National Catholic Register, Nov. 10, 2011

Early    last   month, President Obama BRAGGED to a St. Louis crowd about the recent Health and Human Services' regulations that will require thousands of RELIGIOUS employers to pay for contraception, sterilization and drugs that probably cause abortions. The crowd CHEERED the president's contraceptive mandate. He JOINED their revelry, shouting, "DARN TOOTIN!" to the crowd's delight.

The same week, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius addressed a NARAL Pro-Choice America fundraiser. She told the raucous crowd that "WE ARE IN A WAR" and BOASTED of the regulation that FORCES religious objectors to choose between violating their religion and kicking their employees off of health insurance.

Yesterday, November 9, Secretary Sebelius' war against religious objectors landed her where she and the administration can expect to receive less applause: federal court.

The plaintiff is Belmont Abbey College, a small Catholic college in Belmont, N. C. The college was founded in 1876 by a congregation of Benedictine monks, who built the campus with bricks they formed by hand from the red clay of the North Carolina soil. True to its Catholic identity, the college does not provide contraceptives, sterilization or abortions for its students or employees.

The federal government was well aware of Belmont Abbey's religious objections. In fact, President Obama's Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission has been investigating the Catholic college for more than two years for its refusal to pay for contraceptives and abortions. Nor are the monks of Belmont Abbey alone in the fact that their religion forbids them from buying these services. Tens of thousands of OTHER religious individuals and organizations filed written comments with HHS, asking the administration to refrain from forcing them to violate their beliefs.

But Secretary Sebelius is AT WAR. Rather than provide the type of complete and universal protection for religious freedom REQUIRED by the Constitution AND the federal law, Secretary Subelius offered the stingiest religious-exemption clause in federal history.

The clause only protects churches and religious orders, only protects them if their purpose is the inculcation of the faith, and only IF they serve and hire people PRIMARILY of their OWN faith. Want to run a school with your church? You lose the exemption. Want to serve soup to Jewish, Muslim or atheist homeless people as well as Christian ones? You lose the exemption. Want to allow a DIVERSE group of students to attend your college? Fine, but you have to pay for drugs that cause abortions now.

Because Belmont Abbey College is NOT a church, and because it serves and employs people of ALL faiths, it probably does NOT qualify to have its religious beliefs protected. The new regulations also force the monks and other religious objectors to pay for speech with which they disagree. These employers and schools now have to PAY for their employees and students to receive "counseling and EDUCATION"  about contraceptives and sterilization. So the monks at Belmont Abbey  can preach against contraception and sterilization all they like on Sunday morning. But on Monday, Secretary Sebelius will make THEM PAY someone else to send the exact OPPOSITE message.

NONE of this is REMOTELY permissible under the Constitution or federal law.  The Founders explicitly protected the free exercise of religion in the First Amendment. That right extends to ALL of us, and the government has no power to limit it only to those who teach the faith for a living or only to those who limit their charity and employment opportunities to people of the same faith. Federal statutes forbid the government from imposing these kinds of burdens on our free exercise of religion. The First Amendment protects all of us from being forced to speak the government's message instead of our own.

Secretary Sebelius and the administration left the monks of Belmont Abbey with no choice but to sue - they could either allow the administration to run roughshod over their religious beliefs, kick all of their students and employees off of health insurance in the middle of a terrible economy or bring their claims to federal court. So the small Catholic college from North Carolina just brought its slingshot to Washington, D.C.

Secretary Sebelius wanted a war. Apparently, now she'll have one in federal court. "DARN TOOTIN"!
[Emphasis added].
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Of interest in the on-going contest between abortion zealots and the pro-Life battalions will be the following editorial from the November 14 issue of The Weekly Standard, reminding us of something of which we need to be reminded, namely, that A VICIOUSLY RACIST hatred of BLACK people is deeply EMBEDDED in Planned Parenthood's agenda.
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Just the Facts
The Scrapbook, The Weekly Standard, November 14, 2011

Herman Cain was the source of a controversy last week .... well, a controversy OTHER than the one you were probably thinking of. On October 30, Cain reaffirmed to CBS's Bob Schieffeir on Face the Nation that it was his belief that Planned Parenthood was founded with the PURPOSE of aborting BLACK children in DISPROPORTIONATE numbers.

Wherever would Cain get such a crazy idea? Well, let's start with Planned Parenthood FOUNDER Margaret Sanger, who was a well-known advocate of EUGENICS. Her writings are littered with talk of birth control as a matter of "racial hygiene," "cultivation of better racial elements," "a cleaner race," and "the solution of racial .... problems." There's also the small matter of the time when Sanger fretted, "We do not want word to go out that we want to EXTERMINATE the Negro population." (Sanger's defenders say the context suggests that she didn't actually want to exterminate the entire black race, just less desirable elements, or something.)

It's long been one of liberalism's most inconvenient facts that the modern family- planning movement was largely founded on an ideology that Hitler also found agreeable. Naturally, whenever someone has the temerity to point this out, and heaven forbid it be done by a black man, out come the spin doctors.

Or rather, the "fact checkers." The Scrapbook has a hard time telling the difference these days. Glenn Kessler, author of the Washington Post's Fact Checker blog, gave Cain "four Pinocchios" for stating (accurately) that Sanger "DID talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born."

Kessler defended and downplayed Sanger's statements in support of eugenics. His sourcing leaned so heavily on Planned Parenthood it wouldn't be surprising if they dictated the response to him. Kessler even called Sanger - we're not making this up - a "RACIAL PIONEER" for her work with black organizations in the early 20th century. Of course, Kessler doesn't mention that many of the black leaders she worked with at the time, such as W.E.B. DuBois, were eugenicists themselves.

It further goes unsaid that Sanger tried to realize her birth control ambitions by speaking to that other hearty band of racial pioneers, THE KU KLUX KLAN. As Planned Parenthood would have us believe, Sanger was really a uniter, not a divider.

At the very least, Margaret Sanger still has the power to bring the liberal media together, if only to shore up the facade that Planned Parenthood has the best of intentions. ... and PolitiFact also seized on Cain's comments with equally mind-bending sophistry.

Here are some facts that almost no one in the major media saw fit to raise in relation to Herman Cain's comments. According to the Centers for Disease Control, BLACK women get 40 percent of the nation's abortions even though they comprise only 13 percent of the population. Fully 60 percent of all BLACK pregnancies in New York City last year ended in abortion. Whether the media want to confront it or not, there are dramatically fewer black Americans thanks to the legacy of Margaret Sanger.
[Emphasis added].
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