Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
June 10, 2012

Today the Church in America is under attack, both from within and without. Among the enemies within are, first and foremost, dissident "freethinkers" among the clergy, who reserve to themselves the decision as to which doctrines of the Church are "fit" to be defended. This "Fifth Column" is abetted by far too many a college or university that, marketing itself as "Catholic", nevertheless in its classrooms, in its extra-curricular activities, and in its selection of speakers invited to address the student body, works over all to subvert rather than to strengthen faith. Georgetown University is a prime example. A good many other "Catholic" institutions of higher learning could be cited as well, schools so eager to "hold their own" with the secular competition that they have made themselves over into the very ape of secularity.

The enemy from without is the ideology that permeates our entire culture today:  militant radical secularism, the ideology that is disseminated day after day through the media and is entrenched in the curriculum of our taxpayer-supported schools at all levels and, more often than not, in the world of privately financed higher education as well. Add to the mix such agitation as is regularly initiated by God-hostile leagues like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and- presto!-the circle of forces relentlessly laying siege to anything resembling a faith-inspired culture is rounded out. Militant secularism is also the driving force behind President Obama's recent mandate, which will impose ruinous fines upon our Catholic hospitals, schools and social agencies should they refuse to capitulate to the demand that they become accomplices in what the Catholic Church correctly identifies as evil, by subsidizing in health-insurance plans offered to their students and employees the provision of contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization procedures. The ultimate objective of the Obama Mandate would seem to be to drive all Catholic schools , hospitals and social service agencies worthy of the name right out of existence. President Obama thus takes a cue from the persecuting kings and emperors of Graeco-Roman antiquity, rulers such as the Graeco-Syrian king of the Hellenistic Levant Antiochus the Fourth, "the Glorious", who commanded the Jews of his domain to renounce circumcision, to eat pork, and to offer incense to pagan gods. Devout Jews refused and fought back-successfully-under the Maccabees. So, too, innumerable Christian martyrs and confessors told Rome's imperial officers: "You can confiscate our fortunes and sentence us to hard labor, you can throw us into prison, you can torture us, you can maim us, you can put us to death. But since Christ alone is Lord, we will NOT offer incense to the emperor's image. Christ alone shall we adore! We cannot concede to Caesar what belongs to God alone!"

That is the answer that our bishops, in the person of New York's Timothy Cardinal Dolan, gave to President Obama when the president last February telephoned the cardinal to inform him that he was giving the bishops until August "to figure out how you're going to comply with my mandate." Cardinal Dolan replied: "Mr. President, we don't need that much time. I can tell you right now. We will NOT comply because we CANNOT comply."

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May I share with you here two recent reports, one dealing with the enemy within-in this case Georgetown University vis á vis its invitation to Kathleen Sebelius, the architect of the Obama Mandate, to address the graduates of the university's Public Policy Institute. The other report deals with the reaction of America's general public to an attack on the Church from without, viz., the Obama administration's trampling on the Constitution's First Amendment.

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Principle Lost:
Georgetown University Now Fertile Ground for Anti-Catholicism
Patrick J. Reilly
The Washington Times, May 21, 2012

Georgetown University seems to be in serious danger of losing what makes it truly special: its historical commitment to a quality Catholic Education. The university's stately spires, topped with crosses and standing high above the nation's capital, are a permanent reminder of the fervent Catholic faith and vision of Archbishop John Carroll and his fellow Jesuit missionaries who founded Georgetown the same year the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

But today those crosses stand in stark contrast to the rapid secularization of America's oldest Catholic university and the unprecedented threats from the White House, just blocks away, to the religious freedom of America's largest religious denomination.

Both problems, the secularist oppression of the Obama administration and the secularization of Georgetown, were on display on May 18 when the university presented Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the speaker for its Public Policy Institute diploma ceremony.

In 2008, the former governor of Kansas was asked by her bishop to stop receiving Communion because of her "30-year history of advocating and acting in support of legalized abortion." Now at HHS, Ms. Sebelius is the chief architect of a health insurance mandate that would force Catholic colleges and universities and Catholic hospitals and social agencies] in violation of Church teaching to provide coverage for sterilization and contraception [including abortifacients] to both students and employees.

Instead of standing  by the Catholic bishops and fighting this clear violation of religious liberty, Georgetown has been on the sidelines - until now. Honoring Ms. Sebelius is a public betrayal of the Catholic Church and all religious people in America.

In many ways, Georgetown's choice is even more offensive than Notre Dame's commencement honors to President Obama in 2008. At the time, the president was still making PROMISES to respect the consciences of faithful Catholics.  But Ms. Sebelius has helped him BREAK those promises, which probably is why more than 26,000 have signed the petition at calling on Georgetown to rescind the invitation.

Of course, Georgetown's betrayal of its Catholic roots didn't begin with the Sebelius flap. MANY campus speakers in recent years have offended Catholics, including pornographer Larry Flynt, who warned students, "The Church has had its hand on your crotch for 2,000 years." Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student-turned-contraception-activist, earned a prominent lecture on campus instead of correction for her opposition to the bishops.

Many  Georgetown  professors  have OPPOSED Catholic moral teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide. Madeline K. Albright and Donna Brazile are perhaps the best-recognized. The Rev. Robert Drinan, S.J., a longtime law professor who is still celebrated at the law school after his death in 2007, infamously served in Congress while supporting abortion rights. [He also organized the notorious  cabal of moral theologians who gave to Senator Ted Kennedy and to other Catholic politicians the Satanic counsel that one could vote in support of abortion all the while remaining "personally opposed"]. Judith Feder is a next-generation "pro-choice" politician even while serving as professor and former dean of the graduate program that will host Mrs. Sebelius on commencement day.

To be sure, some magnificent professors, such as the Rev. James J. Schall, a Jesuit priest, remain on the faculty. Even so, one of Father Schall's accomplished peers in the government department, Patrick J. Deneen, recently announced his escape with a devastating public critique. Georgetown, he wrote, "increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to truth."

Outside the classroom, Catholic students also find much to regret: condoms distributed in the university's "Red Square," the ironically labeled campus free-speech zone; annual performances of "The Vagina Monologues"; Georgetown's well-funded LGBTQ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender questioning) Resource Center; groups like H*yas for Choice, and Law Students for Reproductive Justice, opposing the Church on abortion and contraception and much more.

Last year, Georgetown's Jesuits released a video intended to celebrate their work on campus, but in the process, they helped explain their diminishing relevance. "Our job as educators and as priests is NOT to bring God to people, or even to bring people to God," said the Rev. Ryan Maher, associate dean and director of Catholic Studies. "God's already there and the people are already there. [But are they together?] Our job, our way of living our educational vocation is to ASK the right questions, and to help young people ASK those questions."

By SHYING AWAY FROM ANSWERS about God and truth, Georgetown seems almost ashamed of its mission as a "Catholic and Jesuit" university. Contrary to claims that this makes Georgetown a "true" university, it threatens the end of once-prestigious Jesuit education. The wavering fidelity of Georgetown and most large Catholic universities leaves too many students unaware or uncertain of their purpose in life beyond the accumulation of knowledge and career preparation.

Secularization cannot replace faith; it only leaves a VOID to be FILLED. Georgetown's students are under intense pressure in today's culture to veer away from Catholic morality.

In this context, perhaps Catholics should not be so shocked by recent reports that al Qaeda once thought Catholics to be "fertile ground" for conversion to Islam. There's no denying the shaky ground upon which many young Catholics stand today. The failure of some Catholic schools and colleges to embrace the Catholic faith with honesty and confidence indeed prepares "fertile ground" for ideologies like the secularism and relativism championed by Kathleen Sebelius.
[Emphasis added].

Patrick J Reilly is president of the Cardinal Newman Society.

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Church Is Still Not State
By: Daniel Henninger
From: The Wall Street Journal

May 30, 2012

 ... After more than a thousand days and events in Barack Obama's presidency [there has emerged] ... an unexpected REAFFIRMATION of an American principle older than the country's first presidential election: the free exercise of religion.

Also telling about the current American mind is that the ... Progressives who inhabit the (Obamaj administration either didn't see this coming or, more likely, thought that the idea of free religious exercise no longer counted for much among American Catholics in today's political calculus.

Surely someone inside the administration, perhaps Joe Biden (Archmere Catholic high school, '61), brought this matter up during the comment period preceding the January 20 statement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that religious institutions, primarily hospitals, would be required to extend insurance coverage to the widest definition of birth-control treatments.... The Catholic bishops' conference urged the Obama administration not to push them inside this mandate, citing religious belief as what one could call their conscientious objection to it.

The backlash among Catholics to the HHS order, ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM,, was an astonishing thing to witness. One anecdote sticks with me from the first days. A friend in Ohio told of talking to a diocesan priest of no apparent political persuasion who said, "I hope these bishops are prepared to go to jail over this."

Go to jail? What's going on here?

Some writers of late have said the initial crack back by Catholics overstates the political danger to the president. They've argued that the "Catholic vote" is a myth, that Catholics have become socially diverse and the direction of their votes is unpredictable. In these times, who could doubt it?

Some things don't change, though, and among them is an American antipathy to being pushed too far. Americans are a tolerant people, but past some point they PUSH BACK. With the HHS mandate upon them, a lot of Catholic voters are thinking resistance. It's an old american tradition.

The Catholic lawsuits filed against the HHS mandate are based in the Constitution's Free Exercise Clause. That's the legal issue. But the reason so much hell broke loose after the Obama administration's decision is that it runs afoul of the Constitution's Establishment Clause against creating A STATE RELIGION. The issue here isn't the parsings of constitutional law but the American religious experience that led to the Establishment Clause.

In pre-Revolution America, the believers who fled persecution in Europe often tried to make their religion official in the colonies. Thus Virginia established the Church  of England. Less appreciated but relevant now is that all such efforts at establishment in the colonies collapsed not just because the Constitution in time forbade it but because the early Americans wouldn't accept being told TO TOE AN OFFICLIAL LINE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF.

Along with their intensity of religious belief these earliest Americans had a habit of ornery independence. The history of religion in America is a story of pushed-around people who, rather than consent, divided into schismatic movements and break-away sects, often literally heading into the wilderness....

Suddenly amid this hallowed tradition, we get Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebeliuw (Trinity College '70) claiming with THE ZEAL OF SECULAR FANATICS that these priests, nuns, their hospitals and the people who work in them WILL find a way to pay for and permit sterilizations and abortifacients. Catholics can believe what they want inside their churches, but IN PUBLIC they too must SHOW BELIEF in reproductive rights AS DEFINED IN LAW BY THE STATE. Welcome to 3rd-century Rome.

The resisting Catholic bishops, say the administration and its factions, are "out of step" with the current American consensus on women's reproductive rights. Possibly so, but official Catholic Doctrine and the HHS mandate  are  in opposition.

The Obama administration is effectively saying that all the practices and beliefs embedded in the Obama health-care law are ESTABLISHED in America and CONSENT IS REQUIRED, no matter what some religion PURPORTS to believe. It is this attempt to displace religious belief with an alternative belief system that goes against the American grain and has Catholics up in arms.

Perhaps the Catholic-myth people are right that most Catholics are OK now with abortifacients. And maybe the pundits dripping ridicule and bile on New York's Timothy Cardinal Dolan have got the modem American Catholic pegged right. I doubt it. Not yet.
[Emphasis added].

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