“Never before in US history”

Two prelates decry Obama Administration’s contraceptive mandate

News release from USCCB

WASHINGTON — Both the president of the U.S. bishops and the bishops’ Pro-Life chairman called on the thousands of Catholics gathered for the National Prayer Vigil for Life to speak out for the protection of conscience rights and religious liberty.

“From a human point of view, we may be tempted to surrender, when our government places conception, pregnancy and birth under the ‘center for disease control,’ when chemically blocking conception or aborting the baby in the womb is considered a ‘right’ to be subsidized by others who abhor it,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at the vigil’s closing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on January 23.

His words referred to the January 20 announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that nearly all employers will be forced to cover drugs and procedures that violate their conscience in their health insurance plans.

“When the ability of feeding, housing, and healing the struggling of the world is curtailed and impeded if one does not also help women abort their babies, one can hardly be faulted for being tempted to the ‘sin against the Holy Spirit’ and just consider all as lost,” Cardinal-designate Dolan said.

Addressing the opening Mass the previous evening, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, excoriated the HHS rule.

“Never before in our US History has the Federal Government forced citizens to directly purchase what violates our beliefs. At issue here as our President of the Conference stated it this past Friday, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for conscience and religious liberty,” said Cardinal DiNardo.

He cited the January 19 address of Pope Benedict XVI to U.S. bishops visiting Rome, in which the pope said, “it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be appreciated at every level of ecclesial life.”

Cardinal DiNardo said that the pope had “nailed” the issue in light of the HHS announcement and tied the issue directly to the March for Life. “His calls for courage to counter a reductive secularism which would de-legitimize the Church’s participation in public life and debate have targeted the issues we face in our pro-life efforts, to defend those who defend human life and to defend their religious liberty!”

To read the full text of the homilies, Click Here.

 

READER COMMENTS

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:30 AM By Abeca Christian
Now the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith. 1 Timothy 1:5 (and) 1 Timothy 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:10 AM By Juergensen
More nice words. Meanwhile, the USCCB misleads Catholics into voting for abortionists like Obama (Sec. 34, “Faithful Citizenship”), and the bishops defy Canon 915 and allow abortionist politicians to legislate abortion during the week and receive and profanate the Holy Eucharist on Sundays.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:38 AM By St. Christopher
Good, but the Church must name names — give identity to the charge. Don’t say “the Federal Government”, but do say “the Obama Administration,” for example. Many, many still believe — assisted by the USCCB — that you can “balance” various good social things, along with abortion, in the political spectrum. The USCCB, and its liberal staff and very liberal bishops, simply will not retract its voting “conscience” guidance, which still seems to permit a balancing type analysis of political candidates. The Church should say that “No Catholic can vote for any politician that enables abortion, regardless of reason and regardless of other positive elements in their public life. Being pro-union, and pro-immigrant, cannot ignore a candidate’s pro-abortion record. The bishops can play a very major role in defeating Obama and the Democratic machine of Nancy Pelosi, et al. It is not likely that bishops will want this role, however, as Republicans — to many bishops — are like the rich in biblical terms, i.e., the moral enemy of mankind. Pope Benedict XVI is doing well, but the chance to reverse this kind of evil is to litigate, embarrass, and take no prisoners with evil. Unfortunately, many bishops see evil more with economic success than with moral decision-making on sexual and birth matters.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:50 AM By ANNE
AMEN ! Great article. Let us pray for our Pope, Bishops, Priests, and Country. Let us take the proper responsibility and remove Obama, and his buddies in the Senate and House in the upcoming elections.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:15 AM By Gabriel Espinosa 
Ok, you made a bunch of very nice points. Now, how about some clearly defined direction as to what we should be doing right now and in the near future??? ….still waiting….


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:35 AM By Prof Helen
The Bishops need to be more clear in their message to the faithful about the intrinsic evil of killing unborn humans. They have not been to date. They have been squishy. And we all know what the Lord said about the lukewarm. They do a disservive to the folks in the front line work place when they are not clear.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:04 AM By Sandra 
Catholic’s WAKE UP! YOU CANNOT CALL YOURSELF CATHOLIC and vote for OBAMA! He leads the Cullture of Death in the world. Our tax dollars, our vote, and our “head in the sand” mentality continues to FUEL this outrage against our Lord. We must stop the madness. Your vote for LIFE in NOV will help to turn the tide. With 65 million Catholics in America–we can make this happen!


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:22 AM By John F. Maguire
The Hippocratic Oath is the benchmark of the collective conscience of the medical profession. The Obama Administration is proposing to force Catholic hospitals to violate the Hippocratic Oath.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:01 AM By Victor Claveau
There are presently 456 bishops and four active Cardinals in the U.S. at the present time. Where are their statements?


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:46 AM By JMJ
Pope Benedict gave us a preview of his take on Obama, without mentioning his name in his New Year’s Day state of the union message & now he has DECLARED WAR on Obama & it is our duty to heed the call & take up the challenge to stop OBAMANISM, NOW!! To do this, we need strong God-fearing; Holy Spirit filled Bishops & Priest to lead the charge, by not only speaking, BUT NOW WITH ACTION!! Excommunicate these so-called “catholic” impostors acting as politicians for starters; preach about the evil of “shacking up”; birth control, abortion & the actions of the homosexual community & how, as true Catholics, we CAN NOT be involved in these sins. God’s Wrath will soon come down upon us, & we won’t have any excuse for our actions/inactions. +JMJ+


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:09 AM By CJ
Juergensen, slandering Bishops profanates too. God bless you.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:33 AM By dan
John, you might be interested to know that when I attended the white coat ceremony for my niece who is attending USC Med School, the part of the Hippocratic Oath referencing abortion was expunged.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:43 AM By Camille
Every single Catholic reading this article, as well as any Protestant brethren, should send a letter of opposition to Pres. Obama and H.H.S. Director Kathleen Sebelius, protesting this outrage to human morals and freedom. We, the members of the Catholic Church far outnumber the promoters of abortion and contraception. They are just louder and more persistent.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:51 AM By Life Lady
Regardless of what our bishops have done in the past, we can all tell who is squarely for Christ and His Church and who has become flacid (yeah, I am going there) in their leadership. We all know their names, and where they lead, and how they lead, or do not lead. We have been given direction from the Holy Father, and been told, directly, that as the laity we have the right and responsibility to demand proper leadership from our bishops, and if they fail us, we can go to another shepherd who lives the Faith and leads from it. So, knowing who the most faithful are, buck up and take a stand for those bishops, and since we are all not stupid sheep, but intelligent and forthright defenders of the Faith and are looking to those strong bishops, stop wringing our collective hands, stop complaining about what they haven’t done, and knowing what must be done, DO IT!!! JMJ, you are right, and how embarrassing for Benedict XVI to say that the USA is a hostile country to Christianity! We need a holy war here, with the faithful, storming heaven with prayer and sacrifice to rid our country of the plague that is Obama and all his minions. Back the proper person in the elections, the one who has openly declared himself a Catholic, who truly lives his faith. If you don’t know who that is, what rock have you been hiding under. If you don’t back that person, (no quibbling about the economy, millions of potential entrepreneurs have already been sacrificed for choice) and go for the closet liberal you can’t call yourself a soldier in this fight for our country. Sorry for the babbling, but it’s just too late in the day and we need to move on this now.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:53 AM By John F. Maguire
In reply to Sandra: However much you want them to do so, Catholic Bishops cannot contradict (a) sound theology and (b) the law of the Church, I mean, by teaching that the baptismal right to the title Catholic is LOST by a vote for an abortocrat. Sandra, even where such a vote constitutes a mortal sin (as, for example, when the Catholic voter votes for an abortocrat *because* he is an abortocrat; or votes in knowing and deliberate disregard of propotionality considerations), that vote, by itself, does not LOSE the Catholic voter who cast it his or her baptismal right to the title Catholic. Such a notion is nowhere to be found in Church law. ~ Who then promotes this false theology of forfeiture? ANSWER: Forfeiture of the baptismal right to the name Catholic, consequent upon a vote for an abortocrat, is a notion promoted by the ‘right-deviationist’ wing of the Republican Party. This wing wants the impossible; they want Catholic Bishops to teach what they can not and will not teach. In this context, this ultra-partisan wing of the Republican Party does not want to engage in the normal politics of pro-and-con discussion, in the manner, for example, of Senator Rick Santorum. No, it turns out not to matter to these right-deviationists that they derogate the baptismal right of Catholics to the name Catholic. Right-deviationism, after all, is a fevered attitude, a fanaticized consciousness: it disdains applying the normal (but tough) phrase “self-contradictory Catholic” in favor of a drastic and false theology according to which Obama voters forfeit their baptismal right to call themselves Catholics tout court. Such is the source of this website’s right-deviationist revolt against the Catholic Bishops.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:57 AM By Denise Riggio
Hold on a second. Catholic charities accepts government money, so much in fact that Catholic Charities in the US does not have one food program for the poor that is not funded by tax dollars. The majority of the immigration assistance programs and family programs, i.e. support to families suffering from violence disorders, are all funded by grants from the US government. It is expressly dictated in the terms of these US grants that are awarded to Catholic Charities that there can be NO evangelization or proselytizing. They go so far as to dictate that the name of Jesus Christ cannot be brought up in any way for any counseling or for any reason. In other words Catholic Charities cannot perform its most important function, to bring people to Christ and His Church. Didn’t anyone ever wonder why during the last election Cd. Egan hosted the Al Smith dinner and had Obama and McCain on his right and left? buttering up to Catholic Charities future meal ticket? So now its payback time, isn’t it Bishops? The current government wants the Church to drink from the draught of Kool Aid more deeply. Hey, Cd. Dolan, is Obama invited to this years Al Smith dinner? Bottom line, until the Church stops accepting the 30 pieces of silver form Uncle Sam these problems are going to get bigger.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:45 PM By Anne T.
Natural Family Planning methods such as those on the Couple to Couple League website are natural (organic) won’t harm the bodies of the women who use them, won’t pollute our waters with estrogen from the Pill and deform our fish supply, wont’t cause prostate cancer later in our sons as some scientists suspect and are very, very up to date as far as determining the fertile times for women. If the envrionmentalist are really, really honest, they would go for these types of methods and let the “chips fall as they may” if a woman does become pregnant because most likely because the couple has not abstained during the fertile time. God evidently wants that baby to be born. It is too much to ask for a little self control??????


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:26 PM By Laurette Elsberry
Victor (9:01 am), don’t expect any statements from California bishops. Remember the Notre Dame award to Obama? Not one California bishop objected.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:14 PM By John F. Maguire
Anne T.: The issue you don’t raise, but for the sake of clarity needs to be raised, is whether it is licit to resort to NFP without just cause. The answer, I venture, is that it is not licit to resort to NFP without just cause.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:30 PM By JLS
Maguire, baptism is not a right … right’s belong in the wheeler dealer domain. Baptism is a grace.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:31 PM By Juergensen
CJ: Get your facts straight before you try criticizing me: (1) The USCCB is not “the bishops”; it is, rather, a 501(c) corporation operating out of posh headquarters in Washington, DC; (2) It is a matter of undeniable fact that (a) the USCCB misleads Catholics into voting for abortionists like Obama in Section 34 of “Faithful Citizenship,” and (b) the vast majority of bishops defy Canon 915 and allow abortionist politicians to legislate abortion during the week and receive and profanate the Holy Eucharist on Sundays. These are facts, not slander.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:40 PM By k
“This decision from the Department of Health and Human Services is from the highest level of Federal government and I cannot imagine that this decision was released without the explicit knowledge and approval of President Barabk Obama. And I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic Community can muster…For me there is no other fundamental issue as important as this one as we enter into the Presidential and Congressional campaigns. Every candidate must be pressed to declare his/her position on all of the fundamental life issues, especially the role of government to determine what conscience decision must be followed: either the person’s own moral and conscience decision, or that dictated/enforced by the Federal government. For me the answer is clear: we stand with our moral principles and heritage over the centuries, not what a particular Federal government agency determines…If any candidate refuses to acknowledge and to promote those rights (of conscience), then that candidate will not receive my vote. This is a sad moment in the life of our country where religious freedom and freedom of conscience led to the formation of this new Nation under God. Let us all pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon all elected officials of our country, and that all will make decisions based uon God’s revealed truth.” Cardinal Roger Mahony


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:54 PM By John F. Maguire
Any national episcopal conference — any such conference in the world — is comprised of bishops but comprised of bishops acting collegially. Such collegiality is one of the “modalities” of the Church herself, though, to be sure, as Cardinal Ratzinger has pointed out, not the Church herself. Accordingly, to oppose the Bishops assembled in collegium on the ground that collegiality is not a real modality of the episcopate is to misunderstand the subsidiary but real character of episcopal collegiality.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:21 PM By John F. Maguire
In reply to Dan: It happens! At a recent graduation at New York City’s Columbia University, all the faculty and graduates of the medical school stood up and, within my hearing as an audience member, acclaimed the Hippocratic Oath. The prohibition of abortion, however, was mistranslated so to obfuscate that particular section of the Oath.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:36 PM By John F. Maguire
When a couple interiorizes the violence of a society within which an abortocratic culture prevails; when a couple turns this violence against themselves and against the fruit of their love, and in consequence opts for abortion, then, at stake, JLS, is not only the infant’s right to life but the infant’s right to baptism. The fact that these rights — both of them — exist independently of any given couple’s cognizance of them, does not mean that these rights do not exist.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:55 PM By Mary
“Dolan fumed.” That is how the Family Research Council described one quote from the Archbishop about the HHS mandate. “Dolan fumed.” Is Abp. Dolan prepared to read the riot act? Will he instruct his bishops to tell Catholics at every Mass, in every parish, in every diocese, in every pew that we are on a deadly spiritual track and that a Catholic cannot vote for Obama? Christ said to the weeping women at Calvary, “Do not weep for me but for your children…” What havoc will we see brought on if we do not confront evil that wishes to kill our souls.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:24 PM By Anne T.
You are quite correct, John F. Maguire, in your post of 2:14 PM. NFP (Natural Family Planning) should be for those heterosexual couples who are in a committed relationship (marriage) and have a good reason for not having children at a particular time, such as the woman needs to take medication that could injure an unborn child. This is one reason some of the environmentalists are not backing it, their lack of advocacy of traditional morality and their wanting to lower the population by any means they consider necessary, so most will not tell you what it is doing to women’s, and most likely future children’s, bodies, and the environment. This government is now tying the reception of food for poorer nations to contraception and abortion. It is a no-win situation.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:48 PM By Abeca Christian
CJ I am saddened that you are against a faithful soul who has decided to hold accountable the Bishops who are not clear on these moral issues and sometimes can be misleading, probably not intentional but the fact is, there is sometimes a sense of confusion that leads to misleading. CJ I would suggest you that you do research and check out your facts before you decide to bash another faithful, who is concerned and and talking about it may help our Bishops do a better job and take the heat, its humbling to accept admonishment and learn from them. All done in charity and concern for the salvation of many!


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:49 PM By JLS
Not to worry, k, because sooner or later the chaff will have been excised from the Catholic episcopacy in the USA, and this is when the bishops will earn the crimson tone of their hats. Either that or the Church in the USA will be pummeled into the ground … yet this is not bad either since individual laity and religious will be able to stand forth in martyrdom. Or does the Protestant doctrine of Manifest Destiny forbid this turn of events?


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:20 PM By Jim
Only Two!


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:42 PM By CJ
Abeca, I am FOR him, and the Bishops too. There is no need to bash the Bishops and put them down. God will hold all of us all accountable I’m sure, laity and Bishops too.


Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:39 PM By Abeca Christian
Stating facts is not slandering folks! Get that straight! Look up slander and find out that you may be using the wrong word when in terms we are speaking up against injustice!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:50 AM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Sandra, 7:04 AM, How many of those 65 Million are really Catholic? God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:51 AM By CJ 
Slander: “A false and malicious statement or report about someone.” Saying ‘THE Bishops defy canon 915’ = slander.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:11 AM By John F. Maguire
By slander is meant a defamatory assertion expressed in transitory form, notably in the form of speech. By libel, on the other hand, is meant a defamatory statement expressed in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or means of electronic diffusion. See Bryan A. Garner, editor in chief, _Black’s Law Dictionary_, eighth edition (St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West, 2004). Where the medium in question is the blogosphere, at issue (normally) is libel, not slander. By group libel is meant libel that defames a class of persons. From within this perspective, a blogmeister is bond not to publish defamatory statements against classes of person, not least the class of persons who hold the apostolic office of bishop. What then about the bishops as associated in collegium, for example, bishops associated in collegium in the effective form of collegiality known as national episcopal conferences? Under certain circumstances, yes, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, for example, can be deemed as class of persons who have been libeled in the blogosphere. ~ To return to the slander/libel distinction: quoting Abeca C. (not entirely out of context), I would counsel: “Look up slander and [you might] find out that you may be using the wrong word….”


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:37 AM By JLS
CJ, apparently the bishops do not consider it slander, since they have not said so.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:02 AM By Larry
John F. Maguire: In order for a statement to be either slander or libel, it must be an allegation of FACT (not a mere unfavorable opinion, even one savagely unfavorable) which is NOT TRUE. As a young journalist I learned that it is an ABSOLUTE defense against a libel charge to prove that the statement in question is TRUE. Also, I’m sure you’re aware of the famouns “New York Times v. Sullivan” Supreme Court decision which ruled that in order for a “public figure” to recover damages, he/she must prove that the statement was not only untrue, but uttered with “actual malice,” which is defined as either knowledge of its falsity or “reckless disregard for the truth.” A “public figure” is defined as one who “thrusts himself into the vortex of controversy.” In other words, not every famous person is a public figure for purposes of Sullivan–but I would say the bishops probably are. As I said, the libel must be an untrue allegation of fact. Statements of opinion, even strong opinion, are protected as “fair comment” under the First Amendment.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:11 AM By Abeca Christian
CJ — It’s not false to say that the Bishops do not enforce canon laws when they should be doing so. It is not slander because these stated facts are not of the malicious nature! So it is you who is slandering the faithful by assuming such things, you do not know if the comment was made out of malicious nature, you are only assuming.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:21 AM By John F. Maguire
In reply to Kenneth Fisher: Your post fails to distinguish two different questions. The first question is: How many of these 65 million Catholics are members of the mystical body of Christ, which is tantamount to asking, how many of these 65 million Catholics are in the state of sanctifying grace. The answer to that question, we agree, is known only to God. The second question is: How many of these 65 million Catholics are JURIDICAL MEMBERS of the Catholic Church, and the answer to this question is: something approximating 65 million Catholics — since even lapsed Catholics retain a reglementary title to the name Catholic, that is, short of their having visited the office of their bishop and to formally renounce their title to the Catholic name. You see what I’m objecting to here, Mr. Fisher — I’m objecting to your insinuation that a certain subset of Catholics — Catholics who indeed remain juridically Catholic — are not Catholics; not Catholics in your book, quite as if there were such a thing as your book on the subject.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:06 PM By John F. Maguire
Next door to secular law on injurious statements, there is Canon 220 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Two rights are enumerated in Canon 220: “No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.” In keeping with Canon 220, it is not enough that one ‘has the facts,’ one is still not permitted to “harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses….” In GAUDIUM ET SPES (Dec. 7, 1965), one of the four Apostolic Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, we read that the rights “to one’s good name” and “to the protection of one’s private life” derives from the “exeptional dignity of the human person.” Source: _Gaudium et Spes_ 26, in Austin Flannery (gen. ed.), _The Basic Sixteen Documents: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations_ (Northpoint: Costello Publishing Company, 1996).


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:25 PM By k
The USCCB is an organization comprised of the bishops of the United States and the US Virgin Islands. It is mandated by canon law. What Mr. Juergensen is referring by the organization in the posh building in Washington D.C. is the staff of the USCCB. Also, in calling for the bishops to enforce canon 915 which calls for those who have been excommunicated or who continue in manifest grave sin to be denied Holy Communion, one must have for one’s motive the medicinal remedy that the Church intends.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 3:05 PM By John F. Maguire
In reply to Larry: That’s right — my post confined itself to the common law distinction between libel and slander; it did not address the landmark libel case _New York Times v. Sullivan_, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). Happily, you raised _Times v. Sullivan_. This famous case constitutes, I submit, a drastic departure from the traditional common law of libel. Justice Scalia, for one, would have had state legislatures alter the traditional common law of libel if they saw fit, not the Supreme Court. Here is what Justice Scalia said last year at the Aspen Institute as reported by Geoffrey R. Stone (University of Chicago School of Law): “[Scalia] explained that ‘the old libel law used to be [that] you’re responsible, you say something false that harms somebody’s reputation, we don’t care if it was something told to you by nine bishops, you are liable.’ In other words, if the statement was inaccurate the speaker was liable, without regard to whether the speaker reasonably believed the statement to be true. ~ Justice Scalia found the Court’s change in the law illegitimate: ‘_New York Times v. Sullivan_ just cast [the traditional common law of libel] aside because the Court thought in modern society, it’d be a good idea if the press could say a lot of stuff about public figures without having to worry. […] But [rather than treat the question as a state-legislative matter] the living consitutioalists on the Supreme Court, the Warren Court, simply decided, “Yes, it used to be that… George Washington could sue somebody that libeled him, but we don’ think that’s a good idea anymore.”‘ Geoffrey R. Stone, “Justice Scalia, Originalism and the First Amendment,” _Huff Post Politics_, November 13, 2011, online. Canon 220 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (“No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses…”) is in the vicinity of the common law rule; the 1964 _Sullivan_ rule is not.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:54 PM By Juergensen
k, Here is what faithful bishops say about the USCCB: Bishop Joseph Martino ~ “No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB does not speak for me. There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.” / Bishop Robert Vasa ~ “I literally could not give Holy Communion to a professed and actively committed pro-choice politician. I answer to the Holy See, I don’t answer to the USCCB.” Now, k, do tell us, do these bishops meet your stated requirement that “one must have for one’s motive the medicinal remedy that the Church intends”?


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:00 PM By Larry
The decision was 9-0, and was based on the First and Fourteenth Amendments, not solely common law. The suit arose out of the fact that white Southern officials were filing libel suits against press outlets who attempted to report on the often-violent repression of the Civil Rights Movement. It came to be seen as an intimidation tactic. As for canon law regarding calumny and detraction–I’m no expert, but I seriously doubt that they ban “tellin’ it like it is” when a bishop or anyone else with a public trust is doing or is perceived to be doing a lousy job in handling that trust. No one’s right to a good reputation is absolute and immune from attack regardless of his own public actions. If it were not so, then Christ would not have denounced the Pharisees in such scathing terms.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:38 PM By JLS
One of the problems at the philosophical level in the Catholic population is the Platonic idea of “forms”, that there has to be a law or form for everything. This leads to tyranny … as does Plato’s Republic. Aristotle on the other hand is the philosophy baptized by St Thomas Aquinas, because it does not promote idolatry in its very structure as does Platonic philosophy. Most readers will not understand this, but those who try will eventually get it. Maguire is a Platonic devotee, whether he knows it or not, and this is why he cannot understand St Thomas Aquinas … Yes, he quotes from him occasionally, but he never understands him. Platonism imagines a fantasy world which does not exist, and it bases its relationships on this fantasy. The remedy is the Sacraments and not intellectual or legal domains.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:52 PM By k
Juergensen, yes, absolutely. Former Bishop Martino and Bishop Vasa understand exactly. So does Archbishop Chaput and Cardinal Burke.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:42 AM By Juergensen
k: How do you know what Bishops Martino, Vasa, Chaput, and Burke understand? Do you speak to them on a regular basis?


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 5:30 AM By richard
I do believe the the Pope should order the Priest to talk about Obama everyweek, and those that don’t should not be able to give the homlies.Our Priest on the last Holy Day told all that even though the church say you must come to mass he did not believe in holding people to that;so for the mass less than 30 people came.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 5:56 AM By k
Jeurgensen, I have never spoken to any of them. I have only read their statements. Canon 915 Project is a good source.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:09 AM By CJ
k – way to go! And there are many more… Let us support our bishops!


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:30 AM By John F. Maguire
Larry: You write: “The decision was based on the First and Fourteenth Amendments, not SOLELY on common law” (emphasis mine). Three points by way of reply: (1) No one denies that these two Amendments to the Constitution were invoked by the Supreme Court as motivating the _Sullivan_ case’s rationale. On the other hand, critics of the _Sullivan_ case point out that “_New York Times v. Sullivan_… CAST [the traditional common law of libel] ASIDE (Justice Scalia) — and, Larry, that’s true. _New York Times v. Sullivan_ cast the common law aside. Now this we know: to cast the common law of libel aside is not to retain the common law of libel as a part of the _Sullivan_ decision’s RATIONALE. (2) There are scholars of the _Sullivan_ case who do not disagree with the DECISION in this case (Larry, these scholars would agree with you that it is right that the prevailing party in this case be the _New York Times_ (you show why so in your post). What these scholars disagee with then is not the decision in the _Sullivan_ case but rather this decision’s rationale — I mean, to the extent that this rationale failed to take into full consideration the value of reputation rights as these rights have been adumbrated by right reason, the dignity of the human person, and the common law. In other words, these scholars do not look to see _Sullivan_ overturned by the Court but rather moderated by it. (3) Back to the _Sullivan_ rule itself. For Catholics, the _Sullivan_ rule does not trump the Church’s Canon Law. Church law states that “No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses…” This signal text is our, rightly famous, own Canon 220. Manifestly, Canon 220 does not have a “public figure” exception in it. ~ Happily, the Church is governed by this, a stricter rule than the _Sullivan_ rule.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:02 AM By Larry
John: Canon law, of course, describes the standards of proof before the Heavenly Court, where each of us shall be judged by our conscience. It rightly employs different and more rigid standards than secular law. But even so, to harm someone’s reputation “illegitimately” in the process of public debate over the actions of someone in charge of a public trust, such as a secular official or a bishop, would have to mean the use of untrue allegations of fact. I understand that the Heavenly Court will impose stricter standards than its secular counterpart in the realm of heated exchange of opinion–that “fair comment” will not be quite as liberally defined in the Higher Court as in the lower–but even the Higher Court must recognize that in order for a person’s reputation to be harmed “illegitimately,” it must be presumed that the target does not deserve, by his own actions, to have his reputation demolished through discussion of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:21 PM By John F. Maguire
The ostensible fact that Canon 220 is more strict than the _Sullivan_ rule is a function of the primordial fact that Canon 220 better expresses right reason and right reason’s defense of the reputation rights of persons, all in view of the exeptional dignity of human persons, than does the _Sullivan_ rule. Put differently: Canon 220 more robustly expresses what the tradition of reason calls recta ratio (right reason) than does the _Sullivan_ rule. Which, Larry, is why there are those in the legal community and those in the broader public who want to see the United States Supreme Court moderate the rationale in the _Sullivan_ case — moderate, I mean, in a direction more respectful of the reputation rights of persons.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 2:03 PM By John F. Maguire
I’m not a Platonist, I’m a Thomist, but bear in mind, St. Thomas appropriated not only the best in Aristotle but also the best in Plato.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:06 PM By k
Bishop Zubic of Pittburg has spoken out, now. He says nobody, not even the Presisent of the United States, has the right to tell Catholics “to hell with you.” It’s on the Diocese of Pittsburg website.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:21 PM By JLS
You kid yourself, Maguire. You’re constantly placing various theories up in the air as if we all had to deal with them instead of with one another. That is the application of Platonism, not Thomism.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 9:53 AM By John F. Maguire
“Theory?” JLS. For example, my prior post, which compares the _Sullivan_ rule on the topic of libel, on the one hand, with Canon 220 of the Code of Canon Law on reputation rights, on the other hand — is that comparison a theoretical discussion? Is it in any recognizable sense a comparison shot through with Platonism?


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 12:32 PM By k
Bishop Campbell of the Diocese of Columbus has called for prayer and fasting in his statement. Bishop Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria has asked for the installation of the prayer of St. Michael during the petitions at Sunday Mass. He had issued a statement originally on January 8, before the ruling and is repeating it with this request.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 1:33 PM By BECKY
Maguire, in the case of Scandalous politicians and other scandalous persons, their bad actions and public statements are already public. In addition, all voting records are public. They make and break their own reputations. Only when scandal is not involved, sin is a private matter. Let’s not play games. If you were a true follower of St. Thomas you would strive to be honest, and straight forward when using the public media, not trying to confuse those who do not know you.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 1:45 PM By Catherine
k, That is excellent news! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of the bishops did the same. The prayer of St. Michael is so very powerful. I read on the website of Bishop Jenkins that he introduced the cause for canonization for Archbishop Fulton Sheen.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 3:35 PM By John F. Maguire 
Games? Dishonesty? All I’ve said, Becky, is that Canon 220 is superior to the _Sullivan_ rule.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 5:55 PM By CJ
BECKY, there are no “scandalous persons” only scandalous behavior. Many Bishops have issued correction, privately, to leading politicians who may afterward excommunicate themselves. God bless you and keep you.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:32 PM By BETH
CJ, there are scandalous persons. The word scandalous can be an adjective describing the person. Becky’s words need to be repeated: “…in the case of Scandalous politicians and other scandalous persons, their bad actions and public statements are already public. In addition, all voting records are public. They make and break their own reputations. Only when scandal is not involved, sin is a private matter. Let’s not play games.” Now when are most US Bishops going to enforce Canon 915 in their own Diocese, and direct their Diocese Priests accordingly regarding the “Scandalous” politicians that he has talked to privately and they don’t care but continue to commit scandal and still receive Holy Communion. SACRILEGE.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:35 PM By JLS
Sin is always a public matter, because no matter the sin, yet it has a destructive effect on society as a whole … no matter how slight. Anyone who believes that they can keep a sin secret is in for a big surprise at some point.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:37 PM By JLS
Maguire, the fact that you continually and habitually abstract yourself from your theories makes you a Platonist. It is not your ideas that are Platonic but you.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:49 PM By BETH
Code of Canon Law: ” 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty AND OTHERS obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” Those Catholic politicians who support abortion, and euthanasia are committing the MORTAL Sin of SCANDAL in addition to supporting MURDER. They should not be allowed to receive Holy Communion, and such a decree should be sent to each parish in every Diocese by the Bishops. A list of names should be sent to his Diocese Priests.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 8:12 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Maguire, 11:21 AM You know darn well what I mean by “really Catholic” you just want something else to expound on. When what you call “Juridicial Catholics” stand before Our Lord, they will probably be told “depart from Me”. They will probably be told this because they were not Catholics in mind, body, and soul! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 10:58 AM By k
I think it was Saint Gerturde who had a vision of Christ who asked her to pray for some men who had committed scandal or another grave sin. He showed her his arm that was distended and broken and as she prayed for the sinners his arm healed and returned to normal.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:23 AM By k
Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix has spoken out: “We can not and will not comply with this law.”


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:25 AM By CJ
Which saint was it who said something like, “Too many Popes…not enough regular Catholics…” ?


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:52 AM By k
Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdioces of Washington D.C. is calling for prayer and engagement. “No freedom is more percious and deserving of vigilance than our freedom of conscience.” The Maryland Catholic Conference is urging Catholics to contact their senators and representatives to ask them to co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act S1467 and HR1179.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 1:19 PM By John F. Maguire
It’s when a baptized Catholic dies unrepentant, that is, dies in adamant disdain of God’s love, that they are in jeopardy of being “told, ‘depart from Me'” — you’re right about that, Mr. Fisher. On the other hand, in terms of our discussion, the aforegiven postulate is also to say that a Catholic can remain a juridical member of the visible Church while having LOST sanctifying grace and thereby membership in the Mystical Body of Christ. By sharp contrast, to lose one’s juridical status as a Catholic, the present view seems to be that to do that one would need, as a procedural matter, to renounce one’s Catholic title ex professo, in the presence of one’s local ordinary. (Let’s pray hard that no one should be so benighted!)


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:20 PM By JLS
Freedom of conscience is not infringed by govt laws. A person can have freedom of conscience even when being burned at the stake. What is the reason the bishops don’t make it accurate and say freedom to act on one’s conscience? Could it be money? Again, when the American bishops defy the govt, it is always about money. There is no money in abortion for the bishops, and thus they do not do anything about it. Cut off their income from hospitals and donations from insurance companies and you hurt the money flow. Abort an extra thousand babies per day and it has no effect on the money flowing through the hands of bishops.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:23 PM By JLS
If someone can be given Holy Communion after pushing abortion, then there is no other sin which would keep anyone from Holy Communion. The logical outcome is that faith becomes a private matter … This was all laid out carefully and thoroughly by Martin Luther.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:53 PM By Abeca Christian
The writings written by St. Augustine of Hippo in A.D. 426 or 427 on Grace and Free Will are excellent! Excellent writings and teachings, they compliment the CCC and are in more detail. They offer more insight in which I have been having a great reflection on. We must continue to pray for God’s graces to be embraced by those who reject them, may God’s mercy be upon us through more miracles, to give people a change of heart leaning towards their renewal of reflection and acceptance of sufficient graces that they need to accept and fall in love with our Lord’s ways and truths. We have a lot of praying to do, so lets get to it. God bless our Bishops who are reminding the faithful of what real love is and with their faithful leadership in Christ, to lead more souls towards embraces the graces needed to endure these times! Praise Be Jesus Christ!


Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 7:52 PM By k
Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta has a letter protesting this and asking for prayer and action at all the Masses in his diocese on Sunday. Bishop Ricken of Green Bay also wrote a letter that asked for prayer and fasting and for people to contact their legislators. “People of faith cannot be made second class citizens.”


Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:43 PM By k
catholicvote has a list of 144 bishops who have spoken out against this.


Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 9:06 PM By JLS
k, a hundred bishops told voters not to vote for an abortion candidate, meaning Obama, but 200 bishops did not, and he was elected as 54% of the Catholic voters picked him. Now the bishop ratio is 50-50 … too bad it were not a 30-30 using canon ammo 915.


Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 11:29 PM By k
Last total of bishops to protest the mandate is 164. It is supposed to be representative of 90% of US diocese. JLS, yes there are more bishops than that. I think they are not counting auxiliary bishops or emeritus. Not sure, though.

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