Monday, January 30, 2012

Catholics Mobilize In Austin against Obama Administration's Assault on Religious Liberty

The Catholic Diocese of Austin has mobilized with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to protest the decision of the Obama Administration to order employers to provide health care insurance that pays for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs. The mandates run counter to the Catholic conscience for the protection of the unborn and interfere directly with ability of Catholics to practice their faith.

In other words, this is an all-out assault on the religious liberties of Catholics and those Christians who believe abortion in all its forms is murder.It's also an assault on the Constitution.

Please visit these sites to learn more about the issue and to participate with the protest.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Diocese of Austin

Despite his leading his Sunday homily with a quote from the "Philosopher Karl Marx," my associate pastor Fr. Adrian Chishimba after the Mass read a letter from the Most Reverend Joe S. Vasquez, Bishop of Austin. You can see his letter here and here is an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

[I have to comment on Fr. Chishimba's appreciation for the "wisdom" of Karl Marx as a lead-in to his homily. I nearly threw up when he started his lesson that way, quoting a man whose published poems, "Savage Songs," contained an "intense pessimism about the human condition, hatred, a fascination with corruption and violence, suicide pacts and pacts with the devil," according to historian Paul Johnson. Please read more about Marx in the chapter "Howling Gigantic Curses," in Johnson's book "Intellectuals." If he had more knowledge of the atheist, non-Christian, "philosopher," maybe Fr. Chishimba would have questioned the value of a man whose poetic imagery contains such gems as" "We are chained, shattered, frightened/Eternally chained to this marble block of being...We are the apes of a cold God." Reconcile that with a lead-in to a homily, any homily. And I won't even delve into the bloodstained history of Marxism right now. Surely that too is anathema to Fr. Chishimba's appreciation for this "philosopher." Unfortunately, you can never be sure these days with some Catholic priests. ]


bbmoe said...

Joe, thanks for this post. I don't think you have to agree with the Catholic Church on contraception to hate what the Obama administration is doing to religious liberty. Thank goodness for the USCCB and the Beckett fund and all the other religious institutions that are joining the fight!

I cut Fr. Adrian a lot of slack, not just because he's my priest. English is his 7th or 8th language and I'm sure he's really unaware of Karl Marx's oeuvre. He has more excuse than most for being somewhat naive, and in any case, he didn't use the Marx quote for any lefty purpose- it just happened to dovetail with the point of his message.

That said, one of my great sources of irritation is the "useful idiot" quality of the politics of most Protestant (and a good portion of Catholic) clergy. Most of them are preternaturally anti-free market and almost none of them understand the moral hazard of outsourcing our charity to the government. It just drives me crazy that they see the plight of the poor and the downtrodden, but don't see the negative effects of welfare (and entitlements) on the human spirit and society generally.

Ben_D said...

Perhaps by quoting Karl Marx, it is less an appreciation of Karl Marx but in the words of Sun Tzu "Know your enemy and know yourself?"

or as bbmoe said "it just happened to dovetail with the point of his message."

In the end, it is the message that matters. To study it and its relevence to what is going on or how it contributes to what needs to be done?

Sometimes a controversial opening statement is needed to get people's attention to wake them up from apathy and indifference?

It sounds like Fr. Adrian suceeded, as it inspired you to write?

Joe Gimenez said...

Quoting Marx, an atheist who deemed religion the opiate of the masses, is hardly an appropriate source of attention-grabbing during the homily of a Catholic Mass, especially when no effort is made during the homily to either position the first quote or instruct the flock as to the anti-Catholic source of the quote.

I can't recall the quote Fr. Adrian used exactly but I recall it being fairly gratuitous and out of place for the rest of the homily. It's hard for me to recall as I was so worked up that this priest would bring that evil name into our new church. You'd think that after spending $10 million of their hard-earned dollars to erect a beautiful new church to the glory of God that the people of St. John Neumann deserve better than to have Karl Marx thrown at them at 7:30 a.m.

I would certainly hope that the meditations of saints and popes throughout history might provide Fr. Adrian and other priests much richer source material than the words -- any words -- of Karl Marx.