The Catholic hierarchy is stirring, is aroused, and is now on the march. From the highest ranking, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conferences of Bishops, to the Bishop in Harrisburg, to the Pastor of the Church in York, Pennsylvania. The Catholics are coming.
Absent from the battlefield during the final months of the Obamacare debate over two years ago as conservatives warned that the pro-infanticide forces of the Obama White House and Reid-Pelosi Congress would use the power they were giving anti-life federal bureaucrats to force this policy on the Catholic Church and even to force Catholics to pay for it, this most incredible power grab took place without any denunciations from Catholic Church leaders. The Catholic Church offered not even mild dissent as supposed Catholics like then House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Pennsylvania's U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey voted to not only legalize murder of infants but to also give the power to let bureaucrats force Catholics to pay for it.
The Catholics, we were told, had been promised that there would be a "conscientious objector" proviso that would allow them to "opt out."
But now, as The Very Left Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Obama's former Pastor once said, "the pigeons are coming home to roost."
Two years after passage of ObamaCare, an explicit promise was made by President Obama himself to the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Catholics were promised they would be allowed to have a "conscience" clause to exempt them from the onerous, burdensome and reprehensible new policy.
Three months later, the promise was cancelled as President Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius used the powers given to her by this unconstitutional power grab to issue a new edict. On February 10, Sebelious said that the Administration will force the Church and its institutions - such as hospitals, schools and the social services it provides (ie. food pantries, adoption services, etc.) - to carry anti-life insurance and pay for what they call "contraceptive rights."
In plain English, that means free contraceptives, free sterilizations, free "morning after" (ie. abortion) pills. - trampling on some of the most sacred, longest held and consistent teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Obama Administration knew that on "the right to have contraception" and the "free birth control for all" issues they had a winner among the leftwing and freeloader classes they are looking to mobilize with issues such as this. And, the Catholics, well, they "rolled over" during the ObamaCare debate so why worry? As they have said endlessly since the new policy was announced, "99 percent " of the Catholics are on their side against their own priests and bishops.
This may be a serious miscalculation. Angry priests have taken to the pulpit to defend their teachings from this assault which is exactly what the First Amendment prohibits - the government forcing a religion on the entire country, in this case, the religion that says infanticide is OK and forcing those who dissent, to pay for it.
The Diocese of Harrisburg for example, states clearly on their website, that they are being forced to help distribute and even pay for "life threatening drugs and procedures" (http://www.hbgdiocese.org/default.aspx?PageID=23981c68-0d7d-43d1-9b48-6e6a0680fb36).
The Catholics are calling upon their flock to demand passage of "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act" currently before Congress (HR 1179 and S1467).
But more ominously - for the reelection prospects of President Obama, Pennsylvania's Catholic Senator Robert P. Casey and many other Democrat Senators and Congressmen across America, the Catholics are calling upon their flock to register to vote, and to vote for people who will reverse this anti-life, infanticide policy.
We have a detailed report about one of so very many Parish priests across America who are speaking from the pulpit at Sunday mass "the most forcefully, cogently, courageously, enthusiastically and correctly that I have ever heard him speak in over 6 years of listening to his homilies" said the parishioner who gave us this report from St. Patrick's Catholic Church in York, PA after listening this past Sunday to the third such homily since the federal dictate last month. He said he's never been prouder to be a Catholic after hearing a letter from the Bishop read a few weeks ago, and the three homilies of Father Samuel E. Houser, Pastor of St. Patrick's Church, York, PA.
I suggested that there will be dissenting voices warning against this stand, from the voices of moderation and compromise both within the Church and from its outside critics. I asked that parishioner, won't the Catholic fans of President Obama, and his supporter in Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, make them tone it down in time for President Obama and Senator Casey to win reelection?
Not a chance, the parishioner said the flock was told at this Sunday mass. Father Houser said in his homily - pausing to read headlines from several newspaper clips - that he could see President Obama was bolstered by poll results of what was called "GOP opposition to his contraceptive position." He knew that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi - his actual words - "continues to speak as if she represents the Pope in Rome. She does not. She should be excommunicated. She is an outrage."
Father Houser stunned his parish with these strong words, and went on to say that he felt terrible for the families of U.S. servicemen who courageously serve this nation at risk of their lives, when they see their Commander in Chief out there apologizing most abjectly to the very people who kill them, so sensitive and not wishing to offend these terrorists. But then the families of these servicemen see here in the United States, a policy such as this one and they ask, what about us, what about what he is doing to us in the Catholic Church who dissent from his policy? Where is his sensitivity for OUR religious beliefs?"
We were promised, reminded Father Houser, that there would be a conscience exemption so that those who didn't agree with this "life threatening" policy could be exempted. President Obama broke his promise, thundered Father Houser. Now the fines they will impose on us for violating their ruling, he explained, will force us to either be bankrupted or to withdraw our services. "Is that their goal" asked Father Houser - to put us out of business one way or the other way?
"We cannot give in" thundered Father Houser. Our Bishop in Harrisburg spoke to Catholic Senator Casey about this, about his support for this policy, reported Father Houser. He is in favor of this, he continued. He continues to say he is Catholic. But he is for this policy even after the effect on us was explained to him - a policy that forces us to violate our policy on life, forces us to pay for this, looks the other way as children have children. (note: when exact quotes are cited it is because the exact words were written down by the parishioner, versus notes referencing the content of the homily).
Father Houser challenged his flock - and this is being repeated in parishes all over America - to register to vote, and to vote. That is what the politicians understand, that is what will make them hear us.
Father Houser said he had the voter registration forms in the Church, and he hoped we run out so he would go and get more. Register. And vote. And this writer suggests one more thing you can do Dear Reader - write to Fr. Houser and THANK HIM for his firm stand, [email protected]
The earlier homilies of Father Houser emphasized the need to contact our elected officials and in the Church Bulletin he put the names and contact information for our elected officials, from President to Senators to Congressman. Since the Feb. 10 "edict" that has not changed the policy so now, it is a matter of register and promise to vote. Will Father Houser and the Catholics get more explicit as this election year goes on? I suspect they will. I'd bet on it.
Thou art Peter (rock), said Jesus to the first Pope, and in giving him - and all of us - our orders to stand up for what is right and He promised most clearly, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against you."
Those gates - the symbol of the authority and power of a city-state from which sally forth their troops to conquer - will not prevail. It is the direct and specific promise of Jesus Christ, in whose redeeming and blessed Name we pray for Father Houser and for all the priests and bishops and ministers and rabbis of all denominations and faiths, stand fast. If you do, then in this year 2012 as in the centuries since the promise was made, The gates of hell will not prevail against you.