Yesterday, over at Socon or Bust, which is a social conservative, Catholic focused, popular blog site here in Canada, John Pacheco referenced a LifeSite News article with the title "Catholic Leaders Outraged Over Media Silence on HHS Mandate Lawsuits" linked here. He opined:
Religious freedom is important and it must be defended, but the real issue here is contraception. If the bishops start talking about THAT, it will get coverage because the media THINKS it can win on that topic. But if the Church actually provides a defense – ANY DEFENSE – it will win. Why? Because people think contraception is like apple pie, so any criticism of it is at least going to gain some convertsSo, in John's opinion the lack of news coverage is because the bishops won't call the issue what it is, (at least in his mind) a fight over birth control, not a battle over religious freedom.
I think he is seriously wrong, as without religious freedom, the bishops will not have a pulpit to speak the truth about contraception and abortion, a truth that we should have been told about regularly and faithfully since day 1, even if you want to move day 1 forward to the Humanae Vitae encyclical from Pope Paul VI in 1968, and if you want to read some truth, with no fluff or pretence, here is a link.
Now, this morning over at Sancte Pater, a fine Catholic blog site, Ann Barnhardt in an article with the title "The Bishops are Being Played. Like Cheap Fiddles." goes off like a roman candle on the bishops accusing them of folding their tents.
Frankly, I like the way Ms. Barnhardt has written her article. Her wit is acerbic, no punches were pulled, and there is a slight possibility that there is a degree of truth in what she has said, a large degree of truth. She starts out with:
I do not understand how it is that this isn't glaringly, beat-you-over-the-head obvious, but whatever. I'll explain it. Listen up. Especially if you have a hat shaped like the blade of a posthole digger in your wardrobe, and people actually call you "Excellency."
Withdrawing health insurance (like Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio), shutting down schools, closing adoption agencies, soup kitchens or ANYTHING ELSE in "protest" of ObamaCare and the HHS "mandates" is EXACTLY, PRECISELY, TOTALLY and COMPLETELY what the Obama regime wants.
Further, the reason why the "press" has OBVIOUSLY been given the order to keep all of this quiet and to not report in any way on the lawsuits filed by the dozens of various Catholic organizations this week against the Obama regime - the largest religious legal action ever taken against the U.S. government by a long shot - is obvious.
The Obama regime is sitting back and watching all of you cowardly fools fold your own tents. None of the stupid bread-and-circus addicted crowd knows anything about any of this. You have to break out of your narcissistic little world and understand that even though these things are earth-shattering to you, uh, most people in this country don't even know that their "government" has declared war on the Church.
I was disappointed to see a few Catholic institutions folding on HHS, by withdrawing health care programmes from students or workers, though there might be more to the withdrawal than meets the eye. Quite possibly, there is not an insurer in the country prepared to underwrite a health care package that obviously flies in the face of the US President and his cronies and denies the birth control and abortion services so desperately needed by the women of America. If there is not, then how about the Catholic Church creates one, or get the Knights of Columbus to upgrade their insurance company to provide group health care.
I am not sure that 40 something lawsuits and counting filed against the Obama administration over HHS is tent folding and skulking away in the night. But, I do concur in general with her conclusion, and have one of my own to add at the end. Ms. Barnhardt concludes with the following:
Listen, you fools. YOU DON'T SHUT ANYTHING DOWN. You keep going exactly as you have been, and you force those dirty rotten SOBs to literally storm your hospitals and shut YOU down at gunpoint. And I'm not kidding. Make them physically shut down your hospital by dragging you out at gunpoint. Make them physically shut down your schools. Make them shut down your university by force because you won't cover abortions in your student health plan. Make them physically shut down your soup kitchens. Make them shut down your adoption agencies because you won't hand a baby boy over to two men who like to jam various and sundry body parts up each others' rectums.
In other words, STAND AND FIGHT.
The only proper course of action is total non-compliance with these totalitarian edicts of the regime, and FORCING THEIR HAND.
Anything less than that, and you LOSE. MEN fight wars. If you refuse to do your duty and act like MEN, then the war is already lost. And make no mistake, cowardice is a grave sin, and you will answer for it.
Every bishop is given a crosier upon his ordination to the episcopacy. A crosier is a shepherd's staff. It is a six to seven foot long staff that a shepherd uses to beat the crap out of wolves. That's your job. Beating the crap out of the wolves - not killing all of the sheep yourself so that there is nothing left for the wolves to eat.
MAN UP!!!! FIGHT, YOU FOOLS!!!
Though I think that Ms. Barnhardt and Mr. Pacheco are guilty of some bloviation, they are voicing the concerns of many faithful Catholic men and women in the world.
I honestly think that the bishops are standing and fighting and that Cardinal Dolan is the right man to be the head of the USCCB for this time and place. Under the normal succession methods of the USCCB, it was Bishop Gerald Kikanas, of our winter home diocese in Tucson, who was next in line. Bishop Kikanas is a kind and gentle shepherd, whom I had the occasion to meet on one occasion at a pro-life event to conclude 40 Days for Life in Tucson a few years back. For him to be jumped by an Archbishop, and now Cardinal in Cardinal Dolan is no slight to this holy man, but Cardinal Dolan, like Ann Barnhardt does not pull punches, though his language might be a little less colorful than Ms. Barnhardt.
I think Cardinal Dolan knows what the crosier is to be used for, which Ms. Barnhardt so eloquently described in the quote above from her, but he and all priests throughout the world are in dire need of our prayers, not our indignation and judgement. Judgement prevents the graces that God calls us to generate for them by our prayers to be generated in the first place, and to flow where the need is so great.
So, I recommend that we take what Mr. Pacheco and Ms. Barnhardt have written as a call to action, since the fight going on is ultimately our fight. Our call to action is to pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, who has a special love for all priests, particularly for their role as alter christus, or another Christ, in imitation of Her Beloved Son. We must also pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that we might direct our prayers and offer up our daily joys, works, trials and tribulations in unity with Our Dear Saviour to the Father for these precious sons of God who are the heart and soul of our Church.
Father, in heaven, we lift up all your priests to you, called to holiness, and to lead the people of faith to the foot of the cross of Your Beloved Son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ. We join our prayers for their continual growth in holiness and commitment to the Gospel, on their behalf with our Blessed Mother and her Immaculate Heart. We implore Jesus to cover them with the Precious Blood which flows from His Sacred Heart, and to present them to you along with ourselves as living sacrifices at your altar. Father, Your Will be done. Amen.