Yesterday on National television you made two statements that, taken together, signal disaster for the Catholic Church in America. In the first statement you said:
We bishops aren’t fighters. We’re pastors, and we want to stand on principle. We just want to do our work as effectively as we can.
In the second statement you said that your response to an overture from the president on backing down from the HHS mandate would be:
I would say… The religious exemption is very choking and very tight. There’s a restriction there that we can’t live with. Simply in the best American principles of freedom of religion, simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.
How in the world could you have said that to this president, of all people, at this moment in history? That was a disastrous full-blown retreat in the name of every bishop in the land. Today, we have Obama’s answer.
A thinly veiled semantic recasting of the exact same policy, by the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
You lamented to Charlie Rose that this president has repeatedly given his word; at Notre Dame, to the Catholic Health Association, and to all of the bishops through you, and then he broke faith. Honestly, Emminence, what did you expect? Didn’t Jesus tell us that poison trees yield poison fruit? Your response was to tell this demagogue to just throw us a bone, an election year sop, and that he would never hear from the bishops again.
What is frightening, Emminence, is that I’m beginning to believe you.
What about abortion, euthanasia, the aggressive eugenics seizing medicine, the ever-widening definition of “death” to accommodate the organ transplant business? Will you hold your tongue on those issues as well?
In the 23rd Psalm, the psalmist writes:
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The rod and staff in this context are not metaphors for discipline, but the understanding that as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we know that the Good Shepherd will use his staff to beat away the wild beasts, which is precisely what Jesus meant when He said that He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep.
As we both know, at night the shepherds create pens for the sheep and the good one’s then lie down at the opening to the pen so that the wolves will have to take on the shepherds before they can get to the sheep. That’s a far cry from your statement of the bishops not being fighters. It was always my understanding that the staff carried by a bishop not only symbolized his benign control over the flock, but is a symbolic projection of power to the wolves.
That was very absent in your commentary yesterday with Charlie Rose.
What we don’t need any more of is polite, diplomatic meetings with the architects of the Culture of Death. We had that here in New York with Gay Marriage. We’ve now had that with the HHS mandate.
It’s beyond painful to see our bishops, health care leaders, and Catholic academicians repeatedly being played for fools by this man. Enough! What we need now are shepherds who will wield those staffs against the wolves who have been tearing the flock to pieces for decades. You can’t do business with the most rabidly proabortion politician in American history. He can only be defeated.
And it isn’t just the unborn or the elderly who need your protection. It’s good Catholic laypeople who are business owners and who don’t want to be forced to participate in this mandate. Even if you secure an accommodation for the Church, what about them?
Even if Obama capitulates on the HHS mandate, should he be reelected, he will sign an executive order the next day reinstating the mandate. Then what?
No, Emminence, we need a Cardinal like your illustrious predecessor, John Cardinal O’Connor. We need to confront the Nancy Pelosi’s and Kennedy’s, the Biden’s and Sebeliuses from within and force the issue regarding their Catholicity. They must recant their support of the Culture of Death or be prohibited from receiving communion. We need a Cardinal who will denounce such atrocities as the HHS mandate and not simply voice his “consternation” and “disappointment”.
You cannot afford to be played for the fool ever again. Your staff isn’t large enough to corral the entire flock when they lose faith in the shepherd. Should that occur, Emminence, it will be Obama’s most enduring legacy.
UPDATE: Please see correction here.