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Archive for March, 2012

The following is a story by Michael P. Farris, Esq., the founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. It isn’t a story about home schooling. It’s about the metastatic cancer that has crept into obstetric medicine. When OB/Gyn’s perform abortions with routine, they need to callous themselves in order to preserve themselves. Somewhere along the way a piece of their humanity gets lost. The same for the rest of the medical staff. In the end, they begin to hold parents in contempt. It is the arrogance of those who abuse their ability to control who lives, and who dies; the seductive and insatiable thirst for power and control.

This story, by Farris, is bone-chilling. That an entire medical staff could behave this way suggests that they have done so in the past with impunity. Here’s Farris:

Newborn Seized in Hospital by Police, Social Worker

Michael P. Farris, Esq.
HSLDA Chairman

I am not content to sit on the sidelines while the government gradually usurps the very essence of parental rights. I hope you share my determination. We need to stand with people like Scott and Jodi Ferris (obviously no relation to someone named Farris). Here’s their story:

Jodi went into labor a bit earlier than she had expected—and the baby was coming rapidly. Given their location and other factors, the midwife they had hoped would deliver the baby at their home encouraged them to get in an ambulance and head to the hospital.

Their baby, whom I will call “Annie,” was born in the ambulance in the parking lot of the Hershey Medical Center—a government hospital in Pennsylvania. Hospital personnel arrived very quickly and took charge of both baby and mom.

As any mother would do, Jodi immediately began to ask the nurses and attendants how her baby was doing. The hospital staff was utterly unresponsive. When they started to give Jodi an injection, she asked what it was and what it was for. They gave her vague answers like, “It’s just to help.” Only after giving her the injection of oxytocin did they tell her what it was and then asked, “You aren’t allergic to that are you?”

Jodi persisted in asking about Annie. No one would tell her anything other than “she’s in good hands and you’ll be able to see her soon.”

Eventually a doctor told her that Annie scored a 9 on a physical exam applied to newborns known as the APGAR test. A score of 8 or higher is considered healthy. (It is unclear when the score was given since she was in the ambulance at birth.) But shortly after this a different doctor told Jodi that Annie was “very sick” and would need to stay in the hospital. This doctor’s comments were accompanied by an explanation of his disdain for midwives saying, “Too many people think they know what they’re doing.”

About an hour later, another hospital staffer finally brought Annie to Jodi and said, “The baby is doing good. She will be able to go home in no time.”

Legal Requirements?

However, several hours later yet another staffer told Scott and Jodi that Annie would have to stay in the hospital for 48 to 72 hours for observation. Even though they persisted in asking why Annie would need to stay, his only answer was that “the law requires us to keep the baby for 48 hours.” When they asked for a reference to this supposed law, he answered, “you’ll have to get that from risk management.” (By the way, there is no such law in Pennsylvania.)

The risk management staffer eventually told them that even though they saw nothing wrong with the baby, they just like “to keep babies like this” for 48–72 hours. The Ferrises were told that Annie would not be released for this period since it was “unsafe for her to leave the hospital.”

Eventually, a risk management staffer admitted that the risk that was being managed was not the health of Annie but the risk that the hospital might get sued if something went wrong after she was discharged.

Ultimately, risk management said that they would be satisfied with a 24-hour stay and that Jodi and Scott could remain with the baby overnight.

You have been Accused

Late in the afternoon, a government social worker named Angelica Lopez-Heagy came into Jodi’s room announcing that she was there to conduct an investigation. Jodi asked to know the allegations. The social worker claimed that it would be against the law for her to show Jodi the allegations.

Jodi replied that she would not be comfortable answering the questions if she couldn’t know the allegations. Immediately the social worker proclaimed, “Since you’re not going to cooperate, I’ll just go and call the police and we can take custody of the baby.”

Fearing that the social worker would carry out her threat, Jodi replied that she was willing to cooperate.

The social worker soon intimated that the issue was Jodi’s refusal to consent to medical treatment for the baby. Jodi replied that she had no idea why anyone would say that. The social worker claimed that she had refused to allow a Vitamin K shot for Annie. Jodi replied that no one had asked her about such a shot. Moreover, she had overheard hospital staffers saying that they had already given Annie such a shot.

Neither the social worker nor any hospital staffer ever gave Jodi or Scott any example of any medically necessary treatment that they had refused for Annie.

At this point, Scott left the hospital to tend to their older children who were staying with friends.

Ordering Tests

Shortly after this, the hospital asked to check Annie’s white blood cell count and to perform a strep test. Jodi agreed to the testing.

Then the hospital demanded that they give Annie shot for Hepatitis B. Jodi said that she would agree only if they tested her or Annie to see if either of them were positive. If so, then she was quite willing to have the shot for Annie. The hospital claimed that they had forgotten about this earlier when it was still possible to test that day, and that they needed to give the shot anyway without any testing.

When the social worker pressed her to make an immediate decision about this shot, Jodi asked her if they could simply wait until Scott got back before they decided.

Put yourself in Jodi’s shoes at this moment. You gave birth that morning in an ambulance. The hospital has made wild and conflicting claims about your baby’s health all day long. You are exhausted. You are in pain. Your husband has gone to check on your children. And a social worker who has threatened to take your baby into police custody is standing in your hospital room demanding that you make an immediate decision.

Jodi simply said, “Please can’t this wait until my husband gets back.”

The social worker renewed her threat. If Jodi would not answer her question right then, she would call the police. And then the social worker started adding conditions. She and Scott would have to agree to sign a safety plan before she could conclude her investigation.

Jodi said that she wanted her husband and an attorney to look at the plan. She felt she was in no position to read such a document and really understand what she was being pressured to sign.

Thrown Out

And then the story turns ugly.

The social worker left the room and called the police. Without a court order they took custody of Annie, immediately claiming that she was suffering from illness or injury—a patently false claim.

The social worker consented to the administration of the Hepatitis B shot even though no blood test had been done.

The police made Jodi Ferris get up out of her hospital bed and escorted her to the entrance—they were expelling her from the hospital because she had not signed the “safety plan.”

Scott met her at the entrance to the hospital. The police escorted them both off of the grounds of the hospital.

Jodi was told that she would be allowed to return every three hours to nurse the baby through the night.

Jodi and Scott were forced to spend the night that she had given birth in their car in the parking lot of a nearby Wal-Mart. You read that right. They kicked this mother out of the hospital, and in order to be close enough to feed her child, she had to sleep in the car.

To add insult to injury, Jodi was given access to Annie only sporadically and not every three hours.

Get the rest here.

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Gates of Hell: Movie Review

Last year, pro-life filmmaker Molotov Mitchell released the trailer to his upcoming film, Gates of Hell. I wrote a scalding review of the film based on the trailer, which can be seen here:

Molotov’s response was to make a video that tore into me with some pretty vicious ad hominem attacks. It can be seen here:

People were incensed at Molotov’s video rebuttal. I just took it in stride and decided to wait and see if the trailer accomplished what trailers are meant to do: Present the arc of the movie. Well, it seems that the movie is out and the reviews are coming in. I present here Jill Stanek’s review, which as well contains that of my colleague, Ryan Bombereger.

Here now, is Jill Stanek:

The movie Gates of Hell has been controversial among pro-lifers since its trailer was posted almost a year ago. In February the film was released on DVD “in honor of black history month.”

Set in 2016, Gates of Hell is a fictional documentary that follows a band of black domestic terrorists known as the Zulu 9 who literally set their sites on abortionists and abortion workers after learning blacks have been purposefully targeted for abortion for generations.

Gates of Hell was written and directed by Molotov Mitchell, a gifted pro-life filmmaker who went terribly astray this time.

Things got personal when Mitchell took apart friend and site moderator Gerard Nadal for coming out against the film after watching the trailer. Mitchell mocked Gerard for basing his review on just the teaser, promising there was more to the movie.

There wasn’t. I really wanted to like this film but have watched it twice now and have been deeply disturbed each time. I’m a provocative pro-lifer who likes to push the envelope, but Gates of Hell goes too far.

The film is quite simply about black terrorists who murder any and all abortion workers they can find – an abortionist leaving his house, an abortionist sitting at an outdoor cafe, etc., etc.

The most disturbing scene is when the Zulu 9 burst into a Planned Parenthood, indiscriminately picking off staff in their offices. I could only think of Columbine.

Ryan Bomberger has written a review of Gates of Hell from a black perspective:

I actually had to hit pause several times throughout this obvious shockumentary, because I was repulsed by what I was seeing and so angry that this creation could even be considered “pro-life”. One of my colleagues, and pivotal figures in the fight against the epidemic of abortion in New York City, Dr. Gerard Nadal, was excoriated by Molotov for daring to react to the trailer. Nadal was attacked for somehow misinterpreting the contents of a trailer that accurately reflect the entire movie.

How would I describe the film in a single word? Detrimental.

The glorification of violence, as a means toward an end, makes the film’s primary message appalling. Molotov, starring in his own film as himself, was the only person in this story who was not a fictional character. He cannot claim a fictional nature for the film, but instead one of seeming advocacy with a deeply disturbing and highly suggestive solution to a cause.

Watching the entire movie not only reinforced my own negative reaction to the trailer but also strengthened the argument that the film does not consider the overall racism that it, too, conveys.

I get that Molotov was trying in the most attention-getting way possible to spotlight the atrocity of black abortion genocide. But that is not what people will be talking about.

Molotov owes Gerard an apology.

I give Gates of Hell one star, only for its display of Molotov’s unique story-telling talent. I look forward to the day Molotov channels his creative energies into a project of value to the movement. This one wasn’t.

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Belated Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Light on the blogging the past month. Our children are all superb Irish Step dancers and had a recital today. It was a great afternoon. In honor of my Irish ancestors, a Muppet classic:

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Recently, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dropped her guard and gave the American people a good insight into how it is that Obamacare will ultimately stay solvent: The nonexistence of patients who, not being alive, cannot make claims upon the system.

From CNSNews.com

During the subcommittee hearing, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said that contraception provided by insurance companies to people employed by religious organizations under the future form of the rule Sebelius described would not be was not free.

“Who pays for it? There’s no such thing as a free service,” Murphy asked.

Sebelius responded that that is not the case with insurance.

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for cost of contraception,” Sebelius answered.

Murphy expressed surprise by the answer.

“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” Murphy asked.

Sebelius replied, “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children.”

Murphy again sought clarification.

“Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me. I yield back,” he said.

Sebelius responded, “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine.”

See and hear Sebelius in her own words:

Now this week comes word that the Congessional Budget Office estimates Obamacare will cost twice its originally promised cost. News also comes of the return of what Sarah Palin dubbed, “Death Panels” for healthcare rationing. Far from right wing flights of fancy, these realities already exist in chilling bureaucratic routine across the nation in hospital committees who decide when patients have used too many resources, and in Oregon’s health care system where the government decides when a patient’s remaining quality of life justifies the expense of keeping them alive.

Here is the ABC News article about one such patient, Barbara Wagner. It is a portal into the national future.

Adding fuel to the fire is the issue of states increasingly strained by the growing number of civil service pensioners who do their 20 years and retire on full pensions.

Add to that the Social Security insolvency.

It becomes clear that Sebelius has not so much committed a gaffe as she has revealed the solution her fellow travelers see to our insolvency issues: decreasing the number of claimants on the system decreases the system’s expenditures. Nonexistence of humans on the front end of the life spectrum will fund the cost of the HHS contraception mandate through the offsetting of the non-conceived human’s non-claims on the system. Applying the same thinking on the other end of the life spectrum will realize a bumper crop of savings for local, state, and the federal government when civil service pensioners are denied life-saving services, or have them delayed long enough in rationing lines in the hopes that the patient will be overtaken by the disease while waiting.

Being a Pacific Northwestern Governor, Sarah Palin looked to one of her closest neighbors, Oregon, and saw clearly the future of the pro-abortion, anti-life, rabidly eugenic left wing. It is far easier to cull the herd than grow the economy, especially in a political party that is opposed to all known and practical sources of energy; to a political party that has made a central plank of their platform the reduction of the world’s population.

We are a nation in serious, serious trouble.

To only blame the Obama administration or the Democrat Party is to miss the fact that sufficient numbers of Americans agree with these people. Far too many uphold the right for someone else to slaughter their child, even though they are personally opposed to doing so.

So many uphold he right of others to force doctors to perform manslaughter through physician-assisted suicide, even if it violates the doctor’s conscience.

So many uphold the forcing of all medical students to perform abortions against their consciences.

So many uphold the forcing of religious institutions and private businesses to purchase contraceptives against their consciences.

90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, with costs to the parents and the ‘system’ cited by physicians and genetic counselors in a coercive campaign to rid the world of these “defectives”.

Far too many in this nation support the coercion of physicians and private citizens to do the government’s bidding when doing so violates consciences formed by thousands of years of civilized precepts. Now we have established that private and institutional conscience is the property of the state, the state is taking full advantage of the opportunity to advance its agenda.

Hitler never could have accomplished his malignant agenda without the support of the German people in sufficient numbers. It takes more than a village, it takes a nation to be good or evil. Today, our nation balances on a razor’s edge.

It will take more than the November elections to turn things around. It’s going to take the realization of what is at stake. It’s no longer someone else’s ox getting gored.

We’re all in peril.

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As Holy Week looms large on the horizon, I’m thinking out loud a question I have thought to myself for years:

Were the Apostles really the first Deacons in the Church? Did the Apostles institute the Diaconate, or did Jesus at the Last Supper?

I believe that a scriptural case may be made for the Apostles being the first deacons. To begin, we all know that the Last Supper was the moment where Jesus instituted His Priesthood, conforming His apostles to himself as Priest when He commanded them:

“Whenever you do this, do this in remembrance of me.”

In that moment, with that command, Jesus conformed His Apostles to Himself as Priest. The Church teaches that at the moment of ordination to the priesthood, the very nature of the man is changed forever. A priest is a priest forever.

The Church also teaches that when a man is ordained to the diaconate he undergoes a change in his very nature, that he is a deacon forever. He is conformed to Christ the Servant, and theirs is a ministry of service. (It is important to note that every priest remains a deacon, forever.)

We are also taught, in Acts, that the Apostles selected and ordained the first deacons, conforming them to Christ the Servant:

1 About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked.
2 So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food;
3 you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom, to whom we can hand over this duty.
4 We ourselves will continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’
5 The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
6 They presented these to the apostles, and after prayer they laid their hands on them.

A proper understanding of this passage in Acts requires a return to the Last Supper in John 13:

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God,he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist.

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.”

For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet (and) put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them,

“Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.”

“If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

With those words, Jesus conformed His apostles to Himself as servants, and this before He instituted the Eucharist. Going ahead to the dilemma of the Apostles in Acts, we see them exercising their ministry of service until the growth of the Church placed too many demands on them. When they laid hands on the seven they were transmitting what had been given to them at the Last Supper, namely, the ministry of service.

The Diaconate.

The Apostles realized that the ministry of service was suffering because of the constraints of time upon them, and so it was that they safeguarded the integrity of this ministry that Jesus conferred on them by ordaining men to that ministry alone while the Apostles pursued the ministry of the Word.

But note: The ministry of service was the province of the Apostles, and they created deacons in response to that ministry suffering for want of time.

As I read the Last Supper narratives, there were two ordinations:

Jesus conforming the Apostles to Himself as servants.
Jesus conforming the Apostles to Himself as priests.

The institution of the priesthood tends to overshadow the institution of the diaconate for many obvious reasons, but this has serious ramifications for those in Holy Orders in the Twenty-first Century.

The Apostles functioned as both deacons and priests until the demands of leadership forced the issue. However, many of the problems stemming from priestly clericalism, even the clericalism itself often arises when a priest forgets that he is also a deacon forever, that he was first conformed to Christ the Servant before he was conformed to Christ the Priest. It is even worse in priests who disparage the Permanent Diaconate, but that is a topic for another day.

Every priest, every bishop today is also a deacon. So, too, does it appear from John and Luke (Acts), were the Apostles.

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Ite ad Joseph

Ite ad Joseph! (Go to Joseph!)

It’s the great Latin admonition of the Church, to seek the intercession of the Patron Saint of the Church, and a powerful intercessor at that. Against the backdrop of the new aggressive eugenics that has taken solid root in American medicine, and against the war on the Catholic Church declared by the Obama administration, this Feast Day of Joseph requires some contemplation of his life and example.

Being engaged to Mary was probably a safe, peaceful, and hopeful period in the life of the holy older man whose betrothal to the holy younger woman was suddenly upended when she announced to him her pregnancy, and that it was God’s baby. Such obvious infidelity compounded by blasphemy could have merited Mary death, but Joseph chose to divorce her quietly, that was until things really became interesting.

Joseph heard from Heaven, as Matthew recounts:

20 He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’
22 Now all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
23 Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’.
24 When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home;
25 he had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.

If that weren’t enough, there would be the shepherds coming after the birth and describing the great Theophany, when Heaven opened and the Angels sang. There would be the Magi who journeyed quite a distance bearing their great treasures for this newborn King.

And then there was Herod.

Another dream with an angelic message, and the flight into Egypt to avoid the wholesale slaughter of the innocents. As the scriptures note, there was no intercourse. Joseph was Mary’s chaste spouse through it all, and a fearless adoptive father to her child.

That’s virtue, and an example for our time.

Joseph was called upon to make extraordinary sacrifices in his life in order to ensure the unfolding of God’s plan. If tradition that holds Joseph to have been an older widower is true, his plans for uneventful domesticity with a holy young woman were shattered. As the father of an autistic child, who was on a very different trajectory professionally until our Joseph was given five major diagnoses, I can relate to Saint Joseph.

Our life with our son Joseph has reordered my priorities in ways unimaginable. From seeming tragedy emerges hope, and hope is realized in triumphs great and small. In the eight years since his diagnoses, I thought that I was the one who was in the lead, and indeed I have been through orchestrating and executing Joseph’s therapeutic regimen. In a larger sense, it is Joseph who has been the one leading as his autism has been the portal into the new eugenics claiming countless lives of handicapped children through abortion.

It is inspiring seeing the possibilities for children with autism as Joseph continues to excel in bowling at the competitive level with ‘typical’ kids his own age; as he continues to advance in rank, skill, and socialization in Boy Scouts, as he continues to excel in Irish Step and Street Tap dancing; as he continues to thrill his teammates in baseball; as he continues to inspire his peers in altar serving; as his academics continue to improve. Hope transformed into joy.

But there is a price to be paid for that transformation. It requires death to self, in much the same manner as the successful parenting of typical children. The nuclear fuel for the eugenic engine is the misperception on the part of parents, and the outright lie told by obstetricians and genetic counselors, that life with the child will be a living hell for all concerned, that the parents will lose themselves, their identities, their futures, in the needs of this child.

In truth, the problem of the past thirty years is that all too many parents are unwilling to spend themselves for their children’s health, education, and welfare.

Ite ad Joseph!

Joseph did all that he had to do to secure the safety of his adopted son, including leaving the promised land and returning to the land of his people’s former slavery. He left his business, his friends, family, neighbors, and took the young woman who became pregnant apart from Joseph’s embrace; so Joseph also left behind his good name.

Some might be tempted to suggest that Joseph’s was an extraordinary case, as he was instructed by angels in dreams. A good counter would be to suggest that we don’t need angelic visions when we have the Dei Verbum which spells it out for us.

Joseph is the model of masculine virtue for all fathers. Perhaps we don’t read much about him in scripture because those virtues are supposed to be ordinary. We men plead all sorts of romantic-sounding promises when we court our wives. Jimmy Stewart lassoing the moon for Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Today it’s considered heroic virtue to keep the child of our marital embrace if it is less than perfect, if that child will make demands on our time and resources. Regina and I aren’t heroic for embracing Joseph in all of his frailty and doing all within our power to lift him up. That’s just our job, the fulfillment of vows we made to accept children willingly and lovingly from God, and to raise them in the faith.

Ite ad Joseph!

We need to contemplate the life of Joseph, the ordinary virtues he lived that today make him seem superhuman. We need to offer our lives as witnesses to the power of God’s grace to take the weaknesses of our children in stride, and to make them part of the ordinariness of our day-to-day lives. We need to make people understand that authentic freedom consists in having the ability to do what we must, and not what we want. It’s the only escape from the narcissism and hedonism that have overtaken and enslaved so many, and which fuel the growing eugenic wildfire.

Ite ad Joseph!

I took his name for Confirmation, in no small measure because of the great example of my grandfather, Joseph, who was the living embodiment of Mary’s husband; and gave it to the baby boy who has led me to a place I resisted going for decades before his birth. It is the place we must all work to bring our nation before the eugenic fire overtakes us all.

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Talk about manna from Heaven! Here is a video of President Obama himself calling on African American churches to support his reelection by selecting “Congregation Captain[s]“.

There can be no further objection by the Catholic Bishops to publishing voter guides, or to organizing within our Churches. Obama just tossed the IRS regs. to the wind.

This matters, and for a great many reasons touching on biomedical ethics. This President has defunded the embryo adoption program begun by President Bush while simultaneously promoting the use of embryos for research. Then there are his Obamacare death panels, HHS Secretary who will pay for the contraception mandate by realizing the savings on not providing healthcare to humans not born…

He has declared war and is calling upon Churches favorable to him to work as churches to organize and get out the vote.

Game on.

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This is a must-see video on conscience rights. H/T Dr. Martha Shuping, a brilliant and passionate pro-life physician.

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Yesterday I posted a blog in response to Cardinal Goerge’s letter regarding the HHS Mandate and the future of Catholic institutions. Today, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois responded. I offer his response as its own post and respectfully reply below. Here is Bishop Paprocki.

Dr. Nadal is accurate in saying that the President and his supporters would love for the government to take over Catholic health care, social services and education, however, he misunderstands Cardinal George and the Bishops if he thinks we are threatening to abandon these Catholic hospitals if the government does not back down from the HHS mandate. Last year I fought to keep our Catholic Charities foster care and adoption services in Illinois, but we lost that battle in all three branches of state government: executive, legislative and judicial. I warned that this would happen. It was not a threat, but a statement of fact. In fact, the state pushed us out of foster care and adoption services. We did not go willingly or quietly. All that the Cardinal is saying is that the same thing will happen to other Catholic apostolates at the federal level unless the administration’s mandate is withdrawn by the executive branch or overridden by legislative or judicial branches of the federal government. That is where we are currently fighting this cultural war (which they started, by the way.) If Dr. Nadal has some other strategies that he thinks will work, I am open to suggestions.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois

Your Excellency,

I thank you for your letter of clarification regarding Cardinal George’s intended message, and also for your prompt email reply to my attempt at verifying the authenticity of the message left in your name. Yes, it is alarming to see how many Catholic agencies have been shut down by the government.

As regards a suggested alternative course of action, in my post yesterday I mentioned the only viable option I see at this point. We all know the individual politicians and the party from whence this withering assault on the Church has come. It is the Democrat Party that has declared war on Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular. It is time for this party, as constituted, to be voted out of office. Perhaps in resounding defeat this party may reorganize itself, choosing leadership that does not see its traditional concern for the disenfranchised as being inextricably linked to a war on Christianity.

To be certain, the Republican Party has treated us (especially pro-lifers) as their useful idiots in years gone by. However, we now face threats unimagined a few short decades ago; threats from an increasingly radicalized Democrat Party. They cannot be reasoned with at this point, only defeated. The same goes for Obamacare as a package.

It would help, Your Excellency, if the bishops articulated this threat and poured resources into organizing for the November elections. As I said yesterday, there are hundreds of video clips of Democrats campaigning from Protestant pulpits, so the precedent is there. This, I believe, is the only viable option left to us. We cannot allow the Democrats the socially redeeming patina of social justice concerns with their programs for the poor while they simultaneously:

Fund Planned Parenthood, which operates 78% of their “clinics” in inner-city neighborhoods.

Fund Planned Parenthood abortions with over one third of a billion dollars annually with fungible money.

Promote an aggressive eugenics in fetal medicine.

Promote a national “healthcare” program that has rationing (death panels) built in.

Promote gay marriage while assailing the Church for its righteous objection.

The list goes on…

There can be no doubt as to where Barak Obama stands in relation to the Church. The same for the Democrat leadership. If Catholics do not organize against this wicked administration with a view toward defeating it at the polls, and do so with the full support of the clergy at the highest level, then we are deserving of what will come our way.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote that it is the duty of government to protect our inalienable rights–those rights which come from God alone. He also wrote that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish any form of government which becomes destructive of government’s ends (to support those rights).

Barak Obama has launched a war against the Catholic Church and all people of faith with his HHS Mandate. We need our bishops to not only stand with the faithful, but to lead the faithful as citizens who are intent on changing the current government in November by voting out this wicked administration. It is intolerable that we should be forced out of the social services, healthcare, and educational fields because of our faith.

It is similarly intolerable that in states like New York, we have been forced to do at the state level what Obama proposes at the Federal level. If necessary, we need to engage in civil disobedience and refuse to comply any longer.

I believe that the faithful will rally around a muscular response from the bishops. Having failed at receiving justice at any level of government, as has been your experience, our only option is to change our government at the polls.

If any bishop would lead on this issue, my blog is at his disposal. Thank you, Bishop Paprocki, for your faithful service to our Church. Please rest assured of my continued prayers and support.

God Bless.

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It is a well-known phenomenon that generals have a tendency to “Fight the Last War,” meaning that they tend to use the tactics that brought them victory in the last war they fought. The problem is that the enemy usually shows up with new weapons and new tactics. Either the generals adapt, or go down to defeat.

In the war over the HHS Mandate, it seems that the bishops have shown up with Cardinal O’Connor’s playbook from the 1980′s. It won’t work, and they had better grasp that reality today, and with all due urgency.

This past week, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago issued a letter to his faithful warning that the archdiocese will need to get out of the hospital and healthcare business, as well as education, social services, etc., if the Obama administration does not back down. Some excerpts:

Catholic hospitals, universities and social services have an institutional conscience, a conscience shaped by Catholic moral and social teaching. The HHS regulations now before our society will make it impossible for Catholic institutions to follow their conscience.

What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.

The state is making itself into a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict nor choose its timing. We would love to have it ended as quickly as possible. It’s up to the government to stop the attack.

If you haven’t already purchased the Archdiocesan Directory for 2012, I would suggest you get one as a souvenir. On page L-3, there is a complete list of Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in Cook and Lake counties. Each entry represents much sacrifice on the part of medical personnel, administrators and religious sponsors. Each name signifies the love of Christ to people of all classes and races and religions. Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank.

There’s much more in the letter. Read it here.

Cardinal George’s tactic here was that of Cardinal O’Connor in the 1980′s, when Mayor Ed Koch passed Executive Order 50 that would have forced the Catholic Church to hire homosexuals in all of our institutions. From Wiki:

O’Connor actively opposed Executive Order 50, a mayoral order issued in 1980 by Mayor Ed Koch, which required all City contractors, including religious entities, to provide services on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, creed, age, sex, handicap, as well as “sexual orientation or affectational preference”.[25] After the Salvation Army received a warning from the City that its contracts for child care services would be canceled for refusing to comply with the executive order’s provisions regarding sexual orientation,[26] the Archdiocese of New York and Agudath Israel, an Orthodox Jewish organization, threatened to cancel their contracts with the City if forced to comply.[26] O’Connor maintained that the executive order would cause the Church to appear to condone homosexual practices and lifestyle.[27][27] Writing in Catholic New York in January 1985, O’Connor characterized the order as “an exceedingly dangerous precedent [that would] invite unacceptable governmental intrusion into and excessive entanglement with the Church’s conducting of its own internal affairs.” Drawing the traditional Catholic distinction between homosexual “inclinations” and “behavior”, he stated that “we do not believe that homosexual behavior … should be elevated to a protected category.”[28]

The Church won its case in court, but O’Connor was willing to close our schools and child care agencies if we lost, forcing a city just inching back from bankruptcy to pick up the cost.

Different times.

Back then, I was in my early 20′s. The bulk of voters were the Greatest Generation, then in their 50′s, and the generations who preceded them. In other words, most voters actually had education in civics, and most men came from a generation when military service was regarded as a rite of passage into manhood. They valued the Constitution, and a thug such as Barak Obama never would have made it past being a city councilman from a radical district. Back then, voters understood the need for fiscal responsibility and Ed Koch would have had his goose cooked if he threatened the fragile economic recovery of the city, or if he incurred a threat made good by Cardinal O’Connor.

Different times.

Today the bishops are in contention with a Democrat Party headed by a president who wants them to abandon the field in every sector: education, social services, healthcare…

Today the bishops are in contention with a Democrat Party headed by a president who have added ten trillion dollars of debt to the nation in two years. That they don’t care at all about fiscal responsibility is an understatement.

Today the bishops are in contention with a Democrat Party headed by a president who understand that the bulk of the voters who stood behind Cardinal O’Connor almost thirty years ago are dead. In their place are the Baby Boomers, the children and grandchildren of the Boomers who are largely ignorant of American History, civics, or the Constitution.

Today the bishops are in contention with a Democrat Party headed by a president who are catering to the pervasive narcissism and hedoniosm of a society that stands in shameful contrast with the Greatest Generation that backed O’Connor. That’s why the HHS mandate has a good chance of prevailing.

Cardinal George is no fool, and he understands what he’s up against with the Democrats and Obama:

The provision of health care should not demand “giving up” religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.

He’s right. However, the tactics need to change. We do not have a half-century to fight this one as we did the Cold War. We have until November. If Obama is reelected, we’ll lose our tax-exempt status and be stripped of all our agencies by a president who hates who we are and what we stand for. This is no longer a fight over a facet of Obamacare.

It never was, and the bishops need to awaken to that reality. This is a new Marxism, as Cardinal George alluded to. If Obama backs down and the bishops claim victory they will live to regret being duped in so monumental a manner. A Marxist has declared war on the only Church with enough institutional infrastructure to pose a threat to his party’s agenda.

The Catholic vision of human anthropology, who we are, is lived out in our healthcare and social services, and is inculcated through our educational institutions.

Obama gets that.

Cardinal George left out the fifth, and only viable option. The Church has had war declared on her by the government. She must now rally her faithful to vote out this wicked administration in November. She must coordinate strategy with all people of faith from other religions and Christian denominations. If she doesn’t, we lose everything. If she does, a new administration will not permit her to lose the tax-exempt status for having been forced into political organizing to fight an existential threat from the government. (And there are hundreds of videos of Democrat politicians campaigning in Protestant church pulpits).

The plan as laid out by Cardinal George is yesterday’s strategy. It worked for Cardinal O’Connor in a different age, with a different electorate. It’s time for our normally quiet and pastoral bishops to gird their loins.

This one’s for all the marbles.

UPDATE: Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. responded to this post. His response and my rejoinder here.

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Yesterday at a Congressional hearing, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made two outrageous claims:

From CNSNews.com

During the subcommittee hearing, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said that contraception provided by insurance companies to people employed by religious organizations under the future form of the rule Sebelius described would not be was not free.

“Who pays for it? There’s no such thing as a free service,” Murphy asked.

Sebelius responded that that is not the case with insurance.

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for cost of contraception,” Sebelius answered.

Murphy expressed surprise by the answer.

“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” Murphy asked.

Sebelius replied, “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children.”

Murphy again sought clarification.

“Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me. I yield back,” he said.

Sebelius responded, “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine.”

Quite aside from the fact that nobody is incensed that the government is now directing private industry to provide goods and services for free, the twin claims that decreasing the population offsets the cost of such mandates to industry, and that contraception is a, “critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children,” tell us all we need to know about the depravity of the political left in this nation.

Lowering cholesterol and salt intake are “critical preventive health benefits” as they prevent disease states such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, etc.

Eliminating tobacco is a “critical preventive health benefit” as it reduces chances of developing lung and throat cancer.

Now we are told by the HHS Secretary that pregnancy is a potential health risk not only to women, but their existing children as well. This is the trajectory the twin evils of abortion and contraception have had us on all along. No less a prophet than Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta saw this coming decades ago:

America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters

And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.

~Mother Theresa — “Notable and Quotable,” Wall Street Journal, 2/25/94, p. A14

While it is axiomatic that families and nations do not grow and prosper by shrinking, the question needs to be asked. What is behind the political left’s emphasis on reducing the size of our population, especially in light of the dwindling numbers of employees who will be available to support retirees on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare?

It seems to me that the Obama crew has it entirely wrong. The only way to fix the funding shortfalls for senior citizen programs is to increase the size of the nation, her tax-paying workforce, and the size of her economy. Having aborted 54 million citizens over the past 39 years, as well as the offspring they’ll never have, has devastated our senior entitlement programs.

Again, it is axiomatic that growth and prosperity are tied to…

Growth!

There is no logical, economic, political, or philosophical explanation for the model of stewardship espoused by the left. Sebelius has revealed, again, the pitting of the mother against the child of the womb and has now added the pitting of the child of the womb against its siblings. She has reduced pregnancy to the level of a disease state in the Federal system of health management.

It is classic radical feminist agitprop. It also echoes Margaret Sanger who famously decreed,

The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it. The same factors which create the terrible infant mortality rate, and which swell the death rate of children between the ages of one and five, operate even more extensively to lower the health rate of the surviving members. Moreover, the overcrowded homes of large families reared in poverty contribute to this condition. Lack of medical attention is still another factor, so that the child who must struggle for health in competition with other members of a closely packed family has still great difficulties to meet after its poor constitution and malnutrition have been accounted for.

From “Woman and the New Race,” page 63. Book can be read online here.

Such sentiments from two prominent Catholic women arise from the crosscurrents of poorly formed morality and ethics, and encountering human suffering. It would seem that in the Sanger-Sebelius circles not much has changed in 90 years. Their response to suffering and death is not charity and expanding economic opportunity. The response is more death.

It is a cramped worldview that sees human struggle and only envisions death, or nonexistence as the solution. We can do better than these people.

We must.

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