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the same thing will happen to other Catholic apostolates at the federal level unless the administration’s mandate is withdrawn by the executive branch or overridden by legislative or judicial branches of the federal government.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
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.