US Bishops: Joe Biden is a big fat lying liar

“No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide,” Biden replied. “That is a fact.”

Today the United States Bishops issued a statement saying, in effect, “Hold on, Joe.  It ain’t so”.  The HHS mandate issued by the Obama administration will force Catholic institutions to do exactly that.  Their statement said, in part:

Catholic employers “will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients,” the USCCB statement said. “They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations — and their employees — are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.”

More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed by Catholic organizations to stop the mandate, at least as it applies to them.  Logic would tell us that these institutions wouldn’t waste their time and money on these suits if Biden’s words were true.  Quoting Ryan,

“They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals,” Ryan said.”

A missed opportunity

As moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC pointed out, this is a historic election in that both VP candidates are Catholics.  She asked them how their Catholic faith affects their stand on abortion.  Unfortunately this taylor-made opportunity to speak on behalf of the Church was wasted by both Candidates.  I expected the (nominal) Catholic Biden to drop the ball, but Ryan’s response was disappointing as well.  Biden claimed to be personally opposed to abortion but went on to say, “But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews.”  In other words, the 69 year old, male, Biden wouldn’t have an abortion himself, but it’s fine with him if others do.  Quite a bold statement and clearly a misrepresentation of the Catholic faith.

It’s no wonder people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, are confused.  When the 2nd most powerful man in the United States makes such a statement, it’s no wonder that faithful Catholics get the idea that abortion is OK.  After all, the Church remains silent when he and others make such false statements about our beliefs.  No, Joe, when you vote for laws that permit the murder of innocent unborn children. you’re just as guilty of the sin as the person who actually has an abortion, possibly even guiltier because your actions permit many, many immoral acts.

Sadly, Representative Ryan’s comments were only slightly better.  He said that he opposes abortions with some exceptions.  I’m not sure how you can say that life begins at conception, but some lives are more precious than others.  There are any number of ways to deal with an unwanted pregnancy that don’t involve killing the child.  Rape isn’t a capital offense for the perpetrator, why should an innocent child conceived as a result of rape have to face the death penalty?

Our Catholic faith is a beautiful thing.  It’s a shame that neither candidate used the opportunity of being on the national stage to say so.  I wouldn’t expect it from Mr. Biden  but Mr. Ryan’s response was very disappointing.

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13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel we read about Jairus, the synagogue official.  His twelve-year-old daughter is dying.  He falls at Jesus’ feet and begs Him to save his little girl.  Before Jesus has time to go to the girl’s bedside word comes that she’s already died.  What does Jesus do?  He says to Jairus, “Do not be afraid, just have faith.”

 

Let’s stop here just a minute.  First of all, Jairus is a synagogue official.  That’s not a minor point.  It’s not something that Mark just threw into the story.  Jesus wasn’t exactly a favorite of the synagogue officials.  A lot of what He was teaching was new, even radical.  Much of what He taught went against traditional Jewish teaching.  We know that eventually the leaders of the Jewish faith would put Jesus to death.  But here’s this guy whose daughter is dying.  Like any parent, he’ll do anything to save his child, so he approaches the Lord.  “Please save my daughter” he says.

 

But then word comes that the girl has died and Jesus tells Jairus not to be afraid, but to have faith.  How would you and I react if we were in Jairus’ place?  I don’t know about you, but I got word that one of my kids was dead I’d go nuts.  I’ve come to this man who claims to be the Son of God asking Him for help and now my child is dead!  Would you and I have faith that this long-haired wandering preacher could somehow resurrect our little girl?  Mark doesn’t tell us how Jarius reacted.  Maybe he believed Jesus.  Maybe he didn’t.  We don’t know.

 

Jesus goes to Jarius’ home along with Peter, James, and John.  No one else was allowed to go with Him.  When they got to the synagogue official’s house there was a crowd “weeping and wailing.”  Jesus tells the crowd that the child isn’t dead.  She’s just sleeping.  And the crowd ridicules Him.  Who wouldn’t?  She was dead.  They knew it.  They’d seen it for themselves.  Jesus must have been making a cruel joke.  How dare He?  He must be crazy!

 

Then Jesus puts them all out.  He goes into the girl’s room with Peter, James, John, Darius, and his wife.  He takes the girl by the hand, tells her to rise, AND SHE DOES!

 

People, this is a miracle!  He’s come to the home of someone who shouldn’t have believed in Him and raised his daughter from the dead.  Then He says that no one should be told about it.  But imagine the reaction of the crowd outside when Darius and his wife walked out of the house with their little girl.  Surely this man must be who He said He was.  Weeping and wailing turned to cheers.  There must have been a party to end all parties.

 

Remember, Jesus didn’t perform this miracle for one of His friends, or one of His followers.  He did it for an official of the synagogue, one of the Jewish leaders.  If he wasn’t Jesus’ enemy, he definitely wasn’t one of His friends.  By raising this man’s daughter from the dead Jesus certainly made a statement.

 

If we read on in Mark’s Gospel we see that Jesus left that place and went home to Nazareth where you would think He’d get a hero’s welcome.  That’s not what happened.  The home towners took exception to Jesus’ preaching.  “We know this guy.  He’s Mary and Joseph’s son; a carpenter.  Where’s He getting this stuff?  Why isn’t He working any of His miracles for US?”  Then they tried to throw Him off a cliff.  “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town.”  Even before they crucified Him, it wasn’t easy being the Messiah.  Sometimes it isn’t easy to be one of His followers either.

 

This week we celebrate our nation’s birthday, Independence Day.  As Catholics, its the end of the Fortnight of Freedom, a time set aside by our bishops to pray for religious freedom, not just for Catholics, but for all people of faith.  As you know, the Supreme Court this week upheld the constitutionality of the government’s health care program.  If the so-called Obamacare initiative had been held to be unconstitutional, the HHS mandate would have been struck down and the threat to our freedom would have been over, at least for now.  But it wasn’t so we still have work to do.  I’d like to share with you a prayer by Bishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States and cousin of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote this it on November 10, 1791 and asked that it be read in all the parishes of his diocese.   Please consider rereading it this Wednesday, preferably with family and friends.

 

As you reflect on the Bishop’s words, remember the faith of Jarius.  He came to Jesus in his time of need and his faith saved his little girl.  Sadly we live in a time where some of the things that Bishop Carroll asks for seem as unlikely as a little girl rising from the dead.  But, as Jarius learned, with faith, with God, anything is possible.

 

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

 

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

 

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

 

We pray for his Excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

 

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

 

Bishop John Carroll, Bishop of Baltimore, November 10, 1791

The Supreme Court—Seriously?

Today the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of ObamaCare.  Many of us, Catholics and nonCatholics alike, have been praying that the court would strike down the law which threatens to undermine our religious freedom.  Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  But, there is a bright side here.  While it looks like we’re going to be stuck with the legislation, at least for the time being, we can’t give up the fight to remove the provision that mandates the violation of our First Amendment rights.

What can we do?  Well, for one thing, we must continue to pray.  Bombard heaven with prayers that our elected employees in Washington DC will do the right thing.  If they don’t, then come November, vote to fire them and replace them with men and women who will do the will of the people.  In addition to prayers, let your employees know what you think.  Email them.  Call them.  Confront them in person this summer as they campaign in your area.

This isn’t about health insurance.  It isn’t about “women’s rights”.  Cheap and even free birth control is readily available.  If our employees feel the need to play God using chemicals to play havoc with His plan, fine.  We’d rather they didn’t, but we can’t stop them.  However, we are not going to be forced to pay for something that is so radically against what we believe.  If we do, we will be opening the door to all kinds of religious discrimination, not just against Catholics, but against all people of faith.

We’re being discriminated against because of our good works, which are not limited to just our fellow Catholics.  If our hospitals were to fire all their non-Catholic employees and turn away non-Catholic patients, there would be no problem.  There are other medical procedures that are rejected by some other faith traditions .  For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t allow blood transfusions.  No one is suggesting that they pay for transfusions either for members of nonmembers.  Could it be because there are no JW institutions that employ non-members.  I’m pretty sure they don’t have any hospitals.

Today is a dark day, but it’s just one day.  What we do in the days and weeks ahead will pay a big part in our future, and in our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.  Don’t take this lying down.

 

Catholics and the Constitution

Here in Saint Louis, our leftist daily newspaper, the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, weighed in today on the Bishops’ letter, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.

Not surprisingly, the editorial writer takes a dim view of the Bishops’ stand.

This editorial page has profound respect for the work of the Catholic Church and its individual members in health care, education and social justice. We do not take issue with church beliefs or internal operations, regardless of the church, as long as they do not enter the public square. The U.S. bishops, in their call for civil disobedience, have entered the square.

“What we ask is nothing more than that our God-given right to religious liberty be respected,” the bishops state.

That is entirely appropriate. So, too, is that bishops should respect the rights of those who do not share their beliefs. Some of them may work for church-affiliated institutions and may want access to the contraceptive services to which civil law says they are entitled.

The last two sentences are typical of the anti-Catholic view of this situation.  The Church is not disrespecting anyone’s rights.  Whatever evil non-Catholics choose to do with their own bodies, the Church is not trying to stop them.  What the Church is saying is that she has the right to refuse to pay for it.  Cheap and even free birth control is available from any number of sources.  Nothing the Catholic Church does is going to prevent anyone, even Catholics, from obtaining the pill, if they choose to do so.

It’s not easy to come up with an analogy that doesn’t trivialize this issue, but I’ll give it a shot.  Many of our non-Christian brethren have strict dietary laws.  For example, Jews and Muslims aren’t supposed to eat pork.  I’m no expert on this, but I don’t believe they have an objection to me eating pork.  But it would be a gross violation of the First Amendment if the government decided to mandate that all Jewish and Muslim institutions must serve bacon in their lunch rooms.  An even graver violation of their rights would be to demand that they provide BLTs at no charge.

The Post editorial also quotes a questionable study that declared that 98% of Catholic women have used artificial birth control.  Well guess what?  I’ve known a lot of Jewish people who have eaten pork.  I can’t quote statistics, but I know from personal observation that Jewish dietary laws are not followed 100%.  Does that mean that the government has a right to impose restrictions on an institution’s right to support those laws?  Of course not!

It’s remarkable that any member of the media, who will gladly go to jail rather than reveal a source, claiming the protection of the Constitution, would come out against another institution who is advocating its members do exactly the same thing.  You’d think the media would be falling all over itself to stand with us.

Over the centuries, Catholic men and women have made great sacrifices to retain their religious freedom.  From the very beginning of the Church there have been martyrs who went to their death rather than surrender their religious freedom.  No one is suggesting that we die over this.  (Although the Bishops’ document does contain the word “martyr”.)  The Bishops are asking us to take a stand.  Even if you are one of the alleged 98%, you still must respect your Church’s position on religious freedom.

There is much more at stake here than free birth control pills.

Our “Catholic” Senator

I received the following email today from Claire McCaskill, our soon-to-be-ex senator from Missouri.  It was in response to a letter I sent her several weeks ago concerning the HHS health care mandate.  Note that Ms. McCaskill claims to be a faithful Catholic.  (Emphasis is mine.  Comments to follow)
March 12, 2012

Dear Mr. Buckley,

Thank you for contacting me regarding birth control and women’s health.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

I believe we should all work to prevent and reduce the number of abortions in this country.  I support access to birth control, which will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions.  This is an emotional, difficult subject.  But if you really believe that reducing abortions is important in this country, which I do, then it doesn’t work to keep putting up barriers to women getting birth control.  For this reason, I voted against the amendment offered by my colleague, Senator Roy Blunt (Senate Amendment 1520), which would have allowed any employer, health plan sponsor, or insurance company to refuse coverage for their employees for any type of essential health care services — including birth control, maternity care, prenatal testing, and HIV/AIDS screening — based solely on an undefined “moral objection.”

As you may know, following considerable debate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to provide birth control if it violates that employer’s religious beliefs.  This compromise, which I support, ensures that all women with employer-sponsored health plans will have access to free preventive health services, while protecting the religious freedom of religiously-affiliated employers.  If a church or religious employer determines that covering birth control would be inconsistent with their organization’s beliefs, the insurance company rather than the employer will be required to offer these services directly to women.

Groups on both sides of the debate, including the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood, have expressed their support of this compromise.  Under the new HHS guidelines, no one will be required to use birth control or other preventive care services under any plan.  each woman, pursuant to her own beliefs, will access the services she deems appropriate.  However, a woman will not be denied access to health services, like birth control, based on the decision of her employer, instead of retaining for herself the right to choose whether to use birth control or not.  The new guidelines also do not eliminate or change existing conscience protections, which I support, that allow doctors and individual healthcare providers to choose whether or not to prescribe or administer birth control in accordance with their own beliefs.

It should be noted that 28 states already require health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services.  The compromise guidelines follow in the steps of most states, including Missouri, which have already found a reasonable way to ensure access to preventive health services while also respecting employers’ First Amendment right to religious freedom, a fundamental principle on which our nation was founded.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.

Sincerely,

Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

Let’s take a look at the points I highlighted.
I support access to birth control.”  No surprise here.  My only issue here is her claim to be a practicing Catholic.  Maybe she need more practice?
“essential health care services”  How in the world does artificial birth control qualify as an essential health care service.  Later in the letter she refers to “preventive health services.”  This well-worn liberal phrase is right in line with the idea that pregnancy is some sort of disease.  Our president was widely quoted as saying, in support of birth control and abortion, that he “didn’t want (his) daughters punished with a child”.
“Undefined ‘moral objection'”.  Of course the undefined moral objection is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which has been very clearly defined; much more clearly defined than Ms. McCaskill’s version of Catholicism.
” following considerable debate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to provide birth control if it violates that employer’s religious beliefs.  This is an untrue statement.  There was no debate and there has been no compromise.  Catholic employers will be forced to include artificial birth control in its employee health plans.  The fantasy that insurance companies will provide this coverage out of the goodness of their hearts is nonsense.  There may be no line-item charge for this coverage but you can bet your last dollar that the cost of some other service will be raised accordingly.  For the many Catholic employers who are self-insured, they will have to pay.
“free preventive health services.”  There it is again.  Birth control prevents the “disease” of pregnancy.
Groups on both sides of the debate, including the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood, have expressed their support of this compromise”  Again, there was no compromise which would explain why Planned Parenthood would support it.  Catholic Health Association is Catholic in name only.
“No one will be required to use birth control or other preventive care services under any plan.” At least not yet, and
 “retaining for herself the right to choose whether to use birth control or not.”  The Church opposes artificial birth control.  We consider it a sin.  Having said that, the Church has no way of keeping any individual, Catholic or otherwise, from using the pill.  We do have a right, and that’s what this debate is all about, to not pay for it!  Our not paying for birth control does not interfere with any woman’s right to choose.
And, finally, “employers’ First Amendment right to religious freedom, a fundamental principle on which our nation was founded.”  She almost got this one right.  But, notice that she doesn’t endorse this freedom herself.  She just points out that others might endorse those rights.
The Senator’s letter is a perfect example of how those in power can twist words and give the impression to some voters that they are interested in our rights.  This is nonsense.  She’s shilling for the current administration and masquerading as a Catholic to do so.

So-called “public servants” like McCaskill have to go.


free: Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes