Here is a perspective on what is going on offered by my old friend the great Roman Fabrizio:
First of all thank you for mentioning me in the same entry where caffè corretto alla sambuca is mentioned. It always moves me to think of the Mos Maiorum living on far away from the Septimontium!
Also GIVE ‘EM HELL RICK!
OK back to ponderous stuff. The great Hewitt is more on target than his piece would let the unattentive reader guess: Kulturkampf is a term that takes us to Otto Von Bismarck and his culture wars against the Church (Los von Rom!). Now Bismarck was also the father of the modern European welfare state and he was instrumental in giving miltary and cultural strength to the German nationalism and in bringing to completion a process the (pseudo)Reformers had started: that of reshaping the German soul in the manner of a total, instinctive almost knee-jerk submission to the state for the greater glory of Grossdeutschland. We all know how well it worked for the planetary common good between 1870 and 1945.
An essential point of this program was – you guessed it – socialized medicine.
His Prussia and latter the German Reich under him saw the first example of modern nationalized healthcare, education and social security (there were precedents to that but almost none so scientifically planned). To institute all that, a war on the Church was the ineludible premise. Even in Lutheran areas, Catholic hospitals,schools and charities were the backbone of all “social services” that had existed since long before our idea of “State” was even conceived. As a good modern German Bismarck – ironically considered a “conservative” in history books – only rejected revolutionary socialism to institute it thorugh a top-down process instead of a revolutionary upheaval of society. His advisors were all socialist thinkers (Sozialpolitiker was the term but they were more commonly dubbed the Kathedersozialisten). Just like the mentors and advisors of BHO.
Where am I going with all this?
It’s good to see such a massive reaction - albeit only a verbal one so far – by the US bishops. But if they think that all they have to aim to is for Obama and his Kommissars to drop the contraception mandate they’re in for bitter surprises down the road, and they would prove that they are completely missing what’s at stake here (but some bishops gave me hope with what they wrote).
What I mean is that it is inherent to the very idea of socialized medicine that the state gets to tell you what to do and what to pay for and how much.
It’s all about the delusional thought that unhindered “planning” done by “experts” who “know” is what will make the magic machine work. They may back down on secondary provisions for political/electoral reasons, but the principle they want to enshrine is that the state is the ultimate and basically the sole provider of healthcare. What it does is bring to completion the utter distortion of the relationship between the individual, the family and all “intermediate bodies” of society and the State. In other words, the contrary of subsidiarity, which is the XX century Catholic name for the originally Catholic concept of “limited government”. Once it’s in place, you can kiss the Declaration of Independence and the whole Land of the Free business goodbye. You’ll be forever a glorified European Union.
Sooner or later, because of the invitable rationing that comes with centralized healthcare, they won’t even need to mandate that you perform abortions or give away condoms. You’ll simply lose all hospitals and schools because there is no way a large independent health provider can survive in such a system. Why do you think so many Italian hospitals, founded centuries ago, with names of saints and popes, are nowinn the hands of the Sistema Sanitario Nazionale, directly or indirectly? Why do you think there is hardly a Catholic school that is affordable anymore and which teaches anything different from what kids would hear at the Liceo Statale A. Gramsci or what have you?
The contraception/abortion coverage mandate is immoral, we all agree on that, but getting Catholics – and anybody who’s not in the service of the State – out of the healthcare system is PRECISELY what the goverment wants. If they can force you to accept it now, that’s good for the State, they take over indirectly. If you go the principled way and shut down or sell facilities, that’s good for the State, they take over directly. If you manage to obtain an exemption, that’s still good, the principle of the State running the asylum will still be there and it will become unstoppable before too long and you’ll have to cave in anyway.
Either their Excellencies understand the profound immorality of statism and reject the whole notion of socialized medicine or seeking the fig-leaf of an exemption from specific provisions will only prove to be a Phyrric victory.
And limiting the resistance to not complying with the law by getting out of schools and hospitals will only play in the hands of the comrades, in the long haul. They need to defy the government decisively, and on principle, not just provisions. I know they’re hesiitant to put the flock at risk of persecution. Who wouldn’t?. But the going is getting tough. Time to get the tough going. I’ve seen this movie before, for centuries and centuries now.
And, it is more of a TV series and I am just a few seasons ahead of you, that’s why it’s easy for me to predict how it will go on if nothing different happens in this clash between the USSCB and the Administration.
I have profound admiration for what Fabrizio says, but I will toss back into his corner this observation.
It is probable that our institutions have already given up their identity and become “businesses”. They have given themselves over to business models so completely that they are hardly Catholic anymore in any real sense.
The mission for which Catholic hospitals and colleges were founded seems to be over. Our universities and hospitals are now for the most part businesses. They are being run on a business model.
Is it time for us to get out?
Food for thought comes from the 1985 in The Ratzinger Report:
“The now dominant mentality attacks the very foundations of the morality of the Church, which, as I have already said, if she remains true to herself risks appearing like an anachronistic construct, a bothersome, alien body. Thus the moral theologians of the Western Hemisphere, in their efforts to still remain “credible” in our society, find themselves facing a difficult alternative: it seems to them that they must choose between opposing modern society and opposing the Magisterium.
The number of those who prefer the latter type of opposition is larger or smaller depending on how the question is posed: consequently they set out on a search for theories and systems that allow compromises between Catholicism and current conceptions. But this growing difference between the Magisterium and the “new” moral theologies leads to unforeseeable consequences, also precisely for the reason that the Church with her schools and her hospitals still occupies an important social role (especially in America). Thus we stand before the difficult alternative: either the Church finds an understanding, a compromise with the values propounded by society which she wants to continue to serve, or she decides to remain faithful to her own values (and in the Church’s view these are the values that protect man in his deepest needs) as the result of which she finds herself on the margin of society.” (p. 24)