Sickening example of what is happening in the USA at the highest levels of government

I felt a bit physically sick as I read this whole thing.  I give only a part of it, below.

Part of what makes me sick is the manifest death of reason together with ethics.  It seems that liberal politicians today are wicked and, in many cases, fools.  They they are foolish for because they “reason” that the number of people or institutions which do X or Y provides the justification for X or Y.  And they are wicked because they have no interest in anything objective.  They are interested only in their agenda.

From the Cardinal Newman Society:

I Hold in My Hand the Names of 20 Catholic Colleges that Cover Contraception

In a scene reminiscent of anti-communist Congressman Joseph McCarthy holding in his hands a fraudulent list of names of communist spies in an effort to silence his political opposition, Rep. Elijah Cummings [D-MD, a Baptist] submitted a list of Catholic colleges in twenty states that already provide contraceptive coverage during a hearing on religious liberty yesterday.  [Even if the list is correct, that doesn’t change the basis issue: this is the Obama Administration telling the Church what to do.]

In closing out his question and answer with The Catholic University of America President John Garvey, who said that Catholic colleges couldn’t violate their conscience by providing contraceptive coverage, Rep. Cummings countered by submitting into the record his list.

After repeated calls to Cummings’ office and the Committee of Government Oversight and Reform, The Cardinal Newman Society learned that Rep. Cummings obtained the list from the pro-abortion National Women’s Law Center.

The Cardinal Newman Society has obtained that list and looked into it to see whether it stood up to scrutiny.

It seems that many of the colleges on that list provide contraceptive coverage in states that mandate they do so. So, in short, the politicians in those states forced colleges to provide contraceptive coverage, and then the politicians on the federal level use the fact that they’re providing it as evidence that it’s okay for others to do the same.

It’s worth noting as well that many of the colleges on the list provide contraceptive coverage but not for reasons of birth control and only when medically necessary, like the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the University of Dallas and the University of Notre Dame, among others.

[…]

It seems some Catholic institutions have been given a lot of leeway by the bishops in recent decades. That leeway is now being used as a weapon against the bishops to curb religious liberty.

The President of The Cardinal Newman Society Patrick Reilly was quoted in an interview with Reuters talking about exactly this:

“This really highlights the elephant in the room,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, which works with colleges to strengthen their Catholic identities. “It is absolutely a wake up call.”

That wake up call may begin what Reuters called a “crackdown” on wayward Catholic institutions. Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport acknowledged to reporters that, “I’m sure there’s going to be some discussion about that.”

But for Rep. Cummings to use that list as a cudgel to discredit the testimony of CUA President John Garvey is simply disingenuous.

Now, to be fair, the list must also make some Catholics wonder why this admirable fight for religious liberty didn’t take place years ago, when states began mandating contraceptive coverage. Shouldn’t many of these Catholic schools have battled against their state legislatures in the same way many colleges are battling the federal mandate now?

There’s the analogy of the frog in boiling water, and it seems that Catholics are wading in some pretty hot water right now as they prepare a strong defense of religious liberty. Let’s just hope it isn’t too late.

What do we do?

The immediate thing we can do is to call the offices of our representatives and senators and tell them what we think about issues.

We can inform ourselves and vote intelligently.

We must pray and fast and even give alms for the sake of the country, in preparation for the sufferings to come, and even for the removal of those in office who endanger our religious liberty.

Lent is coming.

We need to join our spiritual disciplines and physical mortifications to prayers.

Our problems must be tackled with grace and elbow grease.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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This entry was posted in De Novissimis: Four Last Things, Dogs and Fleas, Emanations from Penumbras, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Sickening example of what is happening in the USA at the highest levels of government

  1. Barnabas says:

    Absolutely sickening, but I can’t say I’m surprised that a liberal would stoop to this level. Related to your suggestion that your readers contact members of Congress, I’m already a step ahead of you. I received polite responses from both of my senators. As far as my congressman, pro-abortion catholic Gerry Connolly, I just sent my third letter. For the first one, I received a response about Connolly’s votes on Medicare. After my second letter, Connolly’s office sent an email on Connolly’s understanding (well…lack thereof) of contraception. I sent a third letter the other day and demanded that if he’s not going to defend the religious liberty of his constituents, he owes an explanation as to why.

  2. AnnAsher says:

    Maybe this will ring some bells in Rome?

  3. To be added to the list of colleges are the many Catholic Hospitals which hand out abortifacients in their emergency rooms as a policy of the USCCB. Catholic colleges are one thing, but the policy of the USCCB is another altogether, no?

    Though the point in question regards Constitutional Law, not all are so reasonable.

    LifeSiteNews has a great article on the emergency room issue HERE.

    For a survey of Catholic emergency rooms about this done by Catholics for Choice (and they have no reason to inflate or deflate the results), GO HERE.

    For the non-sequitur of infamous paragraph 36 of the Ethical Religious Directives / Catholic Health Care Services / 5th edition GO HERE.

    My point in saying all this is not cynicism. I hope it to be a wake-up call. I think the USCCB has moved past such nonsense. If so, they should do something about it. Now’s really the time! If the stated practice of the USCCB in its health care directives already reflects some of what Obama is pushing, is the SCOTUS really supposed to kick POTUS in the face with another 9-0 decision in favor of the consciences of the religiously minded? Sure, but not all are always so reasonable, no?

    I’m guessing that one of the reasons none of this was fought years ago is because the USCCB policy also came out years ago (even in the previous 4th edition, going back years). This was widely discussed by everyone at the time. The USCCB policy had — and still does have — huge influence.

  4. ghlad says:

    Yes, sickening.

    This is along the lines of what several parties privvy to the decision-making process were quoted as saying last week, shortly after the “compromise” was announced.

    The really shocking thing is that from Obama, to Biden, to Sebelius, to many of the cabinet advisers, the discussion ALWAYS was focused on the reaction to the mandate, not in any way being concerned with the 1.) Constitutionality or 2.) natural decency of the mandate.

    Obama and Sebelius (and many others) were convinced, based exclusively on the (depressing) statistics that show an overwhelming majority of “Catholics” use birth control, that there would be no or minimal political blowback from this aggressive move. This is the same mentality shown by Rep. Cummings in producing this pathetic and regrettable list of Catholic institutions that offer birth control. I do hope that, as the story alludes, most of those offering the services are doing so for non-birth control related reasons. For example, my friend who takes hormonal birth control to treat ovarian cysts.

    Biden was one of the few involved parties who were against the mandate (according to what I heard, based again on this unnamed source, so yes, this is all hear-say at this point), but not because it was repugnant to the Church’s teaching, but because he did think it would spark enough of a reaction to disaffect even those “Catholics” who (ab)use birth control.

    The only impression that one can have is that the Obama administration respects and measures only numbers, statistics and political implications when it comes to determining how far it can force the Catholic Church to apostatize itself.

    And by far the most chilling extrapolation is that if the Church fails to provide a clear contrast to the ugly and wretched modernity (Her only hope of recovering her strength, both in faith and in numbers) and continues to fade to the background and feebly attempt to assimilate into this fallen world, eventually there will be no deterrent against such tyrants as Obama or anyone else the Satan worshipers (sorry, I forgot, he doesn’t exist), er, secular humanists agree has the sleekest sheen and should be President of this country.

  5. SonofMonica says:

    I am 100% pro-life but I have a sincere question about this that perhaps someone can help me with. My understanding is that pursuant to Catholic medical ethics, there are certain situations where you are allowed to induce labor in order to treat a grave medical condition, even though you are virtually certain that the fetus will not survive. Since you intend to treat the grave medication condition, and not to terminate the fetus, you are not considered as killing the fetus, even though the death of the fetus is substantially likely to occur. So why would the Church not allow Plan B drugs to be administered after rapes, where the object of the drug and the act of taking it is to prevent fertilization (the beginning of life) from occurring, or to prevent sperm from traveling to the egg? If an abortion accidentally does occur due to fertilization already having happened unbeknownst to the woman and her doctors, it wouldn’t be an intended abortion, right? Since that is not the purpose of the drug? I think I might be missing something.

  6. haribo says:

    Dissident Catholics and Catholic institutions will have an important role to play in the Left’s continued attack on the Church. In 2002, an Ontario teenager named Marc Hall sued his local Catholic school board for not allowing him to bring his 21 year old boyfriend to the school’s prom. The bishop came to the school defense, but Hall still won. The school was forced to allow the boy to bring his boyfriend and ordered not to cancel the prom. The judge’s conclusion?

    “…the evidence demonstrates a diversity of opinion within the Catholic community on pastoral care regarding homosexuality such that it is not clear what conduct is necessary to ensure that rights with respect to denominational schools are not prejudicially affected.”

    Substitute “pastoral care regarding homosexuality” with “contraception” and you have a verdict that could just as easily be applied to the current fiasco in the US.

  7. A.D. says:

    Just had a quick inspiration: As a means of solidarity for those of us who follow your blog, could you, Fr. Z, suggest a simple prayer or penance that we can all follow together this lent for an intention stated by you? I’m not sure how to word the intention for the mess the world is in.
    Thanks.

  8. JohnE says:

    “It seems that many of the colleges on that list provide contraceptive coverage in states that mandate they do so.”

    Unfortunately, I’m sure this was a handy excuse for many others. How many provide coverage for contraceptives now without any mandate at all?

  9. chantgirl says:

    Son of Monica, there are other things beside PLAN B that can be done for rape victims. The reproductive tract can be rinsed out, and spermicide given. Using PLAN B is like firebombing a house without knowing if anyone is inside. We can feign ignorance to cover our behinds, but wouldn’t it be better to assume that someone is in the house? We should be focusing on preventing fertilization by cleansing the woman and killing the sperm, not giving her hormones that can prevent implantation. Unfortunately, many women do not go to a hospital immediately after a rape, so for many of them PLAN B would not be preventing fertilization, but preventing implantation.

  10. SonofMonica says:

    Thanks, chantgirl! I didn’t know there were other alternatives. For clarity for other readers, the actual Catholic healthcare directive to which I was referring was number 47.

    “Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.”

    I guess it could be argued that a pregnancy resulting from rape is not a “proportionately serious pathological condition,” as well. But if there are better alternatives that don’t “firebomb” as you suggest, than that seems the much clearer route. Thanks, again.

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    SonofMonica, the links provided by HolySoulsHermitage (especially the LifeSiteNews article) are precisely a response to your questions. Chantgirl’s reply is also sound.

    “Plan B” risks killing a child (one’s own child) that has already been conceived. Most contraceptives (and IUD) in fact carry a risk of this happening. The fact of the child being tiny and unseen is not any excuse to be careless in regards to the fact that a life may be present.

  12. Maltese says:

    It’s worth noting as well that many of the colleges on the list provide contraceptive coverage but not for reasons of birth control and only when medically necessary, like the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the University of Dallas and the University of Notre Dame, among others.

    Such as?? The “mental health” of the recipient of an abortifacient drug?

    Total nonsense. Reminds me of those politicians (Republicans, mostly) who say: “I am against abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.”

    So the baby conceived during a rape should die for that reason? Isn’t that compounding evil upon evil?

    I remember an Oprah Winfrey show (many years ago), where she showcased rape-victim women and their grown children, and there was so much love between these women and their offspring. Rape, next to murder, is the worst crime, and sometimes worse. But, as Erasamus writes, an evil doesn’t happen without a greater good; whether we see it on this side of the veil is uncertain, especially when a crime involves a child, is not always apparent.

    Contraception is the salvo; next-up: abortion.

  13. digdigby says:

    Sickening? I LOVE it. My mama (church) eat persecution for breakfast! Yo, bring it on.

  14. ContraMundum says:

    @haribo

    The bishop should have insisted that the school cancel the prom, judge’s order be damned, or yanked the schools “Catholic” credentials.

    Would there be a price to pay for such an action? You bet! But there’s a price to pay for showing that, in the final analysis you WILL burn that pinch of incense to Caesar, even though you’ll grumble about doing it.

  15. RomualdMonk says:

    This is quite distressing. St. Ignatius of Loyola, Pray for Us!

  16. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    So the Bishops have permitted the liberal nuns and liberal jesuits and liberal colleges to publicly scandalize people for the last few decades and now these same individuals are being used as weapons against the Bishops.

    It would be poetic justice if it wasn’t so painful and damaging to the Church.

    ‘Be thou perfect’ was the command, I believe. ‘Mostly good’ simply provides the doers of evil ammunition.

  17. Athanasius says:

    Since you intend to treat the grave medication condition, and not to terminate the fetus, you are not considered as killing the fetus, even though the death of the fetus is substantially likely to occur.

    This is called the Principle of Double Effect.

    So why would the Church not allow Plan B drugs to be administered after rapes, where the object of the drug and the act of taking it is to prevent fertilization (the beginning of life) from occurring, or to prevent sperm from traveling to the egg? If an abortion accidentally does occur due to fertilization already having happened unbeknownst to the woman and her doctors, it wouldn’t be an intended abortion, right?

    This misapplies the principle because Plan B is designed to be an abortifacient even though it is billed as emergency contraception. So let us say it is used with the intent of preventing conception, but as a result of the drug’s action the child dies. Action is the operative word. This differs from a douche which prevents fertilization but will not cause an abortion if that has already occurred, because the action of the drug does not cause abortion. Moreover, another application of the principle, an ectopic pregnancy, entails removing the fallopian tube, or else attempting to implant the zygote. If the child dies as a result of the action of trying to save it, that is not murder. The difference is plan b prevents the zygote from doing what it would normally do, and that is the object of its action. A douche on the other hand will merely prevent the fertilization. I hope that helps.

  18. Centristian says:

    I never looked forward to Lent before now. I want to really “make it count” this year, like never before. There’s just too much to sacrifice for to be half-hearted about it. I’ve already begun abstaining from meat on Fridays, skipping breakfast, having a tunafish sandwich and salad for lunch, and enjoying only a couple slices of bread for dinner. Boy, you know, it really makes you “feel” like a Catholic.

  19. robtbrown says:

    Athanasius says:

    Since you intend to treat the grave medication condition, and not to terminate the fetus, you are not considered as killing the fetus, even though the death of the fetus is substantially likely to occur.

    This is called the Principle of Double Effect.

    A distinction must be made between evil acts which are a by-product of the action (indirect effect) and evil acts which are intrinsic to the action (i.e., direct–the phrase often used is “going through the evil act”) but are attempted to be justified by weighing the good vs the evil (Proportionalism). The latter are proscribed and cannot be justified by intention.

    For example, intending the health of the woman cannot be used to justify any action, simply because we cannot commit evil to do good. A priest cannot be a drug dealer even if he uses the money to build a church or hospital.

    Likewise, a tumor can be removed to restore a woman’s health if the by-product is the death of the fetus (indirect abortion), but a fetus cannot be killed for the sake of the woman’s health (direct abortion).

    Also: St Thomas doesn’t mention a Double Effect, but rather uses the phrase praeter intentionem. In the second case, however, (direct abortion) the act which causes the death of the fetus is not praeter intentionem.

  20. robtbrown says:

    If I might extend this moral principle to war, let’s say a munitions plant must be destroyed, and so a bombing mission is planned. Whether or not people are there is not intrinsic to destroying the plant: And so morally, it must be done with the minimum of human casualties. Thus, if there is a day when the plant is closed (or fewer people there), that must be the target day–unless of course it is necessary that it be destroyed as soon as possible.

  21. Supertradmum says:

    I am sorry, but there are lies here. When I first went to Notre Dame in 1979, I went to the Infirmary for a upper respiratory infection. I was asked by the doctor on campus if I want birth-control pills. I was shocked and said no, I was a Catholic. His answer, in March of 1979, was “We offered these to all the girls.” He could also make references to off-campus sites for abortions.

    I do not believe anything that comes out of Catholic universities like Notre Dame. This policy I described above was most likely happening before 1979, and the doctors worked there for years.

    Obama knows he can bully us because of years of complacency and complicity.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    PS A good friend of mine at the time, a few years later, E. Michael Jones, was fired from St. Mary’s of the Lake for stating in class that abortion was mortal sin and subject to excommunication. One can look this up one’s self. I cannot remember the exact date of his dismissal by the nuns, but it must have been about 1981. Apparently, he was causing stress to his students.

  23. Mrs. O says:

    SonofMonica There are times when Plan B could morally be used in a rape victim, namely if a test is done to see if ovulation has occurred or not.
    What I have seen in the discussion is that sometimes the hospitals do not follow procedures, testing if ovulation has occurred, and either they are being morally irresponsible or decisions are made as to not use them at all since the rules aren’t being followed That is for those who haven’t been “mandated” to use them.
    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0179.htm

  24. PA mom says:

    I am not surprised by their lack of consideration of existing law. It seems to me that the mental operations of the modernists are very consistent in this way. As they have no respect for out of date moral code, so do they treat any civil code which has not been created by themselves. Everything set in place prior to themselves is without worth, but most importantly, without consequence. Where in our recent history has anyone in the presidency or cabinets been punished for breaking laws? needing to write a new law every time these numbskulls create an illegal law is time consuming and creates a possibility for failure which makes the side who follows the laws look ridiculous. Then we need to worry that the Supreme Court will be just as daft. Schools and parents both should be ashamed of themselves for developing so many people who clearly do not accept right and wrong at the most basic level.

  25. Y2Y says:

    America is desperately in need of her own General Pinochet. I will pray fervently that such a one emerges.

  26. Athanasius says:

    Also: St Thomas doesn’t mention a Double Effect, but rather uses the phrase praeter intentionem. In the second case, however, (direct abortion) the act which causes the death of the fetus is not praeter intentionem.

    This is true, but the common reference amongst moral theologians today is double effect. I would love to simply through the scholastic terms out there, but for someone trying to research the issue it is more convenient to refer to the contemporary language.

  27. Let’s not forget the false negatives for pregancy/ovulation tests, which are common enough…

    Just to say… the “Peoria Protocol” is utterly flawed (where all of this started: see link below). As one of the people involved in that If-It-Plays-In-Peoria fiasco said: “It’s so small. Who will miss it?” Get it? Look real hard at that statement. Really hard.

    And… Check out: http://lifesite.net/news/plan-b-rape-and-abortion-err-on-the-side-of-life This article is written by Patrick Craine, Canadian Bureau Chief for LifeSiteNews.

    And… With this kind of scenario you just can’t act on a doubt when there is a not insignificant chance that you will kill an innocent person. Even if someone is willing to do Russian Roulette with themselves, this should never be forced on someone else.

  28. Mrs. O says:

    Well, I know from previous tests, a pregnancy test was required before they could do them – scans etc. This was not in connection with rape treatment, but I do know that the tests could harm a child and the risks. Not that you devalue or are being careless, but you do the best you can. I knew I wasn’t pregnant so there was no concern and I knew the test was correct.

    If you think about it, should all women in child bearing years be excluded from all things that could harm a very new child? Medical tests? Scans? XRays?

    I am familiar with some of the arguments of varying theologians and ethicist. I found Fr. Tad’s to err on the side of life. Whether it is carried out in that way, is another story.

  29. I think that the upshot of all this, whether with the colleges or the hospitals (what’s next?), there’s enough of an incentive for some of our ecclesiastical leaders to review all this.

    I think the USCCB would be well served by letting some of the those who have enormous resources at hand — and who have proven that they have also done original research instead of just repeating others — such as Patrick Craine of LifeSiteNews, have a go at a revision of policies.

    For the abuse crisis, a third party was brought in, the John Jay crowd. I suggest not turning to the usual ethics boards or the usual associations where one knows one will get more of the same ol’ same ol’. I would especially suggest not turning to any moral theologian who has ever had a hand in figuring out ways to keep the money flowing, no matter the moral cost, however well respected he is.

  30. Mrs. O says:

    I am not sure who Patrick Craine is but Fr Tad is an actual dr who works for the National Catholic Bioethics Center. I know Fr. Tad has testified at hearing before, senate I believe. He may be on that is consulted or the group as a whole to the USCCB. Again, he was stating how it could be used morally. How it is carried out, if the hospitals are going by directives, is another thing entirely.