Fr. Z endorses idea from NcFishwrap. Sky to Fall. Lord to Return. Film at 11.

Was that booming CRACK I just heard the opening of the Fifth Seal?

You know that things are getting pretty serious when Fr. Z endorses an idea from the National catholic Fishwrap.

But it was a good idea, and around here we play fair.  We do our fair share!

Michael Sean Winters has gotten it right, so far, about Pres. Obama’s attacks on the 1st Amendment, religious liberty, and the Catholic Church in particular.

He has an idea. My emphases and comments.

In 2006, [retired] Cardinal Roger Mahony, the most prominent carrier of the social justice tradition of Cardinal Bernardin, [I know you want to stop reading now, but do try to forge ahead…] said that he would call upon his flock to practice civil disobedience in the face of a proposed law that would have banned Catholic charities from assisting undocumented workers. Mahony rightly invoked the right of the Church to pursue its Gospel-mandated ministries without interference from the State.  [Okay… there isn’t quite a moral equivalence between being prevented from performing corporal works of mercy and being forced to distribute contraception, or being forced to adopt children out to homosexual couples, or some other issues, but you can see where he is going: if civil disobedience in the case of A, then perhaps also in the case of B.]

Mahony delivered a sharp rebuke to the Obama administration following last week’s announcement that it refused to enlarge the conscience exemption from HHS mandated health insurance coverage of procedures the Church opposes.  [I wrote on that here.]

So, I offer a modest proposal. The U.S. cardinals should pick a day and, with the support of like-minded clerics from other religious traditions, come to Washington and chain themselves to the White House fence, get arrested, and bring further attention to the issue of religious liberty. Civil disobedience by clergy has a proud tradition, including Dr. King’s protests against segregation and the countless clergy who engaged in civil disobedience to protest the Vietnam War. The cardinals might wish to choose the Feast of St. Thomas More, June 22, to make their point although that would give the event a distinctly Catholic flavor. Or they might choose a secular anniversary, say, August 21, which was the day in 1789 that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bill of Rights.

You will note that the link above to the story about Cardinal Mahony’s 2006 call for civil disobedience brings you to an editorial by the [Hell’s Bible…] New York Times. Then, the Times applauded Mahony. Will they have the courage of their commitment to the First Amendment again?

A pretty good idea.

I am reminded of the old priest who was arrested at Notre Dame at the request of the administration there for protesting that university’s pandering to the most dedicated pro-abortion president we have ever seen.  But I digress.

Sincerely, I would be tempted to go to Washington and stand there with the US Cardinals, provided that I and the no-doubt large crowd of other willing priests wouldn’t distract from the actions of the truly important churchmen involved.  Sometimes less is more.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Biased Media Coverage, Brick by Brick, Emanations from Penumbras, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Religious Liberty, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. pfreddys says:

    Perhaps we are beginning to see in a small way one of the benefits of persecution: Catholics of every stripe are starting to circle the wagons.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Maybe this president will unite the Church, as Fr. Blake states on his blog. But, I doubt it. Still, this is a great thing to see an article like this in the fishwrap. We might write to them and encourage this sort of idea with letters to the editor-what do you think? A barrage of support for a good article…

  3. Philangelus says:

    If your agreement with the Fishwrap could make the Lord return, then why on earth didn’t you find something to agree with them before now?

    eg, “Hey, they made it so page 11 followed page 10! I find nothing to argue with in that numeric progression.”

  4. momoften says:

    I think anyone who it affects should March on the Capital in protest and chain themselves to the fence. Waves of religious, lay and priests. I recently listened to a radio interview from Detroit with Archbishop Vigneron about this and he basically made it clear they (the Bishops of the USA) were not going to lay down, but fight this. He did not give details, but added that while people may not agree with the position of the church as pro life, this affects them as well. (true) BTW Father Weslin is in our town now in a nursing home. He is doing well, and still so very pro life to the bone. There is a core group of young men, and a priest that visits him to assist him with daily mass. Keep him in your prayers.

  5. xzsdfweiuy says:

    Weird indeed to read the NCR now and hear TWO discordant voices
    in the choir rather than one.. Winters joins Allen. Only two however;
    and the other writers and commenters are treating Winters as if he had
    a mild stroke. Imagine the comments if an NCR FEMALE writer
    was to join them.. Father’s noun “nutty” occurs to me.

  6. SonofMonica says:

    Occupy HHS?

  7. jedesto says:

    The “modest proposal” that “the U.S. cardinals should pick a day and, with the support of like-minded clerics from other religious traditions, come to Washington and chain themselves to the White House fence, get arrested, and bring further attention to the issue of religious liberty” is excellent! But they should just do it thenselves, without any fanfare or prior announcement. That would be real leadership! It would be sensational leadership. And it would be real news because it would surprise everyone–including the media.

  8. Tom Piatak says:

    Winters deserves great credit for his writing on this issue. The comment writers at the National Catholic Reporter are not happy, nor, I suspect, is Winters’ editor, who has subsequently run two other pieces attacking the bishops and praising Obama.

  9. Centristian says:

    I’m sure the daily sight of Catholic bishops handcuffed to the White House fence and being arrested for it is not what the President wants to look out his window to see in an election year. So yes, I’m all for it. Let’s get some Lutheran pastors and Southern Baptist ministers and Evangelical preachers to join them to join them. Occupy the Fence!


  11. Tony Layne says:

    That would indeed set the MSM on its ear and be a major embarrassment for the Administration! But while I like jedesto’s idea of the bishops arranging it quietly, I also like the idea of mass participation (pun somewhat intended).

  12. irishgirl says:

    Yes, the element of surprise! I would love to see egg on the faces of the media if this is done without their prior knowledge!
    [rubbing hands with glee]

  13. PA mom says:

    Love it! I would love to use that as an opportunity to ask my Catholic, Democrat pro-Obama uncle if he shouldn’t reconsider his position. In fairness, all of the older members on both sides of the family were Catholic Democrats, but none of us young ones. For a while it has been family fun, poking each other gently about winners and losers. The conversation will be different this time around though. Another reason your blog is so important, Father, to help those of us who have the opportunity to defend the Church and Her teachings, and have the desire to, but find themselves tongue tied against those around us who ingest too unquestioningly so many of the liberal media’s arguments. It is so gratifying to be able to grip and tug at the weeds in their hearts, even if we can’t pull them out this time.

  14. danielpoet says:

    Not to question Mr. Winters’s sincerity over at NcR, but I don’t recall a reference to a “modest proposal” (cf. Jonathon Swift) ever being an idea good enough to take place outside of the realm of satire…or is there a bit of irony in this response as well? Ah, very good.

  15. philologus says:

    Another sign of severity – referring to self in the third person!

  16. Gleeb Pencilneck says:

    You must not have met very many U S Bishops if you think they would even consider such an action. Do you understand what I am trying to say?

  17. The most pressing question, since we all seem to be agreed that this is a great idea, is this:

    What would the proper vestments be for a civil disobedience protest? Would it be appropriate to wear a cope? Could Cardinal Burke come by for a visit and bring his cappa magna? Would they wear their mitres and carry the crosier?
    Would we need acolytes, subdeacons, etc., to accompany them to hold their mitres and crosiers and zucchetos during specific prayers? If we have acolytes could we turn it into a procession with incense and a crucifix and chanting?

    Should the bishops carry their Berettas with them? Maybe conceal them under the cope? Or would it be best to leave them at home? :|

  18. Shamrock says:

    I am not sure what the proper response to the proposal is,,,,too little too late?? or…better late than never???? The sad thing is most Bishops are pretty rusty on their leadership skills….and for most of them their credibility inside and outside the church non-existent. Looks like sack cloth and ashes time for the laity…our real only hope!

  19. ray from mn says:

    For those Catholics who can’t get near the White House during this demonstration, they should arrange to chain themselves to the doors of the local offices of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times, the Washington Post, etc.

    For those that can’t make it to Washington, they should arrange to chain themselves to Federal Courts Buildings or other Federal Offices in cities closer to them.

    If you anticipate a crowd of many thousands, bring a long chain with you so that others may hook on to that if they can’t reach the fence.

    Don’t forget to bring extra rosaries.

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  23. Ryan M says:

    I can’t believe it took me this long to think of it, but could this be the work of The Vortex?! It almost has to be, doesn’t it?

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