GUEST ENTRY: Pres. Obama, Bishops, and the Kulturkampf

KulturkampfHere 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!


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)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Flambeaux says:

    Fabrizio, you are much more optimistic about both our bishops and our odds than I am. I pray you’re right, but I think we really have passed the point of no return here in the US.

  2. Peggy R says:

    Fabrizio is quite correct. This is bigger than just contraception of religious freedom of hospitals. It is about the liberty of man and his right to life. I also like the idea of the right to be left alone! Obama violates that constantly.

  3. Jim Ryon says:

    Exactly. That’s why we must repeal Obamacare in total. Our only hope is to elect Rick Santorum and Republicans.

  4. Fabrizio and Fr., that 2nd last paragraph makes me worry. A similar issue of consciene, albeit not as publically pronounced due to the good efforts of the MSM and politics is the influence of the gay agenda into Catholic schools under the cloak of “anti-bullying policies.” It sounds like both our countries are going down the same roads. Worse, that 2nd last paragraph gives me no hope. Sounds like the only hope for Catholics is to bear arms and fight literally with the Pope declaring just war against the state or the secular governments, else we’ll all get screwed legally and morally and our souls will be more easily geared to hell. Catch 22 it seems as we’re damned if we fight civilly or legally or compromize, and we’re damned if we don’t and allow sin to happen with acceptance.

  5. wmeyer says:

    One of the difficulties I believe we face is that, in deciding to preach social justice as the justification for so many things today, our bishops have themselves turned away from essential doctrine. The Gospel message about our personal obligation to charity seems abundantly clear. That personal obligation cannot be fulfilled by a government taking money from us to distribute as it sees fit, whether the taking is direct, in taxes, or indirect in the inflation delivered through flooding the economy with more fiat currency.

    I agree that Santorum is now our only hope in the coming election. He’s not perfect; no human is. But he has demonstrated principles far in excess of what we have seen from other candidates, and we dare hope that as an apparently devout Catholic, he may be less a victim of explorations into his past than so many others have been.

  6. XYZ321 says:

    I caucused in favor of Rick last night. I’m happy with how he finished in Minnesota (and Colorado and Missouri), but in my precinct, I was well in the minority with the overwhelming support going to Ron Paul.

  7. Theodore says:

    Fr Z, this is a fantastic read and well in line with what Dr. Fogoros says in his Fixing American Healthcare which I highly recommend.


    Fr Z if you can let me know how to send this to your Kindle I will be happy to do so. Thanks


  8. Joe Magarac says:

    They need to defy the government decisively, and on principle, not just provisions.

    How exactly would a Catholic institution “defy the government decisively?”

  9. wmeyer says:

    Theodore, if you go to the page you linked, on the right below the Add to Cart option you should see a Send as Gift button. Then you can send the gift note to Fr. Z’s address, and he collects the gift to his Kindle.

  10. Margaret says:

    Concretely– what is he proposing we do to defy the government and the statist agenda?

  11. Theodore says:

    @wmeyer 12:52. Fr Z’s email address is not listed but then again I’m just not seeing it.

    Followed the gift link and it asks for the email of the proposed recipient. Stuck.

  12. Here’s another part of the puzzle, I’ll let those who reflect more deeply on history consider how it fits.

    In justifying the contraception mandate, the President–and his subordinates–are pointing to a statistic that alleges 98% of Catholic women who have had sex, used contraception.

    Set aside whether it’s true, or misleading; and what it says about the state of our morals and catechesis. Good questions all, but set that to the side for a moment, to consider something else.

    Why does this concern the government? How observant Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc., are about their own religion has absolutely nothing to do with public policy.

    Who does this man think he is? He really is acting like Henry VIII–he arrogates to himself to say which Catholic doctrines really matter; and because this is one (he alleges) Catholics themselves ignore, then who are the bishops to protest?

    I cannot think of any precedent for this in our nation’s history. Even the Know Nothings didn’t attempt this; they just tried to shut down our institutions; but they didn’t attempt to meddle with what we believe.

    Who does this man think he is?

  13. Joe:

    I recommend we do not comply, and whatever punishment hits us, we resist. We don’t pay the fines. Let them take someone to jail. Let them seek to seize our properties. Think about that for a moment. They would have to go to court to get a judgment; and then someone has to enforce it. Let that happen, before the eyes of the world–for the first time in American history.

    Look, if it really is true no one gives a ****, then so be it. But I believe an awful lot of Americans, who don’t give a fig about our doctrines, certainly do care when our government does what I just described. When we say it can happen, folks will say, “no, not here.”

    So make them do it.

    That’s the one thing Obama &c do not want to do. They want meek compliance.

  14. Helena Augusta says:

    The evil statist Medicare program is popular among both Republican and Democratic voters, and both parties like to accuse the other of wanting to cut it, with varying degrees of credibility. Medicare recipients have no desire to return to to the reluctant embrace of private insurers (reluctant because insurers don’t want old people; it’s why the program was created in the first place).

    Just saying.

  15. wmeyer says:

    Theodore, I do not have it, but it has been suggested here that it can be googled with little effort. I can’t speak to that, but I see it seems not too difficult to locate his physical address. I’d not gone looking before, but it seems an odd deficiency in the Kindle gift buying process that you cannot send the gift–even from the recipient’s wishlist–without his e-mail address.

  16. Clinton says:

    I absolutely agree with Fabrizio. It is not enough that this administration be made to drop
    its unjust demands on the Church. What’s to prevent the reinstatement of those demands
    when the political climate is more favorable? And who is to say that other demands aren’t in
    the pipeline– say, demands that Catholic employers provide coverage for ‘sex changes’ and
    euthanasia, use of embryonic stem cell therapies and Lord knows what?

    No, as Fabrizio has pointed out, the entire project of socialized medicine must be resisted, for
    it shall inevitably lead to such monstrosities. The power to regulate, like the power to tax, is the
    power to destroy. If this administration is able to sell the notion that its regulatory powers are
    so great that they override the 1st amendment, then the government will have the power to
    “regulate” Catholic institutions out of existence. Obamacare must be extirpated, before it has
    a chance to take hold.

  17. HeatherPA says:

    And as everyone is distracted by the conscience outrage, another has popped up in PA.
    “Plan B” vending machines on college campus.
    If Philip Morris was trying to put in a cigarette machine, there would be immediate outcry and an immediate NO. But yet, “since their attendees are of age” it is deemed “safe”.
    Is there any way to have this taken out?? WHo do we contact besides the college itself? This cannot seriously be legal…..

  18. TZ says:

    “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…[it is] the contrary of subsidiarity, which is the XX century Catholic name for the originally Catholic concept of ‘limited government’.”

    This is EXACTLY correct. And now we have a Chestertonian Pope well armed to teach this principle of subsidiarity. (See yesterday’s Zenit article, “A G.K. Chestertonian Reading of This Pontificate.”) There is a beautiful–might I say divine?–overlap between the principle of subsidiarity and the U.S. Constitution.

  19. Theodore says:

    @wmeyer 1:18 pm. Email found and book sent.

  20. Maltese says:

    By the Government, for the Government, of the Government!

    Very interesting, and well-written, piece.

  21. Maltese says:

    @Clinton: …the entire project of socialized medicine must be resisted…

    Indeed, and in China it works quite well for their agenda: if you are pregnant with a second child you have two options: pay a huge fine, or get an abortion.

    If you can force–through pain of penalty–a person to buy specific health coverage, isn’t that a baby-step towards being able to, say, force a person to submit an application to have a child (that may be laughable, but in law school that was a position advocated by some of my liberal friends)?

  22. Imrahil says:

    I do not want to enter the discussion, only to correct (with apologies) Mr. Fabrizio on two points:

    1. He is inadequate in his “for the greater glory of Großdeutschland”. Großdeutschland is a technical term for what is today Germany plus Austria; it was on the whole what Catholics wanted in the 19th century (with the Habsburg emperor as natural presidency). (Protestant!) Prussia rejected this, which is why they favored the “little-German solution” under presidency of, guess whom, their own king. Thus, absurd as this may seem to non-Germans, Chancellor Bismarck was with heart and bone a Kleindeutscher.

    2. For good or for evil, it is not known to me that the Catholic Church (or the Center Party) in any way interfered with nationalized health care. I think Bismarck in fact later used the Center Party to overcome resistance by the National-Libertarians against it. The Kulturkampf had other motives, which are indeed significant in their own right: What Bismarck didn’t manage to tolerate was somebody who does politics from a religious basis (as the Catholics did, when, to overcome the double-danger by a) a party system foreign to Catholic principles and b) their little number in a strongly Protestant-dominated Empire, they founded the Center Party). And then he was not far from explicitly fighting the Infallibility dogma (together with others in power), by what may quite approximately be called founding the State’s own Catholic Church (the so-called Old Catholic Church).

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Bismarck knew exactly what he was doing and his social engineering had many consequences. Before I get into those, it warmed my heart to see the name of the “school” in the article-Liceo Statale A. Gramsci , that same Gramsci I have written about here and on my blog ad infinitum. Make no mistake that Bismarck’s new world order was in kind the same as Marx and Engels. The State is God.

    The consequences of Bismarck’s changes to health and education I have studied and presented to parents and new administrators in the past when trying to get schools to move back to the Trivium and Quadrivium. One of the reasons I was fanatic about setting up classical education schools and curriculum was because I could see the coming tyranny of the minds and hearts of Americans. It had already happened by the end of the 1970s and spread under all the presidents.

    Bismarck supported the “gymnasium” school system, which was set up in opposition to the “academia”. In the gymnasium, the main tasks of the teachers was to push economics, technology and science and make a generation of “good citizens”. This meant that subjects like logic and religion were thrown out of the new state system-the old Trivium and Quadrivium which teach people how to THINK were marginalized into private education, while the public education became a means of indoctrinating Bismarck’s new world order. He succeeded.

    His ideas and implementation directly resulted in two world wars. Why? Because the populace was so used to relying on the government for information, propaganda, philosophy, etc. and because they had not been trained to think, but only become “socialized” into a group fixated on money and power, they could be manipulated. WWI did not have to happen and WWII was a direct result of the failure of the Versailles Conferences decision to humiliate Germany, which only made the mob of citizens turn even more to the government for revenge. Not to mention the rising, unreal inflation and the prejudice against the scapegoats, the Jews.

    If this doesn’t sound like history repeating itself, which some of us saw through the corruption of education since WWII under the federal attempts to take away power from the parents and the individual 50 States, then someone is not seeing or reading or listening. Bismarck’s new world order in health was based on the same impetus, and he hated the Church, as it stood out against the huge, burgeoning State, especially after Vatican I clarified Papal Infallibility.

    Bismarck was never, never conservative. His political philosophy substituted the State for God and the individual thinking person for a mindless, manipulable “citizen”. I have said all along that Obama will get us into a huge war in order to end inflation (a la Hitler and FDR) and then create more tyrannical rules against the Church, the only enemy of the State, as he and his admin wants.

  24. sawman says:

    What would resistance from principle look like? How would we “go to war” root and branch against this tyranny?
    1. Bishops preach in all available public forums for need to eradicate Democrats from all public offices. Openly identify Democrats as the party of death and tyranny. Compel all parishes to preach this message every Sunday or play prerecorded messages from himself at homily time.
    2.All Bishops to call for a March on D.C. on Good Friday by as many Catholics as possible.
    3.Publicly Ex-communicate all the public bad actors.
    4.Openly electioneer in Church facilities and all available venues for the restoration of constitutional adherence in all Government activities.
    We are engaged in an existential struggle with this administration and have been since day one. Obama has had a three year head start, we have not even gotten the sleep out of our eyes yet. There is no more time for diplomacy this is a real war.
    One more thing we all can do; every one of us every day, in every way, speak, write, plead, tell as many as we can the truth. The time for complacency was over so long ago.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Sorry, one more sentence.

    The mind set of the Germany people was no longer Christian, but pagan and the Nazis just stepped into the void created on purpose by Bismarck.

  26. Tominellay says:

    Nice, interesting read…thanks, Fabrizio!
    I do recommend all take a good look at GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, who, in my opinion, has been right on this issue of government intervention in healthcare.

  27. Fabrizio says:

    Fr. Z wrote: 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?

    It might be too late for that and it could only be a temporary solution anyway. I mean, is it really possible to “get out” of anything when your very existence, no matter how feeble your voice has become, is an obstacle to realized utopia? Why had St. Thomas More to be beheaded when he had already resigned? And he had to insist to have his resignation accepted. Henry VIII didn’t want him out of the way. He wanted him to bow to the unfettered power of the state. That, or the death of that living accusation tormenting the soul of a tyrant. For the common good mind you. They’re not here to establish “diversity”. That’s the bite for the less intelligent. They’re here for a “fundamental transformation”.

    Now I don’t want to sound to melodramatic and of course particular situations of individual institutions will have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but there has to be vision and a strategy behind all this. The modern state recognizes and accepts no limits to its power. It’ll express itself in a somewhat benign way as long as it can have you comply with its rules in a relatively peaceful way. But with the Church,they will soon find that even letting those darn Christians do their thing in their Sunday gatherings, unseen by all the rest of society, minding their own business will be intolerable. Why? Because we regulate even the pews they sit on. Because their books contain words of “hatred”. Because they keep praying in front of abortion facilities.

    How much, for how long can you retreat when it is all your life represents that is a problem? Hold on now: I am NOT saying that all of these bureaucrats and demagogues are consciously and wilfully in the service of satan, that they all have a grand masterplan to annihilate the Church and all that’s left of a free and virtuous society. But that’s the inevitable consequance of their idea that the State is the source of right and wrong and the sole effective dispenser of “justice”.

    As to the “business model”, there’s truth to that. And I have mentioned “catholic” schools basically working as contractors doing te bidding of secularist governments myself. But it’s a business model only in a “crony capitalist” sense. Disloyal institutions survive in many cases because they don’t have to pay the price of their disregard for the rules of the game – which for Catholics begin with the Ten Commandments, Canon law and soforth . Plus, they get money form the government. And then there is the temptation “sub specie boni”: if we shut down the hospital to honor God, who’s going to take care of the people? So, they can go financially and morally bankrupt all they want, the state or Pontius-Pilateish bishops will bail them out by action or omission. Free market requires virtue and the rule of law. Socialism hates both, as does modernism. So, it’s a business for lack of better expressions.

    So we’re back to first base: how long can the Church go on minding her own business before the dismantling of all vestiges of a free and virtuous society trap her between the rock of submission to Henry VIII and the hard place of persecution? When homosexual unions are “legal”, demanding to be exempted from celebrating them is not enough because what was violated is a fundamental principle of the Res Publica: that there are laws that bind all men qua men, and that the Republic cannot stand unless such universal law is jelously guarded. A well-known fellow Roman wrote about such pillar of liberty, in a book not perchance called “De Re Publica”, and he’s quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Our Mother, and mother also of the theory of limited government:

    Est quidam vera lex recta ratio naturae congruens, diffusa in omnes,costans, sempiterna, quae vocet ad officium iubendo, vetando a fraude deterreat ; quae tamen neque probos frustra iubet aut vetat nec improbos iubendo aut vetando movet. Huic legi nec obrogari fas questa legge est neque derogari ex hac aliquid licet neque tota abrogari potest, nec vero aut per senatum aut per populumsolvi hac lege possumus, neque est quaerendus explanator aut interpres Sextus Aelius, nec erit alia lex Romae, alia Athenis, alia nunc, alia posthac, sed et omnes gentes et omni tempore una lex et sempiterna et immutabilis continebit, unusque erit communis quasi magister et imperator omnium deus: ille legis huius inventor, disceptator, lator; cui qui non parebit, ipse se fugiet ac naturam hominis aspernatus hoc ipso luet maximas poenas, etiamsi cetera supplicia, quae putantur, effugerit.

    When such eternal law is violated, either we restore it,or we’ll be all destroyed. Tertium non datur. The issue of homosexuality is a glaring example: the old demand for “privacy” and “equality” – “what we do in our bedroom is none of your business” -is now turning into “you will not speak ill of sodomy”. Gay-prides. Homosexuality taught to third-graders. Regular folks threatened with losing their kids if they keep teaching them “hatred”. How do you “get out” of that?

  28. Johnno says:

    ‘How exactly would a Catholic institution “defy the government decisively?”’

    Why, by publicly dropping all and any support for Obamacare entirely! No compromises, no exceptions! Do not consort with evil. There is no requirement for Catholics to accept any of it as any sort of ‘social justice’ tomfoolery. Stop trying to kiss Obama’s cheeks and simply ignore him. If he calls, slam the phone down in his ear. If Obama changes his mind and allows for the exemption, DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING IT’S OKAY TO VOTE FOR HIM NOW! If a man tries to have an affair with your wife, and then backs away, would you happily let him back in your home to continue seeing and speaking to your wife? You CANNOT TRUST HIM! Nor anyone associated with him.

    It’s time to be a tough guy now! Obama has shown he’s perfectly willing to risk votes in order to stay true to his vision. If only our current Church had an ounce of Obama’s backbone… We should be willing to go so far and risk losing and trusting in God to back us up so long as we stand uncompromisingly by Him! When David went off to fight Goliath, he had only his clothes and a sling. Today, the Church would rather take Saul’s armor and spear with them, and also engage in dialogue with the enemy to see if they’ll reach an agreeable compromise. We’ll give the Philistines this half of the land and agree they should promise not to go any further… Then later we’ll get together for a photo-op to show how well our dialogue is working. And if that fails and we must fight, then let’s try and pick the smallest pebble we can find to sling at our enemies… we should be considerate, after all, someone could get hurt!

  29. PostCatholic says:

    Here are some principles for you to consider as you decide whether your universities have outlived their Catholic mission:

    * Inquiry into academic topics must be free from the interference by the Magisterium. The discernment of truth proceeds along the lines of reason, not of faith, stands on its merits, and throughout Church history this has been normative.
    * The chief purpose of a university is intellectual and pedagogical, not religious.
    * The idea of a university is to be determined without recourse to the Magisterium or to any other authority.
    * The range of a teaching within the university is universal. All branches of knowledge, including theology, are encompassed by its teaching mission and should not be subject to restrictions on the avenues of academic inquiry.
    * Overspecialization in of one’s education causes one to persist in error or to make erroneous generalizations. Interdisciplinary study allows one to make connections and discoveries, and is necessary to avoid bigotry and arrogance.

    Well, that’s a start. See whether you agree. If so, I’ll buy a mug.

  30. ContraMundum says:

    Is it time for us to get out?

    No. It is time for us to get the lead out.

    I don’t want to hear about priests “leading a retreat”. I want to hear about them leading charges!

    Remember, Jesus did not tell St. Peter that Hell would not prevail against the gates of the Church; He said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. We’re not supposed to be cowering behind our walls; we’re supposed to be taking the fight to the Enemy and seeing him cower as his gates come crashing down.

  31. avecrux says:

    No – it is most definitely not time to get out.

    About 8 years ago, I had a small baby that died in utero. Because of a serious infection risk, I had to undergo surgery under a general anesthesia to remove my child’s remains. Thanks be to God I was in a Catholic hospital. The very kind nurse, pre-op, came to speak to me. She said she would take a bottle of Holy Water into the operating room to sprinkle on Holy Water on my baby’s remains. Then, I was offered the opportunity to either have the baby buried with the others from the hospital, or to have her remains returned to my family for a private burial. They actually had a form for me to sign, choosing the one or the other. We chose to bury our child ourselves. My Catholic NFP-only OB-GYN signed the death certificate (even though in a secular hospital my baby hadn’t even been alive since she hadn’t been born yet) and, of course, we had to name our child in order to have the death certificate issued, which was an important experience for all of our other children. Her remains were taken to the Catholic funeral home and placed in a small casket and our Pastor had graveside funeral (albeit, sadly, but necessarily, for the unbaptized) with our family. This incredibly sensitive and loving approach to these intimate family tragedies would disappear outside of Catholic healthcare.

  32. jbpolhamus says:

    Well, either get out or take them back, but make a decision one way or another. Personally I would advocate getting out and refounding the Catholic Colleges from the ground up. Neither Notre Dame nor any other high profile Catholic institution that I know of deserves to continue to trade on the name Catholic. Can they compare to Ave Maria, or Thomas Acquinas, or Wyoming Catholic for fidelity to the church’s mission or identity? I think not. Shed them, and move on. The future is far brighter than the present in this this regard. Hope springs eternal. As do truly Catholic donors.

  33. Alan Aversa says:

    Re: “they must choose between opposing modern society and opposing the Magisterium.”

    The problem is that the Vatican II document on “religious liberty,” Dignitatis Humanæ, chose the latter in Ratzinger’s dichotomy, while still seeming to many infallible doctrine, despite its contradictions with earlier Magisterial documents.

  34. Phil_NL says:

    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.

    Respectfully, Father, you’re proposing something that’s absolutely short-sighted.

    In a sense, this isn’t about hospitals being Catholic. You can have perfectly fine hospitals with them having a religious affiliation, and you can have damn awful ones with the moniker. That should be sorted out on a case-by-case basis. What this is all about, is that you can run hospitals, and schools, and what not, apart from the government.

    As soon as you let the government run all, or even the vast majority of, social institutions, you’re bound to get two things: government control will be cemented, eventually with the legal prohibition to compete against the government, and various influences will use the government’s control to reshape society in their own image. That’s essentially what Fabrizio is warning against, and the process would be exactly identical if the hospitals were all Quaker. Even if they were run without any religious affiliation, as pure businesses, the mechanism – and the end results – would be the same; the issue is not the target (Catholics today, someone else – and Catholics again – tomorrow), the crucial element is the agressor, namely the state.

    It’s all about concentrating power, and using that power. Whether or not catholic institutions are still worthy of the name is an internal matter; the fight now is to defend the right to keep up institutions outside the governments direct control, and we should even defend the most lapsed institution from that. Otherwise cleaning up internally is pointless anyway.

  35. Tominellay says:

    …agreeing with Phil_NL…
    The state’s appetite for power is voracious; the constitution is designed to bind the state. Our freedom is at stake.

  36. Supertradmum says:

    PostCatholic. As a Notre Dame graduate, I saw the rot first hand from 1979-84. Most of the Catholic institutions, not all, but the older ones, no longer teach the Liberal Arts, or classical education, nor Catholic doctrine. The rot cannot be changed by the firing of this teacher or the hiring of that. The problems are not only in the faculty and staff, but in the boards, the religious orders which have fallen into unbelief and heresy and the type of students accepted, unless there are stricter rules.

    You miss the point of Catholic education. It was to create good Catholics first, and as the Faith is rationally based, this is possible. To think that Catholicism does not include open discussion at certain levels is false. But, here is the endemic problem which I am writing about elsewhere. The primary and secondary educational facilities have failed to provide the basics. There has been no, formation of conscience or the teaching of logic and rational discourse at the lower levels. So, when the students get to the college and university level, they are at a lower level than I was in grade school. I have proof of this. I could give a test on basic religious Catholic concepts which I would have been given in fifth grade to entering freshman in college and all would fail. Students are faced with having to discuss and read topics such as contraception or euthanasia, without ever having the entire teaching of the Church behind them in order to make good judgments. They have not studied the Catechism, the Encyclicals, Church History. etc. This is true in religion, morals or ethics, philosophy, etc. As an instructor, I would have expected a level of basic expertise from my students in order to move into higher education levels of thought and content.

    The schools have failed and I saw this as early as the 1990s. Universities such as Notre Dame, which only take the top 10% of students intellectually (not counting the sports teams) are still taking woefully unprepared students in Catholicism. To assume that the institutions can make up the slack or should is ridiculous. Failures at home, in grade and high schools have produced two generations at least of Catholics who simply do not know their Faith.

    One cannot even have the level of discussion in graduate school I had in high school and I have proof of this. The dumbing down of Catholic education is one reason to close the schools, unless there are private organizations and groups of parents who are orthodox to support orthodoxy in the classroom and at home. A school is an extension of home catechesis not a substitute.

    Over-specialization as you point out is another problem and connected with the dropping of the Liberal Arts background all need. If the lower institutions, such as grade and high schools went back to the Trivium and Quadrivium, we would have true Catholic colleges and universities, excepting the few. But, no offense, there are not great minds coming out of most and that is proof that we should close down and start over. Catholic education only works in a Catholic culture to maintain and build on what exists. It cannot work in a vacuum. Same with Catholic hospitals. If the culture, the families were more Catholic, the institutions would follow.

    By the way, a famous person, who is also God said, one cannot serve God and Mammon. Mammon was the god of prosperity and money in the Canaanite panoply who demand child sacrifice of the oldest baby to insure success. His other name, possibly, was Moloch. Does this sound familiar? Kill the baby, be more wealthy. As long as institutions are businesses, the danger is the worship of Mammon or Moloch.

  37. jaykay says:

    “Why do you think so many Italian hospitals, founded centuries ago, with names of saints and popes, are now in 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?”

    And exactly the same situation pertains in Ireland, where the system of secondary education was developed by the Church in the 19th century, the (British) State not seeing itself as being in the business of providing secondary education until a later stage. And exactly the same thing pertained with the Protestants as well. Similarly, Catholic religious orders established the bulk of the hospitals and ran then excellently, until the last 25 years or so – although they were accepting State money of course (as were the religious orders in the schools) Nevertheless the Catholic ethos was very tangible, especially in the hospitals where not a few of the nurses and medics, and all of the higher management, were habited nuns. I know – I grew up across the road from one!

    Now, however, the situation in Ireland is largely as Fabrizio describes it in Italy, with operational control of religious-founded schools and hospitals in the hands of the State. And while it might take a while for a secondary school to be named after a communistic luminary (basically, we Irish don’t do communism or even advanced socialism) I could see that not too far in the future some secular icon will be chosen as “patron saint” or “presiding spirit” or whatever of one of our academies. There are of course very expensive private schools still under the patronage of religious orders, but they’re about as Catholic as the non-fee-paying ones. The name of the game in those schools is basically snobbery, so your little precious can get a good leg-up for success in later life.

    Given that Ireland is now for all practical purposes a vassal state of the EU (thanks to our own profligate foolishness) the much-vaunted EU principle of subsidiarity is effectively a dead letter. We march to whatever music our financial masters choose to play. To develop the Bismarck image a bit, when the French were saddled with a crushing reparation bill after 1870 they actually managed to clear it in record time. Some chance of Ireland doing similar! And at least the French put up a valiant, if doomed, last stand at Sedan. We just rolled over.

  38. cconaty says:

    A comment on Supertradmum’s added comment. Yes, purposefully created by Bismarck but aided, abetted, and nurtured by the theologians of the day. Eric Metaxas provides a good description of the descent in his book “Bonhoeffer.”

  39. Harold says:

    I certainly did not wake up this morning intending to defend Bismarck!

    Although he challenged the Church in the Kulturkampf, it must be remembered that he intended to offer refuge to the Pope if the Savoyards took a hostile stance against him after they took Rome. And, the European system that Bismarck helped to create did maintain peace for an extended period of time. It was only after he was dismissed and his successors began to follow a different path that Europe was set on the road to war. (And Germany was not entirely to blame for WWI.)

  40. PostCatholic says:

    Supertradmum, “that rot” isn’t my own. It’s a summation of key points from the first couple of chapters of John Henry Cardinal Newman’s The Idea of a University.

  41. Marysann says:

    If anyone cannot find the reference cited in “The Ratzinger Report,” published in English by Ignatius Press, it can be found in Chapter 6, page 86. Our Holy Father is so wise.

  42. Pingback: the state gets to tell you what to do and what to pay for and how much. « Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber

  43. JMody says:

    Bismarck offered shelter to the Pope in order to do the same thing that BHO is doing now with his so-called compromise — he wanted to appear reasonable, the better to make opposition to his idea “unreasonable”. As an added benefit, he would then have the Pope in reach, the better to manipulate him.

    The basic point Fabrizio makes is one that the Popes since at least the 1820’s (Clement XIV?) had consistently made UNTIL the Second Council of the Vatican — a socialist or communist government, one that seeks to curb the Church and ensconce the State as the arbiter of good and meaning in life in place of the Church, is inherently evil. Why did the Church not denounce Communism in “the Council”? Why did she allow bishops to start promoting what are essentially socialist or communist ideas in society as if the Church liked these things? This change is almost as destructive to society as the changes to the liturgy and the resulting collapse in the Church.

    As Senator Santorum said – the bishops supported many of these commie ideas and now the consequences are coming home to roost – they got what they deserved.

    Watch now how this so-called “compromise” from the White House will work. First, it is just as bad as before — it says that the Church can be exempt from funding immoral “women’s health services”, but must provide comprehensive referral for those services in its place. But second, BHO can now say he’s trying to meet halfway and the Church is unreasonable, and start to play the old Soviet game of “Demand and Compromise” — he makes an outrageous demand, but then walks back to 10% or 25% or 50% of the outrageous demand and calls it a “compromise”.

    Many/most of the people supporting this are not willfully evil –> but I refuse to believe that none of them are. I also firmly believe that many of them DO want to curb the Church and grow the State in its place, but they do think it is “good” to do this. Each of those represents a triumph for this evil philosophy.

    What can we do? Pray harder. Work harder. Teach more. And do not let up this pressure, no matter what happens. The Church MILITANT faces a supernatural foe, and he does not tire.

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