“If you are not on offense you are on defense.” So… what’s next?

The Obama Administration has to… has to… fold when it comes to the HHS mandate and their attack on the Catholic Church and the 1st Amendment.

While it is true that Pres. Obama is an ideologue, it is also true that he wants to be reelected.

He’ll fold on this matter with the knowledge that he has energized his base and that, if reelected, he will be able to impose the HHS mandate and many other things as well.

So, with the understanding that “if you are not on offense you are on defense”, what’s next for the Catholic Church in the United States?  What’s next for the American bishops?

What’s the next step?

Some of you will start shouting about excommunicating everyone.  Think for a while, then answer.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “What’s the next step?”

    This “victory” should be used as a springboard — to get the Catholic Church in the US back on track. Now that the bishops have united and taken a stand against this important issue, let them continue to unite and take a stand on other issues (as well as the pro-life cause). If we all throw our weight around together (bishops and laity), we can make quite a statement I think. We need to stay on the offense.

  2. wmeyer says:

    I pray that a too sudden victory will not lead to return to complacency, either among the bishops, or in their flocks. Unless this has truly been a wake up call for the Church in this country, the future will still be dark. I pray that all Catholics in America will see that it is not possible to rationalize voting for Obama, or any other supporter of abortion, now or ever.

  3. TravelerWithChrist says:

    If you’re not moving forward with Christ, then you’re going away from Him… Pray more, speak out more, and don’t let this die down. I’m hoping this is the last straw and the bishops and all Catholics will see a revitalization in our Faith.
    You did fail to mention that although Obama wants to be reelected, he has an immense pride. I would venture that he tries to push this through another way. He HAS to push it through before the end of the year at all costs. (remember the ‘shut up’ post).

  4. Andy Milam says:

    I don’t think that it has to be excommunication. They do that to themselves. That is out of the hands of the bishops. If a bishop publishes it, so be it. If a bishop does not, well….we know the truth don’t we.

    I think that the answer comes from something I said earlier today in my blog:


    I said that Pelosi, Sebelius, Kerry, et. al, are walking hand in hand with the Americanist heresy and the Modernist heresy. Pope Leo recognized this when he said that the Church “would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.”

    What we are seeing here friends is a two-fold resurrection. We are seeing the Americanist heresy and the Modernist heresy re-invigorated. To defeat Pelosi and those like her, we must get them (Catholic civil leaders) to rehabilitate from those two heresies. The rehabilitation from Americanism starts with adhering to Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae and applying it in today’s world. The rehabilitation from Modernism starts with Pascendi Dominici gregis.

    That is how it starts. That is the only way it can start. Until then, most opining is simply that, opining. Action is the only way to combat heresy. It is time for the Holy Father to put his tiara back on, start acting like the temporal ruler that he is (along with the spiritual ruler) and demand, as Popes Leo and Pius did, that Catholics act like Catholics. The age of Modernist diplomacy failed. Pray, yes…but put action behind the prayer. This does fall on the Holy Father and it falls on his bishops in the USA.

    That is what has to happen next. It isn’t excommunicating the few who are guilty, they do that themselves. It is about teaching the faithful how to combat the two heresies which are at the heart of all of this. Americanism and Modernism. When those heresies are obliterated, then we will have some peace. But it takes the Holy Father and the bishops in America to teach the antitheses of these heresies, FROM THE PULPIT!

  5. the_ox says:

    Obama is a master strategist. Consider the possibility that the HHS mandate was not an outright attack on the Church – but a calculated political strategy. Knowing full well that the bishops would respond as they have, Obama’s retreat on the issue will now further his ability to convince the American bishops that he will ‘work with them’ in order to advance progress on social issues and find ‘common ground’ on these moral issues important to the Church. In return, when October comes around – he can be assured that the bishops will not wage full out war to get him out of office. A second term, with several supreme court nominees will allow him to advance the godless secularism permanently. The bishops need to see this man for who he is, and understand his anti-Christian motivations.

  6. Long-Skirts says:

    Some of you will start shouting about excommunicating everyone.

    Too late for that. Should have been done decades ago for the good of the WHOLE Church.


    You can run on
    For a long time
    Run on for a
    Long time
    Run on for a long time
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    ‘em down
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    ‘em down

    These rotten wicked
    Heinous men
    Found foul and guilty
    Again and again
    All are depraved
    Each one of us
    Approve their boils
    Then suck their pus

    You can run on
    For a long time
    Run on for a
    Long time
    Run on for a long time
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    ‘em down
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    ‘em down

    Sent a Prelate
    Dressed in white
    To warn that the dark
    Will be brought to the light
    His cassocked clergy
    Teaching Faith truthfully
    But scourged like the
    Man from Galilee

    You can run on
    For a long time
    Run on for a
    Long time
    Run on for a long time
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    ‘em down
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    ‘em down

    Defilement diseased
    The man in the dome
    Dialogues to delay
    Optimistic his fruits of decay
    We’ll obey

    You can run on
    For a long time
    Run on for a
    Long time
    Run on for a long time
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    You down
    Sooner or later
    God’ll cut
    You down

  7. Ryan M says:

    There are two answers to that: what should be next and what will be next. I’ll start with the first.

    What should be next is a question that has different answers depending on the audience to whom the bishops turn their focus. One answer is that they should call on all priests to spend a few weeks catechizing on contraception and abortion–once we have gotten the government to abstain from forcing evil on us, we need to ensure we are not part of the contraceptive culture. Another answer is that they should reevaluate the political ideas they support with an eye toward a proper balance of solidarity and subsidiarity–though Catholics support health care for all, it need not be based on federally mandated insurance plans, for instance, let alone forcing them through employers; likewise many other endeavors that were once considered the work of charities should be returned to private charities rather than absorbed into the government. A third answer is that they should, as you have mentioned, attempt to exert some semblance of control or leadership over the politicians that distort or ignore Catholic teachings in their attempt to serve two masters (charitably granting that Christ is one of them).

    Also, they should identify other hot-topic issues and begin to speak in a unified voice from the pulpit on them, things like abortion, defending traditional marriage as a good rather than a right and explaining why it is a good that is protected by law rather than a right that needs to be granted indiscriminately, immigration policy, and even just war and torture; if we have a voice that can make the president tremble on this topic, use that voice to speak the words of Christ. Related to the prior point, they should figure out why their voice was so effective and learn better how to mobilize it and amplify it, much like (shudder) Planned Parenthood did last week. And one last idea, the bishops should start being much more vocal and stringent about theologians who promote ideas that are not Catholic–they should make their mandatum mean something, make their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no,” so to speak. These are things that should be next.

    What will be next? This is a much easier question. Each individual bishop will pick one of the above, or something completely different, and do his own thing. Being pulled into a thousand directions again, the antebellum status quo (yes, I consider this a war; they started it) will return to the USCCB and the American Catholic Church. Within weeks of the decision being overturned, nominally Catholic politicians and journalists will have speeches and pieces out that say that, although the mandate was an overreach, the Catholic Church needs to get with the times.

  8. Clinton R. says:

    I think what is crucial is to catechize the Church Militant as to why the use of contraceptives is sinful. We’ve heard numbers tossed around like 90 or 95 or 98% of Catholics use contraception. Whatever the number is, anything above 0% is not good. But we have to teach especially the young that the use of contraceptives is contrary to natural law. It is against the ways of God. It turns the act of sexual relations, which should be reserved for a husband and his wife, and perverts its purpose. Our bodies are temples of God not to be used for fornication. If we can get Catholics to understand why contraception is sinful, then hopefully they’ll understand why we can’t stand by and let the Obama adminstration force us to betray God and the teachings of His Holy Church.

  9. ies0716 says:

    I think that some excommunications would actually be just the thing the Church needs. Since Paul VI’s time, the Church has tried to “play nice” with heretics in hope that they would eventually change their ways. Every single “Catholic” politician, priest, or theologian that publicly dissents from the Church’s teaching should receive one private warning from his/her bishop and then be immediately publicly excommunicated. If bishops won’t enforce orthodoxy in their diocese then those bishops should be replaced. The longer we tolerate dissent in our midst, the longer the modernist crisis will continue.

  10. Cosmos says:

    To the Ox. The President is not a master strategist. He forced an enormous and completely reliable segment of his base (liberal Catholics) to admit that he is acting in an open and hostile way not only to the Catholic Church, but to religious freedom in general. They had no choice but to stand against him- that is not a good move. Even Cardinal Mahone is with us for the moment. This was a blunder by the White House. If he wins in 2012, which he may well, it will be despite this move, not because of it.

    There will be no next move for the Church, in my opinion, unless the Administration does something equally ham-fisted. While we can talk about ourselves as a monolithic American Catholic Church, there is not nearly so much unity or uniformity in most issues.

  11. pfreddys says:

    The Senate and House have to write laws to trump the HHS directive.
    The courts must be resorted to in order to overturn this obviously unconstitutional directive. If I ran a Catholic hospital or school I would hold a press conference and state that I’m not applying for any ridiculous extension and that I demanded to be fined as soon as possible so I can begin the journey through the courts. I would state that the end of that journey would involve suing the federal government for punitive damages for violating my constitutional rights.

  12. keithp says:

    I certainly don’t see any sort of victory for the Catholic Church in the US.
    What I do see (and Deo Gratias), is leadership by the Bishops and a groundswell of support for them from the laity.

    This is a good first step. But after? I don’t know. But, I hope this dynamic between the Church leadership and the laity continues. The laity must support the Bishops, pastors, priests and religious that are publicly vocal. They have to know we have their back. I don’t think this is time to go all in on reversing 50 years of failure to preach and teach.

    For myself, in uber liberal California, this has been a bitter and anxious time due to the HHS and on going Prop 8 debates I find myself in with co-workers and friends. The past couple weeks have been very taxing on me. Without daily Mass and frequent reception of Eucharist and Confession, I am convinced I would have emotionally and spiritually imploded.

    I think the next step that would benefit is the public “censure” of Sebelius and Pelosi by no longer allowing them to receive the Eucharist. Certainly, this should be done with tact and carefull communication of the why’s for this occurence. I have contacted the White House and my Congress folks (Boxer and Farr… ugh…) and will continue to do so. I’m also looking forward to seeing other comments here. I am not in favor of excommunication. yet.

  13. PostCatholic says:

    Lately, this blog makes me recall a quotation from an essay called “Christian Apologetics” in C. S. Lewis’s God In the Dock:

    “Most political sermons teach the congregation nothing except what newspapers are taken at the Rectory.”

  14. anilwang says:

    Regardless of whether Obama submits or takes his chances, the next step has to be the same, teach the “inconvenient parts” of the faith the conflict with the world and give people the tools to live out the “inconvenient parts” whether it is fasting or confession or apologetics tips.

    If the “inconvenient parts” of the faith aren’t taught regularly, those parts of the faith will be vulnerable. If Catholics know the “inconvenient parts” but aren’t given the tools to live out the “inconvenient parts”, they’ll just whine and yell “it’s not fair!” while the world beats us senseless.

    This is even more important if Obama doesn’t back down (or attacks again in a less politically sensitive way such as one that will be supported by Jack Chick Protestants), since Catholics will have to pay the price for their beliefs.

  15. jonh303 says:

    I agree with Andy Milam, except that I would be more specific. Now that contraception and sterilization have for the first time in a while been publicly implicitly condemned by the bishops as a whole, we need to back up our stance with reasons for both the Catholics at Mass and for the world. Why does the Church teach that these are gravely immoral actions? Certainly not because that is just what we have always believed. Certainly it would be much easier to know if a politician were knowingly persisting in grave sin publicly, if we were preaching publicly how contraception violates the natural law. We wouldn’t have to waste time suspecting that the person might be poorly informed.

    As I said in my recent post on the matter here: http://www.battleforthecoreoftheworld.com/2012/02/who-are-our-fellow-catholics-thoughts.html , we need to teach WHY contraception is wrong. By we, I don’t mean just the bishops or even priests though they are very central to making this happen. Lay people ought to be able to assist this as well…after all, aren’t some of you out there teachers in schools, CCD programs or even extracurricular clubs?

    This is important because as one of the fundamental errors in the modernist heresy mentioned by Andy is scientific reductionism where the MOST REAL part of what surrounds us is merely the material. This is why not only the rest of the world, but also members within the Church have focused more and more on the physical health/temporal consequences of their actions rather than the spiritual health/eternal consequences of any given action. A person may believe in God but they may live practically as an atheist by going through life raising money for cancer and never thinking once about the state of the cancer patient’s soul. Since religion is based on faith that is blind, the founders of modern Western thinking wanted to free science and philosophy from its ‘irrational’ situation, to reduce or eliminate its influence on public life, and to re-orient even private life toward improving this world rather than preparing for an illusory afterlife as Feser says. This is the story of the enlightenment. We need to be careful that as a Church we don’t slip into a merely humanistic view of the world where we say the mandate is wrong because it limits our religious freedom. It is wrong because #1 contraception is wrong for Catholics and non Catholics alike, but also 2# it violates our religious liberty.

  16. pfreddys says:

    I do think this situation does shed light on the shameful fact that alot of Catholics in American do use artificial contraception. Hopefully, this a wake-up call to priests and laity that the time for dissent from the teaching of Humanum Vitae is over. Everyone should be encourage to read Humanum Vitae, I believe it to be the greatest achievement of the Papacy of Paul VI. It’s not just about birth control but a beautifully written document on human love.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    He won’t cave in because of his base, which is still larger than the non-Obama supporters.

  18. JohnE says:

    If it’s true that other states already have similar mandates, I think these need to be sent up to the Supreme Court. We also need legitimate health insurance options for those who would like to opt out of company-sponsored health plans that cover abortion and contraception (and which employees also contribute to). Or better yet, pressure companies to provide health insurance options that do not violate our consciences.

    I still don’t get the exclusive focus on religious organizations. What options do Catholics who work for non-religious companies have (which is most of us) if all insurance policies will be required to cover contraceptives and abortifacients?

  19. kelleyb says:

    What do we do next? First, I believe it is time for faithful Catholics-priests, religious, Bishops and laity to get out of the democrat party bed; burn the sheets and quilts, and fumigate the place. We need to inoculate ourselves from what Pope Benedict calls the dictatorship of relativism. We must revitalize our Catholic Culture. We must Catechize those of us in the pews about our faith, not using glossy platitudes of the recent past, but with the zeal and love of the martyrs.

  20. Titus says:

    To the Ox. The President is not a master strategist. He forced an enormous and completely reliable segment of his base (liberal Catholics) to admit that he is acting in an open and hostile way not only to the Catholic Church, but to religious freedom in general.

    Well, he certainly hasn’t convinced all of them. Go take a gander at Commonweal. If some of the writers there are correct, and we as Catholics actually won’t back the episcopate on this in a unified fashion, Obama’s move becomes far less disastrous. In fact, it might show itself as a cunning gambit in a game he’s been playing since the last election: the Promote Schism within American Catholicism Game. If he can get over 90% of American ordinaries to condemn his policy, then watch as the bishops prove unable to back themselves up, he’s won a huge victory in that game. It’s a risk for Obama, and I think the Commonweal writers are playing for their own heterodox purposes, but it’s certainly not an open and shut case of failure.

    As for what happens or should happen, that depends on what the goal is. Is the goal merely the short-term aim of invalidating the HHS regulation? That can probably be done through the judiciary. Is there a secondary aim of making the process as huge a headache as possible for the administration? That can also be done: the Church can probably have a complaint filed in every federal district court in the country and use a coordinating office in the USCCB to share evidence, resources, strategies, and costs amongst the various individual plaintiffs (offsetting the advantage the Justice Department otherwise has in all these regards); I would be inclined to resist consolidation and hope that some assistant US Attorney in some out-of-the-way district misses a deadline on some requests for admission or some such, but that might cut both ways.

    Do we think litigation might not be enough? I suppose there could be demonstrations, agitations, and the like. One could try and be provocative, in the hopes that federal agents could be goaded into shooting someone, arresting some bishops, or burning a church. But those sort of tactics are rather unbecoming, and the desired results improbable and likely worse than the disease.

    Where does all of that get us anyways? Does any of it promote longer-term goals, whatever those might be? That I don’t know.

  21. digdigby says:

    Contraception is quite ‘natural’ to a marriage based on love, friendship, mutual respect and mutual pleasure as well as shared values. If you are talking about Catholic sacramental marriage – then you are speaking of a rara avis, even in the Catholic modern world. Sacramental marriage, in which the union of man and woman becomes an actual sacrament – like, say Holy Orders (!) this is something dramatic, thrilling and of a splendor incongruous in our ‘Jersey Shore’ world. Whenever I despair of my church, I remember how astonishing it is that the church did not cave and still has not caved in and only gives its full approval to sacramental marriage without contraception. This ‘shouldn’t’ have happened but it did.
    One thing the magnificent Monsignor Gilbey taught me, the church never decreases in holiness no matter how many priests apostatize, if the church spreads all over Asia, it does not
    become ‘more’ Catholic and universal than before. My church is holy and Catholic, these are its eternal character, just as one person has fixed qualities.

  22. donantebello says:

    What’s next?

    Perhaps Obama’s secular socialist overreach is a moment for catechesis of the faithful. Pope Paul VI stated at the conclusion of Humani Vitae that what is needed is a “comprehensive vision of the human person” to be proposed by the Church to the world to give a full account of the mystery of personhood and the nature of human sexuality and self gift. Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body was a response to this idea, with his expertise in Thomistic ethics, as well as his profound grasp of the history of ethics in modern philosophy.

    Perhaps now priests can give sermons, write pastoral letters, and teach about this “comprehensive vision of the human person” as the joyful and enlightened proposal of the Church, versus the truncated and pre-enlightenment vision of human existence articulated by the dialectical materialism of the secular socialist statist.

  23. HeatherPA says:

    “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence.” Blessed Pope John Paul II.

    Yes, he said final. He said we must realize this. That time has come for all the people to get dead serious about their faith. Not lukewarm or cold. We must put on the Armor of God and follow our King.

  24. acardnal says:

    We need strong, orthodox, clear, catechetical teaching from the pulpit and from our bishops! If the offertory collection declines so what?! We will be held accountable to God for proclaiming the Truth not the amount of the offertory collection or the number of parish activities we have going on. Americans and Europeans do NOT know the faith nor the morality associated with it. Bishops should continue protesting sinful government actions and discipline “Catholic” public officials – publicly – for fostering abortion, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research and so on! Then they will know that actions have consequences. The Last Four Things await us all. Time on earth is short; time in hell is forever. We all will face judgment for our actions and lack of them – particularly bishops. Let us pray a Memorare for our bishops daily!

    I finish with a quote from Cardinal Ratzinger from his book interview Salt and Earth:
    “The words of the Bible and of the Church fathers rang in my ears, those sharp condemnations of shepherds who are like mute dogs; in order to avoid conflicts that let the poison spread. Peace is not the first civic duty, and a bishop whose only concern is not to have any problems and to gloss over as many conflicts as possible is an image I find repulsive.”

  25. Kerry says:

    Another way to say the previous, “Stay on offence.” It will keep people energized, paying attention, and Catholic.

  26. Kerry says:

    Andy Milan, you do mean Senator John Forbes ‘Palooka’ Kerry, yes…? Heh.

  27. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    After thinking for a while, I still think that targeted, justified (long overdue…) excommunications would be a useful component of any action on the part of the Bishops. The Catholic Church in the United States cannot effectively evangelize this corner of the world until our House is in order. Sweep out some rubbish, consolidate and edify the Faithful, then turn our attention with renewed and re-catechized vigor to the world around us.

    No one will take Catholicism seriously while reprobates like Nancy Pelosi offer such consistent and public grave scandal…her persistence in the good graces of Mother Church demonstrates to the rest of the US that you can be a pro-Abortion-Rights liberal ideologue and still be “in Communion and Receiving Holy Communion” with the Catholic Church.

  28. Cephas218 says:

    Prayer and sacrifice. The Rosary and sack cloth and ashes. This is a spiritual war, and won’t be won by pontificating. The American people haven’t followed the teachings on contraception and abortion, not so much because it hasn’t been presented, but because we “true” Catholics have not prayed and fasted for their conversion. Let’s storm heaven.
    *Nothing in this post is intended to downplay physical action, but without God, we’re nothing.

  29. Cephas218 says:

    Edit: *have not prayed and fasted *sufficiently*

  30. Andy Milam says:

    @ Kerry;

    Exactly. But I thought it was John “Fitzgerald” Kerry….

    just sayin’…


  31. mamajen says:

    TEACH people! It is one thing to know something is wrong. It is quite another to understand WHY it is wrong and to understand the wisdom behind the teaching. They can excommunicate away and that will only further distance the many Catholics who are on the brink. Priests need to use the pulpit, the Catholic schools and colleges, TV, the Internet, whatever they have at their disposal to reach people in a way that they can easily understand. Catholic lay people who do “follow the rules” need to lead by example and STOP dismissing people as “lost causes” or not holy enough to associate with them. You never know who you might get through to (and I don’t mean by preaching at them, unless that is your job).

    I would really like to see the Catholic leadership in our country thumb their noses at the threat of tax perks being revoked. There is strength in numbers. Take sides!

  32. BillyHW says:

    I’ve thought about it for a while and I think they should start excommunicating everyone.

  33. Dismas says:

    I found Pat Buchanan’s advice reasonable. Regardless of any future fold from he who shall be nameless, I hope the Bishops follow through on all Pat’s suggestions where applicable:

    “Yet if the bishops will look upon this crisis of conscience, this insult, as an opportunity, they can effect its reversal and recapture a measure of the moral authority they have lately lost.

    Not only should the bishops file suit in federal court against the president and Sebelius for violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state, they should inform the White House that no bishop will give an invocation at the Democratic Convention.

    Then, they should inform the White House that in the last two weeks of the 2012 campaign, priests in every parish will read from the pulpit at Sunday mass a letter denouncing Obama as anti-Catholic for denying the Church its right to live according to its beliefs.

    If Obama loses the Catholic vote, he loses the election.”


  34. ndmom says:

    Not convinced that Obama knew that the bishops (and prominent “liberal” Catholics such as Dionne at the Post) would react as they have. Remember that Obama has surrounded himself with like-minded advisers, and is especially solicitous of the NARAL/PP/NOW contingent. What does he know from Catholicism — or even Mere Christianity — except what he hears from Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius, and other poorly-formed products of the modern American Catholic Church, Democratic branch? There is no one in Obama’s past or current circle of influence who has a grasp on what the Church actually teaches on any issue, much less anyone who is making an effort to live those teachings in their daily life. For this group, contraception is a given, and abortion is a sacrament, though vaguely regrettable in some amorphous way.

    This whole controversy would not have arisen had the bishops done their jobs since 1968. But they didn’t, and now they are lying in the bed they’ve made. Obama knows that most self-identified Catholics rarely attend Mass, and that even the regulars in the pew are about as likely to use contraception as everyone else. Many of them are probably eager to get their employers to pick up the co-pay for their pills, and don’t really understand what all the fuss is about. They aren’t going to go out of their way to protest the mandate, and this whole affair won’t make a dent in how they plan to vote.

    I agree with those who have suggested massive civil disobedience as the best response. Catholic employers should simply refuse to comply with this mandate, and refuse to pay any fines imposed by HHS. Then what happens?

  35. Cosmos says:

    I agree with ND mom that whether or not this works out for Obama, it was not planned and the reaction was not forseen.

  36. Sealgaire says:

    Obama and his team will not back down. Any legal challenge cannot occur until after implementation, conveniently deferring the coming legal rebuke and public embarrassment to after the election. In the meantime, team O gets to energize large portions of their base with a double win: publically hurting the Catholic Church and promoting the myth that contraception is good, especially for women. The energy arising in team O’s key demographic groups from this double win may well become a net positive for him in terms of votes.

    What can we do? Don’t expect 200 Bishops to evangelize 77 million Catholics. Our renewal will come with prayer and hard work by each of us. At the death of Paul IV in 1559 astute observers pronounced the church dead, before that Arianism almost eradicated orthodoxy. Who would have predicted Athanasius, Francis, Dominic, or countless others and how God would act through them in times of crisis to renew His Church.

    There is no simple answer or quick fix to decades of decay and too much of our team is still on the sidelines mired in apathy, ignorance or both. We must lead from the bottom up as joyful and overtly Catholic warriors for Christ and to borrow a modern term, crowd-source renewal. Be subversive and inculcate the joy of Christ among your friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners. Be courageous for your bishop so he can learn courage from your witness. Anger, fear and despair are Lucifer’s tools and in the end being driven by them will cause more real harm than apparent good. Above all, pray and whenever you greet a Priest subliminally chant “Say the Black and do the Red”

  37. Dismas says:

    Oh, and of course, I think every Bishop in every diocese should sponsor and promote a set of 30 Gregorian Masses in September or October, publicly celebrated prior to the election, in every local Basilica and Cathedral throughout the United States with the intention of protecting religious freedom for all.

  38. chantgirl says:

    1 Pray. 2 Fast. 3 Donate to the Becket Fund as we’re going to need some lawyers. 4 Vote for a conservative who actually has a chance of dethroning Obama. 5 Write letters and emails, sign petitions. 6 Ask your parish priest to have a Theology of the Body workshop at your parish. 7 Lure your non-Catholic/liberal/atheist/secular humanist friends and family members to your Facebook page with comical youtube videos and cartoons and intersperse some serious posts or links to articles about this topic. People should know that devout Catholics have a sense of humor, and are not cold and holier-than-thou, or secretly vampires. 8 Contact your Bishops and let them know you support them for taking a stand. 9 Donate to some serious contemplative orders. 10 Organize an advertising campaign along the lines of the Catholics Come Home or I’m a Mormon type, EXCEPT that the videos should feature images of the TLM with polyphony and chant, and invite some of the young Latin Mass hipster kids to give their testimonies. Make the commercials as mysterious and transcendent as possible. The soul the modern person is often starving and might be drawn in if the commercials are well done ( a lot of Catholic media looks amateur). 11 Oh, and pray some more.

  39. charo says:


    You simply nailed it with your comment. The bishops have acted like permissive parents who suddenly are appalled at their children’s decisions. Your comments about Obama’s knowledge base of Catholicism is also on the mark, as well as the average Catholic in the pew, many of whom make up Obama’s base. I would second the commenter above that prayer and fasting are mandatory for the priests and bishops, as well as the laity. The bishops, though, are more responsible because of their call.

  40. Paul says:

    The Bishops have been playing the roll of Neville Chamberlain for too long; we know how it turned out for England during WWII and we know how it will turn out for us today. It’s great that they are now speaking out they need our complete support.

    John Vianney said: “If one knew what we may obtain from God by the intercession of the Poor Souls, they would not be so much abandoned. Let us pray a great deal for them, they will pray for us.”

    Let’s all pray and fast but also how about returning to some of the customs that have pretty much disappeared over the last 50 years. For example praying for, and to, the holy souls in purgatory. We, and they, sure could use the extra help.

  41. Woodlawn says:

    What happens next?

    08 February 2012
    Putin vows Russia will defend persecuted Christians abroad
    Moscow, February 8, Interfax – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised on Wednesday it would be one of the tasks of Russia’s foreign policy to defend Christians in other countries who are persecuted for their faith.

    “You needn’t have any doubt that that’s the way it will be,” Putin said at a meeting with Russian religious leaders when Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church, expressed hope that Russia’s government would stand up for persecuted Christian communities abroad.

    Some interesting implications here. Does this mean we can petition Russia to defend us from anti-Catholic mandates of ObamaCare? What about the Christian remnant in Western Europe as they are overrun by Muslims? Some interesting implications indeed.

    Who would have thought that Russia would turn out to be the leading “Christian” power of the 21st Century? Our Lady of Fatima?

  42. El Padre says:

    Here is the irony of the Administration’s HHS mandate: The government and others in favor of the mandate are trying to depict us as narrowly imposing our own personal beliefs on others, while the only reason we are in this position is precisely because we have been so inclusive & tolerant in our hiring practices and to whom we provide services. If we had restricted our schools, hospitals, and social services to be for only Catholics and only staffed by Catholics, the Administration claims it would not have targeted us. So we are too tolerant & inclusive, but not tolerant & inclusive enough. Where is the “fairness” in that?

  43. pjthom81 says:

    I am thinking….

    Of Gregory VII’s reform on lay investiture. In a way its the same issue….independence of the Church from the State. I think we should pursue the independence of the Church from any attempt to limit the state.

    In my opinion, we should challenge and overturn the rules stating that we can not advocate politically to qualify as a Church under section 501c3. In my opinion, this rule is at odds with the first amendment. We should be tax exempt by virtue of being a religious organization. What we advocate for, as is our duty to God and our fellow man, is none of the state’s business. The rule is inherently corrupt.

  44. Captain Peabody says:

    I’m honestly not convinced Obama WILL back down. More and more, I’m getting the impression that this is an issue that his top advisers believe in so strongly that they would rather resign than let the Church win. I think he’ll dig in his heels, and act as conciliatory as possible in public while hoping the whole matter blows over. The key for the Church in that situation is to NOT let the issue die, not let Obama blow the whole thing over, but to continually bring it up at all the most inconvenient times.

    Now, if he really does back down, which it is certainly very possible he will do, the main thing is to ensure that as few Catholics as possible vote for him in November regardless. The bishops should take every opportunity to bring Obama’s betrayal back to the mind of the faithful, and take the opportunity to reinforce the non-negotiability and great moral weight of life issues in voting for candidates. They should also take the opportunity to publicly preach against contraception and to reinforce in the minds of the faithful the unchanging nature of this teaching.

    All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic about the bishops part in this. What I’m not so optimistic about is whether American Catholics will actually not vote for Obama en masse regardless. There are a lot of hearts and minds to change, and not much time to change them.
    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

  45. MarkA says:

    Woodlawn – You beat me to it :) What a juxtaposition.
    “… one of the tasks of Russia’s foreign policy to defend Christians in other countries who are persecuted for their faith.” – Vladmir Putin, Feb 8, 2012
    “The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy.” – Hillary Clinton, Dec 6, 2011

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  46. Girgadis says:

    What’s next? How about not handing out annulments like M & M’s for starters. When the sacrament of marriage was weakened, it had a dominoes effect that toppled everything else. Now suddenly everyone is shocked that we have abortion, birth control, gender-bending and a push for homosexuals to be permitted to marry? Puleeeze!

    By the petition that the White House released today that included the signature of some 70 s0-called Catholic doctors supporting the proposed mandate, it’s clear to me that this administration has no intention of backing down. The president is buoyed by CINO’s like Pelosi and Sebelius as well as op-ed letters from flaky Catholics trying to argue that because they disobey the Church anyway, somebody should pay for it.

    The rude awakening will come when Catholic hospitals spell out in dollars how much it’s going to cost this country if they are forced to close rather than cave in to the demands of the HHS mandate.

    Perhaps Rick Santorum’s surprise victories yesterday portend that brighter days are ahead, and I can’t help but believe that Catholics and others energized by the HHS outrage are the reason for his success. I only pray it continues, given the alternatives.

  47. acardnal says:

    Congresswoman Pelosi is not alone but as the current Minority Leader and former Speaker of the House I suppose she should be at the top of the list for sanctions by the Church. There are dozens and dozens of Congresswomen and Congressmen and Senators who are “Catholic” and deserve sanctions and excommunication for their ACTIONS not their speech. Just today they were parading themselves before the press corps on C-SPAN trying to justify how women need contraceptives and abortion for their “health care.”

  48. acardnal says:

    Oh, and let’s not forget our Vice President, Mr. Biden.

  49. MominTexas says:

    We’d better start preaching that New Evangelization promptly and persuasively, I think…

  50. heway says:

    I hesitate to defend Joe Biden, but it is my understanding that he told the administration not to do this – perhaps that is why we have not seen or heard from him. As to what’s next? Catechesis – there are many ‘good’ catholics who believe the use of contraceptives is a matter of conscience for them (figure that out). If it is not dogma, then they make their own decisions. I have attended many RCIA classes and have failed to hear anything about contraception and never hear it from the pulpit. It is everyone’s responsibility to explain the reason the church prohibits it.
    At my age (70’s), I find that I have more time to spend in front of the Blessed Sacrament, praying, adoring, waiting for the hand of God to help us. One of our first responsibilities is to make sure this administration is deposed in November. Be Soldiers of Christ!

  51. thickmick says:

    “Should one Catholic come to harm, or should one Catholic business be molested, we shall turn this city into a second Moscow.”
    -Archbishop “Dagger” John Hughes

    Side note: They burned the Churches in Philly and Baltimore,
    but didn’t touch the Churches in NYC ;-) after he said this.

  52. Long-Skirts says:

    acardnal said:

    ” There are dozens and dozens of Congresswomen and Congressmen and Senators who are “Catholic” and deserve sanctions and excommunication for their ACTIONS not their speech. Just today they were parading themselves before the press corps on C-SPAN trying to justify how women need contraceptives and abortion for their “health care.”

    (Genesis 38:8-10)

    If you plant
    God’s seed
    It grows

    With holy
    An openness glows.

    Then to man

    Wisdom to
    Grace which guides.

    So abundance
    Will spread

    Feed the early
    Feed the

    And you
    Fruitful souls
    A cornucopia fills –

    While the deserts
    Of Onan,
    Remain wastelands of spills.

  53. dymh says:

    I contacted with a respectful and brief note my senators. From one, (nominally Catholic and abortion rights supporting) I received a reply supporting the HHS mandate. I then contacted our bishop and respectfully suggested that private communication between himself and the senator might be helpful in helping the Senator fully develop his conscience about these issues.

  54. Kate says:

    I am completely with Dismas and chantgirl, and nd mom’s, “I agree with those who have suggested massive civil disobedience as the best response. Catholic employers should simply refuse to comply with this mandate, and refuse to pay any fines imposed by HHS. Then what happens?”

    In my work with teens in both church and secular settings, I see absolute ignorance. Some of the young people I interact with may raise objections to abortion in certain cases, but contraception is a given. For them, it’s like drinking water or brushing their teeth – a “healthy” thing that they can do to “protect” themselves and their “partners” from disease and “unwanted” pregnancies.

    I can only suspect that their moms and dads have used contraception for years and have passed along the message that it’s okay to use it.

    These young people have NO IDEA about the truths of the Faith in regards to procreation. For this reason, I think chantgirl’s ” Ask your parish priest to have a Theology of the Body workshop at your parish.” is, perhaps, the most important idea presented so far. But why do we have to ask? Why aren’t our priests doing this already?

    This is something I can never understand…people are literally starving for information, and no one “in the know” is providing workshops, training, etc. (Or they do offer a class, but it’s on a Friday night in a convent far, far away….)

    Dear Bishops and Priests, please, PLEASE, stand up and take command!

  55. avecrux says:

    The Ox –
    Your scenario is my biggest fear.
    I don’t know how all this was planned from the outset, but I do know that the culture-of-death promotion by the Obama administration is not the work of the Holy Spirit. It is fair to say there are clever minds behind it, far more intelligent than Obama himself – since they are fallen angels.
    Where to start?
    I think the Bishops of the US need to call upon all Catholics for a serious and intense Lent. I think they need to specify the attack on religious freedom in our country as a time to pray intensely and fast and give alms, imploring the mercy of God. Some demons are only driven out by prayer and fasting. All of us need to repent for our lukewarmness.

  56. dymh says:

    I also replied to my Senator expressing my disapproval of his stance and provided the following information which is available from the USCCB here

    Six Things Everyone Should Know About The HHS Mandate
    February 6, 2012
    WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

    1.The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them “religious employers” worthy of conscience protection, because they do not “serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets.”HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.

    2.The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs;forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs.

    3.The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. Though commonly called the “contraceptive mandate,” HHS’s mandate also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization.And by including all drugs approved by the FDA for use as contraceptives, the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as “Ella,” a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486.

    4.Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate Catholics who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies have publicly criticized HHS’s decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne. . . , Mark Shields. . . , and Michael Sean Winters. . . ; college presidents Father John Jenkins. . . and Arturo Chavez. . . ; and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan. . . , president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
    5.Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate. Many recognize this as an assault on the broader principle of religious liberty, even if they disagree with the Church on the underlying moral question.For example, Protestant Christian. . . , Orthodox Christian. . . , and Orthodox Jewish. . . groups–none of which oppose contraception–have issued statements against the HHS’s decision.The Washington Post. . . , USA Today. . . , N.Y. Daily News. . . , Detroit News. . . , and other secular outlets, columnists. . . , and bloggers. . . have editorialized against it.

    6.The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. HHS chose the narrowest state-level religious exemption as the model for its own.That exemption was drafted by the ACLU and exists in only 3 states (New York, California, Oregon).Even without a religious exemption, religious employers can already avoid the contraceptive mandates in 28 states by self-insuring their prescription drug coverage, dropping that coverage altogether, or opting for regulation under a federal law (ERISA) that pre-empts state law.The HHS mandate closes off all these avenues of relief.

    Additional information on the U.S. Catholic bishops’ stance on religious liberty, conscience protection and the HHS ruling regarding mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs is available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/index.cfm.

  57. pm125 says:

    Wow. Wish that were our leaders speaking:

    Woodlawn says:

    8 February 2012 at 6:14 pm

    What happens next?

    08 February 2012
    Putin vows Russia will defend persecuted Christians abroad
    Moscow, February 8, Interfax – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised on Wednesday it would be one of the tasks of Russia’s foreign policy to defend Christians in other countries who are persecuted for their faith.

    “You needn’t have any doubt that that’s the way it will be,” Putin said at a meeting with Russian religious leaders when Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church, expressed hope that Russia’s government would stand up for persecuted Christian communities abroad.

    Back to US.
    1. Standardize religious education for our young people. Standardize.
    2. Weekly basics of right and wrong per black and white refs.
    3. Or an insert for every parish bulletin in the country from one office source listing basics of our faith for as many weeks, months as it takes to dent confusion and prevent opinionated heresy.
    4. Meaning of each of the Ten Commandments.
    *** Especially the First Commandment.
    Meaning of the Lord’s Prayer.
    Meaning of the Apostle’s Creed.
    Meaning of the Nicene Creed.
    People grow in perspective and knowledge enough to trust in the love of God more than self.

  58. rodin says:

    No time to read all the comments, but I did read that acardnal said

    “We need strong, orthodox, clear, catechetical teaching from the pulpit and from our bishops!”

    With that I can heartily agree and I would add from our priests as well. The problem is that, from my experience/observation some of the priests are in need of refresher courses themselves. Regrettably there are indications some seminaries may be deficient so maybe they need to be studied as are the nuns. In any case, given the numbers of catholics who claim to be Catholic, but… there can be no doubt that they do not know their religion. And that has to be laid at the feet of the bishops. Now that we have their attention perhaps this is the time to insist on solid instruction.

  59. jflare says:

    Um, have I missed something?
    So far as I’m aware, Obama and Sebelius have not backed away from their insistence on a mandate. We HAVE seen the majority of bishops issue statements of opposition to this policy, but these statements don’t inherently change anything. We haven’t won any political victory yet.

    What’s next? I doubt if they’ll do it, but I think we need to see the bishops take (some of) the following actions:
    – Run political ads before the election to endorse Humanae Vitae and John Paul’s Theology of the Body. Might need to take up collections in parishes for precisely this purpose. Catholics NEED to know that the President’s proposals run directly afoul of Catholic teaching.
    – Begin offering public pronouncements that this or that Catholic politician may not receive communion, even to the point of allowing priests, deacons, and EMHCs to politely, but firmly, deny communion during Mass. I wish we didn’t need to take this step, but I haven’t seen the less public and less humiliating measure work. I don’t think some of these folks will get the point until we really DO insist.
    – Open up parts of web pages dedicated to highlighting the new translation of the Mass, but also allowing parishioners to offer feedback when priests aren’t simply saying the black and doing the red. I know, THAT seems pretty dramatic, but I haven’t seen anything else work, so it seems appropriate. Sites wouldn’t necessarily need to list the priest’s name or parish–not publicly anyway–but we DO need to emphasize the fact that these aren’t merely options rules.
    – Begin either requiring each parish to offer the EF once each weekend, or else require one parish in each portion of a geographic area to do so. We can’t expect the faithful to care so much about rules if we don’t care so much about the Mass; we can’t expect the “gravitational pull” to happen if many faithful don’t even realize the EF exists.

    I can hear my Dad–a former seminarian who’se now in his 70’s–grouching at me about most of that. He wasn’t pleased with the rigidity of the Church before Vatican II. I can’t say I like it much either, but as an overall Church of sinners, we don’t seem terribly capable of pushing ourselves to greater virtue without having strict rules to push us there.

  60. Michelle F says:

    I would like to propose that the Roman Catholic bishops in the United States use this crisis as an opportunity for giving up every diocese’s and parish’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Yes, this would be financially expensive at first, but it would allow every priest and bishop to preach the Gospel and the Law of God without being censored.

    The bishops should also stop accepting or soliciting government funds for all Church or Church-related activities or organizations. The Faithful should be the ones providing the money for the Church’s works.

    The Church and Church-related organizations should stop hiring non-Catholics. I find it impossible to believe that in a country this size, and with a Church as large as ours is supposed to be, the Church in the U.S. cannot find enough talented/trained/educated Catholics to staff its churches and and Church-related organizations. Non-Catholics currently employed by the Church should be required to sign an agreement that they are willing to abide by the Church’s teachings while they are on the job, including accepting health-care insurance that does not cover procedures that are rejected by the Church. They can be given an option to buy their own health-care insurance, or they can be given a time limit within which to find another job.

    I know my proposals aren’t necessarily pleasant, but being “pleasant” is part of what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. If we state our principles and stand on them, regardless of the consequences, people outside the Church will admire us for doing it even if they do not agree with our beliefs. People inside the Church also will admire it, and I am convinced that donations will increase in spite of the fact that people would not be able to write-off the donations on their income tax forms.

    As the Lord said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (St. Luke 12:31). This is God’s promise to us, and we can trust Him.

  61. EXCHIEF says:

    I’m not sure we can count on a victory yet. Assuming (bad word) that the Marxist does cave our next step needs to be that Bishops and Priest pick up where their predecessors left off 45 years ago. They need to stop pushing social justice 100% if the time and start talking about sin and personal responsibility. The only reason socialism, which most Catholics don’t know the Church formally opposes, flourishes is because of a lack of individual responsibility. There is a nexus between what is happening politically and the lack of the Church consistently addressing matters of faith and morals. Deal with one and you (Church) will have dealt with both.

  62. Supertradmum says:

    No Catholic school, Catholic Church, Catholic hospital should be taking government money. To take money is to take rule. Only by being private does one maintain independence. I agree with those here who have written this as the next step.

  63. wmeyer says:


    To “take government money” would include Medicare and Medicaid. I think few Catholic hospitals will be willing to turn away from those programs, despite the fact that to qualify for those programs, hospitals must commit to treating anyone who walks in their doors, with or without insurance, with or without money. In California, between 1997 and 2004, if memory serves, some 44 hospitals closed their doors forever. I wonder what might be the average number of patients per year treated in each of those hospitals….

  64. Kerry says:

    Interesting article here, http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a2.html, about Bishop Hughes: How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish. A quote: “When it came to charity, Hughes had nothing but contempt for the way New York officials went about it, warehousing the poor in the municipal almshouse and giving them subsistence levels of food, shelter, and clothing until they died, usually of typhus, ty-phoid fever, consumption, or cholera. Hughes dismissed this approach, which made no effort to re-moralize the demoralized poor, as “soupery.”

    Note that last phrase, “…re-moralize the demoralized….” I would hope our most outspoken and energetic Bishops, (and the rest of us) would go on the attack on the moral front, and stay on the attack. “No! That is wrong!! And here is why that is wrong.” It is a target rich environment.

  65. KAS says:

    I think there are several concrete steps that need to happen in this fight for our God given right to live our religion in all areas of our lives.

    1. Church ministries need to wean off the government money and start working to build a donor base thus contributing to the common good both by providing services and encouraging genuine charity.

    2. Bishops need to recognize that they have erred in pushing the funding of works of mercy onto the government and start urging people to donate freely to charities directly and to fight to cut government back so they have more money for those donations!

    3. Catholics need to look at the voting records of all the incumbents and if they have failed to fight for our God given freedoms, beginning with LIFE issues–vote them out– no exceptions.

    Anyway, that is my $.02 worth.

  66. The next step is for bishops and priests to preach against contraception, which they have largely failed to do in the 44 years since Humanae Vitae.

    When Catholics understand why contraception is a mortal sin, they will be ready to think with the Church and oppose the Obama Administration. They will also understand better why “same sex marriage” is an oxymoron.

  67. Dennis Martin says:

    Sealgaire wrote: “Obama and his team will not back down. Any legal challenge cannot occur until after implementation, conveniently deferring the coming legal rebuke and public embarrassment to after the election. In the meantime, team O gets to energize large portions of their base with a double win: publically hurting the Catholic Church and promoting the myth that contraception is good, especially for women. The energy arising in team O’s key demographic groups from this double win may well become a net positive for him in terms of votes. ”


    First: Please, please, everyone, stop referring to the policy simply as requiring free contraception. Under “contraception” they include abortion. Every time one of us refers to what they require of employers as “providing free contraception” we help cement their Orwellian language in place.

    Second: the free-abortion regulations are the tip of the iceberg that is Obamacare. Repealing Obamacare has to be the political objective.

    Third: start referring to contraception as “separating sex from procreation.” That’s what happens culturally when cheap and reliable contraceptive agents become widespread. Separating sex from procreation makes promiscuity, hooking up, adultery thinkable when they otherwise would be unthinkable for most people. Casual sex leads to weak marriage bonds when people do “marry,” which contributes to more divorce, which produces poverty and fatherlessness which produces immature young adults and the cycle repeats itself.

    As long as catechesis about “contraception” restricts itself to why it’s wrong to take a pill or use a condom, people say, “I don’t see what the problem is.” Somehow we have to restore in people’s minds the principle that sex and babies go together. That once was axiomatic–I remember picking that up as a child in the 1950s when it was still part of the wallpaper of the culture.

    That linkage has been broken and it has to be restored. “Keep the unitive and procreative function together” doesn’t cut it. “Sexuality is there for babies” is comprehensible.

    But, of course, there’s one eensy weensy teeny tiny problem: Hammering at “sexuality is for babiers” gets in the way of “you girls out there can pursue any career you want, the sky is the limit, blah, blah, blah.”

    That’s the neuralgic point. That’s where people (women) arch their backs and throw nutties. And that’s when men (and not just men who are bishops or priests) cower in fear at the angry women.

    But we are spitting into the wind unless we confront this aspect of it. Bishops and priests can’t “catechize” (meaning persuade, convince) everyone on this by themselves. Lay people have to do more than half of the heavy lifting.

  68. PA mom says:

    The next step, in addition to serious catechizing from the pulpit and coordination at the national level, is to pursue legal action reinstating the sacrament of matrimony to its state of permanent, and challenging employment laws regarding hiring based on religion. On the first point, someone should find a Catholic couple involved in a divorce proceeding in that part of Oklahoma or wherever they were using Sharia to decide a divorce proceeding, and assert that the couple is married under Canon law and as such are permanently legally married unless annuled by the Church tribunal. If people are voluntarily married by a Catholic entity, then they have chosen to be subject to Canon law within their marriage contract. On the second point, more Catholic entities of all types, not just Churches, need to reassert their right to hire whomever they choose. Including only Catholics, if it is their choice. Both of these things would do much to get the government to stop decimating our Catholic family life and institutions.

  69. teomatteo says:

    What to do…?
    Bishops: change Cath University directions toward Church teaching. Develop strategy for personnel changes at the top. Encourage and strengthen priests to teach the hard, difficult stuff at mass. Priests: lengthen the lines on saturday afternoon
    laymen: strive for holiness like never before
    all: financial support of the Becket Fund for religious Liberty. pray.

  70. Dennis Martin says:

    Short and sweet: the problem is feminism. Not so much the feminazi loudmouths but the deep penetration of feminism into every pore of the culture. Frankly, I don’t know how to combat it. The slightest effort in that direction provokes screams of rage or (far worse), deep currents of bitter resentment.

    Ironically, in the pursuit of sex free from babies in order to be free to fly to the limitless skies of “opportunities,” women have given men what they (in their sinful disorderedness) desired: casual sex. Without “consequences.” Women are used by men far more since the Pill than before.

    Can that be brought home to women? “But, but, but, but, but, I’m liberated since I don’t have to worry about babies! You aren’t going to send me back to that enslavement, are you . . . .?” Stockholm syndrome–the victims think their enslavement is better for them than before their enslavement.

    How does one overcome that mentality?

  71. Clinton says:

    This administration believes that to prevail in this controversy it must spin the issue as one
    that affects Catholics only. Americans of other Christian denominations and of other religions
    need to be aware that this attack on the Church is an attack on them also.

    Every Eastern Orthodox bishop in this country has come out in support of the Catholic
    Church in this matter. I’d like to see the leaders of our Church solicit similar public support
    from the leaders of other faiths. This HHS mandate is an attack on the religious freedom of
    all Americans and needs to be seen as such. I’d like to see our bishops giving press conferences
    backed by rabbis and mullahs and evangelical pastors. I’d like to see leaders in our Church
    visiting and writing other congregations soliciting their support. I’d like to see Catholic pundits
    broadcast the fact that this isn’t merely a Catholic controversy, but a first amendment
    controversy affecting every American. I’d like to see this administration reap that whirlwind.

  72. moon1234 says:

    Obama did this as a calculated strategy. Most people do not realize 26 states have LAWS not just rules from an agency, that dictate the exact same coverage. In ALL cases the Catholic Church has decided to take the commercial insurance over self funding, even though they KNEW that their money would be used for these purposes and they people they employ would use them?

    This happened in my Diocese as well. Bishop Morlino is a good man, but even he chose to take private insurance instead of self funding. If Bishop’s will compromise the teachings of the Church for money in their own states, then WHY are they complaining now? Isn’t it hypocritical to do that know?

    I believe that this is why the Obama administration is not backing down. If push comes to shove they will just point out that states ALREADY mandate this and there was nary a whimper.

    I don’t support this mandate. I hate it. I also hate how our diocese just roll over and accept these violations of religious liberty at the local level, but then get all upset at the national level? Bishops need to defend the Church at ALL levels, not just when the public is watching closely.

  73. Dennis Martin says:


    “I believe that this is why the Obama administration is not backing down. If push comes to shove they will just point out that states ALREADY mandate this and there was nary a whimper.”

    Yes. But there is a difference between state and federal levels.

    Which is why we have to understand that the issue is subsidiarity and the immense power grab at the federal level that Obamacare represents. As long as the anti-subsidiarity, federal bureaucratic power grab stays in place and grows, even if these particular regs are overturned, the Kulturkampf will reassert itself on other issues.

    We have to get serious about subsidiarity.

  74. Sam Schmitt says:

    I also wonder about what moon1234 raises. Such laws are already in place on the state level without much protest from the bishops.

    Also, we should be careful of overestimating this issue. It’s true that it’s a big deal to us and the bishops have come out very strong on this, as have Evangelicals and even some liberals. But I don’t think most voters – Catholic or not – see this as the bishops do. They don’t mind having – or even want – free contraception etc. and don’t care what the bishops think. If they think about it at all, they see it as yet another attempt by the bishops to impose their teaching on everyone else.

    Plus, Obama won’t back down on this – just look at the fury of the left when Susan G. Komen dared to withdraw its (token) funding of Planned Parenthood. Obama would never, ever, conceive of doing anything remotely like that. He figures that some angry bishops is well worth the price. And given that the vast majority of Catholics have no problem with the use of contraception, or even see it as a right, I don’t see him losing that much of the Catholic vote either. Most Catholics have been ignoring the bishops for decades now – why would they start listening now?

  75. StJude says:

    Obama is NOT backing down.

    Bishops in Florida and Ohio need to be relentless with their flock. Thats all it take to get Obama out of office is a few percentages in those states.

    Pray. Pray. Pray.

  76. Dennis Martin says:

    “Thats all it take to get Obama out of office is a few percentages in those states.”

    Getting the present incumbent out is meaningless unless we understand the need to roll back the behemoth we’ve created. Romney and his advisers have made it clear they have no intention of rolling it back, only modifying it around the edges. Even if someone who has pledged to roll it back is elected, the bureaucracy is entrenched and can frustrate all manner of reform–by putting monkey wrenches into the machinery, causing suffering for people, then blaming the suffering on the reformers.

    We have to get to the heart of the problem: the creation of a huge dependency class that is easily demagogued, the deliberate targeting of those who play by the rules and are responsible.

    Under the name of “safety net” we have created a huge pool of political power ripe for fascist style manipulation. We have created a grievance industry and leadership is increasingly pure demagoguery.

    And Catholic intellectuals and bishop have played a major role in this, in the name of compassion, misplaced compassion. This all has to be addressed in the light of Catholic social teaching by Catholic leaders. It’s probably too late–the only path out is through the fire. But we have to try.


  77. Johnno says:

    St. Jude’s link is a disturbing reality of what is happening. The complete turmoil of facts and displacement of words and purposeful darkening of the intellect. The hallmarks of Satan. The sin of Pride.

    Contraceptives are certainly not ‘medicine’. Would not abstinence also count as preventative care? Or oh, just plain common sense? But for some reason it doesn’t… You know why? Because you can’t make any money off of abstinence!

    All Obama is supporting is allowing people to be sexually immoral, and to support sexual immorality and adultery with the conveniences of preventing pregnancies that would interfere with the convenience of selfish sexual pleasure as its own end; and also the opportunity to murder inconvenient children and undesirables (handicapped children). Obama protects abusers and pimps who drag underage girls to Planned Parenthood where they will freely get their ‘problems’ solved and be off with nary a word to the police. Obama and the democrats freely want to spread the ideology of murder and ‘preventative anti-child sex’ around the world to depopulate the poorest nations so that the privileged classes of selfish and horny liberals can have more access to natural resources.

    The Catholic Church is the one and only global institution that stands in their way so they are taking steps to dismantle it. This effectively means they stand against God and are therefore defined as ‘Anti-Christ.’ Catholics need to wake up and stop worshiping the idolatry of the state and its current pharaoh, who like the pharaoh of antiquity also sought to force population control through the murder of Hebrew children, and promoted the pantheon of false Egyptian gods and a man (himself) as a god as superior to that of the one true God. We know how that turned out!

  78. Centristian says:

    Interesting question.

    I think the leadership of the Catholic Church in America should focus on a few key things:

    1. Revisiting their political strategy (if they ever had one). Let this “scare” serve as a wake-up call and cause the bishops (and others) to resonsider who the Church’s political friends are in this country and who her enemies are. Alot of Catholics, including bishops, seem to have gotten it quite wrong. Stop flirting with the enemy; you’re only going to get jilted at the altar (literally).

    2. Promoting by whatever agencies seems useful (the St. Thomas More Society might be a good organization to turn to) the true thrust of the First Amendment, which is to protect religion from the government. This false idea that so many hold that says that religion has no voice or rights in our country will be endlessly proliferated by elements embracing an anti-Church agenda unless the Church and her friends begins to re-educate the public on this. The First Amendment is not written to prevent churches from acting within society in a public way. The First Amendment is written to prevent presidents from trying to harass or interfere with churches and with the religious beliefs and practices of the American people. Publish USCCB circulars about it. Invest in public service announcements. Sponsor “town hall” meetings. Publicize. Promote. Get a national conversation going. Harp on it. Be broken records about it.

    3. Reflecting upon how indifference on the part of the faithful can be of serious political disadvantage to bishops when they find themselves painted into a corner by the government. Realize that the majority of the faithful aren’t apt to mobilize over things like this because they no longer object to things like this. Observe this and be afraid, generals, that you have no armies to command; that most of your troops are against you rather than for you. Why is that? Figure it out.

    4. It might help, in the future, if the clergy actually spoke about issues like this from the pulpit during liturgies that always reflected the majesty of God. If the people are exposed to silly liturgies and cotton candy homilies by candy ass clergymen, what do you expect? If the clergy don’t seem to take God seriously…if the clergy don’t seem to take morality seriously…then why should we? Cut the comedy and grow up. Revisit your calling, your purpose in life, your responsibilities, the authentic mission of the Church, and the authentic meaning of liturgy. God is real. And so is Hell. Don’t be afraid to say so.

    5. Continuing, unrelenting vigilence with respect to the protection of youth. That ugly scandal cannot ever rear its ugly head again. If it does, the hierarchy might as well just pack their bags and forget about it; they’ll have zero influence anymore. It might be a good idea to revisit the concept of “altar boys” and to consider transitioning to adult service at the altar (the way the Anglicans do, for example). We don’t have “lector boys” or “usher boys”; why, then, insist upon juvenile altar service? Obviously, that won’t solve everything but it would at least erase the most potent symbol of the abuse crisis.

  79. Cathy says:

    Would it be possible for our Bishops to unite the entire Catholic Church in the US by mandating the Litany of the Saints be sung as the offertory hymn at every Mass?

  80. StJude says:


    our candidates are who we have. Anyone of them is better than Obama.
    I am crawling over broken glass to vote for whoever is the nominee.

  81. Maltese says:

    Lumen Gentium Cathedral?

  82. cl00bie says:

    For the last 50 years our bishops have set us up for this. Until very recently, I had never heard the word “contraception” or “abortion” in a homily in my parish.

    When I attended pre-Cana 28 years ago, I asked the contraception question because I had not heard difinitive church teaching in my lifetime and I was wondering what that was. The young associate at the time told me to “use my conscience”. So I did. And for many years of my life lived a grave sin without knowing it and coming to the realization 12 years ago when I began researching my faith.

    Numbers (bogus I’m sure) are trotted out indicating that 95% of mass-going Catholics use contraception — or is that 98%? Is that mass every week? Is it those who have ever used contraception.

    So now the bishops step up the the plate. This is a good thing. The biological solution has claimed many of the “free love” bishops whose lack of teaching on issues of sexuality as it relates to morality has caused many problems, not the least of which was the abuse scandal which has critically if not mortally undermined the moral authority of the living magesterium of our church as it applies to the rank and file Catholic in the pews. But the new bishops are the new guard, and they have my full support and prayers.

    I believe our president is looking at an earlier generation of Catholics when he made the decision to screw us. He is a pragmatist who evaluates his constituencies as to which is the most loyal and he makes sure to target them. He figures that he has t0 suck up to those who are the least likely to vote for him. Doug Kmiec found himself with that “et tu, Brute” look on his face. But having won 57% of the Catholics who make up 25% of the American population, he only needs to lose a relatively small number of them to affect a percentage that will lose him the election.

    Then the next Congress can repeal that abomination called Obamacare and our new president can sign it. Then President Obama can go back to playing golf full time.

  83. Supertradmum says:

    cloobie, I thought Obama was already playing golf full-time?

  84. Clinton R. says:

    I saw a couple of references to Archbishop John “Dagger” Hughes, so I looked him up on Wikipedia and saw this attributed to him:

    In 1850 he delivered an address entitled “The Decline of Protestantism and Its Causes,” in which he announced as the ambition of Roman Catholicism “to convert all Pagan nations, and all Protestant nations . . . Our mission [is] to convert the world—including the inhabitants of the United States—the people of the cities, and the people of the country . . . the Legislatures, the Senate, the Cabinet, the President, and all!”

    This is what the Church Militant needs, clergy with this kind of zeal to convert all men from their errors to the One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.

  85. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    Even if the administration “backs down” by allowing Church-operated nonprofit organizations an exemption, it is not progress.

    The evil of this mandate is compulsory close material cooperation with the sin of contraception, by spending money specifically for that purpose. An exemption for Catholic schools and hospitals may seem to get the bishops off the hook, but we will not truly have religious freedom restored unless the mandate is lifted off every business owned by Catholics, and for that matter every business, period.

  86. UncleBlobb says:

    Mandate Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling, followed by Ad Orientem, followed by sacred music, followed by the normalization of postures the rest of Mass, followed by silent thanksgiving after Mass.

  87. Cathy says:

    In a strange way, this may be a blessing in disguise, Obama attacks the Catholic Church on contraception and sterilization, everyone in the Catholic Church can no longer say they are ignorant as to what the Catholic Church teaches.

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