When was the last time you heard a homily like this? — UPDATED

It’s passionate.  It’s political.  And it’s angry.

I’m curious to hear what people think.

Give a listen.

UPDATE: For another perspective, it’s instructive to read Blessed John Paul’s 1993 statement “Priests Do Not Have A Political Mission,” which notes:

The presbyter’s right to express his own personal choices is limited by the requirements of his priestly ministry. This limitation too can be an aspect of the poverty he is called to practice following Christ’s example. In fact, he can sometimes be obliged to abstain from exercising his own right so that he can be a strong sign of unity, and thus proclaim the Gospel in its fullness. Even more, he must avoid presenting his own choice as the only legitimate one, and within the Christian community, he should respect the maturity of the laity (cf. Ench. Vat., IV, 1196), and even work to help them achieve that maturity by forming their consciences (cf. Ench. Vat., IV, 1194). He will do what is possible to avoid making enemies by taking political stands that cause distrust and drive away the faithful entrusted to his pastoral mission.

Finally, I like this summation by Fr. Dwight Longenecker:

What are my own politics? It doesn’t matter. As a Catholic priest I stand up first of all for life. I defend human life from womb to tomb. I am against war and the death penalty. I stand up for love and marriage and children and I defend the family and the home. I insist on a preferential option for the poor. I am against greed and injustice and servitude. I believe the rich have a responsibility to help the poor and that all men and women have a responsibility (due to their own innate dignity) to help themselves and to help one another. I am against the rape and pillage of our beautiful natural resources because I believe we are the stewards of creation.

This is simply the Catholic faith, and it means that I am disappointed with all the politicians and all their parties. Too often those on the right support an economic system that encourages greed and irresponsibility and neglect of the poor. Too often they are bellicose, warlike and frighteningly nationalistic. Too often those on the left support an economic system that encourages complacency, envy, greed and a sense of entitlement. Too often the left, in the name of freedom encourages license, immorality and depravity.

Republican or Democrat? A plague on both your houses. I’m not for politics. I’m for morality. I’m don’t think government has the answer. I think individuals have the answer. I don’t think the solutions are in power and politics and prosperity, but in prayer and sacrifice and personal virtue.


  1. Yes, it certainly is passionate, political, and angry. I feel that it crosses the line between a homily and a harrangue. All the pastors of our archdiocese, a few Sundays ago, read a letter from the archbishop on this subject. Our pastor, and I assume most of the others, said a few words after reading the letter, stating why the HHH decision was a problem for the Church. I feel that this was proper, and plenty. You asked when was the last time we heard a homily like this. The last time for me was back in the 1970′s when it was common to hear political sermons exhorting a leftish point of view. I didn’t like the mixed-up mishmash of religio-politics then, and I don’t like it any better now. If I had to listen to that kind of stuff until election time next November, I’d be attending the Spanish Mass because I’m not fluent enough in Spanish to follow a homily.

  2. ron chandonia says:

    The last time I heard a homily like this? It was in a black Protestant church, and it was directed against another US President, George W. Bush. At the time, I thought it was a hysterical overreaction to policies with which I myself disagreed but which did not demonstrate the malice being attributed to the President, his administration, or his party. I have pretty much the same opinion of this one–and, frankly, of the very idea that we are currently witnessing religious persecution or a War on Catholicism in this country.

    In their editorial evaluation of the campaign of which this homily was a part, the editors of America magazine offer this sobering reflection:

    By stretching the religious liberty strategy to cover the fine points of health care coverage, the campaign devalues the coinage of religious liberty. The fight the bishop’s conference won against the initial mandate was indeed a fight for religious liberty and for that reason won widespread support. The latest phase of the campaign, however, seems intended to bar health care funding for contraception. Catholics legitimately oppose such a policy on moral grounds. But that opposition entails a difference over policy, not an infringement of religious liberty. It does a disservice to the victims of religious persecution everywhere to inflate policy differences into a struggle over religious freedom.

  3. It’s the same type of hysteria and over-the-top rhetoric being put out there by many of our Bishops, so in one sense I don’t blame this fellow. Obama-haters will love it. Right-wing Republicans will love it. Conservative Catholics will love it. Reasonable people will hear it for what it is…a gross overreaction being put forth by a man speaking, not merely his personal political opinion, but as a representative of our Church at liturgy. We will lose more and more credibility with regular people, the silent majority, who simply cannot understand what all the fuss is about. We have two choices at this point…either the majority of people are stupid, uninformed and just don’t get it (which I’m sure will be the answer of many self-identified “real” Catholics), or perhaps our Church leadership needs to take a step back and reevaluate because they’ve gone too far. Considering so many of these men have apparently been anti-Obama from day one, and are now seizing on this issue to really put him and his administration in a bad light, I’m sure there will be no turning back. And once again, we look foolish and completely out of touch…rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  4. “It does a disservice to the victims of religious persecution everywhere to inflate policy differences into a struggle over religious freedom.”
    That puts into words a vibe I was getting that I couldn’t quite articulate.

  5. I wish I would hear such homilies of a passionate nature more often, regardless of the topic. At least I would stay awake and alert. He was applauded, so the listeners liked it. Of course it’s audio, so we can’t see how many walked out.

  6. I disagree with the America magazine analysis.

  7. I thought it was good. Our pastor preached a similar homily. I can’t for the life of me see why some folks think that the accommodation made any actual change: it didn’t. Furthermore, if I understand correctly, the regulation that was actually recorded was the original one, without the accommodation. It is very much a religious liberty issue, still.

  8. AMEN! Thank God the He (God) has given us a priest such as this! If all of our priests were as passionate about this about our faith in the public square, gay marriage would never come to a vote in our local governments, abortion would never be funded by the government, etc.

    AMEN Father!! Ad multos annos!

  9. I appreciated this Homily. He’s right that the policy eliminates social services provided by Catholic organizations.

  10. Our pastor speaks with the same passion, clarity and courage as Fr. Maletta. May the Good Lord continue to bless our shepherds with the same passion, courage and clarity in preaching the Truth, protecting us from these wolves in sheep’s clothing!

  11. Joe Mc Faul says:

    I think the “war” rhetoric is so over the top that it destroys all interest in the message.

    He let his anger gets he best of him and, if he truly feels this way, I urge him to leave the country now.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but I don’t think the healthcare mandates require religious employers to pay for abortions. Nor do the mandates requires religious employers to pay for birth control. There is zero evidence that Obama singled out Catholics by enacting healthcare mandates with intention of requiring Catholics to compromise their faith. Yet, the homilist makes all of these accusations.

    The objections appear to be based on a fine distinction between formal and material cooperation with evil. The objection appeared to be that religiosuly-affilated employers would be in formal cooperation with evil if they were required to pay for insurance that provided contraception coverage. (Religious employers are already and will remain exempt–non-religious and non-religiously affiliated employers are not exempt.) The administration appears to have then changed the rule that the employer will not have to pay for it, making cooperation more remote (in a common sense understanding). I am not sure what the bishops now contend (and you won’t find out by listening to the inflammatory rhetoric of this homily) either (1) under the new rules, the employer will still have to pay for contraception coverage, only now the cost will be hidden; or (2) even though the employer now won’t have to PAY for the coverage, the mere provision of a comprehensive insurance package that happens to include coverage for contraception is still formal cooperation with evil. Those concepts are not widely accepted outside the Catholic religion and are not well understood within it. I am not sure what the bishop’s position on the situation of an employer that is not religiously affiliated but owned by Catholics. That business will not be entitled to any conscience exemption, and will have to comply with the mandate, as I understand it. (I also consider such a business owner to be in remote material cooperation). There is little use in arguing that such a business had a Free Exercise right not to comply with the mandate because there is a very long history of laws limiting the scope of religious activity in our country.

    Differences of opinion as to what constitutes “formal” and “material” cooperation do not mean that the President of the United States, a non-Catholic, is waging war on the Catholic Church.

    I don’t know this priest’s history or what he had preached on in the past. Let me just say that if he had given a previous firey sermon on the institutional failure of the Church in dealing with the clergy sex abuse crisis, or if there was similarly passionate sermon on the unjust Iraq war, I’d be willing to cut him a lot of slack on this one.

    The scope of the healthcare mandate seems to be within the competence of the laity of the Catholic Church.

    The laity have the “right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.”

    Has he had any discussions with his flock seeking their opinion?

  12. Irish Spectre says:

    The Church’s proscription against contraception is ancient.

    The original intent of the First Amendment INARGUABLY is to protect religion against government, not the reverse.

    This good priest’s homily is unassailable, and it’s really hard not to suspect that it’s those who are opposed to it who are being “political.” Frankly, that the liberal Jesuits over at America are whining about the Bishops doing their job for once is compelling evidence of the above.

  13. To change the subject to real religious persecution, I have felt moved this Lent to pray for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death by an Iranian “court” for being a Christian. From what i have read in the internet The government claims he converted from Islam and apparently leaving the Muslim faith is a capital crime in Iran. He says he never was a Muslim and refused to recant his faith in Jesus. I have also read an execution order has been issued. He is the father of two daughters according to reports.

  14. Sorry Melody I mistakenly hit the reply button after your comment. I was not responding directly to your comment.

  15. awashingtondccatholic says:

    If you don’t think Obama is waging a war on the Catholic Church, then I would like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge…cheap!

  16. If more NY clerics preached truth to evil (as is this case) then maybe the abortion rate would be something less than 44%. America offers a simplistic opinion but it is not buttressed in the least by factual analysis – be it legal, theological or philosophical. The Church, the body of Christ is defined by what it does and a minority of the life of the Gospel are sermons and sacraments. The majority of the life of the Gospel is living the Truth and contraception (and cooperation in contraception) is a lie and we all know who the father of lies is.

    Excellent moral analysis by Professor Janet Smith can be found at http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=26988 or Professor Miller here http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/02/4817

    Catholics need to understand the issue at stake religiously (for the sake of their souls) and politically.

  17. When you force someone to violate their conscience, you violate their religious liberty. It’s that simple.
    Traditionally, the role of government has been to restrain evil – not, emphatically not, to make everyone be good all the time. Even if providing coverage for abortion, sterilization, and contraception were a good, why should the government go around forcing everyone to provide it? Does it force McDonald’s to provide SlimFast shakes or a free scale with every Big Mac?
    Whatever happened to liberty? Why should I be forced to buy something? Or why, if somebody wants to sell me something that I want to buy, should the government be allowed to force us to include in the transaction neither of us wants, either to sell or to buy?
    Is this the land of the free?
    Freedom and liberty are absolutely religious issues. Human nature requires liberty, only flourishes within the context of liberty, can only meet his Creator in the context of interior freedom, which is fostered and modeled by exterior freedom. Moreover, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all persons have been created with certain rights by their Creator, over which no man has authority or power. The first of these is the right to live, and the second is the right to act justly, and the third is to be left in peace so far as he is willing to leave others in peace.
    The people who make this into a little thing are blind. They do not see that if the government can force this, if it can force God’s Church to assist in the murdering of babies and the sterilization of marriage beds, then it can do anything. Is Mammon to be God now? Will we worship Moloch if Mammon commands it? Will we eat just a little profane pork, if Mammon tries to make it easy for our conscience? Call it a regulation rather than a law? A policy rather than a profanation?
    As for me and my house, we shall worship the LORD.

    [Comment edited to remove profanity -- Ed.]

  18. More and more I heard conservatives complain about the Church’s complicity with liberalism… now, more and more I hear liberals complain about the Church’s complicity with conservative politicians.

    Suddenly it occurs to me that maybe the partisans are the ones being political and the bishops are the ones actually trying, however ineptly, to shepherd.

    God bless them for their toil and all the flak they get for it from both sides.

  19. Our priests over the past few weeks have been making this part of their sermons in different ways each week to reach different people in the pews including the older cultural catholic democrats. However, one was very much like this and it had the impact of firing up Catholics to get involved for change essential to our freedom. We often had a few stop by after mass to sign a petition or sign up for making calls and other critical groundwork to fight abortion or attacks on religious liberty. They were three deep waiting outside the door at every mass. Like with this sermon, there has been long and loud applause. For those in Churchs in more liberal states, you might not be hearing this. It will have a huge impact on the next election in most of the swing states. And it is not just Catholics. We have had calls of support and the same reaction of several other churches in town. My friends and relatives in other cities and states say much the same is going on there.

    The fact that American Magazine who have already sold the USCCB down the road bashes this type of activity makes no difference when compared to the massive power of a united USCCB and all a majority of parishes. We have a city wide call in each Monday evening to see what each parish has done that week and to discover any that are in open dissent with the USCCB. We send this support list along to the dioceses office each week. So far, we have very few who have expressed any type of support for this attack on religion. It has in fact awakened many up to their agenda.

    Keep passing these type of video’s on Deacon for we are sending them out as party of our weekly email blasts. The parish is also going to have eduation meetings each month and this week we are going to have the DVD “America’s Godly Heritage” with discussion after on the lie of separation of church and state compared to the reality of our founding fathers quotes and documents and the horrible impact to this country since this attack on religion began.

    Thanks again Deacon.

  20. Great comments Ryan.

  21. Don’t blame you for wanting to change the subject. Of course what you see in Iran is played out because they have never had religious freedom, but in fact have what the founders established the religious liberty clause to protect against and that is a state religion. Making our state religion aethism or secular humanism seems to be the goal of the left and why they had to fight aginst the actual text of the first amendment.

    So if you do not want to see what happened in every state that removed religious liberty such as Russia, China, Iran or any Islamic states, or Germany, then support the battle to end these attacks by the Obama administration now and vote for those who will restore the first amendment now.

  22. DG – I certainly don’t find this homily out-of-line, over-the-top or misguided. We hear over and over about the dictatorship of relativism. Now, we are not only hearing about it, we are living through it: Redefinition of marriage, rules on who can adopt children, what kind of medical procedures require mandatory coverage, etc. What’s next? Rules about withholding medical treatment for the severely ill, disabled, elderly? Taking on a dictatorship is not done solely by prayer (although that is a great start!)… It requires energy, commitment and being on the side of truth. I find this homily embracing all three.

    One thing that is getting lost in the ‘practice vs policy’ argument (see above) is how Mr. Obama has lied multiple times to our conference of Catholic Bishops. These are not misunderstandings or misinterpretations. These are so egregious, that uttered in court would be perjury. If the Office of the President should be about anything, it should be about Trust. Have we, as Americans, become so disenchanted that we turn a blind eye to the truthfulness of the occupant of the Oval Office?

    Let us pray for the conversion of and renewal of all out hearts. St. Monica, pray for us.

  23. Sounds correct to me. The Church isn’t left or right, conservative or liberal. It’s the Church of Christ, trying to follow what He said.

  24. Kathy Schiffer says:

    Funny– I had posted this homily on my Facebook wall today, with my own comment: This is what Catholics need to hear from the pulpit.

    We live in interesting times. Our Constitutional freedoms are being usurped by this administration. I stand in applause, as did this priest’s congregation.

  25. Joe,
    “The scope of the healthcare mandate seems to be within the competence of the laity of the Catholic Church. The laity have the “right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.” Has he had any discussions with his flock seeking their opinion?”

    I think he covered this well in the audio. This is a matter of faith and morals as well as religious liberty. This is not a place where you take polls. The USCCB have instructed the priests to speak out because it is a matter where the state is imposing secualar humanist values that violate Catholic Church teaching. It is not just this issue as the priest laid out, but an ongoing attack which has been happening since he was elected.

    As to not understanding the issue on this government mandate and saying the Catholic Church will not have to pay, as awashingtondccatholic says, you seem to be prime candidate to buy the bridge. It was a total idiotic statement to give a fig leaf to those who support the party of death. There had been a cry, please give me some excuse, even if it is idiotic so I can repeat the mantra.

  26. ron chandonia says:

    We have a city wide call in each Monday evening to see what each parish has done that week and to discover any that are in open dissent with the USCCB. We send this support list along to the dioceses office each week.

    I’m sure the folks at the chancery are delighted to get the weekly list of dissenters.

  27. Irish. You obviously have not read the words of the first amendment on religious liberty. The intent was to not allow the government to say the state religion is the Anglican Church of England or the Catholic Church or the Secular Humanist or Atheist relgion. We had fought a war with England where the state religion had gone from Catholic to Anglican resulting in wars and persecution. Thus, the government could not name a specific state religion. They are also prohibited from doing anything to prevent the free excercise of religion. Because there has been a massive mistake using claims from a letter from Jefferson, we now see how this lie has played out toward the government honoring no relgious liberty.

  28. Great comments and links Daniel. Stay alert, informed, and energized.

  29. Amen. I think he lied to the Bishops one too many times and they are awake and engaged. If he does not tell his PARTNER planned parenthood he is backing off completely and honoring all religious freedom, look for a new voting guide made very clear to come out shortly.

  30. Kathy, unfortunately, our religious freedoms have been under attack in this country since 1947. Urge you to watch DVD “America’s Godly Heritage”. It is on netflix instant view so you can watch it right now on line. The DVD shows that since the rulings taking away our freedoms have started, it has had a major impact on every sector of our society. Obama is simply totally arrogant about his feelings toward religious liberty. I have no doubt that his true faith is Secular Humanism and that he and many others want this as the state religion.

  31. Yes!

  32. I think you are very wrong to equate the political policy disagreement that is going on in this country with the suffering of people who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

  33. Sounds very coercive and oppressive to me.

  34. Irish Spectre says:

    “They are also prohibited from doing anything to prevent the free excercise of religion.” Um, I think you’re reiterating my point, Mark. There is no state religion so that no religion is “less equal” than another, as was the case in England; and, yeah, actually, I have read the Establishment Clause. …several times, in fact, as I wish our President would.

  35. That was awesome.

  36. I thought it was an excellent and necessary message. If I had been in that congregation, I would have been on my feet applauding.

    This is not simply a policy difference. The so-called “accommodation” to the HHS mandate changed nothing. The administration has put the Church in an untenable position—we must either grotesquely violate morality or stop feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the orphans, educating the ignorant and healing the sick. Either choice entails rejection of our beliefs and causes us to participate in sin.

    If the HHS mandate stands, Catholicism will not have a place in this country. People who insist this is exaggerated fear must wake up.

  37. One of the best homilies I have heard. It lays out what we have suspected. I hear the Spirit moving him.

  38. Wow! Bravo! Fr. Maletta’s anger (which was always controlled by the way) is righteous anger. Jesus got angry and passionate too when He threw the money-changers out of the temple. For heaven’s sake, are we wimpy Catholics or fired up Catholics? This notion by some that this somehow crosses a line speaks to exactly why Catholics are no longer a united voice on moral issues; it’s the Evangelical Protestants that are. As far as I’m concerned Fr. Maletta is a man speaking from his heart. My husband is a Deacon and does the same when he is preaching. I’m proud of him for doing it and many people have come up to his and told him they appreciate his honesty and zeal. I appreciate Fr. Maletta’s honesty and zeal!

  39. I found 90% of the sermon informative and in line with Catholic social and moral teaching that all of us need to hear. I found 10% a bit too partisan and anti-Obama to allow the sermon to be completely effective. Perhaps, the 90% was the shepherd and 10% the man.

  40. I agree with Mary. In this homily, I heard a man who is standing up and saying that he has had enough of our government and its injustices in the name of “justice”. Fr. Maletta is calling us to wake up to the fact that our government is taking over many of our liberties. Even if one doesn’t accept the argument that Obama’s government is infringing on our freedoms, that person must still be reminded that it is our job as citizens to watch our government closely and make sure that it follows our democratic priciples while respecting our rights. After all, many of the greatest dicators of history achieved their power because their people either allowed them to become totalitarian rulers or simply weren’t paying enough attention to events and didn’t know to stop them.

    Just as an aside, Fr. Maletta mentioned all the problems facing our world and questioned why the government is more focused on taking down the Church than on those issues. Unfortunately, critics of the Church are saying the very same thing: Why is the Church more focused on contraception/abortion/etc/etc than on Perhaps this is a good reminder, especially as we begin Lent, to get back to the Gospel message of making the poor among us our first priority and take action on all other issues in light of this teaching.

  41. Deacon Bob Bender says:

    Recently our bishop issued some very clear, direct guidelines in regard to public stances by clergy. These were simply a re-statement of what has been in place in our diocese at least since I was ordained nearly 10 years ago. I would have to say that were the guidelines that we received applied to this homily, there would be no question that this was grossly over the line. It certainly is far from anything that we learned in homiletics and I became more and more perturbed as this went on. Perhaps I misunderstand what our fundamental purpose is in gathering for Eucharist. I might have missed it, but was there any attempt to tie in any of that with the liturgy of the day? I could perhaps have possibly seen an address like this given at some forum outside of liturgy, but even then, I think I would have cringed.

  42. Father raised an interesting point-why is Obama so seemingly-obsessed with reproductive services? My view is that it’s about incrementalism. Who, for example, would have believed, only 30 years ago, that homosexual marriage would be legal in some states? We were all appalled in the 1970′s when Cambodian tyrant Pol Pot killed people for the mere fact that they wore eyeglasses but hardly an eyebrow is raised today that 90% of Down-Syndrome affected children are murdered in the womb. Incrementalism. Once they can make abortion-in all its forms-mandatory and universal the government gets to decide who qualifies to live and who must die.

  43. There is no question that this was not a homily but more in the line of a speech one would expect to hear at a political pep rally. What is disconcerting is that this Priest doesn’t seem to know the difference. I was surprised also at all the comments supporting this type of talk during Mass.

  44. ron chandonia says:

    Father Longenecker’s point is very pertinent here: our clergy have a moral obligation to speak out on public issues. But how they do that is critical. The recorded homily was a partisan attack, not only venomous but arguably unjust to President Obama, particularly in ascribing the worst possible motives to his decisions. No doubt that those who already disapproved of the President were heartened by the message, as the comments here illustrate, but I doubt it won anyone else over to the bishops’ position.

  45. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Kenny R…

    I’m not convinced his motives are that insidious. I think it’s more a matter of political pragmatism. He’s playing to his base — progressives — and a large voting bloc, independent women.

    As someone was yammering on cable TV the other day: the GOP candidates keep giving women fewer and fewer reasons to vote for them. Obama is pandering. And I suspect polling has shown that women could tip the balance in this election.

    Of course, in the midst of his pandering, Obama is also offending a wide array of religious people and people of conscience. Which may well create other problems he had not anticipated.

    Dcn. G.

  46. Joe Mc Faul says:

    Thanks, Deacon Kandra, for the update. The Pope’s 1993 statement captures what I was trying to express by quoting Canon law on the primacy of the role of the laity in politics.

    Even a whiff of political spin in homilies will usually backfire, on several levels. There’s nothing more stimulating and uplifting that to listen to a homily that rips into other people’s sins. On the other hand, nothing will tune a person out faster than being told his politics conflict with his religion. I once saw an Air Force officer depart mass during a homily on the immorality of nuclear weapons. The priest’s point could have been made without the politics.

    I alos want to emphasize your point regarding political pragmatism. There is only one issue for the upcoming election–the economy. Some form of universal health care is essential to economic reform and progress in this country. Obama will be reelected if the economy is improving and strengthened by universal access to healthcare, jobs and education. That’s what he was elected to do in 2008 and he has a substantial majority supporting him in working towards those goals. Not many of them understand “mediate formal cooperation with evil” and how that affects Catholic moral thought.

    Rather than condemning some “war on Catholics” it might be worth it to propose some method of universal healthcare that would not impinge on Catholic conscience.

  47. When was the “last time” that I heard a homily like this?
    I have never heard a homily like this. If I were to hear one, it would be the “last time” that I would attend a mass celebrated by this priest.

    I know a little bit about what a homily should be. I have read a few of Augustine’s homilies (sermons). Now, there is someone who was steeped in Scripture. It is said that he had memorized most of the Bible. He knew how to “break open the word” in a homily. That is what I look for in homily.

    I have some concerns about the content of Fr. Maletta’s homily (especially the parts starting 1:21 on the YouTube video: He says:

    “A little more that 3 years ago, after Mr. Obama had been elected but not sworn in as president of the United States of America, the bishops finally gave us priests permission to tell our congregations the truth about what Mr. Obama’s intention was, and that was to force the Catholic Church to engage in morally repugnant actions or lose our ability to carry out the Gospel message in health care, social services, and education.

    He then goes on to say that the Obama contacted the U.S bishops and invited them to a meeting “at which time he gave his word, gave his word to our bishops that the conscience clause would not be disturbed.”

    I am no expert on the working the USCCB but I would think that would be a strong talking point, but I have never heard it before. Maybe, someone reading this blog has and can inform me.

  48. Amen!!! That was outstanding. And appropriate. The Liberals responding here don’t realize the existential attack on our faith the Obama administration has leveled against us. Serious times call for serious measures. That should be spread across every Catholic blog in the country. It should go viral.

    I’ll say it again, I cannot imagine any how any devout Catholic can support this administration. This administration started as the most pro-abortion administration in the history of our country and is ending (God willing soon) as the most anti Catholic administration since the 19th century.

  49. Joe Mc Faul says:

    “Serious times call for serious measures.”

    Such as…..violence?

    The inflammatory language used by the homilist and many posters here is identical to the language used by the Hutaree Militia.

  50. Barbara, every time we see religious and other freedoms being removed, we end up with the suffering we have seen every time in other countries. Read Bonhoeffer on what happened in Germany with the rise of the Socialist Nazi state and Hitler.

    I think that this first hand knowledge of what happened in Germany and what happened in Russia and what happened in China by Pope Benedict XVI has caused him to strongly urge the Bishops in the USA to not allow this “policy disagreement” to again lead to what it did elsewhere. Of course maybe the entire USCCB and the Pope are wrong and Barbara is right on this one. How can you be 180 degrees out of sync with the Holy Father and the USCCB and not wake up to the fact that you might be very wrong on this and need to fight to have it stopped right now demanding a change by this administration to say no mandates that are seen as removing religious liberty.

  51. If you read the words, it says we send the SUPPORT LIST. Those in open dissent, we contact the pastor of that church to see if there is some error and to try to understand what is happening. We have found a few times that the information was not correct. We have also found a few that are in open defiance but have not yet done anything about this fact other than try to work with them to gain support, often through people in that parish.

    So your saying weekly list of dissenters was flat our wrong.

    The Bishop has called to thank us for our support and will be coming out to meet with those of us devoting time to help win this battle over religious freedom. We are not deviating from anything the Bishop has sent out for instructions, only acting as layity to help to organize it and focus the call. Kind of like Catholic community organizers.

    And Barbara, no coercive or oppresive actions here at all. I know that many on the left have the idea that Catholics who do not agree with their agenda are supposed to keep their faith in a box separated from the state. We are fulfilling the instructions of the bishop who leads our diocese to get the word out to all the parishes and work with the layity to send in our concerns to Washington and also in line with the constitution and bill of rights. Yep that is really coercive and oppresive actions.

  52. Scout, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is what liberals have been doing for years. Check out the debt and the fact that the democratic party has refused to address the issue of social security, medicare, and other entitlement spending and everyone knows that we are headed for a cliff. the Presidents just released budget addresses none of these major issues. The commission set up by this president waved a red flag and the president and democrats ignored it. When Rep Ryan put out a budget that the same commission said was a major start in the right direction, it was bashed by the president and his party by showing video of a man pushing grandma off the cliff.

    What this priest has laid out are facts. Some do not want facts like those above and want to keep burying their head in the sand, but this only can continue until it implodes and we have the mess now seen in Greece. Attacking religious liberties was the match that finally has lit the flame awakening many to the overall program to destroy everything created by our founders that has built this wonderful nation.

  53. I saw your words to “protect religion against government, not the reverse” and my understanding is that it is written to protect religion From government. We agree, just wording selection. Sorry about that.

  54. Thank God for this fine priest.

    He is speaking truth. Heck, he could have said rather more.

    I was impressed by how he sensitively avoided giving those who voted for Obama the first time around any direct criticism, but instead gave their good intentions the benefit of the doubt. I believe the phrase was, “I can’t believe that this is what you meant to vote for.”

    I am a bit astonished (and yet, not astonished) by some of the other comments, where they express being aghast at the message or its tone. The message was merely true; and given how nasty the truth is, the tone was spot-on.

    Wouldn’t a bloodless and feeble response to the HHS mandate be rather less appropriate than a full-throated opposition such as this?

    We are, after all, talking about an immoral assault on human liberty. It is good that the Catholic Church is finally aware of it instead of being, in that memorable phrase attributed to Lenin, “useful idiots.” For of course Catholic bishops in America have been, with the best of intentions, blithely helping this process along for 75 years or so. Awareness of the consequences was delayed until now because until now, only private commercial enterprises and individuals were having their liberties curtailed by the expansion of the welfare state, and exemptions for churches kept the churches from knowing what it felt like.

    Now, Catholics who aren’t private business owners or struggling taxpayers are finally feeling it. Well, welcome to the party, gentlemen. Sauce that’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and if it is within the Federal government’s just authority to compel business owners to include health coverage in employee compensation, then it is, by logical extension, within the Federal government’s just authority to compel business owners to include particular kinds of covered services. Don’t like that? Well, next time, do unto others as you’d have them do unto you!

    For the problem, ultimately, is not this particular intrusion on religious freedom. We’re a bit more sensitive to that one because it’s one of the freedoms that happens to be listed in the Bill of Rights (a list which is not exhaustive, by-the-by).

    But religious freedom is a subset of freedom of conscience, and freedom of conscience is a subset of that larger scope of liberty, which we possess when our government forbears to use its compulsory power either to constrain our liberty to do morally licit things or to compel us to do morally illicit things. A Catholic has a right not to be compelled to pay for abortifacients. Likewise, a business owner has a right not to be fined or arrested if he pays his employees in straight dollars, without including health insurance as part of the package.

    When some Catholic bishops supported ACA (a.k.a. “Obama Care”), and when other bishops countenanced supporting it provided exemptions were in place for their tender tuckuses, they were saying to everyone not covered by those exemptions, “liberty for me but not for thee.” Hypocrites.

    Government are the hirelings of the people, to whom We The People delegate some of our just authority to perform certain tasks. They are our delegates, our proxies, our employees. That is what government is.

    Government is also that organization in society to which we grant the power to use force to achieve its ends. That is what government does.

    But God’s Moral Law sharply constrains the circumstances under which you may use force against your fellow man. In general, you can’t pull a gun on your neighbor. The exception is when your neighbor is executing an assault on you or on another innocent party, violating their unalienable rights or intrinsic human dignity. Then, you may use force to defend the innocent. Indeed, that is what our power to use force is for: To defend the innocent from unjust assaults on their rights and dignity. That is why God gave us that capability. But His Moral Law denies us just authority to use it for other purposes. Outside of that narrow usage, it is not morally licit.

    And therein lies the rub: You have no just authority under God’s Moral Law to compel one of your neighbors to pay for another of your neighbor’s healthcare. And, having no such authority, you cannot delegate such authority to your hirelings. And government is your hireling.

    Therefore government has no such just authority. When it uses force in such matters anyway, it is an usurper. When we vote to allow it to use such force anyway, we are blithely giving to Caesar what belongs to God.

    As the Welfare State has expanded, it has expanded because Catholics and others were being inattentive to the restrictions the Moral Law places upon government’s use of force. Statist Catholics thought it would be just fine to gradually chip away at the liberty of American society, so long as it was in ways they approved of. Now, the precedent has been set, and the president is merely exercising that power in a way that Catholics don’t like.

    This would not have happened were Catholics the friends of everyone’s liberty, and not merely their own, during the last 75 years.

    And there is another way the welfare state has bitten us on the backside, and the priest touched on it: Socialism, in its varying degrees, tends to marginalize the Church in society. It is an impediment to the gospel of Christ.

    Show me a country where the needy get their daily bread from government more than from the Church, and I’ll show you a country where (a.) the needy don’t feel grateful for what they received, but only entitled to it; (b.) the productive don’t feel generous for what they gave, but feel their pockets were picked; (c.) class warfare is increased because of (a.) and (b.); (d.) politicians want to distribute more and more handouts, in return for votes; (e.) the needy don’t see the Church playing much role in their lives, and are thus inclined to think that God isn’t really a matter of importance to their souls.

    Under the Welfare State, man lives by bread alone.

    Well, bread and circuses.

    Well, bread and free condoms.

    The priest was right. Kudos to him.

    We could stand to hear more of it. And now that Catholics are sounding their cri de coeur, perhaps we could cry out for the liberties of everyone, and not just ourselves?

  55. Deacon, we had a meeting today about the”women vote topic” today with the leadership of several dozen womens groups. It was a mix of liberal and conservative leaning groups. The reason for the meeting was to get the facts laid out by women for women. I was there to observe only because of the involvement with the Catholic Church.

    When it ended after 3 hours of presentation, they held a straw poll vote and Obama lost on this one by an 80-20% margin. This was not all Catholic groups, but all religious including Protestant and Jewish. What has happened to date is that the entire topic has been distorted away from the simple fact that religious liberty is under attack. The most moving presentation was from the normally very liberal Jewish group who presented last before the vote. After hearing the full presentation, and knowing the impact of being denied religious liberty, they joined in support the Bishops. Not sure how many realize in the media and in blue states how strongly and how active this movement is to draw a line in the sand and Obama and his party are going to feel the impact this November unless they first surrender on this point 100% and find a way to give assurances that the entire USCCB buy off on that a second term will not have this type of thing on the agenda. On ObamaCare, the poll showed that 90-10 now favor repeal which was 60-40 against going in. The other 30% now see that there is much there they did not understand.

    Remember, it took the media a very long time to understand the tea party movement and in fact, most do not understand it today. Next week we are meeting with tea party leaders to eduate them on these important religious liberty issues as well.

  56. Barbara, again, as in other posts where you find yourself on the other side from the Pope and entire USCCB, you can now see how many here not only think it is great, but many wish to hear more like it in their own parishes with this type of passion. Religious liberty is important to Americans no matter the faith. We do not want secular humanism forced on us by the government as the state relgion of the land. As Father Barron so well laid out, we have seen this before in the world and it always leads to a totalitarian state where freedom no longer exists.

  57. Wrong Ron. It might not have won over those who support abortion and anything needed including removal of religious freedom to keep the abortion mills running, but when people understand the attack at this core liberty being done in such a blatant manner and with such arrogance, they get it.

    The power of the bishops had been downplayed for a very long time. That might have been correct when the bishops were sending out very mixed messages. When Obama face to face chose to wee wee all over Cardinal Dolan in an outright lie, he united them in a way no one thought possible. A united USCCB has not been seen in this country for a very long time if ever. We do not want to see our country turn into socialist Germany or any other land where we are slaves to the secular humanist state with god banned from our lives. In seeing it in this blatant way, just as this priest lays out, it is now obvious that while some slept, this attack has been in progess for years. No more. Now the swing back has started and the democratic party will be seen as that which is against religious freedoms and for abortion mills.

    In history, if one looks back at what lit the fire to change, it is often simple things that awaken the populace be it a book like Uncle Tom’s cabin, or a lie thrust upon someone in such a way that it offends all the wrong people. This was that match. It is lit.

  58. Joe and Deacon, on the update, how does your posted comments by Pope John Paul II work with his ongoing work with the Reagan administration to act to end the soviet union and free Poland from a socialist godless state. The Pope workded to get money into Poland and to bring information out to the CIA and the Reagan administration. When you compare that to this priest homily which was at the request of the united USCCB who had been urged by the current Pope to fight attacks on religious liberty by this administration, not sure this holds water. But maybe you have an explanation on this major conflict in selectively looking at this old quote. You have to remember, it came before what we have seen over the last three years. Obama and democrats shut out the bishops on obamacare for abortion even though the bishops have been pro healthcare universal coverage since 1919. Obama could not offend his partner abortion mills and so shut out the bishops. Obama and his party are working to force Catholics over their religious views out of programs the church has been in for decades serving the poor. I have no doubt that Pope John Paul II would be in full union with the entire USCCB on this issue and support this passionate priest fighting for freedom of religion. In fact, if you look at some of the sermons by the pope when he was priest in Poland, you will see the same fire and passion.

    As to the comments from Father Dwight Longenecker, I would like to see how his views work in America today. If Obama continues in open defiance of the USCCB supported by the Pope, what alternative is there but to remove them from power? How would this be done in America? I think when you add first the overall support of abortion which has killed 54 million babies and now an outright attack on religious freedom according to the entier USCCB supported by the Pope, hard to see how voting for that party can be supported.

    how does one translate “I’m not for politics” into action. When voting day comes is he saying all Catholics should stay home and not vote? He is not talking about a candidate, but both entire parties? Can anyone explain that. I find this type of comments to be like a small child who cannot seem to get everything he wants thowing a tantrum and refusing to play in the game. America is too important to the world not to have people engages which is why we need to have a clear message from the Catholic Church to better form our conscience when we vote. Still our free will choice, but we now appear to have some major grave issues that need to be addressed better than ” I’m not for politics”.

    Don’t see how this is instructive Deacon. Not sure that the USCCB are sending a message that Republicans who are pushing the bill the USCCB want to see to protect religious liberty is to be bashed with the same force that is used to bash the party of both abortion and now taking away religious liberty.

  59. When was the last time you saw the entire USCCB send out messages to all their parishes to blast the action by a president and his administration? When was the last time you saw the Pope urging the USCCB to stand firm for religious liberty? I can answer that one for you…Never. There are not 40-50 bishops peeling off to defend this administration.

    On Obama lying, we know then Archbishop Dolan went to the White House for a meeting with Obama and he came out and told the USCCB meeting very positive news on this issue. Correct? He went as President of the USCCB.

    We know that Obama called then Archbishop Dolan later to inform him that he in fact had lied and would be going after religious liberty. Not words used maybe by Obama, but by Archbishop Dolan who was outraged. It was such a lie that even supporters needed another fig leaf lie to save face which gave us the ‘accomodation’ which anyone but a total fool can see is nothing but another lie as evidenced by the rejection by the entire USCCB. Nope, not a single bishop has come out in support of the democrats or Obama on this one.

    You can keep trying to find a way to make a lie truth, but it only makes those who do look like Obama stooges without free will or thought. I think it woud make a lot more sense to have those simply say he was wrong and that you would agree this should be changed and join in the call for Obama to change this attack.

  60. Joe, No, unlike the left with their union supported Occupy, we choose the American way which is to get energized and vote them out of office forever. The left Occupy has thousands of arrests for crimes of drugs, rape, vandalism and destruction of private property, and even deaths.

    Please show where anyone here has called for violence. Deacon, I assume you disagree but see no edit on Joe over his saying this priest used inflammatory language promoting violence as suggested. Please don’t tell me you agree.

  61. Great post R.C.

  62. Civil disobedience and a soap box. This obamaination has not taken away our right to free speech yet. So let’s use it.

  63. We already pay for abortions, through taxes paid to Planned Parenthood. This, however, makes it rather more direct. Instead of it going through the public purse first, we are now required by law to pay another private entity directly for these services.

    Look it over: Here are the requirements on us, imposed by the combination of ACA and the HHS mandates:

    (a.) We are required by law, if we are to stay in business doing charitable works, to pay for employee health coverage;

    (b.) This means that we have to either buy that coverage or provide it ourselves;

    (c.) All providers of coverage are required to offer contraceptives of all kinds, including abortifacients, morning-after, the lot, in every plan they offer, and are specifically not allowed to offer plans in which a purchaser can opt-out and pay less for not having these things included.

    Moreover, haven’t you considered what happens when all the Catholic charities, hospitals, soup kitchens, schools, and the like start shutting down? Those buildings and supplies won’t just evaporate. It’ll be a compelled sale. In such circumstances, prices typically vary from 10% to 50% of normal.

    Who’ll be in the market to buy all those things, at drastically reduced prices?

    Why, that’d be everyone else who does the same kinds of things, but isn’t Catholic.

    Obama has just (either very skillfully or utterly obliviously) imposed a “religious test.” It isn’t a religious test for holding office. But it’s a religious test for operating a hospital or charity or school or adoption agency: Catholics need not apply.

    I wonder who’ll buy all those facilities at bargain-basement prices? Planned Parenthood will buy the clinic buildings, for certain. At the sell-out prices we’re likely to see they may be able to go in with other investors and run hospitals.

    Who’ll run the adoption agencies? Not sure; but I bet you see involvement from the homosexuality-normalization lobby.

    Who’ll run the schools? Not sure, but there again the homosexuality-normalization and abortion-normalization lobbies will figure largely.

    Obama has just secured the Deal Of The Century for his biggest backers.

    No wonder he does so well on the campaign fundraising circuit!

    Now, perhaps Obama himself isn’t thinking things through, but is off in la-la land convinced of his own innocence. Fine: Such ignorance is plausible, although I don’t think anyone could call it ignorance of invincible, and therefore innocent, variety.

    But let’s say Obama has excluded the following thoughts from his noggin, for the sake of argument. Even if he has, I guarantee you those supporting him in this decision haven’t overlooked it.

    It’s an old but ever-usable mantra: Follow the money.

  64. Your hyprbole is incredibly insensitive to the real persecution that is going on all over the world. I am glad to hear that you think the Bishops are always right. Since you seem to be well connected I hope this means you will use your political connections to get the Republicans to pass the Dream Act, something the Bishops support. Glad to know we agree that the Dream Act should become law.

  65. Mark you are seeking out “dissenters”. That sounds like you have appointed yourselves as the American Inquisition.

  66. It wasn’t a homily. It’s using the Mass for political purposes and that’s as big an abuse as those clown Masses you talk about.

  67. Actually it is a bigger abuse than the clown Masses.

  68. Let’s see what happens when the trial starts in Philadelphia.

  69. just a thought ? If the homily was “skipped ” that day and this was given as an “announcement” before the final blessing, would that be any different ? If it was posted in the bulliten whould ahve anyone read it ? Undert the circumstances this needs to be said, as to when, well, that just logistics.

  70. also in 1993 we didnt have as great a threat of losing our right of conscience.

  71. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Contrast this priest’s homily with the one delivered by Pope John Paul II in 1979, when he returned to Poland for the first time as pope.

    You can read it here.

    John Paul, in addition to being a priest, was also a head of state. And his work with the Reagan administration was not done publicly, but privately. Even as a priest in Poland, did he ever speak out against a particular political leader or personally criticize a specific politician or tell anyone how to vote?

  72. Barbara, The people in the various parishes are simply keeping track of how their parish is supporting the call of the Bishop. If they see that their parish is not doing this, they let us know and we bring information to the pastor which he must be lacking if he is not following his Bishop’s call to preach about this HHS mandate or to inform his parishoners about this attack on Religious Liberty. The layity have a role to play in helping the Bishop. Once again, we do not provide this information to the Bishop on who is not doing as he has advised; only sending him the names of parishes obeying the call. If those in the parish after gaining our support want to take this up with the Bishop, that is certainly their right. Our mission is to support the Bishop.

  73. Barbara, so now you say that following the Bishop instructions is worse than abusing the liturgy in open dissent with a clown mass. this shows how little value you place on the liturgy.

  74. What has the trial in Philadelphia to do with this? Are you hoping that the abuse of kids and cover up can be used to divide the Bishops to save Obama? Please tell me that is not what you are saying here. Sounds like an Alinski move to let no crisis happen without using it for pure political purposes.

    However, with the Cardinal now dead and the ArchBishop inplace who had zip to do with this matter trying to fix it, I doubt that this will cause the Bishops to quit the battle for Religious Liberty.

    Wonder if Deacon and others who seem to be suggesting this priests homily is somehow over the line by a mile or as Barbara says “worse than a clown mass” support this call for the problems in Philadelphia around abuse drive a wedge between bishop unity?

  75. Deacon, Are you trying to argue that from the time he was priest until his death as Pope that JPII was not dedicated to fighting for religious freedom against the state? Should we wait until the Obama administration orgainzes their Bureau for Religious Affairs as they had in Poland? Pope JPII had lived under Nazi socialsit and now Russian socialist rule even before he became a priest. You did not step out and call out the names of government leaders, but learned to use subtle language because there was also no freedom of speech. It seems by this posting that you do not think this priest should have freedom of speech to say what he believes. The Bishops are united seeing this as a continuing movement to restrict religious liberty. I have seen at least this level or rhetoric or more in the public statements Bishops have released. We do not want a godless socialist state dictating our beliefs and one bishop said we have been too silent and to politically correct for too long.

    I find nothing I have read on Pope John Paul II that would have in any way found what this priest said in church wrong in any way in the battle to stop what he had seen in socialist states. I suspect if in attendance he would have stood up and cheered with the rest of the people in the church.
    “And his work with the Reagan administration was not done publicly, but privately.” Not sure what you are trying to make of this statement. Yes, his work of supporting the downfall of the socialist state was warfare between those inside who could lose their lives and the Reagan administration and CIA. It had to be private or people would die. But no one did not think he was doing everything possible to defeat a state where religious liberty was forbidden and priest and bishops and Cardinals faced imprisonment and even death at the hands of the state. He would know first hand that in a country with that freedom, that if you do not stomp it out when it first starts to appear, you will only encourage the evil to exapand. The Bishops were silent until Obama in person decided to lie to the face of Cardinal Dolan who came to meet as the head of the USCCB. I am surpised that as a Deacon in Cardinal Dolan diocese that you would seem to be supporting the attack on this priest speaking out. I have not seen the Cardinal calling this priest in and chastising him but maybe you could send me a link on that one.

  76. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Some points:

    1. Read all of John Paul’s statement at the link. Coming from a man who suffered under a dictatorship, and who endured both the Nazis and the Communists, and who was a vocal critic of the “liberation theology” that saw priests transformed into political activists, his statement offers some unique insight into what he believes is appropriate political activity for a member of the clergy.

    2. Cardinal Dolan is not my bishop.

    3. Cardinal Dolan does not oversee a diocese, but an archdiocese.

    4. I’m not attacking this priest. Nor am I saying he should not have the freedom to say what he believes. I’m simply disagreeing with his approach. It’s not a homily I would have given. But — and this is significant — I serve a different flock, in a different part of the country, and have different ideas about what is appropriate for preaching from the pulpit.

    Dcn. G.

  77. Barbara, can you send me a link where the 180 plus bishops were united on passing the Dream Act.

    If this was such an important program for Democrats, why didn’t they push it through when they had huge majorities? They got healthcare through?

    Reason. It is a wedge issue, not something to spend capital on. Forcing through benefits for those who are here because of an illegal act does not seem to make sense to many. Not sure they would even get solid democrat votes on the dream act.

    You always change the debate rather than defend the president being right on attacking religious liberty.

  78. Fair enough Deacon Greg on your intent. I think it would have been good to lay that out above in the article upfront. Anyone who has read your homilies knows that this is not your style. I suspect this priest might find your homilies are not his cup of tea either. I kind of find it not beneficial to the faith when one member of the clergy seems to be throwing another member open to public scrutiny with no defense provided like his right to do so, not my style, and we have different audiences. Hope you agree this would have been good to post above.

    sorry for the mistakes on wording of Cardinal Dolan “archdiocese” and my misunderstanding you were under his domain. Was the priest who gave the homily under Cardinal Dolan? Are you aware of the Cardinal or other bishop who has had the same issues with this homily?

    As to Pope JPII, I have read about everything I can find over the years that he wrote and in fact has spent time with our Domincan novice masters and the novices as they study his works to my great joy. His concern was that priest should not actually become part of a government, but also had many other issues with the liberation theology. What he stated about priests becoming government officials is a far cry from this homily delivered from priest to flock. I still believe that this priest could have delivered it with Pope JPII there and he would have nodded agreement if not praised him for fighting for religious liberty.

  79. I think you are wrong to report on your neighbors’ activities.

  80. Giving a political speech at Mass during the time reserved for the homily is an abuse of the Liturgy. You can call the Bishops and report me for saying this.

  81. Mark respectfully what are you talking about? You made the prediction that this religious liberty crusade has lit a fire for the Bishops. Unfortunately the Philadelphia trial will take over the news cycle and make them look less than credible. What did i say about the President or about using this horrible case for political purposes? That was the farthest thing from my mind- I am not as politically obsessed as you seem to be.b

  82. As a child who escaped Roe V. Wade by 17 months and was adopted through Catholic Charities, I thank Fr. Maletta for this long-overdue message. At the time of my birth, both the law AND the Church protected me and ensured I had the opportunity to live a healthy life. Unfortunately 53 million people after Roe v. Wade weren’t as lucky. Thank you Father for the passionate Homily.

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