“Heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism” is required to confront state and federal threats to religious liberty and the church’s public ministries, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, told more than 500 Catholic men who marched through the downtown Peoria in a steady rain April 14 in a public defense of the faith.
“We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction,” said Bishop Jenky.
He warned participants in the “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” rally that Catholic schools, hospitals, and Newman Centers “could easily be shut down” by the fall of 2013 rather than cooperate with the government’s mandate that most health plans cover the cost of contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can induce abortion.
“No Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killling innocent human life in the womb,” the bishop said.
After joining the men on a silent, mile-long walk from the Peoria riverfront to St. Mary’s Cathedral, Bishop Jenky used some of the strongest language yet by a church official in protesting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate. (See full text of the homily here.)
The bishop mentioned President Barack Obama three times in his homily at the rally Mass.
“In clear violation of our First Amendment rights,” said Bishop Jenky, “Barack Obama with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda now seems intent on following a similar path” as other governments throughout history who “have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches.”