We Can Defund Planned Parenthood if We Want To. Here’s How.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ron Cogswell Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ron Cogswell Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

If our elected officials truly want to defund Planned Parenthood — as opposed to using it for a campaign issue — they can.

First we have to defund the half billion or so of over the counter money that goes to PP. Part of this involves transferring these monies to other entities. I am totally opposed to creating another form of “privatized” health care funding, which is what PP is. All we need to do is transfer the monies to the various city, county and state health departments with strong language about how it must be used and penalties for mis-use.

These are already existing facilities who do a lot of this same kind of work now.

The real trick is to pry the $$ loose from PP in the first place. I offer a plan for doing this, as well as an explanation for why the move the United States Senate is making now is a no-go, in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register.

I want to emphasize that I am not saying that we can’t get this done. I am saying that we can’t get it done by the methods that the Senate is currently using.

Too many so-called pro-life Senators say things like “I’d like to defund Planned Parenthood, but, we need to do this or that corporatist thing first because pro life is really, you know, a distraction from the serious business of government.” You can take it to the bank that this guy or gal ain’t never gonna do anything but vote pro life out in public when they are forced to and that they will cut pro life concerns off at the knees in the back rooms where none of us can see.

It’s up to us, the pro life people of America, to pressure them to stop playing politics with this, and get serious about making it happen. We are the babies’ only voice.

From the National Catholic Register:

Without this bill, we face a long slog through other amendments on less important bills or a standalone bill, all of which are unlikely to make it to law. It appears that what Majority Leader McConnell has set up is a vote or votes that are doomed to fail so far as lawmaking goes, but that will make nice fodder for the upcoming campaign. —Rebecca Hamilton

I quoted myself at the top of this post. It’s not often that I get to be a prophet … and in a 24-hour turnaround, no less.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced Wednesday that she had filed a bill that would (drum roll) “defund Planned Parenthood!!!!” Her first co-author is none less than (trumpet fanfare) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell!!!!

Then, Majority Leader McConnell (bring out the sparklers) said that the Senate will “vote” on the bill as early as next week!!!!

Attaboy!

Attagirl!

We got ‘em! Planned Parenthood is doomed, I say — dooooomed.

Just out of curiosity: Is anybody out there actually believing this? Because if you are, I’ve got some land in Florida and a bridge in Brooklyn that we need to talk about.

Remember when I wrote about tactics, strategy and all that stuff? Well, what we are seeing here is a short course in Political Tactics 101. The trouble is, these tactics are being used against us, not for us.

There isn’t going to be a straight-up, standalone statute go into law defunding Planned Parenthood. Will. Not. Happen.

Why?

Let me count the ways.

 

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LA Superior Court Stops Release of Future Videos of StemExpress’ Baby Body Parts Business

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Charlotte Cooper https://www.flickr.com/photos/cecooper/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Charlotte Cooper https://www.flickr.com/photos/cecooper/

The Los Angeles Superior Court has issued a temporary restraining order against the Center for Medical Progress, barring them from releasing more videos of StemExpress executives discussing the purchase of aborted baby body parts.

The videos in question are said to include conversations held in a restaurant with three StemExpress executives.

My first reaction was that this is tres ironic, coming as it does from people who come on Public Catholic and throw both shoes because their comments sometimes get deleted. I lost track the first week as to how many times they accused me of violating their odd idea of “freedom of speech” and the First Amendment.

However, this action by the Los Angeles Superior Court does violate First Amendment free speech, since it is the government, stopping journalists from airing videos which show people who are at least indirectly hooked up to the tax base talking about how they make their money. It doesn’t get much more First Amendment than that.

We the People have a right to know what is being done with our tax dollars, and Planned Parenthood certainly gets its share of tax dollars. Also, “researchers” who may be using these body parts from murdered babies are also almost certainly getting a big part of their $$ from the government, as well. It seems clear that StemExpress is getting its $$ from the government, at least indirectly.

It will be interesting indeed to see how this plays out in the courts. It does indicate that Planned Parenthood and its downstream partners such as StemExpress are running hot on this thing.

There’s a cloture vote in the Senate next week. Even though I’ve gone on record saying that we’re gonna lose that vote, I still think we need to put up every bit of fight we can. You never know. I’ve won other fights I thought were lost in the past.

From FoxNews:

A temporary restraining order has been issued preventing an anti-abortion group from releasing any video of leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. The group is the same one that previously released three covertly shot videos of a Planned Parenthood leader discussing the sale of aborted fetuses for research.

The Los Angeles Superior Court order issued Tuesday prohibits the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of three high-ranking StemExpress officials taken at a restaurant in May. It appears to be the first legal action prohibiting the release of a video from the organization.

The Center for Medical Progress has released three surreptitiously recorded videos to date that have riled anti-abortion activists. The Senate is expected to vote before its August recess on a Republican effort to bar federal aid to Planned Parenthood in the aftermath of the videos’ release.

In a statement Wednesday, center leader David Daleiden said StemExpress was using “meritless litigation” to cover up an “illegal baby parts trade.”

“The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work,” he said.

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Dear Abortion Supporters: Look at the Aborted Baby Parts and See Yourself.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Pro abortion people are having a bit of trouble processing the videos showing Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts. I don’t know if this is because their consciences are bothering them, or if the political implications of the videos frighten them.

Whatever the problem, I think it’s worthwhile to look at the videos together. The videos bring home something that I found overwhelming when it finally got through my thick skull: We are killing people.

When I realized the full horror of what I had done, I was undone by it. I experienced grief, guilt, shame and remorse that changed forever how I viewed myself. It also changed — on a profound level — my relationship with God. My commitment to the sanctity of human life moved from the back-burner to the absolute.

I thank God every day for saving me from myself. I can wish nothing more for anyone who is still trapped in the world of death and destruction of the culture of death.

These are the edited versions, but The Center for Medical Progress has released the full-length video of each one, if you want to watch them.

 

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Maybe the Boy Scouts Should Hold Pack Meetings in Gay Bars

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by USFWS - Pacific Region https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by USFWS – Pacific Region https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/

Well, they did it.

Remember a while back when the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay scouts? The deal then was that this was only for the boys themselves. The leaders and BSA employees would remain straight. Anyone who doubted this was a homophobe, an alarmist and probably a dim-witted traditional Christian to boot.

President Obama had an opinion about this policy, as he apparently does about all things gay. He chimed in that the Boy Scouts should, indeed, allow gay men to be scout leaders and administrators of the organization. The state of New York, whose governor told both pro life people and those who are, in his learned opinion, “anti-gay” to pack up and move elsewhere, launched an investigation against the Boy Scouts, claiming “discrimination” in their employment practices. Perhaps the final blow to the old policy came when the the president of the Boy Scouts of America, who is also the former head of the CIA and Secretary of Defense under President Bush I, called for the organization to allow gay scout leaders and employees.

You may have to stretch your memory a bit, but the Boy Scouts actually won a Supreme Court decision a few years back which sustained their freedom to not allow either gay scouts or gay scout leaders in their organization. That set off an unending line of attacks against the organization, culminating in what appears to be infiltration of its governing board by people who wanted to change the direction.

Why all the focus from gay rights activists on the boy scouts? I don’t know. But it’s been a biggie with them for a long time now.

It appears that they have won. The Boy Scouts of America has announced that they are going to allow gay scout leaders and gay employees. There are codicils in this decision which allow church-based Scout packs to eschew gay leaders, and, of course, we have a Catholic bishop, chiming in to urge “optimism” about the future of the Catholic Church allying with the new, gay Boy Scouts because, you know, this codicil is a for-real deal and will stand for at least a week or so.

One would think that the gay rights activists would be over the moon. This has, after all, been a very good year for them. But in keeping with their constant tradition of being the worse winners possible, they’re still angry and demanding more “reforms.”

Now that the Boy Scouts have tossed away their Supreme Court victory in toto, and now that they are still under pressure to become even more “gay friendly,” maybe they should just stop the gradualist nonsense and go all the way. Maybe the Boy Scouts should start holding their pack meetings in gay bars. That would end the cries of “discrimination” and get rid of those pesky traditional Christians, all in one fell swoop.

 

 

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What Every Pro-Lifer Needs to Know about the Senate and Planned Parenthood

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

The United States Senate did one of their doh-see-dohs earlier this week, and the result was a verbal exchange that highlights just how polarized are lawmakers are, even within their own political parties.

As usual, there was speechifying and strangled attempts to do something that might serve to end the carnage of abortion, all of which came to naught. This week’s tawdry pro-life politician performance was all about defunding Planned Parenthood. Or, talking a great game about defunding Planned Parenthood while doing zip.

If anyone is surprised by this, please raise your hand.

Nobody?

I wrote an explanatory post for the National Catholic Register, in which I attempted to explain what happened. I also alluded, just briefly to what the real goal needs to be, which is to put meaningful language that will actually have the effect of reducing Planned Parenthood’s massive federal funding (I don’t think one piece of legislation can even begin to get all of it, btw.) that has at least the proverbial snowball’s chance of overriding a presidential veto.

It’s called tactics.

It’s not strategy, which is of a higher and more global order of political thinking. This is just bill-passing tactical thinking that any lawmaker with two brain cells knows how to do if they want to do it. 

Sadly, pro life efforts have been both a strategic and tactical free zone for going on 50 years now. Pro life people have been very carefully taught to jump up and down and get all rageful, while accomplishing nothing much. I’m trying to do my little part to change that. It’s a bit like dipping out the ocean with a teaspoon, but I’m going to keep on dipping until I feel that the Lord has some other plan for me.

In the meantime, here’s the article I wrote for the Register. Read it and think, my friends. People’s lives are at stake here.

From the National Catholic Register:

Now what does this tale of men at yell have to do with defunding Planned Parenthood? Just about everything.

Here’s the deal.

While the Senate Republicans were splitting up over Majority Leader McConnell’s action in pushing through the Export-Import Bank amendment, McConnell also deep-sixed an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul attempted to attach amendments to the bill that they say would have “defunded Planned Parenthood.” The Chair ruled the amendments out of order.

What’s the big deal about that? Doesn’t the Senate have other bills? In fact, couldn’t it pass a stand-alone bill defunding Planned Parenthood?

The big deal is that the Highway Bill is one of those must-pass pieces of legislation that everybody wants to see go into law, including the President. The federal Highway Trust Fund runs out of money on Friday. That has the road-construction industry and much of the business world in all fifty states pushing hard for this bill.

It would be impossible for most members of Congress to vote against the Highway Bill, and tough for the President to veto. I assume that the President would veto it, if it had language defunding Planned Parenthood in it, but it would give him — and Congressional Democrats—considerable heartburn.

The cherry on top was actually the much-discussed Export-Import Bank amendment. President Obama and most Democrats want that amendment. The bill, with both the Export-Import Bank amendment and the amendment defunding Planned Parenthood, would be a great bill for an override vote.

That’s why the Highway Bill was the place to put the amendment defunding Planned Parenthood and why I don’t think anyone whose first loyalty is to the babies should have been against the Export-Import Amendment. The trick here was to make an override possible.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/what-every-pro-lifer-needs-to-know-about-the-senate-and-planned-parenthood/#ixzz3hIstfTjP

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Don’t Go to Battle for Christ Before You Go to Spiritual Boot Camp

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

Make no mistake about it: The culture wars are going to get hot and hotter.

The recent revelations about Planned Parenthood dialed up the heat. The president’s response (which I’m going to write about next week) tossed dynamite onto the burner. This is going to get ugly.

Another shooting adds a new line to the column of proof that our society is deconstructing. Wishy washy responses about the gay marriage decision from some of our religious leaders leaves those of us in the pews wondering just how authentic they are, and agitation from the atheist-backed satanists lets us know that old scratch is getting less and less afraid of showing his face.

We are the soldiers in a war, my friends. We are the Lord’s army.

How does a Christian get ready for battle?

I took a few moments from my conventioneering this week to write a prescription for would-be pro life warriors for the National Catholic Register.  Here’s a taste of what I said. Go here to read the rest.

May the meditations of my heart
and the words of my mouth
be pleasing in Your sight,
oh Lord, my God and my Redeemer.
—King David 

I was all set to write a post that would get right down to the nitty and the gritty of hardball, pro-life politics. I’m still going to do that. But not today.

I try to pray the prayer above, which is an old, old prayer from the Psalms, before every speech I make, and before I put my fingers on the keyboard to begin writing. Sometimes, I get caught up in the moment and just start writing without praying. Those are the times when I have to go back and say, I’m sorry, I was wrong, I apologize.

Because, you see, without God putting a brake on my inner jerk, I give vent to that inner jerk. Me without the Holy Spirit, is a real mess.

Which leads me to today’s post. I prayed before I sat down to write this, and when I prayed, I was reminded that the real nitty and gritty of pro-life politics begins before the tactics and the ways to fight the fight in a technical sense.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/ask-the-holy-spirit-to-put-your-through-spiritual-bootcamp/#ixzz3goSiu2Y2

 

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Macbook Air 11 vs iPad: Which is Better for Travel?

MBA 11 and iPad 1. Mine is an iPad 3 or 4, I forget which. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Paul Hudson https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/

MBA 11 and iPad 1. Mine is an iPad 3 or 4, I forget which. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Paul Hudson https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/

I’m going to the Catholic Writers Convention next week.

Or, I suppose I might say that I’m running away for the week. I’m leaving Mama in the care of my husband and sons. They’re apprehensive that she’s going to be downright rebellious about it. Me? I’m a mix of shared apprehension and giddy anticipation of freedom from diaper changing.

I really do feel like an escapee of sorts, leaving my 90-year-old baby behind and all. I am worried, big time worried, about how it will be, with me gone. Nobody else can calm her down and keep her going the way I can.

I’m praying it works out.

In the meantime, I’ve been pondering just what technology (if any) to take with me.

The iPhone goes. No question there.

The desktop stays behind.

The remaining question is whether to take my Macbook Air, or iPad, or nuthin’.

Nuthin’ only applies if I decide that I am not going to do any writing at all while I’m there. I actually did put together a short post on my iPhone, and (Surprise!) it is do-able. But, you know, using a paintbrush to write a post on buffalo hide is do-able also. I’m just not inclined.

Maybe if I ever replace my itty-bitty iPhone 4s with a phablet, that will change. I can sorta see me carting around a keyboard and a phablet, especially when Scrivener (I’m the eternal optimist about this, folks. I think they’re eventually gonna do it.) comes to IOS.

But for today, right now, this weekend, I’ve gotta decide between iPad and Macbook Air.

The MBA is the 11 inch model, and yes, it does fit in my purse. (I carry a messenger bag when I travel, but let’s just call it a purse.) It’s slightly heavier than the iPad, but not all that much.

The big reason for all the hemming and hawing — and also why I’m unlikely to go with just the iPhone, no matter what — is that when I travel to conventions and such, I really enjoy going back to my hotel room at night and watching movies. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime and I relish the alone time (which I don’t have at home) when I can just kick back and enjoy myself.

The MBA is a much better machine for doing stuff. Any kind of writing, even an email, is better on the MBA. Since Scrivener for iPad is still the vaporware that writers dream about, the MBA is the best way to keep the flow going on my book.

However, the iPad ain’t totally shabby for that. If I drag a keyboard along, I can write with it and then move what I’ve written back to Scrivener. I won’t have access to all the Scrivener goodness, including my research files, but I can write straight narrative.

As for blogging, don’t hold your breath. I may take the whole week off. In fact, I’m kind of planning that. If something happens that I just can’t resist blogging about, I will do it. I’d do that if all I had was an iPhone. But, to be honest, I don’t much want to try to conventioneer and blog, both at once.

So … which is it?

iPad and better movie watching, or MBA and better writing?

I can’t seem to make up my mind. I mean that. I may not know what I’m going to do until I pick up one or the other and shove it in my bag.

What would you do?

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So … What Did Cecile Richards’ Statement Do for Planned Parenthood?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by David Shankbone https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by David Shankbone https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/

So … what did the president of Planned Parenthood accomplish with her statement a few days ago?

It appears that her house is collapsing. But appearances in politics are not only deceiving, they are meant to deceive. In the world of hard ball politics where “bans” on partial birth abortion are nothing of the kind and tax-payer monies vanish underground like a kind of dark matter coinage, big houses like Planned Parenthood very seldom collapse.

They get kicked around and called a lot of names, but their tentacles in government and funding are like a web of roots that spread and intertwine throughout the subsoil. Their alliances and beneficiaries reach out to the most powerful back room lords of political creation, and that’s on both sides of the partisan divide.

So … I ask again, what did the president of Planned Parenthood accomplish with her statement?

I explain a bit of the politics of it in the National Catholic Register.

From the National Catholic Register:

… Cecile Richards most emphatically was not speaking to “our” side of the political divide in her statement yesterday. She was speaking directly to those who regard the nefarious “religious right” and “woman hating anti-abortion zealots” as the devil. This was an easy pitch for her to make. It’s so well established in this war by both sides that the other side is the devil that all she had to do was use certain code phrases to evoke the full freight load of message in her listeners on both sides of the debate.

Her statement was not designed in any way to persuade pro-life people to back down or to get them to support Planned Parenthood. It was not an attempt at conversion.

Her statement was intended to rally and hold her troops on the ground, to soothe Planned Parenthood’s followers out there in the hustings who might be feeling a little shaky because of the sheer grisly disgustingness of the video in question. Her message was designed to bolster courage among her own and keep them from running scared. Planned Parenthood’s operatives in the media and the blogosphere hit the ground running almost as soon as the video surfaced. They had their talking points, and they talked them, loud and clear.

Ms. Richards didn’t need to make a statement  to accomplish that. But she is, in a very real sense, a general in a war of ideas and attitudes. She is a leader, and, I would add a most effective one. Any leader knows that at critical points when their followers are scared and heading toward demoralization, it is incumbent on them to stand before their followers and give them a shot of courage.

Ms. Richards’ statement was a spine injection into her followers,

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/pro-lifers-must-become-clever-as-serpents-innocent-as-doves/#ixzz3gF7lR6Se

 

For a dose of pro life outrage, check out the Catholic Patheosi mama bear, aka, The Anchoress. 

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… and the Plot Sickens. Baby Parts Selling Doc Now Employed by Former White House Staffer

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Neon Tommy https://www.flickr.com/photos/neontommy/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Neon Tommy https://www.flickr.com/photos/neontommy/

This is an example of how things work in the world of interlocking boards and political friends helping each other out.

Dr Deborah Nucatola, the doc who talked about selling the body parts of aborted babies in the now famous video, now works for Sexual Health Innovations, an organization founded by former White House staffer Jessica Ladd. According to The Daily Caller, senior Obama administration officials sit on the organization’s board.

Sexual Heath Innovations is a nonprofit that receives federal money as a contractor. Currently, it is focusing on “Callisto,” which is “an online ‘third party sexual assault reporting system’ for girls on college campuses.”

I could go on a rant here about abortion advocates taking over supposed help for rape victims, but, to be honest, it bothers me too much to write about it. I’ll probably come back to it later. In the meantime, I imagine Public Catholic readers can connect the conflict of interest dots.

From The Daily Caller:

Disgraced Planned Parenthood official Deborah Nucatola’s shocking personal work history is coming to light.

Records reveal that Nucatola was employed by a former White House staffer at the time that she was selling aborted baby fetus parts.

A staunch political advocate, Nucatola railed against the “right-wing” Bush administration. What’s more, she so enjoyed her work in the abortion industry that she touted a T-shirt celebrating a drug used in the practice.

Let’s break it down:

Works for a White House staffer

Nucatola is currently employed at Sexual Health Innovations, founded by former Obama White House staffer Jessica Ladd. Senior Obama administration officials sit on the board of the abortion activist group, including Praveen Basaviah of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and Kyle Bernstein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The IRS-approved 501(c)3 tech nonprofit is a major Obama administration contractor.

The group works on issues including “abortion access,” according to its website. But the group’s biggest project right now is Callisto, an online “third-party sexual assault reporting system” for girls on college campuses. The property in development counts Google as its investor.

 

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The Future of the Catholic Church is the Same as Its Past

Father Stanley Rother Copyright Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved

Copyright Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved

Ok, so I’m the daughter of a mechanic, the granddaughter of a laborer who at one time dug ditches and was glad for the work on one side of my family, and a real-life horse-breaking, cattle-branding cowboy on the other.

My great-grandfathers were farmers and blacksmiths. Cherokee blood flows in my veins from a time when being Cherokee wasn’t cool.

I am working class from the soles of my dusty bare feet to the top of my frizzy hair. My generation was the first in our family to darken the doorway of an institution of higher learning, and I think we all felt considerably out of place there. Our background, the pond that spawned us, did not fit us for the many pretenses and — to us — absurdities of indirection of the intellectual world. At the same time, our education unfitted us for the world from which we came.

We were, all of us, doomed to wander through life as strangers in a strange land of social dislocation.

Patheos’ symposium on the future of the Catholic Church has some mighty fine thinkers contributing to it. All of them approach the question from an intellectual viewpoint. We have people telling us about how their ministries have informed them of the lacks in the Church’s outreach, others discuss how the future of the Church should be for gay people, or from the viewpoint of clergy.

But I don’t see anything there that even acknowledges the existence of people like me. The working class is right out in discussions of much of anything these days. The people that fight the wars, build the buildings, unstop the plumbing, lay down the roads, grow the food and keep the wiring from frying us, are invisible in almost all discussion of anything in this country, whether that be the ubiquitous “rights talk” that Mary Anne Glendon references, or, sadly, the future of the Catholic Church.

I am going to posit that the major failure of both American government and American Christianity in these past decades is the abject failure to protect, nurture and dignify the working class. It seems that every single thing we’ve done, whether it is the revision of our tax codes, our constant war-making, the destruction of the family or the la-la-la attitude of so much of our clergy, has fallen on the heads of the working class.

Make no mistake about it, our tax code is now constructed so that government is supported by the workers of this country, even while that same government exports jobs, and degrades our public education into a method of transmitting social values that are anathema to the survival of working class social structure and values. At the same time, our religious leaders, both of the right and the left, have gone off chasing after the whiff of close contact with the powerful and abandoned the full Gospel calls for justice and mercy.

How does this apply to the future of the Catholic Church?

It applies because of all the babbling voices of moral exhortation in our splintered and polarized society, the Catholic Church is the only one that speaks for the whole Gospel of Christ. Almost in spite of her clergy, the Catholic Church has refused to hew either to the right or the left, but has laid claim to the calls to human dignity that are inherent in the teachings of Christ for all people. This means that the same Catholic Church which speaks for the sanctity of human life also speaks for the dignity of the worker, the right of working people to earn a living wage and labor in an environment that treats them like people, not chattel.

Instead of following demonic influences that seek to deny the Beatitudes on the one hand or the Ten Commandments on the other, the Catholic Church recognizes that they are both the same and must be equally honored.

Right now, the Catholic Church in America is foundering like a horse that has gobbled down too much soft grass in the springtime. It has imbibed of the cultural riches and now many of its institutions, including its institutions of higher learning, flat-out refuse to honor Church teaching and be Catholic in a real-world way. When they are called to choose Christ or to choose Caesar, they choose Caesar.

Catholics as a whole have taken to heart the unspoken message of do-what-you-want that they frequently get from those in leadership positions in the Church who do what they want themselves. This feels like a kind of freedom to those who are doing well. But for those on the bottom side of the wheel, this moral dissolution leads to life destruction.

Working class people suffer from being disrespected by everyone from presidential candidates to the Church itself. While presidential candidates Obama and Romney both took a turn at dissing working people in private fund-raisers with rich folk, the Church disses them by ignoring them.

It is not enough to lobby for reversals in the legal shearing of working class lambs that has been taking place in government, although that is certainly salutary. It is also not enough to provide ministries of food, medical care, etc, to people who cannot afford them, although that is both necessary and wonderful.

The Church cannot simply “minister” to working class people in their physical needs and stop there. It must lead and convert the exploited and abused working class. I believe that is what Pope Francis has been saying when he tells bishops that they must get out among the people; that the church is not just another non-profit charity.

The future of the Catholic Church lies in the same place as its past. It lies in doing what Jesus directed Peter to do: Feed my lambs.

Too much of Catholic school education has become a rich kids’ privilege. It does not matter if the kids are Catholic or not. It does not matter if the teachers and officials in these schools follow Church teaching or not.

The Church needs to go back and provide Catholic education that is actually Catholic, and it needs to make sure that it is available to the people who need it most. People who are stuck holding down two or three McJobs simultaneously to support their families cannot nurture their children properly and often end up with failed marriages. Add the abominable inner city schools to this, and what you have is a recipe for one lost generation, going on to attempt to raise another generation which will be even more lost.

Meanwhile, the Church closes its parishes in the inner cities and builds both churches and schools in the rich suburbs “where the people are.” The fact is that the moving vans that trundle the vestments and hymnals from the slums to the wealthy neighborhoods are driving past tens of thousands of people who are in desperate need of the Church. They are being abandoned with the idiotic claim that they are not there.

Father Stanley Rother showed us the way, if we would but see it. We need priests who will go into the inner city and into working class neighborhoods with the same missionary fervor and loving heart that he took to Guatemala. We need a Church that ministers to working class people as if they were actual human beings. The bizarre otherness that has been imposed on them by those who are exploiting and using them has no place in a Church that follows Jesus the carpenter.

Father Rother, servant of God, is a true priest for our times. He embodies both the Church’s past and its future.

The Catholic Church is either a missionary Church, bent on conversion and mission, or it is a sacrament dispenser that has no part in the lives of its people.

I could go on and on about the plight of working people in America. I could, and I probably should, write a book about it one day.

The future of the Catholic Church in America could not possibly be brighter. This nation is imploding morally in both the social and the economic realms.  There is one answer to the anguish and misery this will create, and that answer is the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Church is the full repository of the faith. It does not trim the Gospels to suit secular power politics. As such, it is the one institution that has the prophetic and moral voice to speak for everyone.

As Jesus said, the fields are ripe for the harvest. What the Church needs is laborers who will bring in this harvest.

I don’t think it will find them in its various ivory towers and islands of privilege.

 

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