Obamacare’s Gift to the Catholics – FINAL

Photo by Bob Mullen/The Catholic Photographer/NY Daily News

In my First Things column, today, I find the silver lining behind the cloud of this administration’s assault on the constitutional right to Freedom of Religion.

To be sure, this situation is cause for concern, but there are some bright spots in all of this. Although the mainstream press has reported very little about this event—a close examination might prove uncomfortable for their own worldviews—the unified public expression of righteous defiance by the U.S. bishops is a powerful development.

Just as importantly, the laity—divided for decades on issues ranging from felt-banners to dress to dogma—has found a line in the sand upon which they can come together; “conservative” Catholics are reassured to see their more “progressive” brethren defending the church’s right to be who and what she is; more “progressive” Catholics may be coming to realize that—as relentlessly single-minded as some of their opponents could be—had they not held the line all these years, much could be crumbling at this moment.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the president have brought us often-divided Catholics some clarity: it has helped us to discover the line in the sand upon which we can stand together and declare, “Dude…we are church!”

Things are just going to get more interesting. You can read my whole piece, here

Thomas Peters is keeping track of the Bishops speaking out

Ed Morrissey Bishops pledge to defy administration

Bookworm: As a secular Jewish lawyer, she’s incensed for sake of the church and the constitution

Bookie’s taking a look at Barbara Boxer’s Orwellian Defense of the Administration
and tearing it apart!

Sen. Marco Rubio is looking to overturn the HHS ruling

Deacon Greg: A second Catholic entity chooses to end its church affiliation and side with the government You bet your a** this is war!

Get Religion: The Media Yawns and Spins

FINAL UPDATE: (it’s getting too big!) Over at dotCommonweal, they’ve got video and transcripts of Jay Carney being grilled on this issue. Worth watching.


Pete at DaTechGuy calls for a Holy Hour! I can get into that!

Nice Deb: has a tremendous post full of links that you may not have seen elsewhere!

Michael Gerson: Obama’s Radical Power Grab

USCCB: Urging Action!

Marc Barnes: To President Obama, concerning recent tyrannies, with pictures

Joan Frawley Desmond: The Mandate and the Media

Frank Weathers: Sign this Petition to the White House!

Elizabeth Duffy: How to Understand the Culture of Life

Passionate Papist: Dissent in the church enabled this

Pundit and Pundette: Still opposed to the felt banners but glad to be standing on the line with Catholics of all stripes

Obama’s Terms of Surrender: We reject them!

National Review’s Ed Whelan:Anti-religious zealots

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh: HHS is ABC: Anyone but Catholics

Pope Benedict XVI: Catholic Presence Online is Essential

The Crescat: Just do it!

Bainbridge: A Remarkably Narrow Definition of Religion

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • kevin

    I felt the same way. The rare unity displayed reminded me of that scene in Gladiator where Maximus leads his hopelessly outnumbered fellow slaves to victory in the Coliseum, assuring them that “whatever comes out of these gates, we have a better chance of survival if we work together.”

  • Dougman

    Off Topic: I had a noose around my neck with one foot holding my weight. Just one word flashed through my mind before I would have died, “Daddy.”
    I took the rope off and called a crisis house. Long story short, I curse Moses, The God of Moses & Jesus, not out of evil intentions but of love for the Truth.
    Now He should bless me, for that is the command of Jesus, is it not?

    PS: I was raised in the Lutheran church and felt damned until I learned to think for myself and communicated with a Truth loving atheist who was also suffering for the Truth. That is the essence of Christ, to me. Suffering for the Truth.

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  • Lindsay

    I have family members, generational Catholics and much involved with the Church, who voted for Obama in 2008…even after I mentioned his past history with partial-birth abortions as an Illinois congressman. My understanding is that their parish priests and others within the church thought Obama the most humane in 2008, with his Obamacare and protection of illegal immigrants. I was struck that they relied on an apparent liberal priest’s view instead of exploring the issue. I was completely baffled at their firm “no death penalty,” stance, even for heinous crimes; yet this part of the candidate’s past was acceptable. I agree that there may be a sliver lining along with other issues (OWS crazies throwing condoms on Catholic girls in Rhode Island).
    Full disclosure: I am a Presbyterian who votes GOP.

  • Logan

    Great comment Kevin. The Left is always seeking to divide.

    Hello, Todd? Any comment?
    Is this just another laughable overreaction by the unsophisticated people on the Right? I await your reaction.

    My first thought after I read this entirely expected outrage was of all the Catholics used as dupes by this President and the totalitarian Left.

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  • wws

    What I fear is that for many left wing Catholics, the Church of Progressivism is their One True Faith and the Catholic Church is merely the vehicle they use to try and enact their true beliefs. They will knuckle under and swallow anything that Progressive Pope Obama feeds them. (Example – the ex-Catholic social services of Illinois)

  • http://oxyparadoxy.blogspot.com The Ranter

    I wrote up a piece using quotes from Pope Benedict XVI’s homily from the closing Mass at Benin: http://oxyparadoxy.blogspot.com/2012/01/we-are-unfaithful-whores.html

    We have brought this on ourselves, and it’s time to start being faithful. As George Weigel says: “The answer to a crisis of fidelity is fidelity: a deeper conversion to Christ, a more thoroughly Catholic reform of Catholicism.” (The Courage to be Catholic)

  • sally r

    Dear Elizabeth –

    Great article – I tried to comment on the First Things web page, but they are having problems with their web site comments.

    Might I please suggest that you and all other Catholic bloggers get behind the USCCB legislative effort to adopt a statute that will in one stroke take care of this problem.

    The Bishop’s page is here: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/index.cfm

    There are links to facilitate contact with Congress on this issue. They want the faithful to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467)

    To highlight this effort, I think all Catholic bloggers should have a separate blog entry and keep it at the top of their pages. We can very easily act to protect our religious institutions, and we shouldn’t sit back and wait for courts to “hopefully” do it for us. If we can’t do this little thing, then shame on us!

    [Thanks for the link, Sally and also for letting me know they're having problems w/ Comments at FT. I was wondering ... -admin]

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  • doc

    I wonder if this HHS edict will do for American Catholics what the Stimulus and Obamacare did for conservatives in the creation of the Tea Party movement. Perhaps the Democrats got a little impatient with turning the heat up slowly. It would be nice if the catholic frog wakes up and hops out of the pot before it’s too late.

  • Caleb

    “Progressive” “Catholics” follow Pelosi and Kerry more than any bishop. They will support Obama over the Church and this will merely give us another rubric by which to identify them. *Sigh*

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Actually, this progressive Catholic chooses to follow Christ, not any politician. Funny to be invited to speak on a thread here, but I’ll bite.

    I also think the HHS ruling is silly, and I doubt it will end up with much if any bite in the end. Twelve months is still a long time for the courts to weigh in, and like the Republicans with so-called partial birth abortions, it’s easy enough to pass a law or issue a proclamation one knows will get deep-sixed in the end.

    I can’t get on board with the more excitable bishops and bloggers. I want no part of your war, thank you. What you describe as a war has been a tension between the church and the world for decades, if not for two millennia. A few of my conservative friends laughed when I pondered tax protest in the 80′s on the Reagan build-up and his Central America adventurism. I’ve already gone through my cynicism-with-government stage, thank you.

    Rather than continue a fruitless war mentality, I’d rather see an authentic Catholic alternative, like the USCCB setting up its own health insurance system. That strikes me as entirely too constructive. Too many people get their buzz from being anti-authoritarian. I enjoyed that drug in college. Too old for that crap now. I work local and don’t get involved with people who don’t want sensible input. Except for the blogosphere, of course. I’ll keep lurking here as long as people need a daily stinkbomb to keep them honest.

    [Setting up their own insurance system would not protect them from this mandate, Todd. All employers are going to be required to pay for free sterilization, contraception etc. -admin]

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    OR, it’s just a term of affection. Is the substance of what I write really so bothersome? It’s nothing that’s contrary to Catholic teaching; just ideological fussing. I’m happy to move beyond that. Still haven’t heard from you by email, though–that would be a good start, no?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Who knows, Occum, who knows?

    I’m beginning to think Todd isn’t getting enough attention from his family, and friends.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “Todd, why do you insist on a private conversation via email?”

    Because you asked personal questions of me that directed us off the thread topic.

    I don’t completely trust the motives of many conservative Catholics I encounter online. Some seem to be more content to set traps. I find that disrespectful. I don’t practice that in my discussions with you all.

    I’m willing to engage and respond to direct questions, but I’m less excited about doing so in what I perceive to be an unequal atmosphere.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Two things:

    - Regarding the admin’s point, it’s why I think health insurance should be divorced from employment.

    - And regarding Rhinestone’s, I appreciate his/her validating my point, though perhaps the direct insult takes it too far. Many online Catholics are unworthy of trust–regardless of ideology. They don’t want to discuss. They seem less interesting in enlightenment. They want to win. Very juvenile. Try pinball instead. Maybe su-doku.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    Believe “IT” or NOT, me, myself and i had written a comment which “I” believe would have certainly lifted UP some “Spirits” but long story short, let’s just say that the so called alien gods of sinner vic some how took “IT” away and NOW “I AM” simply left with this below.


    I hear ya folks! I guess that “The Holy Spirit” just didn’t want you sticking your neg out again!

    You think? :)


  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    OR, regarding, “I did? Which questions of mine did you consider to be too personal, Todd?”

    You can go back to the thread in question, or you can just email me, and I will be happy to respond. I don’t agree with internet anonymity or pseudonymity, but I appreciate others believe they have good reasons for it. You secret, as it were, is safe with me, as I’ve mentioned before.

    “Are you open to the possibility that some of your opinions may be clouded by flawed political or personal ideologies? Or do you consider your positions to be infallible?”

    Yes, and no, respectively. But I wouldn’t bother to argue contrary positions so doggedly if I didn’t believe in them.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “(C)ould I perhaps ask you a “litmus test” question(?)”

    You can ask, but since you declined to answer my last question of you (regarding your anonymity), I will decline to answer you at this time. I owe you no justification for my Catholic faith.

    If a person online, real name, pseudonymous, or anonymous states that she or he is a Catholic, that is good enough for me. Even if such a person is at odds with Catholic teaching or even with me. Even if that person is a card-carrying Republican. I expect the same respect from you, or I expect an end to the tests.

  • Ridiculous

    Todd… just an observation… you should be able to find the truth..without having so much concern over the motives and short comings of the people you are conversing with. Even if the conservative republicans are worse people in the world, who just seek power to oppress poor people…that doesn’t change the fact that partial birth abortion involves jamming a pair of scissors in the back of someones head.

  • Ridiculous

    Todd…also…if the church set up their own constructive health care plan….then Obama would require them to cover sterilization, abortificients etc.

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  • kevin

    My hero Michelle Malkin out with a great column on this today. Love the graphic of Obama as Uncle Sam, “I want you to pay for abortions!”

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    (W)hat does the personal identity of the commenter even matter?

    I find it colors the tone of a person’s comments. I hear that you think it helps you, as a commenter, avoid the sin of pride. I see more the opposite. I find your attitude to me to be somewhat aggressive and rather prying. Anonymous commenters and bloggers are among the most aggressive on the internet.

    You suggest I’m unwilling to handle challenges in public, but indeed, the exact opposite is true. I’m happy enough to discuss or even debate matters of particulars and principles. But you’ve asked me personal questions on a few threads now. Why is that?

    Granted, other people have done so as well. When such a person is non-anonymous, I take the side matter to them personally, choosing not to hijack a thread, as you and I have done here. Indeed, the last time I responded to such a question from another individual, I asked what I thought was an appropriate question in turn. The person said she would “think about it and get back to you.” Weeks later, I’m still waiting. I got the impression the person was attempting to veer off topic in an attempt to discredit my views as a faithful, liberal Catholic.

    “So what is your point to all of this in the first place?”

    Simple. To be polite to our host, and if you and I have a personal conflict or uncertainty here, to resolve it in private. It’s only gospel.

    However, if you really want to have a public conversation, feel free to come to my blog and hijack one of my posts. I no longer wish to be impolite to the Anchoress on this thread.

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