There is that great quote from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:
There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church. Which is, of course, quite a different thing.
My First Things column today responds to some of what I’ve seen in my email and my comboxes over the past week or so, as regards the HHS Mandate (and perhaps the Komen story. The two have brought out a lot of the same folk, so I may be mixing up some of the hate.)
The culture, cognizant of almost nothing about the whys and wherefores of Catholic teaching, is being encouraged to believe that religion is not simply unenlightened and unnecessary, but a socially negative force best driven from the public square. Its historic mission of outreach—its healthcare, educational, and charitable service to surrounding communities in need—is being redefined as not a mission at all, but an intrusion. Her effective and cost-efficient programs, to which the federal government contributed because doing so saved taxpayer monies, are now being cited as justification for wholesale government interference with the church, with who and what she is, and how she serves.
Time is running out; it is up to the Bishops and an informed laity to defend the church from ideological aggression and they must do it by engaging the other side and gently, but firmly, challenging them to learn the church’s teachings before demonizing them.
I hope you’ll read the rest, here, and add your thoughts.
I’m already being accused of being “too optimistic” in the piece, or even naive — that ideologues are ideologues because their minds are closed to anything but the agenda. That’s true. But I am talking about engaging ordinary folks who are wandering around thinking they have the whole picture as regards both this mandate and the church. It will, of course, not stop what is steamrolling toward us. I fully expect civil disobedience to be in our future, and perhaps more — a great deal more. But that will, in the longrun (because God loves the longrun) only make us stronger.
This poll: is disheartening. It’s going to be used against us and assist media in framing this issue as “only about contraception” and it demonstrates how few people are really paying attention, how few really understand the constitutional involvement.
Please go sign Frank’s petition before he has a stroke!
Rounding up some more news about the administration’s move against the churches:
Andrew Klavan: Like your freedom? Thank a church!
USA Today: This mandate violates religious freedom
The Hill: “Obama may have just lost the election” Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure; he clearly thinks there is enough bad-will out there toward the church that this is a winner; with media help in distorting the issue as being about “contraception” instead of conscience, he may think he’s just won the election.
Jeane Kirkpatrick: Dictatorships and Double standards (from 1979)
John C. Wright: The Pile of Shoes in the Modern Age</a>
Charlotte Allen: An affront Catholics agree on
Bookworm: Obama gives churches a Hobson’s choice
Jonah Goldberg: Resist and You Will Pay!
Sam Schulman: Honor Killing, American Style (from 2009)
Jonathan Last: Administrations Breach of Faith
Newsbusters: Pinkerton Cites Media Double Standard re Komen and HHS and more (Newsbusters if keeping a close eye on this story and the press)
EWTN News: Being Catholic means paying a price
Catholic Key: “This is not about eating a little pork”