|In the final analysis, Cardinal George makes it quite evident the religious freedom crusade is all about the bishops and their authority|
Cardinal George has written another of his--ahem-- pastoral letters. This time no one is compared to the Ku Klux Clan, but there is a reference to the Soviet Union definition of religious liberty and the long long cold war necessary to bring that godless system down. I guess this is the Barack as closet communist meme. After reading the thing twice, I came to conclusion Cardinal George has been taking his talking points from Glen Beck. Here's the Cardinal's take on the history of religious freedom:
So far in American history, our government has respected the freedom of individual conscience and of institutional integrity for all the many religious groups that shape our society. The government has not compelled them to perform or pay for what their faith tells them is immoral. That’s what we’ve meant by freedom of religion. That’s what we had believed was protected by the U.S. Constitution. Maybe we were foolish to believe so.
I think the Mormons and the Quakers and the Amish might differ with Cardinal George's view of history--and then there was that whole Native American religious persecution thing, but whatever.
Then Cardinal George gives us his take on the dismal future and he sounds perfectly apocalyptic. Remember all this is threatened over insurance companies paying for birth control:
What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.
I'm thinking smart Catholic institutions will opt for the separation from the oversight of the local bishop before the local bishop gets all high and mighty and histrionic and executes their jobs by executing #4.
Further along he makes the case that the public is making this a discussion of the 'reproductive' issues and not religious freedom, and that is isolating the bishops from Catholic faithful. This is news? Well, whatever, he then gets in some more apocalyptic language and moves on to compare the morality of cheating on tests with birth control, overlooking the fact completely that Catholic laity do not consider the use of birth control immoral. Which is of course, the heart of the personal conscience issue. He then ends this section with the theoretical arguments against the bishop's position which he boils down to inadequacy in personal faith.
In the public discussion thus far, efforts have been made to isolate the bishops from the Catholic faithful by focusing attention exclusively on “reproductive” issues. But the acrimony could as easily focus next year or the year after on assisted suicide or any other moral issue that can be used to distract attention from the attack on religious liberty. Many will recognize in these moves a tactic now familiar in our public life: those who cannot be co-opted are isolated and then destroyed. The arguments used are both practical and theoretical.
Practically, we’re told that the majority of Catholics use artificial contraception. There are properly medical reasons, in some circumstances, for the use of contraceptive pills, as everyone knows. But even if contraceptives were used by a majority of couples only and exclusively to suppress a possible pregnancy, behavior doesn’t determine morality. If it can be shown that a majority of Catholic students cheat on their exams, it is still wrong to cheat on exams. Trimming morality to how we behave guts the Gospel call to conversion of life and rejection of sin.
Theoretically, it is argued that there are Catholic voices that disagree with the teaching of the church and therefore with the bishops. There have always been those whose personal faith is not adequate to the faith of the church. Perhaps this is the time for everyone to re-read the Acts of the Apostles. Bishops are the successors of the apostles; they collectively receive the authority to teach and govern that Christ bestowed upon the apostles. Bishops don’t claim to speak for every baptized Catholic. Bishops speak, rather, for the Catholic and apostolic faith. Those who hold that faith gather with them; others go their own way. They are and should be free to do so, but they deceive themselves and others in calling their organizations Catholic.
There is much more to this letter and I hope readers link to it and make what they can of it. It does get very apocalyptic and threatening at the end. Check this out:
If you haven’t already purchased the Archdiocesan Directory for 2012, I would suggest you get one as a souvenir. On page L-3, there is a complete list of Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in Cook and Lake counties. Each entry represents much sacrifice on the part of medical personnel, administrators and religious sponsors. Each name signifies the love of Christ to people of all classes and races and religions. Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank.
At least Cardinal George has given his Catholic institutions two years or so to execute the 'separate themselves from his control' plan before he separates them from their jobs. This is incomprehensible to me. The man is threatening the livelihoods of God knows how many people over his right to use his authority to mandate how their individual consciences will play out in their lives. He's right about one thing, this is getting way beyond birth control.
No wonder the USCCB wants the Taco Bell manager to have the same rights because it masks what they themselves are now stating they will do to all their own employees on an individual diocesan basis. It will not be the Roman Catholic institution closing down all those hospitals and charitable organizations in Lake and Cook counties, it will be one man--Cardinal George.
This is getting into some very murky waters and I wish more of our Catholic opinion makers would make an effort to understand where the Cardinal George's of the Catholic world are willing to go with this trumped up crusade. This letter of Cardinal George's makes it pretty plain it's not even about religious freedom, it's about unbridled power and the exercise there of in the bishops own episcopal kingdoms. There are no checks and balances on that individual power, which George is making perfectly clear. They themselves can't lose because they can't be recalled or voted out or effectively silenced---unlike Barack Obama. The only losers in their little war with the government are, as usual, lay Catholics. This whole clerical system has got to go.
It appears to me that Cardinal George has forgotten at least one optionReplyDelete
5. To follow Scripture and almost 2000 years of Tradition and trust that 'the faithful' will listen to informed conscience to do what is right (definitions of "right" may vary).
We're talking about Cardinal George here Tim. If we were talking about Cardinal Sean O'Malley your number 5 might be in play.Delete
Either way, it is a valid option. Personality enters into whether that option would ever be considered.Delete
It does make me wonder....if the scarlet is to remind them that, (as Bennie said) "even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith, for peace and harmony among the people of God, for freedom and the spread of the Holy Roman Catholic Church."...do they really believe that these sorts of words are going to these things?
Or perhaps there is some confusion as to the nature of freedom, the people of God are Christian faith.
It just reminds me of how far the hierarchy has distanced itself from Jesus, whom they profess to follow.ReplyDelete
I think that's probably been the larger truth since Constantine. What's changed is the laity are now very well educated and possess much better information about how our hierarchy actually operates.Delete
I like how it all comes down to "because I said so, and I'm in charge here!" with his "read Acts of the Apostles" comment.ReplyDelete
I think that was the whole point of this letter. He was letting his Archdiocese know who has the power and how far he will go. He's essentially attempting to blackmail his various Catholic institutions into putting pressure on Obama just to keep their jobs.Delete
I find it interesting how the various bishops and cardinals keep reminding people that they themselves are the ones with the authority. Now, I can't imagine a much authoritarian culture than the military. And all the leadership training I took said that if you have to keep explicitly reminding others of your authority - you really don't have any to exercise.Delete
Veronica, right on. There is no one less authoritative that he or she who has to remind you they have authority. Another card in that particular deck is those who claim authority by constantly referencing another authority. This seems to be the favorite trick of conservatives when all their 'advice' is always referenced by stating the catechism or a pope. And then there is the group that has to run a go tell 'daddy' bishop that some poor priest has it all 'wrong'.Delete
What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down."ReplyDelete
So what has the Church been doing for the last dozen or so years in the 20 something states that have enacted similar legislation?
John that's what I keep wondering. Why all of a sudden is this a big issue, unless it really is all about 2012 being an election year.Delete
Well, I bet they won't close down because in two years all will have been forgotten. It is just fear politics, pure and simple. There won't be any crisis in reality. Only in our minds, if they can make us believe it. And it's the same with large parts of Roman doctrine...if we believe it, then it's true. Whether it is true or not. Don't be conned.ReplyDelete
I don't know, Illinois has already closed adoption services and DC has dropped health insurance benefits for dependents. Come to think of it Cardinal O'Malley did the same think in Boston with adoption agencies. These guys are quite capable of playing for real, which is why I think in some dioceses many of these agencies will drop "Catholic" from their name.Delete
Tim you are correct, there is a fifth option and the most likely, "To follow Scripture and almost 2000 years of Tradition and trust that 'the faithful' will listen to informed conscience to do what is right (definitions of "right" may vary"ReplyDelete
This has already happened in Catholic Health Care West and in the Catholic Illinois adoption services. It is in fact what Catholic Universities must do to remain Institutions interested in seeking truth. To remain under the control of Bishops turns them into cathecatical centers. So it will be hardest on Catholic Agencies that serve the poor, but just perhaps these groups will be able to find more funding once people understand that they are not under the influence of authoritarian Bishops that follow not the needs of the poor but their own needs.
Perhaps when the Catholic Church gets rid of all these institutions that it worked so hard for so many years to build up the Bishops will be reader for conversion back to doing things the way that Christ called for because they will not have these agencies to bully and barrow or steal from.
The problems we face are not so much in the secular societies that are growing and developing toward more of an international feeling or spiritual consciousness that deprivation of one group of society in favor of another is a hindrance to the growth of spatiality. The Bishops have not listened to the teachings of the saintly Albino Lucinani, "It is the inalienable right of no man to accumulate wealth and power beyond his simple needs while other remain in a state of deprivation and hunger." These Bishop in fact continue to believe that they are in a religious cast of men who are directly descended from the apostles and thus need no resume for their authority. They believe in their own authoritarianism. They no longer are living in The Way of Christ. The People of God no longer want nor need them. It is up to the People of God to live in The Way of Christ and find there way without this leadership in their homes, hospitals, universities and charitable institutions. Throw out the bums! We never need this type of leadership from the beginning.
May we gain more grace by listening to the Holy Spirt’s influence in our lives rather than obeying or pleasing any member of the Episcopacy.
Dennis sometimes I can't help but wonder what would have happened had JPI not met his untimely death. He was what I call a Christian pragmatist. He viewed things in terms of active relationships with each other, and that is so different from Ratzinger, who sees things in discreet units and almost totally static.Delete
Since I can not be as active on the ski slopes as I once was, I spent last week at Mammoth with my son and his friends mostly reading while these guys snow boarded. I wished that I could descend the great cornice again but by body simply would not allow it this year. I hope things will be different next year. But, I did a bit of reading about Albino Lucinani. He was a fascinating man but the Vatican after his death was able to destroy most of his life long papers. If you can get past the cover, there is a great new book written about this smiling pope by Lucien Gregorie, entitled "Murder in the Vatican." It like other books shows that the preponderance of evidence points to death caused by murder.
There are many facts about LUnciani, some of which I heard years ago but for some reason are no longer repeated. Although Luciani's atheist father was a great pragmatist, I am not certain that Alberto was. No matter what Church history or news reports say, most of the selections of popes are done by their predecessors who stack the college of cardinals. It was widely known in the upper Episcopate that Luciano was Paul's favorite. Even John XXIII may have been grooming him to become Pope. During the last week of Paul's life when no one expected him to live much longer, the first test tube baby was born in England. This birth was widely condemned by many cardinals. Some of whom were thought to favor Luciani in the next Papal election. Luciani wrote a private note to the family congratulating them and telling them that he was sure God would have a special place in heaven for this family. He also wrote a short editorial stating the same thing even though it infuriated Cardinals and Bishops all over the world. This action was not at all pragmatic for a man being groomed to be Pope. It did not follow his father instructions, "never save a pawn and loose your king." There were several Bishops and Cardinals questioning if this new born baby could even have a soul!
With in the week Luciani was barely elected to be the new pope according to rumor he got exactly the 2/3 plus one vote needed for election. One thing did happen that had never happened in all the time that cardinals have elected popes. There is always a second vote taken to make it unanimous and it always happened that way before, but Albino got 15 more votes and 22 refused to vote to make it unanimous. There apparently was plenty of expression of Episcopal hate for this man who would be (all most certainly) murdered in the bed of St. Peter 33 days later.
Dennis, the tip off for me that it was probably murder was one witness stated they smelled almonds in his room the night before and thought it was from his tea. The smell of almonds is the tell tale sign of hydrogen cyanide. I know as I smelled a lot of almonds when I worked in gold mining.ReplyDelete
By pragmatic I meant in terms of relationships. His attitude seemed to be 'why question what seems to work', so he was also positive about gay adoption and took that same approach with the 'test tube' baby. By this I mean, if gays in loving long term relationships make good adoptive parents, why stop that, or if loving heterosexual couples want to bring life into the world, why quibble about how that life is created.
In terms of being Vatican pragmatic he certainly didn't follow his dad's advice. Mammoth is a very nice place just to sit and read. :)
Cardinal Dolan is at it again... on a "freedom of religion" warpath. This is really out there in la la opus dei land. Here's the latest.ReplyDelete
Cardinal George said: "So far in American history, our government has respected the freedom of individual conscience and of institutional integrity for all the many religious groups that shape our society. The government has not compelled them to perform or pay for what their faith tells them is immoral. That’s what we’ve meant by freedom of religion. That’s what we had believed was protected by the U.S. Constitution. Maybe we were foolish to believe so."ReplyDelete
Obviously Cardinal George only understands the history of the US from his pompous outlook and certainly not from someone such as Ben Salmon in WWI. He probably never even heard of Ben Salmon, and what a tragedy for that elitist Cardinal, for he has no sense without the truth of a much bigger history than the red hatted George knows about.
I am so annoyed by this "freedom of religion" crusade, which is clearly not about freedom of religion for anyone but the Cards and the Bitchops and all the other women haters, homophobics, kkkers.
The gov't compels me through its taxing power in the Constitution to purchase many things that I wouldn't buy myself. The Pentagon purchases thousands of dollars worth of condoms and "men's" entertainment magazines every year. During my enlistement in the Marines , condoms were handed out to every time we went out on liberty in Korea 20 years ago. Catholic citizens among others pay for all of this through taxes.Delete
I feel the need to rant about this because I see where Cardinal George and Dolan are going with this. As you note Colleen, he is willing to shut down Catholic hospitals and/or institutions if he doesn't get his way. That would not just mean a loss of jobs to many, it also means no care for baby-boomers.ReplyDelete
Cardinal George blames the government for something that he is ultimately responsible for. The government doesn't provide health care. Funds are funneled towards health care, but to my knowledge the government does not perform any health care.
Cardinal George makes no sense. If someone needs medical care, in a society that is civil and creates the circumstances for life to thrive for its people, which should include an economy that functions for its people rather than the people functioning for the economy, there should be places opened for people of all faiths or of no faith to go and get their care needs met.
The theft that Cardinal George mentions in his "pastoral letter" (it is anything but that imo) is that while he says he is for freedom of religion, he is not for the US Constitution and would rather use an interpretation of the US Constitution to destroy the US Constitution for a majority of us. He would include his exceptions to the rules of the US Constitution.
I'm alarmed by his view of people and his view of the US Constitution and his role as a Cardinal in the RCC, of which he seems to think that his thinking is all anyone need think like.
The war Cardinal George and Cardinal Dolan along with their extreme right wing fundamentalist religious fanatics want is a war for tax money for their own crusade's coffers. They would design programs to make them all rich while the majority of people suffer with no jobs, no health care, no real Church that truly mirrored Christ's teachings.
When Cardinal George speaks about "freedom of religion" he is saying he wants freedom to receive tax dollars and to do as he pleases with that money, no questions asked type of freedom. I've come to the same conclusions as you Colleen.
Cardinal George is so pitifully deranged in his vision for pastoring Catholics. It is as deranged as any RCC who put nazi flags in Churches in Germany and deranged as the pastors who led people to war and not to Jesus.
My voice does not count for Cardinal George or Cardinal Dolan in this fascist right wing crusade. I'm just a receptacle who must pay, pray and obey the men wearing red hats and leave my conscience at the mercy of misogynists (the Rush Limbaugh types), leave my conscience up to the guidance of a narcissistic pedophile enabler on a crusade to a theocratic catholic taliban government & church in the USA. BTW, Cardinal George, I don't want my tax money or church money going to support wars. You apparently did not learn about Jesus Christ in all your years of service to the institution. CG, you are not to serve mammon, but you are and that means I don't have to listen to you.
I think it would be a good time for people to look back and see just what Hitler and Mussolini got for signing their concordats with the Pope. Mussolini got the loyalty of the Church that allowed him to assume the role as dictator. He gave the Vatican permanent city state status and a huge payment of money.ReplyDelete
What did Hitler get. He got the votes of the centralists catholics in the German Parliament giving him the enough votes to declare him as supreme leader, dictator, and he signed a law giving a yearly governmental stipend to the churches depending on the numbers enrolled. This is why so many Germans are officially quitting the RCC so the government will give the Church less a share.
Now what do you really think Dolan and George want from the US Government. What was the term Bush used, "faith based dollars." That's really what these guys want and they are hoping the US will become just Fascist enough to give it to them. This idea that they are loosing religious freedom is one of the worst ploys I have seen them use.
I've wondered about this myself. Catholic Charities already gets over 60% of it's funding from tax dollars. I bet if all the fed and other tax revenue going to the Church was added up it might even surpass Mass donations. It could be this is one sign the exodus out the doors is hurting badly in the pocketbook, and Uncle Sam looks like the next best source to make up that lost revenue.Delete
This is no different really, than corporations redistributing our money into their coffers through tax breaks, tax incentives, and off shore banking.
I think you hit the nail on the head Dennis. This scenario has been played out before and the same imagery of the Centre Party and the signing of the Condordat and deal with Mussolini came to my mind while commenting earlier. Why wouldn't the same spirited and same minded resort to the same stuff that led to world wars and all for their own narrow interest?ReplyDelete
It is getting eerily similar. I don't see the Republican party meekly going the way of the Catholic Center Party in Germany. The CCP was disbanded as part of the Reich Concordat and from then on Hitler had no real opposition. Not surprising that by the time the Concordat was signed the CCP was led by a very obedient priest. He then got to spend the war inside the Vatican while his compatriots fought and died in the war he helped create.Delete
Here is the real CULTURE OF DEATH - and it ain't birth control pills.ReplyDelete
So if the bishops sell their hospitals to venture capitalists, they will reap a tidy sum. Legal fees are going to keep increasing; abuse claims aren't going away.ReplyDelete
I suppose a lot of that would depend on how various Catholic hospitals, charities and schools were incorporated. That all varies diocese to diocese, but I imagine some dioceses are sitting on a ton of property that is directly in control of the bishop. Using religious freedom bs as an excuse to close these enterprises frees up a lot of property assets while making it look like a given bishop is taking some sort of moral stance against the government.Delete
Have you read Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein?Delete
Manufacturing a crisis, when there isn't a crisis, and then taking advantage of the ensuing chaos to make major changes to your own advantage...that's what the neocons do. Come to think of it, that is what a 2 year old's temper tantrum us designed to do. :)