Archbishop Chaput’s talk at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life this year is a must-read for anyone concerned with abortion, or with religious freedom. In it, he speaks rather movingly about children with Down Syndrome, and about the increased risk they face of being aborted (a theme I hit on here). But one of the most jarring things he said was about religious freedom in America:
Catholics need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith. What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV. And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral. […]
My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.
(h/t Giovanni’s Notizblog).
Two days prior to Chaput’s speech, the intolerance of evil was on full display, when the Department of Health and Human Services mandated that religious charities and hospitals must provide coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion, starting next year:
Birth Control Review (1919)
On Jan. 20 the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule requiring “preventive care” insurance coverage for sterilizations and contraception, including the abortifacient drug Ella. While the mandate has a religious exemption, the exemption will not cover many Catholic health care systems, colleges, and charities.Over one hundred Catholic bishops have published statements objecting to the mandate and asking Catholics to voice their opposition.
As you know, the buying of health insurance by every citizen of the USA is now compulsory by federal law. The same law gives to the Cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority over all health insurance. The present Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, a bitter fallen-away Catholic, now requires that all insurance, even when privately issued, must carry coverage for evil and grave sin. This means that all our Catholic schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and the like will be forced to participate in evil. The Catholic Church has pleaded with President Obama to rescind this edict, but all pleas have been met with scorn and have fallen on deaf ears.
And Roger Cardinal Mahony, who was perhaps the first to respond, said, “I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today.”
Wojciech Stattler, Maccabees (1842)Secretary Sebelius, in an act of mockery, said that those who might qualify for a conscientious exemption (almost no one), have one year to comply, but during that year, they must “refer” people to the insurance that covers wicked deads. We cannot and will not comply with this unjust decree. Like the martyrs of old, we must be prepared to accept suffering which could include heavy fines and imprisonment. Our American religious liberty is in grave jeopardy.
All Catholics are asked to pray and do penance that this matter may be resolved. All should contact their elected representatives to protest this outrage and to insist on the passage of the “Respect for Conscience” act which is now before Congress.
*I say this not as a smug “Toldya so,” although I did (and more importantly, the bishops did), but as someone who made the mistake of voting for Sebelius as governor of Kansas back in 2004, deluding myself into thinking that her views on abortion would be irrelevant as governor of a red state. Mea culpa!