The current row over Obama’s “mandate” concerning contraception began a long time ago. The tyranny openly practiced by Obama was not begun by him: The deadly confusion of charity with wealth redistribution by government became obvious under Franklin Roosevelt, with the full support and cooperation of the leadership of the Church.
An article in the February 9, 2012 on-line issue of the National Catholic Register by Dan Burke promulgates an optimistic and encouraging, if perhaps false view of the confrontation. It is entitled, “Why the Pope’s Army Will Not Kneel to the HHS Mandate.” The “kneeling” began decades ago and has continued, even up to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ encouragement of the passage of “Obamacare.” Mr. Burke begins the fourth paragraph with, “People of God have always refused to kneel and abandon truth.” No, they have not. Over half of U.S. Catholics who voted in 2008 voted, knowingly, for the advancement, the promotion, the government funding of abortion-on-demand. The moral confusion is deep, profound, and largely accepted as truth. It is, after all, a big lie, and has been told for a long time.
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin knelt deeply in his assertion “that the social teaching of the Church was a ‘seamless garment,’” regarding abortion as merely one concern among many. (This, recalled by Paul A. Rahe, at ricochet.com.) He further proclaimed, at Fordham University in 1983, that “We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility.”
Translating, this speech says that the government’s theft via the taxation/redistribution scheme is of equal importance, equal moral validity, as any attempt to prevent the murder of our own children by our own collectively-responsible hand.
In The Lenten message from Ben 16 of this year, he alludes (inadvertently, probably) to the situation thus: “Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters.” He continues, “Even today God asks us to be ‘guardians’ of our brothers and sisters, to establish relationships based on mutual consideration and attentiveness to the well-being of others.” Think about the implication of those words; that dramatic charge: If another is held captive by a lie or lies, we must, in fraternal love, offer correction by proclaiming truth, in word and deed, even if deliberately, one-on-one. In other words, we must try to bring those who believe lies back to the truth. This, of course, includes bishops and priests, where the circumstance applies. As if to emphasize this point, the Pope continues, “Being concerned for each other also entails being concerned for their spiritual well-being. Here I would like to mention as aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation.”
The emphasis on the physical and temporal, mentioned on this site before, is partly, perhaps largely responsible for the current assault on religious liberty in the U.S. This concern has, over the decades, seduced then Church into a confusion between genuine charity and government transfer payments operated according to the taxation/redistribution scheme. This is stealing; and stealing is stealing, regardless of one’s perceived “good intentions.” Moral theology declares that it is wrong to do evil that good might result therefrom.
In due course there has come to be an idea of “universal human rights.” The list seemingly endless, ultimately, it has begun with, among other things, a universal human right to health care. In reality there is no such “right,” neither universal nor even individual, nor could there possibly be. Such a concept, in its next, always unspoken, unacknowledged next step, purports to “entitle” one to the labor, and therefore a portion of the very life of another. Bishops have a lot of education — they should know better. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin evidently did not.
Now, the logical conclusions are at hand. Now, the would-be monarch has given the Church what the bishops so passionately asked for in 2009, health care for all. They were not careful what they wished for.
Pat Archbold, writing in the National Catholic Register on 3 February 2012, says, “For generations, many bishops of the U.S. have been partners, cheerleaders, and enablers of the soft tyranny of big government now turned hard. The bishops need to awaken from their slumber and realize that they have been part of the problem.”
Indeed, the moral confusion which has brought about theft in the service of a so-called “charity” requires correction. It is not government’s role to be benevolent. It is government’s role, in this context, to protect our individual rights, including our property rights, that we may be benevolent toward each other.