By Judie Brown
There are many legitimate, professional news reports these days that are exposing heroism among Catholic bishops versus the creeping crud of secularism within the Church.
The National Catholic Reporter, for example—often referred to as the “National Catholic Fishwrap” newspaper—has again been roundly criticized by a Catholic bishop. More recently Colorado Springs’ bishop, Michael Sheridan, told LifeSiteNews that the newspaper is “an embarrassment to the Catholic Church.” In January, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, where NCR’s offices are located, published a column reminding the paper and the faithful that NCR has been forbidden from using the name “Catholic” since 1968.
While the newspaper remains defiant, it is interesting to note that it shrouds itself in the mantle of the Catholic Press Association, claiming that just because it is a member of that organization, which it claims is approved by the Vatican, by extension it too should be acceptable!
That’s like saying that just because pro-abortion Vice President Joseph Biden calls himself Catholic, he should be acceptable to all of us because he is a Catholic. Oh really?
Which brings up the subject of the heroic Cardinal Raymond Burke, whose statements on the obedience of bishops to Church law are profound, especially when it comes to denying Holy Communion to the likes of Biden. According to the National Catholic Register, “Cardinal Burke said that the local bishop and parish priests must ensure that Holy Communion is properly received to avoid ‘the grave sin of sacrilege’ from those like Catholic politicians who receive Communion in spite of ‘grave moral evil.’ The bishops and clergy must also prevent the ‘scandal’ caused by this kind of reception because it ‘gives the impression that the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is not firm.’”
Speaking of the scandal that can be caused by wrong-headed example, we found it curious that within the same time period that Cardinal Timothy Dolan was publicly pointing out that the revised HHS mandate “fails to preserve the religious liberty of Catholic individuals and Catholic institutions,” the Catholic Hospital Association (CHA) was singing a different tune.
CHA’s official statement says in part:
The structures that HHS intends to use to provide contraceptive services to employees of nonprofit religious organizations have yet to be finalized, especially for those who are self-insured. We have been asked by HHS to evaluate three possible options for using a third party administrator (TPA) and make recommendations. CHA has asked our members to review these options in relation to their self-insurance structures and give us input. CHA will provide that to HHS during the comment period.
Throughout this sometimes challenging period, CHA has remained in constant dialogue with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, individual bishops who had concerns and suggestions, and the administration. We believe that our commitment to dialogue to an acceptable solution is matched by all parties and we are committed to completing resolution of this issue.
Something is amiss and, as usual, it is clear that CHA and the Obama White House are cozy. Meanwhile, the bishops call for something more, such as legislation from Congress that will protect the conscience rights of Catholics and other people of good faith.
In a letter to members of the House of Representatives, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, stated, “I fear that the federal government’s respect for believers and people of conscience no longer measures up to the treatment Americans have a right to expect from their elected representatives.”
Indeed, some Catholic bishops, including Portland, Oregon, archbishop Alexander Sample and Pittsburgh bishop David Zubik, have publicly stated their willingness to go to jail rather than adhere to the Obama mandate, while Denver archbishop Samuel Aquila has noted that there are many bishops who are weighing all their options because they simply cannot go along with the mandate.
But that does not seem to affect the Catholic Health Association and its president, Sister Carol Keehan; they are, not surprisingly, out of step with Catholic shepherds once again!
Having said that, we are grateful for the many Catholic prelates who have unabashedly shone the light of faith in this misery and suffering we are currently confronting in America as a result of this nation’s embrace of the culture of death. We applaud these shepherds and those who, like them, stand in the gap defending Christ.
Let us continue to pray and fast for our bishops.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.