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  • Catholics Must Face Squarely the Dire Threat to Religious Liberty

    by Rev. George W. Rutler

    St-Andrews-Cathedral-Ruins

    Of the 427 weddings  in my  present parish during the past eleven years  (I have lost count of all the others), the band—for want of a better word—at the most recent reception was the loudest I can remember.  Conversation was impossible, so  some of a certain age complained loudly but not loudly enough and others of a lesser age laughed at their complaints. I have come to realize that for many of them, conversation as an art is an unknown thing.

    This reminded me of the line about the morally tranquilizing effects of  “intolerable music” in  Solzhenitsyn’s  1978 Harvard Class Day address.  On another Class Day four years later, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta mentioned Jesus thirteen times, but the edited account of her speech in the “Harvard Magazine” gave no indication that she had mentioned Him at all.  The 1978 speech upset far more commentators than the offended scholarettes  in Cambridge who stomped their feet at Mother Teresa’s mention of virginity and the protection of unborn babies.  Rosalyn Carter responded  at the National Press Club in a speech reported to have been written by herself: “Alexander Solzhenitsyn says he can feel the pressure of evil across the land. Well, I do not sense that pressure of evil at all.”  She  added that Solzhenitsyn would not have accused America of shallow materialism if he had known about our many voluntary organizations that bring neighbors together. Evidently, news of those wonderful groups such as the United Way  had never reached the Gulag to cheer the inmates.  But what really made the lovers of intolerable music hiss Solzhenitsyn in 1978 was his warning:  “On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life.”

    As he spoke,  Pravda, the newspaper named for truth, was still a megaphone for the lies of Moscow.  It censored his speech. Things have changed.  These days, the Pravda of the Russian Federation is quoting Solzhenitsyn. In an article (July 1, 2012), Xavier Lerma cited his 1978 address and went on to say that Obama is president because of America’s “immorality and materialism.”  Then the Pravda writer quoted George Washington: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  The litany went on:  “Abortions financed through tax dollars now total 50 million babies killed. Their blood cries out to Heaven while Hollywood justifies abortion and some women call it a choice… The other half of America stands against this evil tide with constant prayer while their public protests are not completely shown by the American media.”  The writer invoked the contempt Lenin had for the beclouded liberals of the West sympathetic to him, whom he called “useful idiots,” and compared them to the present generation of obtuse Americans: “…these ‘useful idiots’ will still blame Bush for the economy, overlook Obama as they overlooked Clinton’s mistakes… The communists won while Americans smoked pot.”  

    In 2008, L’Osservatore Romano hailed Obama’s election as “a choice that unites.” Westerners got Obama wrong, as they also got others wrong.  At Mussolini’s rise to power, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Vincenzo Cardinal Vanutelli, said that the Duce  “had been chosen to save the nation and restore her fortune.” Churchill early on had called Mussolini,  a “Roman genius, the greatest lawgiver among men,” and Roosevelt referred to him,  perhaps with a timbre of Hyde Park condescension, as “that admirable Italian gentleman.”  But when Pope Pius XI  learned the facts, he flung burning indignation at the Fascists.

    That is the lesson: It is possible for those accustomed to the insulation of rank, to come to their senses.  It is even possible to find a Becket or two among them. But in the French Revolution it  was easier for the Abbé Gregoire to set up a Constitutional Church docile to the new social order, while the faithful clergy went to the scaffold or became galley slaves in Guyana.  To avoid turning into some sort of neutered National Patriotic Church,  Catholics must witness to the government that human rights are of natural law and are not doled out by the state to citizens who obsequiously request them.  Passive resistance to the suppression of religious liberty is obedience to the law of natural order.  This will test the mettle of the faithful.  As the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigna, said in an address at the University of Notre Dame:  “…martyrdom may not necessitate torture and death; however, the objective of those who desire to harm the faith may choose the path of ridiculing the believers so that they become outcasts from mainstream society and are marginalized from meaningful participation in public life.”

    If the Church is to be prophetic in our toxic culture, truth must trump dilettantish ideology.  That means freeing the Church from the deadweight of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy myopic to threats on the horizon.  Benedict XVI has said: “The bureaucracy is spent and tired. It is sad that there are what you might call professional Catholics who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops.”

    Consider how the archbishop who chaired the draft committee for the 1986 pastoral letter of what was then the National Conference of Catholic Bishops,  “Economic Justice for All,” considered Reagan morally derelict. The letter’s flaws were addressed by laymen who knew about economics, such as William Simon, J. Peter Grace, and Michael Novak.  The document was mercifully put to sleep by John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus.  In 1983 the NCCB had also opposed Reagan’s foreign policy in another pastoral letter, “The Challenge of Peace” whose prescriptions would have helped to fortify the Berlin Wall. A prominent Irish bishop was sympathetic to it and refused to shake Reagan’s hand during the president’s state visit to Ireland.  Subsequently, that bishop was obliged to leave his country for  South America, the archbishop responsible for the letter on economics retired in unhappy circumstances from his archdiocese which eventually filed for bankruptcy protection, and the silver anniversaries of those tarnished pastoral letters have passed in silence.

    When free people vote against their own freedoms, they pull down the columns of a free society on themselves, the way Samson brought down the temple on his own head. The first column to collapse would be the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Naifs who thought this could not happen will be startled when the Church has to close charities, hospitals, schools, and even parish churches if they are subject to tax intimidation. In the long run, this would be far more disastrous to our civilization than looming fiscal chaos, and international belligerence provoked by foreign perception of our domestic lassitude.

    Since so many voters rejected sound warnings, at least a beacon of honesty now shines on the Catholic Church in the United States. The 70 million or so Catholics were a Potemkin Village, and the number of faithfully practicing Catholics are a small portion of that number.  On November 6, the Protestant vote went for Romney over Obama 57%/42%, while the Catholic vote went for Obama over Romney 50%/48%,  Those who hoped that immigrants would bolster the Church must consider the 71% of Latinos who voted for Obama, an increase of 4% since 2008. Actually, everyone has suffered from the neglect of catechesis in the past forty years. Catholic universities and Religious orders were allowed to become engines of dissent. In one of our nation’s most respected seminaries, after a debate before the last election on the role of conscience in voting, only 19 out of 52 of our future priests supported Romney. Long before he became pope, Benedict prophesied, “The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.”  As Leviathan’s lions begin to roar, the nominal Catholics will skip out of the arena. Roman Catholicism has become for baptized pagans a neuralgic kind of Cute Catholicism, with  leprechauns, mariachi bands and Santa Claus instead of confession, prayer and fidelity to doctrine.  But behind each leprechaun St. Patrick stares, and behind every mariachi band Our Lady of Guadalupe weeps, and behind every Santa Claus Christ himself judges.

    Catholics could have saved the best in America and they can only blame themselves and their promotion of an entitlement culture  for the collapse of the temple and its moral distress:  redefinition of marriage,  family breakdown, politically correct speech,  contempt for chastity,  a record low birth rate, and destruction of infants.  As William Butler Yeats wrote in “The Second Coming,” quite likely in reaction to the Russian Revolution of 1917:

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    We are not a Christian nation now. In 1783, Washington spoke of “our blessed Religion” and on D-Day Roosevelt prayed for “our nation, our religion, and our civilization.”  This would not be allowed in our secularized culture. Shepherds of the faithful cannot charm into reason the forces that now preside over our nation. We can dance to Caesar’s intolerable music but he will call the tune. We can feast with Caesar but he will soon feast on us. We can laugh with Caesar but he will soon laugh at us. Risus abundat in ore stultorum. There is abundant laughter in the mouth of the foolish.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • Bedarz Iliaci

      “Catholics must witness to the government that human rights are of
      natural law and are not doled out by the state to citizens who
      obsequiously request them”

      Citizens, by definition, can not be alienated from the State (which is nothing but the State of Laws). It is the subjects that are obsequious towards the State. A minority that does not share in the dominant ethos of the Nation is not composed of citizens but subjects. Thus, faithful Catholics in America are not citizens but subjects.

      One must distinguish between the natural rights and political rights. The natural rights of life, liberty and property belong to all and are inalienable but the political rights –the right to vote, the right to be appointed to magistracy need not belong to all but only to particular class of citizens.

    • lifeknight

      Most prolifers have already suffered the social alienation that is now coming with loss of religious liberty. Unfortunately for Americans Catholics, the hierarchy of the American Church is still “rearranging the deck chairs.” One need view the latest recommendation for sainthood: Dorothy Day. Rewriting history and opposing truth can be leveled at the Church as well as the government. Thank you for trying to bring the light of Faith back into the public square, Fr. Rutler.

    • Ann

      We are not a Christian nation now. This statement is true. Our President even said it aloud. In Turkey, 2009, he stated, “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”

      We are a nation, however, that has a relatively large number of Christian citizens. It is clear from the last election cycle that practicing Christians have become a minority in the polity. Our Christian minority is still a significant one. I believe that those who actually espouse a Christian value system need to recognize that our political vote no longer matters. I agree that we need a stronger upbringing in what constitutes a Christian life. At the same time, what will always matter to the rest of the country is our dollars.

      I would urge Christians, both Catholic and others, to vote with their dollars, particularly at Christmas. If our cities want to take down nativity scenes, so be it. We intend to celebrate Christmas as a Christ-centered holiday, something we should be doing anyway. We should cut our spending for gifts by half or more. We need to go to church and have a nice dinner at home complete with prayer. If the public square wants us to go private, we should do it and as far as possible we should no longer participate in the consumer culture of death.

      We also need to be mindful of where our charitable giving is going. More than once we have given only to find that the real winners are middle and upper middle-class lobbyists who take the money for salaries, PR campaigns, travel and conferences and then go to the government to ask them to do the actual care. If we have two coats and our neighbor has none, we give him our coat. We need to give as directly as possible to those in real need and leave the rest of the giving games to the public sector.

      If large numbers of Christians started to vote with their dollars, all year round, we may find a surprising change of heart among our loudest critics. Remember, our critics worship the dollar and the worldly power it affords them above all else. I realize that this would be a shallow change of heart on their part, but it might raise awareness that minorities, even Christian ones, should have a voice in our system. And we might find that we have a minority voice in some of the decision-making that affects our life, our liberty (religious and otherwise), and our pursuit of happiness.

      If the powers-that-be can pursue their agenda, and coerce others to go along regardless of their most deeply-held values with no adverse consequences, they will continue to do so. We need to think of other ways to vote, with our hearts, our hands and our dollars.

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    • Alecto

      Just one kulak’s observation, but much of this is the result of Vatican II and its abuses. Say what you want, I’ve witnessed a mass exodus from the Catholic faith, scandal after scandal after scandal while also witnessing parents faithful to the Magisterium Catholics get beat up (figuratively) by the bishop in their diocese, humiliated by priests who subsequently left the priesthood to marry, by nuns who left the convent. Guess what, Rev.? My father passed away a faithful Catholic (and a convert from the Russian Orthodox church) and my mom is a faithful, and knowledgeable Catholic to date. They did everything they could to impart the faith.

      Please don’t take this personally, because I have nothing but the highest respect for you, but….where was the defense of faith 50, 25, or 10 years ago? Where was the recognition of the damage being done by allowing heresy to flourish without public redress? Call that what you want, but Catholics who widely use contraception, believe there is nothing wrong with abortion are heretics. The useful idiots don’t simply exist among the Rosalyn Carters et al., as you illustrate, they exist among all Catholics.

      The clergy has not earned the right to lecture faithful Catholics now about standing fast in the faith: a faith many cafeteria Catholics abandoned long ago. They have demonstrated their lack of credibility over the years by pushing social justice nonsense and forgetting to teach basic Catholic doctrine. The supreme high bugbears in the Catholic church, most of whom are so removed from the daily spiritual struggles of Catholics cannot relate to us at all. We peasants and serfs go about our daily lives without any spiritual support from the clergy. So has it ever been.

      • msmischief

        Would its abuses have occurred if there were plenty of tares growing in the wheat already? It only gave them a chance to ripen and show themselves.

      • aearon43

        Just because these things happened after Vatican II doesn’t mean they happened because of Vatican II.

        • musicacre

          There were a lot of “timebombs” written into Vatican II documents…. Particularly re: liturgy. And as the church prays, so it goes…..

          • dc

            The “timebombs” were not so much written into Vatican II documents as much as they were read into them. Although that is probably a generous statement because most of the people involved in exploding those “timebombs” did not actually read the documents in the first place.

            • KyPerson

              You are so right. The actual documents of Vatican II are as orthodox as can be. The problem lay in too many people appropriating “the spirit of Vatican II” and not bothering to read the actual documents.

              I still remember how odd it felt to me when I was in the 8th grade to see my formerly intelligent nun teachers go all gooey. All they could talk about was luv. I wanted meat, not candy

              • TeaPot562

                @KyPerson: It wasn’t lay-persons appropriating the “spirit of Vatican II”. It was theologians and seminary professors rejecting the teaching of Pope Paul VI against contraception and abortion. Our younger priests missed out proper formation in this area. Some notable “theologians” persuaded Kennedy family members and other “Catholic” legislators that one could vote FOR abortion enabling laws and still be a faithful Catholic. Those people have much to answer for – some have since died and have been judged.

                TeaPot562

                • musicacre

                  Exactly. Some of those”periti” (experts) are still spreading their own version long after they have been censured by the Church.

              • musicacre

                I used to hear that all the time,( that the documents are orthodox) but it’s a bit trickier than that. There was some very ambiguous language used in many parts that, after being approved, opened the door to literally non-stop “tinkering” with the Mass in particular. Michael Davies explains it very well, quoting the exact documents.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                So tell me, please: why these “too many people” were allowed their subversion to spread and multiply? Would they be able to do that if Vatican II were never convened?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

          So if Vatican II was so wonderful, why didn’t it prevent or even put a stop to “these things”? Your mantra does not make any logical sense. Just one example: do you think that liturgical abuses would happen if Vatican II did not open a door for them by instituting a liturgical reform? Be honest and face the facts! In the Church of the future Vatican II will be joyfully forgotten as the biggest mistake ever.

      • Ginger West

        We cannot go back to noon – much less 50, 25 or 10 years ago. All we have is this moment forward. “Onward, Christian soldiers!!!!!” Don’t “Coulda, woulda, shoulda your life away. Be the change you want to see in the Church. Maybe the Lord is calling you…….

        • jacobum

          You get it. Bada! Bing! Bada! Boom! Couldn’t agree with you more. Catholic Church is the ONLY one with the complete fullness of truth, the sacraments, the real presence in Eucharist, plus 2000 years of History to back it all up. When are we going to start acting like we believe it and move forward with the courage required? If not now then when?

          Two quotes Venerable Archbishop Bishop Sheen sum it up IMHO…

          “Who is going to save our Church? Do not look to the priests. Do not look to the Bishops. It’s up to you, the laity, to remind our priests to be priests and our Bishops to be Bishops.”

          “Cowards go to Hell. Never forget that. No matter what happens in your life…never
          forget that basic truth”

          Must admit the man really did have a way with words and the ability to convey a message of truth.with style and a smile. No question that a faithful prayer life was the source and inspiration of his message and delivery.

        • Alecto

          Ginger, tell me how to proceed? The Church is filled with heretics. We must face that reality as well or we can never move forward, an irony since the Church doesn’t move, the world does. We need the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to be willing to demonstrate its own public, fearless and consistent commitment to the faith, not criticize us for its shortcomings. Faithful Catholics, after all, were, are and will continue to be faithful.

          They’re beginning to understand by calling for the basics of prayer, fasting, penance, confession, study and abstinence. They’re also preoccupied with sainthood for Dorothy Day mostly as a marketing ploy to women, not as a deeply held belief that she is, in fact, a saint. Yes, I’m mocking them. Excommunicate me. Oops, we don’t do that anymore.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TGRHXDXROYWNIF2AHE5DTPFZ4U Pensieve

            No offense, but it is this kind of negativism that I found one of the greatest blocks to my faith, along with the “we are so holy” and “those other people there are not holy like we are.”

            The times have been pretty morally horrible my whole life. In fact, I myself was much more morally horrible at one time when I didn’t even know one faithful Catholic, nor could I find one. What put me on track was FINALLY finding faithful Catholics of the sort who were totally orthodox, but not judgmental of me in the sense of looking down on me. That put me on the path to holiness. What has always threatened to put me off the path to holiness was the kind of Catholic who is always bickering about the best mass, pants or no pants for women, let’s blame Vatican II and I have eight kids why do you only have four? kind of person. The kind that pats themselves on the back half the day long because of their perceived holiness and rightness of thinking.

            It’s one thing to be realistic and sober, and quite another to exude glumness and sarcasm! If we realized how much that drags others down rather than spurs them on to holiness, we would never do that.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

              Your complaints are a mixed lot. I consider myself a traditional Catholic but I don’t see anything wrong with women wearing pants (pants can be much more decent than skirts) or having only a few kids. These are mere externals and you are right in ridiculing them. On the other hand, I do think that the Tridentine Latin Mass is much more respectful and spiritually uplifting than the Novus Ordo Mass and that Vatican II has brought no benefits to the Church (if you disagree, please name just one objectively good thing that happened in the Church because of VII). In short, idiots and bigots are on both sides but the facts speak for themselves and these facts are on the side of traditional Catholicism.

            • Alecto

              Conflating
              fundamental doctrine with trivia like what kind of clothing one wears
              is so far off the mark, you quite possibly inferred something that wasn’t anywhere in my post.

              Holiness, as I heard just today, is the perfection of God’s will in our lives. The teachings of the Catholic Church are there to help us attain holiness. If
              the Magisterium sets forth the policies and practices for Catholics
              (frequent reception of the sacraments, a rich prayer life, the belief in the sanctity of life and marriage, etc…), then it is right to examine
              whether some undermine its
              teaching and prevent the attainment of holiness by others. Those within the Church who openly oppose basic truths on fundamental issues
              like abortion,
              contraception and gay marriage are impeding the salvation of others. I believe we have a duty to correct error, naturally with love, but absolutely and firmly. To remain silent and allow it to flourish is to proclaim that heresy has no impact and damages no one. Reality suggests otherwise. Your clearly intended insult was hurtful and of course offensive. I forgive you.

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    • MarkRutledge

      On a tangential note, perhaps Catholicism in America can be saved by a complete disbanding of an unreformable institution, the USCCB. The last two pontifs have gradually increased the orthodoxy of American bishops and I think they’d be better off on their own to shepherd their own flocks, without the false veneer of a a liberal church providing cover for cafeteria Catholics. Perhaps if Catholicism in America can be saved, America can be saved.

    • Michael

      We are lucky to have access to Fr. Rutler’s wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration. I am fortunate to be able to attend mass at the Church of Our Savior and witness first hand his commitment to keeping the mass a sacred event, as well as learning about our faith from his sermons. I attended Catholic school my whole life, for which I am thankful. But I have learned more about my faith and the importants of the sacrements during the last five years I have attended mass at his church. Keep up the good work Fr. Rutler. You inspire, teach, and educate more people than you realize, and many lives are changed for the better. I, along with many others, pray that we have the faith and courage to “face squarely the dire threat to religous liberty”.

    • Bill Russell

      19th century John Henry Newman
      20th century Ronald Arbuthnott Knox
      21st century George William Rutler

      • John200

        Three for three. I do admire good shooting.

        Newman is a giant. I have read approx. 10 of his books and I still do not feel that I have fully mastered the depth of his message. Great language, he has an overwhelming style that I try to imitate in my own (completely inferior) method of disputation.

        Knox is a great man. I do feel that I know him well through this writings.

        When Fr. Rutler’s shots first crossed my bow I guessed that he was a marvel of the 19th or 20th century. I imagined he was deceased because of his fluent orthodoxy. It is great to know he is still among us. He has a sense of the faith that is so rare in these parts.

    • Katie

      “Actually, everyone has suffered from the neglect of catechesis in the past forty years.”

      This may be true, but the reality is that a lot of people who have NOT neglected catechesis have rejected aspects of it. My Catholic mother used the pill after very careful study of Humanae Vitae and other documents. She fully understand the arguments made. She thought they were weak. Most Catholics agree with her. Is it possible that the Church could be wrong on this issue? Or at least that the Church should be more respectful of decisions made for good reasons and in good conscience?

      • Dai Yoshida

        Your mother rejected Humanae Vitae because there wasn’t a priest who bothered to explain to her why not allowing a viable fetus to live is no different than killing the child in the womb, hence bad catechesis. Did she even consult with a priest? Or was it just more convenient to not involve the Church in her decision?

        The Church teachings on contraception did not start with Humanae Vitae. It began with Didache in 70 AD. If the Church is wrong on this issue then the Apostles were wrong on this issue. Perhaps your mother is right and Jesus was wrong? Should the early Christians have been more respectful of the popular ancient Roman practice of herbal contraception?

        • Katie

          My mother did talk in depth with a priest. He just repeated the arguments she had already analyzed and rejected. He encouraged using some way of keeping track of her cycle. My parents read about it a great deal and gave it lots of thought. My questions above stand.

          • musicacre

            Thirty to forty years ago there were not a lot of publications effectively explaining what Humanae Vitae was and how continuous with Catholic morality it was. We now have hindsight and esp re: now infamous experts who deliberately knew contraception was wrong and tried to derail Pope Paul’s attempt to teach the world. I know a couple who were told back in the 70′s that it was OK, but have since become staunch followers of Humanae Vitae because they were willing to get the truth and admit they were wrong! There is such a wealth of info now it is impossible to be ignorant about it! There are mothers around me that I used to see at various lessons in the community that I used to take my children in the 90′s. Now they are dropping like flies, so many are dying, very suddenly. They all were on the pill. I know a retired vet who said they tested the drug on cows early in the 20th century and banned it because it caused death. Nice to know the pharmaceuticals think less of women than cows! The Pope was Prophetical when he issued this document, and courageous in the face of absolute opposition from all quarters!

          • said she

            What part of “Thy will be done” did your mother not understand?

          • HigherCalling

            Your mother rejected a fundamental teaching of the Church based on her personal understanding. Many people in history have done that very thing — Martin Luther comes to mind. It’s kind of amazing that she got it right, but the Bride of Christ got it wrong. Church teaching on contraception is inseparable from her teachings on the defense and protection of Life and Family. Being consistently pro-life demands accepting that contraception is a moral wrong. Pope Paul repeated the 1900 year-old Church teaching to a world that needed to hear it. He went on to predict certain very negative consequences that would follow a wide societal acceptance of contraception, all of which have come to pass (increases in the following: conjugal infidelity, rates of abortion, divorce, family breakdown, wife and child abuse, venereal diseases, out of wedlock births; a loss of respect for women, releasing males from sexual responsibility, government involvement in controlling populations and cultural re-engineering, dehumanization and enslavement to the tool of contraception, a vigilant attack on the gift of fertility, the acceptance and legalization of abortion). Does your mother reject those realities as well? The Church is not wrong on this issue, and while priests and clergy should always be respectful of others’ individual decisions, the Church, as a teaching body, cannot accommodate violations of the truth.

      • Adam Baum

        Well now this very interesting. For those tuning in late, “Katie” claims to be the 18 year old product of Catholic education, but is actually in open warfare with everything Catholic.

        In other words, this poster is a what is known as a “troll”, someone who posts uses falsehoods and verisimilitude on sites merely to be belligerent and disputatious.

        • Katie

          Are you always so rude to people? Have you ever heard of agreeing to disagree without being rude about it? You know nothing about my education or what I do or don’t believe about Catholic issues. Not everyone believes every single thing taught by the Church. We’re not supposed to check our minds at the door. If all you have are insults, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously.

          • Carl

            And I’ll guess that if she is not from one of the New England states she’s one on Cardinal Mahoney’s from California.

        • http://www.facebook.com/daptak Debbie Ptak

          what gives you the right to judge people and presume you know things about them from one comment?I have read the comments on here some are good ,but all i see are complaints not answers.you can use all the big theological words you want thats dosent mean anything to me,Jesus spoke in parables so the average person could understand Him.Big words and speeches arent going to help the church.Us getting on our knees and praying will,So far the one who made the most sense is ann when she talked about witholding our money etc. she is right .thats the only thing this world thinks about anyway.stop going shopping on sunday,fast,pray the rosary.if you think your parish priest is wrong tell him or find a church that teaches the true catholic wayJesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against His church.Maybe He is doing some spirtual housecleaning.email your archdiocese if things in your church.complain protest.i could go on &on ,be part of the solution not the problem.If prayers can stop wars they can surely change this mess were in.God Bless You all.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

            “Jesus spoke in parables so the average person could understand Him”

            Actually, no, you’ve got it backwards, read Mark 4:10-13 and
            Matt 13:10-11.

      • John200

        There is no nice way to say this, but your mother is a “dissenting Catholic” who wishes to be considered Catholic while rejecting the faith she claims to follow. She got the wrong answer after this “very careful study of Humanae Vitae and other documents.” The weak arguments are true. That pill is not helping her one bit, and did great harm.

        Get your own prayer life in order (I am sure you have done so), and make sure she understands what she did to her own Catholic faith. You may have to make a pest of yourself and drive her a little bit crazy, but the need is urgent, and you are positioned to fill it. It is unwise to simply wait for her to wake up.

        I am doing the same with some who are close to me. It is not fun, but it is necessary.

      • Dave

        Well, she was apparently not catechized about the matter of the Church being protected from error. Jesus didn’t say, “He who hears you, hears me (unless, after very careful study, you find that you do not understand the reasoning. In that case, do whatever you want.)”

        It is quite possible for the arguments used in Humanae Vitae to be weak. Jesus did not say, “I will inspire you to give the greatest, most logical reasons possible for the teachings, and all will be won over by the logic.” He said, “whatever you bind on Earth shall have been bound in Heaven.”

        It is not possible to reject the teaching on contraception, which has been held by the Church in all times and places, without rejecting Church’s very understanding of itself. If the Church is wrong on contraception, then you might as well make up your own religion, because there is no reason to trust the Church, or by extension, Jesus Christ, on anything.

        • RedMeg1990

          And further, encyclicals aren’t intended to be primarily apologetic, but teaching vehicles. The apologetics have come later, and have been quite well done. Janet Smith has written clearly and compellingly against contraceptives for years now. There is also a much-neglected essay by Fr. Cormac Burke, explaining the problems with contraception from the personalist perspective. THAT was the piece that first swung me from believing “because the Church says so” to “because this is what is obviously true about human beings and the nature of men and women.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10232709 Bryan Jones

      Is this for real? I mean do you really believe this junk??

      • Adam Baum

        What are you talking about Obamabot?

        • RosaVera

          correctly labeled… this guy is against anything that is Christian or good… looked at his remarks he made for other sites and there is a pattern of anger towards good people and people of faith…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003579890 John T. Cotton

      “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

      This quote is mis-attributed. It comes from John Adams, not George Washington.

    • HalWooley

      “We have no government armed in power capable of contending in
      human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was
      made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for
      the government of any other.”
      John Adams, address to the militia of Massachusetts, 1798.

      “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible”
      President George Washington, September 17th, 1796

      “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,
      religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us
      indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained
      without religion . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect
      that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious
      principle.”
      President George Washington, Farewell Address, 1789

      • HigherCalling

        And yet, where are the true Christian (note: Christian) principles in our Founding documents? The Declaration does contain eternal truths (unalienable rights, self-evident truths, laws of nature…) and mentions of God (Creator, Nature’s God, Supreme Judge of the world), but no mention of the God of Christianity. The Constitution makes no reference to any actual Christian principle. The fundamental principle of the Founders was Liberty. But without mention to the ultimate truth that makes us free, Christ, a lasting Liberty could never be secured. The flawed Christianity of the Founders has evolved into the atheistic secularism of today’s ruling elite where “liberties” are being lost on a daily basis — and it’s all perfectly Constitutional.

    • Adam Baum

      Father, there is one implicit error in your otherwise as always excellent analysis:

      “Naifs who thought this could not happen will be startled when the Church
      has to close charities, hospitals, schools, and even parish churches if
      they are subject to tax intimidation.”

      This was exactly the point of the HHS mandate. It was intentionally designed to create a catch-22. Either you “go along to get along” and give scandal by supporting the culture of death or you withdraw from those activities and become temporally emasculated. You get to choose between two alternatives, one an attack on doctrine, the other an attack on mission.

      I don’t think the naifs will be startled, they’ll do what they always do, (nod like Boxer in Orwell’s “1984″) because their primary allegiance is to the government-especially now when people (perhaps quite rightly) think that they are hiring a mercenary dictator when they vote for President.

      Make no mistake, the intent is clear and what is created here is an existential peril. Think England and the Submission of the Clergy, 1532. Why some clergy fail to apprehend the danger of an unbounded state, I do not know.

      • John200

        Dear Adam Baum,

        Thanks for the note. To your concluding consideration: clergy often lack a historical knowledge of politics (econ, too; don’t get me started). It isn’t their metier; they do not know it unless they actively choose to learn it. I doubt that more than 10-15% of the active clergy know what went on in England in 1532. That’s an impressionistic guesstimate; I have not done the research.

        The rest is fine, no doubt our current administration intends to do the devil’s work for as long and as intensely as they can. Then they reap the rewards, such as they are. We are obliged to pray for them, but I do not like their ill-smelling work.

        Benedict says we are headed for a temporary reduction in numbers as the church consolidates into a smaller collection of the truly faithful. OK, so the tares move out. Then a wave of expansion will occur. This is not all bad; expanding on a basis of some 3 billion will be something to see!

        Nice to meet you on CrisisMag.

      • MiaParrhesia

        Adam, you are correct, but did not take it far enough, as it much more than a Catch-22. They consulted with many theologians, and are banking (literally and figuratively) on the Church opting for the truth and thus closing these wonderful institutions (especially the hospitals) as then they can step in, and in the name of national security, commandeer them, and POOF! – instant state-of-the-art infrastructure for public healthcare.

        • musicacre

          Wow! That is so shady; they get to be the good guys after stealing everything. Obama is like Teflon; nothing ever sticks to him.
          Not for long, anyway.

    • Ginger West

      Oh, Father – we in Columbus are SO BLESSED that you will be coming to speak at the Pontifical College Josephinum on the 27th! I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING YOU! A priest friend of mine posted your article on his Facebook account and I have, in turn, posted it on mine and sent it to several friends (including priest friends!) May God bless you and keep you and may Mary always hold you close to her Immaculate Heart as you serve her Son so beautifully!

    • Bryan

      Reverend Rutler, I wish I had had the intelligence and strength to seek out men like you while I was in New York attending college from my home on the West Coast. I did attend Mass at some of NYC’s beautiful cathedrals, but I became ensconced in campus politics and pursuits and eventually let myself be overwhelmed by worldliness. Finally I dropped out of Columbia University, the acceptance to which had been a dream come true for me, and went home disillusioned and disappointed, not least with myself. God bless you and keep up the good fight. I know you’re right.

    • Doran

      Does anyone really believe that that phony–that Wall-Street goon–Romney, would have saved the United States from its decline? Come on. He was lukewarm on abortion, and Obamacare, which brought about the HHS mandate, was his idea! If he had gotten elected, he might have thrown us a bone of some small consequence, but America would be in exactly the same position as it is now–only with more wealth redistribution to the defense industry, the wealthy, big coal/oil, etc. “Faithful Catholic” does not equal “Republican.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Blake-Helgoth/521347499 Blake Helgoth

        My thoughts exactly. I was thinking, when I read about the seminarians not voting for Romney, that there might be a glimmer of hope since they did not fall for the false choice, realizing that the proportionate good could in no way justify a vote for either party man. Fr. puts forward some excellent ideas, however, that a vote for Romney was a vote for the Church or moral principles, or at least Religious freedom is not one of them.

        • RosaVera

          then who did they vote for…?

      • http://www.facebook.com/christa.cooper.52 Christa Cooper

        What part about repealing Obamacare did you miss in the Republican platform? For all of his faults, Romney would never have tried to force the Church to bend to the will of the State. His own faith’s history made him sensitive to that. And as far as the seminarians’ votes, I imagine that they were unaware of much of Obama’s history, being occupied with theological studies. The media made very certain to never mention Obama’s vote to allow babies, born alive due to botched abortions, to die in closets without even basic care.

        I see that calling Romney a “Wall Street goon” and “phony” apparently is part of the excuse you use to justify your vote for Obama. After all, the class envy demonstrated in your post is pretty much the line of the left wing of the democrats. Knowing full well this will earn me caustic comments, I am still going to remind you that envy is a sin, and you should work on removing it from your life.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Blake-Helgoth/521347499 Blake Helgoth

          I don’t believe he ever said he voted for Obama. There were, after all, others in the running. Unless one buys into the false two party paradigm that the societal elites foist upon us.

          • RosaVera

            In Italy there are dozens of parties and Italians all vote for anyone of them… the chaos and financial problems they are having is because of these politicians… about 900 politicians in the capital of all different parties all making about E15,000. a month, which is more than the average Italian makes in a year, besides being exempted from taxes, from paying gasoline, from paying for their transportation, from the food they eat, and of course their own health care is NOT what the population is given (same as Obamacare for us and the cadillac one for themselves)… and don’t forget the regional politicians like the governors, mayors, assistance employers, etc… etc… all making top dollars and all are not willing to give up any posts or any salary changes. Why am i saying this…? Simply that at least here we can pinpoint to exactly who is doing what, while in Europe nobody takes the blame because they all point their finger at the other dozen party members. Do we as Americans actually do anything about it… No ! Why…? Don’t know, but we should all be in the streets and making these politicians aware that they can only push us so far… Icelanders did it and now they have the government that responds to the people and not the other way around.

      • RosaVera

        How on earth can you honestly say that Romney is responsible for what Obama is doing to the Catholic church. This is what you are implying, and, just because he is rich is not a sin and you seem to just hate anyone that knows how to make money on Wall Street. The facts that he helped thousands to have jobs you totally omit from your vitriol. Romney would have NOT pushed for people of faith the HHS mandate, we would have had freedom of religion, and, we would have been a lot better off financially and job wise with Romney since he has a proven record of doing just that… besides Romney is not rabid like Obama and does not want ”revenge” on Americans as Obama stated in his campaign. To be a Democrat and to vote for Obama might as well just worship satan since it seems that they both are doing the same things… the murder of innocents thru abortion, lies, deceive, and no individual rights. “Faithful Catholic” may not necessarily mean ”Republican” but in this election it did…

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    • desire

      Well said Fr. Permit me to recognize the fact that one of the major defects in our politics recently is the equation a particular party as being most appropriate mirror of the Church’s teachings. That is quite wrong. Again, a close look at what happened in this last election showcases that people voted for personality outlook(and authenticity) more than political parties. If we are really in need of setting things right in this noble country, borrowing a leaf from what you said about “freeing the Church from the deadweight of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy myopic to threats on the horizon”, we must choose the right persons who embody the “Fundamental Truths” that this country is founded on. “Orange tree cannot produce mango fruits”. No one gives what he doesn’t have. The result of this election was far decided when the other party in their primaries voted for who ‘might’ defeat Obama and not who had the best potentials needed in this critical time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/janet.baker.7330 Janet Baker

      The quote in the 3rd paragraph attributed to George Washington was in fact uttered by John Adams. Other than that, the truths here are spot-on.

    • Nancy H. Murray

      I wrote a newsletter about abuses in the Church in my diocese for sixteen years; I was fortunate to meet you, Father in Florida during that time. Catholics did not want to know the truth.

      I turned to fiction to help youth; now I’ve published a book introducing others to Mary; The Madonnas of St Augustine – A Remarkable History. By chronicalling the beginning of Christianity and Catholicism in America’s first settled city, St. Augustine, FL and introducing Our Lady to those who do not know her, perhaps we can petition her assistance in saving the Church in our day.

    • GINO

      The lack of teaching by our bishops and the benign neglect of the parochial school system has created a class of “Catholics” who have absolutely no knowledge of what being Catholic means.

      Today Catholics, in name only, go to Mass Christmas and Easter, receive the Eucharist with no Penance, believe the bishops only talk about abortion but really do not mean it because the pro choice Catholic politicos are allowed to receive the Eucharist and generally have absolutely no knowledge Commandments or Precepts of the Church. Our USCCB has a PR firm that is paid to project a good image of them. maybe if they spent some time obeying the Church Canons instead; we would have a stronger Church
      Thank you Father Rutler; as usual you are the voice of Orthodoxy and true Catholicism.

    • Gail

      As a former Episcopalion who joined the Roman Catholic Church in 2009, I was shocked to find women at our church who said they were voting for Obama. That is so wrong! Anyone who can support his evil programs, besides being stupid, shouldn’t call themselves Catholic.

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    • RosaVera

      i have been in the USA for over 40 years, never would i have imagined that here in this country which always touted freedom of the individual and religion that we would see persecution and the aggressive focused intent on eradicating Christianity from us all. The intent, by the ACLU, atheist and this government, does not seem focused on other faiths but on Christianity pointing directly at Catholics. We do have to fight back with our powers as people of faith by making others aware, aggressively petitioning our legislative body, and we must unite and reward those that protect us and boycott those that don’t in our shopping, and our votes. Our means of communicating has to be apart from mainstream so that the truth can be told and we can have our side told without any editing…

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    • Michael Hoffman

      Why no mention of the aggressive warfare of the Republicans which unjustly killed tens of thousands of Iraqis including, surely, many pregnant women? Are abortions by warfare not an issue? Are the many deaths of the unborn in Iraq due to our bombs and munitions somehow lesser concerns? I did not vote for Romney or Obama. Fr. Rutler’s silence on the evil of war-mongering Republicans like President George W. Bush is very problematic.

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    • John

      Oh my goodness . . . truth. Thank you Fr. Rutler

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