The Coming Age of the Laity

On the first Sunday in February, Catholics across the country heard homilies condemning the HHS mandate requiring Catholic institutions to subsidize free contraceptives for their employees. A friend of mine, shaking her head, wondered why the diktat had caught our bishops by surprise.

“How could they not see it coming?”

There are three aspects to the answer: The mandate, the bishops, and the laity.

True to form, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cynically timed the mandate to coincide with the March For Life. No wonder her bishop barred her from the Eucharist – she could hardly have made the scandal more pointedly public. The mandate was immediately condemned and rejected by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, USCCB President, and my own Ordinary, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington. Our bishops appear to have suddenly realized that we are at war. Good for them.

But how could they not see it coming?

Three reasons come to mind. The first is a simple question: “Hey, what’s the matter with contraception?” OK, we know, but who else does? Catholics familiar with Humanae Vitae know what happens when mankind defies natural law. Didn’t Pope Paul VI prophetically predict the cultural, human, and spiritual cost of untethered human self-indulgence?  Yes: he saw it coming. But who has preached it since 1968? For forty-four years far too many bishops have treated Humanae Vitae like the skunk at the parish Social Justice Picnic. So faithful Catholics cannot be blamed for being pleasantly surprised that our shepherds have finally drawn the line in the sand on the issue. We’ve been praying for this for years.

The second reason: while they have not been teaching Humanae Vitae, the USCCB and its staff have been adrift in the dark waters of “Social Justice” — browbeating, dividing, and alienating the laity with partisan politics, advocating a raft of personal agendas from amnesty to welfare, even supporting legislation that contains half a billion for contraceptives in “foreign aid.” [This is not to say that they’ve put all this behind them: on the First Friday of February, the USCCB called on Catholics to fast and pray about “food insecurity and climate change.”]

And the third reason: the abuse and cover-up scandals. Enough said.

Pope Benedict, however, did see it coming. When Bishop Loverde joined his brother bishops from our region on their ad limina visit to Rome in January, His Holiness took pains to make it perfectly clear:

At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

Meet the Culture of Death, also known as the animating spirit of today’s Democrat Party. Yes, Dear Reader, that’s the same party that for a hundred years has been the political partner of preference for America’s Catholic bishops.

His Holiness then stressed the need for the laity to act:

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture ….”

Because Humanae Vitae was seldom well-taught, today’s laity was seldom well-formed. Now that the bishops, pace their earlier bygones, seek to unite the faithful, they’ve got a mountain to climb and fences to mend. But, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war with the laity you have. And on this issue we must unite, because it involves not political agendas and personal opinions, but magisterial truth.

Baggage, Balls, And Chains

To win this war, the Church is going to have to break a lot of bad habits. And old habits die hard. A new generation of bishops now recognize the perils of allying with the American government that Pope Leo XIII warned against a century ago. The dalliance – sometimes romantic, sometimes merely convenient – between the USCCB and the Democrats has brought forth a raft of Church institutions whose bureaucracies mirror those of their government counterparts. Church “charity” has come to rely increasingly on politicians, not the laity.  Thus, as the Democrats have moved left, our bureaucracies have too – whether by choice or by necessity. After all, they count on billions of taxpayer dollars flowing to Church institutions every year.

Well, that is going to end.

Why? Because for years the USCCB has coddled the Democrats who are now our most hostile enemies in this war. Obama, Biden, Pelosi, and company will not care a whit that we cheered them on with partisan pastorals on racism, economic justice, and amnesty, while we pulled our punches on homosexuality, reception of the Eucharist, and ObamaCare. Laymen understand what bishops apparently don’t: politicians have allowed us to play in their taxpayer-funded trough because we have played by their rules. To put it bluntly, politics is tit for tat. Our former pals are not going to continue scratching our back if we punch them in the nose.

And we need to deliver a knockout punch. Like following Canon Law – specifically, applying Canon 915, for starters.

When that happens, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, even “Catholic” universities and hospitals that receive government funds, will see those funds dry up. The bishops have drawn a line in the sand. Well, as Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker used to say, “That door swings both ways.” The Left knows how to play that game better than we do. One look at the barbaric, even diabolical rage that met the unremarkable decision by “Komen for the Cure” to terminate its funding of Planned Parenthood should be sufficient: they shoot to kill. When that rage swells into a vulgar, violent attack on our Church, her leaders, her members, and her institutions– and it will — let’s not be asking, “How could we not see it coming?” – It’s coming. 

Charity: Voluntary? Or Mandatory?

During the twentieth century, charity was transformed from a private, voluntary endeavor to a “sector” that today is dominated by government. The number of “private” charities in the U.S. has mushroomed in recent years, but so has their dependence on government funding. That is also true for the Church. Our charities could not survive today without taxpayer dollars.

Eventually, they’re going to have to. There are two ways in which this will come to pass: either the Church will renounce all government funding – and, eventually, even its tax-exempt status – or a hostile government will revoke them. Either way, it’s going to happen.  For too long the Church’s attitude has been, “Let the government do it.” But as Pope Benedict put it, the enemy that confronts us is driven by “powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.” Compromise is not possible with the Angel of Death. It never has been. What began as an attack on the principles shaping the placement policies of Catholic adoption agencies will soon target every aspect of truly Catholic charity.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield recently decided to end the “historical partnership” between his diocese and the state child welfare bureaucracy (including state funding, of course), telling the Chicago Tribune that “[t]he silver lining of this decision is that our Catholic Charities going forward will be able to focus on being more Catholic and more charitable, while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies.” Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa has also seen the light. In December it renounced all government funding, for practical as well as principled reasons. The decision “enables the organization to remain true to its Roman Catholic values and to act swiftly to help people in need without wading through a bureaucratic morass,” executive director Deacon Kevin Sartorius told the Tulsa World. Observing that many diocesan Catholic Charities receive as much as 80% of their funding from government, Deacon Sartorius uttered this gem: “It’s natural to want to please the one who is providing the money for your program.”

How can you please a virulently anti-Catholic government? Answer: you can’t.

The Age Of The Laity – Ready Or Not

What Is To Be Done?” – Vladimir Lenin 

When the government money goes, that leaves us – the laity. Charity in the twenty-first century will be like that in the nineteenth – when the glorious institutions of Holy Mother Church flourished without government aid. The laity has already taken the lead on several fronts. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, ardently champions the lay vocation of volunteering – by his knights and by the rest of us. Crisis pregnancy centers like the Women’s Care Center and Expectant Mothers Care, founded and led by lay volunteers and prayerfully supported by many bishops, have multiplied across the country. Soup kitchens, health clinics, and food pantries have sprung up everywhere — most of them funded by the unpaid volunteers who run them, often aided by donations – all of them voluntary – from individuals as well as groups like the Knights of Malta.

We’re going to need more. Yes, the Church’s charitable efforts will be more Catholic without intrusive government, but they will also depend more than ever on a vibrant, faithful, and generous laity. The government’s massive welfare behemoth – including everything from Social Security and housing to Medicare and Food Stamps – is going broke. This generation of laity – our generation — will be challenged to carry out a “New Evangelization” that demands the Corporal Works of Mercy like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. “Giving of our substance, not just our excess,” will become our daily bread.

Only the “well-formed Catholic laity” called for by Pope Benedict can successfully meet this challenge.  But many Catholics today rarely see the inside of a church, don’t know how to say the Rosary, and haven’t been to Confession for years. To confront this crisis of formation, the laity will often have to catechize themselves – the bishops already have their hands full. Lay apostolates can help (my favorites: Crisis, EWTN, Real Catholic TV and The Wanderer). But that won’t stop the secular hostility – in fact, it will soon morph into outright persecution. As night follows day, the secular state that defies the Prince of Peace will turn to war. Solzhenitsyn had it right: falsehood always brings violence in its wake. So we must “put not our faith in princes,” especially when they lie to us – all too often, in bipartisan fashion, alas.

In the midst of the coming hard times, tens of millions of Americans who today rely on government subsidies will be at sea when the money runs out (or is rendered worthless by hyperinflation). They will need our help. We must rise to the occasion and serve our neighbor, responding as never before to the Catechism’s mandate: “And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives.” (CCC 901)

The Church’s alliance with the government should have ended 100 years ago, with World War One, when Cardinal Gibbons sided with Woodrow Wilson instead of Benedict XV. Or with the New Deal, when the Catholic Conference’s Msgr. Ryan was known as “The Right Reverend New Dealer.” Or with the School Prayer Decision. Or with Roe v. Wade. Admittedly, predicting earthquakes is not a hard science, but we’ve just had one. The alliance is over, and so is the Church’s dependence on government funding. It’s time for a comeback of charity that is “more Catholic and more charitable,” as Bishop Paprocki puts it. And it’s up to the laity to take the lead.


Christopher Manion


Christopher Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College, and is the director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum Foundation. He is a Knight of Malta.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    I feel vindicated. 

    When I was Director of my diocese’s Catholic Charities, I lauded the fact that (albeit a comparably small agency by diocesan standards) we were free from ANY government programs for our funding.  Never did I envy those mega-Catholic Charities agencies who looked more like an agency of the federal government than an agent for Christ. 

    Now, it’s time to do three things: first, conduct a thorough house-cleaning of Catholic Charities USA leadership.  They are infiltrated with left-wing Democrats who have been ‘sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom’ of the White House for too long; second, move CCUSA away from Washington to somewhere (anywhere) in Oklahoma.  They will be less likely to get back into bed with the feds; third, have all diocesan Catholic Charities sever ALL ties with the federal government – to delay might mean the very loss of the Church’s soul.  

    One final anecdote: When, as a new Director of my diocese’s Catholic Charities, I was invited to an ‘all-expense paid’ three day affair for new directors at CCUSA in Washington, I (sensing the culture)stood and asked the entire group: “Does one have to be Catholic in order to be the Director of any diocsean  Catholic Charities?” I was met with bemused silence.  It was then that I realized what I was in for.  (I am no longer the Director of my Diocese’s Catholic Charites and give credit to men like Deacon Sartorius whom I met once in Guadalajara.  He has not sold his soul for pieces of silver and, in my opinion, is in the vanguard of those who will finally lead the Church out of this mess.)

  • Kent Buehler

    Thanks for telling it like it is both in terms of the responsibility of the laity and the failings, in some instances, of the bishops.  Priests are in a difficult position regarding their bishops.  They can have conflicts when you consider their vow of obedience to their bishop and their responsbility as priests in the Church.  Look at Summorum Pontificum.  There would be many more Extraordinary Form Masses excepting there are many bishops who are at best luke warm in its implementation.  The same could be said concerning concerning certain mandates of Vatican II, examples of which are Latin in the liturgy and Gregorian chant.  The silver lining in the crisis in the Church today might be the revitalization of the laity.

  • Carl

    Obama said in 2008 “Now, make no mistake, as someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership will endanger that idea – so long as we follow a few basic principles. First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.”

    How could any Bishop accept these conditions? Laity have to literally duct tape their mouths shut as they serve the poor and homeless? 

    President Bush launched his “faith-based” initiative that funded the soup, clothing, and it can fund the shelter. It won’t fund the Bibles. But the problem even here is that when Obama took over he increased funding while changing the rules—you can’t proselytize with free words while pouring soup, clothing, and providing shelter.

    Rights the government takes the government take away! In one election cycle!

  • Nick Palmer

    The pattern is all too clear, but “detox” and “rehab” will be tough. With Leviathan there can be no other gods. As Mr. Manion notes, the Church now must confront an enraged drug dealer, with broad and massive powers of retribution.

    And this has become true in practice and in attitude across our society and economy. The default “news story” in the Boston Globe has the following structure:

    1) Some poor soul or group in suffering
    2) Either dismal fate or some “evil” perp is at fault
    3) Only the government can (and should) help by mandating an end to the suffering (preferably quickly and without thought for unintended consequences)

    Moral? Government is good and omniscient. Ordinary people are either helpless and dumb, or outright evil.

    Look at the pharmaceutical industry of today. For decades they caved to demands of European and Canadian national healthcare bureaucracies to provide prescription drugs at below-US-market prices. Faustian bargain. Implicitly and explicitly US consumers and insurance companies provided the profitability buffer — arbitrage was difficult (tough to fly to Munich for a month’s supply of valium), information on pricing differences was hard to come by and not easy to understand, and “it wasn’t that much money.” Fast forward to increasing use of pharmaceuticals to treat ever more intractable disorders, and the Internet. The result: Righteous Outrage in the US — We’re being had!

    As the bond between government and pharma was congealing, companies began to realize the importance of playing nicey-nice with politicians as central to business success. As important as R&D, maybe today even more. Now we see big pharma nearly fully “addicted” to government. It’s not just the purveyors of abortifacients, it’s every company. In similar fashion look at companies ranging from AT&T (John Zieglis, former CEO, was proud of the fact that as AT&T’s Chief Counsel he had personally written vast tracts of US telecom regulations), to former competitive icon GE (CEO Jeffery Immelt is the poster-child for government-crony capitalism).

    Sadly, “I’m from the government, I’m here to help you,” has gone from a joke to our expectation.

    Here in the Archdiocese of Boston we’ve had a front row seat of government-co-opted leadership until the installation of Cardinal O’Malley.

    But it’s not too late.

  • schmenz

    An excellent wake-up call of an article.  If I could build upon one theme Mr Manion explores it would be this: the Bishops have to, must, get their own houses in order, and they have to do that now if they want to be truly effective.  Cardinal Dolan is a perfect example of a man trying to fight a good fight but shooting himself in the foot in the process (see  Don’t misunderstand me.  He seems to have found his backbone at last and has said some wonderful things, and we must support him, but until he deals with an egregious scandal in his own diocese (the mess at St Francis Xavier Church in NYC) he will find himself painted into a corner by the very government villains he is fighting.

    Let us do what Mr Manion suggests and be prepared for the worst because just as surely as Mary’s little lamb followed Mary, the creeps in Washington are going to pounce, and pounce hard.  And if I don’t get particularly enthused over some of the media that Mr Manion recommends (there are far better ones out there) it is at least a start in the right direction.

    Thanks you, Mr Manion, for writing this.

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  • Des

    I agree that religious people should not take money from the government. I think religious people are funny and silly for believing in some 2000 year old mythical rubbish from an old dusty book, but each to their own. Scientology and Catholicism are equally ridiculous, and each of them should get their hands out of the government money. I can only assume you people were brainwashed into this religion as kids, it is very strange to believe in things just because someone puts on old book in front of you. I think you should be allowed to believe whatever you like, but you should get zero of my forcibly removed tax dollars.

    • Carl


      First, I find it exponentially more ridiculous that someone can contemplate life and creation and conclude that it was an “accident” or by some random “big bang!”  But I digress… 

      And I hope that you also believe, as a good atheist, that government shouldn’t fund your social welfare programs either!  Why should I pay for your contraception, 
      abortifacients, abortions, etc.  What right do you have for me to pay your healthcare, retirement, education, etc.

      Our Constitutional government was designed to protect us from exterior and interior tyranny.  And little else.

      I dare say that my local Tea Party, which includes Ayn Rand atheists, does more for religious and economic freedom and freedom in general than the Catholic Church itself in America!

      • Des

        I never said you should pay for my anything. I never said I procure or agree with abortions either. I never said I identified as an ‘atheist’ either.

        I never said anything about believing in a ‘big bang’, either. I believe creation is just fantastic, but I have seen no evidence that whatever created it, and no one knows, cares whether you use a contraceptive or whether a few hundred million die in a nuclear war.

        Or tens of millions die in World War 2. Rather than pondering how it was all created, how about some evidence that there is something out there that gives a sht whether you get killed by an earthquake this minute.

        And then there is the very suspect thing of you believing you are ‘going somewhere’ when you die. Which is far more ridiculous than anything you could ever say about ‘creation’.

        What is the most retarded, is that you people take the word of a dead pope from the 60s, who said you’re not allowed to have sex with contraceptives. The word of a fool who had never had sex himself, in a long line of criminal popes who have covered up the wholesale child rape of hundreds of kids around the world by catholic cult leaders (priests).

        There is no morality in a group of people more concerned about ‘spilling seed’ in condoms being a grave indignity to man, and then ignoring the infestation  of sicko child rapists throughout the whole Catholic church. Not to mention that Pope from the 60s who delcared that rubbish about contraception did more single handedly to give the continent of Africa AIDS than anyone else.

        • Carl


          I thought it was us conservatives and bible thumpers who went off on hateful rants?

          I thought my post was respectful and actually complimentary.
          Ayn Rand fights for religious freedom!

        • So, if we should discount the Pope because he’s dead, should we also discount Ben Franklin, as he’s long since deceased as well?  So we should ignore all his efforts to persuade the French to help us against the British?  Or maybe we ought to re-enslave the black community, since Abe Lincoln, also deceased, can’t tell us to allow them to be free?

          I hope you aren’t going to agree to THOSE ideas!

          If you wish to grouch about various social ills related to sexuality, I think you’d be well served to examine facts more closely.  If I’m not mistaken, various UN and US agencies and numerous others have already spent billions–if not trillions–in efforts to bring the “wonders” of contraception not only to Africa, but to the people here in the US.

          Oddly, incidence of STDs and unplanned pregnancies have not decreased at all, but instead have grown by several orders of magnitude.
          Seems that when people the mood..the last thing they’re truly interested in is..placing that latex thing in just the right spot.

    • (For what it’s worth, I agree with the original author with regard to
      the nature of charity and the value of allowing government funding to be
      involved with merciful works.  That’s somewhat beside the point of this
      moment though.)

      “… it is very strange to believe in things just because someone puts on old book in front of you.”

      Does that mean you seek to throw out the Constitution and Declaration of Independence too?  They’re not 2,000 years old, but they aren’t under 100 either.

      “…you should get zero of my forcibly removed tax dollars”

      Tell you what:  If you’ll give up state and federal funding for land grant universities, I’ll consider forcing people to get out of the government trough immediately.  Most of academia, funded by your tax dollars and mine, still profess views that I consider morally bankrupt.

      If you shouldn’t be forced to pay for my charitable ideals, neither should be I be forced to pay for your prejudicial education system.

      • john

        You mean like the Amish, who are exempt from our wars, pay no social security taxes, are exempt from state school above 8th grade and so on…  it may be time for us to review the deal the anabaptists have…

  • General Kim Jong Il

    “There are two ways in which this will come to pass: either the Church will renounce all government funding – and, eventually, even its tax-exempt status – or a hostile government will revoke them.”
    This is precisely why corporate taxes should not just be reduced, they should be abolished.  That is the only way to ensure that churches and charitable organizations are not bullied by the tax code into toeing the government line.  If the revenues must be collected somewhere else, collect them at the point where individuals profit from business activities: income, benefits, capital gains, and dividends.  It’s become a cliche, but it’s true: corporations don’t pay taxes, people do.  They show up as reduced hiring, lost wages, reduced shareholder gains and dividend payments, as well as increased prices for goods and services.  They encourage corporations to hire an army of tax accountants to square off against an army of IRS agents.

    Corporate taxes are used to pick favorites and for social engineering, they are used to force religious institutions to refrain from criticizing the government, they encourage outsourcing and the practice of off-shoring foreign profits, and they discourage reinvestment in production.

  • Nick Palmer

    Our hope is in the young. (Sorry for being wordy today…)

    On Sunday I made a post-acceptance college visit with my youngest (18). It involved father and daughter in a car for 6+ hours each way. Great opportunity for philosophical discussion.

    My daughter is a rabid Catholic — Life Teen, World Youth Day 2010, going on a Mustard Seed mission to Nicaragua this summer. She attends a very secular, very liberal prep school where she is an outspoken yet respectful Catholic. My wife and I chose not to insulate our kids from the secular world (and I am wholly sympathetic with those who do so through home schooling or more Catholic-focused high schools and colleges, this was just our choice). As a result, they have become comfortable arguing their position while building and maintaining friendships. This daughter, too, is a philosopher and rhetorician. She will major in Classics, and fortunately has been accepted at her top two choices of college (one US, one overseas). [I’m sorry for the “proud dad” posturing, but some of it, at least, is germane.]

    On the drive she casually noted: “The Church seems to have decided that the best way to save the Faith is by focusing on the youth rather than older Catholics.” We were blessed with a pope, Blessed John Paul II, who formulated the idea of World Youth Day. He has been followed by a man who can only be described as a divine gift, Benedict XVI. This holy man simply revels in connecting with young Catholics, and they are drawn to him in an extraordinary way.

    We oldsters should look to and support these young adults. Some of what we see may seem odd or off-putting, but that’s often because we’re simply stuck in our ways. These youth are, paradoxically, our own future. I firmly believe that the best use of our efforts will be in encouraging and supporting — time, money, love, patience — all of the emerging ministries these “kids” have become involved with. They are the new evangelists.

    It would likely take less effort to empower 1,000 young Catholics than to convert a Senator John Kerry from his error-filled ways. The Church is becoming a wiser steward of its precious resources.

    • Carl

      Your post reminds me of a two frame comic strip a saw a while back.  The first frame was depicting a 60’s hippie smoking something funny with a peace sign tee shirt—noise and paraphernalia all around.  The second frame was a modern radical…a plain nondescript Christian quietly praying. 

    • Guest

      I agree that the Church has decided to go for the young rather than their elders, but it’s a shame. Not all of them are Pelosi, Biden, and Kerry. Many were badly catechized in the aftermath of Vatican II. Many of them need the support that the Church should give. It’s easy to go to youth; there’s no baggage to get rid of. But their elders are also children of God. What about them?

      • Nick Palmer

        Guest — at one level I share your concern. Yet, I find that these same youth are extremely effective connecting with older Catholics, like myself. I don’t need to be St. Augustine to confess that at 18 I was nothing whatsoever like my own 18-year-old. My journey back to the Church was tortuous.

        I now find that my daughter’s enthusiasm and learning (she’s associating with a very well-educated collection of Catholics) actually are helping me in my faith formation.

        So, my hope is that these young Catholics will evangelize not just their peers, but their “elders,” too. It’s a bit humbling for me, but given my own shortcomings, a decent dose of humility is a good thing!

        It’s really a questions of “return on investment.” I think the Church has it right.

  • Dan McDonald

    I am a Protestant but not anti-Catholic.  If your charities are dependant on the people of the church giving to them to meet the needs of those to whom you minister, then I believe you will discover that such dependance on God’s people for charity will be met with enthusiasm and sacrificial devotion.  When the Church, be it Protestant or Catholic depends on forces outside the church to fund its programs the first thing that will take place is the people of God come to believe they are not essential to the programs in place.  God will glorify Himself and exalt His people when they trust in him.

    • Carl


    • Rosemary

      thank you, Dan.  All I can say is “ditto”.  The Church must wean itself from Federal largesse.

    • Lefty048

       do you actually think the bishops and cardinals will give up money?   they live in very nice houses.  it will never happen.   also  a good number of catholics who support the church are union members who are being thrown under the bus  and the bishops have said nothing.   where will this money come from?   well they always took it from the mafia and of course there is always money laundering?  that’s pretty recent.

    • HB

      Please clarify. I agree that the Church should not be dependent on Caesar’s largesse, in my opinion they should stay away from that but… asking for alms and donations to the faithful is not the only way. For example the monasteries of the Middle Ages survived by practicing agriculture and developing services and products that they could piously barter or sell.  The New Testament reminds us that St. Paul fixed tents. It is possible to have self-sufficient ministries such as hospitals, or a printing press. Those ministries can sometimes be self sufficient and avoid being a burden on the laity. In servicing the needs of the poor the Church should develop ways to teach self sufficiency too.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Well put, Dan McDonald.  I see that some Protestants have learned from the experience of past Protestants turning their schools over to the government only to have them secularized then made openly anti-Christian within one lifetime.

      Christians in general have had too much rendering unto Caesar going on.  Government must decrease so that morality can increase.

  • john

    Absolutely splendid… but they will divide and conquer us over war… the church is clear, although heretofore ineffective, on abortion, but gives politicians a complete pass on war.  The argument is abortion is always wrong, and war is a matter of prudential judgment.  Catholics at the social justice picnic went from the tendentious prudential judgment abortion (indirect, non-intended death of a child to save a mother) to total license.  So it is with pro-war Catholics: from tendentious prudential judgment exceptions to total license.  Until his Bishop denies Santorum communion, the battle will not be engaged.  (And note, Santorum does vote for taxpayer funding of abortifacients, but being prowar, he gets a pass.)  Bernardin had it right, and he also had the fight.  Unless we confess all of our sins, we’ll lose.

    • Carl

      Your post is so absurd. 

      Then our US Constitution is “prowar” too.
      *  Article I Section eight gives the power to Congress to declare and fund wars
      *  Article II Section two gives the President the title of Commander and Chief

      *  abortion is  non-negotiable
      *  The  Church respects the right of the state to declare war—self defense

      • Carl

        Really, and Iran has no history of being provocatively hostile to the US and it’s  neighbors?
        *   It hasn’t called for the destruction of Israel
        *   Nuclear Energy for consumer use is their only purpose? LOL
        *   What about the Nuclear arms race?  It’s OK, for Arabs?

        • john


          You could not have done a better job of illustrating exactly what I am saying.


          • Jay Wocky

             I second John.

        • Drew

           1. Iran hasn’t attacked any other nation in the lifetime of anyone alive today.

          2. The “call for the destruction of Israel” by the president of Iran has been shown to have been a mistranslation (intentional?) of what he actually said.

          3. The IAEA has repeatedly determined that all of Iran’s actions fit within their rights as a signatory to the NPT.

          4. There is no nuclear arms race (LOL, have to be a moron to think so). We have over 10,000 nukes, the Arabs have ZERO. How is that a race? I hope you are not counting the 200 nukes that Israel has as “Arab” nukes in your imaginary race. BTW, Israel has all those nukes, has never signed the NPT, has no international safeguards, and has repeatedly attacked its neighbors in my lifetime. Hard to believe that some people think that Iran is the “provocatively hostile” power in the Middle East!!!

          This would be a big laugh if the consequences about such uninformed beliefs didn’t directly threaten the lives and well-being of so many people across the world…

          • Carl

            * Turkey and Pakistan have nukes = Arab
            * Regionally Greece, Israel, and India have nukes
            * Iraq, Libya, and I’m sure others sought after nukes
            This = nuclear arms race.

            * I wasn’t implying Iran or any other Arab state would win a nuclear war with anybody.  Does another 9/11 ring a bell?
            * “signatory to the NPT” Oh, that changes my opinion—Not.

            “mistranslation (intentional?)”LOL
            He really meant “Let us Love Israel as a Brother?!”LOL, and Iran doesn’t support terrorism against Israel through Hamas and others?

            Yea, and the IAEA part of the UN is really any better than the UN itself. Of the 152 Member states how many are friendly to the US or Israel?  I’ll add another LOL.


            • Drew

               1) Turkey and Pakistan are not ARAB countries. I am sure both peoples would be offended at your characterization of them as Arab.

              It should be clear to even those with the most limited reading skills that the “Iraq nuke scare” was a Bush propaganda line to get the American people to go along with the invasion of Iraq. Same goes for our invasion of Libya. The “nuclear arms race” in the Middle East is mostly a figment of neoconservative war-mongering politicians, so that they can justify their hegemony of the major energy producing countries.

              2) Yes, Carl, it is sooo Christian to invade other countries, kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and throw millions into abject poverty  because someday their government MIGHT POTENTIALLY have the ability to create another “9/11”. Of course, if they were not motivated to do that before, our war-mongering will certainly give them the motivation in the future. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, eh?

              3) Mistranslation – check out the following link:
              See Section 1.1, Translation Controversy
              Don’t also forget to mention that we supply with all of the bombs and ordnance that they have dropped on innocent people throughout the region. WE are the biggest supporter of terrorism throughout the world (although we always refer to our proxies as “freedom fighters”, so that we don’t appear so obviously hypocritical to those that don’t look past the 30 second sound bites).

              If you don’t believe the IAEA, then read the last publicly released NIE that concluded that Iran has probably discontinued its nuclear weapon program back in 2003.

            • James

              The Turkish and Pakistani people are NOT ARAB, and Turkey and Greece are NOT KNOWN to have nuclear weapons. You misunderstanding of basic facts seriously impinges your credibility to comment upon this issue. A nuclear arms race would imply an increasing amount of nuclear weapons in the region over the past decade. We have reduced our stockpile (though, not by enough), and the ARABS have produced zero. Again, the “race” is in your imagination.

               Raining death and destruction to many innocent peoples over fear of another 9/11 is an unholy and unChristian act (and attitude). I clearly remember Jesus encouraging His followers to be martyrs for the faith, but missed the part where He said that they should make their “enemies” be martyrs for their faith.

              No, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not say “Let us love Israel as a brother”, but he also did not call for anyone to “wipe Israel off of the map”. What he said was that the Israeli government is not legitimate, and that its time here is coming to an end. Our own government has said the same thing about numerous foreign governments, and then has worked through the CIA and its front organizations to overthrow those governments (even if they were democratic!). Where is the big, scary difference between the US and Iran? There HAS to be that difference, however, if you are a neoconservative warmonger that wants to extend American hegemony across the Middle East and Southwestern Asia. The motivation to mistranslate Ahmadinejad is therefore obvious.

              You are not really “pro-life” by being anti-abortion, but then supporting the culture of death that we spread across the world with our troops and our weapons. I am positive that our government is completely immoral and unChristian as we spread death through Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and probably many other places that I do not know about. John nailed the hypocrisy and timidness of the Catholic Bishops in this regard.

          • Drew

            1) you mean besides the United States And Iraq (and providing munitions to Syria for attacks against Israel) or do you think that everyone’s lifetime started in the late 1980s?   

            2) Bet my Farsi is better then your Farsi, and your translation explanation is pretty silly.

            3) Thats totally different then any of the 3 latest reports, where did you find this out, or did you not actually read the IAEA reports, just believed what you wanted. 

            • Drew

               1) If you remember correctly, Iraq (Hussein) invaded Iran. They responded, of course, in self-defense. They have never attacked any of their neighbors. The students taking over the US Embassy in 1979 hardly qualifies as an “attack on the US”. It was a predictable reaction to our letting the Shah take refuge in the US after we put him in power in 1953, and then he proceeded to terrorize the Iranian people with the Savak. If giving (or selling) munitions qualifies as “attacking” another country, we have aggressively attacked practically every country in the world over the past century.

              2) See this Wikipedia entry…
              Section 1.1 discusses the controversy.

              3) It is clear that they comply with the NPT, although they have not cooperated on the Additional Protocol. The reports also make clear that there is no evidence that  the Iranians have diverted any nuclear material from their declared sites.

              All of this ignores the fact that there is no moral imperative for Iran to NOT develop nuclear weapons to defend itself from its nuclear-equipped foes (as the US and Israel clearly declare themselves to be). It is clearly unChristian for the US to continue to beat the war drums against a country that poses little or no threat to either of us, or for trying (maybe) to acquire a meager few weapons that we possess in the tens of thousands.

            • James

               1A) Iran never attacked Iraq. It was the other way around. Iran fought a defensive war.
              1B) Iran has never attacked the US. Students took over the US Embassy in 1979 because we refused to extradite the Shah ( a brutal dictator whom we put into power in 1953 when the CIA overthrew their democratically elected president).
              1C) If providing munitions to another country is an act of aggressive war, then the US is at war with most of the world (being the largest supplier of arms in the history of the world).

              2) For the translation controversy, look up “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel” on Wikipedia, and go to section 1.1.  Most likely, he said that the Israeli government is illegitimate, and will be swept away over time. The US declares other governments illegitimate all the time.

              3) The reports VERIFIED the non-diversion of all the enriched fuel made at their declared facilities. They hedge their conclusions by stating that it cannot be a “certainty” because there is some “evidence” that there MIGHT BE “secret” facilities somewhere enriching fuel out of view of the IAEA. Want to bet that the “evidence” they use to hedge their conclusion has been fabricated by our CIA? (Remember them, the same organization that overthrew the democratic government of Iran in 1953, and provided false evidence in the early 2000’s of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program?)

          • Jomarie46

            Sorry Drew on Number one…. how many thousands of Iraqi’s did Iran murder over years and years of war.  Also, Iran subsidizes terrorists. Sorry.  I disagree.

            • Michael Mullins

              Considering that Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 and seized control of the Arvand river

            • toneii

              What are you talking about Jomarie? Iraq attacked and invaded Iran, and Iran defended itself.  

      • No, your post is absurd.

        *The respected right to self-defense DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER INCLUDE pre-emptive war or ridiculous total wars using indiscriminate weapons and tactics against indigenous peoples defending against an invasion, all on the pretext that the tens of millions of people who live there should make their government do things the US government wants them to do (like support wars elsewhere!).

        • smith_citizen

          Marco: Can you put your argument into Thomastic principles such as  Just War Theory otherwise I will think you will even espouse the Terrorist is a Freedom Fighter argument and moral equivalency.

        • Dmikem


          These wars are not and were not pre-emptive.  In Iraq we responded to the invasion of Kuwait after Hussein trumped up reasons to invade it.  In Afganistan, does 9/11 ring a bell?  In both

          Do you think Israel should sit around waiting for Iran to drop the big on one them?  I don’t.

      • Carl

        CCC 2258 through 2260, just war and self-defense.
        Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who
        is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good
        requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For
        this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right
        to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to
        their responsibility.
        *   There is no restrictions against a “preemptive” war
        *  There are preemptive wars in  the Old Testament! (Canaanite Tribes, Deut. 20:17)
        *   The First Gulf War can’t be separated from the second, Saddam failed to live up to his UN promises.  Iraq started the war by invading Kuwait.  Al Qaeda was headquartered in Afghanistan.
        *  The Church is not in the business declaring Just Wars—unjust wars!
        *  Who in com box land is authorized to declare any war unjust?  Are you God?

        • Silky Johnson

          Carl, you may have forgotten that John Paul II said that America’s war in Iraq was not a just war, having failed magnificently at meeting the criteria.

        • James

           CCC 2258 through 2260 argue against your position, as they detail why murder is considered a grave sin.

          CCC 2265: Your conclusions are without basis in fact. The teaching of the Church says that “an unjust aggressor” can be attacked. This IS clearly a prohibition against “preemptive” war, as you have to wait until the other party actually commits an act of aggression. Also, the teaching clearly states that “those who legitimately hold authority..use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.” Clearly, the people of the Middle East are not the civil community that is the responsibility of the US government. Our government is not the LEGITIMATE authority of the Iraqi, Libyan, Syrian, or any other people of the Middle East. You have horribly misconstrued a clear teaching of the Catechism.

          Old Testament argument – how can a Catholic Christian take the wrong lesson from an OT book and use it to contradict the teachings of Jesus? Jesus clearly that taught non-violence is the way to the Father. He is the fulfillment of the law, so your OT example has to be missing the point.

          The 1st Gulf War can clearly be separated from the 2nd. Saddam did live up to the UN conditions. Our government fabricated charges of building weapons of mass destruction, etc., in order to justify our aggression. ALL of those reasons turned out, in the end, to have been disproved.

          Just War Theory requires that violence be a last resort. The Taliban agreed to give us OBL if we would provide them proof of his complicity behind the attacks of 9/11. Instead of doing so, we went right to military action. Clearly in violation of Just War Theory, and contrary to His teachings. (Revenge is such a powerful emotion, and our government used it to maximum effect to draw many Christian people into supporting unChristian acts.)

          Each person should look at the facts of any violence, and determine if its use is just or not. This includes soldiers that not only have the right, but the duty, to disobey immoral orders. To find the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to fit Just War Theory criteria, you would have to be a person without a conscience that has been developed in the light of the teachings of our Lord.

          As Silky said, John Paul II declared that our war against Iraq was unjust. It seems to me as a Catholic, that you would need to have some pretty clear and powerful evidence to call upon to contradict the declaration of the Pope in moral matters such as this.

      • Drew

        The absurd position is the one that posits that war against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iran are defensive!!! You have to be clearly without conscience to believe that the political/economic relationships between and within the states of the Middle East/Southwestern Asia in any way threaten the United States. Clearly our government is engaged in an immoral drive to maintain American hegemony over the rest of the world (no matter how many innocent people are killed in the process).

    • I have long thought most recriminations against Iraq or other wars quite..inept.

      We didn’t get into Iraq or the Middle East overnight, nor did anyone truthfully address the concerns related to the region when we invaded Iraq the second time.  If you wish to scream about unjust war and Santorum, you might also want to pester the bishops of several other politicians who decided to vote in favor of armed force..TWICE!

      If you wish to howl about Iraq or whatever, I’d like to know why you
      haven’t blasted those illustrious Democrats for their actions. After
      2006, they had control of both houses of Congress; had they wished, they
      could’ve conducted thorough investigations related to what all happened vs what all SHOULD have happened.  They did not, so I suspect either they knew very well what happened and didn’t object enough to make an issue of it, or else they decided to abandon their Constitutionally mandated jobs and instead played politics.
      Either way, they had ample opportunity to cause something different to happen.  They did not.

      You have a vaguely useful point with regard to the concerns related to pre-emptive war, but I’d remind you that military officers HAVE been charged with not only winning wars, but doing so in a manner that minimizes casualties on both sides, but ours especially.
      I have yet to hear any compelling argument to demonstrate how the pre-emptive war we fought might’ve been solved otherwise.  I’ve heard rumblings about what the UN MIGHT have considered, but nothing substantive that I could take as a credible alternative to what we did.

  • Tim Knepp

    I wish I would have written this article. Couldn”t agree more. Now we need to start rebuilding our school system.

  • Alecto

    Well blow me over with a feather.  I think I must have unknowingly been preparing for this moment my whole life.  Some, perhaps even many middle aged Catholics, are not badly catechized, do attend mass, confession, know how to pray the rosary and understand more than this clergy gives credit for understanding and living?  What I can’t do, is contribute substance or excess to causes which are opposed to what I believe as a Catholic.  Don’t even ask me to contribute time or money to crazy social justice causes.  That is my perogative and because it’s purely prudential, I have no obligation to contribute.   

    I guess I just don’t understand this attitude that somehow the laity wasn’t supposed to be a part of the Church militant, only the supreme high command of the bishops loaded onto the motherships.  In my humble opinion they have failed true and faithful Catholics time and time again.  Bishops won’t perpetuate the Catholic faith, the laity will and has for 2000 years.  Think about the children at Fatima.  Who do these bishops think were teaching those kids to pray, to live as a Catholic?  The bishop?  Uh huh.  Their parents were.

    I think it’s time for the love affair with the Catholic clergy to end.  They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.  Why the hushed reverential tones and complete deference to people I honestly believe are my inferiors in everyway (yes, I know that’s pride and I’m working on it)?  Why no criticism for 44 years?  Why not question their obvious deep attachment to a political ideology that has, at its core, the destruction of all religion?  Just asking. 

    • seek the truth

      Your words have captured the frustration I have been experiencing as Catholic for the last 30 years.  Thank you.

    • Silky Johnson

      It’s interesting to me that Vatican II allegedly got rid of clericalism. I think it’s been worse in the last 50 years than ever before for the simple reason that when you relinquish the claim to Truth, all you have in its stead is power. So,the clergy have been flexing their power (which they’ve called authority, but without Truth, there is no authority) making Catholics fall in lock step with the utter garbage pseudo-theology than seminaries have taught for years, and to which the faithful have received the dumbed down version from the pulpits and in Church bulletins.
      The most authoritarian bishops and priests are the hard-leftist. Pray in Latin, pray the rosary, say the mass reverently, preach a pro-life sermon, encourage vocations, preach the real Gospel rather than the Social Gospel, etc., and you will be assigned to a nursing home or left without any assignment, thus meaning you must live in your mom’s attic. If orthodox priests get shafted for these superficial reasons, imagine what happens to a priest who is substantially greater than his peers or bishop, and you will see Christ crucified here and now.
      The trouble the RCC has with the government right now is 100% the result of the bishops’ and priests’ utter failure in their vocation. What a despicable group of sell-outs. At least Judas had the common courtesy to try to return his 30 pieces of silver. The USCCB has in my lifetime only sought more and more silver pieces. “Uncharitable!” cries the Catholic bishop, “I’d hand over Jesus for FREE!”

      The only thing that makes the RCC look extremely attractive right now is the Episcopal Church. The Israelites were never so blasphemous with the golden calf and dalliances with Moeloch and Baal, as the Episcopal Church is with whatever neo-paganism it is into now. I pray for the Catholic Church that it doesn’t go the way of the Episcopal Church. Right now the RCC seems only to be about 20 years behind the TEC on the nuttiness curve. Perhaps this is the wake up call you all need to prevent you from going off the deep end. As it stands, your clergy and hierarchy have been doing their damnedest for the last 50 years to disprove Jesus’ promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. I’m praying for you, but since I can count all of your good bishops on one hand and still have enough finger to play a guitar solo like Eddie Van Halen, I’m not entirely hopeful.

      • Christopher Lake

        As one who fell away from the Church (for over almost 15 years) largely due to being poorly catechized, I empathize with your frustration… but there are many good bishops and priests.  At St. Bernadette’s in Silver Spring, Maryland, the liturgy is celebrated reverently– including strong, challenging homilies with solid exegesis *and* exhortation.  I also know how terribly difficult it is to be in a parish where that is not the case.  Don’t give up, brother.  The times are indeed hard, but the gates of Hell will not prevail, though it may seem so in some places… 

        • Christopher Lake

           omit the “over” (15 years)… keep the “almost”… typing after a long night 🙂

      • Alecto

        Excellent points.  Yes, and therein lies the future – the laity, not the clerics.  If my mom can continue to be a faithful, observant Catholic after all the insults she’s endured from communists priests and my parents raised 3 out of 5 (not bad odds in this day and age and we’re working on the other 2), I believe the people in the pews are the ones bound for glory. 

  • I have yet to hear any such homily for our pastor.  

  • PA123

    Even distancing the Church’s charitable work from government funding will not protect it or us from Obama’a attack on religious freedom.  The HHS mandate applies to all employers, including those who don’t receive a dime of federal funding.  The exception is religious bodies whose purpose is worship and whose employees and those served are of the faith in question.  Freedom of religion is defined down to freedom to worship.  If your religion requires and has always practiced evangelization, charity, education, and health care and extended these to those of all faiths and none, you are out of luck.  Will these Catholic organizations be able to survive only by firing their non-Catholic staff and turning away non-Catholics at the door, that is by denying their Catholic mission?

  • smith_citizen

    Yep, time to man up regardless of our remedial education; Deus Vult!

  • dennissinclair

    I have tried to convince our pastor to read the archbishop’s letter, but he won’t.  He apologized profusely for not reading it and told everyone “It’s in the bulletin.”  We, the laity, had to drag him to a pro-life rally.  Oh, well.  The laity is trying.

  • One very persistant and blinding secular doctrine must be debunked before we can move forward with all of this.  “You must NOT be divisive.”  We will all be inundated with this evil maxim for daring to separate from the new golden calf that is the government. 

    I for one believe that God is now going to separate the sheep from the goats worldwide.  Remember, despite what the liberals say, that is a good thing.

    Fiat Voluntas Tua

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  • Phil Homer

    Charity: Voluntary? Or Mandatory?
    – If it is mandatory it is not Charity – If government mandates it, it is enforceable by men with guns which certainly is not Charity!

  • The reformed are standing with you on this one. We can argue theology as we man the barricades (nothing like a good theological debate to warm the blood) but being an arm of the state is in fact idolatry, and has to stop. 

    Besides, we don’t want to fund abortions either.

  • Dr Paolucci

    Superb article. I would like to add one important point, for all of us to consider. The next time anyone in the Catholic church asks us (the laity) to help the poor, please respond with this question: “Do you mean the poor in materialism or in spirit?”

    • Carl

      Poor in materialism is subjective.  The poor as defined by our government and its supporters are materially rich by any standard elsewhere around the world.

      In most cases its the individual and family’s responsibility to provide material wealth, fellow Christians can help here but the Church should be all about the spiritual wealth. 

  • jugfish

    Powerful article.  I am a convert to the church as of 2001 and it has always puzzled me as to why the Catholic church in America has been so cozy with Democrats.  Now I know why.


    Thank you for such an enlightening and informative article. My only concern is that you list a lay organization noted for its’ charity that the head of which earns over $1mil/yr. Furthermore this organization has members in the NY legislature that voted yes recently for the gay rights bill, and they did nothing about it. Just who is this person and organization? ”
    Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, ardently champions the lay vocation of volunteering – by his knights and by the rest of us.” 
    Until they clean up their act, I will have nothing to do with them. 

  • hombre111

    “What is wrong with contraception.  We know, but what about the others?”  So the article says.  But if Humanae Vitae cannot convince millions of its members, moral theologians who do not depend on the Church for their job, and most Christians, maybe Catholics should start to wonder, what do they see that we are unable to see?

    • peadarban

      They probably see themselves, like what they see and want to keep it happy, well fed, and pleasantly occupied making it feel good and “be the best it can be” living life to the fullest, tolerating and being tolerated and  enjoying their rights.

      • hombre111

        Nice folks.  I work with a lot of them in prison ministry.  And in St. Vincent de Paul. 

        • peadarban

          Indeed.  I put a lot of them in prison, and work with a lot of them in SVDeP.  I have always said I never met a bad guy (or girl) I did not like.

  • Mike Clark

    This article is very perceptive and accurate. The crazy 60’s and 70’s came close to destroying our Church. Thanks to the decisions by Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the Bishops in the the US have become decidedly conservative. After 30 years of under-education in the Faith, it will take time to right this Ship. Our youth, young, and mid-life adults have not been educated in the Faith. Hopefully the upcoming persecutions will lead our laity to the self-education and development from which will spring a renewal in Faith and missionary zeal.

  • Santorum is the perfect example how the people (like Carl) can be mislead to a warmongering neoconservative just because he talks a good game on social issues (although he thinks Church moral teaching needs to enforced by SWAT teams). Rick apparently hasn’t listened to Pope John Paul II on both Iraq wars or Pope Benedict on more recent escalations. War should always be a last resort but among typical Republican Catholics like Santorum and Gingrich, it is always the first option. And the Catholic communities in the middle east that can trace their roots back  centuries are victims of the neoconservative quest to spread global democracy. Preemptive warfare could not be more directly opposed to the Augustinian traditional Church teaching on a Just War. Any attempts to make some twisted argument otherwise is usually laughable on its face.

    • Carl

      Patrick is a perfect example of the Left:
      *Name calling
      *Straw man arguments
      * Doesn’t site the CCC or anything else
      * Emotional exaggerations
      * Passes judgments unto others while offering no solutions themselves

      RATZINGER: The Pope has very clearly expressed his thoughts, not only as the thoughts of an individual, but as the thoughts of a man of conscience occupying the highest functions in the Catholic Church. Of course, he has not imposed this position as a doctrine of the Church, but as the appeal of a conscience enlightened by the faith…Without considering then that we must begin asking ourselves whether as things stand, with new weapons that cause destruction that goes well beyond the groups involved in the fight, it is still licit to allow that a “JUST WAR” MIGHT STILL EXIST.
      RATZINGER: When I said that the Pope’s stance is not a question of the doctrine of the faith but is the outcome of a judgment made by an enlightened conscience…

      * Rick has said that he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons—has not declared war
      * How well are the Christians doing in the Arab spring states like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Syria?  
      * Democrats bombed Christians into submission and then gave half a country to Muslims in Kosovo.

      • Carl

        Preemptive warfare:

        * Enlighten me to Church teachings where this is
        NOT licit.

        * Old Testament has plenty of examples of
        Preemptive wars…(Canaanite Tribes)

         Let’s further discuss a simplistic common just
        war argument.  Your daughter is being
        brutally raped.  You stop this person but
        severely injure or kill him in the process. 
        Are you saying that you should have exhausted all negotiations
        first including informing the “accused criminal” that the police have been
        informed and are on the way? Take a video of actual act for future criminal
        case and wait for police to arrive?

         Now let’s advance to a preemptive war:

        The video you took made for an easy conviction,
        now the guilty person is threatening to kill your daughter when he gets out of
        prison.  The rapist escapes from prison and
        finds you and your daughter carrying a knife—iphone video time again?     

      • john


        Carl leaves out the main part of the Ratzinger quote, and changes the conclusion…

        The Holy Father’s judgment is also convincing from the rational point of view: There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a “just war.”

        Carl, It will not do to try to help you, like the pro-abortion people, if you are going to be simply dishonest.

  • Jomarie46

    One of the most powerful challenges to the American Catholic Church in years.  Truly this is going to require a lot of prayer and work on the part of both the laity and clergy.  Right on target here!  Government funded entitlements cannot be society’s backbone for social justice.  It just doesn’t work and was not meant to do so.  The politics of the moment will always play the hand and the loss of self-determination is the price paid.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  A country without faith, rooted in secular ideals is usually a loser for social justice.  “A mountain to climb?”  For sure!!!!

  • Newmissallatin

    Oh yeah! the bishop says it’s up to the laity to take the lead. What we need is some leadership from our church leaders. Let the leaders lead, the laity will follow, as they ought, supporting their beloved clergy.

  • Johnno

    I agree. It’ll be difficult for the transitional phase, but the Church ought to lose its tax exempt status, it will inevitably be taken from it one way or another. Better to render to Ceasar what is his. That way we won’t be muzzled and can vocally fight and proclaim Church teachings in public and in elections. THe laity must also become more communally driven and give of themselves voluntarily and when necessary financially to help others and one another. We’re going to be in this together.

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  • I would like permission to post your article everywhere! It should be read from the pulpit by every priest in America.

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