The Day After: A Declaration of War

“We’ve grown hoarse saying this is not about contraception, this is about religious freedom,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan has repeatedly insisted, regarding the lawsuits opposing the HHS Obamacare Mandate.

I beg to differ. On both prudential and metaphysical grounds, it is about contraception.

On the practical level, in politics, as Grover Norquist reminds us, you don’t get two desserts. With the loss at the Supreme Court, we will have to adopt the position that the Mandate is a bad law and we will not follow it regardless of our loss in court. “Sore losers!” will come the reply.

Why not just tell the truth now? Yes, our First Amendment rights are fundamental – in fact, they existed long before the Bill of Rights was written. But the courts are no longer bound by Jefferson’s “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and they have said so. With regard to our religious freedom, they simply cannot be trusted. And for that judgment we have ample precedent.

New York Gov. Charles Evans Hughes, before he became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, affirmed 95 years ago that “we are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is, and the judiciary is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property under the Constitution.”

Actually, Your Honor, the Constitution is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property. But the Supreme Court has been glad to arrogate to itself that august task. In Cooper v. Aaron (1958), a unanimous Court made it clear:

Article VI of the Constitution makes the Constitution the “supreme Law of the Land.” In 1803, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for a unanimous court, referring to the Constitution as the “fundamental and paramount law of the nation, declared in the notable case of Marbury v. Madison that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” This decision declared that basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this court in the country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system.”

Which brings us to the metaphysical level – or, rather, to the denial of metaphysics altogether. If “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” – that is, the Natural Law – no longer constrain the Court’s powers, what – beyond judicial caprice — is to protect our First Amendment rights? Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez acknowledges America’s Christian roots, but goes on to observe that “our freedoms are also being eroded as the result of constant agitation from de-Christianizing and secularizing elements in American society.” Unfortunately, those “elements” now dominate our legal system, where “the Dictatorship of Relativism” abounds in the robes of Legal Positivism.

Natural Law Need Not Apply

Legal Positivism rests on the assumption that the law need have no basis in morality. As Notre Dame Professor of Constitutional Law Charles Rice has noted, “Hans Kelsen, the father of legal positivism, observed that Auschwitz and the Soviet Gulags were valid law. He could not criticize them as unjust because justice, he said, is ‘an irrational ideal.’”

Kelsen’s view holds not only for Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, but for America today. During the Senate hearings considering the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden repeatedly browbeat the nominee about the dangers of applying the Natural Law in American jurisprudence. “You come before this committee with a philosophy different from that which we have seen in any Supreme Court nominee in the [last] 19 years,” he sniffed. What did Biden find so “different”? Simple: “You are an adherent to the view that the Natural Law should inform the Constitution.” Biden couldn’t have been more clear: appeals to the Natural Law will fail in the Supreme Court.

Senator Patrick Leahy then asserted that the Natural Law is “elastic,” a notion which Biden seconded by alleging that his version of the Natural Law protects abortion rights. But Judge Thomas would not engage the legal issue. “My interest in the whole area was as a political philosophy,” he told Biden.

Biden, Leahy, and Thomas are all Catholics. So is Justice Kennedy, who wrote in 1992 that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Clearly current jurisprudence has sundered the courts from the true source of justice. They simply cannot be trusted.

Catholic? Or American?

In Cardinal Dolan’s May 12 commencement speech at Catholic University, he exulted “that this university is both Catholic and American, flowing from the most noble ideals of truth and respect for human dignity that are at the heart of our Church and our country.” Indeed, ever since Cardinal Gibbons, American prelates have labored to make Catholics “good Americans.” But today the bishops — longtime supporters, collaborators, and beneficiaries of the federal government — have suddenly awakened to the fact that the government might have filed for divorce.

Clearly, Catholics have every right to demand that the courts respect what Cardinal Dolan’s address called the “essential ingredient in American wisdom and the genius of the American republic … the freedom it allows for religion to flourish.” However, our positivist courts roundly reject the notion that they might have any responsibility to do so. The courts have revised the First Amendment repeatedly over the years, and they are likely to do so again. After all, “the Constitution is what they say it is.”

Is The Truth “Too Hot To Handle”?

What cannot be revised, however, is Humanae Vitae. There, Natural Law and the Teaching and Tradition of the Church combine to illuminate our troubled world with the brilliant, saving light of eternal moral truth. Why hasn’t Cardinal Dolan even mentioned Humanae Vitae, at least en passant, in the current Fortnight of Freedom? Aren’t our freedoms grounded on truth – the Way, the Truth, and the Life? After all, the Truth is still the Truth, whatever the courts say it is.

Cardinal Dolan has candidly admitted why he doesn’t want contraception to be the issue: the bishops, he told the Wall Street Journal in March, haven’t taught Humanae Vitae for 44 years. In essence, he has admitted that, when it comes to sexual morality, our shepherds have abandoned the teachings both of the Magisterium and the Natural Law ever since Vatican II.

“We have gotten gun-shy…in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality,” he said. The “flashpoint” was Humanae Vitae: “It brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the Church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first-person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa. We’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle.’”

Cardinal Dolan went on to regret that the clerical abuse and cover-up scandals have attenuated even more the authority of our bishops. The scandals “intensified our laryngitis over speaking about issues of chastity and sexual morality, because we almost thought, ‘I’ll blush if I do. . . . After what some priests and some bishops, albeit a tiny minority, have done, how will I have any credibility in speaking on that?'”

Cardinal Dolan proposed no program to reverse this half-century trend.

The laity have every right to know that however weak the voice of our bishops has been on moral matters in our lifetimes, the truth has not been abrogated. And when the law attacks the truth, the decision is simple: lex malla, lex nulla. As Aquinas puts it, “human law is law only by virtue of its accordance with right reason; and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence.” (ST I-II 93.3 ad 2)

Avoid contraception? Avoid Humanae Vitae? Abandon Natural Law? If we do, we are left naked before a sterile secular sword wielded by the Dictatorship of Relativism. Moreover, on the practical level, as Mary Eberstadt observes in her penetrating Adam and Eve After the Pill, “contraceptive sex … is the fundamental social fact of our time.”

Which brings to mind: doesn’t Humanae Vitae teach genuine “Social Justice”?

Pope Benedict knows the score. He has repeatedly offered encouragement regarding the Church’s moral teachings to various groups of bishops on the ad limina visits to Rome. “I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended,” he told a group from the United Kingdom.  To bishops from the United States he said in May, “It is no exaggeration to say that providing young people with a sound education in the faith represents the most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community in your country.”

Given the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, it is clear that Catholics cannot put their faith in princes, however highly regarded their station. We are up against the cultural haycutter — Archbishop Gomez is correct: it is not only the Obama Administration, but the entire panoply of the cultural elites that confronts the Church today as never before. Even though the elites constitute a small minority of Americans, their deleterious impact has been so profound that one wonders if it is reversible at all. Whatever those prospects, the Church cannot count on a court that has abandoned metaphysics, the Natural Law, and The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

What Is To Be Done?

One cannot blame Cardinal Dolan for pursuing the legal defense of our First Amendment rights. After all, at Catholic University, Dolan proudly hailed the school – and implicitly the church in the United States – as “both Catholic and American.” But if Cardinal Dolan were to firmly plant his feet on the Catholic Truth and the Natural Law, instead of going to the U.S. courts, it would amount to a Declaration of Independence by the American Church from America’s rotting regime. It would also constitute a Declaration of War – in this case, fully justified under the Just War doctrine because the Catholic Church, her members, and her good works have been brutally and mortally attacked.

Such a declaration would be supported by the teaching, tradition, and authority of the Church –not only declaring the ObamaCare Mandate illegitimate, but proclaiming that the American legal system is no longer to be trusted. Clearly, since Engel v. Vitale, Roe v. Wade, and a host of other deleterious Supreme Court decisions, any sane person knows that the Supreme Court, like Biden and Leahy, has only contempt for the Natural Law. But for the Church formally to announce that fact as the basis for its refusal to obey a lex malla would bring on certain retaliation, abuse, and even persecution, driven by the cultural and political elites whose power relies on the progressive degeneration of our culture and the corruption of our politics.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford has written that 1968 represents America’s “suicide attempt” – most notably evidenced within the Church by the rebellion against Humanae Vitae. What Cardinal Dolan has called the “laryngitis” of our shepherds has led to a laity that is adrift, suffocating in a culture of sin and swill. They are longing to breathe free, energized by the truth – as Pope Benedict insists, all of it. Ignoring Humane Vitae has brought the Church to the brink of suicide, yet that document is precisely the life preserver we have been longing for.

The perils of positivist law should be posted with a “no trespassing” sign when it comes to eternal truths. The Catholic Church should tell the U.S. government what religious liberty is, not the other way around.

Today our bishops are united as never before, and so are the faithful. Our bishops have our prayers, our attention, and our support. This very day the American Church is more energetic than it has been for decades.

Enough of the “laryngitis”! Now is the time to teach Humanae Vitae!

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.

  • Clement_W

    Chief Justice John Roberts has called President Obama’s bluff on our behalf. By ruling ObamaCare as a TAX, he has gutted for the near future the Imperial Presidency by preventing the abuse of the Commerce Clause.

    Using the terminology of the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life movements, the Chief Justice has given the people of the United States the single biggest and most powerful CONSTITUTIONAL Sledge-Hammer to ‘Abort’ the monstrosity of a law, The ACA Law aka ObamaCare, at the Ballot Box. In one fell swoop, The Chief Justice has given all of us, Christians, Muslims, Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Conservatives, center-left Democrats and the Independents, the chance to put our money where our pocketbooks are on November 6, 2012!

    If we do not take this chance, it only we, the people who will be to blame!

    • Alecto

       That is emphatically an incorrect reading of his muddled, incoherent opinion.   He has  expanded the power of the federal government to tax any inaction, virtually mandating behavior through an erroneous understanding of Congress’ power to tax.  .  It is without a doubt, the worst opinion written in the history of the Court, save Dred Scott, and here Roberts is Justice Taney. 

      There is no narrowing of Commerce Clause because it is considered dicta, irrelevant and certainly not part of the precedent.  Roberts is Benedict Arnold to every person who cherishes liberty, religious or otherwise. 

  • JB

    Cardinal Dolan is not proposing that the Church forego teaching Humanae Vitae. Rather, he recognizes that Christ taught us that we must be wise as serpents but simple as doves. It would be horribly imprudent to cast the debate on the HHS regs as a debate on contraception rather than on religious freedom. Sure, the Church could issue a ‘declaration of independence’ instead of trying to work within our democratic system and the courts to protect our freedom as Catholics. But we shouldn’t seek out martyrdom, and what you are proposing would amount to financial suicide for the Catholic institutions that would face fines under the HHS regs. By all means, we should continue to preach the Gospel in its fullness, but please don’t play right into the administration’s hands by saying this is all about contraception; it is not, it is fundamentally about religious freedom.

    • Famijoly

      By putting contraception front and center in the latest discourse, the bishops would have been reminding Catholics and the rest of Americans exactly WHY this attack on religious liberty is so worth fighting against.  The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is a grave evil, therefore a law that forces Catholics to acquiesce in any way with the dispensation of contraceptives impinges upon our religious liberty.  By limiting the “talking points” to a nebulous, non-contextualized concept called religious liberty, the bishops missed a golden opportunity to teach on the natural law and inform the American public WHY we Catholics consider this legislation to be an attack on our religious liberty. 

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Pascal asked “On what shall man found the order of the world which he would govern?  Shall it be on the caprice of each individual?  What confusion!  Shall it be on justice?  Man is ignorant of it.”

    Hence, “He who obeys them [the laws] because they are just, obeys a justice which is imaginary and not the essence of law; it is quite self-contained [elle est toute ramassée en soi], it is law and nothing more.”

    He recognised that appeals to Natural Law are futile, for “You are not in the state of your creation…  Thus, without Scripture, which has only Jesus Christ for its object, we know nothing and see only obscurity and confusion in God’s nature and ours.”

  • Ultramonta

    Mr. Manion’s proposal is about as ethereal and impractical an approach as ever I have seen.  The USCCB has one shot at this; that is all courts give.  Afterward their rulings become “precedent” and the issue effectively closed.  Thus, the USCCB has a clear religious liberty issue to address and we need to let it address that issue.

  • givelifeachance2

    The criticism of Dolan’s continued reticence is dead-on – what good does it do to admit your mistake if you’re not going to correct it?  

    The problem is that we Catholics could be said to be a major part of the problem for America – Roberts is a Catholic, Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius, Sister Carol (Return that Pen!) Keehan etc. etc.  Roger B. Taney, Catholic slaveholders, the New York draft rioters, etc. etc.   Our faith is such an affirmation of the Declaration, but we sure don’t show how to live it, nor to anathematize those heretics who attempt to speak for us.

    The best way that we could declare our independence from the Obomneycare state is to Go Amish (not Irish).  Have the USCCB do something right for once and set up a huge Catholic medical cost-sharing co-op like the Amish have that effectively exempts Catholics from Obomneycare.  *Not* insurance, which encourages waste, expense, and crony medical abuse – in fact, insurance should be declared anathema for Catholics, pyramiding as it does in the inevitable statist socialized medical industrial complex that plies abortion and euthanasia as freely as it does cough drops.

    This would enable Catholics to live out our faith, supporting only health care that is within the bounds of our faith.

    • Sibyl

      Hear, hear. I fully agree with this idea.

    • Rayr

       I wish to add my Hear! Hear! to Sibyl’s.  Since this whole thing broke I have thought that the only way to remain Catholic is to somehow disentangle ourselves from the mess at large and set ourselves up as the Shining Light on the Hill.  Sometimes the better way needs to be demonstrated and not just preached. 

      Already our schools and our hospitals are better than what the state provides.  So are our Catholic Charities.  In my opinion that is what is truly at play here. We are good at what we do because we look to the Truth first.  We need to get better at it.  When those outside see that the inside is so much warmer than the stark coldness of the state, they will be clamoring to get in…if the state does not let their envy show even more and completely shut down all faith based organizations.  The state does not tolerate competition very well.

  • “Have the USCCB do something right for once and set up a huge Catholic medical cost-sharing co-op like the Amish have that effectively exempts Catholics from Obomneycare. ”

    And while we’re at it, could we balkanize tax plans so those of us who considered the invasion of Iraq a war crime could get a refund? I consider it a war crime because starting all wars lead to atrocities and horrendous acts, on both sides, so starting an unnecessary war makes the invaders complicit in unnecessary suffering. Think of the collateral damage in Iraq. No, it wasn’t always deliberately caused, but think about young children screaming as their skins burn, children with limbs blown off, mothers whose babies are killed, children orphaned … 

    The HHS mandate, and remember that nobody is forced to use contraception, is trivial compared to the terrible things our tax dollars paid for in Iraq. What did we spend on every child’s scream of pain and terror? The ACA, while imperfect and conservative (it’s based on the bill Romney introduced to Massachusetts, except that Romney’s bill covers abortion, and it was developed by The Heritage Foundation) at least does good. For once, we are using our taxes to do something pro-social and ethical — care for one another’ health, instead of hurting and terrorizing people. 

    ACA is not perfect, but perhaps our Lord is thinking: “I was sick, and you comforted me.” 

    • Alecto

       Because we all know that Saddam Hussein was so forbearing with Kurds, and dissenters?  Lady, go sell crazy someplace else, got enough here!

      • So you’re saying it was an act of charity to depose Saddam and we should all have had to pay for doing so through our taxes? While at the same time, we can’t take care of our own citizens’ health? Even if it were true that Iraqis were worse off under Saddam than they are now (which I don’t believe is the case), the “I am my brother’s/sister’s keeper” argument applies to health care here in the US just as much as it would if we had indeed prevented (rather than caused) extreme suffering amongst Iraqis. 

        • susan

          Hey Meggie,  what obama’s given us ISN’T healthcare….it is a nightmarish tax and destroy abomination that will implode healthcare in this country!  Your and your fellow comrades’ ‘good intentions’ will be the painful death of us all….history is VERY clear on that.

        • John200

           This was misplaced above. It goes here, in reply to Meggie Graham’a comment.
          Remarkable silly attempt at parallels, ma’am. Mr. Manion’s argument
          would be unchanged if there did not exist a place called Iraq.

          By all means, do feel free to sell this elsewhere. You are embarrassing yourself.

          • “Mr. Manion’s argument 
            would be unchanged if there did not exist a place called Iraq.”

            The point is not specifically Iraq — Iraq is but one example of many. It is that if a subset of Catholics are entitled to be exempt from a tax they consider immoral, that opens the door to tax exemptions for all of us on every issue over which we have ethical quibbles. Why should Jewish people have to contribute to FDA enforcement of trichinosis laws if they consider eating pork to be immoral? Why should just war proponents have to pay for unethical imperialistic adventures? Why should Jehovah’s Witnesses have to pay any portion of health care that might include blood transplants? Why should environmentalists have to provide corporate welfare for companies that damage the environment? The quote I selected in my original post wasn’t the most pertinent. My argument was directed toward those who claim they will refuse to pay for a law they consider immoral.

            • John200

              Feel free to sell as much of this as you can. You are embarrassing yourself. Now I shall look away.

              • Meggie

                LOL! If you want to “look away”, why do you keep popping yourself up here and revisiting this thread? 

                • John200

                  Other readers might be influenced. Other comments have been worth reading. Up to this point, yours are pretty much self-refuting, which is one reason to look away, but let that pass.

                  The stronger reason to look away is that this exchange is getting personal, which it should not be, especially since all I know about you is a collection of desperate words presented to me on a screen.

                  Now lefties do habitually make the impersonal personal, so maybe that’s it. Perhaps you are LOL at yourself? You would have good reason.

                  Enfin, I look away because you are an embarrassment. I revisit this thread because it pleases me to do so. I could ask you the same question, but no need. Let that pass, too.

  • hombre111

     Humanae Vitae, because it is a rational argument based on natural law, is flawed.  Three reasons: 1) Its logic.  By its logic couples should not be having sex during infertile periods and couples incapable of having children should not be having sex at all.  2) Its facts.  It reduces sex to a biological function.  3) It’s inadequate point of view. No celibate can speak for married people.  They are the only ones who really know what is going on. 

    • irishsmile

      I beg to differ; Christ, a celibate,  spoke to us all. 

    • John200

      Dear Hombre,

      You will want to reread HV. By your numbering system:
      Item 1) shows no sense of the logic of HV. As you reread the encyclical, pay especially close attention to whatever got you to write, “…couples should not be having sex during infertile periods and couples
      incapable of having children should not be having sex at all.”

      You got it backwards.

      To say that 2) HV reduces sex to a biological function invites ridicule. I wll resist the temptation to sharp words.

      Similarly, 3) “No celibate can speak for married people” runs afoul of the simple fact that celibates have been doing so for 2000+ years. They have done so in teaching your faith, presuming you are a Catholic.

      Did you read HV?

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Perhaps the USBCC should recall Bl John Henry Newman’s words “A notion has gone abroad, that they can take away your power.  They think they have given and can take it away.  They think it lies in the Church property, and they know that they have politically the power to confiscate that property.  They have been deluded into a notion that present palpable usefulness, produceable results, acceptableness to your flocks, that these and such like are the test of your Divine commission.  Enlighten them in this matter.  Exalt our Holy Fathers, the Bishops, as the Representatives of the Apostles, and the Angels of the Churches.”

    Speaking to a country congregation, he said “Yes!  the day may come, even in this generation, when the Representatives of Christ are spoiled of their sacred possessions, and degraded from their civil dignities.  The day may come, when each of us inferior Ministers—when I myself, whom you know—may have to give up our Churches…  Then you will honour us, with a purer honour than many men do now, namely, as those (if I may say so) who are intrusted with the keys of heaven and hell, as the heralds of mercy, as the denouncers of woe to wicked men, as intrusted with the awful and mysterious privilege of dispensing Christ’s Body and Blood, as far greater than the most powerful and the wealthiest of men in our unseen strength and our heavenly riches. “

  •      Indeed, with all due respect and obedience to the bishops, the issue IS about contraception (and sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs).  Unfortunately, the bishops have simply “dodged the bullet”, as yes, contraception is “too hot to handle”, and instead taken a purely political tack as a response.  Why do you think the American Caholic Church is in the horrible state of apostasy and decline that it is in?  Dr. Bernard Nathanson (R.I.P.), the abortionist-turned-Catholic convert, when once asked how abortion had become legal in a nation claiming a “Right to life . . .” said that the reason was simple:  “It was due to the silence of the bishops and the priests” (concerning life issues).  Ongoing trepidation, and spurning of this present divinely-intended teaching opportunity, is only “pouring gasoline on the fire” – further empowering the Culture of Death.
         Sure, contraception is a tough issue – evangelization has been difficult for (20) centuries, but if today’s saints (Peter and Paul) had been cowards, rather than authentic MEN, where would Christianity reside today – it would’ve never made it outside of the city limits of Jerusalem !!
         Our Lord Jesus said that if we deny Him, He will deny us before His heavenly Father.  When will American Catholic Church leaders adopt the courage, putting aside fear-based “prudence” (a MUCH-abused word today), and passionately proclaim – in season and out of season – the inviolable sacredness of human sexuality, and why it is a mortal sin to artifically interfere with it ?
         PRAY unceasingly for our bishops (and priests) !!

    • John200

       Fr. Klee,

      Thank you for, “evangelization has been difficult for (20) centuries” which is spot on. It brings our current spoiled, weak-kneed, cowardly selves into embarrassing contrast with what our betters had to put up with.

      Time to pray for the clergy and work as if I myself could do some good (properly inspired of course).

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  • schmenz

    Thank you, Mr Manion, for an excellent piece.  Having once had Cardinal (then Archbishop) Dolan as our Ordinary I can assure you that he is a decidedly overrated man.  His “hail-fellow-well-met” attitude, in the face of such monstrous injustices committed on all sides, was never very reassuring.

    Having said that I am glad he is speaking up.  But, you know, if he keeps spouting all that patriotic rubbish he will not advance the cause very far.  As one writer once wisely noted, defending human freedoms using the US constitution is rather like defending Catholic truth using the Book of Mormon.  As Mr Manion pointed out, US Bishops have been “Americanists” almost from day 1, with very, very few exceptions.  After all, why else would Leo XIII have written his encyclical on Americanism, if he didn’t perceive it as a threat to the Church?  So the Cardinal’s fawning over American “ideals” and American “genius” is hardly what is required just now.  He must put all that pro-American blather by the boards and start teaching solid, hard truth.

    Dolan’s continued reticence regarding the preaching of Catholic faith and morals is very telling.  Like his rather disgusting cohort, Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Dolan seems to enjoy hob-nobbing with the power brokers rather than caring for his Catholic children (he is STILL tolerating a homosexual “Mass” in his diocese, don’t forget).  If he imagines for a moment that the sociopaths and morons in Washington care one fig about what he says he is simply delusional.

    The Church here has, if you think about it, been presented with a golden opportunity.  It has just been slapped again in the face by the despotism on the Potomac.  Now, right now, the Bishops should go on frontal attack.  How?  Prayer, fasting and getting off their big butts and starting to teach the Faith (they might consider bringing some reverence back to Sunday Mass while they’re at it).  And they’re going to have to screw up their courage and start taking a serious second look at their promotion of that “third rail” issue, NFP.  If they are going to continue teaching Catholic couples that there is a Catholic way to avoid children then they aren’t going to make much headway preaching against the non-Catholic way of preventing children.  Interestingly, neither John Paul II nor Benedict have ever promoted NFP.  On the contrary, they keep encouraging larger families.  All this means that the Bishops have to be consistent and if the main sin involved is rejecting God’s gift of life then both artificial contraception and NFP have to be rejected on that basis alone.  ((I would respectfully remind those who disagree that the only legitimate reason for using NFP is for “grave” reasons.  Buying a second car or allowing the Mrs to work outside the home are not “grave” reasons.)

    Now is the perfect time for we Catholics to get our own houses in order and to just stand up to leviathan and say a simple “No”.  The Bishops have just been given the war declaration.  Let us hope they have the courage to use the tools God has provided them.

    Your Lordships: if you will lead, we will follow.

    • susan

      OUTSTANDIGN analysis schmenz!!!  Your comment should be a blog-post in and of itself!

      And Mr. Manion….one of the VERY BEST pieces I’ve read on this whole sorry issue….my entire mailbox is getting this link.  THANK YOU!

  • jk4dios

    The continuing reticence of the bishops and priests to speak on sexual morality is, I’m afraid, so ingrained that it will be with great difficulty, if at all, that it is overcome. “What happens if part of the congregation gets up and leaves?” “How will I handle all the negative, hateful phone calls and e-mails?” And, perhaps most telling “Do I even really believe what I’m being asked to say?” After decades of tacit assent to widespread opposition and open dissent to official Church teachings by both clergy and laity, why would we think that things will change now? I hate to be so pessimistic, and I so pray that I am wrong, but half-fought war does not succeed.

  • JMD

    Dear Eminences and Excellencies:

    Viriliter agite!  Teach Humanae vitae AND fight for the liberty of the Church!

  • Alecto

    If fear is the cause of the laryngitis, the fear that “Catholics” will depart, then that fear must be confronted squarely.  We belong to a religion that teaches us the Holy Spirit guides us and helps us, even when we do not know where that will lead or how it will end.  People are searching for truth, they will not abandon the Church because I believe God moves hearts and minds to the truth.  St. Faustina Kowalska said that we should trust in Jesus.  Well, when are we going to do that?  When they come to cart us away to the death panels?

    We should never fear that teaching genuine Catholic doctrine will be met with desertion.  If faith and doctrine isn’t taught, how can it be perpetuated?  Let the persecution and retaliation come!  Doesn’t the Catholic church teach that our sufferings can and do aide those in purgatory?  Should we back down like cowards and live with regret or worse, meet our God in shame for our cowardice?  This, and this alone is the purpose of our existence; to love and serve God. 

    I would remind all that the people at the forefront of this evil plot are ALSO Catholics:  John Roberts, Kathleen Sebelius, Nanny Pelosi?  If we cannot correct our fellow Catholics, who can? 

    • jk4dios

      The problem, of course, is that the bishops have shown clearly that they will not correct those “fellow Catholics.” Absolutely, the truth should be taught without fear and let those who “will not hear” leave. The Lord said frequently, “Let him who has ears, hear.” May we all have ears and then may we have the courage to act on what we hear!

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  • John200

    Remarkable silly attempt at parallels, ma’am. Mr. Manion’s argument would be unchanged if there did not exist a place called Iraq.

    By all means, do feel free to sell this elsewhere. You are embarrassing yourself.

    • John200

      This thread is all goofed up, this comment was supposed to be a reply to Meggie Graham below.

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  • Kudos, Chris.  I deeply respect Dolan, but his delicate handling of anti-Catholic politicians like Biden and Obama is awful.  If nothing else, it conveys a lack of urgency and concern.  We face a greater threat to life and freedom in Roe-era America, especially under Obama and the current crop of Democrats, than ever before.  Civil disobedience may well be the only option; so be it.  I’ll gladly go to prison– or worse– than render unto Obama the silver by which he’ll poison women and butcher babies. 

  • Nick

    Justice Roberts says he did nothing wrong and in fact it is our fault. See this “Special Edition” episode of the Vortex:

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