Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts in Don’t Diss My Church

Obama at Holy Cross Cathedral

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Obama, Who is Forcing Catholics to Act Against Their Faith, Speaks Today at Boston’s Catholic Cathedral

.                                                    – CNS news headline, April 17, 2013

Some main points made in the article:

  • The US Catholic Bishops have made a unanimous declaration that the Obama administration is violating the civil rights of American Catholics, by forcing them to act against their faith in a matter involving the life and death of innocent human beings in the HHS Mandate.
  • Obama’s position on gay marriage, should it prevail, would also criminalize the refusal of a Catholic parish to hire a “married” homosexual to teach in its elementary school.
  • Pope Francis wrote that the movement for same-sex marriage was Satanic. (The implications of same-sex marriage are not obvious on the surface, but are explored at Gay Marriage and Homosexuality)

 

Questions and points:

  • Why did the Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the bishops’ pro-life committee, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, welcome Obama to speak at his Cathedral, literally giving Obama a pulpit?
  • Let us hope and pray that the good Cardinal plans to confront Obama on the Cardinal’s turf.
  • Time will tell where this remarkable event will lead.
  • Cardinal Dolan’s confrontation with Obama last year led to some public discussion of these important questions regarding religious freedom and civil rights.
  • Let’s hope Cardinal O’Malley does the same thing.
  •   This issue is far from over.

 

 

Update on Catholic Child Abuse Scandals

Slide1One of the most highly trafficked older articles on this blog, still visited by thousands of people, is an article written in April of 2010, entitled If You’re Looking for Child Abuse, the Catholic Church is the Last Place to Look.
I must admit some surprise, seeing so much traffic going to an article that is three years old.

So I re-read the article, to do a bit of updating.  As a courtesy to those who read it, it should be current.

Not much updating was needed, since the main points of the article remain as true today as they were in 2010:

  • Catholic priests are the least offenders of all groups in society.
  • Children are more safe with Catholic priests than they are in public schools and in their own homes.
  • The media seems to report selectively on Catholic priests, misleading people into thinking that Catholic priests are prone to child abuse, when this is simply untrue.
  • The few articles which exonerate the Catholic Church are often removed from the web, as in the case of the NewsMax article I originally quoted in 2010.  Whether threats of litigation similar to those used by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) are responsible for removal of these articles is not clear.
  • The fact remains that children are actually in more danger of abuse in their own homes than they are with a Catholic priest.  Live-in boyfriends of divorced mothers are the highest offending group of child abusers in our society. Teachers, doctors and farmers are also high up on the list.
  • Media sensationalizes the the fact that dozens of priest offenders are “loose” in the United States, when it fails to acknowledge that every town in America has hundreds of “loose” sex offenders, and that there are close to a million registered sex offenders in the United States.
  • Media fails to acknowledge that sex offenders cannot be vaporized magically, either by the government or by the Church, and they do exist and live among us after their sentences have been completed.photo_billboard
  • Media exercizes a terrible double standard, reporting primarily on Catholic priests who have abused children, and failing to report on the other groups.  They also assume guilt, failing to acknowledge that any organization believed to have deep pockets will be subject to numerous false accusations.
  • For more information, see the original article at If You’re Looking for Child Abuse, the Catholic Church is the Last Place to Look.

My update to If You’re Looking for Child Abuse, the Catholic Church is the Last Place to Look included listing some of the recent supporting material which exonerates priests and exposes the liberal media bias.
One of the biggest contributors to defusing the false narrative is David F. Pierre Jr.:

Slide1Dave Pierre is one of the country’s leading observers of the media’s coverage of the Catholic Church abuse narrative. Dave is the author of two critically acclaimed books, ‘Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church’ and ‘Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories.’

Readers have cited Dave’s work as “essential reading,” “a must-read,” and “a great service to the Church.”

Dave is the creator and author of TheMediaReport.com and is a longtime contributing writer to NewsBusters.org, the popular media-bias blog of the Media Research Center.

Dave has been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) as well as by other radio outlets and newspapers for his work. He has also contributed to print publications.

Dave is a graduate of Boston College and lives with his wife and family in Massachusetts.

We Love Our Priests -Slide1

 

 

 

Today’s Catholic Nuns: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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No Big Surprise

It’s not a big surprise to see that the liberal media prioritizes liberal dissident Catholics over faithful Catholics when they cover Catholics at all, and prioritizes liberal dissident Catholic nuns over faithful Catholic nuns when they cover Catholic nuns at all.

Catholic teaching frowns on much of the modern liberal agenda as immoral, so it would be self-defeating for liberals to cover Catholic beliefs in an accurate or persuasive way.
Media prefers to highlight dissident Catholics like Biden and Pelosi, implying that these renegades are representative of real Catholics.  In this way, the media seeks to legitimize the radical progressive agenda.

There is no question that Catholic dissidents do exist, and that dissident Catholic nuns do exist.
But the exact number of dissidents, and the degree to which the media misrepresent Catholics in their attempts to justify the liberal agenda, are important subjects to address.
Slide1

 

What is the Future of the Catholic Church? continue reading…

Citizen Dave: Failed Mayor, Now Fails Catholicism

Background: Dave Fails Mayor

Citizen Dave

Dave Cieslewicz used to be the mayor of Madison, WI.
He lost this position in the last election, and now blogs for a local radical rag in Madison called Isthmus, under the name of Citizen Dave (as opposed to Mayor Dave), where he frequently discusses his feelings about Madison.

Citizen Dave  was mayor of Madison in 2011, when unions were trying to intimidate the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor Scott Walker into favoring unions during Wisconsin’s struggles with its faltering economy.

As Mayor, Citizen Dave did his best to assist unions and radicals in Madison.
When angry mobs broke into Madison’s State Capitol, Mayor Dave ordered Madison’s Police Chief not to allow his officers to participate in removing demonstrators from the building.
Then, Mayor Dave issued an official City of Madison statement supportive of the demonstrators, referring to crowds  “peacefully assembled to exercise democracy and First Amendment rights.”

Police help Wisconsin Assembly members to escape Madison from angry crowds.

In actual fact, legislators were told  by police to leave Madison because it was not safe for Republicans to be in Madison.  They escaped angry shouting mobs, and one legislator was chased around the Capitol building by an angry mob of 200 while police declined to protect the Senator.  The fire department finally came to rescue the cornered Senator from the angry mob.
More details on the goings-on in Madison under Mayor Dave in 2011 can be found in a series of articles I wrote last year, starting with What’s (Really) Happening In Wisconsin

Governor Walker stayed

The phrase “dereliction of duty” sure comes to mind.

Long Story Short

Long story short, Mayor Dave lost his next election, and Governor Walker was reelected during the attempted recall by a way bigger margin than the margin with which he was first elected.
Madison had spoken.
Wisconsin had spoken.
Not only most of Wisconsin, but also most of usually liberal Madison, had had enough.
Mayor Dave was gone, Governor Walker stayed.

Now Citizen Dave talks about his feelings in the local progressive rag, the Isthmus.
The Isthmus specializes in far left advocacy journalism, and it’s contributors and editors are often funded by George Soros-funded organizations like the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Citizen Dave Fails Catholicism

Wearing his new Citizen blogger hat at the Isthmus, Dave discusses many things.
But one of his favorite topics seems to be criticizing the Catholic Church.
His efforts range from criticizing the Bishop of Madison for not putting up a shopping mall on the arson-destroyed Cathedral property on which the Church in Madison plans to rebuild a Cathedral, to his latest diatribe, which expounds on the immature rebellious attitudes which he apparently directed toward the Catholic Church in his teens.  A position from which he has apparently not evolved at the age of 53.

The Amoeba

The diatribe is launched from Citizen Dave’s disapproval of the Church’s banning of two heretic nuns from teaching in Madison’s Catholic parishes. In Citizen Dave’s mind, if God (and his Church) do not satisfy the challenges of a rebellious high-schooler, then Church history, God’s revelation, and our Madison Bishop’s experience and moral expertise are to be summarily dismissed. Citizen Dave does not appear to realize that if, in fact, a God exists, and is by definition responsible for the presence of the solar system, this planet, and Citizen Dave himself, that such a God would necessarily have an intellect so superior to Citizen Dave’s that Citizen Dave’s intelligence next to God’s, even during Dave’s apparently very enlightened high school life, would be as meager as the intelligence of an amoeba next to that of a human being.

AMOEBA

So the amoeba is not in a great position to dismiss the existence of God with the sole justification that his amoeba brain cannot comprehend the mind of God.  “If I don’t comprehend it, it does not exist.” If Citizen Dave does not comprehend it, it does not exist.  What else does not exist? Quantum physics? The Mandarin language?  Brain surgery? And so, an amoeba goes on to blog attitudinally against the Catholic Church, which he abandoned in his teens.

Apparently, in Citizen Dave’s mind, the idea that the Catholic Church might forbid false teachings in it’s parishes does not seem to be obvious. Or that the Catholic Church and it’s experts might know a bit more about religion than he does. Citizen Dave wants to insist on the right to determine which individuals are permitted to teach in the Catholic Church that he has abandoned.

Teaching Fallacious Math

 

Wonder if Citizen Dave would insist similarly on the retention of math teachers who insist on teaching fallacious arithmetic in Madison’s schools, or on the retention of City engineers who advocate that Madison roads should be built from toothpicks?

Citizen Dave is not only a misinformed and lapsed Catholic, he’s not even a very logical man.

Bottom Line

Citizens Dave’s latest rant can be found at the Isthmus.
The article is high on resentment towards a bishop who is doing his job accurately and well, and is low on accuracy or information on the Catholic Church, or on Catholic nuns. Citizen Dave declares at the outset that he is not a “church hater.”  Protesting a bit too much, methinks.  His article comes across quite hateful, and completely intolerant.  Wonder if he would write that way about other groups, say Muslims, or women, or blacks?

Citizen Dave’s resentment of Bishop Morlino comes off a bit greedy; his previous Isthmus article berated Bishop Morlino for not putting up a shopping mall and parking ramp which Dave wanted on the Cathedral property.  Was he fantacising that he’s still mayor, and looking for resources he can commandeer for the City’s use, in typical progressive fashion?

In this latest article, Dave recalls the Bishop’s inability, on a $3 million dollar budget, to maintain the charitable MultiCultural Center when the recession hit several years ago.  Citizen Dave neglects to mention that the City of Madison, which Mayor Dave was running at the time on a $200 million dollar budget, provided no equivalent charitable center for the citizens of Madison. Moreover, when the Catholic Church’s center started to fail, the City of Madison only contributed $13,500 towards the saving of the failing Catholic center.  Perhaps Mayor Dave wished that the Diocese of Madison would do all his charitable work for him, despite a 10-fold lower budget than his.

Now, Citizen Dave, a “progressive Catholic,” (BTW, that’s an oxymoron), resents that the Bishop of Madison does not allow heretics to teach in Madison’s parishes.

Citizen Dave should stick to what he knows best.
I’m not sure what that is, but he should stick to it.
For sure, he should quit dissing my Church.
He did a pretty sad job of it in his Isthmus article on Bishop Morlino.
Egg on face, Dave.
Not very tolerant, no-longer mayor, of not very tolerant Madison.
Show some respect.

 

Come Stand Up For Religious Freedom

The next Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally takes place on Saturday, October 20 – just 17 days before the general election.  Join us at Rally sites nationwide as we fight to restore religious freedom in the United States!

Rally Info & Locations: Stand Up for Religious Freedom.com

Why Should I Go?

It’s Simple:

 

It’s Not Just For Catholics- Atheists Should Be Worried, Too

Or Why Even Atheists Should Stand Against Presidential Mandates

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If Presidents of the future will be permitted to issue mandates like the HHS Mandate, without popular vote, without Senate or House vote, and without Supreme Court evaluation, what mandate will the NEXT President of the United States, who may not belong to your favorite political affiliation, decree?

I may not like President Obama’s mandates.
But others, including atheists, would not like President Romney’s mandates

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Where’s the Rally in Madison?

The Madison, WI rally is on the State Street steps of the State Capitol building in downtown Madison, WI.
Noon on Saturday, October 20, 2012.
During the Farmer’s Market!
Come and join us!

Agnostics welcome.
Atheists welcome.
Baptists welcome.
Buddhists welcome.
Catholics welcome.
Evangelicals welcome.
Jews welcome.
Lutherans welcome.
Muslims welcome.
Presbyterians welcome.
All welcome, including any not mentioned above.
Invitation limited to well-behaved people who respect the rights of others.

Heckling the Rosary

or

Renaming the Wisconsin State Journal

 

Don’t Diss My Church

One of the prime goals of this cultural values blog is to defend my religion, Catholicism, against the regrettably frequent and unjust attacks we suffer, particularly in Madison, WI.
One of this blog’s first blog categories was “Don’t Diss My Church.”
And in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal has provided more than it’s fair share of imbalanced reporting on Catholics, frequently fueling my blog.

Why Pray the Rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?

Catholics praying the rosary at Capitol Rosary Rally

Now that the Obama administration has embarked on restricting the religious freedom of Catholics, Madison Catholics have begun praying the rosary on Thursday evenings on the Madison Capitol steps, to beg God’s help in the restoration of religious freedom to our nation. 

Madison’s Rosary Rally gatherings attract 150-300 quiet, polite people each week.  The crowd includes families with small children, young singles, and many grandparents as well.  The Catholics gather quietly after business hours, do not disrupt Capitol business, leave no litter behind, do no shouting, carry no vuvuzelas, whistles or drums, and don’t even carry signs.  They come, they pray for our nation, and they leave quietly, leaving no damage in their wake.

Who Heckles Children Praying the Rosary?

About 3 to 10 ne’er-do-wells have started showing up at these rosary events, attempting to disrupt them. Their tactics include shouting four letter words from across the street, mocking the rosary, carrying rude signs mentioning private body parts, and all the usual aggressive radical left tactics Wisconsin has witnessed at recent teacher union protests, and at Madison Pro-Life rallies (which radicals have routinely tried to disrupt in recent years, and where they have even been known to get up in pulpits at Library Mall and perform strip-tease dances in front of children with literally only God knows what motivation).
Teacher union protest tactics:

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Is the Wisconsin State Journal Heckling the Rosary?

So, Doug Erickson, the “religion” reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), instead of covering the story from the perspective of the hundreds of Catholics participating in the Capitol Rosary Rally who represent one quarter of America, covered the story instead from the perspective of the handful of rude hecklers.

Doug chose the headline:

Critics: ‘Rosary rallies’ at Capitol thinly disguised GOP pep fests

Hmmm… GOP “pep-fest?”


Better Headlines not considered by WSJ:

  • Catholics Pray for Restoration of Religious Freedom
  • Families Pray for the Coming Election
  • Family Values Defended in Public Prayer
  • Prayer Brought to Madison’s Downtown Capitol
  • New Peaceful Standard Set for Disagreeing With Government
  • Prayer and Civility Replaces Anger and Rage at Madison’s Capitol
  • Contrasting Teacher Union Protests and Capitol Rosary in Madison

I have participated in many of the Rallies, and I can attest to the fact that Doug Erickson’s implication that Rosary Rallies are “pep-fests” could not be further from the truth.

A More Accurate Headline:


WSJ  Rosary Rally Article- Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda

 

Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda Headline

The Wisconsin State Journal’s misleading headline was amplified by a factor of 118,000 through its State-wide circulation, and the whole of Wisconsin was misinformed.  Not to mention online readers, or readers of spin-off articles such as those at the LaCrosse Tribune, Yahoo News or the Orlando Sentinel.

The Wisconsin State Journal gave voice to a handful of hecklers and dissidents rather than to hundreds of serious Catholics, who represent the beliefs of 25% of the American population  and 25% of Madison’s population.

Who are These Hecklers Favored by the Wisconsin State Journal?

Rosary Heckler Number One

One individual quoted in Doug Erickson’s article is Craig Spaulding, who presumed to know the motivations of the Catholics and declared the prayer rally to be partisan and to be GOP.
Doug Erickson failed to mention who Craig Spaulding was —  he did not mention that Craig Spaulding is a fringe radical Madison activist who was arrested (more than once) during the teacher’s union protests, who had to be carried out of the Senate gallery by ten officers for violating rules, and who is a member of the anarchist International Workers of the World, which favors “direct action,”  in place of using democratic channels. Craig Spaulding is also involved with Occupy Wisconsin,  participates regularly in the frequent Capitol lunch sing-a-long protests, and used to own the most troublesome drinking establishment on Capitol Square, which was famous for it’s “underwear parties.” It is not clear whether Craig Spaulding is a paid union protester . Craig is listed as a delinquent taxpayer owing over $33,000 in taxes.

Here’s a You Tube showing the Capitol lunch protesters with whom Craig Spaulding participated frequently and which forced Capitol Tour Guides to wear ear plugs; the group whose perspective the Wisconsin State Journal favors over the perspective of Catholics praying the Rosary at the Capitol:

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Second Rosary Critic

Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF at Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, Madison, W

Second Rosary Critic

Another individual quoted by the WSJ article is one of the co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), Annie Laurie Gaylor, who personally protested at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally last June 8th, and who made no objections while her husband and co-President of FFRF Dan Barker repeatedly heckled praying children and scandalized them by shouting sexually suggestive remarks addressed to the children.

Dan Barker (FFRF) at Madison’s Freedom From Religion Rally; and what was Dan Barker doing? Shouting rude things at children.

Annie Laurie Gaylor and FFRF are in a minority not only because they are atheists, but particularly because they are a miniscule minority among atheists themselves.  They constitute only 0.1 of 1% of atheists, or one out of a thousand atheists.  That’s right, 999 out of 1,000 atheists, unlike Gaylor and FFRF, are tolerant of 80% Christian America, of 25% Catholic America, and have no problem with our legally established American right to public prayer which President Obama periodically exercises.  Gaylor and her FFRF, whom the Wisconsin State Journal chose to quote in this article, constitute the angry radical fringe, which represents only one out of 33 thousand people, or 0.003 of 1% of the population of America.

Third Rosary Heckler

Another Rosary heckler (not mentioned by the Wisconsin State Journal article) made herself known to me when her braggadocio arrived in my inbox, through an online discussion in which I had participated.  She belatedly joined a discussion which I had previously viewed as a reasonable and constructive conversation with a Madison LGBT activist, and which started when I objected to the activist’s treatment of the first Capitol Rosary Rally and of Bishop Morlino on his blog.

Aside: Since that time, the LGBT activist has begun censoring comments published on his blog, selecting supportive radical comments for publication, and declining to publish further discussion with me.  I guess there are limits to the “Bluebird’s” willingness to discuss truth, after all, particularly when he and his friends start losing the argument.  Turns out, he’s also a regular at the Lunchtime Solidarity Singers at the Capitol, who drive tour guides to wear ear protection.

Back to the third Rosary heckler: her name is Genie Ogden.  Genie bragged in the online discussion that she heckles the Rosary Rally weekly, boos, and sings “Solidarity Forever” at Catholics who are singing hymns.  Genie, like Craig Spaulding, was also a regular member of the Capitol lunchtime “Sing-a-Longs,” the fringe minority who continues to make noise at the Madison Capitol at lunchtime, despite Governor Walker’s re-election by an even larger majority in Wisconsin than he enjoyed in his first election.

Perhaps Genie is looking for new outlets for her anger, now that the recall is over.  The You Tube of “Solidarity” protesters (to which Craig and Genie belonged, the noise of which drove people to wear ear protection) was presented above.

Schoenstatt Sister after the first Capitol Rosary Rally

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Just over a week ago, Genie Ogden was arrested for demonstrating with signs without a permit at the State Capitol.  She routinely protests with her daughter, who publicly approves lawlessness, such as the pouring of beer on conservative legislator’s heads, or throwing rotten fruit at them.

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Do these rosary hecklers/solidarity singers really believe that such actions would be persuasive and would bolster their cause?

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Genie, like Doug Spaulding and FFRF, tried to claim that the Rosary Rallies are political, and that they constitute a violation of separation of Church and State.  What she does not seem to realize is that neither she, nor other liberals, can divine the thoughts of others, and that the mention of Governor Walker and of Paul Ryan once in the course of thirteen Rosary Rallies, in the context of being answers to prayers, reflects a pro-life, not a Republican position.  Democrat Stupak and his 11 Democrat supporters were an equal blessing and an equal answer to prayer when they stood up for the exclusion of abortion from ObamaCare.
The pro-life beliefs of Catholics are not political; they are ethical.

 

.Rosary Hecklers in General

The Rosary Hecklers and critics above exhibit a bigoted and tyrannical attitude, denying to others the rights that the hecklers enjoy themselves.

Madison Teacher’s Union Protesters

Solidarity union activists like Craig and Genie, and LGBT activists like the Bluebird, reserve the right to use Madison’s Capitol Square for themselves to promote their own (minority) views and social agendas, but they seem to miss the hypocrisy in denying the use of the Capitol Square to praying Christians, who represent many more people than they do- a fact ignored by WSJ reporters.

The right to public prayer has actually been constitutionally upheld numerous times. Yet the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to attack public prayer wherever they think they can win, through legal intimidation of groups with small budgets, like the town of Marshfield, WI.

The feeble attempts made by Craig, Annie and Genie to label Rosary Rallies events as political

Progressives Misjudging Catholics?

also reflects a judgmental attitude; they claim to know the motivation of others.  After misjudging their target’s motivation, many “progressives” continue by attacking and violating the rights of those with whom they disagree. The Constitution does not guarantee a Right to Hateful Harassment.  Moreover, the effectiveness of such tactics in promoting one’s cause are highly dubious.

I am proud to say that I have never gone to any Madison Capitol Square event to boo, heckle, curse, scream, disrupt or to counter-protest.  I don’t engage in hateful behavior towards those with whom I disagree.  Prayer is a much more civilized (and more productive) response.  My sentiments are representative of those of Rosary Rally attendees.

Ignoring Two Thirds of America

Doug Erickson missed the boat completely by covering the Rosary Rally story from the perspective of a few radical protesters, and by omitting the concerns of two thirds of America.

The Rosary Rallies actually represent the majority of Wisconsin and of America.
The Catholics at the Rally represent all religions in America, which were recently galvanized and united by the religious freedom violations of the HHS Mandate. Numerous religions joined Catholics in opposing these violations of the First Amendment, an amendment which all religions value.  Orthodox Christian Bishops, Protestant Theological Seminary chancellors, Presbyterian Bishops, Southern Baptists, Lutherans Evangelical Lutherans and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America have rallied to support the Catholic Church in upholding the Catholic position on the HHS mandate.  This is what Doug Erickson has failed to cover in his reporting.

The Rosary Rallies are large, peaceful, sustained, and they represent the reasonable Judeo-Christian views and the civilized demeanor of at least two thirds of America.

In ignoring the perspective of Catholics at the Rosary Rally in favor of the perspective of a couple fringe radicals, Doug Erickson has ignored 2/3 of America.   He has ignored the majority of America’s opposition to federally funded abortion policy, and he has ignored the social consequences of such abortion policy, which has already resulted in shocking coerced abortion rates of 64% .   Abortion is a much bigger deal than most people think .

Ignoring Religious Leaders:
Evangelical Pastors Join Catholics in the Defense of Religious Liberty

The national Religious Liberty debate has been ignored by WSJ, in favor of reporting speculations by a couple of “progressives” on the motivations of Catholics at prayer.

The Catholic Church is not the only group defending religious liberty in the wake of the HHS Mandate.

“THIS AREA HAS BEEN SET ASIDE FOR NON-PROFIT GROUPS TO EXERCISE THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL 1ST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH RIGHTS.”

Evangelical Christian pastors have just organized a bold and courageous protest against the muzzling of moral leaders in America, and in support of religious freedom. On October 7, 2012, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will be celebrated.  More than 1,000 pastors will preach sermons from the pulpit talking about the candidates running for office and then making a specific recommendation.  The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS.  The pastors expect the IRS to try to enforce a 1954 IRS tax code amendment forbidding tax-exempt organizations from participating in discussion of candidates for public office.  When the IRS tries to revoke tax-exempt status and to impose an excise tax on them, the pastors will welcome the court battle.  They claim that the 1954 IRS tax code amendment is blatantly unconstitutional, and they welcome an official evaluation of the amendment in court.
This effort is sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry formed 18 years ago for the defense of religious freedom through strategy, training, funding and litigation.

Not the First Time WSJ Has Slanted the News

Slanted reporting in the Wisconsin State Journal is not new, nor surprising. Their coverage of the 2011 Teacher’s Union Protests was equally misleading and predisposed toward the  “progressive” viewpoint. Lawlessness and misconduct was not reported, both on the part of demonstrators who trashed the Capitol, and on the part of Democrat officials who conspired to block the legal process.  WSJ coverage was so slanted and misleading, that this blogger took to reporting what’s really happening in Wisconsin on my blog.

The WSJ also gives the tiny Freedom From Religion Foundation quite a bit of favorable press.  Again, a fringe radical group (0.003 of 1% of Americans) gets favored coverage over mainstream Wisconsin.

Twisting and Misrepresenting Catholicism

Coverage of Catholicism in the WSJ has frequently been unprofessionally imbalanced.

Just this week, Doug Erickson did a “moral analysis” of the Catholic vote.
He gave equal weight and space to dissident national co-chairman of Catholics for Obama, as he did to Bishop Morlino of Madison, who is a legitimate and accurate representative of the Catholic Church.

Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals”

Catholics for Obama is a group established in 2007, with a website hosted at www.barackobama.com .  Membership numbers are not provided, but are probably a few thousand or less, based on petition signatures quoted at Catholic Democrat. According to Breitbart.comCatholics for Obama is dominated by the radical left wing, which promotes Alinsky “social justice” ideology.

So in Doug Erickson’s world, barakobama.com, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and a couple thousand petition signatories carry the same moral authority as a Catholic Bishop and 78 million real American Catholics.  Doug is equating the fringe 0.06 of 1% of Catholics whose theology is steered by Obama, with legitimate Catholic officials and faithful Catholics.  (Bishop Morlino’s education includes a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.)

WSJ also recently inflamed a parish conflict with imbalanced reporting, favoring dissidents over the Catholic majority.  The dissident minority was portrayed in a favorable light over the faithful majority.

Doug Erickson: Reporting on the 0.06 of 1% of Madison Diocese  Catholics (Holy Wisdom) – and relegating the 99.94%  (real) Catholics to the last paragraph, entitled “detractors.”

Another Doug Erickson report focused on pair of previously Catholic nuns at Holy Wisdom Monastery, who appear to be recruiting Catholics to join their feminist Sunday services in place of attending the Mass.  These nuns retain the name Benedictines, despite having rescinded their Benedictine vows and having separated themselves from the Catholic Church.  Doug Erickson reported on this fringe minority group of two very favorably, but relegated input from real Catholics, including from the Diocese of Madison, to a last paragraph entitled “detractors,” where he quoted Catholics minimally, and out of context.  A minority of two dissidents was portrayed in a favored light, while real Catholics were again downplayed.

The misrepresentation of Catholics in the Wisconsin State Journal could fill numerous blog posts (and has in the past), but the above three examples will suffice here.

For a Truthful Report on the Capitol Rosary Rally: see You Tube

The Capitol Rosary Rally,  which the Wisconsin State Journal did not bother to portray accurately, and which reflects the Christian views and the civilized demeanor of the majority of Christian America can be seen here:

Come join Catholics in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally tonight, Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, at the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.  Come watch what real Americans do (they act civilized and pray), stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America.  All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.

Discussing the Actual Issue

Something else Doug Erickson failed to do in his Capitol Rosary article was to discuss the question that his progressive friends raised; is it legal for Catholics to pray the rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?

First Congressional Prayer, 1777

Answer:
Public prayer is legal.
The National Day of Prayer was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals  and President Obama supported prayer in a Presidential Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer, 2012
Congress has also just taken steps to ensure that prayer is supported at School Board Meetings.   President Obama prays and states that “We stand for religious freedom.”

So public prayer is legal, and public gatherings at the Wisconsin State Capitol are legal.

Public gatherings at Madison’s Capitol have included Farmer’s Markets, restaurant showcase events (Taste of Madison), and Wisconsin Capitol Pride, an event promoting LGBTQA acceptance and rights.
Why would Catholic gatherings be forbidden?  Why would promoting prayer for religious freedom be forbidden?

Discussing the Double Standard

WSJ failed to address this double standard of progressive Rosary critics in the article.
The progressive Rosary Hecklers quoted by WSJ demand freedom of belief and freedom of speech for themselves, but not for others.  They want the right to scream four-letter words at others across Capitol Square in the presence of children, but to forbid the words “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

Further Important Issues Omitted by the WSJ report:

  • Validity of Christian claims regarding the violation of religious freedom by the HHS mandate
  • Evaluation of the position of America’s moral leaders on the religious freedom issue
  • Reporting the obvious differences in behavior, lawfulness and respect for the rights of others between the rosary participants and the heckling critics.

  • Definition of “separation of Church and State.”
  • Discussion of whether a once-in-14-prayer-rallies mention of two pro-life politicians constitutes a “violation of separation of Church and State.”
  • Discussion of the very pertinent 1954 IRS code amendment, which has been used by the IRS to silence Christian pastors, but has not been subject to an examination of constitutionality by the courts.
  • The effect that restrictions on religious freedom would have on the rights of progressives when in the future conservative Presidents are elected, and the effect on this country’s historical role as the safe haven for the world’s émigrés.

Suggestion: if Doug Erickson is to be the WSJ “religion” reporter, he must examine the serious issues affecting religion, rather than using his status at the WSJ to spread progressive propaganda. He should provide some professional and journalisticly ethical analysis of real religious issues.

Shame on the Wisconsin State Journal for Ethics Violations

Shame on Doug Erickson

The Wisconsin State Journal has violated the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics with this misrepresentation of Madison’s Capitol Rosary Rally.

  • WSJ did not seek the truth and report it.
  • WSJ did not minimize harm.
  • WSJ did not act independently.
  • WSJ was not accountable.

Renaming the Wisconsin State Journal

The Wisconsin State Journal should be renamed:

the Wisconsin State Journal Progressive

 

Invitation: Come and Join Us!

Come tonight, and every Thursday night at 7PM through November 1st.

Join Catholics today in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally –  Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, on the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.
Come watch what most Americans do (they act civilized and they pray).
Stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America.
All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.

Agnostics welcome.
Atheists welcome.
Baptists welcome.
Buddhists welcome.
Catholics welcome.
Evangelicals welcome.
Jews welcome.
Lutherans welcome.
Muslims welcome
Presbyterians welcome.
All welcome, including any not mentioned above.
Invitation limited to well-behaved people who respect the rights of others.

All of us need, and will benefit from, freedom of religion (of belief), which is guaranteed to us by the First Amendment.  This freedom has been violated by President Obama’s HHS Mandate, a mandate which must be reversed.

Why Even Atheists Should Stand Against Presidential Mandates

If Presidents of the future will be permitted to issue mandates like the HHS Mandate, without popular vote, without Senate or House vote, and without Supreme Court evaluation, what mandate will the NEXT President of the United States, who may not belong to your favorite political affiliation, decree?

I may not like President Obama’s mandates.
But others, including atheists, would not like President Romney’s mandates
or President Rick Santorum’s mandates
or President Ron Paul’s mandates
or President Michelle Bachmann’s mandates.

The next President could issue a Mandate that imposes tax penalties not on Catholics, but on  International Workers Union Members,  FFRF Members, Solidarity Singers, and Madison LGBT activists-  severe, crippling penalties.  Then were would Craig, Annie, Genie and Bluebird be?  The Mandate could include penalties for Wisconsin Sate Journal reporters, too, Doug.

We all benefit from supporting freedom and democracy.
We have to coexist, so progressives should realize that in 46 days the shoe might be on the other foot.
This is still a democracy, and Presidential mandates are thinly disguised despotic edicts.

These are some of the religious, ethical and cultural issues that Doug Erickson and the WSJ should be discussing, rather than spreading the speculations of fringe progressives on the motivation of Catholics.

 

 

What Do a Madison LGBT Leader and a Madison Catholic Blogger Have in Common?

or

My Conversation With the Blue Bird

 

God works in mysterious ways.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB’s) recent call to Fortnight for Freedom (prayer and fasting) engendered Madison’s Capitol Rosary Rally, which caught the attention of a Madison LGBT activist, who wrote a blog article critical of the Rosary Rally, which caused me to post on his blog in defense of my Church, which started a conversation between me and the blogger, Callen Harty.

In ensuing discussions, Callen and I both discovered that people who differ in their ideologies can be civilized, can discourse together, can make much progress toward mutual understanding, and can begin to like each other, despite their ideological disagreements.
A very hopeful and inspiring lesson in our bitterly divided nation today.
Who would think that we would find this source of hope in Madison?

Thanks, Callen, for fueling my hope, and for reminding me that we are truly all made in the image of God.  We discovered together that there is much to like about each other, if we can just get past the surface disagreements.  We who disagree DO have to inhabit the world together, so we might as well make some efforts to communicate, to understand, and to like each other better.  I admire Callen for having the courage to approve my arguments on his blog.  His blog is now one illustration of how reasonable people can discuss issues in a civilized manner, whether they agree with each other or not.  It also illustrates that both of us, despite our intelligence and good intentions, were still guilty of some presumptions and misconceptions regarding each other.  Conversation is a valuable tool for dispelling some of the presumptions and misconceptions that often divide us more than is necessary.

Callen’s article, followed by the exchange of seven communications between us, makes for a longer read.  But if you get comfortable and dig in, you are bound to be surprised, edified, and amused.

Related Posts:

Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Heckling the Rosary

 

Callen’s Article- Betrayal of the Fathers (click here or on image for Callen’s original post)

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the original post, the sequence of discussion is out of chronological order.
Here is the discussion in chronological order:

Callens’ Article:

Betrayal of the Fathers

Posted on June 21, 2012

Bishop Morlino of the Madison diocese, Photo by Callen Harty

As a young boy I believed in Jesus.  I believed in Santa Claus.  I believed that my mother knew what was true and what was not.  I believed that priests, nuns, and bishops were holy people who had a special connection to God.

I wanted to be a priest.  I had dreams of becoming a martyr–there would be nothing more glorious than dying for one’s religion.  I wanted to be a witness to the truth of the Catholic Church.

And then somewhere along the line I grew up.  I read the Bible critically and found inconsistencies throughout.  I reasoned and questioned, something the Catholic Church of my youth never appreciated.  I listened to the condemnation of others by the Church and I noted the hypocrisy of the Church’s enormous wealth as contrasted with Jesus’ teachings to cast off one’s belongings and follow him, to give to the poor and feed the hungry.  I have no patience with hypocrisy from powerful men.  And so I left the Church.

My departure from the Catholic Church was not easy.  It was like part of an extended family.  There were brothers and sisters and the holy mother, Mary.  Priests were fathers, the Pope was the Holy Father, and God was the father of all.  For a boy whose own father had died of a heart attack when I was two years old I had many father figures in the Church.  Like a teenager realizing his father is not a perfect hero it was difficult to come to the realization that those father figures were no more holy than me, that their answers were dogmatic and inflexible, and that unlike Jesus who welcomed prostitutes and others without judgment the hierarchy of the Church judged everyone’s worthiness and did not welcome all.

I lost my faith in the Church even before I came out, but coming out made it impossible to go back.  I was not welcome.  At one point in my 30′s I tried.  I found a community of believers in Denver who were part of a nationwide LGBT Catholic group called Dignity that held onto their Catholic beliefs and who had mass said for them and received communion from sympathetic priests.  There was certainly more true faith in that small group of believers than I had ever seen in parishes elsewhere.  After all, they were believing in a faith that wouldn’t believe in them.  But I couldn’t help but notice that we didn’t meet in a Catholic Church, as we weren’t welcome, and that the priests who served us did so in secret.  The realization that while these people were filled with spirit and joy in their beliefs they were unwelcome in the arms of the Church caused me to give up trying to return to my religious upbringing.

It is said that “once a Catholic, always a Catholic” and there is truth to that in several ways.  Many fallen-away Catholics will return to the fold after some time and those of us who don’t are so inculcated with Church doctrine and religious training that our lives are lived as if we are still part of the Church in many ways.

Yet because it is so much a part of my history and shaped who I am in so many ways it feels like a greater betrayal when I hear representatives of the Church do their best to make me feel less than worthy of their acceptance.

Today I happened upon a gathering called Capitol Rosary Rally 2012.  It was called by Madison’s Bishop Morlino, a conservative man whose values contrast sharply with the historical Jesus.  Morlino has pushed the Madison diocese in a very right-wing direction, much to the dismay of many of the churchgoers in the area.  In Platteville there has been an incredible resistance to his placement of ultra-conservative priests there and he has more or less demanded that people stop complaining or they may face punishment, including the taking away of sacraments, the lifeblood of a true believer’s faith.  In parishes around southern Wisconsin congregants walked out of a mass at which he forced priests to play a tape condemning the idea of marriage equality, among other things.  There was a threat of punishment for any priest who did not follow his orders.  He has angered many with his intractable views.  This is also a man who was involved on a Board at the School of the Americas, a U. S. Army training ground for Latin American military leaders, many of whom have been involved in bloodthirsty actions and human rights abuses in their native countries.  Jesus would more likely have been among those arrested protesting the school.

The event today was ostensibly a rosary circle against abortion.  As it started the Bishop stood in front of the crowd at the State Capitol–not a cathedral–with dozens of people waving American flags, and stated that it was not a political rally, but a prayer rally.  One of his toadies then took the microphone and talked about how they would be praying to end abortion and birth control–yes, ending birth control–and praying for the traditional family structure.  Queers are not welcome in the Catholic Church.  So clearly it was not a political rally as these are clearly not political issues, right?

I couldn’t stay.  I wanted to take pictures and document it and any possible counter rally, but to hear representatives of the Church in which I was raised show again how unwelcome I really am in their midst was too much for me to bear.  I had to leave.

I know I will never again be a part of the Church.  I feel like a prodigal son who was not welcomed back home and who, in fact, was kicked out and told never to return.  I have respect for people like my mother who are true believers in the core messages of the Church.  I have respect for the teachings of the historical Jesus.  But I cannot respect leaders like Bishop Morlino and the Pope whose fealty is to their own power and not to the God of their own religion.  If there is any truth to the faith, then they are the moneylenders in the temple, they are the Pharisees, and they are the ones who worship the golden calf, the hypocrites who need to remove the beam from their own eyes before casting the mote out of the eyes of their followers.

Discussion

Syte says
June 24, 2012

You jumped to conclusions, including misunderstanding the purpose of the rosary rally you “happened upon.” You also claim to know the mind of God (of Jesus).
You misrepresent the Catholic Church, as well as her teachings on the HHS Mandate, as well as on homosexuality. For those who are interested in a more accurate portrayal of the Capitol Rosary event, see http://sytereitz.com/2012/06/americans-pray-for-freedom-across-the-nation-or-fortnight-for-freedom-or-come-and-join-us/.
You may disagree with Catholic Church teaching, but don’t blame Bishop Morlino for doing his job well. Don’t single out one faithful Catholic with your attacks, when your disagreement is with the teachings of the entire Church, not with the leadership of one individual.
A number of common modern misrepresentations of Catholic teaching are discussed at my blog, http://SyteReitz.com; including discussion of homosexual issues.
Most Catholics would say that it is you, and not Bishop Morlino, who is the one who has departed from Christ’s teaching.
Do not attack the Church for your own change of heart and change of priorities. One day you may realize that the Church was a far wiser mother than you realized.
May you find the peace you are seeking.

Callen says
June 24, 2012

Thank you for your mostly thoughtful response. I encourage others to explore the links you posted. I would like to clarify a couple of your errors and assumptions, though.

First, I’m not sure why you put “happened upon” in quotes. It’s as if you are making an assumption that I intended to be there when in fact I was at a coffee shop on State Street and noticed people gathering and was curious. I had heard something about it beforehand, but did not realize that’s what it was until I got there. So if you are thinking that I was lying and didnt’ “happen upon” the gathering and that’s why you put it in quotes you are presuming dishonesty and mistrust from the beginning, which isn’t very fair.

Second, I have no clue why you presume I think I know the mind of God. Nobody can, though plenty do say things that make it seem that they do, particularly God’s representatives on earth in the form of Popes and other religious leaders. I have never in my life pretended to even understand God, let alone presume to know what he/she/it may be thinking or desire. There is absolutely nothing in my post that indicates I think I know the mind of God. I have no clue where you got that idea. If you can point it out to me I’d welcome that.

Third, I disagree with the teachings of the church, but I even more strongly disagree with Morlino’s and the Pope’s interpretations of Church doctrine. So I am not singling him out or blaming him for the Church’s teachings. I blame him for his right-wing interpretations of doctrine. I would never have said the same about Bishop Cletus O’Donnell or other previous bishops, Pope Paul VI, or any of the previous Popes.

Fourth, I am at peace. Ask anyone who knows me. Just because I don’t believe what you believe or what I used to believe does not mean I am not at peace.

Syte says
June 25, 2012

Callen-

Thank you for your invitation to dialogue.

You misinterpret. “Happened upon” was in quotes for the simple reason that I was quoting from your text. There was no judgment involved regarding your intention to be at the Rosary rally. Your presumption of my mistrust was incorrect.

You question my presumption that you claim to know the mind of God. I concluded that you claim to know the mind of God because statements in your text indicate that you know what Jesus would think or say. For example, your statement “Bishop Morlino, a conservative man whose values contrast sharply with the historical Jesus” implies that you know the mind of the historical Jesus. The converse presumption could also be made – that Bishop Morlino’s values do not contrast with those of the historical Jesus, but reflect Jesus’ values better than your values do. It could also be presumed that Bishop Morlino would never call you and your friends “toadies.” (Calling the Bishop of Madison’s assistant a “toadie” is something that could generate distrust in a faithful Catholic.)

Your accusations against the Church betray a double standard. You clearly own a computer and a camera, have a website, sit in coffee shops, and appear to have no problem with Madison’s Capitol building. Why, then, do you apply a different standard of judgment to the Catholic Church? How can you accuse the Church of hypocrisy for enormous wealth, when you don’t accuse Madison of hypocrisy for the Capitol building, the Overture Center and Monona Terrace? Would you have the Pope living in and celebrating Mass in a tent while you sit in a coffee shop in beautiful downtown Madison, possibly using a MacBook Pro and an iPhone?

Your accusations are also inconsistent; you say you have no problem with Pope Paul VI and all the previous Popes and Bishops, yet you have a problem with Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Morlino. Yet the teachings of the Catholic Church have not changed since Pope Paul VI, so how can you have no problem with him, but have a problem with Pope Benedict? What you call the “enormous wealth” of the Catholic Church has also not changed since Pope Paul VI.

In fact, the “wealth” of the Church consists of historically and religiously significant buildings and art treasures, which are an expense to maintain. As someone who is involved in the arts, and is the recipient of awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society, you should appreciate the historical and philosophical value of what the Catholic Church is preserving, and what every human institution and government strive to preserve for future generations.

You state that the Catholic Church does not welcome homosexuals. The Catholic Church does welcome people who are homosexual, under the same terms that she welcomes heterosexuals: she demands chaste behavior from both groups. The “sexual revolution” of the 1960’s has left both homosexuals and heterosexuals wounded and dysfunctional as a result of irresponsible sexual behavior. The rules of sexual behavior taught by the Catholic Church also have not changed since Pope Paul VI, of whom you approve.

Your text includes some very tender and beautiful descriptions of the Catholic Church, as well as some bitter statements about her present leadership. This is why I concluded that you are not at peace.

I would like to suggest that you are misinformed about the Catholic Church, which is routinely misrepresented by the media. As is Bishop Morlino by Madison’s media (understatement of the year)!
You should read your opposition’s arguments in greater depth before condemning them.

Many of these issues are addressed at my website, SyteReitz.com, which was actually established to clarify the logic and the reasoning behind my conservative reasoning. In Madison, with a few exceptions, there is a virtual media blackout on any form of conservative thought. I am not the best Catholic or conservative spokesman (Madison’s Cathedral Parish is a much better source – http://www.isthmuscatholic.org/ ), but many enjoy my casual, user-friendly approach to cultural issues.

Although I do not expect to win you over to a conservative philosophy, I do wish to invite you to presuming good will in the conservatives with whom you disagree. That would include not only me, but also Bishop Morlino and Pope Benedict.

Thank you for presuming good will in me, and inviting me to this dialogue.

 

Callen says
June 26, 2012

I want to say up front that I appreciate individuals with faith. I gather from your writing that you are a faithful Catholic who is doing your best to live life the way your religion teaches you and I admire that. I love how strong my mother is in her faith and I know what comfort it has brought her throughout her life and even now in her old age. It is not for me, but if it gives others fulfillment and meaning that is wonderful.

My blog was created for me to speak my beliefs and my truth to the world. Nobody else has to read it or agree with it. It consists of my opinions (not always facts), usually well-reasoned, but perhaps occasionally misinformed. I try to accept corrections with graciousness, though I don’t necessarily always do that with differences of opinion, particularly political opinion. I try, though, to behave in a respectful manner to all those with whom I interact, though I’ll admit I am not always respectful of those in positions of power with whom I disagree or that I perceive as being hypocritical. I tend to get a little angrier with them, like Jesus with the moneylenders in the temple. Throughout my years I have had countless Christians (mostly born-again, not Roman Catholic) proselytize me and try to convince me that they are the ones who hold truth. I choose not to listen to them most of the time because almost all of them end up repeating the same things and I am honestly tired of recycled theological debates at this point in my life. So I have no intention or desire to go that route with you, but feel I do need to respond to certain aspects of your most recent comment.

First, I apologize if I misinterpreted the quotation marks, but it felt like mistrust to me. I may have been wrong about that, but those are the feelings that were brought up. It seems like an odd thing to quote and emphasize, so I hope you can understand why it made me feel that way.

I must state again with as much emphasis as I can that I have never claimed to act as if I know the mind of God (or Jesus, whom I don’t consider God even though you do). You drew conclusions about that, but once again there is nothing in my essay that makes that point or conveys that idea. The reason I specified the “historical Jesus” is that I was referring to the living historical person of Jesus the man. As I’m sure you know there are actually scant few quotes attributed to Jesus himself in the New Testament. Much of what is there is from the gospel writers. If you read Matthew 19:21 Jesus says that if people want to be perfect (or complete, depending on the Bible version) then they should sell all their possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow him. This is why I said that Bishop Morlino’s point-of-view does not match Jesus’, not because I was acting as if I had some special knowledge. So yes, I think the Pope living in a tent would be appropriate. It’s not realistic, but the point is that in my opinion the riches of the Church do not fit the teachings of the historical Jesus.

Comparing the Church’s wealth to the state owning the Capitol and the city owning the Overture Center is not the same. I was talking about the hypocrisy of a Church which purports to believe in Jesus’ teachings, such as Matthew 19:21 above, but accumulates massive wealth and property over a couple thousand years. First of all, the state does not ask its citizens to give up their wealth and become submissive to the state (though with the amount of taxation and the number of laws it sometimes feels like it, probably even more so from a conservative viewpoint). My problem is not with wealth or people owning computers or cameras or anything else, but hypocrisy. If I were running around lecturing people that they should give up all their belongings and donate the money to the poor but I lived in mansion, then you could make the comparison, but neither of those are true.

In addition the idea that I approve of the buildings you mentioned is another assumption that is wrong. I was against both the Overture Center and Monona Terrace when they were first considered because I saw them both as boondoggles and wastes of taxpayers’ money that could have been better spent in other ways. I love the Capitol building, but I have written about how much it pains me whenever I see the homeless in it or surrounding it and contemplate those people struggling to eat against the backdrop of the opulence of the Capitol. Expecting the state to give it up to feed, clothe, and house those people is as realistic as expecting the Pope to live in a tent. I’m not naïve enough to believe it could happen, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe it should.

As a person who is involved in the arts I absolutely appreciate the aesthetic value of the church’s holdings. I just don’t necessarily believe that it is the right repository for such things and I don’t believe—for the reasons mentioned above—that the Church should own so much when there are so many starving people in the world. Please note, I am very well aware of Catholic Charities, missionary work, and other great works being done by the Church and by individual Catholics and I think that is awesome, though Bishop Morlino choosing to close the Catholic Multicultural Center is one of the things that makes me believe he does live contrary to Jesus’ teachings.

You are absolutely correct about the inconsistency of me not having an issue with previous popes and bishops. Perhaps I should have been more critical of them. The reason I wasn’t is because I remember them as people being concerned about the poor and about making the Church more inclusive, particularly Pope Paul VI through Vatican II. The reality that you pointed out to me is that those are merely cosmetic surface changes and that in fact they were ultimately representatives of a hierarchy in which I don’t believe.

I will not get into a debate about the gay issue. Like the tiresome theological debates noted at the beginning I have heard every argument there is against who I am. I understand the Church’s official position on gays and lesbians and disagree with it. I have heard the old “hate the sin and love the sinner” routine way too many times. The reality is that in my initial essay I described a very specific experience of feeling unwelcome in the Catholic Church. You may say the Church is welcoming, but I say I felt unwelcome. The bishop in Denver prohibited the Dignity group from meeting in Catholic churches and forbade priests from saying Mass for the group, even though he could have no way of knowing whether any of the members were or were not sexually active. It would be like presuming that teenagers shouldn’t receive Communion because they are at their sexual peak and so they must be having sex outside of marriage. It so happens that I was in a period of abstinence when this happened.

Finally, again, presuming anything about my state of peace when you don’t know me is just not appropriate. Yes, I have some bitterness toward the Church because its teachings hurt my growth as a human being. I have mostly let it go, but there are some times when something triggers the old resentments. In this case it was the bishop’s assistant at the rosary gathering and the hypocrisy of pretending it was not a political gathering—yes, it may have been primarily religious, but to deny it was political is simply to try to fool others.

Syte says
June 27, 2012

Callen –

The dialogue that we are having is encouraging; two people with considerably different views have been able to talk respectfully, weighing issues together, and respecting each other’s right to disagree. Our nation is in dire need of such civilized and respectful dialogue today.

I have no intention of proselytizing you; your blog came to my attention because of your initial harsh attitude towards leaders of my Church whom I respect, and whom I wished to defend. My goal was to suggest that Catholic Church leaders are as well meaning and devoted to their philosophy as you are to yours. You were gracious enough to admit that your opinions or actions are not always consistent or well reasoned; that is true of all human beings, including me. We are all guilty of some degree of apparent hypocrisy, unintentional as it might be. So when you see something you perceive as an inconsistency in the Catholic Church, in Bishop Morlino or in Pope Benedict, I hope to suggest that you cut them some slack, too, and presume their good will, as you do for me and for others.

Since you seem to be fair-minded, I will correct a few more misconceptions you seem to have about the Capitol Rosary Rally and about Madison’s Catholics.

Your assumption the Fortnight for Freedom rally was anything other than prayer rally is incorrect and unfair. You do not seem to realize that serious Catholics not only believe in prayer, they also RELY on prayer. We are very disturbed by the idea that President Obama feels that he can mandate anything he wants, contrary to the Constitution of the United States, forcing Catholics to do something that is against their religious beliefs. I was as the rally, I was there for the sole purpose of prayer, and so were many of my friends, fellow parishioners, and fellow Diocese of Madison Catholics.

I realize that it is hard for someone who does not pray regularly to understand the value of prayer, particularly the value of the rosary, and the added value of praying the rosary in groups. Catholics believe that battles can and have been won by prayer, and that miracles happen through prayer. That includes highly educated Madisonian Catholics. I know many who attended the rally, and there were numerous doctors, lawyers, UW professors, and my humble self, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and who did my post-doc at Princeton University. My husband, a UW Wisconsin Distinguished Professor who is giving a series of power lectures in engineering at Princeton University this week, and whose research was described in the Wisconsin State Journal yesterday, although not a Catholic, was there at the rally in support. To correct one myth that seems to be popular in Madison, there is little correlation between education and faith and belief in prayer. Some very highly educated people were at the rally to pray very seriously.

If the Capitol Rosary Rally had been for political purposes, the press would have been invited and signs and placards would have been used. You may be unaware that Catholics DO pray and process publicly and regularly, and that just a few weeks ago on the feast of Corpus Christi the downtown Catholic parishes had a Corpus Christi procession (which has been occurring every year for years) during which the Blessed Sacrament was carried to the Capitol building for prayer and blessings for our government. The downtown parishes also hold regular rosary marches during which the rosary is prayed while processing through Madison. Many Madisonians are sleeping on Sunday morning and miss these Sunday morning events. Madison’s press never covers these events. This Capitol Rosary Rally is just one more example of Catholics turning to God for help when they are in a tight spot.

For people who are more secular, who pray less or do not pray publicly, it is easy to assume that you know the motives of others. But, as our discussions here on your blog have revealed, we do NOT know each other’s thoughts and motives, and that is why respectful discussion is so useful to defuse resentment and correct presumptions.

If I can insert some humor here, I will soon have you liking and admiring Bishop Morlino and Pope Benedict!

You have made it clear that you disapprove institutions amassing property and wealth; that is one of your criticisms of the Catholic Church. However, that is a personal standard of yours, and is not a commonly held value. As long as human beings build monuments, paint paintings, and wear formal attire to show respect and high regard to government/education/the arts, it would be hypocrisy of sorts to deny the right of Catholics to show equal respect and regard for our God. If Catholic holdings were to be criticized, then the Taj Mahal, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Mall of the Americas, and the Smithsonian Museums should all be under equal attack. Incidentally, the historical Jesus DID worship at the Temple of Jerusalem, the most imposing religious monument of His time. So we cannot be sure that He would favor the Pope celebrating Mass in a tent.

The treasures of the Church are not simply piles of marble adorned with gold; they are holy gathering places, precious historical places, and places which could not be bulldozed and replaced without extravagant expense.
Precious Church art works are not just baubles representing cash; they represent a record of precious history and of ancestors whom we love. If nobody suggests selling Mount Rushmore or my great-grandmother’s portrait to feed the poor, they should not suggest the Church selling her artwork.

Your resentment over the almost-closing of the Multicultural Center again reflects the misinformation supplied to you by Madison’s media, which reports on Catholic matters with a double standard. How can Madison, which does NOT provide the equivalent of a Multicultural Center from Madison’s $500 million annual budget, criticize the Diocese of Madison, which DID maintain the Multicultural Center on a $4 million annual budget to serve all of Madison for many years, but struggled to maintain it after the recession hit? How can Madison, which prioritizes the building of Monona Centers, Overture Centers and public swimming pools over Multicultural Centers, criticize the Diocese of Madison?

Your resentment of the Church over its reluctance to welcome the organization “Dignity” is unrealistic as well. “Dignity” tries to dictate the rules of sexual morality to the Catholic Church. That’s like students dictating some alternate rules of mathematics to the professor. The Catholic Church DOES welcome “Courage International,” an organization for homosexuals which is the Catholic-Church sanctioned counterpart of “Dignity.” The Catholic Church does not welcome anybody, heterosexual or homosexual, who does not respect Catholic teaching. That is true of any human educational organization, secular or spiritual. Try telling our profs at UW what they must teach in their fields!

Another clarification: the Catholic Church does not ask Catholics to be submissive any more than any other human organization with rules. Remember, too, that membership is optional.

Finally, I think you read more into my wishing you peace of mind than was intended. It was meant to signal my good intentions towards you, akin to “shalom.”

So, Callen-
Thanks for your time and for the space on your blog.
I welcome the opportunity to show Madisonians that Catholics are nice. Even their leaders are nice.
If you or anybody else wishes to discuss the faithful Catholic’s perspective on various issues, or to ask about other myths about Catholics, I welcome questions through the contact form on my blog at SyteReitz.com.

Shalom and God bless!
May we continue to strive towards not only respecting, but also liking those with whom we disagree.

Callen says
June 27, 2012

Here were are again. I’m enjoying our communication.

I also believe that those on opposing sides of issues need to be willing to listen and to talk, to accept differences, and to treat each other with respect. I do my best to do that and I appreciate your willingness to engage in a respectul way as well.

With that said, you have probably noticed that I seem to show less respect for power/authority figures. They are public figures and are open to more criticism because their public pronouncements affect so many more people. For a Catholic to disagree with a bishop or the Pope there could be a big moral dillemma. To read my blog post and disagree doesn’t bring the same kind of ethical quandry. This is part of why I hold officials, church or government, to a higher level on my moral compass (and I understand it is my moral compass, not theirs, but I have to live my life by my conscience). I expect that Bishop Morlino is genuine in his beliefs and committed to others believing the same or he wouldn’t be in the position he has been placed, and I would not be surprised to find that he is a genuinely nice and well-meaning person. But that doesn’t excuse him from public scrutiny and it doesn’t shield him from those with differing opinions.

I must admit that I have a difficult time with authority figures in general, and Bishop Morlino seems to me to be more authoritarian than any other bishop in my memory (I’m 55). Threatening to withhold sacraments from parishioners who disagree with his placement of conservative priests in their parish does not seem like the way to win over the opposition. One of the issues I had with the Catholic Church even as a child was the intolerance for differing opinions. Others may be fine with that, but it is one of the reasons I left.

I don’t mean to be disrectful about this, but I must disagree with your assessment of the Rosary Rally as being religious and not political. Whlie the saying of a rosary is, of course, incredibly religious, the event was political. Choosing to hold it on the Capitol steps was a poltiical choice. It makes a statement. Calling it a rally seems to indicate political motivations, though I understand rallies can be any gathering of people. There were buttons and political signs there. I believe you may have said there weren’t but I have photos that I took of at least two. I would be surprised if you didn’t see as many American flags as I did. To me that is a political act, not a religious one. So the rally may have been primarily for prayer (although even you said it was prayer about Obama’s mandates), but it was also political. You cannot convince me otherwise on that given the evidence. I appreciate that you and many of your friends were there for the sole purpose of prayer, but others were not. Bishop Morlino specifically stated that the rally was not political, so there would be no speeches, but speeches are not all that define political action.

Now, there is one comment you made that I have to take exception to, and that is when you said, “I realize that it is hard for someon who does not pray regularly to undestand the value of prayer . . . ” Maybe you meant this generally and not specifically about me, but it felt like it was about me. So I have to tell you that just because I am no longer a Catholic or a Christian does not mean that I don’t pray. In fact, I do, a lot. I am not a religous person but I am a spiritual person who comes from a deep place of spirituality and compassion. If you have read any of my other blog posts you may get a feel for that. I believe in the power of prayer, positive energy, whatever you want to call it, and I believe that we pray to the same God, though we may have different perceptions of what that means. And don’t forget that about half of my life was spent as a Catholic–I am not ignorant of the Church and its teachings. I was an altar boy and as noted in my original post wanted to be a priest, and even thought about it as an adult, not just as a child.

I have to agree with you again about wasteful spending on opulent buildings. As noted before I did not appreciate the building of the Overture Center or Monona Terrace. If the Taj Mahal were proposed here I would oppose it and fight for the government to build an apartment building for homeless people instead of another monument to Madison’s elite. I believe that there is a social compact for us as a community to take care of the least of our brethren, and I believe that it is the duty of both religious institutions (especially ones that preach it) and of government. I would like to see churches and government work together to maintain things like the Multicultural Center. It may be a personal standard of mine but it is one I do believe in strongly and will work toward wherever possible.

Finally, I realize it is unrealistic to expect the Church to welcome Dignity, just as it is unrealistic to expect me or others like me to accept an organization like Courage International which would have me deny the fullness of my being. I’m willing to bet you will not agree with this, but I believe that like all others I was created in God’s image and that includes my sexuality and my expression of it. As a side note, while I had my wild youth (as most young men do) I have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for 21 years now, longer than most sacred marriages last these days.

And I do know that membership is optional–that is why I am no longer a member, as there are too many things with which I disagree.

I look forward to your next missive (I think). It feels like we are coming closer and closer to a good understanding and based on our few exchanges so far I do like you. Peace be with you also.

Syte says
June 30, 2012

Yes, Callen. We’ve had a good chat and I’m beginning to like you too.
The ability to discuss important issues in a civilized and respectful manner is an essential tool for defusing resentments and towards finding fair solutions between those who disagree.

You explain that much of your disagreement with the Catholic Church stems from a dislike of authority figures, and a dislike for the lack of tolerance for differing opinions in the Catholic Church. That’s a common feeling towards authority. Particularly if one disagrees with the authority.

I feel that way towards President Obama and his recent exercise of authority. However, there are some differences between the Catholic Church and President Obama;
• the Church does not pretend to be a democracy
• membership in the Church is optional
• monetary contributions to the Church are voluntary; no incarceration for failure to pay
• the Church’s teachings are unchanging with each change of personnel

Our common frustrations with authority with which we disagree might help you appreciate our Catholic desperation over the “Contraception Mandate,” which is the subject of the Rosary Rally we have been discussing.

President Obama has just decreed (mandated) that Catholics must provide pills that kill unborn infants to their employees. For Catholics, this is a mortal sin. The President is demanding that they commit mortal sins. He is demanding that they do something new, which was never before required in our nation’s history.
• President Obama’s decree was not approved by American voters (in fact, most Americans oppose abortion, particularly federally funded abortion, which involves forcing all citizens to pay for the abortions of others).
• Congress did not vote on this decree; in fact, Stupak and his 11 Democrats practically killed the ObamaCare bill before President Obama promised them that ObamaCare would not include abortion.
• The ObamaCare bill was passed under false pretenses, and after passage, the President broke all of his promises.

Bottom line: Catholics are now ordered to perform what they believe to be murder.
The Amish and Muslims get an exemption from ObamaCare. Some Native Americans get other religious exemptions to federal laws on the killing of Eagles. Many people get religious exemptions – only, however, at President Obama’s discretion. And President Obama decides that Catholics get no exemption. No input from the American people, the legislature, from Catholic leaders, or from any religious leaders whatsoever, including the Jewish and Baptist leaders who jumped to testify before Congress on behalf of Catholics, defending their right to conscience, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

That is what we are praying about. We are asking God to intervene.
I would like to suggest that Madison’s liberal media focus an equal amount of energy on President Obama’s abuse of authority as they do on the Catholic Church’s abuse of authority, and abandon the double standard.

Regarding whether the Rosary Rally was political, we can agree to disagree, but I will float a few more points: American flags are not political. Presence at the Capitol is not political. Otherwise, farmer’s markets, marathons, bicycle events, Taste of Madison, Wisconsin Capitol Gay Pride, Art on the Square, and Concerts on the Square would be political. Catholic groups have the same rights as any other groups to gather in our public places. We gathered in the evening, after business had been concluded at the Capitol and its doors were closed. We made no speeches, invited no media, and brought no vuvuzelas. To me, that’s not political.

President Obama’s tactics in his Contraception Mandate are wickedly clever. Knowing that Americans oppose federally funded abortion, he has diverted the discussion to something Americans approve of, contraception. Contraception is the Trojan Horse in which President Obama is delivering not only federally funded abortion, but also the right of American Presidents to decree mandates without consulting the American people, the legislature, or moral and ethical experts. So far, few have seen through his tactics, and many support his Contraception Mandate, which is actually a Presidential Power Mandate and a Federally Funded Abortion Mandate.

If President Obama succeeds in getting this mandate through, his power will be established. He can then proceed to any mandate at all. The One-Child Policy Mandate. The Jewish Delis Must Serve Pork Mandate. The President who follows Obama, if a radical conservative, could continue with the Let’s Incarcerate All LGBT People Mandate, and the All Citizens Must Contribute To A Religious Fund Mandate, etc. etc.

It is in the interest of ALL Americans to stop the issuance of mandates by Presidents, because the next President might not be one of your choosing.

What mandates would Romney favor, I wonder?

Callen, any chance you will be joining me in prayer at the next Capitol Rosary Rally, the way Jews and Baptists have recently joined Catholics in Alabama in prayer during the Fortnight for Freedom?

(Sorry I implied you might not pray!)

 

Join in the Religious Freedom Rally Fri June 9th at noon – information below.

Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally– Friday, June 8th, at noon.   Locations in over 150 cities across the United States.

Locations Near You

Action

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The Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Madison, WI:

Some Background:
The Contraceptive Mandate

The “Contraceptive” mandate – which is not really about contraception, but about whether President Obama can issue mandates; particularly mandates which violate the freedom of religion of most Americans.

Previously…

So we’ve visited this topic before…

 

Baracchio turning into a donkey while Cardinal Timothy Cricket appeals to his conscience
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Previous related discussion:

Abortion- a Much Bigger Deal Than You Think
The Cardinal and the President 
A Tale of Two Presidents: Timothy and Barak
, or Boy, Did Bart Stupak Get Duped! 
A Tale of Two Presidents- the Drama Continues
“President Cyrus”  

Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally- Join In!
  (March 23, 2012) 
Madison’s Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally
(Photos) (March 23, 2012) –
The Let’s Sneak Abortion into ObamaCare While Nobody’s Looking Mandate 
Cardinal Timothy Dolan for President! 

 

 

A Tale of Two Presidents – the Drama Continues

Background

The Obama administration recently attempted to establish free sterilization, contraception and abortifacients as a “right” which transcends First Amendment rights of freedom of religion.  This attempt was challenged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Background described at A Tale of Two Presidents; President Obama vs. President of the USCCB, Archbishop Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan.
Obama’s move was particularly shocking, since he had previously and vehemently promised non-inclusion of abortion in ObamaCare.  Obama’s present inclusion of abortifacient drugs in ObamaCare, and his insistence on forcing Catholics to pay for them, makes it appear that Obama has no problem with falsification/outright lying.

Baracchio and Timothy Cricket. In the popular children's tale of Pinocchio, Pinocchio fell in with a bad crowd of pleasure-seeking boys. This resulted in their turning into donkeys who would be enslaved by a coachman. Pinocchio's conscience, represented by Jiminy Cricket (played here by Archbishop Timothy Dolan) saves Pinocchio from his bad judgement, and the tale ends happily.

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Obama’s Latest Move

Now President Obama, without consultation with the US Bishops, has unilaterally announced a “solution” to the conflict between religious and sexual “rights.”

Deception

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Obama: Americans – Including Catholics – Will Still Be Forced to Buy Coverage for Sterilization, Contraception, Abortifacients – CNS News, 2-10-12
Video of Obama’s 6 minute  Statement on Contraceptive Health Care Rule
– C-Span – 2-10-12
Obama’s Act of Tyranny – CNS News, 2-10-12

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Bishops Respond

The Catholic Bishops have pronounced Obama’s “solution” unacceptable.

Catholic Bishops: Obama’s Solution ‘Is Unacceptable’ CNS News, 2-11-12
Entire Cathlolic Bishops Statement
– USCCB 2-10-12

Obama’s proposal

Obama’s “solution” involves side-stepping direct payment for these population-control procedures by Churches, while still requiring Church organizations to provide these services indirectly, and still requiring Catholics and other Christians with religious objections to the procedueres to pay for the procedures indirectly.  Essentially, all insurance companies in the U.S. would be required to cover the population-control procedures, and thus all Americans would be required to pay for the procedures, regardless of religious objection, through the insurance policies that citizens must purchase as required by ObamaCare. Escape from payment for morning-after pills and for sterilization of minorities would not be possible without civil disobedience under the currently proposed Obama administration rules.

Will Americans Go For This?

America’s values are still quite conservative; 80% of Americans are religious, 70% are Christian, 2/3 oppose federal funding of abortion and 2/3 favor abstinence before marriage. Obama’s attempts to establish these free sexual services thus represents quite a governmental imposition of unwanted values.  The government has essentially declared that all citizens have the right to unlimited promiscuous activity with a guaranteed freedom from consequences, paid for by the government (by all of us).

What the Contraception Mandate (actually Population Control Mandate) Would Mean

The majority will be forced to pay for the injudicious sexual behavior of a minority, without limits.
This does not differ significantly from government encouragement of unlimited gluttony, with guaranteed free liposuction for all.
Or government encouragement of theft, with guaranteed freedom from prosecution for thieves.

The Obama administration has promoted payment for reckless human sexuality to a status of higher importance than providing aspirin to heart patients or insulin to diabetics.  Heart patients and diabetics do not get free medication and free surgery without co-pay.
Pregnancy, a normal human condition which is essential to the propagation of the human race, has been promoted to disease status, a disease that trumps all other human diseases, for which free medication and free surgery are not provided.

The Obama administration’s obvious prioritization of population control over freedom of religion, over majority opinion, over political expediency, and over fiscal responsibility, was discussed in detail in Abortion – A Much Bigger Deal Than You Think. The motivation for such extreme population control measures cannot be explained by overpopulation concerns; these do not exist in the United States.   If anything, we are short of workers and of taxpayers at the present time.  Population control is usually a mark of political tyranny, and has already progressed in the United States to a level that few have noticed and few would find credible.  Abortion is by far, the leading cause of death in the United States today, and the black population of America is suffering from it way more than the rest of us. Abortion – A Much Bigger Deal Than You Think

The Future

Obama is pushing an agenda that makes no sense to anyone who is grounded in reality.
The development of this drama will affect the future prosperity of the United States radically.

Let us hope, fast, and pray that Barachhio listens to Timothy Cricket and our story has a happy ending.  Would hate to turn into enslaved donkies, all of us!

Related Coverage:

TV Network Started by Cloistered Nun Sues Sebelius – CNS News, 2-9-11

A Tale of Two Presidents: Timothy & Barak

and

What’s Sneaking in Under the Radar?

and

Boy, Did Bart Stupak Get Duped!

The media has been brimming with reports on the conflict between President Barak Obama and the President of the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops), Archbishop Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan.   The issue involves recent ObamaCare regulations that threaten first amendment rights of Catholics, and of numerous other religious groups.

  • The main players are imposing.
  • Coverage is sensational.
  • The issues are important:

Freedom of religion

Redefinition of rights and of essentials

The players are imposing

President Obama’s administration announced in August 2011 that the now-mandatory ObamaCare would contain regulations requiring the provision of free birth-control/abortifacient drug services by all employers.

The President of the USCCB, Archbishop Dolan, objected in September 2011, calling the regulation an “unprecedented attack on religious freedom” and urging that it be rescinded.  Catholic institutions could not be forced to provide morning-after pills and contraceptives to their employees.  This would constitute a violation of conscience.  For the first time in history, the USCCB formed an Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, to respond to six specific attacks on religious freedom in the United States since June 2011. 

Darn Tootin'

On October 4th, 2011, President Obama, ignoring the objections of the Catholic Bishops, bragged at a DNC fundraiser about the inclusion of contraception in ObamaCare regulations, quipping “Darn tooting!,”  a slang expression for “damn right,” derived from a 1928 Laurel & Hardy silent comedy short, You’re Darn Tootin’.

The President of the USCCB Dolan met with President Obama in November 2011, explaining to Obama the Catholic Church’s objections to the regulation.

On January 20, 2012, it became clear that the Obama administration was not planning to satisfy the Catholic Bishops’ concerns.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the regulations would go forward.  Catholic hospitals, universities and charitable organizations would have to comply by August 1, 2013.  The appeal by Catholic Bishops for a religious exemption was denied.

The USCCB made the next move: mobilizing Catholics to pressure their elected representatives to restore 1st amendment rights to Catholics.  An appeal went out February 5th, 2012 to all Catholics in the United States, to fast, to pray and to approach their legislators opposing this violation of religious freedom.  Catholic parishes in the U.S. heard letters from their Bishop on February 5th.

The USCCB website summarized the concerns of the Bishops of the United States and suggested courses of action for interested citizens (including non-Catholics)  .  The site has been swamped with response, often requiring more than one attempt to access the site.

Locally, Madison’s Cathedral Parish’s Rector Monsignor Holmes explained the background for the religious freedom violation.  Cllick here for mp3 of Msgr. Holmes’ talk.

Bishop Morlino of Madison appealed to Catholics to act in protection of our religious freedoms – click here for Bishop Morlino’s letter to all Diocese of Madison Catholics. continue reading…

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