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Thanks for nothing, Sister Keehan

I sure do wish Sister Carol Keehan would quit subverting the Catholic bishops.

I understand and appreciate her concern for keeping Catholic hospitals and clinics open no matter what — but when that goal comes into conflict with a fascist regime, priorities may have to change. We are not living in ordinary times.

Evidently, Sr. Keehan does not realize that, with Obamacare, we are dealing with tyranny — a “soft” tyranny that is well on its way to becoming hard tyranny… if people keep caving to it.

THE COUNTDOWN:  According to the article linked above, “religious employers” now have a “safe harbor” until January. We shall see.

Have we Catholics brought Obama’s oppression upon ourselves?

Judie Brown, founder and president of the famously no-compromise, no-soft-pedal American Life League, has a very provocative piece at Renew America this week. Brown contends that the Catholic Church has a lot of work to do with respect to its own pro-life witness. Just as a house that is not defended against termites is vulnerable to erosion by them, the Church, by failing to clearly proclaim the truth and hold its own members accountable to it, has weakened its own moral authority and thus made itself vulnerable to those who would do it harm.

On June 28, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rules pertinent to the Obama mandate that “collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”

Soon after the final regulations were issued, an open letter signed by religious leaders was written decrying the regulations. The letter, entitled “Standing Together for Religious Freedom,” includes the signature of USCCB representative Archbishop William Lori, who has been at the forefront of the battle against the mandate since it began.

During a July 2 press conference Lori said, “As the Catholic bishops have said from the very beginning, the underlying issue with the HHS Mandate is not about any specific teaching. In fact, other signatories on the letter do not share our view on contraception and probably disagree with us in many other ways, but they understand the core religious freedom issue at stake here.”

Yet a simple law protecting conscience rights may not correct the situation.

Several weeks ago, on April 25, Archbishop Charles Chaput told an audience:

The worst enemies of religious freedom aren’t “out there” among the critics who hate Christ or the Gospel or the Church, or all three. The worst enemies are in here, with us—all of us, clergy, religious and lay—when we live our faith with tepidness, cheap compromises, fear, routine, and hypocrisy. . . .

I ask you to please pray for . . . the bishops of the United States—and the leaders of religious institutions across the country—that they may show the same kind of courage Henri de Lubac not only spoke about, but also witnessed by the example of his life.

I found Chaput’s words riveting because, as he so eloquently points out, we Catholics are the enemy; we need to be courageous, even when persecuted as de Lubac was. The “law” is not the answer to the current problem. We are!

My dear friend Joe Tevington brought this point home to me in a powerful way when he shared a copy of his letter to Archbishop Chaput in which he praised the prelate for his courageous words, writing:

Your Excellency, wouldn’t it be a hideous irony if we gain true, codified protections for conscience, but have Catholic healthcare disregard Catholic medical ethics? I have written repeatedly about the troubling state of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Catholic hospitals, namely:

  1. The paucity of NFP [Natural Family Planning]-only physicians;
  2. “Privileges” for IVF [in-vitro fertilization] specialists;
  3. “Privileges” for associates of practices involved with “fetal reduction” ["selective" abortion];
  4. Provision of information on “advance directives” which fails to specify that Catholic teaching must be honored—particularly with regard to the provision of nutrition and hydration. (This in the home archdiocese of Terri Schiavo!)

Of course, these violations of basic Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life are not particular to one archdiocese; they are scandalously common in Catholic dioceses all over the country.

Moreover, the situation in Catholic hospitals is merely a symptom of a broader problem: the failure of the Church as a whole to live by its own teachings. Millions of people who regard themselves as “faithful Catholics” believe that the Church’s teachings on matters of life and death are merely “optional” and can therefore be disregarded. But in many cases, Catholics simply don’t know what the Church’s teachings are. The sad fact is that the Church has largely failed to teach and make known its own life-giving, life-saving doctrines. Just to take the first point listed above as an example, relatively few Catholics even know what Natural Family Planning is (hint: it’s not the rhythm method of yesteryear!), much less know how to practice it. But then, how would they know about it? How often do priests preach about it? How often do marriage-preparation programs mention NFP, much less actually teach couples how to use it?

Brown sums up with words that are hard to hear (as truth often is!), but will perhaps, like the HHS mandate itself, serve as a wake-up call:

If Catholics fail to clean up their own healthcare houses and abide by Church teaching in every aspect, particularly those that impact respect for the dignity of the human being, then we deserve to live under the oppression of Obama and his cronies.

Catholics must, in this tragic age, lead by example, lead by entrusting our very lives to God, and lead by living the motto our country once held so dear.

In God, and God alone, may we trust!

THE COUNTDOWN: 24 days.

Diocese sues Obama administration for stonewalling Freedom of Information request about HHS mandate

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is suing the federal government over its stonewalling of the diocese’s Freedom of Information Act request.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has filed a lawsuit charging that the federal government created illegal barriers to its request for information about lobbyist influence on the HHS contraception mandate.

“We think there has been a wide variety of groups trying to influence the administration to keep the sterilization, contraception and abortion pill parts of the mandate,” Mickey Pohl, a lawyer for the diocese, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He added that the diocese is “trying to find out what the communication has been back and forth to HHS, and the reason HHS is fighting religious organizations so hard not to change the preventative care mandate.”

The diocese’s lawsuit, filed in federal court July 1, says that federal officials at the Health and Human Services department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted $1.8 million and up to five years to respond to the attorney’s Freedom of Information Act request for the relevant records.

The correct word for that is extortion.

The demand came months after the attorney’s September 2012 request for information.Officials later changed their fee to $25,000 in processing charges, though Pohl said the offer of a three-year timeline was still unacceptable.

Um, yeah, seeing as how the deadline for compliance with the HHS mandate is August 1, 2013, delaying the request until late 2015 is a pretty obvious ploy on the part of the government.

Pohl said the federal officials’ demands for the payment and the lengthy waiting time violated legal requirements that they provide public information in a timely manner and at reasonable cost.

Oh, but when has following the law ever been a consideration for this administration? Laws are for the serfs and peons, not for our “enlightened” rulers.

Abortion “rights” groups have largely supported the mandate, and some groups used it to rally support for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Some reports have questioned [these groups'] influence on the mandate’s creation.

In November 2011, William J. Cox, president of the California-based Alliance of Catholic Health Care, told a Congressional subcommittee that the federal mandate’s original language was based on a California bill.

That bill’s religious exemption was “painstakingly crafted by the American Civil Liberties Union to specifically exclude religious institutional missions like health care providers, universities and social service agencies,” he said.

Cox said that during the debate on the California bill, the then-head of Planned Parenthood in California said the wording was designed to close the “Catholic gap” in contraceptive coverage.

Ah, now we get to the nib of it. For people whose desire to control the world necessitates control of population, the Catholic Church is the ultimate enemy. Taking down the Catholic Church is way too important a goal for them to get hung up on trivial matters such as the rule of law and the First Amendment.

THE COUNTDOWN: Only 26 days until D-day.

Santorum and Aquinas: Their Message to the Catholic Bishops

Many bishops feel betrayed by the Obama Administration. Having supported the basic concept of Obamacare in return for politicians’ promises that conscience rights would be respected, the bishops can’t help but feel betrayed since the Obama administration is forcing nearly every employer in America, even Catholic institutions, to pay for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacient drugs.

But according to Rick Santorum, no one should be surprised at such developments. The die was cast long ago, he explains, when bishops and other Catholic leaders first bought into erroneous ideas about the true role of government.

“I took issue with the Catholic Bishops Conference, because… you may remember, they embraced Obamacare….

“They embraced it and… here’s what I said to them. Be careful when you have government saying that they can give you rights, that you have a right to health care, and government’s going to give you something, because once you are now dependent on government… not only can they take that right away, they can tell you how to exercise that right, and you can either like it or not. And that’s the problem. That’s what the Catholic Bishops Conference didn’t get, that there’s no free lunch here, folks. If you’re going to give people secular power, then they’re going to use it in a secular fashion. And that’s why, you know, I hate to say it, but you know, you had it coming. And it’s time to wake up and realize that government isn’t the answer to the social ills. It’s people of faith, and it’s families, and it’s communities, and it’s charities that need to do this as it has [been] in America so successfully for so long.”

Daren Jonescu brilliantly elaborates on Santorum’s point:

The so-called “right to health care” is one of those “positive rights” Obama, and all modern leftists, have been trying to squeeze into America’s political lexicon since FDR. To state the conservative case for the millionth time, a right, if it is anything at all, is a claim against others. For example, your right to life is your claim against anyone else’s desire to end or curtail your life without reasonable cause. That is why modern secularist attempts to detach rights from a theory of human nature can only lead to practical nihilism and moral relativism: If my right—my claim—has no grounding deeper than my own desires, then there is no reason, other than an arbitrary quasi-contractual agreement, why anyone is obliged to acknowledge that right, or respect it.

The rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are what contemporary academicians call “negative rights,” meaning that the only obligation they impose upon others—including, and especially, upon government—is the obligation not to restrict or otherwise violate the rights claims in question.

“Positive rights,” by contrast, impose obligations upon others, beyond mere restraint. If you truly had a right to healthcare, a service provided by humans, then this rights claim would create a specific positive obligation for other human beings, namely the obligation to provide this service for you. However ingeniously the concept of positive rights is decorated by its thousands of dedicated theorists, the basic premise is simple and brutal: a positive right is a claim to the servitude of other human beings [such as doctors] —that is, a legal claim against their time, labor, and/or property.

Thus, Santorum’s point—the proper constitutional point—is that by supporting and advocating Obamacare, the Catholic bishops have implicitly accepted the basis of positive rights, which is the legitimacy of a political claim to the servitude of others. Having accepted it, they cannot simultaneously complain about the secular power’s means of enforcing these supposed rights, when those means happen to run up against matters of religious conscience. In the quagmire of positive rights, there is no room for conscience—or at least for any conscience that does not coincide with the political judgments of the secular rights-enforcers of the given moment. There is room only for coercion.

Unfortunately, for many years, most Catholic clergy, from the Vatican down to our local parish priests, have bought into the political Left’s claims to be “compassionate” and “just.”

Since socialism seems, on its face, to have similar goals to Christianity—caring for the less fortunate, charity, devoting oneself to a goal higher than self—it is the natural political affiliation of the Church. There are a variety of major problems with this presumption of a Christian/socialist affinity, of course: Christianity is doctrinally committed to individual salvation, socialism to collective achievement, at the expense of the individual where necessary; Christianity is doctrinally committed to a higher purpose beyond the material world, socialism fundamentally materialistic in its focus on earthly “equality”; Christianity has a doctrinal reverence for the past (including the extremely distant past), while socialism has grown out of materialist historicism’s disdain for the men and ideas of the past; and so on.

Some well-meaning people might ask:  But why should most of the burden for improving humanity’s lot fall, as Santorum indicates, on individuals, families, churches, communities and private charities? Couldn’t government bring other resources to bear on problems and do a better job of solving them?

Janescu then lays out how St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the most brilliant, humane and authoritative Catholic thinkers of all time, answered these questions.

On the question of whether human laws ought to be instituted at all, and specifically whether they are an acceptable substitute for private moral teachings and admonitions, Aquinas offers the following:

“[M]an has a natural aptitude for virtue; but the perfection of virtue must be acquired by man by means of some kind of training…. Now it is difficult to see how man could suffice for himself in the matter of this training: since the perfection of virtue consists chiefly in withdrawing man from undue pleasures, to which above all man is inclined, and especially the young, who are more capable of being trained. Consequently a man needs to receive this training from another, whereby to arrive at the perfection of virtue. And as to those young people who are inclined to acts of virtue, by their good natural disposition, or by custom, or rather by the gift of God, paternal training suffices, which is by admonitions. “

Thus far, then, Aquinas is arguing that virtue is properly attained through non-governmental means, i.e. without coercion. It is best acquired through “paternal training.” He now turns to the question of people whose natural dispositions are not moral.

“But since some are found to be depraved, and prone to vice, and not easily amenable to words, it was necessary for such to be restrained from evil by force and fear, in order that, at least, they might desist from evil-doing, and leave others in peace, and that they themselves, by being habituated in this way, might be brought to do willingly what hitherto they did from fear, and thus become virtuous. Now this kind of training, which compels through fear of punishment, is the discipline of laws. Therefore in order that man might have peace and virtue, it was necessary for laws to be framed.”

Notice that the law (i.e. government) Aquinas is advocating here is designed, not primarily to bring about direct moral ends, but rather as a protection against immoral men. Specifically, its primary function is to force immoral men to “desist from evil-doing, and leave others in peace.”

In other words, the primary purpose of law is to prevent people from doing direct harm to others. That’s all.

Here we come to the heart of the matter for the Catholic Church. The question of whether or not they ought to support progressivism in politics is inextricably linked to the deeply religious question, “What is the purpose of human laws?” Is it primarily, as the American Founders believed, to protect people from one another, in order that they might pursue virtue according to their own lights and capacities? Or is it primarily to bring about specific societal goals of a material and economic nature, on the grounds that such goals constitute the proper “moral outcomes” for human society?

On this question, St. Thomas is unequivocal. Addressing the specific issue of whether it is the purpose of laws to “repress all vice,” i.e. to institutionalize virtue, he says this:

“Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous [alone] abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.”

Laws do not prohibit all vice, because that would be to restrict unduly the free will of the majority of men, who are imperfect. In other words, virtue in general is a private, which is to say non-legal, matter. The purpose of human law is to restrict the kind of vicious behavior (“murder, theft and such like”) which directly harms other people, thereby, if left unchecked, causing the breakdown of human society. That is, the law ought to restrict only those behaviors which the majority of men, though imperfect, can and will abstain from of their own free will. Stated differently, the law ought not to touch the actions of the majority of men. Laws ought to be of a limited and “negative” character.

Therefore, there is no place in modern Catholic political theory for so-called “positive rights,” such as the right to healthcare, a job, a guaranteed income, a home, and so on. Positive rights extend the law’s coercive power far beyond the small minority of “depraved” individuals for whom force and fear are the only possible restraints and correctives; such man-made “rights” impose coercive power, in principle, on every man, woman and child within a society. As such, they violate St. Thomas’ sound principle of leaving the imparting of virtue, for the vast majority of humans, as a matter of familial authority. Hence, socialism, even taken on very naive terms (i.e. assuming its goals are the noble ones the Catholic bishops have falsely assumed), is completely opposed to the most profound Catholic teaching on the role and limits of human law.

This is much more than a matter of Catholic doctrine. It has the deepest implications for all religions, and for moral philosophy in general. Leftist progressivism seeks to impose specific behaviors on all citizens, in order to bring about “desirable” social outcomes, of a material nature. But what is the goal of religious and moral teaching? Is it to achieve materialistic social outcomes, or individual moral outcomes?

By limiting human law to the restriction of those violations against others “without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained,” St. Thomas reinforces the proper Christian theological focus on the salvation of individual souls, which is only possible (short of divine intervention) when men are able to exercise free will in the practice of the virtues which perfect the soul.

In short, there is no virtue in doing that which one is compelled to do. Charity, for example, is only charity (i.e. a Christian virtue) if it is a freely chosen course of action. Government-imposed “charity,” in addition to violating constitutional rights, also short-circuits the moral growth of individual citizens. This helps to explain why the progress of socialism, throughout the civilized world, has consistently been accompanied by moral breakdown and social disintegration.

The question is this: Would the Catholic bishops prefer that souls achieve more perfect virtue through the virtuous exercise of their free will, while society as a whole struggled along in its inevitable imperfection? Or would they prefer some superficial notion of social “perfection” achieved at the expense of human virtue? In other words, is their primary goal the salvation of souls achieved through the encouragement of moral choices? Or is it material equality, achieved by force, individual souls be damned (literally)?

Rick Santorum and St. Thomas Aquinas are right. The Catholic bishops have been wrong up to now. They have a fundamental choice to make. So do all Catholics.

Let us pray for the wisdom to see when and where we’ve been wrong, the humility to admit our mistakes, and trust in God both to show us the way forward and to give us what we need as we go there.

THE COUNTDOWN:  Let us deepen our trust in God during these coming 30 days, as we rely on Him to show us how we should proceed.

Open Letter to Our Priests and Bishops

Hard times are coming, and soon. Are we — and our shepherds — ready?
Emily Stimpson’s eloquent plea expresses what many of us are feeling.

What Catholics Need Now:
A Letter to Our Priests and Bishops

 

To Our Spiritual Fathers,

Please forgive the public nature of this letter. In a sense, it goes against my personal rule of not criticizing priests or bishops in print. But only in a sense.

You see, this letter isn’t meant as criticism, although I know some will take it that way. It’s more a cry for help, a plea or a prayer. After the Supreme Court rulings on marriage, I don’t know what else to do. Or where else to go. So I’m coming to you, here, in the only way I know how.

Let me begin by telling you a little about myself. I’m not a perfect Catholic. But I am a faithful Catholic. I love the Church. I trust her and believe in her teachings. I’m also trying my hardest to follow those teachings—every last one—regardless of the cost.

I’m also trying to be the type of witness the Church calls me to be. I strive to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. I talk about Jesus without shame or fear in coffee shops, dressing rooms, and airports. I defend the Church when people attack her or misrepresent her. And I try to do it all in a way that’s charming, engaging, relevant, and accessible. That’s not to say I always succeed. But I am doing my best to show the world the joy, love, peace, beauty, and life I’ve found in Christ and his Church.

So, why am I writing you?

Because I need your help.

Again, I’m trying so very hard to do what the Church asks me to do and call this culture back to Christ. So many of us are trying. But it’s not enough. Wednesday’s Supreme Court decisions, while not a surprise, confirmed that.

I know as a Catholic layperson I’ve got to step up my game. And I’m willing to do that. Again, whatever the cost.

But you’ve got to step up your game too.

By that I mean no disrespect. As priests and bishops you bear a tremendous burden. I don’t envy you that, and I know many of you are carrying that burden heroically.

But many of you aren’t. You’ve been weak. You’ve been cowardly. You’ve made compromises and led people astray. Souls are perishing because of that. A culture is perishing because of that. And it’s got to stop. You have been ordained as priests of God Most High, Christ’s representatives on earth. You’ve got to act like it. We don’t just need our spiritual fathers standing shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight for souls. We need you leading us into the breach.

As for how you do that, it’s not complicated.

1. Preach the Faith.

On Sundays, don’t tell me to be nice; tell me to be holy. Don’t tell me to trust God; tell me who God is. Don’t even tell me to be faithful; tell me what faithful means. Explain holiness. Explain sin. Be specific. Preach on what lust, gluttony, selfishness, laziness, pride, anger, and vanity are, why they’re bad for me, and how to avoid them. Preach the Creed. Preach the saints. Preach the story of salvation history. And preach it in all its fullness.

While you’re at it, let go of this idea that homilies are a separate thing from catechesis. They can’t be separate right now. The majority of Catholics sitting in the pews on Sunday don’t know the basics of the Faith. And the only place most will learn them is from a homily. Don’t waste your precious 10 minutes in front of a semi-captive audience repeating fluff we can get from Oprah. Use the Scriptures to illuminate Tradition, not obscure it.

Outside the homily, invest in catechesis. Hire DREs who believe, know, and can teach the Faith. Pay them a family wage so they don’t leave after three years. Invest in your volunteer catechists too. Help them get the training they need. Then, get involved in catechesis yourself. Talk to the kids. Teach RCIA. The more you let people know how important you think catechesis is, the more important they will think it is.

2. Use Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law

In other words, stop playing nice with the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Deny them Communion. Their sin is grave, public, and persistent. And until they have publicly repented of that grave, public, and persistent sin, allowing them to receive the Eucharist is not only a source of scandal to the faithful, it’s a source of confusion to the faithful. It communicates to us that it’s okay to support abortion rights, same-sex marriage, contraception, no fault divorce, and other serious sins. It also communicates to us that it’s okay to vote for politicians who support the same. And it’s not.

I understand, in not enforcing Canon 915, you have been trying to not burn bridges. You’ve been trying to deal with the matter privately. But it’s not working. It’s actually failing abysmally. Admit defeat. Then change course. It’s the most loving thing to do for everyone, Nancy Pelosi included.

3. Clean House

There is room in the Church for everyone. We should welcome saints and sinners alike. But when it comes to our dioceses, parishes, and schools, we need people who actually believe what the Church teaches in positions of leadership. Open dissent on contraception, homosexuality, the all-male priesthood, and more is a poorly kept secret in countless schools and chanceries. It’s less common than it used to be, but it’s there. Even in “good” dioceses. Spend a year working for the Church and you’ll figure that out right quick.

Not surprisingly, that lack of fidelity is impeding both the flow of grace and the quality of catechesis in our parishes and schools. People cannot teach what they don’t believe. And until that changes, the New Evangelization will do nothing more than limp along.

Change won’t be easy. Uncomfortable discussions will have to take place. Feelings will get hurt. Jobs will be lost. Lawsuits will be filed. But that’s still better than a whole culture going to Hell and your own personal swimming match with a millstone.

4. Give Us Beauty

As Catholics, we believe that “the body expresses the person.” That’s true for each of us, and it’s true for the Body of Christ. The physical stuff of the Faith—the smells, bells, and buildings—express the soul of the Faith—her doctrines, dogmas, and disciplines.

At least, it should express the soul. The Church’s liturgy and architecture should reveal a richness of beauty and belief that robs the gruel fed to us by the culture of all its appeal. It should move us to love God and neighbor more. It should make us long for Heaven. It should make us sorry for our sins.

The music of Marty Haugen and Dan Schutte doesn’t do that. Hastily and haphazardly performed rites don’t do that. Pedestrian speech, liturgical puppets, and felt banners don’t do it either. If you want Catholics to see the beauty of the Faith, you have to show it to us. You have to make it manifest in Church on Sunday. You have to give us something extraordinary to help us realize we’re called to something extraordinary. Feed us with beauty and truth; goodness will follow.

5. Prepare for Persecution

No matter how diligently you work, no matter how faithful you are, things will likely get much worse before they get better. Hard times are ahead, and you, our fathers, have to be ready for battle. You have to be ready to give your life not just figuratively, but literally.

Communicate that to our priests in training. Get them ready. Teach them to fast and go without. Get rid of the well stocked bars in seminary lounges. Teach them also to serve. Tell the families who invite the seminarians over for dinner that it’s seminary policy for the young men to do the dishes afterwards. And teach by example. Keep your tastes simple and your expenses minimal. Look to Pope Francis to see how it’s done.

Whatever you do, in all things, help young priests and seminarians understand that the era of comfortable Catholicism has come to an end. A new era is dawning, an era where priests will be hated and reviled, mocked, and perhaps martyred. This is a time for heroes, a time for saints, a time for greatness. Make priests for our time. Be a priest for time.

Again, I know many of you already do all these things and more. There are heroes at our altars already. But we need more heroes. We need all our spiritual fathers to do what you were ordained to do. Do it and I promise you, you won’t be alone. Your children will be standing behind you, following you, helping you, dying with you.

Just lead us where Christ calls, and we will follow, right to the very end.

With love, gratitude, and prayers,
Emily Stimpson

THE COUNTDOWN: One month from tomorrow, August 1, is the deadline set by the Obama Administration for religious organizations to buckle under to the HHS Mandate requiring us to pay for contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacients for our employees. We have 31 days to decide whom we will serve. The time when American Catholics could serve both God and Caesar — if indeed there ever was such a time — certainly exists no more. Like it or not, ready or not, we are now forced to make a choice. St. Thomas More, pray for us! St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us! St. John the Baptist, pray for us! 

On Memorial Day, a reminder of what they fought for

The one war that nearly all Americans would agree was fought for a just cause is World War II.  The Nazis were so obviously evil that our war against them has been called “the good war.” Our fighting men and women of that war, and those who supported the war effort at home, have been called “the  greatest generation.”

Just as a reminder of what we were fighting against and why, I here present, unedited, a list from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum of Germany’s anti-Semitic laws, which, beginning in 1933, marginalized Jewish people more and more, gradually cutting them off from all means of making a living. You will notice that medicine was the first field from which Jews were excluded….

The following list shows 29 of the more than 400 legal restrictions imposed upon Jews and other groups during the first six years of the Nazi regime.

1933

March 31
Decree of the Berlin City Commissioner for Health suspends Jewish doctors from the city’s social welfare services.

April 7
The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service removes Jews from government service.

April 7
The Law on the Admission to the Legal Profession forbids the admission of Jews to the bar.

April 25
The Law against Overcrowding in Schools and Universities limits the number of Jewish students
in public schools.

July 14
The Denaturalization Law revokes the citizenship of naturalized Jews and “undesirables.”

October 4
The Law on Editors bans Jews from editorial posts.

1935

May 21
The Army Law expels Jewish officers from the army.

September 15
The Nuremberg Race Laws exclude German Jews from Reich citizenship and prohibit them from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of “German or German-related blood.”

1936

January 11
The Executive Order on the Reich Tax Law forbids Jews to serve as tax consultants.

April 3
The Reich Veterinarians Law expels Jews from the profession.

October 15
The Reich Ministry of Education bans Jewish teachers from public schools.

1937

April 9
The Mayor of Berlin orders public schools not to admit Jewish children until further notice.

1938

January 5
The Law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names forbids Jews from changing their names.

February 5
The Law on the Profession of Auctioneer excludes Jews from the profession.

March 18
The Gun Law bans Jewish gun merchants.

April 22
The Decree against the Camouflage of Jewish Firms forbids changing the names of Jewish-owned businesses.

April 26
The Order for the Disclosure of Jewish Assets requires Jews to report all property in excess of 5,000 reichsmarks.

July 11
The Reich Ministry of the Interior bans Jews from health spas.

August 17
The Executive Order on the Law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names requires Jews bearing first names of “non-Jewish” origin to adopt an additional name: “Israel” for men and “Sara” for women.

October 3
The Decree on the Confiscation of Jewish Property regulates the transfer of assets from Jews to non-Jews in Germany.

October 5
The Reich Ministry of the Interior invalidates all German passports held by Jews. Jews must surrender their old passports, which will become valid only after the letter “J” has been stamped on them.

November 12
The Decree on the Exclusion of Jews from German Economic Life closes all Jewish-owned businesses.

November 15
The Reich Ministry of Education expels all Jewish children from public schools.

November 28
The Reich Ministry of the Interior restricts the freedom of movement of Jews.

November 29
The Reich Ministry of the Interior forbids Jews to keep carrier pigeons.

December 14
The Executive Order on the Law on the Organization of National Work cancels all state contracts held with Jewish-owned firms.

December 21
The Law on Midwives bans all Jews from the profession.

1939

February 21
The Decree concerning the Surrender of Precious Metals and Stones in Jewish Ownership requires Jews to turn in gold, silver, diamonds, and other valuables to the state without compensation.

August 1
The President of the German Lottery forbids the sale of lottery tickets to Jews.

THE COUNTDOWN: Only 65 days until August 1, 2013, a day that is already entered on the timeline of the Obama Administration’s campaign to marginalize and exclude from the public square all faithful Catholics and pro-life believers.

“I never knew….”

When the Supreme Court in 1992 handed down its decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey affirming the “right” to abortion created in Roe v. Wade, one of its arguments was that “for two decades of economic and social developments, [people] have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.”

It was a craven argument — completely ignoring the millions of real, flesh-and-blood human beings snuffed out by this “availability” — but, sadly, the statement itself is quite true. Similarly to the way a huge portion of the United States economy and society once rested on the institution of slavery, our present economy and society rests to a large degree on legal abortion — as a back-up for contraception – which is to say that what our current society really rests on is contraception.

Contraception is so much a part of the cultural air we breathe that those who question it are regarded by many as oddballs. But this is an extremely recent development. And for a variety of reasons, the history behind that development has remained hidden from most of us.

Take, for example, the common trope that opposition to contraception is a “Catholic” issue. In reality, the entire Christian church condemned contraception for 1,900 years. Beginning with Martin Luther and John Calvin, all Protestant denominations, relying on Scripture, condemned contraception as a serious sin. What happened in 1930? Did the Bible suddenly change?

The history of how and why Christian attitudes toward contraception changed is as fascinating as it is shocking. That history has been very elegantly translated to film in the 55-minute documentary The Birth Control Movie: How Did We Get Here? The movie was made by a team of Protestant ministers and scholars, and it is extremely well done. It’s important to note that, with the exception of Live Action founder Lila Rose, none of the men and women featured in the film are Catholic. Indeed, the story of how Margaret Sanger cunningly drove a wedge between American Protestants and Catholics in order to advance her contraception agenda was, for me, the most eye-opening lesson of a film that is chock-full of eye-openers.

I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. I would practically call it “required viewing” for all of us working to defeat the HHS contraceptive mandate. You can buy the DVD, as I did, for $14.99 (it arrived only 2 days after I ordered it!), or you can watch it online by renting it for one week for $5.99. It’s a better use of $5.99, and one hour of your time, than just about anything I can think of.

THE COUNTDOWN:  Only 72 days until the deadline in the federal government’s attempt to get all of us trouble-making Christians in line.

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