Obama meets with Pope Benedict XVI in his library at the Vatican on July 10, 2009 in Vatican City, Vatican.(July 10, 2009 – Photo by Pool/Getty Images Europe)
Not mentioning any names, but with the implication clear, Pope Benedict XVI warned today of a “grave threat” to religious liberty in the United States that requires American Catholics to respond with intelligence and courage.
“It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres,” he said Jan. 19 in an address to a group of American bishops visiting the Vatican.
The Pope said he was particularly concerned with “certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”
Pope Benedict’s address was delivered to the bishops from the Mid-Atlantic states region, which includes the Archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore. They are in Rome this week on their regular “ad limina” visit to discuss the health of the U.S. Church with the Pope and Vatican officials. The two bishops from the Archdiocese for the U.S. Military Services are also participating in the meetings.
Pope Benedict said that over the past few days many of the bishops have expressed concern over attempts in the U.S. to “deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices.”
Meanwhile, other bishops raised the “worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship” without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.
At present, the Obama administration is considering imposing a contraception and sterilization mandate that would require all insurance companies to provide those services free of charge. The regulation has a religious exemption clause, but it provides very few exceptions for Church organizations.
Some states are also pushing Catholic adoption agencies out of business or severely limiting their work because they refuse to compromise the Church’s beliefs on same-sex “marriage.”
Pope Benedict said these issues highlight the need for an “engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture.” The American laity must have the “courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate,” he said.
Last week, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan lashed out at the Obama Administration by name for its affront to religious liberties:
The decision by the Obama administration in which it “ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans.” He made the statement in a web video posted at:http://bcove.me/ob5itz9v. . .“Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights,” Cardinal-designate Dolan said.
- “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion – General Principles”L’espresso, June 2004:
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Catholic Answers has been spreading that message for years with its Voters Guide For Serious Catholics. There are in fact 5 non-negotiable issues that Catholics should consider before casting a vote; abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage. The fact of the matter is, Catholics in good conscience should only very rarely vote for the Democrat candidate. Yet a majority of self identified Catholics voted for Obama, the most viciously pro-abort presidential candidate in our nation’s history, in 2008.. Enough was known about his voting record in the IL Senate, that that tragedy should never have happened.
Catholic dioceses throughout the nation should be making those voter guides available to their flocks so this grievous error is not repeated.
Obama is bad on all of the non-negotiables, especially abortion and including gay marriage, which he consistently votes ‘present’ on, when asked. If you pay attention to what his administration does, rather than what he says, his position should be clear. But since it’s an election year, and he knows how key constituencies feel about the issue, his position is “still evolving”.
Catholic vote endorses Rick Santorum for President:
I know who I’m voting for in our primary.