Pope Benedict XVI Warns of “Grave Threat” To Religious Liberty in the US

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.

Via Gateway PunditCNA/EWTN News reported:

“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.
Liberals will counter argue – ‘yes, well they came out even stronger against Bush for the Iraq war, so there!’
It’s true that the Vatican opposed the Iraq War. But –(and this is a huge but for practicing Catholics, so listen up) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself 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”.

The good news is, exit polling from the 2010 elections show anywhere from a 24-point to an 18-point Catholic swing from supporting Democrats to supporting Republicans.

Catholic vote  endorses Rick Santorum for President:

I know who I’m voting for in our primary.


Huge SC Win Vindication For Gingrich Spokesman, Rick Tyler

Photo via The Leadership Instititute

I don’t know how I missed this, last Spring, but I did, so I for one, don’t  Owe Gingrich Aide Rick Tyler an Apology.

Some people do, though.

My goodness, this is  funny stuff:

Back in May, a Gingrich spokesman named Rick Tyler released a statement that has been facetiously referred to as the greatest statement ever“:

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.

Okay- so that was just a leeetle bit over the top and more than a few people lampooned it at the time.

See  @rdbrewer at AoSHQ for the delightful  comic strip adaptation: Campaign Press Statements are themselves jaunty poetry.

And even though Stephen Colbert is a jerk, having John Lithgow perform a dramatic reading of the Gingrich press release on his show,  was an inspiration. (You can watch the video at the link.)

And yet —

...what did happen in South Carolina? Out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimidated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces!

Damn straight.

Looks like Rick Tyler is having the last laugh on that one.


Now here is something to chew on:

Via The Other McCain, IBD: Gingrich Looking Churchillian In Political Comeback:

Leadership: A great debater. Politically polarizing. Prone to great error, but also prone to spectacular success. Steeped in history. Politically brilliant. Unorthodox. Audacious.

All these qualities were once used to describe Winston Churchill. Today, you might use the same words to describe Newt Gingrich. Sound absurd? Not when you think about it.

Churchill, like Gingrich, was a brilliant politician with a powerful sense of the occasion.

Sometimes prickly, often witty, but never dull, his career had lots of ups and downs — ranging from being blamed for the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in World War I to being credited as the father of the British welfare state — not exactly a compliment among conservatives, then or now.

Indeed, by Churchill’s own admission, “The Conservatives have never liked nor trusted me.” The same thing can be said of Gingrich, who has had a tortured relationship with the GOP’s conservative wing, to say the least.

And yet, when his nation called on him to lead in 1940, Churchill was ready — the right man for the right time. With America’s government under President Obama moving rapidly to the extreme left, Gingrich too might be the right man for the right time.

Linked by iOWNTHEWORLD, and Legal Insurrection, thanks!