Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

29 January A.D. 2012
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

 

Some of you sent me e-mail in connection with the HHS decision to require religious non-profit organization to include birth control and sterilization in the insurance policies offered to their female employees (and, presumably, to covered female dependents). This is, of course, outrageous. But it is my contention that a significant amount of the blame must be placed on the Modernist bishops, priests, and religious who have endorsed socialized medicine and other socialist programs. Socialism always creates scarcities, and invites the attempt to limit the number of people who must share what little is available.

My sermon for today dealt with this matter, and is given below.

in XTO,
Fr. B.

 

Ave Maria!

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany—29 January A.D. 2012

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

    Those words are attributed to Thomas Jefferson, arguably the most brilliant man ever to occupy the White House.  When the ideas in question are doctrinal or moral, forced subsidy is not only “sinful and tyrannical,” but also illegal, being prohibited by the First Amendment to the Constitution, as “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion.

    On Wednesday I wrote a sermon that related to the Epistle and Gospel read today—something about Faith, Hope, and Charity.  Perhaps you will hear it next year.  On Thursday I received several pieces of electronic mail about a matter that just seemed to cry out for comment—so, on Friday I decided to write something different.

    It seems that the federal government has determined that “Beginning August 1, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services will require health insurance plans provided by non-profit religious organizations to cover the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception for women without charging a co‑pay, co‑insurance or a deductible.”[1]  This “full range” includes contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services, on Kathleen Sebelius, who claims to be a Catholic,[2] went on to inform us that “Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families...” as though contraceptives were some sort of vitamin pill!  Her reference to them as “preventative services” suggests that the federal government views children as a sort of disease, to be prevented or excised. 

    Quite correctly, the outcry from the American catholic hierarchy has been both widespread and indignant.  One outraged bishop even went so far as to restore the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, which has been missing from the Modernist Mass since the 1960s![3]  Roger Mahoney, the former Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, is quoted as saying:

    As Bishops we do not recommend candidates for any elected office. My vote on November 6 will be for the candidate for President of the United States and members of Congress who intend to recognize the full spectrum of rights under the many conscience clauses of morality and public policy. If any candidate refuses to acknowledge and to promote those rights, then that candidate will not receive my vote.[4]

    These good bishops are quite correct in their indignation, but I have to suggest that they are somewhat misdirected.  Freedom of conscience is certainly important, but underlying question of a government that mandates contraception, sterilization, and even the murder of unborn children is far more significant!  These things would be grave evils, even if only the non-Catholics in our nation practiced them.  Contraception and abortion are not matters of Catholic morality—they are serious violations of the Universal Natural Moral Law.  It is a dereliction of duty to complain about personal “freedom of conscience” without jointly condemning the more widely accepted evils.

    In these United States we have a significant number of politicians, like Kathleen Sebelius, who claim to be Christians and even Catholics, while actively promoting policies that are at enmities with the Faith and the Natural Moral Law.  They are welcomed into Catholic churches, are admitted to Holy Communion, and receive Catholic funerals when they die—sometimes with significant praise from the hierarchy.  Catholic universities grant prestigious honorary degrees to these scoundrels.  Given the failure of Church leaders to condemn the acts of these such politicians, what can they expect to happen to the freedom of their consciences.  Not too many years ago, such notorious people would have been excommunicated and declared “vitandus”—“to be avoided” by all Catholic people, so that none would have anything to do with them.  Today, they are given honorary doctorates, and invited to the Vatican.  Why should anyone be surprised that the bishops will have to pay for a few contraceptives??!!

    In many cases, it has been the same Catholic hierarchs who have been clamoring for the government to take over the provision of health care (and a number of other things for which it has no Constitutional authority).  Eighty years ago, the beloved Pope Pius XI wrote that “no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”[5]  Today, many in the Church call for socialist government to solve all the evils of society—often creating more evils as it does.

    But anyone who understands the economics of socialism knows that contraception, sterilization, abortion, and euthanasia are inevitable components of a socialist medical system.  Socialism is inherently inefficient.  It decreases incentive—why make the effort to do something when the government will do it for you?  It inflates demand—why not take advantage of something that is offered for free?  It decreases supply—no one can compete with government on price—and often government prohibits competition based on quality.  So what are we left with, is less of the service or commodity we would have had under free enterprise.  When more people want to share less of something, rationing becomes imperative.

    If we are talking about medical care, the rations go to those who will most benefit the socialist society.  The elderly, the very young, the weak, and the retarded are excluded immediately.[6]  The proponents of socialist medicine do not try to hide this, and have published extensively.  I cited some of them in the Parish Bulletins for October and November 2009, and I urge you to read them again on the Internet.[7]  The very simplest form of rationing a scarce commodity is to see that there are fewer people to demand it.  Population control through contraception, sterilization, abortion, and euthanasia is part of virtually every scheme for modern socialist government.  Some, like “science czar,” John Holdren  go as far is putting chemicals in the food and water to sterilize just about everyone![8]  The point is that the inefficiencies of socialism have to be made up for by rationing goods among a select few and eliminating the rest.  This is what they mean when they use the buzzword "sustainable development."  The harsh reality is that such a system has no room for choices based on the Moral Law, and no room for allowing individual consciences to “opt out” of the system.

    Socialism is theft.  Another saying attributed to Jefferson says that “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”  Such theft would be adequate reason for the bishops to condemn socialist schemes in American government.  Certainly, the rationing of care, the artificial control of the population, and the violation of conscience are even more abominable.

    If the American bishops are to have any credibility they must begin to denounce all of these things, and not just the requirement that they provide free contraceptives to the women in their employ.  No socialist politician, and no socialist clergyman has any right to the good graces of the Catholic Church or in the polite society of Catholics or any Christian people.  I urge you to remember this when you go to the poll Tuesday for the primary, and again in November.  I urge you to remember it, as well, the next time you receive a request to make a contribution to a supposedly Catholic cause, or to subscribe to a supposedly Catholic publication

    Jefferson was right: “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”  It is abominable when he is compelled to go beyond subsidizing ideas to paying for evil deeds, and the distribution of human misery.


NOTES:

[1]   Cf. “A statement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,” January 20, 2012    http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/01/20120120a.html

[3]   Catholic World News, “Bishops rip HHS mandate; Bishop Zubik: ‘to hell with you’”   http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=13125

[6]   Govind Persad BS, Alan Wertheimer PhD, Ezekiel J Emanuel MD  http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60137-9/fulltext

 


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