Catholic responses to forced insurance

Fr. Robert Barron takes Sun-Times’s Neil Steinberg and Chi Trib op-ed writer Sara Paretsky to task in his amazing relaxed and easy-going manner in this video on “the HHS contraception mandate.”

The bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend in this “Catholic Resistance Must be the Response to the Unjust HHS Edict to Violate Conscience”: “We have to fight this.   . . . terrible injustice . . . time for all of us to stand up . . . . not just freedom of worship but also freedom to follow our conscience . . . “

The bishop of Lincoln: “We cannot and will not comply with this unjust decree. Like the martyrs of old, we must be prepared to accept suffering which could include heavy fines and imprisonment.”

The archbishop of Los Angeles: “. . . the government is imposing a narrow, radically individualistic idea of religion.”

His predecessor, Cardinal Mahony: “I cannot imagine that this decision was released without the explicit knowledge and approval of President Barack Obama. And I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today.

“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.” [italics added]

The bishop of Pittsburgh: “The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’ There is no other way to put it.”

The bishop of Wichita: “My hope is . . . that we will contact our elected leaders and let them know that we do not want to be forced to act against our beliefs, we or anyone else, and that we want religious liberty and conscience protection restored.”

The archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, who also heads the bishops’ conference: Administration “on the wrong side of the constitution . . . a foul ball . . . never before . . .we can’t afford to strike out . . .”

Puritans, Keats, Paul Ryan, and sheer nonsense

PURITANS AND ROMANTICS: Religion was reduced by the Puritans “to mere morality,” the Puritan imagination was “thoroughly moralized,” said H.B. Parkes and H.W. Schneider respectively, both of them quoted by Yvor Winters in his 1930 book Maule’s Curse.  The “highly stimulated” Puritan, said Winters, was “no longer guided by the flexible and sensitive ethical scholarship of the Roman tradition.”  [italics mine]  Highly stimulated but Calvinistically predestined, he was told by preachers he couldn’t repent even as he was told to repent, in some of the roughest, toughest preaching this side of Beelzebub.

This morality emphasis came to the fore when many years ago I profiled a Unitarian church I knew quite well, focusing on members’ common denominator, morality.  The preacher was very good.  But his game was morality, nothing but.  Fellow Daily News man Bill Newman saw that and observed they would feel pretty good to be characterized that way.  He was right.  Morality sells.  The doctrine that undergirds it does not.

Young romantics of the early 19th century did not feel as Puritans did.  Love is free, said the poet Shelley at 19.  Monogamy, he said, like religious faith “excludes us from all inquiry.”  . . . .  Read the rest here.

Money and other matters GOP voters have to consider

Quite a nice statement of where we stand in re: GOP nomination:

The conundrum:

We don’t dismiss outright the notion that character is important. But the value of the current race is the chance it gives the GOP to craft the substance of its message. It’s an effort in which all four are making important contributions but none — in our view — has combined all the elements together, at least not yet. [italics added]


Mr. Romney has the gubernatorial experience and the businessman’s eye and a good fiscal sense. But it is a huge thing that he is so diffident on the monetary issue. “I’m happy to look at a whole range of ideas on how to have greater stability in our currency and in our monetary policies,” he told Lawrence Kudlow. What a wan excuse for leadership at a time when the value of the dollar has collapsed to below a 1,700th of an ounce of gold.

Newt, on the other hand,

has what we sometimes call a legislative personality, evincing a tendency to talk a good game only to deal and compromise.


inspiring on social issues and religion, and his foreign policy is clear. But his targeting of  tax cuts — or breaks — are an un-nerving signal.

Palin?  Ah yes, Palin, whose Facebook “complaint” set this off?

The Alert Alaskan, as we like to call Mrs. Palin, seemed to comprehend the monetary matters, the foreign policy, the constitutional conservatism, the tax and regulatory issues, the social issues, and the urgency of opening up our domestic reserves of oil and gas.  But the Spellbinder of the Yukon,* as we also like to call her (with a bow to Robert Service), spurned the hopes of millions to get into this race, leaving the Republican Party the campaign of which she now complains.

* Technically in Canada, which is not our point.


Not to dismiss her complaint:

. . . this week the Wall Street Journal issued an editorial reminding us all how phony were the ethics charges against Mr. Gingrich. The Journal reprised what it was like during the days about which Mrs. Palin also writes. It was a time when the Left was using the politics of personal destruction to gin up picayune scandals like that for which Mr. Gingrich was investigated in the House.  Suzanne Garment wrote a book about the tactic, “Scandal: The Culture of Mistrust in American Politics.”

Which lends credibility to Newtster defenders, to be sure.


Newt more than a media-basher

Read this about Newt as more than what’s advertised by Romney-ites:

Tonight’s debate in Florida may be, as advertised, crucial to the outcome of the race there. But whether Speaker Gingrich knocks this one out of the park or he doesn’t, one fact stands clear. He’s survived this long against extraordinary odds and attained the challenger status he now holds not because of his nifty way of attacking the media, poor dears.

He’s here because he speaks to people in ways that assume their interest in ideas of consequence, and they know it — they can hear. And because he speaks [mostly, I’d say] in ways that reflect a respect for their intelligence, and has much to say to them. They know that, too.

This way of relating to voters is no gimmick. It’s a condition of mind and one of bottomless value on a campaign trail. [italics added]

Not that I don’t approve of media-bashing, which is needful for their reform.  Tough love, we might say.

Catholics under siege

Catholics and other Americans united in defense of religious liberty should hear what NY Archbishop Dolan has to say about the government forcing church institutions to provide insurance to cover birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

Here is Abp. Dolan on the subject:

“From a human point of view, we may be tempted to surrender, when our government places conception, pregnancy and birth under the ‘center for disease control,’ when chemically blocking conception or aborting the baby in the womb is considered a ‘right’ to be subsidized by others who abhor it,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at the vigil’s closing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on January 23.

And he is in today’s Wall Street Journal, subscription only.

AmSpect assumes

American Spectator fellow on the presidential speech:

Aside from the fact that the Democrats didn’t seem to enjoy being there any more than the Republicans, the address begged a number of different questions.

He lost me right there.  Prompted or suggested questions.

I’m cranky as it is when the Obfuscator-in-Chief flaps his lips, then comes the conservative commentator to throw me off my feed even more completely.

Sun-Times make non-endorse decision in nick of time

Sun-Times endorsements no more:

With this in mind, the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board will approach election coverage in a new way. We will provide clear and accurate information about who the candidates are and where they stand on the issues most important to our city, our state and our country. We will post candidate questionnaires online. We will interview candidates in person and post the videos online. We will present side-by-side comparisons of the candidates’ views on the key issues. We will post assessments made by respected civic and professional groups, such as the Chicago Bar Association’s guide to judicial candidates.

 What we will not do is endorse candidates. We have come to doubt the value of candidate endorsements by this newspaper or any newspaper, especially in a day when a multitude of information sources allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before.

True dat (as Pat Hickey would say).  Chi Daily News man at The Hall, Jay McMullen, used to look at the anti-Daley I editorials and scoff.  News stories, many of which he wrote, were what mattered, he said.

On the other hand, not having to endorse Obama in the fall has the advantage of not having to explain why.