By Tom Quiner
His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, former Archbishop of Chicago, died today.
The blogpost that follows was written three years ago, inspired by Cardinal George’s comments:
The clash between Barack Obama and the Catholic Church has been ignited by their respective and conflicting views of what “principle” means.
Mr. Obama views principle as a fluid concept that can evolve over time in the name of political expediency.
The Catholic Church views principle as a fixed Truth because it flows from Christ, not man.
Obama: man determines principle.
Catholic Church: God determines principle.
You can see the flashpoint. Obama supporters may bristle at my characterization of Mr. Obama’s loosey-goosey embrace of “principle.” But the gay marriage “evolution” is but one microcosm of this man’s vacuous view of foundational truth.
First he was for gay marriage. Then he was against. This week, he’s for it again.
Politics (Man) drives his principle.
Here’s the irony: the Church liked candidate Obama. They were comfortable with some of his ideas for serving our society’s neediest. Catholic conservatives like me agree with the Church’s principles, but may see different political paths to achieving that principle.
The HHS Mandate has turned an Obama ally into an Obama enemy. Mr. Obama is so blinded by his own arrogance and situational principles that he had no grasp of what he was up against in asking the Church to violate its core beliefs.
The haughty can never grasp the humble.
The con can never relate to the convicted. And Catholic convictions are unbendable.
“Yeah … but Catholics are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites, just look at the the priest abuse scandal … ” is the immediate cry of the anti-Catholic mob. And, of course, they are correct. We ARE a bunch of hypocrites with every single sin.
Christ knew how much we Catholics needed him, so He came and died for us. With His death, He gave us life. Abundant, beautiful life.
Dr. Peter Kreeft, renowned Catholic philosopher, put it this way:
“The miracle of Catholicism is that it has survived Catholics!”
So Catholics and anti-Catholics can find common ground that we Catholics are a flawed bunch. What are the practical consequences of the HHS Mandate? According to Cardinal Francis George of the Chicago Diocese, the Catholic Church, we will be “despoiled of its institutions.”
That’s a nice way of saying they will be plundered, stolen, violently seized. The Archbishop layed it on the line:
“What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.”
“The State,” says Cardinal George, “is making itself into a Church.”
It’s not just President Obama that’s the problem here. It’s the Secular Humanist religion he represents that has no fixed moral compass, and demands state control over religion. Mr. Obama has shrunk freedom of religion to a much different concept: freedom to worship.
Cardinal George compares the Obama vision of freedom of religion to the old Soviet Union:
“Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”
Barack Obama has reignited the war between his band of secularists and the faithful for whom our Founding Fathers fought and died. The outcome of this war may not be pretty. Cardinal George is not optimistic:
“I expect to die in bed. My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
May you rest in peace, Cardinal George. Thank-you for your service to our Church and culture.