We Stand as One

I came across an insightful column in The Long Island Catholic written by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville CentreHe writes about Catholic bishops standing as one to defend and protect religious freedom.

Here is an excerpt:

A few weeks ago, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport appeared before a congressional committee regarding the HHS regulations that mandate Catholic institutions provide coverage for procedures and medicines, including abortifacients, contrary to Catholic moral teaching. One member of the panel asked the bishop how the panel could distinguish among Catholics of varying opinions. (Previously they had heard from Sister Carol Keehan of Catholic Health Association (CHA) who has publicly backed the administration in disagreement with the bishops.) Bishop Lori answered honestly and correctly: there are many opinions among Catholics but if you want to know what the Church teaches and what her faith demands, ask the bishops who, alone as the successors of the apostles in union with the pope, are the ones who can be trusted to offer, not an opinion, but the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.

There probably has never been a time in the life of the Church when every Catholic adhered to every authoritative teaching of the Church. I can cite instance after instance when well-meaning Catholics in the past 2,000 years have disagreed with or even opposed the teaching of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Sincerely held, these opinions were just that — opinions. The pope and the bishops in union with him have always had the formidable task first, of fulfilling their own solemn commitment under oath, to preserve with total integrity and fidelity the message of Jesus and the authentic teaching of the Church. With that solemn responsibility comes second, the equally daunting but solemn pledge to teach the authoritative doctrine on faith and morals “in season and out of season” as St. Paul reminds us. Indeed, Paul said “if another teach you a different gospel, or even if I myself teach you a different gospel, you must adhere to what is the true message” which the Church’s bishops have maintained through the centuries.

You can read the whole column here.

 

15 Responses to “We Stand as One”

  1. Irwin says:

    OUTSTANDING!!!!!! I support our CATHOLIC Bishops 100%

  2. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Yes, there are 2 good articles here on this issue BUT, the only thing I disagree with is the following quote which is again repeated after Cardinal Dolan said it last week:

    “While we bishops are grateful for the support of so many, Cardinal Dolan last week in Hicksville correctly reminded us that the real work of persuasion and of bringing this vision into fruition belongs to the laity, not to the bishops. We enunciate the principles of Catholic teaching. You, the faithful, are the ones who must make your voices heard and offer your proposals, consistent with Catholic teaching that will translate our faithful proclamation of the Church’s teaching into practice for the good of the society and the common good of all.”

    Our leaders must expect our support but you can’t just pawn it off on us without bishops who ” . . . enunciate the principles of Catholic teaching.”

    As long as Canon 915 is ignored our leaders will not be taken seriously when it comes to important issues of the day.

    Pope John Paul II taught this. So does Pope Benedict, Bishop Bruskewitz and Cardinal Burke among others.

    The average Catholic must perceive that you are serious – very serious about this. So far, this is lacking. Divorced and remarried folks are denied the most precious Body and Blood and these accomplices to genocide are not. This is wrong.

  3. Rachel says:

    I am humbly grateful that the Catholic Church stands firm and does not bend with the changing times. It helps us to find the answers we search for and to be confident in our choices. We can look at the Church now and all through the past and find consistency and lots of different points of view to help us to understand the positions the Church takes. We know from Scripture, theologians past and and present, and the lives and writing of the saints what’s right and why. We have lots of company in our struggles and lots of people who helps us think through these things, past and present. Thank you for being consistent and for standing firm.

  4. Chris says:

    “I can cite instance after instance when well-meaning Catholics in the past 2,000 years have disagreed with or even opposed the teaching of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Sincerely held, these opinions were just that — opinions.”

    Which is no different than the edicts of the Pope or Bishops, they to are in fact just opinions.

    The porblem is clear the Bishops have forgotten that they are human, imperfect, flawed, humans. Outside the serfdom of the catholic church the opinion of the Pope has no more weight than that of a plumber. The Bishops are attempting to seize and wield political power and have become drunk off of it. They have forgotten their duty to the flock. American Catholics, like all Catholics have minds and the ability to reason, the Bishops need to listen to laity when the laity speaks and tells the Bishops that it will not follow.

  5. Mary says:

    It’s time we obey Mother Church and vote the Church haters out in November.

  6. Katherine says:

    Everything lately makes me wish there was a Catholic nation – a country structured on the Catholic faith and governed as such. Of course Vatican City is that way, but so few Catholics can live there. I’m not saying Catholics shouldn’t live everywhere – we are called to spread the Word. But still, a safe haven somewhere. I suppose that is what Heaven is for though. :)

  7. Frank says:

    Catholic Democrats Calls on Cardinal Dolan and Fellow Bishops to Repudiate ‘Ryan Budget’ and Reaffirm Catholic Concern for the Poor: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs042/1102051919009/archive/1109593882052.html

  8. Irene says:

    I think what makes things difficult is that partisan politics are so deeply intertwined with the Bishops’ teachings right now. It seems to me, in the public forum, that the Bishops are most united and outspoken on issues that support the Republican agenda (like opposing gay marriage and funding for contraception) but not nearly so forceful on issues that support a Democratic agenda (our societal obligation to the poor, etc). Also, when Bishops choose to publicly criticize an individual politician, it’s just about always a Democratic Catholic politician, never a Catholic Republican.

    So the Catholics who are among the 40% of Americans who identify Republican, say “Yes, thank you Bishops for speaking truth, no matter how hard it is for some to hear”. The 60% of Americans who are Independent or Democrat say, “Huh, this sounds like partisan politics to me, not magisterial teaching”.

    I think our bishops really need to find a collective way to disentangle themselves from partisan politics in order for their positions to carry more weight. Also, it doesn’t help when our bishops use sources like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League to reinforce their statements; it just undermines any claim to authority.

    Speaking as someone with experience in community organizing, I was fascinated at how quickly our bishops were able to mobilize a united base around the contraceptive mandate by rightfully claiming it was about religious liberty, not contraception. I was equally fascinated by how quickly that base later disintegrated, when the campaign became about, not just maintaining the status quo, but changing it. At that point it DID become about contraception, not religious liberty, in the eyes of the electorate, with people falling back into their usual camps. It’s a sad example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; whoever is heading the USCCB’s advocacy on this needs to rethink their strategy.

  9. WJ says:

    It is not the “Republican agenda” that the Church supports. Prior to any political labels and categories are the teachings of Christ and its implications in every day life, yes, in all aspects, even in public, social and political fields. Christ saved the whole man.

  10. MaryG says:

    Thank you bishops for reminding us of the peril and the joy of “follow Me”.

  11. Gail Allen says:

    The HHS mandate is but a rouse. How better to get rid of the Catholic Church in the USA than by forcing the closure of so many Catholic Institutions…”Will close doors rather than comply..” Mission Accomplished!!

  12. Chris says:

    @Gail Allen, there is no campaign to get rid of the Catholic Church, that is just the typical paranoia Glenn Beck and fox News sells their weak minded followers. The Catholic Bishops are out of touch with their flock and with other Catholic institutions. The majority of American Catholics disagree with the positions the Bishops are taking. Bishops are demonstrating the dangers of a leadership that lives removed from reality and in their own private echo chamber. The real danger to the American Catholic Church is the Bishops themselves and their refusal to listen to the laity. They are driving the masses away from the Church.

  13. Charles D. Wright says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:

    Thank you for keeping the Faithful up to date on your thoughts about the HHS mandate and about the Patient Affordable Care Act 0f 2011 via the local parish. I read with interest, once again, your words in today’s bulletin at the Parish of Our Saviour. Two remarks seemed especially thought provoking in light of one another. I quote them below, followed by some of the thoughts thereby provoked:

    …The Catholic Church has advocated for universal health care for nearly a century, and our record on providing health care to all, particularly to women and children, is second to none…

    …All we have asked is that the Church be left alone to continue to doing the good work in education, charity, and health care that we have always done…

    It would appear from these words that, while you clearly are opposed to the “suffocating HHS mandates”, you are in support of the Patient Affordable Care Act of 2011 – a bill that claims “universal health care” as its end.

    I beg your pardon if I misunderstand your position. Do you mean to say, by the first statement, that the Church has determined that a secular government is the superior and therefore the ideal sole and just provider of the goods and services that are known as “health care”? I am left to wonder in light of Bishop Nickless’ refreshing and articulate thesis stating that the Church recognizes the validity of a market system of delivery of goods and services – including medicine and health care – in his Patoral Letter to the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa (of interest to all) which was published during the Congressional debates on the Act.

    By this, then, it could be argued that the Church “advocates for a market mechanism as the provider of healthcare where such markets are viable.” Yet your statement seems to foreclose that as a possibility.

    Notwithstanding that, if the church wants universal healthcare, as you say, then let it provide it. Is it right for the church to “advocate” that the government do so by “universal healthcare” — if it is not fitting for the Church to advocate a market mechanism (which is also “universal” in the sense that it is available to all, yet not necessarily without cost to the consumer)?

    Such considerations call to mind another question: If the church really wanted to be “left alone”, why did it advocate for universal healthcare to begin with? Why didn’t it advocate for a government that would leave the matter in the hands of the producers and consumers of such services? Should the Church seek a privilege for itself that the populace in general doesn’t enjoy — the right to be “left alone?”

    Reason argues that it cannot be had both ways. By advocating for “universal healthcare”, supporters of the Act bargained with the government to take control of a vibrant health care industry, and after it did, they realized they’d been delivered a Trojan horse. Inside the Act, all along, lay the precedent and the language that made the HHS Mandates – along with “government provided” but taxpayer financed abortion, contraception, and even sterilization, and who knows what other evils – inevitable.

    This is not a new idea. The issue was raised in Catholic media before the Act became law. Numerous Church leaders (Bishops Vasa, Chaput, Nickless, and Cardinal Rigali, et al) – saw that the present deplorable condition would be the inevitable outcome of the Patient Care Act. Regrettably, I do not recall reading anything in my parish bulletin from the Archdiocese of New York containing such a warning. How can that be?

    I thank you for your attention.

    Yours truly,

    Charles D. Wright
    Manhattan

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2009/aug/09081810
    I leave aside for the moment whether it is enough that the Bishops “debate religious freedom” alone or also considers the limits of just government. For where the concerns of governing the family are concerned, Paul VI says “The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.” He said that in the context of this prescient concern in Humanae Vita: “Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.”

  14. Timothy J Regan MD (doctor tim) says:

    Politicians view all comments as empty words these days and either ignore them unlesss backed by the VIGOUOUS ACTION now required to assure us our God Given Religious Freedom. This day I am trying to contact my organization, the Knights of Columbus, to sponsor and implement a Summer Rally in Washingtom D.C. like the Tea Party and Glen Beck Rallies of the last few years. Coordinating with the Bishops (USCCB), we need to have their letters read at all the Masses in all the Parishes of the United States to mobilize TWO MILLION CATHJOLICS to the capital this summer on a given appropriate date set by the Bishops. We do need to pray like everything depends on God but also work like everything depends on us: EVANGELIZE! EVANGELIZE! EVANGELIZE!

  15. Ken Ekland says:

    Sincere question: if the current fight is all about religious liberty why have the bishops been silent over the past decade when 28 states have had such laws in place, 17 of which are reported to have no religious exemptions at all?