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Do you believe it? Bishops claim they are willing to go to jail over HHS Mandate January 30, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, error, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society.

Should I go to Confession for failing to hold proper respect for the office of bishop if I’m rather skeptical of the claims below? LifeSiteNews interviewed some prelates on the issue of how far they would be willing to go to oppose the HHS Mandate, and were told by several they’d go so far as prison to…….ummmmm…….defend religious liberty:

As the Obama administration and the U.S. Bishops remain locked in battle over the HHS mandate, the question on the minds of many observers is: what lengths are the bishops willing to go to to oppose the mandate?

The prelates LifeSiteNews spoke to after the Vigil Mass for Life in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 24th indicated that they intend to do everything they can to oppose the mandate, including risking imprisonment if necessary…..

……”I would be willing to go to jail in defense of religious liberty,” said Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan, who was appointed Archbishop of Portland, Oregon on Jan. 29th.

He stressed that the bishops are exploring all of the options with the assistance of “sound moral theologians” to “see what is the most practical but effective way to oppose the mandate.”

“We will not simply roll over and accept the mandate,” he insisted. “We have to fight for our religious liberty and we’ll take it as far as we can.”

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh also said he is willing to go to jail if need be. “We can’t compromise on the principles,” he told LifeSiteNews.

If it gets rough “all we have to do is look back at our history. Take a look at the saints who defended our faith and that’s what it’s about,” he said.

Bishop Zubik explained that he has been praying for “a conversion of heart on behalf of our president,” but said “if that doesn’t happen then I think it’s imperative that I accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”..

…..Though all the bishops across the country have opposed the mandate, which forces employers to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilizations, many are reluctant to speculate on how they will respond going forward.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. is one who instead has stressed that the bishops hope they can reach an agreement with the administration.

LifeSiteNews asked the Cardinal about the mandate during a media availability before the Mass for Life at the Verizon Center on Jan. 25th, the day of the March for Life.

“We are very hopeful that as time goes on and our conference continues to work with the administration, that something will allow us to continue to function as we always have, as a free entity freely exercising our ministry in our country,” he said.

Pressed about what the bishops will do if the mandate goes forward, he said, “We take this one day at a time, and I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to resolve this.”

I’ve already written about the great problems involved in framing this persecution as one of “religious liberty” as opposed to one of being forced to commit a grave moral evil. But the bishops have collectively decided – for decades, I’m afraid – that they are not interested in challenging the laity on their mass contraceptive use. So, they are using the “religious liberty” tactic, even though, were some bizaare cult persecuted for animal sacrifice, the Church would then logically have to support their right to “religious liberty,” too.

I suppose it’s this displaced focus, and years of experience, that make me a bit doubtful that we’d see many bishops in orange jumpsuits and handcuffs.  The bishops haven’t been willing to preach against contraception, by and large, for decades, in spite of the fact that they know millions of Catholics are committing grave sin through contraceptive use every day. I’m also a bit skeptical because we continue to see other examples of bishops failing to firmly uphold moral standards or Church Doctrine in so many other areas.  How many bishops condemn porn use? Or speak out against the divorce culture and even the abuses of the tribunal system?   I pray for bishops to do so constantly, but I’m afraid I don’t see the great wellspring of courage to suffer evidenced in many of our current episcopate. But, prayer and Grace can work miracles.

Then there is the whole abuse crisis. How many falsely accused priests have been thrown under the bus, not just to keep a bishop out of jail, but even to keep bishops from being mildly inconvenienced or the diocesan finances somewhat affected by legal bills?  Isn’t that how the entire Dallas policy was construed? Fr. George David Byers has had a running string of posts on this subject for months, btw.

What do you think?  Do you think we’d see many bishops go to jail over the HHS mandate?  My belief is that the bishops are praying the courts will solve this problem for them. I think they’re probably right, but if they’re not, then what?  Do you see any bishop standing so firm in his opposition, refusing to implement the contracptive mandate, that he’d be willing to go to jail?  Even if there is one or two willing to do so, do you think it would be more than a handful?

I pray this all gets resolved well before we get to that point. I pray the persecution of the Church stops. But if it doesn’t, I’ll be taking on some additional prayer and mortifications for the true faith, courage, and zeal for our Church leadership. Perhaps that’s how I should have framed this post – as one imploring more prayers for our bishops. I’m out of time for the day, perhaps tomorrow I’ll totally re-write it.


1. Jeff Spalding - January 30, 2013

Fr. John Hardon, a true giant for the Catholic faith, once had his life threatened for reasons pertaining to his defense of Church teaching. When he found out, he told another great man, Mr. William J. Smith, founder of Eternal Life and great friend to Fr. Hardon that he was honored at the possibility of dying a martyr.

The last thing any Catholic should fear, is defending the true faith. Let us do as Fr. Hardon, St. Maximillion Kolbe, St. Maria Goretti, Blessed Miguel Pro, and thousands of other great Catholics have done. Look for the opportunity to suffer for God. Try to love Him in the manner He loves us, even to the extent of dying for Him, as His Son, died for us.

As Bishop Zubik said, “its what it’s all about”.

tantamergo - January 30, 2013

Jeff –

Great to hear from you. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying they shouldn’t defend the Faith, up to and including going to jail (easy for me to say). But I just don’t see much evidence of that kind of zeal.

Woody - January 31, 2013

Yes, it’s easy to talk the talk. Time will tell if they will walk the walk.

2. KathiBee - January 31, 2013

this post reminded me of the one you did a few days ago on the Diocese of Main purchasing a strip mall across the street from the Cathedral (The. Cathedral. — ha!) that includes a Rite-Aid that sells all kinds of things the Church would oppose in its teachings. Along w/many things that It would have no problem with (but how much dog poop mixed w/ brownies makes them un-edible?)

I pray daily & do a Holy 10/15/30/60 minutes (as time allows) regularly for our Bishop here in Dallas as well as many others I know of – both outstanding & somewhat questionable. They so need prayers – what a responsibility!!

I pray I am wrong that they would succomb to what the Diocese of Maine did when they couldn’t figure out if they were on the right side of things in purchasing the strip mall, going to a church-licensed moral theologian whose a member of the Society of Christian Ethics:

“There are various kinds of cooperation,” explained (moral theologian Rev. Joseph) Daniels. “Cooperation can be distinguished between being proximate — being very closely involved with something — or remote — being more distant from involvement with a particular activity.”

At the same time, he said, cooperation can be distinguished by behavior: “Is it formal? Or is it material? Are we directly engaged in the activity formally? Or are we involved, but our action is not direct?”

The fact that the church collects rent from Rite Aid derived in part from the sale of contraceptives, Daniels said, is sufficiently “indirect” to pass moral muster

I’m thinking a CINO University or two have already caved in on the HHS mandate w/the argument of indirect cooperation. It would disappoint, but not surprise, me if some bishops chose the same.

St. Pius the X, pray for us

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