Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A RIGHT Response to the HHS Mandate

The local Catholic radio station broadcasted that we must draw a line in the sand; we must speak out loudly against the HHS mandate requiring we pay (through our insurance) for acts against our faith.  “We need to stand up for our religious freedom.”  It then asked that we sign a petition against the HHS mandate.
This past weekend I attended a conference at Franciscan University, in Steubenville, Ohio.  Many of the speakers there related ways in which we can evangelize our faith, and some noted that speaking out and voting against unjust laws was a way of evangelizing.  But it was Fr. Terence Henry’s Sunday sermon which rallied all Catholics to stand up against unjust laws and government --- and they did, in a totally spontaneous standing ovation at the sermon’s end.  I haven’t heard such a moving homily in years, if ever.  (I suspect you can order a DVD of it on the university’s website; I know I shall try.)
Then Tuesday morning the small men’s group met for mass, breakfast, and to listen to a CD.  The Catholic-priest speaker noted that this is the time for all Catholics to make a stand.  We must educate ourselves (and our neighbors) on the issues and the candidates’ positions before we vote this November, and we MUST vote as our faith requires.  In addition to pro-life, we must elect those candidates also supporting our religious freedom.  He opined that the Church should consider giving up its non-profit status, if necessary, to enable it to speak out unfettered by government hand-out rules.  The priest-speaker noted that the U.S. Catholic bishops are united as never before in opposing the HHS mandate that Catholics pay for contraceptives and abortificants.  He urged us to write our congressional representatives, write letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines, and speak boldly to our neighbors.  We must be united in our opposition!
After the CD ended, our small group’s coordinator stood up and looked out among us men, expectantly:  Thoughts?  For a moment it was quiet, then I raised my hand, and spoke words which had been building within me for weeks and months:
“This not enough! Before the talk this morning I heard men here at the table discussing friends, small business owners, who will refuse to pay for acts they consider immoral, and they cannot afford to pay the large fines the HHS mandate dictates for non-compliance with its dictate.  Therefore, they are making plans to go out of business.  The men here today commented that ‘This was a sad thing.’  I myself have read discussions that perhaps Catholic hospitals and charities should close their doors rather than comply.”  Then I repeated forcefully again: “It is not enough!”
“All forms of voicing opposition to the HHS mandate are well and good, but then we must live our opposition.  If this law continues, we must not close our doors giving in to this unjust, immoral law.  We must continue our charitable works, and then not buy the unjust insurance, and when the fines are assessed against us, we must loudly and clearly say:
We Will Not Pay!”
“If an unjust government says: ‘Your Church may say this, but I say THIS, and you must bow to this law,’ then we must respond that: ‘We will have no gods before our God.  We will not bow to those who would say they are above our God!’”
We Will Not Pay!
“You may hire thousands of IRS agents to enforce the law, if you must.  You may dictate that we go to jail for disobeying it, if you must.  You may deny us any medical coverage; you may watch us die in the gutter; you may make us watch our children die of illness, if you must.  But ….
We Will Not Pay!”
That is the leadership stand and cry I would like to hear from our U.S. Catholic Bishops.
We Will Not Pay!!!      

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