Why do I have a sinking feeling about the answer to that question? Someone cheer me up, do

About a year ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Why Barack Obama has to be seen as an enemy of the Catholic Church”. This was picked up by quite a few American Catholic blogs, for example this one, which reproduced the piece in full; and it attracted much favourable attention: but some of the reactions, also from American Catholics – who presumably were from that shameful 54 per cent of Catholics who voted for Obama – were not favourable.

Well, if ever there was any doubt about whether or not I was right, it has now been removed – that is for Catholics who understand, unlike the late Cardinal Bernardin, with his “seamless garment” theology (according to which abortion, say, was just one of a whole raft of other issues like war and peace, opposition to the death penalty, welfare reform and civil liberties), that actually “life issues” are not like others, negotiable or – like the morality of war, for instance – subject to context and circumstance: who understand, in other words, that abortion and euthanasia are always and under all circumstances, just wrong.

Obama’s health secretary has now issued a ruling: that under his administration’s Health Care Act not only must any provider of health care be prepared to supply artificial contraception (including drugs which, though labelled contraceptive, are in fact abortifacient) but that that definitely includes Catholics (for the CNS story, see here):

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(CNSNews.com) – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, head of the Catholic archdiocese of Washington, DC, issued a warning last week against the implementation of an Obamacare regulation that would place many Catholic employers in an “untenable position” by requiring all health care plans to cover sterilization and abortion-inducing contraceptives, in violation of religious liberty and particularly Catholic moral teaching.

His warning coincided with a full-page ad by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which said the regulation, set to start on Aug. 1, 2012, could “severely curtail” Catholic health care providers.

Catholic institutions account for 12.7 percent of the nation’s hospitals, according to the 2009 American Hospital Association Annual Survey, with more than 5.6 million patients admitted to Catholic hospitals in a one-year period. An additional 1,400 long-term care and other Catholic health facilities are present in all 50 states, according to the Catholic Health Association of the United States. Also, there are about 70 million Catholics in the United States.

So, American Catholics, you now know, if you didn’t know before: you cannot, if you are a faithful Catholic, vote for this man. He is an enemy of your Church and everything it stands for. But that prompts the question: how come so many Catholics voted for him last time? How come, while we are about it, that one of the first things that happened in his presidency was the conferring on him of an honorary degree by Notre Dame, that renowned “Catholic” University?

This is a long and murky story. It involves telling (which I don’t have time for here) all about the links between Notre Dame and certain clergy from the Archdiocese of Chicago (prop. the above-mentioned Cardinal Bernardin) and their connections with a legendary political radical, a Marxist atheist called Saul Alinsky, who despite his many attacks on the Church received vast funding from something called the Catholic Fund for Human Development (CHD), an agency of the USCCB which over the years has raised hundreds of millions from second collections taken up after Sunday Mass. The following are examples of some of the grants made by the CHD:

• 1985: $40,000 for Chicago’s Developing Communities Project, led by then lead organiser, Barack Obama
• 1986: $33,000 for Obama’s Developing Communities Project, which Obama continued to lead
• 1992: ACORN funding (see below) for Project Vote, a Chicago programme which Obama also led
• 1995: Cardinal Bernardin helped commit $116,000 from the national CHD fund to Chicago Metropolitan Sponsors, an Alinsky Industrial Areas Foundation organisation
• 2000 – 2008: $7m went to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), an Alinsky-influenced, leftist network under criminal investigation in several states. ACORN supports radical, ‘in your face’ local and national causes as well as abortion. CHD funding stopped only in November 2008, well after every other American wondered when the bishops would halt the allocation of $1m to the group.
• Ongoing: $20,000 to $30,000 per community group across the country under the guise of ‘community organisation’
• Also ongoing: 4% to 5% of total CHD funds to the Gamaliel Foundation, a Marxist socio-political network of Alinsky-inspired organisations
• Still ongoing: Alinsky’s own Industrial Areas Foundation, which receives 16% of CHD funds annually!

No wonder that when Obama received his degree at Notre Dame, he spoke so warmly about Cardinal Bernardin: he was addressing an institution that had been deeply impregnated with the CHD mentality and with Cardinal Bernardin’s seamless garment theology. No wonder that when he later spoke to a small group of Catholic journalists, he more or less told them that Cardinal Bernardin had given him his (very Left-wing) start in politics:

“The president said he had fond memories of Cardinal Bernardin and that when he started his neighborhood projects, they were funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” he said. “After the first question, from the National Catholic Reporter‘s Joe Feuerherd, the president jokingly asked, ‘Was there really [a controversy at Notre Dame]?’
“The president spoke about how during Cardinal Bernardin’s time the US bishops spoke about the nuclear freeze, the sanctuary movement, immigration, and the poor, but that later a decided change took place,” added Fr Kearns. “He said that the responses to his administration mirror the tensions in the Church overall, but that Cardinal Bernardin was pro-life and never hesitated to make his views known, but he had a consistent ‘seamless garment’ approach that emphasized the other issues as well. The president said that that part of the Catholic tradition continues to inspire him. Those issues, he said, seemed to have gotten buried by the abortion debate.”

Well, Mr President, you’re wrong: there has indeed been something, perhaps not yet enough, of a “decided change” (though what about the CHD? I’d like to know, if anyone can tell me): but American Catholics still take issues to do with social justice seriously, of course they do. Notre Dame, however, is now very clearly seen as being an institution which is Catholic in name only. And that is a very definite advance: at least American Catholics know where they are. It might be fitting, indeed, to end with the letter Archbishop Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis wrote to the President of Notre Dame about his now notorious invitation to Obama, a letter which spelled out the parting of the ways very clearly:

Dear Father Jenkins:

I have just learned that you, as President of the University of Notre Dame, have invited President Barack Obama to be the graduation commencement speaker at the University’s exercises on May 17, 2009. I was also informed that you will confer on the president an honorary doctor of laws degree, one of the highest honors bestowed by your institution.

I write to protest this egregious decision on your part. President Obama has been a pro-abortion legislator. He has indicated, especially since he took office, his deliberate disregard of the unborn by lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research, by promoting the FOCA [Freedom of Choice Act] agenda and by his open support for gay rights throughout this country.

It is a travesty that the University of Notre Dame, considered by many to be a Catholic University, should give its public support to such an anti-Catholic politician.

I hope that you are able to reconsider this decision. If not, please do not expect me to support your University in the future.

Sincerely yours,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

That about says it all; and now Obama’s abortionist Health Care Act has put the matter beyond doubt. The question now is this: how will that 54 per cent of American Catholics (and that’s a lot of votes) who helped put him into the presidency, vote this time? And why is it that I have a sinking feeling about the answer to that question?

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