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Secularist attacks on the Catholic faith get worse, on both sides of the Atlantic: here it’s the TUC; in the US (where at least there’s a fightback) it’s Obama

Now, Mother Angelica has drawn her sword: watch out!

By on Monday, 27 February 2012

Mother Angelica is taking on Obama over the contraceptive mandate (CNS photo)

Mother Angelica is taking on Obama over the contraceptive mandate (CNS photo)

The gulf widens, between the secular culture and the Catholic faith: and as it does so, committed secularists are becoming more and more inclined (especially where some aspect of Catholic belief to do with sexuality or “sexual identity” is concerned) aggressively to attack the faith and – where the secular law can plausibly be invoked – attempt to have this aspect of faith declared actually illegal.

I have two current stories, one on either side of the great pond. On this side of the Atlantic, no less a person than Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has written to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, complaining that a booklet containing “homophobic material” had been distributed at Roman Catholic schools in the Lancaster diocese.

The booklet concerned – “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be” by the American Catholic apologist Jason Evert, who spoke recently in Catholic schools throughout the diocese promoting chastity in accordance with Church teaching – claims that “scientifically speaking, safe sex is a joke” (this is true: condoms rupture: all that can be claimed is that sex using condoms is “safer”). The booklet also expounds what you may find explained in any number of Catholic books and document including the Catechism of the Catholic Church (does Mr Barber want to ban teaching from that in schools, I wonder?) – that “the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding.”

Invoking the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination against individuals, Barber wrote to Mr Gove in December insisting that “schools now have a legal duty to challenge all forms of prejudice. Such literature undermines this completely.” Michael Gove replied: “The education provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their protected characteristics (including their sexual orientation) do not extend to the content of the curriculum. Any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons, therefore, will not be subject to the discrimination provisions of the act.”

So, for the time being, our schools are safe from the likes of Mr Barber. But we have not heard the end of this one. One day, there will be another Labour government: and those who remember Ed Balls’s appalling Education Bill, (which would have required Catholic schools to teach children how to “access” contraception and abortion) – a Bill which fell at the election, having been opposed by the Tories but, shamefully, not by our own bishops – will not be confident that we are safe for the future. Those who form public opinion in these areas are already sharpening their knives. The quangocrat Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that religious rules should be left “at the door of the temple” and that religious institutions should give way to the “public law” laid down by Parliament. “Once you start to provide public services that have to be run under public rules,” he said, “then it has to go with public law.”

The latest American secularist onslaught against the Church, of course, is Obama’s recent edict that under his administration’s healthcare reform any provider of health care (including Catholic institutions) must be prepared to supply artificial contraception (including drugs which, though labelled contraceptive, are in fact abortifacient). I have recently written about this more than once. I now do so again to bring up to date anyone who has missed it, with one particular skirmish in the US Catholic fightback, that led by the redoubtable (and entirely admirable) Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, who is now taking the fight against Obama to the courts.

You will remember that Obama tried to pacify Catholic resistance by saying that it won’t now be the Catholic institution involved who has to provide contraception: it will be their insurers. Yes, but who pays the insurer? It just won’t wash. Michael Warsaw, the chief executive officer of EWTN, was allowed an opinion piece slot in the New York Times to explain why EWTN was going to fight this in the courts on constitutional grounds:

Earlier this month, in response to widespread opposition to the mandate, the president announced an “accommodation” for some religious organisations – like, potentially, EWTN – that would shift the responsibility for the coverage from the employer to the employer’s insurance carrier.

But this would do nothing to solve the problem. First, EWTN self-insures, so we are the insurer. Second, even if we had an outside insurer, we would still be in the untenable position of facilitating access to drugs that go against our beliefs. And if we refused to comply with the directive, we could be hit with annual fines starting at around $600,000.

The administration’s supporters say that by opposing the rule, religious employers like EWTN are guilty of trying to coerce our employees and impose our values on them. But we are simply choosing not to participate in the use of these drugs. Our 350 employees, many of whom are not Catholic, freely choose to work here and can purchase and use contraception if they want to….

Instead, it is the government – which does not accept EWTN’s religious choice and can punish that choice by imposing fines – that is coercing us. But under the Constitution and federal religious liberties law, we cannot be forced to give up our beliefs as the price of participation in the public square. That is why the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has filed a lawsuit on our behalf seeking to overturn this illegal mandate.

Watch this space, and how. This one is going to run and run. And with a bit of luck, Obama is going to lose. I have an interest to declare here: I have more than once appeared on EWTN and been deeply impressed by the whole dynamic set up. It’s from institutions like this that the renewal and future growth of the Catholic Church will come, and I don’t just mean in the US.

And now this splendid institution has declared war on the President. Mother Angelica versus Barack Obama: an epic struggle, or what? And this isn’t just a battle for the survival of a particular Catholic institution. It’s a battle for the faith against everything that is corrupt and bullying in the modern world. We mustn’t just hope that EWTN wins; we must earnestly pray for it; for, this is our battle too.

  • Anonymous

    If Dr Oddie thinks that Obama will lose on this issue then perhaps he should look at the previous rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States in cases where religious liberty was used to claim that a company could be exempt from federal laws.

    United States v. Lee, 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that an employer must pay Social Security
    and unemployme­nt taxes despite a religious objection.  

    Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor, 1985, the Court  found that religious organizati­ons must pay their workers minimum wages despite a religious protest.  

    Employment Division v. Smith, 1990, the Court found laws that apply generally and do not single out religious groups may be upheld even if they intrude on religious practices. 

    The ruling of Justice Scalia was very clear, and will be directly pertinent to this case:
    “We have never held that an individual­’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibitin­g conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprude­nce contradict­s that propositio­n… When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimpos­ed on the statutory schemes that are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.­”

  • ms Catholic state

    All this is our own fault in lots of ways.  We Catholics are the first to support secularism and the complete separation of Church and state.  We are as keen to be good citizens and secularists as we are to be good Catholics.  But Christ said those who are not for Me are against Me.  I think we see the truth of that now.  Post-Christian secularists are today developing into full blown anti-Christians, just as they have done throughout the 20th century and probably before that.
    We sniffed at the notion of Christendom…..and now that’s going to bite us. 

  • ms Catholic state

    We rejected the notion of Christendom in favour of ‘Religious Freedom’…..and now we are even losing that. 

    Well well well!

  • Alypius

    With regards to the commentator on Supreme Court rulings regarding religious freedom, the picture looks more promising than that.  Last November, the Court ruled in favor of a plaintiff in the Hosanna-Tabor case, in which a Lutheran school was defending itself from discrimination charges by a former teacher they had fired, by arguing that the teacher was a “minister,” and therefore subject to the principle of “ministerial exception.”  This refers to the idea that, under the first amendment clause of the constitution, religious bodies have the right to hire and fire people based on their beliefs in spite of general laws on discrimination.  The Court upheld the Lutheran school’s complaint 9-0, and even the more legally “progressive” judges on the Supreme Court (including the recent Obama appointees) pointed out during oral arguments the extreme nature of the Adminstration’s claims, many of which are being repeated in defense of the HHS mandate, namely, that the constitution only covers “freedom of worship” and not “freedom of religion,” and therefore not activities such as teaching, running food kitchens, or any other of the good works Christians engage in.  Also after Employment Division vs Smith went down in 1990, Congress passed a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in 1993 meant to counteract the effects of Employment Division vs Smith, which provided that “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even
    if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,”  and applies to all federal laws (it was meant to cover state laws too but the Court struck that down in 1997).   The law furthered stated that the state could only burden someone’s religion if  it”(1) is in furtherance of a compelling
    governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”  Finally, the law states that “Federal statutory law adopted after the date of the enactment of this Act is
    subject to this Act unless such law explicitly excludes such application by
    reference to this Act,” which the Health Care act passed in 2010 did not do.  In short, there is a good chance this mandate will not hold up in court, and may not even make it to the Supreme Court, given how clearly the mandate violates the statute. 

  • Claude Gavroche

    In France where I come from, this sort of fiasco is not a problem, because The Catholic church (or any religion) have no special privileges or consideration in law. All religions should have social club status where members of the public are free to apply to join and abide by the club rules, like a golf or tennis club, or a nightclub. The Catholic Church should have no right whatsoever to interfere in human beings relationships or sexual practices and should have no special say in child education or political debates. The clergy and the people of France are very aware of their legal and professional limitations and their limited influence, and this system seems to work. All people should be free to attend mass if want to but not out of fearful flummery and anachronistic edicts of a has-been organisation. When the church was strong these things did not happen so much and the church had clout, but clerical vanity, corruption, lust and greed weakened their status and power and they are now playing ‘extra time’ in a game where they have scored all of their own goals.

  • James

     You clearly don’t know much about the Christian history of Europe… how can you say Catholics wanted to separate Church and State and support secularism?  If you are talking about cafeteria Catholics, which I think includes you, then yes but otherwise you are misled on this.

  • Nat_ons

    So, if the state decided that some people were not worthy of protection under ‘human rights’, must the Catholic Church stand-by and say/ do nothing to oppose the will of the state and its majority-voted government? This was once the case in a very civilised and cultured 20th century European state, devoted to the ethic of scientific method in dealing with human flesh, a state where all targets of the prevailing ‘science’ had one only civic voice to defend their humanity and oppose their degradation  - whether Jews, Gypsies or the handicapped: the Roman Catholic Church! You might like to add your own set of souls who are not deemed worthy of life to the list of those who could be legitimately attacked in the 21st century, for myself the unborn female human being might be a starting point. 

    But then, of course, historians (of the enlightened 20th. century sort) deny that Rome, and only Rome, did openly and vigorously oppose Nazism in Germany, asserting that the Catholic Church and its adherents did not suffer grievously as a result of its opposition (only because of its greed, perversions and silence), or hiding from the fact that even those least likely to approve of Rome, petty Catholicism or its socially interfering Church approved Romish interference against a duly elected government.Ah! that old silliness could never happen to us, no, no, of course not; they were Germans and Nazis and ruthless – and no British or US American government could introduce a scientifically supported programme of eugenics .. based on the will of a majority of voters, pressure of today’s political correctness, or the ambling, shuffling or bumbling of politicians (blinded as they always are by the light of a present-moment-morality).

    Yet the Roman Catholic Church, limited, as you would have it, to a mere social club, might still be able to raise up merry stink for you or me or Mr Oddie – if the prevailing social consensus of elected politicians accept that our worth to the state is less than the unwanted pregnancy .. which at least provides cells for research .. or it might not.

    ‘The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists. It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.’ Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils. 

  • Claude Gavroche

    Well, you are over 200 years late. Had Pope Pius IV has instructed the French clergy to support the wretched and the poor instead of supporting the aristocracy life might have been different. We will take no lessons from you or the Catholic church about morality. No one takes too much notice of what the church preaches.

  • Anonymous

    It’s quite possible that the entire health care bill will be overturned. There are strong arguments as to why the mandate in particular is not “valid law.” The most obvious of these is that the mandate is not, in fact, a law at all. It is simply a decision made by an unelected nomenklatura, viz. Kathleen Sebelius of the Health & Human Services Dept.

    The ruling you cite is not, actually, applicable for other reasons as well. It refers to “commercial activity,” which does not characterize Catholic not-for-profit agencies such as hospitals, universities, and charities. And it is not a tax, but rather a coercion to directly fund and traffic in immorality.

  • Anonymous

    Claude, it’s Europe, not the Catholic Church, that is declining in influence. Nobody cares to study French anymore, but plenty of people are converting to Catholicism. It’s increased 70% over the past decade in South Korea, a country that is ahead of France technologically. Christianity is on the rise in China now and in other countries that are not in decline.

    Anyway, no one is asking for an established religion or has been for a few hundred years. That’s a straw man…. This article is actually about the state forcing Christians to violate their beliefs, not about the Church forcing anyone to do anything. All the Church wants is to refrain from immorality and teach the truth. If you actually supported freedom, you would support the Church on this issue. But it’s pretty clear you have some kind of ax to grind here.

  • BC Student10

    In the US, we see the rampant child rape committed and concealed by the Catholic church, where over 9% of priests were admitted child sex offenders in the 70s and 80s, and the cowardly Catholic church hid it and defamed the victims when they came forward.

    Catholics left the church, knowing it isn’t God’s church.  We aren’t going back.

  • theroadmaster

    The Obama seems to have inadvertently done what the ecumenical movement has singularly failed to do over the last half century or so, namely to unite  the rest of Christendom  and other Faith groups with the Catholic Church in a united coalition in the US.  The object of their ire is the invidious provision in the Health Care Act, which will compel religious institutions to pay financially for “reproductive”practices repugnant to their core beliefs.  Obama may have bitten off more than he could chew when he threw down the gauntlet against the Catholic bishops initially and by extension other Religious groups.  It demonstrates the robust health of Faith in the public square and hopefully it sets a trend for Catholics and other Religious believers in the UK to emulate in regards to the protection of their interests in the life of the nation.

  • Anonymous

    No one takes too much notice of what the church preaches. ” No one in France, perhaps, or at least your social circle. Then again, no one takes much notice of France anymore, do they? Meanwhile, there are still about a billion Catholics.

    This whole “we own the future” type of argument is silly. It’s more important to be right than to be popular. And anti-clerical types like yourself have been heralding the demise of the Catholic Church for “over 200 years” and yet it still hasn’t happened. 

    Your triumphalism betrays an insecurity about the future of your own culture.

  • theroadmaster

    Maybe you should take further notice of what the Church has to say before Western civilization corrodes from within as it is surely doing by the legislating of practices which contravene the dignity of the lives of both men and women and the natural law-e.g abortion, euthanasia, “gay” marriage etc.  No doubt you will counter this with the excesses of the Church in the past and I recognize that during different historical epochs, corruption and scandal were present in Church circles and have not gone away.  But we must remember we are talking about the human face of the Church which contains sinners as well as saints.  The masterly weekly talks, works and published works of our present pope as well as his Blessed predecessor would be good starting points to discover a breakdown of the moral ills which beset our societies and finding viable solutions to them.

  • ms Catholic state

    Most Catholics, cafeteria or not, support secularism.  And I guess you must be a cafeteria Catholic yourself….but I’m not. 

  • Donn4bill

     Approximately 1% of Catholic priests were sex offenders, mostly homosexual priests. Liberalism hit us in the 60′s hard and it hit the Church and its seminaries. Priests are now much better screened and formed than this particular group of the past. Hopefully, B16 and the next Pope continue to rid the Church of these men who also disregard Church teaching.

  • Recusant

    Claude, you have too much faith in your State. I have news for you : the indebted States of the developed world are about to be swept away in a sea of debt. We’ll be luck if there is anything for the Church to be separate from. You think the Church is a has-been organisation, but here is a question for you : which office will die first – the papacy or the presidency of France?

  • theroadmaster

    The First Amendment in the US Constitution would not be worth the paper it was written on if the provisions of this ill-advised health care are allowed to take effect.  This iconic part of the Bill of Rights, protects the state and religions from the interference of the one in the legitimate business of the other.  Obama has wildly driven a coach with horses through this Amendment which will rebound on him elecorally.

  • Brian A. Cook

    I have tried to point out elsewhere on this website that the Church, whether rightly or wrongly, was linked by her enemies to a deeply backwards regime that failed to help the populace.  I was accused of whitewashing the murder of pious Catholics, but I reiterated that I abhorred such persecution.  Sadly, apparent link to reaction and hatred doesn’t end there.  Much later, anti-liberal Catholics, who were nostalgic for the altar-and-throne regime, piled on a Jewish captain falsely convicted of treason, attacking the whole Jewish people by extension. 

  • GFFM

    EWTN will do much good. There is no doubt. Obama has purposely tried to split the Catholic vote. This kind of maneuver has been coming for a long time and could have been predicted by the US episcopal conference if it had been paying attention as it should. Archbishop Chaput has called this action by Obama and Sebelius “belligerent” and once again he has hit the nail on the head. As of right now, every single American bishop has spoken out against the contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate. Many bishops (it would be worth it to count them) have said they will not follow the law. 5 American states, headed by Nebraska, have banded together to challenge this in the courts. It will go to the Supreme Court; there is little doubt there. Evangelicals and many other Protestants, a good many Catholics, many Jews, and Muslims have spoken out. The issue is quite basic to American constitutional law. In fact it is as basic as it can be. And none of the constituencies going against Obama will back down any time soon. The fight will be costly and it will further split the country. But the 1st Amendment is at stake and if it is eroded, the Bill of Rights is fair game. I believe the motto for the upcoming battle should be the following: “Appeal to Heaven.” John Locke uses this phrase throughout his “Treatise on Government” as does George Washington when he used it on one of his battle flags during the American Revolution.

  • GFFM

    What you describe deprives citizens of basic inalienable rights. In America civil rights and public space exists for those who espouse religion. This is forward looking and respectful of rights which inhere in the person–in other words these rights are owed to citizens; the government does not grant them or “accommodate” them. Read one of your countrymen, Alexis de Toqueville, on the American view of religion and its role in public life. He understood. Or maybe no reads de Toqueville in France anymore?

  • Honeybadger

    This scenario reminds me of the lyrics of the Stealer’s Wheel song: ‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…’ the clowns and jokers are Obama and the TUC!

    Good on EWTN et al for drawing their swords against the aggressive Obama administration … and we should do the same here!

  • GFFM

    Dear Patrick,

    What Obama is suggesting is patently different from what you describe. He is essentially forcing religious institutions to comply with a mandate which directly goes against major teachings of very long standing. Granting an exemption from Social Security taxes is very very different from telling major world religions that they must comply with laws that are antithetical to their very identity. Obama has essentially re-written what it means to be a “religious” institution. In the latest religious freedom case where the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously Sotomeyer et all, the following was clear: “The fact that the court was unanimous underlines how essential a part
    of religious liberty is the principle that churches and synagogues get
    to select their religion teachers,” said Jay Sekulow of the American
    Center for Law and Justice. “Government has no business deciding who
    should or should not carry out religious ministry, and we’re delighted
    the high court reached that conclusion.” Concomitantly, government has no right to decide that it can FORCE religions to go against their core teachings by complying with a badly conceived and yest discriminatory law.

  • Bruno

    Hi, Claude. I can only speak for the Church / State / Societal relationship in the US. Basically, churches in the US ARE treated like clubs, but with a few additional protections. Churches can’t legally force people to do anything, but they can make your membership conditional upon acting in a certain way. Similarly, government can’t force churches (or religious people) to do things that are contrary to their basic belief system, nor prevent them from doing things that are essential to their belief system. Of course there are exceptions where the health and safety of the public at large are at stake, but these exceptions are truly few and far between. Churches are fully within their rights to NOT provide contraceptive/abortifative services or to preach that homosexuality is wrong. Conversely, Churches have no right to forcibly prevent their members from seeking contraceptive / abortifative services or engaging in homosexuality, although they can suspend these people’s memberships (in other words, excommunicate). Churches can’t go around hurting or killing homosexuals (like what happens in Moselm countries), but our government can’t tell churches what to preach either. This model has worked well for my country for over 200 years, and attempts by Obama to undermine this balance is unhealthy for our Constitution. That’s why many non-religious Americans are opposed to this. Now, as far as the Catholic Church goes, we generally don’t excommunicate people for sinning. We try to change their hearts instead. “Hate the sin; love the sinner”.

  • Anonymous

    In his 1936 book,’ Mohammed et Charlemagne ‘, Belgian historian Henri Pirenne argued
    in detail that the Dark Ages of Europe began rather suddenly in the middle of
    the seventh century; and that this sudden and catastrophic decline in civilization
    was due to Islam’s blockade of the Mediterranean.
    Thanks to the idiotic reasoning of the seculars and marxists, traditional Christian societies in Europe and USA will be thrashed as they were in the USSR. 
    In the long term the only winners will be the same ideology/religion that Pirenne wrote about.
    ‘Islam now considered ‘a threat’ to national identity by almost half of French and Germans, according to new poll’  Daily Mail

  • maryp

    I remember trying to say that there was no such thing as safe sex on BBC Manchester back in 1994 but the presenter talked over me and told me after the programme that ‘you simply can’t say such things.’ Heaven forfend that people should be told the truth!

  • maryp

    Catholics in the US are praying a 54 day rosary campaign to combat this HSS directive, led by a Catholic radio station called Relevant Radio. If you want to join us you can listen to Relevant Radio online. It’s like a breath of fresh air compared to Radio 4!

  • Jane Brady

    Coitus between two people is intimate and private and has nothing to do with anybody else. How or how often sexual relations between people happen has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and they should keep their nose out. Most sensible people ignore what the Catholic Church and other right wing Christian fundamentalists say. Just leave people alone and allow them to live their own lives.

  • Claude Gavroche

    Now Sir, you make a valid point. I have lived closely with Muslims and I deeply admire the teachings of The Qur’an. The problem that arises is what is written at the beginning of The Qur’an,. It states (paraphrase) “This is the word of God and it cannot be doubted”. Here lies the problem, that there can never be any compromise with any part of Muslim dogma. The other problem is amongst Muslims is that there is no distinction between work and worship the two are synonymous and inseparable. This means that Muslims will never abandon their customs, faith and religion. It is written, that the objective of Islam is to convert the whole world to the teachings Allah as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Whilst Christians fight over petty and paltry issues, and remain divided; Islam thrives.

  • Parasum

    Christianity in its various forms – and not it alone – is always more attractive when it is under pressure, as it is in China or in parts of Africa. But give it power & authority & influence, and it rots very quickly. 

    Last time I looked, the UK had not one, but two, established Christianities – & I think it counts as being geographically part of Europe. Catholicism was the established religion of parts of Europe until after V2: Malta & Spain are examples.

    The bishops in the US are trying to force non-Catholics to forego their rights to use contraception should they so wish. This is tyranny, plain and simple. The bishops are not going to concede – they cannot do so & remain bishops – that there can be a right to use contraception: but that is because they ignore the fact that ther can be rights based not on natural law, but on other foundations & other notions of human freedom: such as positive law, and an indeterminate type of freedom. The CC can & does oblige no-one, least of all non-Catholics, to adopt the validity of natural law theories: if  natural law convinces the bishops, bully for them – but why are non-Catholics (& most people in the US are not Catholics) obliged to be obliged to agree with the bishops in being convinced by natural law thinking ? Others have their own ideas about what constitutes good behaviour, and about why it does. And as the US is not a Catholic state, & never has been, but is a pluralist republic without any established religion, & as it allows very wide freedoms to its citizens, the practical result is the bishops are entitled to act on their POV, but are *not* entitled to prevent other citizens acting on their POVs. The enemies of freedom are the bishops, because they are trying to force people who have no reason to bother with Catholic ethics, to be governed by it. The bishops would complain soon enough, if (say) their Jewish counterparts used their influence to try to impose Jewish food laws on non-Jews.

    The only “persecution” they are undergoing is that of not getting their own way. In parts of the world ther is real persecution; they should be ashamed of themselves of trying to deceive people – such as the Pope – into thinking they are suffering what real bishops like Bishop Gassis have to put up with. These frauds are nothing but politicians in mitres.

    Against people like them, and to prevent a country falling apart into murderous factions all killing for their respective deities and shibboleths, the secularism of the USA, UK, France, & elsewhere, is the only protection. Secularism gives freedom to religious groups in pluralist states, while not permitting any one of them to dictate to the rest of society. It is therefore a very good thing. It’s not perfect – but neither is theocracy, whether in its theistic or atheistic form.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, you can legally get away with homophobia in school, you will not be able to in adulthood. Isn’t this a pretty poor education? Hardly preparing people for life.

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing dignified about homophobia. There is nothing dignified about lying in extreme pain waiting to die. There is nothing dignified in starving because of overpopulation.

    And there is certainly nothing dignified in catholics trying to tell the rest of us what to do while having abortions and controlling the size of their own families with contraceptives. At least the hypocrisy means that you are moving towards a more civilised response.

  • Anonymous

    The bishops in the US are trying to force non-Catholics to forego their rights to use contraception should they so wish. ”

    That is, not tyranny, but slander, plain and simple. The bishops are not asking for anything of the sort. I presume that you know that quite well and are intentionally spreading lies in order to discredit them.

  • Parasum

    “It states (paraphrase) “This is the word of God and it cannot be doubted”.”

    ## According to the then Cardinal Ratzinger, belief in the inerrancy of the Bible is part of Catholic teaching – go to:

    ## In brief: “the absence of error in the inspired sacred texts” is divinely revealed, and it is heresy to deny this: see in particular paragraphs 5, 8-9, 11.

    “Here lies the problem, that there can never be any compromise with any part of Muslim dogma.”

    ## How is Catholicism any different ?

    “The other problem is amongst Muslims is that there is no distinction
    between work and worship the two are synonymous and inseparable.”

    ## “To work is to pray” – how is the Muslim idea not also a Christian idea ?

    “This means that Muslims will never abandon their customs, faith and religion.”

    ## Catholics are not supposed to “abandon their…faith and religion”, either. NT Christianity makes no provision for retirement from it. 

    “It is written, that the objective of Islam is to convert the whole world
    to the teachings Allah as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.”

    ## And Catholicism is no different in its world-converting ambitions. Conversion of “those outside” has always been basic to Christianity. 

  • Parasum

    It was Catholic hatred of gays that heped to prepare the way for Hitler to kill or torture 10,000-15,000 of them – just as Catholic hatred of Jews made the Shoah possible. What Pius XII did for them is as nothing compared to the centuries of Catholic anti-Jewish bigotry, venom, blood lies, calumnies, and pogroms.

    The CC is complicit in of genocide, because it made the Shoah possible by its long-continued & very widespread attitudes to the Jews. If the Church is not complicit in that – then, by parity of reasoning, neither are politicians who do not adopt its *prudential* judgements about abortion complicit in the abortions which those who vote for them decide to have.

  • Mike McLaren

    That’s kind of funny Miss Brady, you say people should just ignore the Catholic Church and you want Her to just leave people alone, but you want the Church to pay for your contraception.  Really?

  • GFFM

    If you really believe this then don’t make me pay for what should be private. Give me a break and use your mind for heaven’s sake.

  • GFFM

    Here is the reference in Locke’s “Two Treatises”: “What is my Remedy against a Robber, that so broke into my House? Appeal to the Law for Justice. But perhaps Justice is denied, or I am crippled and cannot stir, robbed and have not the means to do it. If God has taken away all means of seeking remedy, there is nothing left but patience. But my Son, when able, may seek the Relief of the Law, which I am denied: He or his Son may renew his Appeal, till he recover his Right. But the Conquered, or their Children, have no Court, no Arbitrator on Earth to appeal to. Then they may appeal, as Jephtha did, to Heaven, and repeat their Appeal, till they have recovered the native Right of their Ancestors, which was to have such a Legislative over them, as the Majority should approve, and freely acquiesce in.”

  • irishsmile

    No one is forced to be a Catholic; the door swings both ways, Ms. Brady.  You don’t agree with the church, fine!  Don’t be a Catholic!  However, The First amendment of our Constitution insures freedom to practice our Faith… which is why Obama is going to be a one-term president.  American Baptists, Mormons, Jews, Hindus, etc take the First Amendment very seriously, too. 

  • irishsmile

    As the mother of a good, orthodox Catholic priest, I am in a good position to point out your errors.  If you really want the actual facts, as opposed to just promoting ugly, anti-Catholic hatred, please Google and read the John Jay Law School Report.  Only 1.4% of priests were involved with abuse.  That is a lower abuse rate than male relatives in private homes!  So does that mean that all dads and brothers in homes are abusers?  98.6% of good priests are being smeared by uninformed people like you and that is a sinning against these innocent  priests with slander and detraction.  More than 84% of the abuse was against boys and young men.  This is same-sex attraction.  The Vatican knows the problem and has advised seminaries against admitting gay candidates.  Stop the anti-Catholic garbage, please.

  • Jane Brady

    I deeply respect the 1st Amendment of the United States and the freedom it ensures. I am deeply opposed to contraception for clinical reasons and I have never used it. And like you, I do not wish to pay for other people thoughtlessness and selfishness in terms of hand outs, contraception or the termination of pregnancies. As I do not reside in the US, then I do not have the impertinence or temerity to make comment about the ethics American politics. The point I make is: The American people have voted and will do so again in November and as I see it, it is they “The American People” (as a whole) who have the power to decide the holder of this prestigious office, and not a few manipulative old men in the Vatican.

  • Claude Gavroche

    The big difference is that Christians and Catholics no longer kill non believers, whereas The Qur’an allows Muslims to kill all dissenters (infidels) to the word of Allah. As stated, the tenets of the Qur’an cannot be doubted or changed, therefore all Muslims are duty bound to destroy infidels, (read the text for yourself, before making a hasty retort). The Catholic Church has a big fight (hopefully symbolic and not literal) on it’s hands for the souls of mankind.

  • Eriugena

    The “right” to muder the unborn is no right at all…

  • Claude Gavroche

    This harum-scarum, airy-fairy stuff that the bishops are dishing out is too late, by at least fifty years. The “cat is out of the bag” that Catholic doctrine is no different than other witchdoctor practices that are abundant throughout the world (very same dynamics). The Catholic Church’s integrity and credibility has been permanently devalued and it will never recover. The authenticated revelations of the dubious part Pius XII played in WWII have shown the Vatican and it’s teachings to be nothing more than medieval Machiavellian propaganda. The untimely, suspicious sudden death of Pope John Paul I in September 1978 together with The “Banco Ambrosiano Scandal” in 1982 that directly implicated Pope John Paul II rocked the foundations of the Church forever. The Roman Catholic church is no longer believable.

  • Alan

    Barber and Obama are not attacking the Catholic faith.  They are attacking one or two particular teachings of the Catholic faith.  That is a totally different thing.
    I cannot support this perverted idea that Obama is some kind of devil incarnate.  Yes, he wants to extend contraception, but he is also much stronger for example on tackling man-made climate change than any Republican is, and that is also an issue which the Church has pronounced on.  You can’t just take one particular issue as trumping everything else.  I’ve always opposed state-subsidised contraception, but everybody has something or other that they object to their taxes being spent on (nuclear weapons, to give an obvious example for many).  Mr. Oddie seems to be saying that Catholics, and Catholics alone, should be exempt from having their taxes spent on things they might object to.

  • SB

    Don’t be so silly. I suppose it was Catholic self-hatred then that lead to thousands of priests being sent to the death camps. You really need to brush up on your history.

  • Mark Castilano

    There is no question that The John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York are an academic institution of sterling integrity. They conducted a study based on surveys that were not actually carried out by them, and they accepted second hand information to analyse allegations of sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses in United States between 1950 and ended in 2002. The John Jay College produced their report titled “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States” and commonly referred to as the “John Jay Report”. I do not doubt their statistics or their integrity, or any of their findings in keeping with the terms of reference set by the Catholic Church. The research was not totally objective because it was not carried out with complete detachment and impartiality from the Roman Catholic Church, and for these reasons the results cannot be considered valid. The research was based only on subjective surveys conducted and submitted by the Roman Catholic Church, and I understand did not include monastic orders such as Christian Brothers and Nuns. The overall results were never objectively validated by another impartial academic faculty of another University. The results certainly prove interesting but are incomplete and are not conclusive. There is no objective proof that the results have not been skewed by the Roman Catholic Church in the final analysis, therefore, The John Jay Report proves nothing other than the Catholic Church managed to achieve the result that suited their purpose.

  • Anonymous

    In England and Wales I believe the figure is even lower – only 0.5% have ever been accused which is probably considerably greater than the number actually guilty.

  • SB

    Is there any evidence to suggest the real figure is higher than that claimed in the report?

  • Amy Jordan

    I’m sorry, but why would a trade union be bellyaching about a Catholic booklet??