The Coming Catholic Crisis

Never in my life have I had the urge to do harm to the United States of America or its duly elected government. Never have I felt anything but pride for my nation. Never a day has gone by that I did not earnestly hope and pray for the success of my nation as the greatest country that God has ever given man. Within the next three months, however, all of that pride, hope, and sense of civic duty may come suddenly and terribly crashing down forever.I refer not to the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States or even to the growth of Democrat power in Congress or in the halls of our states’ legislatures. Rather, I refer to the likely passage of one of the most evil laws ever devised by the mind of man, the Freedom of Choice Act of 2007 (S.1173). This law, proposed by Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York (for the House) and Senator Barbara Boxer of California (for the Senate) would provide for the expansion of the medical procedure known as abortion well beyond any limitations found constitutionally acceptable by the United States Supreme Court. The FOCA, as it is known, would sweep aside any and all limitations imposed upon the abortion procedure that have been put into effect by the various state governments. FOCA provides for the expansion of an already intolerable murder machine and will ramp up the pace of the American Genocide to a level undreamed of.

I cite all of this pertinent background information in order to provide the scenario facing both myself and all 67.5 million Catholics in the United States – this represents fully 25% of the American population making it the single largest religious denomination in the country.

According to a letter written by Pope Benedict XVI in 2004 (when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger),

“The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).”

In the same letter, then Cardinal Ratzinger noted that:

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

Very clearly, then, Pope Benedict has indicated that abortion and euthanasia CANNOT be compared to war and capital punishment. This is contrary to the arguments made by many highly deluded pro-abortion Catholics (Nancy Pelosi comes to mind). Notice also that the Pope’s letter explicitly mentions that Catholics may not give material aid to abortion or euthanasia, “even if permitted by civil legislation.”

Allow me to provide some further evidence, then, in this matter. Here are the links to two statements of position by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, the first by their legal counsel, the second by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, the Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. According to both statements FOCA will accomplish the following:

  1. Destroy the concept of federalism and states’ rights by pre-empting any future or existing regulation of abortion at the state level. This despite the SCOTUS ruling that such regulations are constitutional and do not infringe on the rights enumerated under Roe v. Wade.

  2. Counteract any meaningful attempt by the American people to limit the number of abortions performed each year.

  3. Enshrine in law the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT to any abortion during the entire course of a pregnancy. That is, abortion may be performed during any trimester for any reason (the “health” guidelines are not clearly defined under FOCA and are clearly intended as legal loopholes for late term abortions on demand).

  4. Override the Hyde Amendment restricting federal funding for abortion. This is clearly shown in statements by the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, Congressman Nadler, and Senator Boxer delivered shortly after the landmark Gonzales versus Carhart case upholding the constitutionality of bans on partial birth abortion.

  5. Disallow objections on the basis of conscience by health care workers (doctors, nurses, etc.) in any case of abortion on demand should said objections inconvenience the patient demanding the abortion procedure.

  6. Mandate that federal funding (i.e. our tax dollars) be provided to pay for the performance of abortion under the auspices of Medicaid, the United States military health services, and the collective health services provided to various agencies (e.g. the Indian Health Service) by the United States Public Health Service.

This final point is the most damning for American Catholics. Under the terms of Pope Benedict’s pronouncement on the matter in 2004, as well as the guidelines and definitions supporting those pronouncements found in Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae, among others, an American Catholic may not give material support to the performance of abortion or euthanasia, regardless of civil law authorizing such procedures. This places me and the other 67.5 million American Catholics in the highly unenviable position of having to oppose our own government should FOCA pass into law.

The issue at stake here is the use of our tax dollars by the federal government to pay for the performance of abortions or euthanasia. I, nor any other Roman Catholic, cannot, in good faith, contribute materially (i.e. monetarily), to abortion. Should I be conscious of the fact that my tax dollars are being used to fund abortion or euthanasia, I can be declared in schism with the Catholic Church and be disallowed by my local bishop from receiving the Eucharist at Mass. In order to retain my standing as a faithful Catholic, in harmony with the Church, I will be placed in the position of having to perform an act of civil disobedience by becoming a tax resister. As past tax resisters have all failed utterly in defending their position before courts of law, I will likely suffer legal consequences for my failure to pay taxes to the federal government (granted, past tax resisters have not objected to said taxes on a religious basis, but rather on a constitutional law basis; I believe the result will be the same, however, regardless of the basis of the objection). To borrow a scenario from Dinesh D’Sousza’s book, Letters to a Young Conservative (pages 81-82), should I refuse to pay my taxes, the government will kill me. D’Sousza explains that the government will fine me for not paying my taxes and, after some time, send federal agents out to seize my property. I will, not unreasonably, attempt to defend my property; given that I will be outnumbered by trained, well-armed federal agents, I will likely lose my life in the ensuing fracas. So there, in a nutshell, is the problem: as a Catholic I cannot, in good faith, pay money to the federal government that I know will be used to perform an abortion; the government will object to this and either imprison or murder me.

I offer this dilemma to the many readers of RS as both a warning for the future and as a call to action. FOCA must not be allowed to pass. Should it, large numbers of American Catholics will be placed into an impossible situation. I strongly suspect that the vast majority of faithful American Catholics have no desire to seek the overthrow of the United States government, least of all me. I see little alternative, however, should our government override the tenets of our faith as clearly enumerated by the man whom we consider to be the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI. I look forward to any suggestions offered by RS’ers on a way to avoid this quite serious issue.

In response to a question that I already see coming, yes, I have written to my local bishop regarding this matter and to Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican ambassador) to the United States. I eagerly await their response.

PS Doug Kmiec is as wrong on this issue as he was about Barack Obama. Again, to quote Cardinal Rigali, “We can’t reduce abortions by promoting abortion… No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith dicussion on how to reduce abortions.” In an interview with BeliefNet, Kmiec downplays FOCA and spins Obama’s support for it as pro-woman rather than pro-abortion. Cardinal Rigali, the USCCB’s General Counsel, and the Pope have clearly shown that FOCA is not acceptable and that it WILL violate the Hyde Amendment. Doug Kmiec, ARE YOU LISTENING?