Thursday, March 15, 2012


I am a professional young man in his 20's. I just met this girl and she is quite attractive. We meet to have a few drinks. One thing leads to another and, well, you know. We talk a few times after that but it just doesn't seem to be working, so I don't call her back anymore.

A few weeks later she calls me at work and says we need to talk. "What for?"

"Just meet me."

I met her at Starbucks's after work and she looks like she might have been crying. After an awkward hug and a kiss, we sit down with our drinks and then blammo...

"I am pregnant."

I paused for a moment and then said, "Ok. Why tell me?"

"Well, its your baby and I thought you would want to know. After all, you are responsible."

"Whoa, hold on there. I am not responsible for anything. This was your choice."

"It takes two, or don't you remember?"

"Sorry, but this is only your healthcare issue."

"It's not a healthcare issue, it's a baby!"

"Oh no it's not. It's a healthcare issue and not my problem. You have access to government mandated and subsidized free birth control. There was no reason for this to happen. This is entirely up to you."

"You never asked me if I was on birth control. We got caught up and..."

"I am sorry you feel this way but it is not my problem. You are responsible for your own healthcare, not me. You get birth control for free, there is no impediment to you getting it. If you choose not to use it or use it incorrectly, I can't be held responsible for that. If you have a healthcare problem now, don't blame me, blame yourself."

"It's not a healthcare problem, it's not a disease, it's a baby!"

"Sorry, not according to the government. This is a preventable health condition, the cure for which you get for for free courtesy of my tax dollars. How can I possibly be held responsible for your negligence in the prevention of a freely preventable disease?"

"Stop saying that! You can't do this! I will sue for paternity!"

"Go ahead and try. Dozens of cases just like this have already been heard around the country in the last 2 years. In each and every case the court has found that given the government mandated and pervasive free access to birth control, men have a reasonable expectation that women are able to protect themselves from this disease. You can't punish me with a baby because of your negligence. You do remember that I am a lawyer, right?"

"You are a monster!"

"Listen. It has been real. Do me a favor, lose my number."

(This story is reprinted from


Of course, I am neither in my 20’s nor the guy in the story. And the scenario is nothing new. Women have been on the losing end of the sexual revolution since The Pill first made sex without consequences possible, mostly without consequences for the male.

However, the HHS mandate, by classifying contraception as “preventative care”, has officially made pregnancy a preventable disease like smoking and diet related diseases.

In so doing, the mandate provides the basis for a legal challenge to the normal responsibilities associated with paternity, responsibilities many men already try to avoid, but soon may have the law on their side!

Even the most chauvinistic male couldn’t have planned things out this well. No, it took a genius like President Obama and HHS “Field Marshall” Sibelius, to make women officially the sexual revolution’s legal losers. And they say the Church is waging war on women??

I’m sure the guy in the story (and lots of guys like him) will be casting their vote for Obama in November.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On the HHS Mandate - Part 2, by Fr. Ivan Sciberras

(From the 2/19/12 parish bulletin of St. Peter's Church in Bellville, New Jersey, where Fr. Sciberras is the pastor.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I do not normally write two weeks in a row about the same topic, but given the gravity of the matter I wrote about last week, namely mandated birth-control coverage, and the ―compromise‖ that was offered a week ago by the Administration, I feel impelled to offer a follow-up.

Let me say from the outset that the ―compromise offered to the Catholic Bishops is nothing less than a farce. This is what the Administration had to offer: Catholic-run institutions that in conscience object to offering birth- control, sterilization and abortifacients to their employees would not be obligated to do so. The insurance company (or HMO) would, however, be obligated to provide such services free of charge to all subscribers, regardless of who the employer is. And how would insurance companies fund such coverage, since we cannot expect them to offer it from the generosity of their hearts? Only by raising the premiums paid by the employers, including those who in conscience object to offering such coverage (who are not limited to Catholic institutions, but include other employers and corporations whose religious freedom is imperiled by such a mandate).

Not only does the mandate violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was approved almost anonymously by both the Senate and Congress, and signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. The law states that only in cases where the ―furtherance of a compelling government interest‖ dictates so may the government ―substantially burden‖ a person‘s ―exercise of religion,‖ and only by using ―the least restrictive means.‖ Here it is clear that the government can use one of many different ways to promote its ―anti-life‖ agenda, other than castigate employers for disagreeing with said agenda.

When Pope Paul VI issued the Encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, he was nothing short of prophetic. The great pope predicted four consequences stemming from the widespread use of contraceptives: (1) a general lowering of morality (one does not need to be a rocket-scientist to detect it); (2) a rise in marriage break-up and illegitimacy (a quarter of marriages in the U.S. ended in divorce in 1968, compared to over 55% today); (3) the reduction of women as objects to satisfy men (pornography is now all over, with human trafficking and sex-slavery growing exponentially) and, finally (4) government coercion in reproductive matters. Those who did not want the Church to dictate what they do in their bedrooms are now happily letting Big Brother tell them whose conscience they should follow!

How right was Pope John Paul II when he said that the attacks against human life are receiving ―widespread and powerful support from a broad consensus on the part of society and that ―we are in fact faced by an objective  ̳conspiracy against life.‘‖ If we allow a president define a pregnancy (ie. human life) as a disease (hence the need to fight it through mandatory health care) rather than as a precious gift, then we only have ourselves to blame when the diabolical attack against life becomes more evident.

Maybe this assault on life and religious freedom has been providentially timed. As we enter into the Season of Lent this week on Ash Wednesday, we are all invited to make a mea culpa for the ways we have all disregarded God‘s Plan and have placed our own comforts and compromises ahead of Divine Law. May this be a season of repentance, ultimately culminating in Christ‘s victory over sin and death on Easter Sunday.

Please check the bulletin for different ways we can draw closer to Christ this Lent. I particularly call your attention to the Day of Recollection we will hold this coming Saturday, February 25. Our internationally- acclaimed speaker, Dr. Dianne M. Traflet, will definitely steer us into the right direction. Consider also attending daily Mass whenever possible, pray the Stations of the Cross with the parish on Fridays, and making a pledge to the Archbishop‘s Annual Appeal so that others may benefit from our excess.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Ivan Sciberras

On the HHS Mandate by Fr. Ivan Sciberras

(From the 2/12/12 parish bulletin of St. Peter's Church in Bellville, N.J., Fr. Ivan Sciberras, Pastor)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In last week‘s bulletin, we reproduced Archbishop Myers‘ letter to the faithful regarding the Government‘s decision about a healthcare issue that significantly affects the Catholic Church‘s ability to operate in this country. The same letter is reproduced in Spanish in this week‘s bulletin. Given the gravity of the matter, the issue was, understandably, given ample coverage especially in the secular media.

And here is the issue: the 2010 health-care law spoke in detail about ―preventive-health services‖ that employers are required to cover (when offering health-benefits to their employees) without an insurance co- payment. This included coverage for contraceptives, sterilization services and abortion-inducing pills. Leaders of the Catholic Church in the U.S. were under the impression that Catholic institutions (and others that in conscience could not agree to providing such services) were exempt from this mandate.

Just last month, the Department of Health and Human Services insisted that the exemption was limited only to Church institutions that provide services exclusively to persons of the same faith. All other Church institutions that also serve people of other faiths - such as hospitals, elementary schools and universities, and organizations like Catholic Charities – are obligated to provide such coverage. When Catholic bishops pleaded for a broader exemption, they were granted an extension of one year – to August 2013 – before being forced to comply with, or else ...

Without trying to give the impression that they are fomenting civil-disobedience, the response of the U.S. bishops has been loud and clear: ―we cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.‖

Unless the Administration relents from this unwise decision, which in the words of columnist Peggy Noonan has ―awakened a sleeping giant‖ (meaning the Catholic population), where does this leave Catholic institutions?

One possibility would be to restrict the activity of Catholic institutions merely to Catholics (e.g. a Catholic school would only be allowed to educate Catholic students and a Catholic hospital only be able to care for Catholic patients). This would be a surreal situation wherein the Church would not be able to function in a Catholic manner, namely, to be a beacon of hope at the service of all humanity.

Another option would be to keep the institutions open for all, but not provide health benefits to its employees, at the cost of a $2,000 fine per year per employee of the institution in question (Catholic Charities, for example, with its 70,000 employees, would be fined $140 million a year for not providing health benefits). That would mean millions less in aid to struggling families, refugees, the sick and the elderly.

Other Catholic institutions would have to shut down altogether. We have already witnessed to Catholic welfare agencies in Massachusetts being forced to shut down their operations only because they could not in conscience place babies with gay couples.
As Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute remarks, more than half of all civic institutions in the U.S. have a religious purpose or affiliation, and an undermining of their liberty ultimately undermines the freedom of each one of us.

Many Catholics, even those who have no qualms in criticizing Church leadership, have made it clear that they do not want the government to control the Church‘s activity. While ―freedom of worship‖ has not been infringed on (at least as yet) in this country, the much broader ―freedom of religion‖ is definitely being undermined in this matter. What guarantee do we have that with ―freedom of religion‖ being compromised, there will not be a day when even the ―freedom of worship‖ – including the content of the preaching and the rites of the Church themselves – will not be jeopardized?

Yes, the sleeping giant is finally awake. There are 77.7 million Catholics in the U.S. In the 2008 election, they made up 27% of the electorate. In nine of the past ten presidential elections, the Catholic vote has gone with the candidate who ultimately won the election. There is very little to gain in attacking the freedom of the Catholic Church, and so much to lose. Let us hope that ultimately, common sense will prevail in this matter.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Ivan Sciberras

The Short Memory of American Bishops by Jeffrey Fitzgerald

(Jeffrey Fitzgeral is the editor of the U Matuna, the newspaper for the Catholic Archdiocese of Hagatna, Guam)

This week, USY has run an article on the American bishops’ concern with Israel reacting against the threatening position of Iran. Anyone who has paid attention to international news has seen that the situation in and with Iran is both delicate and terrifying.

At the heart of the troubling confrontation-in-the-making of our day is the furious drive of Iran to become a fully nuclear nation. Under its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and with the support of the ayatollahs (the Shi’ite “clergy” in that country), Iran continues to develop its nuclear capability without regard for the United Nations or international political stability.

Just last month, Iran at first allowed but then refused to permit UN nuclear inspectors access to their nuclear facilities to ensure that Iran was not purifying uranium to the degree that it could be mounted as a nuclear weapon. On the whole, warn many experts, it’s just a matter of time before Iran is not only a genuinely nuclear power, but an aggressive power with nuclear weapons—one that has intimated that it would use them to achieve its theocratic goals.

What makes this especially frightening is Iran’s foreign policy and the rhetoric that points to their intentions. For over 30 years, and even more so today, Iran’s government has declared that the nation of Israel must be wiped out, all Israeli Jews annihilated. To use Ahmadinejad’s own words, “the Jews must be driven into the sea.”

This kind of talk should not be underestimated; after all, we are not talking about Denmark here. This is a government that seeks the utter destruction not only of the only truly democratic nation in the Middle East, but also of a huge portion of the Jews: a people that are our elder cousins in faith.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t put up with any of that sort of sabre-rattling nonsense. European Jewry was virtually wiped out by the Nazis before and during World War II while the rest of the world stood aside and did nothing. This seems to be the case now with our own president, European leaders, and our bishops. Since WWII, the Israeli maxim is “Never again”—a sentiment Americans likewise share when it comes to tolerating terrorists out to destroy us and our way of life. Never again will they (or we) stand there and wait to be attacked by those who say they are going to attack.

This is what makes the USCCB’s statement on the “moral problem” of Israel ordering a pre-emptive strike against Iran not only short-sighted, but also utterly stupid. It makes no sense, neither rationally nor theologically.

The USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace clearly states that Iran’s probable acquisition of nuclear weapons, vociferous threats against Israel, and lack of cooperation with the international community are serious issues, but they do not justify a pre-emptive strike, i.e. a preventative war. As far as the editorial staff of USY is concerned, the committee could not be more wrong.

The bishops and the “peace and justice” crowd who seek to avoid war at all costs no doubt mean well. Nevertheless, it is not enough for these bishops to be well-meaning and carry the “high ground” of negotiation, knowing that if there is an attack, the Church “did all it could.” If Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, all the good intentions in the world won’t bring back the millions of innocent men, women, and children who are annihilated in the blink of an eye. In fact, our silence, our passivity will make us guilty by our sin of omission.

The Church’s Just War Doctrine does of course say that deadly force should be a last resort. That said, if the other conditions of just war are met, it is not necessary to be attacked before defending oneself; sometimes, we have to strike lest we not live to even defend ourselves.
The bishops’ line of thinking is the same as Guam having a law that allows you to own a gun, but when an intruder comes into your house with his own gun, you cannot shoot him unless he shoots you first. Somehow, accepting that as the only moral alternative leaves us shaking our head at the complete lack of common sense.

Hopefully, cooler heads in Iran will prevail, and they will not escalate the crisis that they have created. As usual, international media is laying responsibility at the feet of Israel, demanding they show restraint when their enemies won’t. This includes Hizbollah, a terrorist organization supported by the Iranian government.

Ultimately, war is never a good thing, but sometimes it is necessary. We should not begin wars, but when aggressors are armed and threaten us and gather their armies at our border, it’s a safe bet what the next move will be. If the European powers had stopped Hitler at Munich, millions of lives would have been spared. Instead, the desire for peace at any cost wound up be costing more lives than any war in history.

Sometimes, it’s not enough to preach. Like Edmund Burke famously warned us, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” If only the bishops would remember that—not just in war, but with abortion and the other horrors of modernity that they are so shy about condemning.

Shame on them.

Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, O.F.M., Cap., D.D. is not associated with the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...