Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/22/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sadly, there are too many politicians who are professed Catholics and stand publicly for political and policy positions which are directly at odds with the teaching of the Church

The commencement address given by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may actually help to bring about the necessary corrective of this Catholic University which has clearly lost its way. Please pray for Georgetown University. And, while you are praying, pray for Kathleen Sebelius to return to the truths of the faith into which she was baptized. Let us pray - and let us act - in a way that ensures that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaking at Georgetown University becomes the seed of the much needed reform of that once great Catholic University and its return to the faith it claims to profess.

HHS Secretary Sebelius at Georgetown

HHS Secretary Sebelius at Georgetown

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/22/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Secretary Sebelius, HHS Mandate, Georgetown University, Jesuit, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, heart of the Church, dissent, Religious Freedom, Georgetown U, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - In spite of a massive outcry from Catholics around the Nation and  strong objection from Church authority, Georgetown University gave its platform to Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of HHS, to confuse graduates about the nature of moral conscience, its proper formation and their moral obligations as citizens. 

The former Governor of Kansas, Secretary Sebelius is notorious for her open dissent from the teaching of her own Church. She was precluded from receiving communion by her Bishop in Kansas.  The leadership of Georgetown knew all of this. They also know of her hostile position against Religious Freedom demonstrated in her recent issuance of the notorious HHS mandate. Yet, they allowed the event to proceed.

In her address to graduates of Georgetown's Public Policy Institute on Friday, May 18, 2012, the Secretary whose Edict, if left unchanged, seeks to compel the Catholic Church and all of her institutions to provide sterilization, abortion inducing drugs and contraception if they offer health insurance - or face the police power of the State - told the graduates:  "I have the extraordinary opportunity to help implement legislation that is finally, after seven decades of failed debate, ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable health coverage."

With references to President John F Kennedy, she hid behind what I have called the "Kennedy Mistake" for years. She told the graduates, "Kennedy was elected president on November 8, 1960. And more than 50 years later, that conversation, about the intersection of our nation's long tradition of religious freedom with policy decisions that affect the general public, continues."

Just what that conversation truly means is betrayed by unfaithful Catholics in Public Life who obfuscate the issues we face; politicians like this HHS Secretary. September 12, 2010 marked the fiftieth anniversary of one of the defining political speeches of the last 100 years, the address given by Senator John F. Kennedy to the Houston Ministerial alliance. In that speech he unleashed a horrid mistake. He laid out an approach to the role of religious faith in public life and service which resulted in "privatizing" the truths informed by faith. It also entrenched a mistaken notion of the separation of Church and State.

He failed to acknowledge the existence of a Natural Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason - and which must govern our life together in Society. All just positive laws must comport with this Natural Law.  In the wake of his catastrophic mistake too many Catholics in public life, like Esau of the Old Testament, sold their birthrights for a bowl of porridge and helped to construct the current culture of death. The list of Catholics who eat the porridge - and feed it to others - seems to get longer each year. Some of the more notorious are former Governor Mario Cuomo and Senator Nancy Pelosi.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clear directive instruction in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life".  It called upon Catholics to be "morally coherent" in the exercise of their citizenship. Sadly, too many have not been morally coherent. Secretary Sebelius is numbered among them. Giving her a platform to continue spreading the confusion at a Catholic University commencement address was a serious abuse of the leadership of Georgetown University. 

She told the graduates that "Contributing to these debates will require more than just the quantitative skills you have learned at Georgetown. It will also require the ethical skills you have honed - the ability to weigh different views, see issues from other points of view, and in the end, follow your own moral compass."

"These debates can also be contentious. But this is a strength of our country, not a weakness. In some countries around the world, it is much easier to make policy. The leader delivers an edict and it goes into effect. There's no debate, no criticism, no second guessing."

"Our system is messier, slower, more frustrating, and far better. It requires conversations that can be painful and it almost always ends in compromise. But it's through this process of conversation and compromise that we move forward, together, step by step, towards a "more perfect union."

The irony is that her HHS mandate is precisely such an unjust Edict! Her actions and the actions taken by the Administration she serves is an unconstitutional violation of the fundamental Right to Religious Freedom. Her address also continues to compound the error by promoting a false notion of moral conscience to those graduates.

When St. Paul instructed the Christians in Rome on the implications of living their faith, they were surrounded by a culture which was being corrupted by many of the problems we currently face in the West. He told them "...I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect". (Romans 12: 1-2)

So it must be with each one of us. We are called into a continual process of conversion which involves a re-formation of our way of thinking. We are also called to change the culture when its practices do not conform to what is good and not be improperly changed by anything within it which is contrary to the truth. Part of this renewal of our minds includes re-thinking how we view our citizenship and the obligations which it entails.

The Catechism summarizes the duties of both civil authorities and of good citizens in its Section entitled "Life in Christ" at Par. 2234-2246. It is no accident that this section follows the discussion of the duties owed within the family. After all, the family is the first society. The problem is that many Catholics do not understand that we must educate our consciences in order to ensure that they conform to the truth as revealed in the Natural Law and expounded upon in Revelation.

There has been some poor teaching in the arena of moral theology which has left the faithful confused on this and many other subjects of profound importance to living as Catholic Christians. It has led to people speaking as though our "conscience" somehow equates with our "feelings" or is an aspect of our own opinion. Not only do our consciences need to be formed, they can also become deformed and regularly need to be re-formed. That is all too evident when we simply look at the way in which some Catholics currently approach political participation.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in Article 6 entitled "Moral Conscience", Sections 1776 - 1802, summarizes the teaching of the Church with crystal clarity on this vital topic. Secretary Sebelius either has not read it or she simply rejects it, just as she rejects the teaching of the Church concerning the dignity of every human life as well as the teaching on Religious Freedom as a fundamental human right. The Georgetown leaderships' decision to allow her to openly dissent and confuse those graduates at the diploma ceremony was reprehensible.

Sadly, there are too many politicians who are professed Catholics and stand publicly for political and policy positions which are directly at odds with the teaching of the Church - and the Natural Law - on the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death, marriage and family, and other vital issues. This is a symptom of a much bigger malady.  It is also a continuing scandal.

To be a "faithful" citizen, for a Catholic, means to be filled with an understanding of what is taught by our faith and to live out a commitment to that faith in every area of our lives. We are to view our lives as an integrated unity and not compartmentalize. All too often, we can approach our lives in a manner that fails to understand the implications of the Incarnation.

When Catholics assign the teaching of the Scriptures and Magisterium of our Church to only the perceived "religious" or "spiritual" part of our lives they do not understand their faith. Faith is meant to be a light which presides over the entirety of our life. Contrary to the lies of the contemporary dictatorship of relativism, there are truths that can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason and those truths should govern our life together in society. 

There has been a swift and strong response to this action by Georgetown University by properly formed and energized Catholics. The Cardinal Newman Society has led in the struggle to expose such egregious actions at other Colleges  and is doing so now. To join their effort go here

The Father King Society of Georgetown, which is comprised of alumni and students of Georgetown and named after the late faithful and heroic priest theologian of Georgetown, is filing an action under Canon Law concerning Georgetown's continued violations of Ex Corde Ecclesiae  (From the Heart of the Church), the  Apostolic constitution which governs Catholic identity and the Catholic nature of a College or University which bears the name Catholic.

Catholic Vote, one of a growing number of groups in the movement for a New Catholic Action, was also fruitfully engaged. On May, 17, 2012, they delivered a Catholics for Unity petition with 35,000 signatures to the office of Georgetown University president John J. DeGioia seeking to prevent the scandal of the Secretary's address from even occuring. He did not listen to them or to the leadership of the Church which had made their concern clear as well. .

The commencement address given by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may actually help to bring about the necessary corrective of this Catholic University which has clearly lost its way. Please pray for Georgetown University. And, while you are praying, pray for Kathleen Sebelius to return to the truths of the faith into which she was baptized. Let us pray - and let us act - in a way that ensures that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaking at Georgetown University becomes the seed of the much needed reform of that once great Catholic University and its return to the faith it claims to profess.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More U.S.

Alabama Supreme Court Recognizes Child in the Womb Has Fundamental Rights

Image of The Alabama Supreme Court

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Because a human life with a full genetic endowment comes into existence at the moment of conception, the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights encompasses the moment of conception. Legal ... continue reading


Help Make the Story of the Serial Killer/Abortionist Kermit Gosnell Into a Movie Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In 1852, the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass was invited to speak on the Fourth of July and delivered the now famous speech entitled What to the Slave is the Fourth of July. Here is a stirring quote from that famous speech: 'For it is not light that ... continue reading


Their Eyes Were Opened: Walk With Jesus on the Road to Emmaus Watch

Image of On the Road to Emmaus: In the light of the encounter with the Lord in the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened. So it is meant to be with each one of us. The Holy Eucharist is more than a commemoration; it is an invitation into communion with the Living God - right now because Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead and walks with us on the road of life.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We are those disciples on the road to Emmaus, living our lives in the real world, walking along with Jesus who is always there accompanying us on the road, whether we recognize Him or not. He listens to us, and understands us, because he became like us, in "all ... continue reading


Made for Beauty: Liturgy and Music

Image of

By Deal W. Hudson

Some might flinch at my use of the word "satisfying" to describe a liturgy, but I used it deliberately because I want to think aloud about the fact that we were made for beauty as much as we were made for goodness and truth.  To be satisfied by the shape, ... continue reading


'COME AND TAKE IT' Texas AG blasts BLM scheming to seize state land, threatens fight Watch

Image of Texans are rallying against the federal government and its habitual overreach.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A major land war between the Bureau of Land Management and the state of Texas is brewing as Texas lawmakers push back against the feds plan to seize 90,000 acres of land along the Texas/Oklahoma border. AUSTIN, TEXAS (Catholic Online) - The Bureau of Land Management ... continue reading


SHOCKING NEW TWIST: Autistic boy defends teenage girls who filmed his sexual assault Watch

Image of The parents of the victim are insistent that they want their son's abuser, 17-year-old Lauren A. Bush to be tried as an adult.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Abused beyond belief by two teenage girls, who filmed their despicable activities with their cellphones, a 16-year-old autistic boy now says he doesn't want to press charges against them - concerned that it would damage their - "friendship?" LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Time to Live the Easter Way of Life Watch

Image of Easter is more than a Day; it is a way of living our lives in Jesus Christ. Darkness has been scattered by the Light which broke forth from that empty tomb. That Light is meant to infuse our daily lives with the radiance of Resurrected love.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The early Christians lived their lives in the Lord, for the sake of the world. They exhibited a holy boldness; because they internalized the faith they professed and allowed it to transform every aspect of their lives. They experienced the transforming power of ... continue reading


50,000-strong OK Militia declares they will resist federal takeover attempts Watch

Image of The Oklahoma Militia is ready to defend property against unlawful federal seizure.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Oklahoma militia which claims the allegiance of 50,000 members has sided with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his recent clash against the feds. Although the standoff appears to be over, and is not likely to resume, the militia says it is ready to defend the rights ... continue reading


BLOODY EASTER WEEKEND IN CHICAGO: Six children shot in widespread violence Watch

Image of Five of the six children wounded, aged from 11 to 15 years, were shot during a drive-by shooting Sunday night.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With 36 people wounded, and nine people dead, it was one of the most violent Easter weekends in Chicago within recent memory. Far more shocking was the fact that six young children were among those injured. Gang violence remains prevalent on Chicago's windy ... continue reading


Militant atheist organization seeks to ban schools from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance Watch

Image of The AHA says that the line

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An organization of militant atheists is suing a New Jersey school district of discrimination, on the behalf of a family who take offense to the line "Under God," within the Pledge of Allegiance. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The lawsuit against the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter