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HHS Mandate Regulations Issued Unchanged: Peter and Paul Challenge us to Prepare for Persecution

By Deacon Keith Fournier
July 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In one more example of the looming Church/State conflict we face as Christians in America, on Friday afternoon, in a typical Washington 'document dump" tactic, the Obama administration released the final regulations covering the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. There was no change. The Regime will soon require that all health-care programs for employees cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Today we celebrate an ancient Feast. The two great pillars of the Church, Peter and Paul, cry out from the witness of their heroic lives - and by the the final offering of the shedding of blood - that truth is always worth defending. They proclaim in word and deed the message we need to hear in this hour.

In an age of relativism - a philosophy which claims 'your truth is not the same as my truth' -  the culture denies the existence of any objective truth. That leaves no sure foundation upon which to ground our lives - individually, as families, or as a society. This is why we teeter on the verge of moral collapse. There is a moral foundation to a free society because there is a moral foundation to freedom itself. Freedom is never increased by choosing against what is true and good.

Our  Nation is losing its moral compass and rushing head first into a new form of slavery. Sadly, many are smiling in the descent, actually thinking they are being liberated. This assessment is not meant to be alarmist or mean-spirited. It is simply an objective acknowledgement of where we stand. The real question now becomes, how shall we respond? 

As Christians, we must become the Way to freedom for those who are rushing into the shackles of their own making by rejecting the truth. We must recognize the demands of the hour in which we live, steel ourselves by prayer and preparation, and offer ourselves to the Lord for His continuing redemptive mission.

Men and women of this age, as in similar times in the past, have, in the words of one of the apostles whom we commemorate today, "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever!" (Romans 1:25)

Yet, Christians proclaim, as we always have, there is truth, it can be known, and choosing to follow it is the only path to authentic human freedom, happiness, social well being and human flourishing. Every Nation which hopes to flourish must secure its social foundations upon that truth or it will deteriorate from within.

Our proclamation of this message is often experienced by those who have exchanged truth for a lie, as, at best, annoying - and, at worst, it becomes the cause for consternation and conflict. It always brings a reaction. Get ready, we are only at the early stages of the reaction. 

The God who is the source of truth has revealed truth to all men and women because He loves us. He wants us all to experience the fullness of life. This truth has been written on the human heart and is revealed by the Natural Moral Law accessible to all men and women through the exercise of right reason.

However, when men and women turn away from this truth, they reject right reason, and they lose their capacity for seeing it at all and experiencing its liberating effects. Instead, they follow deception and lose their freedom.They say, "We do not need God" or "We do not need truth" and devolve into idolatry saying, "We create our own truth" and "We are our own god". 

Out of His infinite love, the God who is the source of all truth - and the only path to true freedom -  sent us His Son in whom the fullness of truth is revealed to free us from our own proclivity to such deception. The One who is Truth is made accessible for us all to embrace. He alone removes the obstacles we face in embracing that truth by dealing definitively with the effect of sin. In Him we can be re-created and find the Way of life for which we long. 

This Son of God, the Savior of the whole human race, still proclaims to the men and women of this age, "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:32) In fact, His words echo eternal through all time, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." (John 14:6)

In one more example of the looming Church/State conflict we face as Christians in America, on Friday afternoon, in a typical Washington 'document dump" tactic, the Obama administration released the final regulations covering the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

There was no change.

The Obama Administration will soon require that all health-care programs for employees cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs. They may even require all who offer such coverage to pay for so called gender reassignment surgery, given the trajectory of the the insanity of the age which denies there are any givens.

The Church, in all of her outreaches for the Common Good, will not comply with this unjust mandate. Christians in commerce should also not comply. All of this comes right on the heels of the US Supreme Court opinion in which the majority pretended to change the structure of reality by commanding from the bench to be a marriage - what can never be a marriage.The Justices acted like the Wizard of Oz - not the stewards of Justice.

Of course, for those with eyes to see the trajectory of the past, the Police Power of the State follows in the path of the pronouncement. The Church will soon face the wrath of a new Caesar.What is needed are courageous Christians who do what Christians have done for over two thousand years in the face of persecution, remain faithful.

This is one of the reasons we need the witness of the Saints. To inspire us and challenge us to reach deep within and find the Lord who will make us like Himself and give us the grace we need to participate in His continuing work.

Let us read the Words of our Brother Augustine and imitate Peter and Paul in the days ahead, no matter where it leads us. They show us the way.

*****

Homily of St Augustine of the Feast of Peter and Paul 

This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.
 
The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, "Rocky," from "rock"; not "rock" from "Rocky." Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.
 
Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity.

So this is the reason for Peter's acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church's universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.

Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord's sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time.

Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.
 
There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

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