Supreme (Court) Frustration

I have been pretty quiet over the last couple weeks, I just haven’t been inspired to write. It’s not that there haven’t been issues to write about, I just haven’t felt that there was anything that I really needed to say.

I do however feel it is my duty to write something about the decision rendered by the Supreme Court on the HHS mandate. That is not however a very simple task. I’m not a lawyer you see, and neither am I a political man. In honesty, I never really see myself as having an option to be politically minded due to the great evils in our nation that I am required by my conscience to vote against. I can’t really sit back and be thoughtful about the economic recession for example, because I have to vote against the holocaust of abortion. This puts me well out of practice for this kind of task.

I should say right up front that I do not believe the federal government should have this power. I hold to the idea the founding fathers had that no greater power should do what a lessor power can do for itself. I feel the Supreme Court was designed to protect the people from a large federal government, and that it has failed miserably in that duty, especially by allowing so much law to be passed under the commerce clause. In fact I find it shameful they have allowed so much power from the states and counties of this country to be handed to the larger and less trustworthy federal government.

All that baggage aside though, I realize that this Supreme Court decision is a landmark one, and as it directly deal with Catholic issues, I know that I must weigh in with my small voice. I have purposefully not read any other opinions on this matter, so any similarity with other thoughts is not intended.

I think there is no job in this country I would like less that to be on the Supreme Court. It is such a bad job, that I think I would actually prefer even being President to being on the Court. And that is really saying something, because I would never, ever want to be President. Let’s take a serious look at what the Court actually has to do here. Their task is to lay aside any and all personal reservations, and do their absolute best to follow the letter of the law as it relates to the Constitution. I’m not saying that’s what they do, but that is what they are supposed to do.

That is why I’m not disappointed in Roberts here. At first blush, I admit I was really pissed off, I had really hoped that this would just end this problem once and for all. All the other conservatives on the Court voted against it. And then I had the sense of betrayal as I found out that it was Roberts that was the swing vote here. Dangit, I thought this one was going to be on our side, and I felt he flat out left me hanging.

Then I actually took the time to read what he said. Check this out.

“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”

In other words, “America, this is your idea. It’s not my job to tell you you aren’t allowed to push your car off a cliff if that’s what you really want to do.” So while at first I was downright ticked off that this decision didn’t go my way, I have to admit, he’s right. It isn’t the Court’s job to protect us from our own stupid mistakes.

Now I’m going to pass on whether or not this is an issue against religious liberty, as that was not what was brought to the bench. Neither am I going to get all pissy because the Court decided that since the law called it a “penalty” and not a “tax” that it doesn’t go against the Anti-Injunction Act, yet at the same time the Court held up the power of mandate because it WAS a tax, and Congress has taxation rights. Yes, only a lawyer could get away with such double talk, and I’m sure in their minds that makes perfect sense. (It of course, makes no sense at all.)

The real issue here is we have made our bed, and we have to sleep in it. We can’t really expect to allow this kind of nonsense pass through Congress and expect the courts to save our tush for our stupid mistakes. We have to fight this from the ground, and fight it with all of our might, at the very least, until we are allowed to follow our Catholic consciences within our Catholic institutions.

Personally, I would like to see the whole health care plan go out the window, but that is because I just don’t see health care listed in the constitution as a federal responsibility. (Remember? No greater power should do what a lessor power can do for itself?) If such laws are needed, I just don’t feel it’s the federal government’s responsibility to enact those laws. I do however take great issue with the idea that they can sweepingly violate so deeply the 2000 year old moral conscience of the Catholic Church. I think it is flat out evil. So we must continue to fight this, continue to write letters, continue to make this the main issue. We can’t let this just slide by, as it the first step of many, that must necessarily end with Catholics being martyred in the public square.

Power of the Apostles

I cried this weekend.

I wasn’t bawling or anything, I just got really teary eyed, and couldn’t help myself.  I was just too affected.

This weekend, we had a Mass for a congregation of sisters. It was their 100th year Jubilee, and so was a very big deal. It was amazing to see so many women who have given up their lives to serve Christ, and Him alone. It was truly an awesome experience. To be honest though, I am a sensual being, and while I was intellectually touched by their service and commitment, their lack of habits did not pull at my heart strings.

I’m not saying I don’t honor and respect them, I do, and very much so. I’m just saying that fifty or sixty sisters in normal clothing honestly just look like the rest of the congregation, and so it did not have an emotional impact on me. In that way, it just felt normal. Had they been in habits that made their vows obvious to me, I might have felt differently, I’m not sure. I spent most of the time trying to figure out who was a sister, and who was not. I felt rather silly about it to be honest.

This was a big celebration however, and so our bishop took it upon himself to drive the five hours to our parish to preside.

Dangit, I cry every time the bishop comes. I’ve started remembering to bring a handkerchief.

It’s not so much that our bishop is a swell guy, though he is. It’s not because he holds a similar ideology to me either, which he does. I am the same way any time I get to go to an episcopal Mass, I just can’t help it. It’s not the man that so deeply effects me, it is his office.

The power of the apostles overwhelms me. When I stand in a Mass where the bishop is presiding, I feel so deeply connected that I cannot bear it. I cannot help but see the unbroken chain back to Christ Himself. As he proceeds into the sanctuary, crosier in hand, I can feel his shepherding power. As he blesses the altar, that connection is so tight in my mind, that it is simply overwhelming for me.

I know I should feel this way at every Eucharist, and I know that the fact that I don’t means I have work to do on my faith. But for now, I am content to stand next to my apostle. I admit it, I’m a cheesy guy. But I’m not alone.

“In like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and college of the apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a Church. I am confident that you accept this, for I have received the exemplar of your love and have it with me in the person of your bishop. His very demeanor is a great lesson and his meekness is his strength. I believe that even the godless do respect him” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Trallians 3:1-2 [A. D. 110])

Reverend Know-It-All

Oh Wow. I just read the best article on religious education that I have read in a long, long time. I’m not usually one to shamelessly plug someone else’s articles, but you seriously need to check this out now. Here is a short excerpt to wet your appetite.

“In order to commit a mortal sin, a sin that severs one’s relationship to God, one must have sufficient knowledge that what they are doing is mortally sinful. Our kids come to Catholic schools and religious education where, presumably, they learn that it is a mortal sin to skip Sunday Mass without a serious reason, such as illness or inability to travel. That means that by allowing children to come to religious education or to enroll in Catholic schools when their parents don’t come to Mass, we are enabling them to commit a mortal sin by giving them the sufficient knowledge to damn their eternal souls.That’s a plan.”

Right on Father Simon. The system we are using is flat out broken, it is doing nothing for our young faithful, in fact it puts them at great risk, and it needs to be fixed pronto.

Read the entire article on Reverend Know-It-All, “We Are Starting Over”

(HT Creative Minority Report)

Sola Scriptura

I am sorry. I spent my writing time today on Facebook, and am simply spent. So instead of writing something special for the blog, I decided to copy and paste my conversation. Wow, am I lazy. Without further ado, here you go.

“I so deeply appreciate your openness and sensibility in your discussion. I can see very clearly how deep your faith in Christ is, and I am edifiied by it. It is so easy to get caught in the “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality, and I am impressed that you haven’t fallen into that trap. May God contiune to bless you.

The trouble is, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura does not do what you describe. It does not check our teaching against a solid norm. Let me explain.

Here are you and I, two intellegent people, who are in awe of God, and in love with Jesus Christ. We both have every desire to remain faithful to Him, and want to live our lives as closely to His directions as possible. And yet, when we look to the scriptures to guide our conversation, instead of whole hearted agreement, we find dissention. Instead of clasping each others palms, and calling each other to head out and spread the Gospel with the same acccord, we instead end up in petty squabbles.

This cannot be what Christ intended. Christ earnestly prayed that we would be one, undivided. And for 1500 years, that is exactly how it was, until Luther nailed his protest to the church door. For 1500 years, the Church preserved its tradition, and with that tradition, the scriptures that supported it and edified that belief.

Look again at your quote from Galatians 1:8-9. Paul calls us to not depart from the gospel he had preached to them. And yet, no Gospel had yet been written. That is because the gospel is not words on a page, but a living, breathing faith handed down from one man to another, kept in line by the living memory of its collective people, most especially in the apostles and their successors. The bible is more precious than gold, but only when held in tandem with the tradition of that people, the Church.

You see, this Church was and is the vehicle for the gospel to move throughout the world. It was so in the first centuries before the bible came to be, and it is so now. This “Church of the living God, the Pillar, and Foundation of Truth” (1 Tim 3:15) is where we must bring our questions about scripture, lest we fall away from that gospel into dissention.

Look at the history of the protestant church since this division, and what you see is divison and dissagreement spreading like wildfire. Thousands of churches have cropped up all around, each with their own take on just what the scriptures mean. This is not the “oneness” that Christ asked of us, and it is born of not having that sure norm that Galatians speaks of.

Notice that I am not saying that the Church is perfect, far from it. Jesus said the Kingdom would be like a field of wheat, with weeds sown into it in the night. Clearly, this is not heaven He is speaking of, as there can be no weeds in heaven. Yes, there have been bad leaders, and many of them have done bad things. There are weeds in the wheat, but that will be separted by Christ at the end, so we need not be too concerned with that now. What is important, is while many in the Church have been unfaithful, the teaching of the Church has never been. Now I’m not talking about a idioic pronouncment here, or a pope saying something stupid there, but the functional dogma of the Church has remained unchanged, clarified at times (Trinity doctrine for example), but unchanged.

Nowhere in all of the first 1500 years of our faith in Christ has there been the idea that the scripture has everything we need to know. This is frankly, a brand new idea in the larger scheme of things, and all I have to do is look at the results of that belief, to know the fruit it bears is the fruit of division.”

Phew, I clearly talk too much.