Euripides once said, "One can judge a man by the company he keeps."
Let's be gender neutral here and assume that the same goes for a woman.
So then, what are we to make of the company that Kathleen Sebelius keeps?
She has been photographed with two of the nation's biggest late-term abortion doctors, George Tiller (now dead) and LeRoy Carhart. She's had them to her home to "honor" them for their "work." Their work is killing babies that are fully able to live outside the womb, babies so developed that they sometimes have to be cut apart in order to be removed once killed.
Carhart was most recently seen on camera referring to babies undergoing the days long late-term abortion procedure as "meat in a crockpot."
What lovely friends you have, Kathleen.
Amid the recent, grim news about abortion here in the United States, Pope Francis has been a refreshing distraction with all of his beautiful words about motherhood.
He gave moms a shout-out during one of his first Wednesday audiences, telling mothers to "go forth with this witness to the living Christ."
And just today he told nuns that they are not single women, but spiritual mothers. His BFFs in the media will fixate on him telling nuns not to be "old maids" and turn it into some weird sexist thing. But we Catholics know what he meant. It was a compliment. Nuns should not feel alone and worthless as they grow old. Rather, they should feel as though they have lived a life pregnant with spiritual richness in all the beautiful service that they have done.
Mothers everywhere, be they literal or spiritual, need a boost now and then.
So thanks, Pope Francis.
This week's must-read comes from Rich Lowry at NRO.
He points out that Obama had the nerve to speak at a Planned Parenthood gala in the wake of the Gosnell mess, but not enough nerve to actually use the abortion.
This is because, he argues, defending abortion is truly indefensible.
Or in his words, "The essence of abortion is that there are two lives when you start and one when you finish. If it were your business to perform them and fight all restrictions on them, no matter how slight, you wouldn’t want to be forthright and honest about it, either."
It really can't be said any better.
Organic food company, Eden Foods, has come under fire for refusing to pay for things like hormonal contraceptives and abortion drugs, as is currently required of them by the new healthcare law.
Which is weird, because why would a company that prides itself on hormone-free offerings pay for its employee's hormones?
The owner of the 40 year-old company is Catholic and, in addition to wanting to preserve their brand, they want to preserve their consciences.
Simcha Fisher had a great write-up of the controversy over at the National Catholic Register.
And I wrote about the contradiction in our culture, so obsessed with eating organic, yet so attached to a most un-organic method of reproduction.
Go get 'em Eden Foods!
This week has served as a reminder of the power just one individual has to wreak death and instill fear. Kermit Gosnell. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
As the city of Boston, the place where freedom was born in this nation, remains a prison of fear, our prayers are with all touched by violence this week.
And we remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Jesus Christ is our Light, and he taught us to love our enemies and to "pray for those who persecute you."
May justice be served to those who perpetrate violence, but may we always turn to love in Jesus Christ, Light of the world, in dark times like these.
Sorry to everyone who was hoping the American religious sisterhood would turn into a giant circus of nuns in tracksuits riding around the country on buses and thwarting Catholic social teaching all day. Because yesterday the Pope re-affirmed that Americans nuns have to adhere to church teaching, not the popular feminist slogans of the day.
Pope Francis affirmed that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) will remain under the direction of the authority of the Holy See, which will oversee doctrinal reforms among the orders that have gone astray.
As I pointed out at the Washington Post, these nuns are going through the same oversight that priests went through before them, as well as parish churches regarding their architecture and liturgical practices. Not as exciting or novel as most outraged media outlets would have you think.
Meanwhile, plenty of other nuns who are too busy serving the poor, helping the elderly die with dignity, and assisting scared pregnant women who want a choice other than abortion, continue to thrive.
That must be why female religious orders that adhere most closely to Church teaching are growing at record rates, while orders driving around the country on tour buses are dwindling.
Pope Francis must be on to something!
What's in a definition?
Well, when it relates to marriage: thousands of laws.
As the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the only public-interest law firm in the world that defends people of all faiths argues in its amicus brief for the Supreme Court on the marriage cases, it's not as simple as merely changing the definition of marriage. Such a top-down change essentially re-writes the thousands of laws that interlace with marriage, including those related to religion and religious freedom.
In their words, "A scholarly consensus has emerged that giving legal recognition to same-sex marriage will result in wide-spread, foreseeable, and to some extent legislatively avoidable church-state conflict." That scholarly consensus spans the political spectrum.
They argue that religious institutions that adhere to the traditional definition of marriage "will face an increased risk of lawsuits under federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws, subjecting religious organizations to substantial civil liability if they choose to continue practicing their religious beliefs. . .Religious institutions and individuals will face a range of penalties from federal, state, and local governments, such as denial of access to public facilities, loss of accreditation and licensing, and the targeted withdrawal of government contacts and benefits."
They point to states like Massachusetts, Illinois, and D.C. where Catholic Charities had to shut down their adoption services so as not to be forced to violate their religious beliefs.
Read the brief here.
We may disagree about many things in this country, but can't we all agree that no one has the right to coerce another into violating their conscience?
The Becket Fund reports that on Tuesday, 11 members of Congress filed an amicus brief in defense of Hobby Lobby's case against the Obama administration's abortion-pill mandate.
The signers pay particular attention to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the mandate plainly violates, and which was signed into law 20 years ago with broad bipartisan consensus.
It's great to see that Congress is stepping up to defend the countless Americans whose religious freedom is so egregiously violated by the mandate.
To the friends of religious liberty on the Hill, this woman says "thanks."
For the third time, the Obama administration's efforts to force religious employers to pay for objectionable services like abortion drugs have been completely rejected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In a statement released today, Cardinal Dolan (head of the conference) said, "Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few."
The administration had come out with a second set of proposed alterations to its original regulation, the regulation that was widely panned by Catholics of all stripes when first proposed, and the same regulation that took effect last August 1.
The Catholic Association released the following statement in support of the Bishops' leadership against the mandate:
"We stand with the bishops today in rejecting the proposed "accommodation" which still violates the religious freedom of Americans. The bishops have recognized in their statement that when the religious freedom of one is compromised, the religious freedom of everyone is compromised, whether they be their own affiliated institutions or non-Catholic institutions or for-profit employers. We call on this administration to provide an acceptable exemption for people of faith, and to put an end to its anti-religious liberty policies."
Didn't someone once say, 'Three strikes, you're out"?
It appears to be time the administration rethinks its game plan. Persecuting religious employers just isn't a winning strategy.
...is paying attention now. The flood of lawsuits against the HHS mandate was front-page news in their Sunday paper.
Well hello to the Grey Lady.
It's nice to know that you are finally paying attention to the biggest religious liberty fight in memory.
As the Times notes, the cases are teed up nicely to head to the Supreme Court, especially with conflicting circuit court rulings.
We shall see, but meanwhile we press on!
President Obama was sworn into a second term yesterday and shows no signs of backing down from his administration's affront on religious liberty.
And while hundreds of thousands will descend on Washington this week to protest Roe and its 55 million victims and counting, abortion seems nowhere near disappearing from our legal system.
So we cannot forget to pray. Consider joining the Bishops in praying their Novena for Life and Liberty!
TCA welcomes the news that self-described faithful Catholic, Denis McDonough, will assume the role of White House Chief of Staff. In recent remarks at Catholic University, McDonough said, "...freedom of religion is central to who we are as Americans. Our rights are not given to us by government, they are endowed by our Creator. We recognize, as does the Church, that we cannot live our lives to their fullest—as authentic people—without the freedom to be true to ourselves."
Considering that more than 100 plaintiffs across the country, the majority of them from Mr. McDonough's own Church, are suing the Obama administration for violating this very constitutional concept, we welcome Mr. McDonough's improvements to the unjust and illegal healthcare mandate.
Countless Americans, hoping to live true to themselves and their faith, are waiting on Mr. Obama and his staff.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has come under fire from Planned Parenthood for suggesting that going to jail is an appropriate way to protest a law that is profoundly unjust and violates human rights.
Paging Martin Luther King, Jr.?
As the great civil rights leader taught this country a few short decades ago, peaceful civil disobedience, even to the point of going jail, is a powerful way to protest unjust laws.
Pro-abortion activists should expect nothing less from religious believers who cannot and will not violate their consciences, regardless of whether they wear a suit and sit at a desk or wear a cassock and stand at an altar.
As rulings in the HHS mandate cases come down, there are steps forward and steps backward. This most recent ruling against Colorado Christian University was a step backward. Yet like the Mennonite-owned company, Conestoga, which received a favorable ruling last week, CCU similarly demonstrates that the fight against the mandate is not a "Catholic issue." It's a religious freedom issue for all who value conscience rights. We stand with you, CCU!
The Catholic Association commends the recent ruling in New York's Eastern District Court against the HHS mandate. To think that priests advocating for life would have to then turn around and pay for things like contraception and abortion is outrageous. This decision is yet another blow to the government's position that religious organizations are not entitled to conduct their affairs with integrity and according to the dictates of their conscience. Congratulations to Priests for Life, and thanks for standing up to bureaucratic bullies.