Tuesday, December 31, 2013

God Is With Us

by Justin Soutar

December 31, 2013

The end of 2013 is now upon us. Two thousand nine years have elapsed since our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary in a stable cave in Bethlehem, in the land of Israel. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (John 3:16). The entrance of the eternal and all-powerful Son of God into our sinful world in the form of a tiny little baby was such a profoundly transformative historical event that it split in two the way we reckon time: All the years leading up to Christ’s birth are denominated B. C. (Before Christ), while the years following His birth are designated A. D. (Anno Domini, the Year of our Lord). From the time of the original sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the people of Israel waited four thousand years for the coming of the Messiah who would save them from their sins and reconcile them with God. All the righteous people who lived and died in those millennia preceding Christ couldn’t go to Heaven but had to wait in Sheol, “the abode of the dead,” until Christ by His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension liberated the captives and opened the gates of Heaven. Christ’s coming to earth some two thousand years ago changed the world forever, bringing light to those in darkness and hope to those in despair. Through His Church, Christ offers all men and women forgiveness of their sins and restoration of the greatest gift any human being could ever possess: the gift of sanctifying grace, the gift Adam and Eve lost by sin, which gives us a share in God’s own Trinitarian life, makes us His sons and daughters, and entitles us to share in the unimaginable happiness of Heaven for all eternity after our death. Wow! That is something to rejoice about. That is the Good News of the Gospel that we as Christians are called to share with everyone on this earth. God indeed loves us more than we can ever imagine in our little finite human minds. We believe in His love, and we hope in His love. Faith, hope and love go together. But “the greatest of these is love.”

Now, the fact that we acknowledge and believe all this to be true does not allow us to ignore or gloss over the realities of sin, suffering, evil, and death that continue to afflict our world. Christ’s descent to earth two thousand years ago did not magically dispel these tragic realities that have marked and continue to mark human history. Rather, his Incarnation was just the beginning of God’s definitive triumph over sin and death that will be completed at the end of the world, when Christ will return in glory to judge all mankind and when God will create new heavens and a new earth. The continuing and even worsening presence of sin and evil, suffering and death in our world is a mysterious part of God’s master plan for human history. Not that God originally willed or made any of these negative realities, but in the unfathomable designs of his Providence, God is allowing them for His own reasons that we human beings, constrained by our finite minds and short lifetimes, cannot fully understand or appreciate. Our faith tells us that God holds all of His creation in His hands at every moment and that He governs it through His Providence, so we have to trust that He knows what He is about. Our faith also tells us that God brings good out of evil, and that this is the reason why He allows evil in the first place. The worst evil He ever permitted—the murder of His own Son on a cross—led to the greatest good possible, our salvation from sin and reconciliation with God. If God allowed his own perfectly holy and innocent Son to suffer such a cruel fate, can we sinners who follow Him reasonably expect to have a carefree and easy life? No. On the contrary, Jesus said that if anyone wishes to come after Him, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him. Being a Christian is not easy; it’s not a joyride. Not as long as we live on this earth. But as Saint Paul reminds us, the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come. Even a life full of pain and suffering for more than 100 years would be a small price to pay for the eternal happiness of Heaven. Christ the Son of God did not come to earth to free us from suffering; rather, he came to share in our humanity, in our human experiences and sufferings and miseries, to show us how to suffer well, and to illuminate our sufferings with the comfort of His loving presence in our lives. Through his heroic self-sacrifice for our sins out of love for us, Christ has given us the opportunity to freely and spiritually unite our own sufferings with his, thus giving them a redemptive value and Christian meaning for our own greater good and that of our fellow brothers and sisters. In some mysterious way, it is precisely when God seems to be at His weakest by permitting terrible evils that His almighty power is most gloriously manifest. So while sin and all its accompanying dark realities remain present in our world, God is with us. He has entered into our history and profoundly and irrevocably altered its course. Troubled and threatened as it is, our world today is a brighter and happier place than it would otherwise have been because the quiet and peaceful light of the Son of God made Man has entered it and continued to illuminate it ever since that first Christmas more than twenty centuries ago.

Through the joys and surprises, successes and failures, sorrows and vicissitudes of this past year, God’s mysterious wisdom and Providence were remarkably evident. The historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the unforeseen election of Pope Francis were two of the most surprising and joyful events of the year, respectively. I was sad to see Pope Benedict go and unsure at first about Pope Francis, but now I see God’s hand in these events. God inspired Pope Benedict, who served His Church humbly and well, to resign a very demanding position because of his ailing health, in order to allow for the election of a new and different kind of Pope from Latin America who would reacquaint a Church in need of reform and a world in need of God with the joy and simplicity of the Gospel message. If Benedict had not resigned, Pope Francis could not have brought together three million young people for World Youth Day in Rio de Janiero. Nor could he have inspired Pope Francis to summon the whole Church and the world to pray and fast for peace, thus averting what could have been a disastrous U.S. war with Syria. Nor could God have used him to wake up the Church and the world to that terrible evil that has come to plague our modern globalized society, namely, the globalization of indifference, our callousness and lack of concern for our suffering brothers and sisters all around the world, symbolized by the repeated tragedy of impoverished African migrants shipwrecked and drowned at Lampedusa. Although it did not anticipate his election, the world has come to love Pope Francis. God is obviously using him in a big way, as we never could have expected back in February when Pope Benedict made his stunning announcement. And, to top it all off, Benedict XVI continues to serve the Church, including his successor Pope Francis, through his prayers, writings, and friendship. The ways of God are marvelous indeed!

Of course, we cannot overlook the fact that many bad things happened this year also. Several more states and additional foreign countries legalized homosexual “marriage,” which is against nature and nature’s God. Abortion, hunger, violence, and war claimed millions of innocent lives. Violence destroyed lives and valuable property in Egypt, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere, while millions of people in the Middle East and Africa are living in refugee camps, largely forgotten by most of us. The tiny Christian community in the Holy Land dwindled further as Christians continued their steady exodus, while continued injustice and terrorist violence driven by religious fundamentalism (both Jewish and Muslim) kept the Israeli-Palestinian conflict boiling hotter than ever. Droughts, floods, storms, mudslides and famines affected many parts of the globe. Poverty, disease, and corruption continued to affect most nations of Africa, while the global gap between rich and poor is wider than ever before.

And here in the United States, despite strong leadership from our Catholic bishops and the prayers and action of millions of Americans, our predominantly immoral and corrupt federal government has stubbornly refused to significantly amend or withdraw its immoral, unjust and unconstitutional anti-life mandate, which is set to begin being enforced tomorrow. I have a feeling that, once our government attempts to enforce this illegitimate law, our country may never be the same. But regardless of the terrible consequences such enforcement will bring, we must not give up the fight for the natural law, for our religious liberties, or for our moral conscience rights. We must continue fighting until this unconscionable law is repealed and our God-given human rights are once again officially recognized and respected in law.

As followers of Christ, we are a people of hope. However, Christian hope is not simply blind optimism in the face of difficult situations. Nor is Christian hope dependent upon changing circumstances and temporal realities. Rather, our hope is in God. God is with us. He, the same God who became man out of love for us, who accompanies us in our earthly lives, is the all-powerful and wise God who directs the course of history toward its ultimate end, which is His glory. God’s Kingdom will ultimately be triumphant over the powers of darkness, and we who serve Him faithfully on earth will reign with Him forever in Heaven.

In conclusion, the following lines from an old song ring even truer today than when they were first penned:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, And mild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then in despair I bowed my head, “There is no peace on earth,” I said; For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong will fail, The right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Wishing you a blessed New Year.

Copyright © 2013 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

"A mass of legend and literature, which increases and will never end, has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded."

--G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, 1925 (Ignatius Press, 2008, p. 169)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The message of Christ and the Church puts credible knowledge about God within our reach. God wanted to enter into this world. God didn't want us to have only a distant inkling of him through physics and mathematics. He wanted to show himself to us. And so he was able to do what the Gospels recount that he did, just as he was also able to create a new dimension of existence in the Resurrection. He was able to go beyond what Teilhard de Chardin called the biosphere and the noosphere and to institute precisely a new sphere, in which man and the world attain union with God."

--Benedict XVI, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), p. 168

Monday, December 16, 2013

Quote of the Day

“Even today Jesus continues to dispel the darkness of error and sin, to bring humanity the joy of the blazing light of God, of which the Christmas tree is a sign and reminder. Let us be wrapped by the light of His truth, because ‘the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and the lives of all who encounter Jesus’”.

--Pope Francis

Friday, December 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The family is the wellspring of all fraternity, and as such it is the foundation and the first pathway to peace, since, by its vocation, it is meant to spread its love to the world around it."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quote of the Day

“We are not so used to thinking of Jesus smiling, joyful. Jesus was full of joy - full of joy. In that intimacy with his Father: ‘He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father.’ It is the inner mystery of Jesus, that relationship with the Father in the Spirit. It is His inner joy, his interior joy that he gives to us...

“We cannot think of a Church without joy and the joy of the Church is this: announcing the name of Jesus. To say: ‘He is the Lord. My spouse is the Lord. It is God. He saves us, He walks with us.’ And that is the joy of the Church, who in this joy of a wife becomes a mother...

"May the Lord give us all this joy, this joy of Jesus, praising the Father in the Spirit. This joy of our mother Church in evangelizing, in announcing Her Spouse.”

--Pope Francis

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in this season the whole Church is called to be hope, for itself and for the world."

--Benedict XVI

Friday, November 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

“If we live united to Jesus, faithful to Him, we will be able to confront with hope and serenity even the passage of death. If my life has been a path with the Lord, of trust in his immense mercy, I will be prepared to accept the last moments of my earthly existence as the definitive trustful abandonment in his receiving hands, in awaiting to contemplate Him face to face.”

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas with Mother Teresa: A True Story Never Before Told

A newly written book, Christmas with Mother Teresa tells an amazing true story that has never before been told. It is the story of how Catholic Relief Services and the Missionaries of Charity joined forces to being emergency humanitarian aid to millions of Bengali refugees from East Pakistan who flooded eastern India in 1971. It’s a dramatic, action-packed tale of political repression, natural disaster, guerilla warfare, ethnic cleansing, massive population shifts, Cold War politics, modern war, and the birth of a new nation. More than that, however, it’s a powerful drama of great human tragedy and suffering illuminated and uplifted by the gentle touch of Christ’s redeeming love.

Well-researched, compelling, and inspiring, Christmas with Mother Teresa gives readers the historical and cultural background of the events it describes. It explains that the innocent Bengali people of East Pakistan were massacred and forced onto India’s doorstep in such great numbers in 1971 because their determination to be free conflicted with West Pakistani commercial interests.

As related in the book, the Hindu natives of East Bengal had lived as second-class citizens in the apartheid-style nation of East Pakistan for decades, ruled by Islamic West Pakistani foreigners with whom they had little in common. Late in 1970, facing continued repression and racism, government mismanagement of a terrible natural disaster, and persistent violations of their rights, the Bengalis started a guerrilla uprising against the corrupt Pakistani regime.

Pakistan was governed by a brutal military dictator named General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, who was determined to crush the rebellion and restore full Pakistani control of East Bengal no matter what the cost. When mass arrests, torture, and random cold-blooded shootings of East Pakistani civilians failed to destroy the liberation movement, General Khan turned to mass murder. The Pakistani Army began ruthlessly massacring tens of thousands of innocent Bengali men, women and children and burning dozens of villages across its eastern colony.

This wholesale reign of terror precipitated a mass exodus of Bengalis from East Pakistan. Beginning in March of 1971 and continuing until December of that year, nearly ten million of them—mostly civilians, but with a few guerrillas mixed in—ran for their lives, pouring en masse across the Indian border, seeking refuge from their enemies in the nearest friendly country. A large number of them landed in the already densely populated and impoverished Indian state of West Bengal, whose capital was Calcutta. These millions of refugees arrived in India absolutely destitute, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, presenting their host nation with a humanitarian crisis of almost unimaginable proportions—and presenting Catholic Relief Services with one of the greatest relief challenges in the organization’s remarkable history.

Christmas with Mother Teresa tells how Catholic Relief Services (CRS)—the overseas charitable agency of the U.S. Catholic Church—brilliantly rose to the occasion, planning and executing a tremendous feat of emergency relief. From March to December of 1971, as the horrific Bengali genocide decimated East Pakistan, Cold War leaders played ruthless power games, and the threat of war hung over the Indian subcontinent, CRS staff and thousands of volunteers led by the Missionaries of Charity worked together around the clock building some two hundred refugee camps along the Indian border and supplying all the material needs of two million Bengali refugees: sanitation, medical services, food, water, clothing, soap, and shelter. In collaboration with CRS, the Missionaries of Charity also provided for the refugees’ critical spiritual and emotional needs of love, friendship, recreation, comfort, support, and encouragement.

Based on eyewitness testimony, Christmas with Mother Teresa tells how this extraordinary work of charity was organized and carried out under the principal direction of two individuals: the CRS Program Director for India and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The climax of this profoundly moving and unforgettable true story is a totally unexpected and unique Christmas experience shared with the “saint of Calcutta”, the refugees, and a special visitor from the United States whose cause for sainthood is also underway.

The book will also relate in detail:

• How Catholic Relief Services helped Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity perform their daily works of mercy in Calcutta • How CRS and the Missionaries of Charity brought aid to desperate Bengalis after a crippling natural disaster struck East Pakistan in 1970 • How India and the world responded to the massive refugee crisis • The role played by Cold War superpowers in the conflict between India and Pakistan • How Mother Teresa’s example and leadership contributed to the success of the CRS refugee relief program • Why Mother Teresa became known as “a great symbol of peace” • How the Bengali genocide and refugee crisis were ultimately stopped • What happened to the refugees after the crisis • Everyday examples of Mother Teresa’s heroic virtues such as humility, charity, patience, abandonment to the Divine Will, and trust in Divine Providence as witnessed by the CRS Program Director • What the Program Director learned from Mother Teresa’s example of holiness

Why has this gem of a story remained buried for so many years? One reason is that the events took place in a relatively obscure developing country during polarized and chaotic times for the world in general. The Cold War was raging, and many nations fell into one of two camps, either pro-Communist (led by the Soviet Union) or anti-Communist (led by the United States). India, however, refused to take part in this conflict, so it was generally marginalized by the two Cold War superpowers who dominated the world stage. Also, despite their magnitude, the Bengali genocide and refugee crisis were overshadowed in the international media and in people’s minds by other, “bigger” events and issues such as the Vietnam War, radical social and cultural changes, environmental concerns, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race, the Apollo moon landings, and the sweeping liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Another reason why this novel-like tale has remained untold has to do with a disturbing and lesser-known aspect of the Cold War politics of the time. For political reasons, as the book candidly points out, in the early 1970s the U.S. government was allied with and even secretly arming the Pakistani military dictatorship responsible for the massacre of up to three million innocent Bengalis and the forced displacement of ten million others into India. The Nixon administration downplayed the ethnic cleansing and refugee crisis, thus keeping its shameful and illegal involvement in these humanitarian tragedies largely hidden from American public view. The horrible details of the Bengali genocide and the U.S. role in it were not fully revealed to the Western world until after the Cold War had ended, beginning in the late 1990s with the research of R. J. Rummel and other historians and continuing since 2002 with the declassification of relevant U.S. State Department documents.

A third reason why this account is generally unknown is that no one has written and published an in-depth account of it, firsthand or otherwise. Nearly all of the eyewitnesses to these events have passed away, taking their memories to their graves. Even Eileen Egan (1911-2001), the great contemporary journalist, biographer and co-worker of Mother Teresa and a prominent figure in Catholic Relief Services, only gives a thumbnail sketch of the enormous refugee crisis and relief effort or mentions them in passing in her published writings because she was not directly involved in them firsthand (cf. Such a Vision of the Street: Mother Teresa—The Spirit and the Work [New York: Doubleday, 1985], pp. 196-99, 204, 212; also cf. Catholic Relief Services: The Beginning Years [New York: Catholic Relief Services, 1988], pp. 292-93).

Indeed, this amazing story might have been lost for all time—except for the fact that at least one eyewitness to it is still alive today and willing to share it with others. Moreover, this eyewitness was not a casual bystander or passive victim of the historic events he witnessed, but rather a key figure who was intimately involved in them. As the CRS Program Director for India from 1969 to 1977, this man spent nine years working closely with Mother Teresa and was in charge of the tremendous relief effort for East Pakistani refugees. This humble and cheerful man, now retired and in his late seventies, is a good storyteller and a good friend of mine. Over the past few years, he has kindly granted me a series of private interviews in which he told the untold story; he also shared with me his personal photo collection of his unique Christmas with Mother Teresa (some of these photos will be included in the published book). I have written the narrative based on my interviews with him as well as on my own additional research, and the book is now being marketed to various Catholic publishers in the U.S. The identity of the CRS Program Director will be revealed in the published book.

Christmas with Mother Teresa will acquaint readers with a major unrecognized achievement in the history of Catholic Relief Services and will fill an important gap in the biographies of Mother Teresa published to date. Information about the book’s publisher, release date, availability, and pricing will be provided on my Twitter page at twitter.com/justinsoutar as well as here on my blog as it becomes available, so please stay tuned.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Jesus is the center of creation; and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. And so our thoughts will be Christian thoughts, thoughts of Christ. Our works will be Christian works, works of Christ; and our words will be Christian words, words of Christ. But when this center is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves."

--Pope Francis

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The universe is not the result of chance, as some would have us believe. Contemplating it, we are invited to read in it something profound: the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible imagination of God, his infinite love for us. We must not let our minds be limited by theories which come only to a certain point and that -- if we look well -- are not in fact in concurrence with the faith, but do not succeed in explaining the ultimate meaning of reality. In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, in its grandeur and its rationality we cannot but read the eternal rationality, and we cannot but let ourselves be guided by it to the one God, creator of heaven and earth. If we have this look, we will see that He who has created the world is he who is born in a cave in Bethlehem and continues to dwell in our midst in the Eucharist, it is the same living God who interpellates us, loves us, and wishes to lead us to eternal life."

--Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

"There are no two ways of looking at either the world or God. There is no distinction between concern for human welfare and concern for ecological preservation. The way we relate to nature as creation directly reflects the way we believe in God as Creator of all things. The sensitivity with which we handle the natural environment clearly mirrors the sacredness that we reserve for the divine.

"Moreover, scientists estimate that those most hurt by global warming in the years to come, are those who can least afford it. According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, the questions that will be asked of us all at the final moment of accountability will not be about our religious observance but on whether we fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, comforted the sick, and cared for captives.

"Our reckless consumption of the earth’s resources – energy, water, and forests – threatens us with irreversible climate change. Burning more fuel than we need in an overpopulated city, we may contribute to droughts or floods thousands of miles away.

"To restore the planet we need a spiritual worldview, which brings frugality and simplicity, humility and respect. We must constantly be aware of the impact of our actions on all of creation. We must direct our focus away from what we want to what the planet needs. We must choose to care for creation; otherwise, we do not really care about anything at all.

"In our efforts, to contain global warming, we are ultimately admitting just how prepared we are to sacrifice some of our selfish and greedy lifestyles. When will we learn to say: “Enough!”? When will we understand how important it is to leave as light a footprint as possible on this planet for the sake of future generations?...

"We can no longer afford to wait; we can no longer afford to be idle. The world has clearly expressed its opinion; our political leaders must accordingly act with urgency. Deadlines can no longer be postponed; indecision and inaction are not options. We have a choice to make. The time to choose is now."

--Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

“The Kingdom of God is in our midst: do not look for strange things, don’t look for new things with this worldly curiosity. Let the Holy Spirit take us forward, with that wisdom that is a soft breeze. This is the Spirit of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus speaks of.”

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To an Authentic and Renewed Conversion: Vatican II and the Year of Faith

(Note: I've already published two much longer versions of this article, one as a four-part series on EzineArticles and one here on my blog, but this much shorter version is neat and tidy and just gives you the essentials. Since I have not found a home for it elsewhere and since the Year of Faith is now drawing to a close, I thought I'd share it with my readers here.)

To an Authentic and Renewed Conversion”: Vatican II and the Year of Faith

by Justin Soutar

***(Note: All Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Bible.)***

On October 11, 2011, in an Apostolic Letter entitled Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith from October 2012 through November 2013 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. This Holy Year, according to Benedict, "is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.” [1]

Why did Benedict declare this Year of Faith? In his message to young people gathered for World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, in August 2011, he observed: “Today we are seeing a certain ‘eclipse of God’ taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity.” [2]

Benedict was aware that Europe and the West today are gradually losing touch with their Christian heritage, allowing God to fade into the background and become irrelevant to social and political life. This insidious “amnesia” not only threatens to cut modern Western civilization completely off from its Christian roots—with disastrous consequences for the entire world—but has also begun to subtly infect the minds and hearts of individual Christian believers, weakening their faith and leading them away from Christ.

What better way to respond to this “’eclipse of God’” and combat this “amnesia,” this “denial of the treasure of our faith,” than to summon the whole Church “to an authentic and renewed conversion” to her Lord Jesus Christ, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2) and “the one Savior of the world”? This Year of Faith is meant to revitalize and reform the Church so that it can more effectively carry out its mission of proclaiming Christ to the whole world.

The Holy Spirit obviously inspired our previous Vicar of Christ to proclaim this Year of Faith in response to the needs of the Church and the world at this particular moment in human history. In light of "a profound crisis of faith" that has gripped contemporary human society and culture, Benedict pointed out "the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” [3]

The primary objective of the Second Vatican Council was to preserve and hand on the deposit of faith. Although they include pastoral instructions and guidelines, the documents of Vatican II are primarily official dogmatic (teaching) documents of the Church’s Magisterium, written by the Catholic bishops of the world in union with the Successor of Saint Peter and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In Porta Fidei, quoting his great predecessor, Benedict says:

…the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church’s tradition…I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning.” [4]

According to Benedict XVI, the Second Vatican Council can only fulfill its potential for renewing the Church “if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic.” [5] In an address to the Italian bishops’ conference last year, our previous Holy Father identified this “right hermeneutic” as “a hermeneutic of continuity and reform.” [6] This double hermeneutic points to the essentially twofold nature of Vatican II and is the “key” to unlocking the Council’s inner meaning.

The fundamental objective of the Council was to preserve and transmit Catholic doctrine “in continuity with the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church.” [7] In his opening address to the Council on October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII stated: “The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously.” [8] In accord with this directive, the Council Fathers carefully examined, further developed, and handed on to succeeding generations—while preserving fully intact—the unchanging doctrines of the Faith in a series of authoritative documents called dogmatic constitutions.

The second key term in the right hermeneutic” for correctly understanding and implementing the Council is “reform.” While carefully preserving and handing on the deposit of faith, the Sacred Liturgy, the sacraments, and prayer in unbroken continuity with the Church’s ancient tradition, the Council introduced many liturgical, pastoral, and disciplinary reforms into the Church’s life to enable the Church to more effectively carry out her mission of teaching, governing, and sanctifying believers and of evangelizing non-believers in the context of the modern world. Thus the Council’s liturgical, pastoral, and disciplinary reforms must be kept within the framework of doctrinal and liturgical continuity.

Due to incorrect interpretation and implementation of the Council in the decades following it, Vatican II and its documents have often been misconstrued as a radical break with the Church’s tradition, when in fact they are an organic growth and development of that tradition. None of the Council documents contain new teachings; they merely re-enunciate, synthesize, and develop further what the Church has always believed and taught, and thus are meant to be read and understood within the context of the Church’s 2,000-year tradition.

By summoning us “to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world” during this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI called us to return to the basic essentials of our Christian faith that the Second Vatican Council proclaimed anew to the modern world. Benedict said that “we should learn the simplest and most fundamental lesson of the Council: namely, that Christianity in its essence consists of faith in God which is Trinitarian Love, and in a personal and community encounter with Christ who orients and gives meaning to life. Everything else flows from this.” [9]

As an “eclipse of God” slowly darkens our modern age and “a profound crisis of faith” takes hold on it, the basic truths of our faith proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council—and proclaimed anew to the Church and the world by Popes John Paul, Benedict, and Francis—shine ever more brilliantly: God exists. He is real. He loves us and hears our prayers. Man is an essentially religious being made in the image and likeness of God, and only in relationship to God, his Creator, does man discover his true identity and dignity and grasp the real meaning and purpose of life.

Perhaps no better prayer for this Year of Faith can be said than that of Benedict XVI: “May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and of the whole Church, help us to achieve and to bring to completion what the Council Fathers, motivated by the Holy Spirit, pondered in their hearts: the desire that all might know the Gospel and encounter the Lord Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” [10]

Copyright © 2012, 2013 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.


1. Porta Fidei, no. 6.

2. Message for the Twenty-Sixth World Youth Day (2011), no. 1 [Bold/italics added] http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/youth/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20100806_youth_en.html

3. Porta Fidei, no. 2.

4. (Porta Fidei, no. 5 [Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 57]) [Bold/italics added].

5. Porta Fidei, no. 5 [Bold/italics added].

6. Address to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, May 24, 2012 [Bold/italics added]. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2012/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20120524_cei_en.html

7. Ibid.

8. Quoted in Address to Italian Bishops, May 24, 2012 [Bold/italics added].

9. General Audience, October 10, 2012.

10. Ibid.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

--Matthew 25:37-40

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thought for the Day

“The joy of God is not the death of the sinner, but the life of the sinner. And how far from this were those who murmured against Jesus, how far from the heart of God! They didn’t know Him. They thought that being religious, being good people meant always being well-mannered and polite, and often pretending to be polite, right? This is the hypocrisy of the murmuring. But the joy of God the Father, in fact, is love. He loves us. 'But I’m a sinner, I’ve done this and that and the other!' 'But I love you anyway, and I go out searching for you, and I bring you home.' This is our Father. Let’s reflect on this.”

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Having faith in the Lord is not something that involves solely our intelligence, the area of intellectual knowledge; rather, it is a change that involves our life, our whole self: feelings, heart, intelligence, will, corporeity, emotions, and human relationships. With faith everything truly changes."

--Benedict XVI

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quote of the Day

"To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ."

--2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Saturday, November 2, 2013

We Need Ken Cuccinelli for Governor

The whole country is now watching Virginia's gubernatorial race. This is one of the few gubernatorial elections in America that is held in an odd-numbered year. National interest in this particular race is based on the fact that Virginia, once a longtime Republican stronghold, is now a "battleground state" over which Republicans and Democrats are fighting furiously for control. Ending decades of Republican rule, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won a majority of the popular vote in Virginia in 2008, which helped win him the presidency. President Obama narrowly won Virginia a second time (albeit fradulently) in 2012. Now the Democrats are hoping the third time will be the charm with the election of Terry McAuliffe to succeed Republican incumbent Bob McDonnell as governor of Virginia.

Governor McDonnell has served our state well over these last four years. Just one year after the election of President Obama, in 2009, Bob made headlines when he won Virginia by a landslide, garnering 59 percent of the popular vote. A devout Catholic in his late fifties, he has come closer than almost anyone else I know to the ideals of statesmanship and public service. One of his first acts as governor was to reopen the twenty-three interstate rest areas that had been closed the previous year by Democratic governor Tim Kaine. Coming into office in the middle of the worst recession in decades, McDonnell pledged to keep things running without raising taxes. He has kept his promise. He has worked faithfully to protect innocent unborn human lives; he signed into law a bill that requires pregnant women in Virginia to view an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, and he has also enacted strict new regulations for abortion clinics in our state (which were previously not regulated at all). He has upheld the Virginia Marriage Amendment. He has refused to pay for or administer ObamaCare in Virginia, instead signing into law our own common-sense state healthcare reform bill that respects human life and human rights. His economic initiatives have created thousands of new jobs. He has worked to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast, with an "all-of-the-above" approach including a general shift towards renewable energy resources. Under McDonnell's leadership, Virginia has been ranked one of the top states in the country to do business in. He has consistently shown respect for our men and women in the armed forces. He represents the traditional Republican ethos of limited government, low taxes, and a strong national defense. All this with his character as a "compassionate conservative" who is concerned about the true needs of people and who exhibits the increasingly lost art of bipartisanship--who knows how to work with representatives of both parties to get things done for the common good. All in all, I am very satisfied with McDonnell's performance as governor of Virginia. He will be missed. I think Bob McDonnell would make a good president of the United States. He has the right attitude, the experience, the principles, and the deep religious faith. He even looks presidential. If it weren't for the corrupt Republican establishment, he would actually have a chance at the nation's highest office.

The current Republican candidate for governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is the logical choice to succeed McDonnell as governor of our state. A devout Catholic like McDonnell, in his mid-40s with a large family, Ken represents the average Virginian. Also like McDonnell, Ken has the character, the principles, the deep religious faith, and the ethic of public service. He has done a fantastic job as our state attorney general. He is strongly pro-life and opposed to abortion on demand. He supports keeping the Virginia Marriage Amendment on the books to legally protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Just minutes after the deceptively misnamed Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, Ken became the first state attorney general in the nation to sue the federal government over ObamaCare. Needless to add, Ken is all for the repeal of ObamaCare. When the IRS ripped off Virginia not too long ago, Ken sued the federal government and won, resulting in millions of illegally collected taxpayer dollars being returned to us. He is opposed to a proposed $880,000,000 annual transportation tax increase that would take yet more money out of our wallets. And he is in favor of a proposed $1,400,000,000 Virginia income tax cut that would be a boon for our state economy. The election of Ken Cuccinelli as next governor of Virginia would represent a smooth transition, a successful passing of the baton of the true leadership we need in these difficult and challenging times.

By contrast, the election of Terry McAuliffe as governor of Virginia would be a disaster for our state. Terry is a wealthy elitist who cares nothing for the average Virginian. He is strongly pro-abortion and supports abortion on demand. He wants to repeal the Virginia Marriage Amendment to allow legal recognition of sodomy. He favors the full implementation of ObamaCare in Virginia, which our current governor, Bob McDonnell, strongly opposes. He supports the $880 million transportation tax increase and opposes the $1.4 billion income tax cut. Terry is a politician, not a statesman. If he takes over the governorship, he will plunge Virginia full throttle into the Obama nightmare our nation has been struggling through these last five years.

Unfortunately, it looks as if McAuliffe is poised to win this election. He has received millions of dollars in fundraising assistance from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is grooming him to be her vice-presidential running mate in 2016. Both the Clintons have been going all out to ensure Terry's election as governor of Virginia, in order to advance their and President Obama's self-serving radical agenda to "fundamentally transform" America, which involves taking away our rights and taking even more of our money through taxes. So far, they seem to be succeeding, as polls show McAuliffe tied with or slightly ahead of Cuccinelli. I'd like to think that Ken will make it, but I have my doubts. This country seems to be sliding gradually into a one-party dictatorship run by the corrupt elitist Democrats, who are using money and dirty tricks to gain and retain power. President Obama won the 2008 election by outspending John McCain three to one. He won the 2012 election by spending one billion dollars and through massive voter fraud in Ohio, Pennslyvania, Virginia and other states as discovered by the American Civil Rights Union. Now I'm sure the Democrats will let nothing stand in their way of taking over Virginia. THey won't let a principled man like Ken win the governorship of Virginia because if he does, it will be a great victory of the people against ObamaCare, indicating that the nation in general is ready to repeal this disastrous law.

Whatever happens in this gubernatorial election will be either God's ordaining or permitting will. All I can do, as a Catholic and an American citizen, is do my part: pray for the election of a good governor, vote my conscience on November 5, and encourage others to do the same. I strongly urge all of my fellow Virginians reading this to vote Ken Cuccinelli for governor, as well as Earl Jackson for lieutenant governor and Mark Obenshain for attorney general. All three have the same positions on the issues described above. We need these good men running our state. Having done our best, we leave the results in God's hands. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, we're not called to be successful; we're called to be faithful. Our enemies have lots of money and worldly power on their side; we have God on our side. If God is for us, who can be against us? Even if we lose this battle, we should not be discouraged but keep up the good fight. We are fighting for human rights, for human life and marriage and liberty, for our Constitution, and for the heart and soul of our nation. If we remain faithful, one day the final victory will be ours.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven."
--St. Matthew 5:11-12

Thursday, October 31, 2013

To Representative Bob Goodlatte: "Please Don't Surrender to ObamaCare!"

Here is the text of a letter I have written to my representative in Congress, Bob Goodlatte, regarding the House Republicans' decision to fund ObamaCare until January 15, 2014:

Dear Representative Goodlatte:

As your constituent and as a Roman Catholic, I was deeply disappointed by the immoral, irresponsible, and cowardly decision of you and your House Republican colleagues to fund ObamaCare through January 15, 2014 in order to avert a U.S. Treasury default and end the partial federal government shutdown.

This decision to finance ObamaCare, even temporarily, was an immoral decision because it includes federal funding of abortion and because ObamaCare tramples on our sacred rights as human beings to act in accordance with the sovereign Law of God when it comes to human life, marriage and family, our religious and moral values, and our personal healthcare decisions. This decision was irresponsible because it took our nation even deeper into an impossible hole of debt by funding a massive, ill-conceived and unsustainable socialized medicine scheme our nation simply cannot afford. And this decision was cowardly because you and your colleagues surrendered your fundamental moral principles and convictions in the face of a fiscal crisis and gave the Obama administration exactly what it wanted: funding for ObamaCare.

I was strongly supportive of the courageous action you and your House Republican colleagues took in late September and early October by refusing to fund ObamaCare even at the cost of a federal government shutdown. You did the right thing by standing on principle and taking a risk to protect innocent unborn human lives. Unfortunately, however, when the Treasury default loomed in mid-October, expediency replaced principle; temporary convenience overshadowed moral integrity and human rights; and lesser economic issues trumped the fundamental moral issues our country is facing: abortion, artificial contraception, traditional marriage, euthanasia, radical secularism and loss of our nation's Christian identity, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom to act in accord with the sovereign law of God.

By agreeing to fund ObamaCare for three months in a Continuing Resolution, you and your House Republican colleagues gave President Obama an enormous political victory--not only because you surrendered to his immoral and unconstitutional "healthcare" law, but also because your attention has been diverted from the grave moral issues our country is facing, such as human rights and America's Christian identity, to lesser economic and fiscal matters, such as the debt and the budget.

Mr. Goodlatte, let me ask you: Which is more important: protecting the U.S. Treasury from default, or protecting innocent unborn human life? Which is more important: reducing the national debt or protecting our First Amendment rights? Which is more important: fixing the economy or protecting our God-given rights as individuals and families to make our own healthcare decisions in accord with the objective moral law and without interference or compulsion from a corrupt and immoral government bureaucracy? Which is more important: getting the fiscal house in order or protecting American families, the basic unit of our society, from destruction by a massive onslaught of gravely immoral anti-life drugs and procedures they don't want and can't afford?

Mr. Goodlatte, you and your House Republican colleagues have lost your moral compass. I respectfully urge you and your colleagues to get your priorities straight and keep them straight. Moral issues should come first; economic issues should be secondary. If you don't stand strong and consistently defend our core principles and traditional values of human life, marriage, family, human rights, the Constitution, and our nation's Christian identity against all comers, how can you hope to accomplish anything of lasting value for our nation?

I want nothing to do with this outrageous monstrosity known as ObamaCare. I have always managed without health insurance and am not going to buy it now. I'm under the poverty line and can't afford it. And even if I could afford it, the federal government would have no right to force me or any other private American to purchase individual health insurance coverage, least of all coverage that includes gravely immoral products and services masquerading as "health care" that have nothing whatsoever to do with health care and everything to do with Communist Chinese-style population control for the profit of corrupt abortion, pharmaceutical and insurance industries.

Mr. Goodlatte, are you and your colleagues ready and willing to do what it takes to protect my right to refuse to purchase evil products I don't want and can't afford? Or will you continue to cowardly surrender to the Obama administration's high-handed dictates and allow immorality and tyranny to destroy our once-great nation?

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to take whatever measures are necessary and within your power to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety. And I will keep you and your colleagues in my daily prayers. May God give you the strength to always follow His sovereign law and do what is right, not necessarily what is convenient or politically correct.

Sincerely yours,


Justin Soutar

Quote of the Day

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
--Romans 8:31

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Children and the elderly represent the two poles of life and also the most vulnerable, often the most forgotten. A society that abandons children and marginalizes the elderly cuts off its roots and darkens its future. Every time that a child is abandoned and an elderly person is marginalized, not only is an act of injustice committed but the failure of that society is confirmed. To take care of little ones and the elderly is a choice of civilization."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quote of the Day

“Pre-born children have a right to live. We will use by every legal, peaceful and persuasive means available to fight for an end to all abortions in keeping with our nation's promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all Americans, especially the innocents who cannot fight for themselves. We cannot turn a blind eye to the mass slaughter of unborn children and allow de facto infanticide to be the accepted norm in our culture.

“To kill babies for our convenience is the equivalent of an idolatrous offering to the god of "sexual license". It is no different than in times past when pagans offered their babies on an altar of fire to assure their own good fortune. Our fortunes as a nation lie in accepting responsibility for our actions, not running from them or destroying unborn children to avoid them. We do not hate or judge the women who have had abortions nor the men who have encouraged them to do so, but we are calling the American people to a higher standard of personal conscience. Abortion is a horrible evil and we must help people see it for what it is -- the taking of innocent human life.”

--Earl F. Jackson, Sr., Republican candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor

What's Wrong with the HHS Mandate?

On January 20, 2012, under the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an unprecedented new law: As of August 1, 2012, all forms of health insurance coverage provided by businesses to their employees and by not-for-profit organizations to their clients would have to include artificial contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. Furthermore, individual Americans would be required to purchase health insurance for themselves and for their families that includes these means and methods of population control. This official announcement aroused an immediate and fierce storm of protest throughout the United States. Catholic bishops, Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis, hospital owners, charity CEOs, heads of colleges and universities, big and small business owners, state and federal government leaders, and ordinary American citizens all declared in no uncertain terms that they could not possibly comply with such a directive. The reason? It would force them to act in violation of their religious beliefs and moral convictions—and they were not about to blithely discard those sacrosanct tenets.

In response to this massive wave of protest, a few weeks later on February 10, 2012 the HHS announced a “compromise” to its sweeping mandate, in which two “exemptions” were handed to religious believers. First, “houses of worship” (i.e. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) would be exempted from the new law. Second, religious institutions that only hire and serve members of their own faith would not be compelled to furnish certain health care items if furnishing such items violated the principles of their religion. However, this “compromise” did little to abate the storm of protest against the new federal contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient law. The Catholic bishops objected that it failed to adequately address the serious religious liberty issues raised by the HHS mandate. How so? Well, the second exemption to the mandate is extremely narrow and very few religious organizations qualify for it. And neither exemption addressed the concerns of individual Americans who do not wish to purchase anti-life products. So this HHS “compromise” still left an overwhelming majority of religious believers legally compelled to act against their beliefs.

A few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court completed its review of the encyclopedic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which authorized the Obama administration to issue the healthcare mandate in the first place. On June 28, 2012, the Court ruled that the entire Act is constitutional and that the HHS mandate is simply a legitimate exercise of Congressional power to lay and collect taxes. In his written majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the mandate is not really coercive in violation of the First Amendment because religious leaders, business and charity owners, and individual Americans who object to it can choose between obeying the law or paying the tax fines imposed for noncompliance with it. This landmark decision was quickly followed by another national wave of public outcry. What was wrong with the ObamaCare ruling? Critics pointed out that the tax penalties for noncompliance with the HHS mandate are severely crippling; a religious organization or business that fails to obey the law will be subjected to fines as high as 15 percent of its annual income or $100 per employee per day. Fines of these magnitudes will force many religious institutions and businesses across America to shut down. This is precisely why the National Federation of Independent Business took the Obama administration to the U.S. Supreme Court over the PPACA and the mandate—because they are coercive: Businesses are either forced to obey the law or forced to pay unsustainable fines. Furthermore, fines by their very nature are meant to ensure compliance with a law and to deter and punish noncompliance with it. The notion that the healthcare mandate is not coercive is total nonsense. By allowing ObamaCare to stand unchallenged, the Supreme Court left the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and business owners still exposed to the full onslaught of the HHS mandate.

Facing a barrage of more than forty lawsuits in federal courts across the nation—eleven of which had already been decided in favor of the plaintiffs at this writing—the Department of Health and Human Services held out its most recent olive branch to the American public on February 1, 2013, proposing certain “accommodations” to make its controversial healthcare mandate more palatable to the stubbornly religious masses. However, Catholic bishops and lawyers were soon sounding the alarm that the newly proposed HHS regulations do little if anything to allay their deep concerns about the mandate’s violation of religious freedom. In an op-ed entitled “Making Sense of Another Ambiguous ‘Compromise,’” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia warned that the healthcare mandate “remains unnecessary, coercive and gravely flawed.” On EWTN’s news program The World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo, attorney Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty flatly dismissed the new “accommodations” as “window-dressing.” And Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in an official statement on behalf of all the bishops, declared, “Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge.”

What is lacking in this latest “compromise” from HHS? According to Cardinal Dolan, three issues remain unresolved: 1) The federal definition of a religious ministry remains extremely narrow. 2) Nearly all religious institutions are still compelled to fund and facilitate "services" such as contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. 3) No protection is afforded to the conscience rights of for-profit business owners.

We’ve already discussed how the mandate affects religious institutions. But what about religious owners of secular for-profit businesses as well as of nonreligious charitable organizations who object that the HHS mandate violates their personal religious beliefs? No legal exemption from the mandate is afforded them. Lawyers for the Obama administration maintain that secular businesses must comply with it regardless of their owners’ personal religious objections to handing out artificial contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients in their healthcare plans. In other words, under the Obama regime it is a crime for a religious person who runs a secular business or not-for-profit organization to do so in line with his or her religious convictions if such convictions prohibit the distribution of abortion pills, contraceptive drugs and/or sterilization procedures. Forcing individual believers to violate their faith is as much an attack on the First Amendment as forcing entire religious institutions to do so.

And what about the conscience rights of that small but significant group of non-religious owners of secular businesses and charitable organizations who object to providing abortifacients on moral rather than religious grounds? Why should they be exempted from the HHS mandate? After all, according to the Obama administration, this healthcare law is driven by “a compelling public interest”: for their own good, the American people must have unrestricted access to abortifacient drugs, birth control pills and sterilization procedures. The answer is that the moral right to refuse to provide abortion-inducing drugs is found in the moral law, also known as the natural law—a set of universal principles of right and wrong which come from God and which are inscribed in the human conscience. This moral law guided the thinking and actions of our nation’s great founders and, together with faith in God according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, served as the framework for our country’s two principal founding documents: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to ensure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” In this text, our nation’s founders acknowledged as self-evident truths that God created all human beings equal in dignity and endowed them with certain “unalienable” rights, i.e., rights that cannot be taken away, and that the role of government is to protect these rights. The founders knew that the moral law, written in the human conscience and in the Ten Commandments, requires respect for the right to life of every innocent human being and forbids murder. Moreover, in acknowledging “Liberty” as an unalienable human right, the founders understood liberty as 1) the freedom to act in accordance with the moral law, and 2) the freedom to practice one’s own religion without government interference. The former aspect—what we refer to today as “freedom of conscience”—was taken for granted by the founders; we refer to the latter aspect as “freedom of religion.”

In our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Having come to this land from Europe, where some theocratic monarchs forced the state religion on their subjects and outlawed the public practice of other religions, our nation’s founders clearly understood that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right that requires legal protection from the opposing threats of single-religion dictatorship and religious persecution. Thus they wisely crafted a law that on the one hand forbids religious compulsion by the government, and on the other hand guarantees the freedom to practice one’s own religion without interference from the government.

Furthermore, the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution protects our unalienable rights to both life and liberty from arbitrary revocation by the government: “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This passage, along with most of the Fifth Amendment, was written to protect the rights of criminal suspects. When our nation’s Founders authored this text, they meant that no one could be executed, incarcerated, or deprived of his land without first being publicly tried and convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, some two hundred years later in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court arbitrarily reinterpreted the Fifth Amendment due process clause regarding the imprisonment and execution of criminals to justify legalizing the murder of innocent unborn persons. As a result of this flawed decision, over the last forty years nearly 56 million innocent unborn Americans have been deprived of their unalienable right to life, and with it all their other rights as well. A woman’s supposed “right” to an abortion on demand has no authentic legal basis in the Constitution.

By compelling individuals and institutions to help women kill their innocent unborn children regardless of moral objection to an intrinsically evil practice, the HHS mandate violates our sacred rights to life and liberty enshrined in the Declaration and the Constitution. Abortion violates the unalienable rights to life and liberty of the innocent unborn human being in its mother’s womb; therefore, it is both murder and tyranny and constitutes a violation of the Declaration and the Fifth Amendment. The HHS mandate violates not only the unalienable rights to life and liberty of the innocent preborn, but also the unalienable right to liberty of the American people, i.e., their freedom to act in accord with the moral law and with their religious beliefs; therefore, it is both murder and tyranny and constitutes a violation of the Declaration, the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment.

The mission of civil government is to protect the God-given rights of its citizens and to promote the common good of society. Religion and morality—what George Washington referred to as “indispensable supports” of our nation’s liberty—are the essential foundations of human society. Atop this foundation, the traditional family is the essential basic unit of human society, the place where new human life is welcomed and nourished and where religious and moral values as well as civic duties are inculcated in the next generation of American citizens. Government has a solemn duty to respect religion, morality and the family and to avoid making any policies that would threaten their wellbeing. A government that dares to attack religion, morality, or the family is attacking the very foundations of human society. The Obama administration has dared to attack all three of these foundations of our republic by issuing a law that violates religious freedom, promotes immorality, and discourages families from welcoming new human life into their midst.

Our nation’s founders prophetically warned that the United States would not long endure without the twin pillars of religion and morality, that is, faith in God and adherence to his moral law. If the people of a nation don’t believe that human rights—especially the rights to life and liberty—come from God, then those rights will be perceived as coming from the state and the state will claim the authority to define their limits and to give or take away those rights as it sees fit. And if people don’t believe that it is morally wrong to deprive an innocent person of his or her right to life or liberty, then human life and liberty will not be respected.

Despite the claims of the Obama administration, the HHS mandate has nothing to do with looking after the health of the American public. Giving women drugs to kill their unborn children is not caring for the health of either mothers or preborn infants, and giving people artificial contraceptives (many of which are de facto abortifacients) and surgical sterilization procedures so that they can’t have children is not health care either. None of these so-called “preventive services for women” are necessary or even beneficial to the health and well-being of American women; on the contrary, they are unnecessary and harmful to both. The negative effects of abortion on the physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of women are now well documented: cancer, pregnancy complications, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, guilt feelings, and suicide. And artificial contraceptives have been shown to be harmful to the natural environment; their chemical waste byproducts pollute our nation’s water and soil and end up contaminating our food supply, which also degrades our health. Viewed objectively, the HHS order is an irrational and self-destructive national policy of population control: By helping American women to not bear children, it places the future of our entire nation at risk. This fact alone renders the “healthcare” mandate a grossly irresponsible and unethical decree of the federal government.

So if the HHS mandate is not about health care, what it is about? The answer is: money. The mandate is driven by powerful corporate interests—specifically the abortion, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries—which stand to profit immensely from legally mandated consumption of their products. Unfortunately, these wealthy and influential corporate giants are better represented in Washington, D.C. than the American people themselves are. They have bribed the Obama administration to give them exactly what they want—and they will do whatever it takes to ensure that the “healthcare” law remains firmly in place, no matter how destructive it is to our country.

Since announcing this high-handed and unprecedented “healthcare” directive over a year ago, the Obama administration has utterly failed to grant American citizens, business and charity owners, and religious institutions their fundamental right to act in accordance with the moral law and in accordance with their moral convictions and religious beliefs. The two HHS “compromises” presented thus far, with their narrow “exemptions” and dubious “accommodations,” are mere facades, totally devoid of genuine protections for the religious liberties and moral conscience rights of the American people. They’re carefully calculated political gestures designed to give the appearance of compromise and intended to weaken public resistance to a law that is immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional—a law that President Obama and his tyrannical accomplices have foisted on our nation without our consent, a law that they have no intention of rescinding or of substantially altering to comply with the First and Fifth Amendments.

The HHS mandate has been and continues to be loudly decried as an attack on religious liberty and the First Amendment, which it certainly is. But even more fundamentally, it is an attack on the moral law and on our right to act in accordance with that law. In our response as Catholic American citizens to the Obama administration’s radical anti-life policy, too much emphasis is being placed on the religious liberty and legal aspects of the issue and not enough on the moral and human rights aspects. The core of the issue is that the mandate forces American individuals and employers to purchase and distribute population control items that are gravely immoral for use either by pregnant women or by married couples. As Catholics, we need to articulate a more coherent defense of the natural moral law and of our right to always act in accordance with it—defending principles that we hold in common with other religious believers as well as with certain atheists and agnostics—in order to combat the insidious propaganda of the Obama administration more effectively.

The HHS mandate is an immoral and unjust law. Therefore, we the people of the United States have not only the right but the moral duty to refuse to obey it—and to work for its full reversal. It’s not enough to merely demand further exemptions from the mandate. This approach is inherently flawed because it implies tacit acceptance of an unacceptable law. For the reasons given in this article, the so-called “healthcare” mandate in principle is intrinsically, profoundly and irredeemably flawed, and because of that it must be completely overturned. We must not allow ourselves to become discouraged by the obstacles we face in achieving this necessary goal. We must not give in to a subtle defeatist mentality and cowardly surrender to the mandate as though it were carved in stone. Such a dangerous and evil law cannot stand for long without wreaking tremendous havoc on our nation. We the people of the United States must keep up the pressure on the Obama administration to revoke this terrible law—and if it refuses to do so, we must use our heads when we next go to vote and select responsible leaders who will protect and defend our God-given unalienable rights to life and liberty, so that we will once again be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Copyright © 2013 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thought for the Day

“All the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world, to advance humanity, to help, to help others. Today may the Word of the Lord remain in our hearts: ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not depend on that which they possess.’”

--Pope Francis

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Thoughts on the Government Shutdown & Reopening

Our federal government is now officially back up and running. After a fifteen-day stalemate between Republican House and Democratic Senate leaders over federal funding of ObamaCare, with a Treasury default staring them in the face, it was unfortunately the House Republicans who caved in, throwing their principles to the wind and giving the Obama administration just what it wants--federal funding of ObamaCare, at least for the next three months.

I'm angry with my corrupt elected representatives in Congress--angry with the Democrats for trying to force on us an immoral, unjust, un-Constitutional, impractical, and unaffordable "healthcare" law against our will that only benefits them and the abortion, pharmaceutical and insurance industries. And I'm even angrier with the Republicans for abandoning their core moral principles under the onslaught of economic and fiscal crises and surrendering to the immoral and unjust dictates of a corrupt and godless president. The Republicans in Congress have fallen yet again into the Obama administration's trap, allowing their focus to be diverted from the grave moral issues our country is facing--abortion, artificial contraception, euthanasia, moral relativism, and radical secularism, which are attacks on human life, on marriage and family life, on freedom of religion, on freedom of conscience, on our freedom to act in accord with the universal moral law, on absolute truth, and on our nation's Christian identity--to lesser economic and fiscal matters, such as the debt and the budget.

Just a few weeks ago, I was cheering the House Republicans for standing on principle and refusing to fund ObamaCare, even if this meant temporarily shutting down the federal government because Senate Democrats are so stubbornly determined to rom this immoral law down Americans' throats. Although I sympathized with the tens of thousands of federal government employees who lost their jobs and their means of providing for their families, I was nonetheless filled with hope for our beloved country during the shutdown. It felt like the eagles were once again flying in American skies, that we had true leadership on which we could depend, and that ObamaCare was slowly disintegrating before our eyes. I hoped that the Republicans would hold out as long as necessary, doing everything in their power to stall and delay the implementation of ObamaCare until it can be successfully repealed in its entirety. But unfortunately, the Republicans got scared when the whites of the eyes of the Treasury default monster came staring in their faces. Suddenly, protecting innocent human life, marriage and family life, religious liberties and moral conscience rights, our freedom to act in accord with the natural moral law, and upholding absolute truth and our nation's Christian identity, all seemed remote and unimportant compared to averting a looming fiscal catastrophe. Faced with a frightening scenario, our nation's hitherto strong and principled Republican leaders cowardly wilted and dropped their wings. They tucked in their tails and slunk away to the negotiating table, opting for the easy way out of a difficult problem, surrendering their moral principles to the wind and resorting to compromise for the sake of expediency and appearance.

Does that sound familiar? Yes, it has happened many times before: Cowardly betrayal for the sake of some temporary advantage by government officials who are supposed to protect innocent human life and guarantee liberty and justice for all. Pontius Pilate condemned the innocent Son of God to death in order to prevent a riot and advance his career. Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Nancy Pelosi and other so-called "Catholics" in the U.S. Senate helped ensure the passage of a "healthcare" law that requires the murder of millions of innocent babies in their mother's wombs, for their own personal enrichment and the advancement of their political careers. Now the House Republicans have given us their own act of cowardly betrayal, consenting to the funding of ObamaCare for three full months--which includes the moral outrage of federal funding for abortions--in order to avoid a Treasury default, end the partial shutdown, and get on with their political careers.

All the talk in the media since the federal government reopening has been about how we need to stop kicking the can down the road, cut spending, reduce the debt, balance the budget, get the economy going again, etc., and whether the shutdown was even necessary in the first place--with nary a mention of the grave moral issues that provoked the shutdown. This skewing of the discussion away from the moral issues, or rather its failure to remain properly anchored within the framework of the absolute moral law, represents a tactical and propaganda victory for the Obama administration, which wants to avoid having the spotlight shone on the grave immorality and injustice of its policies. But we need to grapple with these serious issues from a proper moral perspective and keep the spotlight focused intensely on them. Was it worth it to shut down parts of the federal government in order to avoid paying for a law that attacks innocent human life, marriage, family, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom to obey the moral law, absolute truth, and our nation's Christian identity on such a vast scale as ObamaCare does? Yes, it was absolutely worth it. Would it have been worth it to allow the Treasury to default in order to protect all of the aforementioned sacred treasures of the American people? Yes, even that would have been worth it. Human life, marriage, and family are sacred; the Treasury is not. Yet in the minds of our elected preresentatives on both sides of the aisle, protecting the Treasury was even more important than protecting innocent human life. This clearly indicates that our elected representatives in both parties have lost their moral compass. At the end of the day, money is more important to them than protecting the values on which our nation is built and the inalienable human rights that flow from those values. They do not worship the one true God of our Founding Fathers, but the false god of the dollar.

Our Catholic bishops welcomed the end of the shutdown beause of its negative effects on the poor and the unemployed. I, for one, did NOT welcome the end of this shutdown. I am greatly disappointed that the showdown over ObamaCare ended with pro-life, pro-family and pro-marriage Republicans giving in to President Obama's regime of abortion, contraception, and sterilization. If we Americans of traditional moral values and religious beliefs don't stand strong and defend them courageously against all comers, how can we hope to win real victories for human life, marriage, family, religious freedom, moral conscience rights, the natural moral law, absolute truth, and our nation's Christian identity?

I heartily applaud those eighteen Senate Republicans who voted against the Continuing Resolution passed on October 16 that returned our federal government to "business as usual." In the midst of this terrible debacle, as their House colleagues' resistance to ObamaCare melted away, they alone--unthanked and uncelebrated by many of their constituents--demonstrated true leadership, standing strong and acting with the courage of their convictions while others all around them fell prostrate before the almighty dollar for the sake of convenience. They deserve our sincere and heartfelt thanks. We desperately need more of that kind of leadership in our country today.

The bottom line is that our current federal government is both morally and fiscally irresponsible. The two are not unrelated, as will be shown in a future blog post. But the moral issues have to come first and foremost. Otherwise, we're just spinning our wheels.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quote of the Day

“Even today, there are so many idols and today there are many idolaters, so many who think themselves wise. But even among us, among Christians! I am not speaking of them, I respect them, those who are not Christian. But among us - let us speak like family - those who believe themselves wise, that know everything. And they have become fools, and changed the glory of God who is incorruptible with an image: my own self, my ideas, my comfort. This is not just something historical - even today in the streets there are idols. All of us have some form of hidden idol. We may ask ourselves in front of God: what is my hidden idol? That which occupies the place of God!”

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quote of the Day

"God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God."

- Pope Francis, interview with La Civilta Cattolica, Sept. 30, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thought for the Day

Am I a Christian by fits and starts, or am I a Christian full-time? The culture of the ephemeral, the relative, also takes it toll on the way we live our faith. God asks us to be faithful to him, daily, in our everyday actions. He goes on to say that, even if we are sometimes unfaithful to him, he remains faithful. In his mercy, he never tires of stretching out his hand to lift us up, to encourage us to continue our journey, to come back and tell him of our weakness, so that he can grant us his strength.

--Pope Francis

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

"If there is one institution that embodies the right recipe for the makings of the good society, it is the Roman Catholic Church. Its teachings, especially those that have a public impact, are as well suited to answering today's social problems as they were two thousand years ago."

--Bill Donohue, Why Catholicism Matters (New York: Image/Random House, 2012), p. 1

Friday, October 11, 2013

An Unnatural Disaster: The Federal Anti-Life Earthquake and Its Consequences for America

by Justin Soutar

Within a year and a few short months, the United States of America will be rocked to its core by a devastating earthquake of unprecedented magnitude and proportions. The powerful shock waves of this tremendous seismic event will unleash a flood of damage and destruction unlike anything the United States has ever experienced in its 237-year history. This massive earthquake will be triggered by the collision of two giant tectonic plates on which our country rests—the Constitution and our federal government. The resulting shock wave will destroy our religious liberties, our moral conscience rights, and our freedom to act in accord with the law of God. And the long-lasting moral, social, demographic, environmental, legal, economic, civil, and health effects of the quake will include millions upon millions of innocent unborn children slaughtered in their mother’s wombs; millions of families torn apart by immorality and love of pleasure; tens of thousands of hospitals, dispensaries, orphanages, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and crisis pregnancy centers, as well as thousands of businesses and scores of colleges and universities, shut down; record poverty rates; low birth rates and population decline; pollution of our rivers and farm soil by large quantities of toxic artificial chemicals; thousands of lawsuits; financial instability; economic collapse; civil unrest and conflict; and a nationwide healthcare crisis that will impact every corner of America, leaving not a single person untouched.

An Artificial Disaster—President Obama’s Anti-Life Mandate

The worst part of this tragic ordeal will be its unnecessary and preventable nature. Rather than a natural disaster, this horrendous and destructive earthquake will be an unnatural disaster—an entirely artificial event deliberately inflicted upon our country by the godless, immoral, corrupt, irresponsible, and arrogant administration of President Barack Obama. That administration has decreed that ALL employers (except narrowly defined “religious employers”) MUST purchase health insurance coverage for their employees that includes abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilizations (pills and surgical operations that murder the unborn child or prevent parents from conceiving children); furthermore, ALL charitable agencies MUST provide these filthy anti-life drugs and procedures or referrals for such drugs and procedures to their clients. On January 1, 2015, the massive law enforcement apparatus of our powerful federal government will come down hard on all American employers and charitable agencies who fail to comply with this immoral, draconian, and outrageous new “law” known as the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. This abominable so-called “healthcare law” flagrantly violates the law of God, the Constitution of the United States, our fundamental rights and liberties as American citizens and as human beings, and our dignity as human persons created in the image and likeness of God. It violates the Fifth Commandment by ordering employers and charity workers to help their employees and clients murder their own unborn children; it also violates the Sixth Commandment by requiring the purchase and distribution of immoral drugs that prevent married couples from conceiving new children. It violates the First Amendment by forcing religious believers and organizations to act contrary to their sacred beliefs. It violates our fundamental rights as American citizens to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, as well as our fundamental right as human beings to act in accord with the moral law. And it violates our dignity as human persons created in the image and likeness of God by reducing us to mere sexual and economic objects whose sexuality and fertility are arbitrarily manipulated by our government for the financial benefit of large private corporations.

Abortion is always a grave moral evil regardless of the circumstances. It should not be legalized, much less promoted or mandated, by any government. Forty years ago, our nation suffered a similarly cataclysmic jolt when seven men on our Supreme Court arbitrarily decided that any pregnant woman who wishes to do so has a “right” to kill her innocent unborn child for any reason whatsoever. That terrible ruling opened the floodgates to a torrent of mass murder that dwarfs the Holocaust and cries out to Heaven for vengeance. Even as the American people become increasingly pro-life and abortion rates decline, our society and nation are still suffering the bitter effects of that devastating High Court error known as Roe v. Wade. It is bad enough that the horrible crime of abortion has been legally permitted for decades here in the United States, in a country founded on explicit acknowledgement of the inalienable rights to life and liberty with which all human beings are endowed by their Creator. But it is much worse for a government to go beyond mere legal permission of abortion to actively promoting and encouraging the murder of the unborn by compelling the citizenry to get involved in spreading this grave evil—as our own government is now doing with the HHS mandate.

Artificial contraception is always a grave moral evil when used by married couples. Prior to the advent of Margaret Sanger and the pill in the 1920s, every Christian denomination in the United States echoed the Catholic Church in condemning the use of artificial contraception by married couples as a gravely immoral practice. The fact that most denominations no longer teach this does not change the objective moral law in this regard. God designed marriage as a permanent union of love and life between a man and a woman for their mutual happiness and the propagation of the human species. Love and life are supposed to go together in marriage; conversely, selfishness and death go hand in hand. When a married couple uses artificial contraception, they reduce each other to mere objects of sexual pleasure and refuse to cooperate with their Creator to bring new life into the world—thus foiling both the unitive and the procreative ends of marriage. Instead of being the stable, happy and fruitful union of love and life that it’s meant to be, their marriage becomes an unstable, miserable and fruitless union of selfishness and death. Artificial contraception has destroyed millions of marriages in our country over the last fifty years, with devastating consequences for our society and nation. Thus our government, which is responsible for promoting the common good of families and of society in accord with the law of God, should strongly discourage the widespread production and sale of artificial contraceptives. Instead, it is apparently determined to hasten the destruction of our society by forcing us to purchase and distribute these immoral anti-life drugs.

Besides being immoral, unconstitutional, coercive, and anti-human, the HHS mandate is also an impractical and downright foolish law. Abortion has done irreparable harm to the physical and mental health of more than 56 million American women over the past forty years. To keep it legal and make it even more widespread is irresponsible in the extreme. To encourage all Americans to kill their own children and refrain from conceiving them with a compulsory national anti-life policy is a recipe for national suicide. Moreover, artificial contraceptives are destructive to the environment; they pollute our nation’s waterways and eventually work their way into our farm soil and our food supply. To make them a product that all insurance carriers must supply is to invite further degradation of our natural resources. In addition, the mandate will deal a fatal blow to our fragile economy—still struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression—by imposing unsustainable tax burdens on thousands of business owners and charity leaders; by discouraging the establishment of new businesses and charities; by further reducing the available spending money of the average working American individual and family; by further exacerbating an already unmanageable national debt; and by artificially reducing the population of the next generation of American entrepreneurs and business leaders. Furthermore, complete enforcement of this untenable law in the face of massive civil disobedience would be a tremendous feat of executive action for our swollen federal bureaucracy and our overburdened criminal justice system. Even if they were doubled in size overnight, our existing police force, court system, and prison accommodations would prove hopelessly inadequate for the arrest, trial, and imprisonment of, say, 100 million Americans who refuse to obey the mandate or pay the fines. And some states may even secede from the Union over this draconian federal order, just as the southern states did over unjust federal banking and financial laws in the mid-1800s.

Why is our federal government so hell-bent on throwing our nation into turmoil with this evil and senseless anti-life decree? Because it is currently dominated by a godless, immoral, corrupt, irresponsible, and arrogant administration. President Obama mocks faith in God and denies our fundamental identity as a Christian nation. He rejects the law of God and arbitrarily decides for himself what is right and wrong. His administration faithfully serves the interests of large private corporations while pretending concern for the common good. His policies have fueled and continue to fuel rising poverty rates, a prolonged recession, and uncontrollable national debt. And he arrogantly rammed his costly, unconstitutional, coercive, and anti-life healthcare reform legislation (the deceptively named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which authorizes the HHS mandate) through Congress despite overwhelming opposition from the American people—and then publicly threatened the Supreme Court not to get in the way.

The HHS mandate is the joint brainchild of abortion moguls, pharmaceutical executives, insurance tycoons, and our well-fed establishment politicians in the White House and the Senate. These elite folks are the masterminds of the traumatic, artificial, and unnecessary earthquake soon to disrupt our nation. And they have carefully designed and engineered this unnatural disaster exclusively for their own financial benefit.

Dishonesty, Deception, and Death for Profit

In the presentation of its so-called “healthcare” mandate to the American public, the Obama administration has exhibited blatant dishonesty and deception. For one thing, abortion, artificial contraception, and sterilization have nothing whatsoever to do with “health care.” Killing unborn children in their mother’s wombs is not health care, and preventing married couples from having children is not health care either. These immoral drugs and procedures are designed to kill developing human life in the embryonic and fetal stages or to prevent its conception altogether. Had the Department of Health and Human Services more accurately labeled its disgusting order the “life kill” mandate, the evil nature of this law would be clearer to the American people.

The Obama administration is also being dishonest about why it is forcing coverage of abortifacient drugs, birth control pills, and sterilization surgeries by all health insurance providers. The official reason for the compulsion given by HHS is that the public health interest requires unlimited access to these anti-life drugs and procedures. This is nonsense. Inexpensive artificial contraceptives are already widely available and purchased by millions of Americans each year. In reality, abortion, contraception, and sterilization are not forms of health care but rather methods of population control. The real reason for the anti-life mandate is that our federal government wants to control and dominate human life for its own dark purposes, including the eradication of the poor and the financial security of wealthy abortion tycoons.

Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist and racist foundress of Planned Parenthood, deliberately introduced abortion and artificial contraceptives into poor African-American neighborhoods in the 1920s to reduce our black population; even today, most Planned Parenthood abortion mills are situated in inner-city black and Hispanic neighborhoods, resulting in high abortion rates among these social and ethnic groups—and lots of income for Planned Parenthood abortion “doctors.” Population control of the many generates lucrative business profits for a few, with poverty providing a convenient excuse for wealthy abortionists and pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase their profits under the guise of “health care.” Furthermore, sterilizing the poor makes the rich feel less guilty about refusing to help them. When the financial crisis struck in 2008, our federal government spent hundreds of billions of dollars to rescue big banks from imminent collapse due to their own irresponsible lending practices; but the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package did nothing to stave off rising unemployment and poverty rates. Since that time, the number of Americans in poverty has continued to grow steadily, reaching the current all-time high values. The right way to deal with this worsening problem—the loving, humane, pro-life, Christian way—would be to give the poor food and clothing and shelter and medical assistance and education. The wrong way to deal with it—the selfish, inhumane, anti-life, demonic way—is to sterilize and kill off the poor like rats. Our government has chosen the latter method.

If the Obama administration was honest about what it was doing with the mandate, it would say to us, “Our radically anti-life agenda is driven by the money-hungry abortion, pharmaceutical and insurance industries, and we’re being paid handsomely to advance their interests. The purpose of the mandate is to enable these big companies to stay in business and make even bigger profits. We don’t care a whit about the old-fashioned Ten Commandments or the antiquated Constitution or the runaway national debt or the health of the public or the well-being of the country or the growing millions of struggling folks out there on Main Street. All we really care about is fattening our wallets, retaining our grip on power and expanding that power as necessary to preserve and increase the wealth of the financial kings that govern Wall Street. Too bad if the America you once knew, the America that trusted in God and respected human rights, has to go down the drain; we worship and serve the golden calf of the Almighty Dollar. Too bad if you don’t like the new America; we’re in charge now, and you must do whatever we say or face the consequences.”

Now, the sacred duty of our federal government is to promote the common good of all Americans based on fundamental principles of justice and charity that come from God—principles that form the very foundations of human society, as Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in Caritas in Veritate. And the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Authority is exercised legitimately when it acts for the common good and employs morally licit means to obtain it.” (1) By issuing and enforcing its abominable HHS decree, the Obama administration is engaging in an illegitimate exercise of government authority because the mandate is diametrically opposed to the common good and employs morally illicit means to achieve immoral ends. Our elected representatives in Congress and the White House and those whom they appoint to head the various federal offices and departments bear a solemn responsibility before Almighty God to act as our public servants by consistently placing the good of the whole country ahead of private interest or personal gain. With their dangerous anti-life law, President Obama and his cronies are doing exactly the opposite, elevating private interest and personal gain above the common good. Their mandate constitutes a direct violation of the fundamental social principles of justice and charity. It’s unjust because it encourages the murder of innocent unborn children and attempts to force individuals and institutions to participate in such murder, thereby violating God’s law, our moral consciences, and our religious beliefs. And it’s uncharitable because it will result in the closure of thousands of privately run charitable institutions upon which millions of Americans depend for basic necessities of life.

A Reign of Sin and Evil

At the bottom of the federal anti-life mandate lies a twisted logic of evil, injustice and selfishness. The Obama administration seems perversely intent on preventing the conception and birth of children as though children were a dangerous plague to be eradicated. Children are in fact the greatest possible blessing for a nation, and lack of children the greatest possible curse. Unstinting champions of abortion “rights” such as President Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi never seem to reflect on the fact that they were babies themselves once, and that they would not be alive today if their mothers had aborted them or artificially prevented their conception. These selfish politicians don’t care about protecting the lives of other innocent human beings as long as their own right to life is preserved inviolate.

The HHS mandate is what The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls a “structure of sin,” (2) a social situation or institution that is contrary to the divine law. (3) Structures of sin are the expression and effect of personal sins. (4) The federal anti-life mandate is an expression and effect of sins of greed, injustice and selfishness being committed by abortion, pharmaceutical, and insurance executives and by our corrupt elected and appointed officials in the Obama administration. “Sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them.” (5) As a structure of sin, the “life kill” mandate attempts to weave government officials, religious leaders, charity directors, business owners, and individual citizens together in a seamless web of deception, betrayal, exploitation, violence, and sexual immorality.

Unlike any other law in our nation’s history, the HHS decree is inherently destabilizing for America because it officially prescribes immorality as the law of the land. As Father John Corapi used to remind us, “Immorality is un-American and a threat to national security!” By punishing good and rewarding evil, the anti-life mandate turns the moral law established by our Creator upside down, thus betraying its demonic origin. For this evil law is ultimately inspired by Satan himself, the old archenemy of God and humanity, whom Scripture calls “the father of lies” and “a murderer from the beginning,” (6) to further his wicked agenda of death and destruction in our country. The Devil wants to kill off the American people and destroy the one true Church of Christ—and he is using Obama administration officials to get the job done. His faithful servants Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi—all of whom claim to be members of Christ’s Church—are fanatically pushing anti-life drugs and procedures contrary to God’s law and attacking the freedom of the Church to act in accord with the moral law and with its religious beliefs. Some 2,000 years ago, Judas betrayed Christ for a bag of silver money; today Biden, Sebelius, and Pelosi are betraying Him for exactly the same thing. The Obama administration has fallen for the same old temptation with which the serpent ensnared our first parents in the Garden of Eden more than 6,000 years ago: the temptation to reject God in order to become God. Deceived by Satan, Adam and Eve arrogantly rejected God their Creator, denied their creaturely status and their dependence on Him, and subjectively and arbitrarily decided for themselves what was good and what was evil, abusing their freedom by transgressing the moral law. Now our elected and appointed federal officials have reached out and grasped the same forbidden fruit out of a desire to be like God but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.” (7)

Government Gone Wild

As unbelievable as it sounds, within a year and a few short months, here in a majority Christian nation whose official motto is “In God We Trust,” in a “nation under God…with liberty and justice for all,” nearly all business and charitable employers who refuse to purchase and distribute gravely immoral anti-life drugs and procedures will automatically become “lawbreakers,” subject to punishment by their own government for obeying the law of God, their moral consciences, and their religious beliefs. This artificial earthquake will unleash such widespread, severe, and lasting chaos, destruction, distress, and human misery, that it will dwarf previous national emergencies such as the Civil War, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, Watergate, and the Iranian hostage crisis. Enforcement of the federal anti-life mandate will make even the terrorist attacks of 9/11 look like a walk in the park. That tragedy was inflicted upon us by a foreign enemy, confined to three locations and a single day, killed thousands of innocent people, and affected tens of thousands of others. This tragedy will be inflicted upon us by our own government, is a permanent nationwide policy, will kill millions upon millions of innocent unborn children, and will affect the life of every single American.

No government has the right to compel anyone to act contrary to God’s law, to their moral consciences, or to their religious beliefs. We the people simply cannot obey this immoral, unjust, and uncharitable HHS decree. To do so would be an act of treason against God, our consciences, our religions, our families, and our country. As citizens of the United States, we have not only the right but the sacred duty to refuse to obey this law and to work hard for its full repeal as soon as possible. Moreover, we should refuse to pay the tax fines imposed for noncompliance with the HHS directive. These tax fines are unjust—not only because of the dollar amounts involved, and not only because they constitute a form of religious persecution explicitly forbidden by the First Amendment—but even more fundamentally because they are an attack on our freedom as human persons to act in accord with the objective law of God.

The role of government is to protect human rights, not to take them away. By issuing and intending to enforce its cruel and inhuman anti-life mandate, the Obama administration has criminally abused its rightful authority, betrayed the American people, turned the power of government against the citizenry, and sacrificed the common good to the “wealth care” interests of giant abortion, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies. We must hold our elected representatives and appointed officials in the federal government accountable for the unconscionable crimes they are perpetrating against the law of God, against our Constitution, against our fundamental rights and liberties as American citizens and as human beings, and against our dignity as human persons. President Obama and his lackeys should be removed from office immediately and justly punished for their misdeeds.

Where’s the Fire?

It may be true that most of us Americans are shocked, disgusted, and angry with the Obama administration for attacking our religious liberties and moral conscience rights with its draconian anti-life mandate. But apparently we are not shocked, disgusted, or angry enough. If we the people have been so upset about this obscene anti-life law from its inception, then why did we re-elect President Obama and his loyal accomplices in the Senate who are responsible for it, instead of demanding their impeachment and voting them out of office? Why aren’t we knocking down the doors of the White House and Congress at this hour and demanding the immediate repeal of the mandate? Why aren’t churches, pro-life organizations and religious liberty groups organizing massive fundraising events, letter writing campaigns, voter registration drives, and marches on Washington to make perfectly clear to the government that the American people will not tolerate this wicked law? Where is the courage, the zeal, and the determination to stand up and defend our bedrock American values of religion and morality, life and liberty, marriage and family?

Unfortunately, we Americans in general and Catholics in particular seem to lack the courage of our convictions. Millions of people have participated in Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies in major cities across the country; God bless them for doing so. Our Catholic bishops have mobilized millions of their faithful to fight for religious freedom with the weapons of prayer, fasting, and political action; God bless them for doing so. But this is not enough. We the people need to rise up together in a highly visible and sustained fashion—not by the millions, but by the tens of millions—to send our government a clear and unmistakable message that it must respect our fundamental rights to freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom to act in accord with the law of God—rights on which our nation is built, rights for which our Founders risked their lives, rights which hundreds of thousands of Americans across the years have fought and died to preserve and hand on to us.

How much longer will we, the people of the United States—a large majority of whom call ourselves Christians—continue to sit back and allow an extreme radically secularist minority to illegitimately control and dominate the affairs of our nation? It’s time we put our Christian faith into meaningful action and translated our great numbers into political effectiveness. The time for passive indifference, for timid submissiveness, for discreet fence-sitting, and for quiet toleration of a dictatorship of evil, is over. The time for active resistance is upon us. It’s time we the sleeping “silent majority” of the American people—and Catholics in particular—rose up courageously to do battle with the enemies of our country.

We Must Act Now

As Edmund Burke famously wrote four hundred years ago, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. America now stands at a critical juncture, threatened by certain massive destruction to be unleashed by President Obama and his accomplices. To sit idly on the sidelines, cowardly tolerating an abusive government and surrendering our nation to the dominion of evil, would be a crime. All Americans of good will who love their country must unite to defend their Ship of State from destruction by the opportunistic and unscrupulous Washington politicians who have commandeered it and will soon be wrecking it for their own advantage. What can—and must—we do to avert this impending national catastrophe?

1. Repent and convert. Before national laws and government policies can change, human hearts must change. And before we can change the hearts of others, we must change our own. During this Year of Faith, we Catholics in particular are called “to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.” (8) Let’s clean out our hearts, repent of our sins and faults, and strive to live more faithfully as true followers of Christ.

2. Pray and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners and the reversal of the HHS mandate. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have to defeat the forces of evil. Our Lady of Fatima said that many souls go to Hell because there is no one to pray and sacrifice on their behalf. We Catholics should pray and offer sacrifices daily for the conversion of those in the abortion, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries and in our federal government who are responsible for this evil anti-life law. Bishops and priests should offer Masses for the conversion of sinners and the reversal of the mandate. Every Catholic family and individual in America should pray the Rosary daily for these intentions, and those who can do so should make a weekly Holy Hour for these intentions. Since we are engaged in a spiritual battle with the Evil One and his minions, we should also request the help of the angels, especially that of Saint Michael the Archangel, Prince of the heavenly host. In addition, our bishops should join with other religious leaders in organizing a national campaign of prayer and fasting for the reversal of the mandate, culminating (if possible) in a nationally televised candlelight prayer vigil to be held on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on the evening of December 31, 2014.

3. Strengthen our defenses. In the battle against the HHS mandate thus far, our good Catholic bishops have rightly focused attention on our religious liberties and moral conscience rights. However, as long as we focus only on our religious and moral rights as Catholics and as American citizens and avoid getting into more challenging philosophical discussions of the natural law on which our nation’s Founders built our republic and to which all human beings are subject, a major weakness will remain in our approach. By failing to squarely and consistently challenge the false modern doctrine of moral relativism on the sure ground of objective moral truth, we unwisely surrender this ground to our radically secularist opponents, who then dictate the rules of the game for public moral discussion and strengthen their illegitimate occupation of the public square. We must take back what rightly belongs to us. That is, we must articulate a clear defense of the objective moral law written by God in all human hearts, revealed to Israel in the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue, and fully revealed in Jesus Christ and His Church. We must show how this divinely revealed moral compass guided the Founders in charting the course of our nation, and that it is adherence to the law of God that makes us a great nation. We must show how the Ten Commandments, together with the ancient Roman language and law, form the basis of our modern legal system. We must explain how former U.S. laws against abortion, obscenity and pornography were grounded in the objective moral law, and why our nation should enact such laws once again notwithstanding faulty judicial decisions to the contrary. We must demonstrate the universal and unchanging nature of this objective moral law by highlighting its ubiquitous presence in societies and cultures throughout human history. We must show how adherence to the moral law has enabled peoples and nations to flourish and become great (e.g. ancient Rome, medieval Europe, modern America)—and how conversely, abandonment of the moral law has led to the decline and destruction of once-great nations (e.g. ancient Carthage, modern Communist countries). By showing that the immutable law of God is the foundation of our republic and the common heritage of all mankind, it will become clear that we American Catholics are not just demanding freedom to act in accord with our particular religious beliefs and moral consciences, but in accord with objective moral truth. Freedom to act in accord with the moral law is the most basic, the most fundamental of all human rights—even more fundamental than freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, for religion and conscience can both be abused to justify grave violations of the moral law. The HHS mandate doesn’t just violate the religious and conscience rights of American believers; even more fundamentally, it violates the right of all Americans as human beings to act in accord with the objective law of God. By moving beyond a somewhat shallow and subjective “religious liberties and moral conscience rights” approach to a deeper, more profound way of reasoning based on the objective truth of the natural law itself, our logic will resonate not only with fellow American Catholics but also with all people of goodwill in America and beyond, thus enabling us to recruit a broader coalition of allies and mount a more united and effective challenge to the mandate. While defending our specific religious liberties and moral conscience rights as Catholic Americans, we must also defend the timeless freedom of all Americans and all peoples to act in accord with the law of God.

4. Organize our resistance. To fight and win a war, the ground troops and their leaders must not only be well trained, but also properly organized and directed under a central command. Hundreds of religious, civil rights, and patriotic organizations—some recently founded, others well established—are scoring frequent minor victories for life and liberty against the tyrannical anti-life Obama regime independently and on their own, but their efforts must be better organized and coordinated to achieve major success on Capitol Hill. All 501 (c)(3) charitable, educational, and legal associations committed to defending human life and liberty in accord with the law of God and the Constitution of the United States (e.g. Priests for Life, the National Pro-Life Alliance, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Hillsdale College, Project Moses, and the Heritage Foundation) should unite to form a Foundation for Life and Liberty, while all 501 (c)(4) political lobby groups committed to defending the same (e.g. Fidelis, Patriot Voices, and Senator Rand Paul’s Campaign for Liberty) should unite to form a Campaign for Life and Liberty. Furthermore, these two parallel groups of agencies should jointly establish a larger umbrella organization called the American League for the Defense of Life and Liberty. This League and its member organizations should be publicized in its own website and print periodical as well as through EWTN, the National Catholic Register, blogs, and social media. By uniting and coordinating their efforts, these disparate religious, civil rights, and patriotic groups will achieve more effective results at the federal level.

5. Take action. Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights expressly guarantees our God-given rights to freedom of speech and of the press, to peaceably assemble, to petition the government for a redress of grievances, (9) and to vote. (10) As American citizens, we should take full advantage of each of these rights to bring the maximum possible pressure to bear against the Obama administration. We should write letters to the editors of local newspapers exposing the evil nature and folly of the federal anti-life mandate, and calling for its prompt reversal. We should join at least one of the above-mentioned groups, take action when urged to do so, and donate whatever we can to help support their efforts. We should write, call, fax and email President Obama, Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Sebelius, and our senators and representatives in Congress to demand the immediate and full reversal of the HHS mandate—and we should keep doing this over and over until they comply. And if, despite massive public pressure, our elected representatives and appointed officials still refuse to yield to our demands, we must seize the opportunity presented by the Congressional elections of 2014 to rescue our nation from the appalling crisis into which it will otherwise be so needlessly and recklessly thrown by the Obama administration. By getting sufficiently large pro-life and pro-liberty majorities in both the House and the Senate, we can reverse the mandate and impeach President Obama and his cronies.

Will America Survive the Impact?

One of America’s Founding Fathers, John Adams, once observed: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The HHS mandate is a direct assault on religion and morality, what George Washington called “indispensable supports” of our nation’s liberty. It remains to be seen whether these twin foundations will prove strong enough to withstand the enormous assault about to be unleashed upon them by the Obama administration. As the close election of 2012 demonstrated, our nation is at a critical juncture in its history. Do the American people still believe that religion and morality are essential to the prosperity of their nation? That human life and freedom as well as human sexuality are sacred gifts from their Creator, to be used wisely in accord with His law for His glory and the good of their fellow citizens? That heterosexual marriage and the traditional family are divine institutions of love and life and the basic building blocks of authentic human society? That both the government and the governed are equally subject to an objective and unchanging law of God? These traditional convictions which the Founders took for granted appear to be steadily eroding under the forceful and well-coordinated propaganda onslaught of an aggressive radically secularist minority in Hollywood, the mass media, the universities, the courts, and the federal government. The rhetorical question posed by Thomas Jefferson more than two hundred years ago rings especially pertinent today: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?” If twenty-first century Americans lose this conviction, they will lose their freedom as well.

The Choice Is Ours

Now as never before, the fate of America hangs in the balance. Our future depends on the course we chart in the coming months and years. Two ways are set before our country: the way of life and the way of death. (11) If we choose the way of life, returning and clinging wholeheartedly to the principles of religion and morality on which the Founders built our nation, America will overcome her present difficulties and survive to prosper and become once again a great nation. God delivered Jerusalem from destruction by the Assyrian King Sennacherib at the humble prayer of King Hezekiah. (12) He also saved Nineveh from threatened destruction when its inhabitants turned away from sin. (13) If we Americans—-individually and as a nation—-humbly and sincerely repent of our sins and ask God for mercy, He will likewise forgive us and deliver our nation from evil.

On the other hand, if we choose the way of death, God will allow our nation to suffer the dreadful consequences of that choice. A black curtain will be drawn across our Constitution. Our cherished freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom to act in accord with the moral law will be crushed under the heavy boots of a tyrannical and totalitarian government. And we will be invaded and occupied by a foreign power—perhaps China—just as decadent Israel was conquered by the Babylonians and evil Carthage was destroyed by the Romans. America would do well to heed this divine warning from the prophet Isaiah:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light, and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter!... To those who acquit the guilty for bribes, and deprive the just man of his rights! Therefore, as the tongue of fire licks up stubble, as dry grass shrivels in the flame, Even so their root shall become rotten and their blossom scatter like dust; For they have spurned the law of the LORD of hosts, and scorned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the LORD blazes against his people, he raises his hand to strike them; When the mountains quake, their corpses shall be like refuse in the streets… He will give a signal to a far-off nation, and whistle to them from the ends of the earth; speedily and promptly will they come. None of them will stumble with weariness, none will slumber and none will sleep. None will have his waist belt loose, nor the thong of his sandal broken. Their arrows are sharp, and all their bows are bent. The hoofs of their horses seem like flint, and their chariot wheels like the hurricane. Their roar is that of the lion, like the lion’s whelps they roar; They growl and seize the prey, they carry it off and none will rescue it. (14)

And President Abraham Lincoln echoed this biblical prophecy in a national call for prayer and fasting issued during a previous moment of great national crisis, 150 years ago:
Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord… We know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world… We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Will we become once again “a wise and understanding people, a great nation” (15) that trusts in God, a nation “under God…with liberty and justice for all,” or will we foolishly reject God and trust in our own strength? The choice is ours.

The Return of the King

Although the powers of evil may do their utmost to kill the American people and destroy Christ’s Church, all their efforts are doomed to ultimate failure. With his Cross and Resurrection, Christ the King of the Universe has already begun God’s final triumph over sin, death, and Satan. This triumph will be definitively completed at the end of the world, when He will return in glory to judge all mankind. Every second brings us nearer to that final day. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the LORD…His truth is marching on!” (16) For those who have served Christ faithfully in this life, it will be an indescribably joyful and glorious day of victory that heralds entrance into the eternal life, liberty, and happiness of Heaven, where they will reign with Him forever. On the other hand, for those who have betrayed Christ in this life, it will be an unimaginably sorrowful and horrible day of defeat that signals entrance into the eternal death, slavery, and misery of Hell, where they will be tormented by Satan and his demonic hordes forever.

Copyright © 2013 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.


1. Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 406.
2. § 1869.
3. Ibid; Cf. Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 400.
4. Ibid.
5. Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1869.
6. John 8:44.
7. Saint Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua: J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologia Graeca (Paris, 1857—1866), 1156C.
8. Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), no. 6.
9. Amendment I: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
10. Amendment XV: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--.” Amendment XIX: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Amendment XXIV: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.” Amendment XXVI: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”
11. Cf. Deut. 30:19.
12. 2 Kings 18 & 19.
13. Jonah 3.
14. Isaiah 5:20, 23--25b, 26--29.
15. Deut. 4:6 (Douay-Rheims version).
16. Julia Ward Howe, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” verse 1.