A couple of hours ago, Catholic Vote published an article detailing how federally contracted Catholic priests are barred from saying Mass during the government shutdown, or face jail time. Yes, you read that right. As a Catholic and a Veteran, this turned my stomach. You see, I was a Russian Linguist, which means that I know quite a bit about Soviet history and tactics. How do you kill a frog? You put it in cold water and then turn the heat up slowly. This, my friends, is a test. This is a way for the people in charge to test the waters to see how far they can go. How far can they go in their attacks on the Church?
The HHS mandate the requires religious organizations who are not churches to purchase health insurance plans that cover birth control and abortifacients, was the beginning phase. The only people who complained? Those crazy Catholics who are backwards in their beliefs on human sexuality. I love this charge because I know more about my body, thanks to Creighton NFP, than most women in this country. But, to the hypersexualized “culture of me” that pervades our culture, we are an enemy. I was blown away that this last presidential election was won on the false idea that Romney/Ryan would take away people’s birth control. Those are the only mailings I got from the DNC, by the way.
The propaganda machine of this government is impressive, but more than anything, they have the apathy of the American people. Silence means to allow evil and injustice to occur. Catholics should have to pay for birth control, as far as the majority of Americans are concerned. There has been little outcry from groups other than those companies who are suing the Obama Administration for 1st Amendment violations. The press has just continued the lie that most Catholics use birth control anyway. I am not most Catholics, nor are most of my friends, so their statistics of 99% are clearly sketchy.
So, very little response from the American people, as is evidenced by the most recent presidential election. Time to up the ante. The government shutdown is the perfect time to test the waters further, by denying military Catholics easy access to Mass. There is a major shortage of Catholic chaplains in the military, so the government has hired local contractor priests to offer Mass for service-members. These contractors have been informed that if they voluntarily, without pay even, perform Mass during the shutdown they will be jailed. That’s right, jailed. We have stepped into full blown, overt, you cannot miss it persecution. If the HHS mandate was not clear enough for people, then this should be a major wake up call.
Denying a Catholic access to Mass is to deny the very “source and summit” of the Christian life, per Vatican II. Catholics have an obligation to attend Mass each Sunday. It is not a choice, it is a fundamental requirement for being a practicing Catholic. In fact, if done knowingly, it is a mortal sin. Now, for these military folks, if they cannot find a Mass in their area, that is not a mortal sin, especially since it is against their will. We do have an obligation, however, to do everything in our power to get to Mass. Cut off Mass, and you go for the jugular of the Catholic Church.
What is my concern? First the lamestream media who is just a propaganda arm for this Administration, will not report this story. Second, both Parties in Congress are so busy fighting for power that they have forgotten their job is to serve the American people. Third, I think that a lot of Americans could not care less if Catholics cannot go to Mass. I hope I am wrong, but we are quickly becoming a culture of “if it doesn’t affect me, then I don’t care”.The third one scares me more because it means that religious freedom is only guaranteed for a chosen few. I pray that the American people wake up. I pray that social media can do what our news agencies no longer do, report the news. The threatened arrest of Catholic priests should send fear into the hearts of all of us because we could very easily be next.
Most importantly we need to pray. We need to receive the Sacraments as much as possible. We need the grace to stand up in the face of persecution. Pray the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Divine Office, your own prayers and devotions. GO to MASS! Just be sure to pray. And on this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, I ask for his prayers and intercessions before the throne of Heaven and for prayers for our Holy Father. Also, St. John Vianney, ora pro nobis.