Friday 16th November 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Great Divide

November 10, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON

Opposition to Obamacare is growing as a result of its onerous mandates that force individuals and institutions to violate their religious beliefs. The ministry of the Little Sisters of the Poor to the aged is threatened; Christian schools, such as Wheaton Collegeand Franciscan University, are being coerced to breach the religious principles they teach; for-profit companies, such as Hobby Lobby and Domino’s Farms, are being required to contravene their founding values or pay crippling fines.
Seventy-three lawsuits have been filed in federal courts seeking relief from the requirement to provide employee health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. These represent over 200 plaintiffs, including seven states, EWTN, Priests for Life, numerous Catholic dioceses, hospitals, health associations, schools, private businesses, and others.
The effects of the Obamacare directives will be disastrous. But they also are indicative of an even greater concern — the existence of sharp philosophical differences on the role of religion in the state, divisions that deeply divide the public. On one side are religiously committed people who support life at all its stages, maintain the traditional view of marriage and family, are supportive of religious pluralism in public life, and conduct their social responsibilities through individuals and private organizations. On the other side are the religiously indifferent, a cohort within which those who profess to follow no religion are a significant and growing component. They overwhelmingly support abortion, same-sex marriage, and total separation of church and state, and look to the government as the agent of social responsibility.
The opposing views of the two groups are not simply opinions that are debatable. Rather, they are convictions that are fundamentally different, intransigent and intrinsically conflicting. The religiously committed and the religiously indifferent differ not only theologically, but clash culturally and politically as well.
America was founded on a belief in God, who endowed all men with certain unalienable rights. The existence of many religious denominations at the nation’s founding led to a civic pluralism in which churches and the state are separate, but with each having a role in public life. The churches were allowed to shape the moral character of the people according to transcendent norms, which provided citizens with the traits needed for a government of and by the people. The state, in turn, guaranteed the public order and secured the rights which allowed churches to carry out their mission and people to practice their faith in public life. The state was secular, that is, non-theistic, but did not prohibit the free exercise of religion.
As the religious beliefs of the populace have diminished, the view of separation of church and state has changed. The complementary relationship that existed is being replaced by an anti-religious secularism. Society is being operated as if God does not exist, or if He does, His existence does not matter. The result is a state-enforced practical atheism.
This nation has grounded its social order on laws. Treating everyone equally before the law has provided a major safeguard against the capriciousness of an unconstrained power. Laws, however, if not based upon fixed principles outside of a society, that is, upon immutable moral precepts, are subject to changing societal preferences. People obey laws to avoid penalties, not necessarily because they believe it is the right thing to do. When opportunities arise, people drive at excessive speeds, cheat on their income taxes, or loot homes and businesses when disaster disrupts the social order.
A government of the people requires individuals to voluntarily act for the good of society. It is morality, not laws, which forms such people. Moral views reflect the purpose of human life, the reason why we were created. The religiously committed and the religiously indifferent have very different perspectives on this point. A person who believes that life on earth is transitory and that one will spend an eternity in Heaven or Hell depending upon how that life is lived will make vastly different choices than one who believes that the here-and-now is all there is.
Today, legal opinion is beginning to follow the growing influence of the religiously indifferent. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas sodomy law in 2003, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that moral censure of homosexuality has been “shaped by religious beliefs, conceptions of right and acceptable behavior, and respect for the traditional family,” implying that religiously influenced moral views are legally suspect.
In 2010, Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker went further when he overturned Proposition 8, an electorate-adopted amendment to California’s state constitution limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. He observed that many supporters of the initiative were motivated by their religious convictions that should not be allowed to govern public law.
If this trend continues — and Obamacare is part of it — there will be a severe limiting of religious freedom. Individuals may be allowed to worship God in private, but they increasingly will be prohibited from exercising their beliefs in ways that affect public life.
Freedom of religion is more than freedom to worship or of personal conscience. It includes the freedom to bring one’s religious views into the public square and pattern one’s actions based on those beliefs. It is the freedom for religious institutions to engage in public discourse and to carry out their missions in accord with their religious convictions. When the state can determine what constitutes a religious institution, coerce companies to violate the religiously shaped principles upon which they were founded, prohibit military chaplains from presenting their denomination’s teachings on homosexuality, redefine a relationship such as marriage, decide when human life begins, and deny a child in the womb the fundamental right to life, religious freedom does not exist.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his 1978 address at Harvard University, found the United States to be in a “state of spiritual exhaustion,” in which it has achieved great technological progress, but at a cost of its moral heritage. Freedom, he continued, is conditioned on the fulfillment of our responsibilities to God, but Western man has proclaimed and practiced his autonomy from any higher power.
The future of religious freedom in the United States may well rest on the outcome of the struggle between aggressive secularism, spurred by the growth of the religiously indifferent, and a freedom grounded in spiritual values reflected by the religiously committed. This struggle will end only when the supporters of one of these immutable views have no further means to resist the supporters of the other.
In the meantime, a solution to rekindle the nation’s spiritual development, as Solzhenitsyn implied, may entail a period of deep suffering.

+    +    +

(The author is a visiting scholar in The School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they “need to lead by witness.” In…Continue Reading

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

US bishop challenges brother bishops for allowing pro-LGBT priest to speak in dioceses

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland forthrightly articulated Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Tuesday. He questioned whether his brother bishops believed this “doctrine of the Church or not,” and if they did, why some of them have allowed certain clergy to speak in their dioceses with a pro-homosexual message. “Brothers, I think part of the fraterna

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a brief note to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals to hold bishops accountable for their failures after the reve

Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 12 November 2018 [Multimedia]   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet the full complement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I offer cordial welcome to the new Members and I am grateful to the former President, Professor Werner Arber for his gracious words of introduction, while I pray that Professor Joachim von…Continue Reading

Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

BALTIMORE – The first gathering of the nation’s Catholic bishops since a summer wave of anger and recrimination over clergy sex abuse in the American church opened Monday with a stunning announcement: The prelates would not vote on a series of new accountability measures – and it was the Vatican who ordered them to hold off.

Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that his natural political instincts are superior to those of any other current figure. As campaign 2018 entered its final week, Trump seized upon and elevated the single issue that most energizes his populist base and most convulses our media elite. Warning of…Continue Reading

Shawnee State . . . Professors Must Speak Contrary To Their Beliefs Or Be Punished

CINCINNATI — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Shawnee State University officials Monday, November 5 on behalf of a professor that the university punished because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). Although philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Humility — Foundation Of The Spiritual Life

By DON FIER As has been demonstrated over the past two weeks, temperance is the cardinal virtue that “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts, and provides balance in the use of created goods” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 383). Although most often associated with man’s innate appetitive drives to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Gertrude The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Christian spirituality, prayer has many types and forms. There are prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition. There are vocal prayers and mental prayers. Again there are liturgical prayers and private prayers. Only one woman in the history of the Church has been called great, St. Gertrude the Great, a Benedictine nun, known for her wisdom…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading