Cumberland Times-News

January 1, 2012

So, what has the devil now dealt us?

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News


Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been almost 12 months since I made a pact with the devil and will now have government-supported abortions in the United States. 
This should be the confession and wake up call to all Catholics, and most particularly to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 
The USCCB engagement in social justice to advocate health care reform, calling for “adequate and affordable health care for all,” threw in their lot in with progressives in Congress and the Obama administration and encouraged the passing of universal health care. But, be careful what you wish for.
To the bishops’ credit, they spoke out against the health care bill passed in the 2010 session of Congress for failing to adequately ensure that taxpayer funds would not pay for abortions. 
But the devil played his cards and performed some sleight of hand in the guise of an executive order to win pro-life Democrat votes that would reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion. An executive order that can be issued or repealed by one man — the president. What could possibly go wrong?
But as the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic (really?), said, “But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” So, now that the fog has lifted, what has the devil dealt us?
The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic (really?), has issued a mandate that would require contraception and sterilizations be covered by most private insurance plans. 
This will include employer insurance plans offered by Catholic-run intuitions, i.e. The Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as Catholic hospitals and teaching intuitions. 
This will force Catholics to choose between violating their conscience or severely curtailing health care service. So now the USCCB is calling for legislative reform of health care law to protect conscience rights. Sigh ... like no one saw this coming.
So as Catholics, where do we go from here? Contact your representatives, if you like. But in my opinion, we Catholics need to get our act together and realize that this country, this United States of America, is the only nation on the face of the planet, in the history of mankind, which allows us to express and live our faith to its fullest potential. 
That key is to recognize that Jesus Christ became man, lived, died, and rose from the dead for our individual salvation. He didn’t do it for the collective salvation of Cumberland, Allegany County, the state of Maryland, or the United States. 
He did it for me, just as he did it for you. It is a glorious gift, and we waste it by not living up to our fullest potential. 
Our fullest potential does not come from laying claim on the rights and liberties of our fellow man, rather it comes from recognizing and respecting those rights, celebrating those liberties, and following the two greatest commandments: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength; and Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. I don’t see a directive for social justice in that, Excellency.
For your penance, I’d like you to say one “Hail Mary,” one “Our Father,” sing “God Bless America,” and sin no more. We’ve live in the greatest country in the history of mankind, and it needs our Catholic leadership to help restore and preserve it.
Richard R. Biancone Jr.