Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Clerical Censorship

I like to think of Fr. Peter Preble as a respected colleague.

As such, we should be able to disagree on certain points without rancor.

However, there appears to be one area where this is not possible.

That is the area of whether the Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services are engaging in an assault on religious freedom through the Affordable Care Act.

Today he published a lengthy screed on his blog titled Courage in Leadership repeating all the same old attacks. I responded with the following comment. 

Your arguments and those of the Catholic Bishops on this issue are totally specious.

It is not your religious freedom that is being restricted; it is the ability of your essentially secular institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.) to penalize employees and students for not conforming to your religious beliefs. The churches and the institutions are not paying for contraceptive insurance and services, the insurance companies are. Any other representation is simply a deceptive canard to portray yourselves as victims.

As regards this socialism, you can easily exempt yourselves from it. Stop taking the tax money that the socialistic programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Education for your institutions and you can follow whatever rules you like. It would be equally egalitarian to give up all the tax exemptions that churches enjoy, since that’s just a socialist government subsidy.

Finally, the over-the-top comparison to Hitler and Stalin is especially appalling. One need only recall the conspiracy of silence by the Catholic Church and most Protestant prelates that allowed Hitler to rise to power. If needs be google Martin Niemoller.

Now, it seems that if you are going to run a blog and engage in political opinions you should at least allow opposing views. This, however, is not the first time that I’ve submitted a comment in opposition to Fr. Peter’s point of view on this subject. It is also not the first time that it has not been published.

Now it is his blog and he is free to do what he likes. However, one cannot help but be skeptical of one accusing others of using despotic tactics while they silence any voices of dissent.


  1. Ken,

    I take great offense to your supposition that I delete comments. I have been away from my computer all day, ministering to people, and have not had a chance to publish your opinions that you left on the blog. I did read them as I get an email when someone posts a comment. I would appreciate your updating of your blog and not to jump to conclusions about me in the future.

  2. Replies
    1. I post this and suddenly my comments appear on your blog.

      Your initial response was posted within 9 minutes of the post appearing - and I didn't even send you a notice of the post like I usually do.

      Who's credible?

  3. I do not blog full time and as I just sent you in an email I had a Liturgy this morning at our nursing home in Worcester and sat with a dying woman and have planned a funeral this is the first time I have had to post any comments on the blog.

    I would not expect you to understand.

  4. I looked at his blog, there is a comment by "Linda" under the post "The Purpose of the Church" which is the post before the one you commented on. Perhaps you got confused. There is no reason for him to censure you and Fr. Peter's response above sounds both plausible and reasonable.

    1. I'll grant that could happen, but I don't see how given that I went to Fr. Peter's blog from the link on my own blog which links to his current post.

    2. I will accept that as a reasonable explanation, and change my remark regarding Linda's post.

      I still stand by the gist of my remarks regarding my remarks about previously unposted comments and the speedy response once this post went up.

  5. Well Ken, sorry I was away from my computer minstering to people and did not get to your comment as fast as you might have liked. I do have other tasks to do from time to time around here at cause me to be away. Sometimes it takes 24 hours for me to get back to the blog to post comments as it is not my first priority.

    I disagree with your opinions about what I wrote and the word screed used to talk about someones opinon. Standing where I do I have a bit of a different view of what is happening to religous freedom in this country since Pres Obama has taken office. But that is my opinon and for now anyway, we still have a right to those.

    1. I concur on agreeing to disagree.
      However, the use of the word screed is no more objectionable than comparing the Administration to Hitler and Stalin (even if only by referencing someone else's words).
      Further, there should be a distinction between fact and opinion. It is a fact that the insurance companies are paying for the coverage to which you object, not the institutions.

  6. It is clear that the Catholic Church is engaging in the restriction of rights guarenteed by our Constitution. Case in point, hall rentals.

    The Catholic Church wants to engage in a business to raise money of their non-profit then think they have the power to deny rentals to people they deem undesirable either by political view or moral issue. Refusing to rent the hall to same sex partners or renting their hall to one political party but not the other over the right to choose issue. This is discrimination that violates a person's basic civil rights.

    That is one of the main reasons the founding fathers put separation of church clause in the Constitution. The government won't regulate religion but conversely, religion cannot use its pretext to violate individual rights and liberties over their religious views.


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