Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why are those Yanks so different?

It is annoying when other people make a point you intended to make - and make it better! Fr Sean has done it.
All this fuss in the US about the Catholic Church paying for abortions, sterilisations, contraception and so forth, in England the Church has been doing it for years, without  a word of protest or a blink of the eye.
Admittedly in our own dear country, first of all the Health Servce was introduced, precisely to fund medical care, only gradually were other things added to the mix, until now the NHS kills babies in the womb and we are on the brink of it killing the old and infirmed.
It is alright though, we are not alone, "Health" Services in the rest of Europe are more-or-less the same.
As Catholics instinctively we support the American Catholic bishops but if we do, then what about our own situation?

What worries the Bishops of the US does not worry our own European Bishops, even those in the Roman Curia who happily sign cheques without a single moral qualm for Health Insurance yet to not do so their brothers across the pond seem willing to go into open rebellion against the Obama regime.

It doesn't worry us or our bishops at all but their action reflects back to us our own lack of moral perception and hardness of heart. Why should something so distasteful in the US be so acceptable in the UK?


Supertradmum said...

Father, some of our ancestors left Europe or other countries because they were being persecuted for their Faith. So, the descendants have strong blood. As someone who had pioneer ancestors on the Oregon Trail, I can tell you that these were freedom loving, hardy and brave people. Maybe the best left Europe-no offense, but my I am proud of my roots.

Supertradmum said...

Can I borrow you civil war art for my blog? I know young people in Missouri and Arkansas, who told me in 2009 that they were ready for another civil war. It may come.

Fr Ray Blake said...

It is not my art, I found it by googling: civil war

Supertradmum said...

OK thanks

Mary Martha said...

I think the answer boils down to this - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

I don't know if there is anything like that in the UK.

In the last 50 years there has been case after case pushing the church out of public life with the rallying cry of 'separation of church and state'. This is the moment where we will learn if that road runs both ways (as it should).

george said...

My understanding, Father, was that on the Continent the various states made compromises (concordats) with the Church. So although some aspects of European Catholicism may seem more liberal, in fact, they have more rights visavis the state than the Church in American does.

Mr. Obama will never compromise with the Church. The Church never had a position of power in any real sense in America. We clung to the Whig notion of Religious Liberty and made our defense around that political virtue. Now we are finally (albeit very lately) coming to see that Religious Liberty is a weak and flawed basis from which to defend the rights of the Church.

The other difference I see is that with "Continental" Catholicism, the entire health and education systems in most countries were run by the Church, so they underwent sort of Quebec-style Quiet Revolutions. In the USA, the Catholic slice of education and health services is significant, but not even close to approaching a majority status. So, some degree of theological "purity" (such as it is, post Vatican II) has been allowed, by the state, to be maintained.

That is coming to an end now.

Caesar Obama cannot allow any Catholic holdouts on these precious issues of life. Family and population control are at the center of the Revolutionaries' agenda. And, the Catholic Church, in all its weakness and post-Vatican II disorder, is still the only institution standing in the way.

No matter how small the population, this pro-life dissent cannot be allowed.

So, we are left with arguments about fairness. How can woman working for a school run by the Church have less access to contraception than a woman working for a school run by the state?

Never mind the fact that that woman working for the Catholic school system is making 50% to 75% in salary compared to the school teacher working for the state.

Obama is not proposing that the federal government, out of fairness, pay the difference in salary for that school teacher. No way! That would violate "Separation of Church and State". Instead of the unfairness of income, the state will ensure there is no unfairness with regard to sexual liberty. It's all about sex, destroying the traditional family, and slowing or reversing population growth. Nothing changes. The ghost of Malthus animates the Left.

ServusMariaeN said...

I live here in Kentucky in the thick of descendants of English Catholics who originally settled in Maryland but because they became the minority there were driven out to the "hinterlands" of Kentucky. I tend to agree with Supertradmum a bit. I think that the people who left the "Old Country" who were persecuted for their faith might still have that vestige of fighting spirit in them. I don't know. I would argue there really was never a "Catholic culture" perse in the USA (other than in isolated areas). I think the immigrants who came to these shores to settle did what they could to continue on in the "faith of their fathers". However, today most of them don't really know what that faith is unfortunately outside of the trad minority.

umblepie said...

You are right to voice concern over the use of NHS funds - obtained through National Insurance contributions, being used arbitrarily for providing contraceptives and abortions,whether contributors like it or not. Would it not be possible for Catholics and those who oppose contraception and abortion, to elect that their contributions not be used for these purposes. If a concerted effort were made by our Bishops and Catholic leaders to facilitate such a scheme,and if this was supported by Catholic and like-minded politicians, and Catholic tax-payers, with God's help justice and good may prevail.

Patricius said...

The National Health Service here in the UK was set up twenty years before abortion was legalised and became part of the service. The fact that the NHS is funded through the general taxation system rather than through specific insurance policies is what perhaps makes our situation here in Britain somewhat different from that proposed in the USA. We all contribute to it whether we like it or not. There is no SPECIFIC connection between the individual taxpayer and the particular service. It is perhaps analogous to when one's country uses one's taxes to prosecute an unjust war. There is no way to avoid contributing for even those who do not pay income tax contribute through VAT. Now if I can find a way of fiddling that ...!

Richard said...

It is less direct in the UK. We do not pay for healthcare, we pay taxes. That tax revenue then becomes the State's money, and the State uses it to pay for abortions.

It isn't even National Insurance; the NHS is paid for out of general taxation (income tax, VAT, all the rest of it).

Very different to the US situation, where the Church is being ordered to buy abortions (or at least to buy health insurance that will pay for abortions).

So in the UK we have two issues

First, should the NHS pay for abortions?
No. But we're a minority under an electoral system and we can't stop it.
Clearly we should be working for a change in the law, but given the extremely low chance of winning such a change, it is legitimate to see it as a low priority.

Second, since the NHS pays for abortions, should we therefore stop paying taxes (or rebel against our government in some way)?
Difficult question.
There must come a point when the State becomes so evil that we should stop paying taxes or rebel. But St Paul told Christians to pay Roman taxes even though the Romans used part of that money to persecute and kill Christians, so we're clearly expected to put up with a lot of evil from our governments.

Richard said...

The situation may be different in some other countries.

Germany and the Netherlands both have a system of compulsory health insurance that seems similar to Obama's proposal.

From what I can find on the web:

- since 1984, when abortion was fully legalised, the compulsory Dutch insurance must, by law, cover all abortions (like the US Obama proposal);

- the compulsory German insurance must, by law, cover abortions performed on medical grounds (where the mother's physical or mental health is threatened) or after rape, but not "on demand" abortions.

So the Dutch, and probably the Germans, seem to have similar arrangements to the one proposed by Obama in the USA.

As you say, Father, it is interesting that the Church in those countries has not objected.

Evagrius said...

Briefly, Fr., there is no social/moral conservative groundswell in this country. "Conservatism", here, has been considerably debased into Mammon-worship of one kind, as the labour movement has been debased into Mammon-worship of another.

It also doesn't help that, far from even being Catholic, most of Britain is not even religious in any meaningful sense, preferring that wishy-washy agnosticism which has replaced wishy-washy Anglicanism (as the atheist Douglas Adams put it.)

Terry said...

I think we also have to bear in mind that in the US, the Catholic population numbers around 67 million, quite a fair whack of votes for the government to mess around with.
Here in the UK, we're in the minority, with a lot of prejudice still aimed at us, so I think our bishops are a bit more cautious, knowing full well when the government wants a scapegoat, they'll be looking at us. Whither our adoption agencies.

Hughie said...

I know there can be all sorts of problems with recommending something found on another website -- apart from anything else, Fr, you can't be expected to have the time to go to the trouble to check things out all the time.

However, since I am not a stranger to your Blog, I hope you will be prepared to take my word for it that the article by Mark Steyn "Obama goes Henry VIII on the church" is well worth reading. It can be found at:

I have to freely admit that I know very little about this guy, but in this hard-hitting article he makes some very interesting points, and doesn't miss his target, using the Act of Supremacy of 1534 and the later Acts of Uniformity as his framework. He begins (almost, there is a wee bit of ironic wit first) by pointing out: "The church model the young American state wished to separate from was that of the British monarch, who remains to this day Supreme Governor of the Church of England."

He goes on to paint a picture of Obama as Henry VIII post-apostasy and concludes (again, almost) by observing that: "The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else: First, other pillars of civil society are crowded out of the public space; then, the individual gets crowded out, even in his most private, tooth-level space."

If you read the article that bit about "tooth-level" will become hilariously clear.

I should point out that he does make a very slightly risque reference to his youthful amorous adventures but I couldn't imagine anyone being offended by it as it does make a splendid point.

PM said...

Our American brethren need to be careful here that, in opposing Obama's unacceptable policies, they do not end up becoming apologists for the darwinian survival-of-the-fittest (=richest) ideology that underlies the Republicans' atttitude to health care and many other matters. Anyone who thinks Catholic orthodoxy entails exteme laissez-faire economics should go back and read Leo XIII.

Chantgirl said...

Just because you do not have religious freedom enshrined in law in quite the same way that we do over here does not mean you do not have a right to religious freedom. That right comes from God Himself and no one can deny you this right; they can only punish you for exercising this right. Here in America we are surprised but joyful that the Bishops have shown that they have backbones. Many of us laity are trying to find a way to get around the law if we can't change it. Courage!

George said...

Isn't Religious Liberty an Enlightenment concept? Therefore, not coming "from God".

The Catholic Church believes in the freedom of the Catholic Church. Religious liberty is tolerated.

The reason we're in this situation today is Religious Liberty. And I believe the Bishops lost this current battle in the first round. When they claimed an argument based on liberty and not the moral law.

All of our constitutional rights are limited; none are truly absolutely. The classic example being the right to free speech does not permit one to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater.

So, from the start the Bishops based their argument on a weak foundation.

The Bishops should have not used the Enemy's Enlightenment terminology in their defense; rather, they should have made a two-fold argument: against contraception and for the rights of the Church.

Contraception may be practiced obsequiously over here, but the legal and moral basis for contraception was never debated on the merits. Contraception was universally legalized in the 1960s under the rubric of "right to privacy".

The Church has truth on its side.

It should have taken this opportunity to proclaim the truth. The Enemy could only counter that truth with lies.

Rather, unfortunately, we've entered a debate on Religious Liberty.

PM: too late. We need desperately a Catholic party in America. Instead, we are stuck joining with the radical Whigs (otherwise known as the Republic Party). They despise Catholics, but cleverly use the pro-life movement to garner Catholic votes.

JARay said...

I have seen the argument used many times that atheists should not have to pay for Catholic schools! I am not talking about Catholic private schools but those Catholic schools which are maintained by the Local Authority. The maintenance of these schools is paid for out of general taxation as are the salaries of the teachers and the superannuation of those teachers. All these costs come from taxation imposed on the general public. I taught for several years in Catholic schools in England and I now receive a monthly income from the general Teachers' Superannuation Fund. At the time I was paying into this Fund the Government was helping itself to those contributions and, in reality, it is general taxation which is paying my pension now.

Cosmos said...


As an American, I would say the fact that you used the word "distasteful" in this context would be a good starting point for answering your question.

I think the reason that America has more faithful bishops than most European nations is that there are a lot of active protestant sects that keeps the Catholics on their toes in certain sections of the country. The Anglican Church, for example, is not keeping anyone sharp. So as pathetic as it sounds, it seems like its a matter of competition in the marketplace.

And while many Americans are borrowing language from our Bill of Rights to make their argument, this is not really a 1st Amendment dispute. The regulation is a neutral law (one that does not target religion directly), and is likely constitutional- at least under current jurisprudence. The issue is that many Americans expect "conscience clauses" in these kind of laws. People believe that government needs to respect people's religious beliefs (whether or not Congress is required to do so). Congress actually passed a law (RLPA) that forces the federal government to take religious liberty into account before passing federal laws.

Your Yankee friend across the pond,

Cosmos said...

To be fair, I guess I should add that there is a significant "1st Amendment" aspect of the case--even if it is not what is being discussed as frequently. That question is whether the government can define what is and is not a religious organization. The President is attempting to say that while a Church (a religious body teaching co-religionists) is "religious" a hospital or other charitable organization that offers services neutrally, whether or not religiously affiliated, is not.

Pablo the Mexican said...


That is the term for the 'stand' Amchurch Bishops have taken.

Not one single Catholic woman in American has stopped taking birth control or thrown her jumbo pack of condoms away since the Bishops took their stand.

Another term: Lip service.


The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...