Many of us have been greatly saddened and troubled at heart by the HHS Mandate.
Yet, there are many more who really haven’t been able to stay informed or have not understood just how this mandate has stripped away the religious liberties and freedom of expression from all American citizens.
Already, Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio, has informed its student-body that there will be no more health care insurance offered at the school. (Read more here) Why? Because, the HHS Mandate forces all Catholic schools, hospitals, and various institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilization services, abortion pills, and other products and services which stand in direct contradiction to the moral Teaching of the Catholic Church. Rather than compromise its Catholic identity, Franciscan U thought it best to cancel the insurance.
Catholic institutions have been give a “choice”. As of August 1st, 2012, they must provide these things as part of the health-care packages you offer; or, close your doors.
I don’t know what’s more worrisome: To think of all those who will be left in dire need should Catholic hospitals begin to shut down, or how devastating and dividing it will be if Catholic institutions acquiesce to this unjust law and give in, rather than deprive their employees of health-care packages or shut down.
“Jesus, I trust in You”.
The pastor of the parish to which I belong, Reverend John J. Lombardi, has challenged us.
He asks, “Are you a camouflage Catholic? Or, a heroic one?” He says, “The time has come for us to be heroic Catholics”.
Sadly, there was a quiet avalanche forming and pushing forward for years. Catholics, who are afraid to speak up in a crowd of people. Catholics, who want to claim the Faith as their own, but don’t wish to be seen as “different or out-dated”. Worse, and most-damaging, has been those who call themselves Catholic and hold official voting positions in our government, who, instead of being “heroic Catholics” as Father Lombardi challenges them to be, have been “camouflage Catholics” and have, many times over, publicly spoken, acted, and voted against the Teachings of our Church.
This paved the way; a quiet avalanche, steam-rolling; many times un-noticed, until all of the ground work was in place…so that something like the HHS Mandate could make its way through the United States Supreme Court, and be called “constitutionally valid” under the guise/loop hole of an old tax law.
To think that the very Justice who offered the “swing” vote for the “success” of the mandate is, himself a (Camouflage?) Catholic, is disturbing, to say the least.
“Be not afraid” Pope John Paul II often reminded us; echoing the words Our Lord and His angels use in the Scriptures time and time again.
“The gates of hell shall not prevail,” Jesus tells us.
Thus, we, as Catholics need to be transparent now. We must take off the “camouflage” and put on the “armor of God”! We must know our Faith, live our Faith, and share our Faith with others. Most importantly, insofar as government and law is concerned, we must “vote” our Faith!
I am grateful to know many heroic Catholics in my life; Father John Lombardi being one of them.
He has inspired hundreds, if not thousands of people to reach higher, go deeper, step out in a great leap of faith for Christ, in the world.
On July 29th, 2012, Father Lombardi, and two of my own precious children; my teens, age 17 and 15, will embark, with others, along a spiritual pilgrimage, entitled, “Religious Freedom Walk 2012″.
These faithful pilgrims of God, defenders of the Catholic Faith, and joyful/willing Christian servants, will walk
100 miles, across the state of Maryland, from our parish parking lot, to the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Baltimore.
100 “heroic” miles for Christ!
They will walk in prayer, penance, and praise of God.
They will walk as witnesses to the Truth of the Teaching of the Catholic Church and to defend it against the unjust law of the HHS Mandate.
They will walk to raise monies for two worthy charities: The Saint Vincent de Paul Society and The Interfaith Coalition Service (where my teens have served those in need in the local food pantry for 4 years).
You, dear reader, are welcome to join these Heroic Catholics!
You may walk the entire 100 miles or any portion of it.
You may unite yourself, in spirit, through prayer, penance, and fasting to sustain the pilgrims as they walk.
You may offer a donation: For the charities listed above, and/or for gift cards for gasoline to fund the “chase cars” that will be following the pilgrims and dropping supplies for them along the way.
You may also keep in touch, leave an encouraging comment, or simply follow them each day by visiting religiousfreedomwalk2012.
And, if you happen to be driving through Maryland, between July 29th and August 5th, and you see some pilgrims walking along-side the road, wearing Religious Freedom Walk 2012 shirts, honk your horn, or give a shout out to keep them going!
Let us all ponder the words of Father John J. Lombardi.
Let us ask ourselves if we are camouflage Catholics or if we are willing to be heroic Catholics.
The time has come.
The time is now.
Copyright 2012 Judy Dudich