This post was just going to be in support of Peoria's bishop, Most. Rev. Daniel R. Jenky CSC. But something else cropped up to add to it ....
Yesterday EWTN News reported that Bp. Jenky has instated the St. Michael Prayer in all Sunday Masses during the intercessions to pray for Catholic's freedom "until these grave issues are favorably resolved". (Full text of the letter at the diocesan website news post.)
While it is primarily the laity who should take the leading role in political and legal action, as your Bishop, it is my clear responsibility to summon our local church into spiritual and temporal combat in defense of Catholic Christianity. Have faith! Have courage! Fight boldly for what you believe! I strongly urge you not to be intimidated by extremist politicians or the malice of the cultural secularists arrayed against us. Always remember that the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Now, I leave it up to you to decide whether this decision, as well as the full-throated blast at the Obama Administration that came with it, deserves an Ecclesial Backbone nomination. The Prayer was originally said after Low Mass as part of the Leonine Prayers which Leo XIII instated in 1884 (the St. Michael prayer was added two years later). If anything, it should be brought back nationwide, so I applaud Bp. Jenky's decision and hope other bishops follow his lead on this.
Of course, the Peoria Journal-Star reported the letter ... in one of the most blatantly biased "stories" I've read this past year (which by definition excludes op-ed pieces). After two paragraphs cutting the letter down to "a call-to-arms", reporter Pam Adams quickly pulls in contradiction from — well, where else?
Meanwhile, Carol Brite, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois, not only praised the ruling but added, according to a recent poll, 77 percent of Catholic women voters support no-cost contraceptive coverage.That, and other surveys, she said, "say to me all women, including Catholic women, deserve access to birth control." [Of course it says that to you, because you specialize in non sequiturs.]
And a little bit further down:
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the final details Jan. 20. The rule's religious exemption language does not apply to religious employers who serve or employ large numbers of people of different faiths, as many Catholic institutions do. [Which is why the exemption is so limited as to be ineffectual as well as unconstitutional.]Contrary to Jenky's assertions, it is not clear how many Catholic institutions would be affected by the rules. Those with "grandfathered health care plans," such as OSF Healthcare System, one of the area's largest employers, already are exempt. [However, the grandfather clause only affects health plans which already include the required coverage, so this paragraph is misleading.]
And, of course, a gratuitous reference to same-sex unions:
Brite also said she sees parallels between the Catholic Church's position on this issue and its stance on legalizing civil unions in Illinois [Wow, she's perspicacious! Nobody else could possibly draw that connection!]. After bitter legal and political battles, the church ultimately ended its connections with Catholic Charities agencies throughout the state rather than recognize same-sex couples for adoption placements.
Now, there is a stroke of luck: On the sidebar, the Journal-Star has a poll (pictured right). GO VOTE! I've already tweeted this recommendation, and the irrepressible Father Z has re-tweeted it to his legions of followers. So okay, I have just a little bit over a century (in modern terms, a light-infantry company), but I ask you to add your voices to PJS's little poll and help get that green bar past the 50% mark!
Another thing we can all do is lift up our prayers in union with the people of Peoria in the Prayer to St. Michael this Sunday and every Sunday "until this issue is favorably resolved" ... say, by election of a new administration which junks the rule and takes Obamacare back to the drawing board.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.