Monthly Archives: January 2012


On 23 March 1775, Patrick Henry delivered a passionate speech before the members of the Virginia legislature at St. John’s Church in Richmond, convincing them to send troops into the revolutionary war. His highly successful and memorable line stirred the listeners to join him in calling out: “Give me liberty, or give me death.”

Unfortunately, St. John’s Church was destroyed by the Confederates during the Civil War. It seems that now, however, in the twenty-first century, we are about to destroy the very concept of liberty itself – or least for some citizens of our country. Catholics are most definitely included in this effort, and, in fact, almost appear to be the targeted group.

In case you haven’t heard, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, of Health and Human Services, last week issued a statement in support of the new healthcare initiative that religious non-profits will have to cover sterilization and contraceptive services, including some abortion-inducing drugs in their employee healthcare plans; none will be allowed to charge co-pays or deductibles. The policy goes into effect in August 2013 for these entities; all others will be required to provide these services in August 2012. Sebelius explained how her directive applies to non-church religious entities such as Catholic hospitals and universities: “Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they ‘qualify’ for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.” She also said, “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”

According to Secretary Sebelius, it may be thought that the government is graciously giving us more time so that we can figure out how we are going to commit mortal sin, abandon traditional Catholic teaching in these matters, violate our own consciences and teach others to follow our errors!

The ultimate sadness is that our religious liberties are being trampled, our trusted and valued matters of faith are simply being ignored, and it seems that we are supposed to say: “Thank you.”

This is the latest, and perhaps one of the more audacious, of the outrages of the radical secular agenda. I will be joining with my brother bishops in sending a letter to be read in all of the churches of our diocese this weekend. Please stay informed about this issue, and about others that intend to seriously challenge and limit our ability to live in freedom and according to the mission of Jesus Christ.

I recall an old adage that also passed as a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Perhaps someone had foresight to these days.

…I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.


Very exciting thing, the passage of time. We find ourselves with all sorts of plans to make, things to do, new ideas, and, yes, those pesky resolutions. We sometimes make it through January with most of them intact – February is another matter. I find that the best way not to break them is not to make them. Watch what you eat, don’t smoke, don’t swear, and watch the speedometer seem to be some of the “best practices” to avoid “resolutionary recrimination.”

I often think many of us believe that the magical stroke of midnight on December 31st is going to transform us – ennoble us with amazing power to do things we know we shouldhave done before, but simply didn’t. Thus, is the great conundrum of humanity. St. Paul himself offered some insight in the seventh chapter of Romans when he wrote: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Rom. 7:15)

It is puzzling that we are such creatures of habit and seekers of comfortable predictability. So many of us would fancy ourselves quite willing to take risks and be bold. That’s another thing that is fairly puzzling – how little we really know about ourselves.

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other is truly the gift of humility – namely of learning about ourselves with our strengths and weaknesses, joys and sorrows. Could we, by becoming less mindful of whatever anybody else thinks of us, become more aware of what really matters about us? A great way we have of learning about ourselves is in prayer – really. By honestly entering into a relationship with God we genuinely can start to think about what God wants and less about what we feel we want or worst yet what wefeel we need.

Deep prayer promotes positive thoughts ­– opens up the brain to some very creative ideas and can restore some positive action to daily life. We may not need trendy resolutions that we easily admit will fail if we have a tried-and-true method of proven value called virtuous living set in motion. Happy New Year.

. . . I’ll see you at Sunday Mass (part of a healthy New Year regimen).