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Devra Torres

The HHS, Then and Now

Dec. 27, 2013, at 6:40pm

There was once a politician so power-hungry that he insisted on gathering extensive data about his people 

 at whatever cost to them, in order to tax them more efficiently. 

He cared nothing for the inconveniences and expenses involved in complying with his mandates.  He was especially ignorant, hardhearted, or both, on questions pertaining to bringing new life into the world.

When he decreed that everyone should return to their ancestors’ native place, the better to keep track of them, he allowed no exemptions--not even for one obscure young woman who was already nine months along.  She accompanied her husband to his native town, despite the danger of giving birth along the way.

She

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Devra Torres

Freedom of Religion vs. Freedom of Worship: More than Semantics

Jan. 10, 2013, at 1:16am

Now that various courts are beginning to weigh in on the HHS Mandate, it’s worth re-examining what the commotion is all about.  Over at Bad Catholic, one article lays out convincingly why religious liberty is worth making a fuss over. 

Here's another aspect: the reductionism of abandoning constitutional terminology and quietly replacing “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship” as Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, and some others have been doing for years now.

Maybe they thought no one would notice.  Maybe they believed the core of a Catholic’s faith is a fondness for quaint liturgical customs and a sentimental sense of belonging. 

Still, in his community-organizer days,and throughout

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Katie van Schaijik

What are you doing for religious freedom?

Jun. 27, 2012, at 9:09am

The United States bishops have asked for our participation in a "Fortnight for Freedom."  Here's the announcement at the USCCB:

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will

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Katie van Schaijik

Cardinal George sounds a strong warning

May. 15, 2012, at 10:21am

An online friend pointed me to a  sobering article in Business Insider on Cardinal George's warnings about the HHS mandate.

George wrote in his column that the "The State was making itself into a Church" and said he longed for "the separation of Church and State" that Americans enjoyed recently, "when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not."

George compared the Obama's vision of "religious liberty" of the United States to that of the Soviet Union in a passage worth quoting at length: 

Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if

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Katie van Schaijik

A priest lays out the wrong of the HHS mandate

Mar. 6, 2012, at 9:13am

Saturday Jules and I went to a "Newman Night" gathering of local friends.  We meet several times a year for a potluck dinner, lively debate and discussion over a selection of readings, then night prayer.  The readings this time were all about the HHS mandate.  They included this short article by fellow personalist Peter J. Colosi. The debate was about our focus.  Should it be on protesting the violation of religious liberty, or should it be on explaining the evil of contraception?  Or both?

One of those present and participating was our friend, Fr. Philip Forlano.  Sunday evening he sent around the homily he had given at Mass.  I asked him if I could publish it and he said yes.  Here it

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Katie van Schaijik

Persons vs. Power

Mar. 2, 2012, at 11:08am

Increasingly over the years I have been understanding the essential truths of Christian personalism as being radically opposed to the master/slave hermaneutic of human relations established at the fall of Eden.  We are framed for love.  We come from love; we're made of love; we're called to give ourselves in love and service.  That's how we are fulfilled as persons, as individuals and as communities.  It's how we realize through our freedom our being made in the Image and Likeness of God.

The fall of Eden was essentially a refusal to love and serve.  A preference for domination and servility.  

It's interesting to consider the nature of the temptations Satan posed to Jesus in the desert.

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Jules van Schaijik

Deceit and coercion: different means, same end

Feb. 21, 2012, at 2:10pm

The recent HHS contraceptive-coverage mandate, and the lying, manipulative rhetoric surrounding it, has exposed once again the close connection between the abuse of language and the abuse of power. And maybe that's a good thing. We've become so accustomed to political spin, campaign rhetoric, partisan platitudes, etc., that it is easy to miss the manipulative and coercive elements in these forms of sophistry. But those elements, though usually hidden, are always there.

Deceit and violence are in fact very closely related. Sissela Bok calls them "the two forms of deliberate assault on human beings." They are both modes of dominating people; of using them in ways, and for ends, they would

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