Category Archives: HHS Mandate

Saints Jeanie, Fred, Vinnie — Our Catholic Christian Families Must All Stand Together

by Larry Peterson

When Jeanie Jugon began working in the hospital in Saint-Servan she was 25 years old. She hated poverty and all it wrought and she wanted desperately to fight back against it. One bitterly cold winter night in 1839, Jeanie looked out from her bedroom window and saw a person huddled outside. She went out and  somehow managed to carry the freezing woman into her own home and place her in her own bed. The woman was blind, paralyzed and quite old. And so it began, for on that very night Jeanne Jugan turned her life to serving God by caring for the elderly poor.

Word spread quickly throughout the small town and before long more elderly sick and poor were being brought to Jeanie. Other women, younger and healthier, were coming to her also. But they were coming to join her in her work. The small group of women grew and became known as the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Forty years later there were over 2400 Little Sisters of the Poor in nine countries. 1879 was also the year that Pope Leo XIII approved the by-laws of the order. That  was the same year Jeanie Jugon died at the age of 86. She was canonized a saint on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saint Jeanne Jugon never knew that when she was founding the Little Sisters of the Poor a young man hundreds of miles away in Paris was unknowingly doing something quite similar. Fred Ozanam was a 20 year old student at the University of Paris and, challenged by his “enlightened” college peers, embraced their taunts “to practice what you preach”.  So he went out and gave his coat to a beggar.  Then he and his four pals founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. That was in May of 1833.  The society was  named after St.Vinnie because he was known for his work with the poor.

 Vincent de Paul never knew that 170 years after his death an organization named after him would take up the mantel of helping the poor all over the world. Fred Ozanam died at the age of 40 and was beatified and declared ‘Blessed’ by Pope John Paul II in 1997. Fred would never know that the organization he  had founded  would one day work side by side with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their mission of charity toward the elderly poor. Saint Jeanie could never have known that from the moment she carried her first old, sick woman into her home she would change the world for thousands upon thousands of the sick and disabled elderly. She could never have imagined that in the 21st century her order would be serving the poorest of the  elderly in cities all over the United States and in 31 countries around the world. Blessed Fred would never have imagined that his St.Vincent de Paul Society would become a worldwide organization with 3/4 of a million members helping the needy all over the world. The grand irony is that over the course of several centuries the paths of these three saints have been interwoven dramatically as their followers help the poor, homeless and downtrodden no matter where they may be.

The three saints mentioned here never knew what their simple acts of kindness would lead to. The difference with them was that, unlike most folks, they responded to God’s grace. Jeanie took care of that sickly woman and Fred gave away his coat. Vinnie worked with poor tenant farmers and founded the Daughter’s of Charity. The two things they all had in common was a) they welcomed God’s grace and followed His call and b) they asked for NOTHING for themselves and embraced poverty. Remarkably, their thousands and thousands of followers, separated by centuries, work together to this day. This is a beautiful thing.

 Using the names of saints as I have done here bothers some folks. I really do not care about that.  My brother’s name is Daniel but I call him Danny. As far as Jeanie, Fred and Vinnie go, they are my family too.  You see, I love all of these people and using their names like that makes me feel closer to them. They set examples for us that we supposed to emulate. They are our Catholic heroes and therefore  members of our Catholic Hall of Fame. They asked for nothing and gave everything. I love being able to talk to them. What I love best is when they talk back. And they do, sooner or later and one way or another.

We must remember to pray hard for The Little Sisters of the Poor as they stand their ground against the HHS mandate that threatens their very existence. The forces of secularism are hard at work to remove religion from our lives. All our family members, including Vinnie, Jeanie and Fred, need  to stand together defending each other against this enemy.

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugon and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, please pray for us.

Do We Now Have An Unratified, 28th Amendment to the US Constitution?

Let me begin by posting a definition from Wikipedia: It is as follows;

“National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly‘s adoption of Thomas Jefferson‘s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. This vital document became the basis for the establishment clause, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution‘s First Amendment.[1]
Religious Freedom Day is officially proclaimed on January 16 each year by an annual statement by the President of the United States. This day is commemorated by the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia by an annual First Freedom Award banquet.”
Well now, ain’t that something. Every year on January 16 we celebrate Religious Freedom Day. But this year, as the president proclaims the day, his White House is facing  dozens and dozens of lawsuits over the HHS Mandate because of its intrusion into the very belief system of our religious institutions. I am sure that President Obama will not admit that the HHS mandate is intrusive or in violation of our First Amendment rights but, the way I see it is, if someone keeps smacking me in the back of my head and keeps telling me he’s not smacking me because it is only a light tap, I don’t care–I KNOW I am getting slapped, smacked or whacked. Call it what you will–something IS happening and it is a violation of my personal space. 
Look, if someone holds up a bat or a knife or even a fist and threatens you with it, that is an assault. The battery is when they actually hit you. That is why it is called assault & battery. So, as a Catholic Christian, it is very clear to me that my church is being assaulted by the very government that has sworn to protect these freedoms we cherish so highly. The battery will come in the form of fines levied against institutions for non-compliance with the new rules.
  It doesn’t matter what “percentage” of Catholics agree or disagree or what percentage voted for the incumbent. It does not matter what all the intellectuals that inhabit our universities think is right or just. It does not matter what all the cinematic thespians expound as virtuous. It does not matter what TV pundits, late night comedy show hosts and, all the intelligentsia that fill our editorial pages with their wisdom think. No siree,—when it comes to our religious freedoms it is none of their business unless criminal law is being violated under the guise of religion. We should never be told what parts of our faith we should honor and respect. It cannot be justified by percentages or polling numbers or by the opinion of the Ivy League community. It is a sacred right and for this right to be disrespected like this is disgraceful.
The GREAT PARADOX of the American Constitution seems to be our new, unratified, 28th Amendment. It might read: “The right of the Executive Branch of the United States Government to redefine the Constitution of the United States to accomodate its agenda, shall not be abridged”.  

"Little Sisters Threatened by Big Brother"

The Little Sisters of the Poor is a catholic, religious organization founded in France in the first half of the 19th century. A woman by the name of Jeanne Jugan (now Saint Jeanne Jugan) felt the need to help care for the many poverty stricken elderly who seemingly were everywhere in France. She began her ministry by inviting an elderly woman into her home to care for her. One woman caring  for another and so began the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Let us fast forward about 160 years or so. The Little Sisters of the Poor serve people in 31 countries. They have grown from one woman helping one woman to one of the most successful religious organizations in the world. One country they serve is the good old U.S of A. They have about 30 homes here and care for 2500 elderly in the U.S. Enter Obamacare and the HHS Mandate.

There are certain penalties that accompany the Mandate. For example, if an organization were to stop offering health insurance rather than comply with the Mandate that organization, ie: The Little Sisters of the Poor, would be forced to pay a $2000.00 penalty per employee. If they chose to offer insurance without contraception, aborta-facient drugs or sterilization availability, they would be penalized $100.00 per day per employee. If there were 50 employees that would come to about $2,000,000.00 a year.

The Little Sisters of the Poor do one thing. They care for the elderly. They offer them homes where they are welcomed and lovingly cared for. These folks are treated with respect, dignity and love. The good Sisters do not want money. They do not need a fancy car or a big house to live in. They do not need  a flat-screen TV or contemporary clothing. All they want to do is serve other people. Half of all operating costs come from donations, the other half from Medicaid. The penalties for non-compliance with the Mandate would virtually wipe out their ability to continue this work.

The Department of Health and Human Services exemption criteria is so narrowly defined that hardly anyone will qualify. A religious employer will only be exempted if they hire & serve only people of their own faith. Catholic Charities and  Catholic hospitals serve all folks. So do other religious organizations. The penalties will force them to go out of business.  This is so crazy and I would ask, what do the elderly need birth control for anyway?

"My Pollyanna bubble is ready to burst"

Last week I posted that we Christians (Catholics included) are the latest victims of hate crimes subjected to what seems to be a daily onslaught of ridicule, degradation, mockery, lampooning and defilement. Our President and Secretary of State saw fit to use tax-payer money to  star in a video apologizing to Muslims for a 13 minute movie trailer that offended them.  It depicted the prophet Muhammad in a satirical manner.  I suggested that we Christians should have a tax-payer funded video produced apologizing to us for the “PissChrist” exhibit on display in midtown Manhattan. This exhibit is not satirical, not quite. It cuts to the very core of a Christian’s belief system by placing Christ in the artist’s urine. Not to worry all you “powers that be”. We Christians will do like we always do and make some verbal objections and then turn the other cheek. There will be no anarchical  uprising with plundering and pillaging, mayhem and murder. Rest easy, we Christians do not have to be feared. Now, to the point.

I guess when all is said and done my  pollyanish world view has taken a serious hit. I have discovered that many Christians do not even care about stuff like this. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked catholics all over the country to stand behind them in their quest to stop the infiltration into the Catholic church’s invasion by a government run amok, an intrusion unprecedented in American history. Forty nine (49) individual lawsuits were filed on the same day in federal courts all around the country to stop the HHS mandate. How did many Catholics respond. They didn’t. They did not seem to care. In addition, because of the main stream media’s refusal to report about these things, many still do not even know about it. Now the Washington Post comes out and says the latest polls show President Obama leading Mitt Romney by a large margin among Catholic voters. HUH!!! In my pollyanna world this does not even make sense. This Pollyanna’s bubble is ready to burst. I’m just  hoping and praying that it holds on a bit longer.

The "Vacuous Virtuous" Need to Stay Out of Our Churches

I am a blue-collar guy who has, based on my date of birth, become a “senior citizen”. That qualifies me for lots of discounts. No big deal because most of those start kicking in at age 55 and I passed that mark a while back. Now I qualify for Medicare. I am also, and this is most important, a Catholic. Okay, to the point.

I am tired folks. Not because of my age or bad back but because I am worn out from being slapped upside my head because I am Catholic. There are supposedly 77 million Catholics in the United States. That makes me one little pea in a great big pod. And this pea is pee-ode. I am sick and tired of hearing my faith denigrated and mocked by a secular world where the slightest hint of a moral boundary professed or defended is scorned and/or ridiculed by these secularists, many of whom claim to be “catholic”. God forbid anyone (especially someone like Cardinal Dolan of NY and the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)  attempts to defend his faith and his flock by saying “NO” to someone of modern virtue who has their own ideas as to what the Catholic faith should be. The Cardinal and his peers, including Pope Benedict himself, are deemed “out-of-touch”, “radical”, or “outside the mainstream”. Here’s the deal; there is no such thing as “progressive” catholicism.  The basic tenets of the faith have been around for centuries.

My three priorities have always been God, Family and Country—in that order. But you see, no one ever bothered me about that. No one ever bothered you either, right? God bless the framers of the Constitution. Were they SMART. Freedom of Religion–the very first amendment. They knew what kind of lid had to be placed on the pressure cooker of diversity that was to be America. They knew that religion transcended man made law. They knew that a sense of right and wrong was an inborn gift. Religion spelled it out. It provided a moral compass. Therefore, they left it alone and reinforced it with the First Amendment. But then a few hundred years went by and somehow “yes and no” became not only archaic but anathema to so many of our sophisticated and secular 21st century intelligentsia. I would like to dub them the “vacuous virtuous”. Their sense of great smartness has laid waste to any sense of humility they may have once possessed. The result—noxious fumes.

As a Catholic Christian I am supposed to try and live my faith 24/7. We Catholics can go to Mass and Communion every single day of the week if we so choose. There are still many of us, including me, that do. We go for spiritual reinforcement and nourishment so, when we leave the church and confront the world OUTSIDE, we are prepared to live up to out beliefs. We have to work at it, are quiet about it and just do the best we can with what God has given us. Sometimes we succeed, some times we don’t. After all, we are imperfect beings.

Now, unprecedented in American History, an administration in power is telling us that when we go OUTSIDE our church we must violate our beliefs under penalty of breaking the law, facing fine or even imprisonment. They have even suggested that we (as Catholics) have declared “war on women” because we are refusing to give women contraception and abortifacient drugs. Have they lost their minds? Not hardly. They know full well that Title X was signed into law by President Nixon in 1970 and that contraception has been available to all women in this country ever since. The problem with religion, and not just the Catholic religion, is that it sets boundaries and rules and says “NO”. The nerve to tell us we CANNOT do something or have our way. Who in hell do they think they are? Government is the “Great Benefactor”. So,  let’s kick down their doors and take charge.

The powers that “are” think that they have found the “weak link” in the suit of armor. How foolish they are.The Catholic Church has been around for two thousand years. It has survived onslaughts by the “vacuous virtuous” many times and it will again. It will also be around long after all of us here today are not. As for me, I just want them to leave me alone.

"Have They Lost Their Minds? Get Out of My Faith!"

I’m tired. Not because I am a senior citizen or because my back hurts or because I am a cancer survivor or anything like that. All that stuff is GOOD. I am tired and worn out from being slapped upside the head because I am a catholic. Yeah–I am a blue-collar catholic guy who loves his faith and his church and that is all there is to it. My three priorities are; God, Family, and Country–in that order. But, no one ever bothered me about that. God bless the framers of the Constitution. Were they SMART. Freedom of Religion–the very FIRST amendment. God bless em—because those folks knew what kind of lid had to be placed on the pressure cooker of diversity that was to be America. Religion was the thing that transcended law. It made things either right or wrong. It said yes and no. Ah, “yes and no”–how archaic to so many in our sophisticated and secular 21st century world. Yet, how beautiful and reassuring to so many others. Such a paradox.

Okay–I, as do so many Catholics today and throughout the centuries past, like to, on occasion, pay a “visit” to our church. It doesn’t matter where the church is located. Anywhere in the world it is the same. Jesus is there. For real. We believe that. We know that for a fact. It is a faith thing. We can stop in for five minutes just to say HI Jesus. Or we can sit in His presence for five hours and just talk or not talk. If you have a problem with that–oh well. Freedom of religion—remember. For those who believe no explanation is necessary–for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible (unless you really want to have an open mind and check it out).

So–what’s my problem on this Memorial Day? Well, first of all I thought that we were supposed to live our faith the best we can, 24/7. I mean, when I leave church, is that it? Forget all the morality and faith and good works. The hell with the Golden Rule. Doesn’t going to church and attending Mass and sometimes making a “visit”prepare me and fortify me to leave that place and go out into the world? Am I now supposed to, by LAW, leave it in church.  My problem is that it seems that the Obama administration has sent forth a pseudo-catholic by the name of Sebelius who is now standing outside my church telling me just that. She and her other pseudo-catholic buddies like Biden and Pelosi and Kerry et al: are telling me that  as long as I am in church I can follow my faith. Once I leave church I had better follow the rule of law as set forth by the administration in power or face a hefty  fine or even imprisonment. They have even suggested that the church has declared a “war on women” because the church refuses to give contraception and abortifacient drugs. Have they LOST THEIR MINDS? President Nixon signed Title X into law in 1970, 42 years ago, and  contraception on demand has been available all over the country ever since.

Anyway, that’s why I am tired. Tired of this unrelenting attack on my faith supposedly being waged under the  banner of virtue. What a crock. Maybe we should close all the catholic hospitals and foundling homes and catholic charities and the St. Vincent De Paul Society and HIV/Aids centers and homes for the deaf and the blind and shelters for the homeless. HAVE THEY LOST THEIR MINDS?? Hey—get out of my faith.