Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thank you, Nancy Pelosi

I have to thank Nancy Pelosi. What? you might ask. You? Thank Nancy Pelosi? Yes, that's right. A couple of days ago Nancy brought to my attention a Catholic warrior with whom I was not familiar prior to her mentioning him in a speech she gave in mid-May. Who was the warrior? None other than Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary who lived from 1892 to 1975, the year I graduated from 8th grade.


Now, it is odd to me that Ms. Pelosi would mention Cardinal Mindszenty. It is only because she was speaking to an audience in Hungary that she did so. She said that she, like other Catholics her age, prayed for the cardinal when they were growing up in Catholic school. She mentions his "struggle," but never anything about the substance of what he stood for. [Side note: Joe Biden claims to be Catholic also, and is only 3 years younger than Ms. Pelosi. I wonder if he prayed for the cardinal? Hard to say since Biden's authoritative, Wikipedia bio (sic) does not mention his education until he got to high school and attended an exclusive Catholic (Norbertine) school.]

Since Ms. Pelosi is significantly older than I am, that may account for why I have never heard of Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty. But, thanks to Pelosi, I read about him this week and was thoroughly engrossed. In fact, I think Ms. Pelosi herself should revisit the Cardinal's story, because if she does she will either not mention him again or she will be enlightened as to what she missed all those decades ago when she presumably was an angelic child praying for the Catholic warrior. I suspect she has not read anything else about the cleric since leaving behind elementary school and her prayers for the cardinal nearly 60 years ago. And her memory of what he fought against must have faded also since she and her liberal comrades espouse everything that he fought against.

I am always amazed how Pelosi touts her claim to be a Catholic when it suits her political agenda. Remember how on the first day of Lent this year she attacked the Catholic Church because it has brought its teachings around to her way of thinking? There is so much that is wrong with what Ms. Pelosi said in that video that it would take me the rest of this week to delve into it. I am sure some will condemn me as being judgmental for what I say about Ms. Pelosi, but so be it. Ms. Pelosi either does not understand the Catholic faith in which she grew up or she has chosen to ignore it. I hope it is the former and not the latter. It may be a combination of both.

The irony in what Ms. Pelosi has brought to our attention is that Cardinal Mindszenty stood up against a communist regime and refused to bend to the laws that he recognized as being violative of religious freedom. Naturally, Hungary did not have our First Amendment right to freedom of religion, but the cardinal was a staunch vocal advocate who insisted that religious freedom is a basic natural right. He drove around the country telling Catholics not to comply with the law and not to give up their property and land to the government. Even when he was arrested by the Communists in 1948, he refused to give in to the government take-over of Catholic schools and land. For most of the rest of his life he lived in a state of arrest. But he never gave in, not even to secure his own freedom.

I noted briefly last week in a posting that 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations in the United States have filed lawsuits against the Obama administration. The basis of the cause of action is the provisions of the health care mandate requiring all employers who pay for insurance to also pay for abortifacients, birth control, and sterilization so that these are free to all women. This violates the Constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of religion.

Liberals try to argue that this is not true. They say things like, "What if Jehovah Witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions and so they say we won't pay for blood transfusions for our employees," and "If Catholics can refuse birth control, Jehovah Witnesses can refuse blood transfusions." Some Catholics have tried courageously to distinguish the two.

The bottom line is that, like Cardinal Mindszenty, some leaders of the Catholic Church in America recognize that our religious freedoms are under attack. Unless we stand up against the attempts to secularize our country completely and erase religion from having any influence on matters, we are doomed to a society that will evolve into the ones that are the subject of books like The Hunger Games series. I for one do not want to live in a district where the inhabitant slaves do the bidding of the elite who occupy the lazy, over-the-top capital in order that they might live the good life. Sadly, that possibility is not that unimaginable any more.

As Mary Ann Glendon, a Catholic professor at Harvard, points out in a recent op ed, the Obama contraception mandate is not about protecting women's health, as Ms. Pelosi and other liberals feign. It is about drawing others who are trying to remain on the "good side" over to the "bad side." It is reminiscent of the childhood story we have all experienced, of those who steal a cookie and then give half to a friend or sibling so that they are also part of the sin and cannot tell on the thief.

Liberals know they are wrong in trying to mandate things that the Catholic Church will not condone (abortion, sterilization, contraception). But they try to draw everyone into their sin so that they can partake of their wicked ways and share the cost with those who are repulsed by their actions. This is precisely what Cardinal Mindszenty fought against.

So I thank Nancy Pelosi, and I challenge her to reflect back on what she prayed for as a child in the 40s and 50s. If we are careful, we might just get what she prayed for -- religious freedom.