When I was looking online yesterday at my church's bulletin for Mass announcements, I realized I was looking at the June 17th bulletin, one that I'd normally pick up at tomorrow's Mass. In other words, it has not yet appeared in print. I was rather taken aback to see this "apology" from the pastor. It is as follows (on page 2):
"The last three weekends, an article appeared in our bulletin regarding the Health and Human Services Mandate and Religious Freedom. While I agree with our Bishops in the goal of overturning the mandate and agree that we should take an active part as citizens in protecting our freedoms, I regret the tone of those articles and the hyperbolic language used in those articles. As the Church founded by Our Lord, we should speak the truth in charity. These articles did not conform to that requirement."
I had recalled seeing that statement and thought nothing to be amiss. However, given this "apology", I thought I should take another look at the previous week's (June 10th) bulletin. Here is the blurb from that bulletin (from page 3): (Note - the embolded portions reflect the formatting in the bulletin)
"As the 2012 Presidential campaign ramps up, the mainstream media are ramping up their efforts to bury the issue of religious liberty, to forget the outrage over the HHS mandates, and to shift the focus to a trumped up "War on Women." Your partnership with StopHHS.com IS INSURING THAT the mainstream media WILL NOT be the sole voice forming public opinion. We must rely on alternative media like Catholic and evangelical radio, social media, EWTN to keep interested citizens informed. Thisneglect, this omission is severe: The mainstream press utterly ignored the timely document released in the last few weeks by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty." In spite of the fact that this was the USCCB's first major document since the beginning of the conflict and, in spite of the fact, that the USCCB is a, if not, the principle party in this conflict, the press couldn't bring itself to even mention the Bishops attempt to frame this discussion. The Bishops lucidly and charitably interpret the history of religious persecution in America, offer a candid assessment of where we standtoday, and issue a clarion call to fight back with "all the energies the Catholic community can muster." That call includes a "fortnight for freedom" from June 21 to July 4, in which the Bishops ask that individual dioceses arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending our first freedom. They ask Catholic institutions to do the same, especially in cooperation with fellow Christians, Jews, people of other faiths, and indeed, all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom. Stay tuned to StopHHS.com for more on these particular events as plans develop, but in preparation for this fortnight for freedom. On March 23, we had over 140 cities and 65,000 Americans take to the streets to demand that our religious liberty be restored. We are committed to increasing those numbers so that the media and our fellow citizens can no longer ignore this injustice. As the Bishops have written, "we will not - we cannot - permit the HHS Mandate to stand." Please visit StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com to find locations in your area OR to volunteer to be a rally captain in your town. A special word to Catholic laymen and laywomen: We are finally fulfilling what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council intended us to be: Responsibility for the temporal affairs of our nation is the responsibility of the laity. We are called to be good neighbors and good citizens. We do that best when we embrace our identity as citizens of heaven and take seriously our call to be ambassadors of Christ, ministers of reconciliation and bearers of the good news. If the HHS mandate is permitted to stand the federal government will have arrogated to itself the power to determine what is and what is not an authentically Catholic institution. Lay driven Catholic entities like Catholic Social Services, Catholic Charities, Catholic Universities, Catholic Media and Catholic Hospitals are a vital part of Catholic witness to the love and mercy, wisdom and power of Jesus. We can't let Caesar limit Christ's ministry. This has happened in the Soviet Union. It is happening in China. Will it be permitted to happen in the United States? For the latest on the Pro-Life movement in this area you can log on to www.prayforgermantown.org."
How on earth is this article NOT "truth in charity"? Where is all this objectionable "tone" and "hyperbole"? Let's be crystal clear. Every word - and I mean EVERY - is accurate. So the article is not necessarily couched in nicey-nice-nice kiddie talk. So what??? Ladies and gentlemen, it's way past time to "man up" or "woman up" as the case may be - or more accurately, it's high time we grow up and face the stark reality that is breathing down our necks. There can be no "truth in charity" if the truth is not spoken in a plain, complete and unabashed manner; else you have falsehood and any "charity" will in fact be a mere exercise in maudlin sentimentality.
If there is anything regrettable in the bulletin, it's this apology. I don't know what impelled it, but I do intend to get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile, if anyone else has any inkling, please advise via the comments.
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