Friday, January 27, 2012


God bless our new bishop, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM,Conv.

Letter from Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer
To Be Read at all Masses in Parishes in the Diocese of Savannah
During the Weekend of January 28 – 29, 2012

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to you on a matter of grave moral concern -- freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

I stand in unity with Catholic bishops throughout the United States and other religious leaders vowing to fight this mandate.

Along with my brother bishops and other religious leaders, I insist that this is a direct attack on our religious freedom and our First Amendment rights. I will work with the bishops, other religious leaders and our fellow Americans to remove this unjust regulation.

If the Administration will not rescind this violation of our First Amendment rights, we must call on our elected leaders to do so. I ask you to pray that wisdom and justice may prevail, and work together to restore our religious liberty.

Please join me in continuing to follow the development of this important issue and contacting our elected representatives to seek a just resolution.

Through the Southern Cross, diocesan and Georgia Catholic Conference websites and other media, I will keep you up to date on the progress of this important issue.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
╬ Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
Bishop of Savannah


Pater Ignotus said...

Well done!

Templar said...

Clear, unequivocal language. Well done. Huzzah for Bishop Hartmayer.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the bishop. I also continue to issue pessimistic warnings that talk is cheap. Lest any of you missed it, I'll refer you to my comment to Fr. McD's previous post re the Wall Street Journal piece, in which I post a link to the USCCB petition. More bishops, more action, less talk. What actions? you ask. Simple:

Step one: forget about trying to keep our precious tax-exempt status, by which we censor ourselves. Denounce the politicians who have done this, and denounce most loudly the so-called Catholics who have scandalized the faith by lading the charge--Sebelius and Pelosi.

Step two: immediately seek an injunction and a declaratory judgment that the HHS ruling is unconstitutional. (I would suspect that somewhere at least one such action is either being prepared or has been filed. I wonder how many bishops will join it?)

Step three: National letter campaign to Congress. Though I doubt that it will get anywhere, if by some quirk we were to see passage of an expanded religious exemption to Obamacare supported by the Democrats who hold themselves out to be Catholics, Obama would find it very hard to veto in an election year.

Step four: If the above actions fail, civil disobedience. Bring on the lions. If they were good enough for the martyrs, they're good enough for us. (Dare I even call for economic action by Catholics against bishops who fail to join the cause? Hitting a diocese in the collection plate would likely get a bishop's attention faster than anything.)

Anonymous said...

What about a single day off for Catholics. Don't make a big deal, just do it. One day. It will either show solidarity is present or it won't.

Maybe everyone go to Mass, too.


Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - Step One: The goals you seek can be accomplished without losing tax exempt status which, actually, we need. Politicians who ought to be denounced CAN be denounced without any fear of IRS retribution.

STep Two: The USCCB will attempt to have the regulation declared unconstitutional. I think that will be the decision from the SCOTUS.

Step Three: The letter campaign is already underway. See for info.

Step Four: Unnecessary and counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

Pater, which is unnecessary and counterproductive: civil disobedience or martyrdom?

Jenny said...

Yes indeed, thanks be to God for GOOD conscientious Bishops. And, yes, talk is cheap, but it's gotta start somewhere and this kind of response sure beats the "response" (non) to Humanae Vitae and the legalization of abortion to name a couple more glaring examples of the tepid-to-nonexistent Bishop-speak I personally lived through.
Come on guys, keep it comin'...the world is watching...

Anonymous said...

Pater: Re your comment about step 4 being "unnecessary and counterproductive": I trust you are referring to the section dealing with economic protest only. I think thatthere's room for disagreement on that point.

But I hope that you would't suggest that civil disobedience similar to that of King and Thoreau, or that the sacrifices of the early martyrs that I referenced, were either unnecessary or counterproductive.

pinanv525 said...

My guess, and my fervent hope, is that the SCOTUS will reject this as gut-slammably laughable. However, be reminded that we are but one, or possibly two, justices away from a monolithic, left-wing, totalitarian Supreme Court. I have little hope for the Republic long term. We will end up like France because people are sorry and lazy and want everything handed to them. Plus, they do not want anything like religion or sane laws and a strong court system interfering with their immediate self-gratification. The Leftist government knows they let them have all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll they want. It is insurance against all these radical ideas about freedom, responsibility, duty, and faith. God help us...

Pater Ignotus said...

Civil Disobedience should be a last step in responding to injustice.
This proposed regulation is just that - proposed. There are many steps, including a challenge to the regulation in court, that come before any civil disobedience might be considered.

My opinion is that should this proposed regulation reach the SCOTUS, it will be overturned.

At this point in the process, civil disobedience is both unnecessary and counterproductive.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

While your point is very good and I am sure that this would be over-turned by SCOTUS (at least I pray)civil disobedience or at least a protest of days on the Mall in Washington,DC similar to what occurred in Egypt might put President Obama and the liberal, radical wing of the Democrat Party on notice that this is not acceptable and we will work to oust them from government through our election process. The time and energy at wearing down the Church and her faithful members that the Obama administration is actively pursuing, first at Notre Dame, thanks to Fr. Jenkins and then by using Sister Carol Kenhan is astounding.

Templar said...

I suspect that the likes of Pater Ignotus want a lid kept on the pot to prevent it from boiling over. That way the chances of the Socialist Messiah getting re=elected remain viable. To hell with that I say. Let this become a firestorm of backlash against the left in this country.

pinanv525 said...

Templar, In another thread Ignotus is wondering where anyone could get the idea that Obama has a socialist agenda...and Ignotus actually graduated from college. Sheesh! They'll pass anybody...apparently ordain them, too...LOL!

Anonymous said...


In the first place, this is _not_ a proposed regulation. The interim final rule was promulgated last August pending a comment period, which has now passed. Sebelius announced the current rule as the final rule on January 20th. I can provide the citation if you wish. Only compliance has been delayed by a year, by gracious permission of our dread sovereign the federal government, but the rule itself has been issued. Bottom line: this is the law of the land.

Second: I theoretically agree with you that civil disobedience shouldn't be the first recourse. That's exactly why I put it last on the list. OTOH, this is an election year, and public protest tends to be more effective at such a time (not that I think mere protest would move the pro-aborts by so much as a micron).

Third: My professional specialty is constitutional law. I appreciate your insight that the Supremes will strike this rule down. I think it likely but by no means certain. Thus I am here discussing alternatives in case the worst happens.