Newman and Obama

The following essay was sent to Cal Catholic Daily to commemorate Newman’s birthday on February 21 by Father Juan Vélez, a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, who resides in San Francisco. He is author of Passion for Truth, the Life of John Henry Newman, and co-author with Mike Aquilina of Take Five, Meditations with John Henry Newman.

Religious freedom has become the civil rights issue of our time for Americans. The dispute over conscientious objection to providing insurance coverage for the morning-after pill, contraception, sterilization brings the issue to a head.

The cry on interviews regarding any moral issue is: “Why should they (Catholic laity, priests or bishops) impose their morality on us?” The sound bytes do not give people time to reply: “Who is imposing their values on whom?” 

In fact, the Obama Administration is dictating its narrow view of morality on its citizens. Legislation and judicial rulings have done likewise with regards to marriage, and the teaching of religion, and of homosexuality in schools.

This unjust interference in the religious beliefs and liberties of individuals and Churches has been directed primarily against the Catholic Church. Catholics have always been the strongest defenders of human life from conception to natural death, and of marriage as the permanent union of one man with one woman.

Nowadays Catholics don’t look much different from other Americans in their religious fervor. Only 25 percent or fewer regularly attend Sunday Mass and many take religion and morality lightly.

Committed Catholics are often regarded as retrograde and intolerant. This is far from the truth. Practicing Catholics represent traditional American values, shared – until recent years — by Protestants, Jews, and Muslims are in jeopardy.

The current Administration has ably divided and conquered Catholic voters. It has obtained the endorsement of the Catholic Hospital Association and of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities for its revised plan for contraceptive funding.

Groups like these are being depicted as the voice of Catholic Church while the bishops are portrayed as unreasonable, misogynist, and out of touch.

Welcome to yesteryear! In mid-19th century England, the situation was very similar. In the eyes of the British Establishment, Catholic were superstitious, untrustworthy and potentially disloyal. Which makes the analysis of the great theologian, essayist and saint, John Henry Newman of great interest.

In 1851 Newman gave a series of lectures, “On the Present Condition of Catholics in England”. In these he exposed and analyzed the phenomenon of anti-Catholic bigotry: “the infliction of our own unproved First Principles on others, and the treating of others with scorn or hatred for not accepting them.” He went on:

I say, there is no increase of logical cogency; a lie is a lie just as much the tenth time it is told as the first; or rather more, it is ten lies instead of one; but it gains in rhetorical influence.

Let it be repeated again and again; the utterer has only to go on steadily proclaiming it, and first one, then another, will begin to believe it, and at length it will assume the shape of a very respectable fact or opinion, which is held by a considerable number of well-informed persons.

Today there are lies aplenty being spread by the Obama Administration: “contraception is good for women”; “pregnancy is a burden and something that should be prevented”; “contraception is safe for women”; “if it fails women have a right to abortion”; and “everyone should be given free access to contraception and abortion.”

Newman would have understood:

As Prejudice is the rejection of reason altogether, so Bigotry is the imposition of private reason, – that is, of our own views and theories of our own First Principles, as if they were the absolute truth, and the standard of all argument, investigation, and judgment.

In Newman’s time, bigotry was directed against Catholics. Now it is directed to all believers even though Catholics are in the front lines.

However the most important issue is the Administration’s assault on people’s Constitutional rights. This ruling lays the groundwork for an even more far-reaching intrusion of people’s rights.

This is something that will affect all men and women who practice religion in America. It is a breach of the fundamental right of religious freedom protected by the U.S. Constitution. Cardinal Roger Mahony has written,

Freedom of conscience and religious liberty are not concessions grudgingly granted by the Federal Government — either directly, or by way of exemption or exception. Our nation was founded on those basic and inalienable rights as the bedrock of who we are as Americans.

Our Constitution was written precisely to reject and to avoid the dreadful English model whereby the king and the government are the granter of all rights, including religious rights — as well as the single power to withdraw, limit, or negate those rights.

The present position of Catholics in the US and of people of other religions is not good. There is much at stake: the civil rights of American citizens. In the face of these violations of the fundamental right of religious freedom Catholics and other believers must be able to articulate their beliefs well and to defend them in the legislatures, courts of law, and media.

If democracy is to survive social liberals cannot continue to impose their beliefs on everyone else. Reason and justice, respect for religious freedom and for individuals’ civil rights must be upheld.



Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 12:19 AM By Dan
How well spoken by Cardinal Newman. Lies repeated often enough grow in respectibility until they become the new dogma which will brook no opposition from the “old” morality, in this case, Catholic moral theology. The new dogma infects the church itself so that its teaching, especially with regard to contraception, but also in other matters, appears backwards, even destructrive, of personal fulfillment and right order. Obama is counting on this to win the Catholic vote yet again.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 12:55 AM By Mary
Obama is forcing his sodomy beliefs on our Military by revoking “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. Obama is forcing his abortion beliefs on us by lying when he signed his Executive Order that taxpayers would not have to pay, and then revoked it and we also tie US foreign aid to abortion and contracpetion. Now he is redefining women’s health to make us pay for chemical and mechanical contraception.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 3:06 AM By jjc
Perhaps, the framing of the religious argument against government intrusion into religious affairs should have based upon the “free exercise” clause rather than “freedom of conscience” position, from the beginning. Free exercise is an enumerated right and, as such, more readily defended.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 6:38 AM By Bella
Well said Father Juan Velez!

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 6:54 AM By Prof Helen
The time of Tyburn Bridge may be at hand.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 8:11 AM By lula
“Father , I pray not for myself but for those who are yours.” “many are called, few are chosen.” “The tree is known by its fruits!” thus, we know who is a true Catholic and who is not. Get back to the True teaching of our Faith and denounce all who do not accept the True Teaching so not to confuse the YOUNG and miss lead them ~ that would be a greater sin! we must clean our HOUSE, The HOUSE of God where Jesus’ Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity reside! “Sin of Omission” must comes to a stop clear across our Faith! Be fearful of our offenses to Him Who is Our Creator, Whose mercy is now with us, His Justice will soon be upon us! “The HOUR is at hand!”

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 9:08 AM By JMJ
Isn’t this a great time to be Catholic? One of the signs of the end-times, as Jesus told us in the Bible, is when evil is called good and good is called bad, we are seeing this more and more every day. Look at some of the lies from the past 150 years and how they get repeated and people fall for them: evolution, need for birth control and “sex-education”, global warming for starters and how “planned parenthood” and now the homosexuals have been spoon-feeding us, starting with the school children. Unfortunately, the Bishops are ignoring what is being done in the schools by the homosexuals and one of these days they will in shock to find that most of this young generation will be morally blinded and will condone these evils as good. +JMJ+

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 10:33 AM By MacDonald
God bless Cardinal Newman, a great convert to the Faith! This article reminds me of a quote by G.K. Chesterton, too: “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” Trying to force the Roman Catholic Church to provide abortifacients is just plain wrong, no matter how much you try to sugar-coat it. “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 10:47 AM By David
Excellent article, Fr. Juan. Thank you for sharing it with Cal Catholic readers!

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 11:10 AM By Peggy
The drumbeat of a lie leads to acts of abnormal becoming the “new normal”. We are well on our way to tyranny under the Obama administration. Interestingly, the Left espouses “tolerance” but their definition is to have everyone “accept their way” — it is a one-way street for them. Catholics are not imposing contraception on anyone but Obama is imposing contraception on Catholics. Bashing Catholics is the only accepted anti-religious opposition that is “politically correct”. We are living in very difficult times. Fr. Juan is so right: we have to fight back for our religious and civil rights. Much is at stake.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 2:14 PM By Delilah
Well said, Fr. Juan. Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, two lies don’t make a truth. Pax

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 8:13 PM By Abeca Christian
Excellent Article. Enjoyed the good read!

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 11:05 PM By Susan in Glendale
If the government can force Catholics to buy birth control for others as s part of the greater good in the name of “health,” it’s a simple step for the government to limit population growth for “health” reason too. Then it’s one last slippery step to mandatory sterilization and mimicry of china’s one child rule.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 9:31 AM By Richard in Denver
Great article, Fr. Juan! JH Newman also wrote “When society and its various classes and interests are the subject-matter for the ideas in operation, the development (of and idea) may be called political.” Hence barbarians descended into southern regions from cupidity – wealth, avarice, & greed. “And their warrant (was) the sword.” Today the barbarians are the pharmaceutical companies – and others who stand to gain from propagating abortion ideas – and their warrant is the pen. Forcing an idea on all people “…is no intellectual process, nor is it the mode of development exhibited in civilized communities” writes Newman. History is filled with people who have challenged Catholic Christian truth: early church heretics such as Arius and his non-Trinitarian ideas, Middle-age Islamic invasions into Christian settlements that spawned the crusades, today’s abortion ideas, and hundreds of others in between. Even though we seem to have many more distractions today that keep us from having God as our focus, we should remember what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” “Be not afraid.” said Pope John Paul II.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:23 AM By April
Thank you for the thoughtful article, Fr. Juan. Let us all invoke the prayers of Bl. John Henry Newman to shower us with graces during this turbulent time.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:41 AM By Maureen Wiggins
Very well stated. After over two hundred years the secularists are now in the open. Fr. Velez cites Newman but, if one looks at the Book of Lamentions,written 2500 years ago, one can see what will be in store for us if we allow the lies to become public policy. It’s time for us to get our acts together as individuals because it will then extend to the nation. God will help us if we call on Him and work together.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 11:21 AM By Anne T.
Susan in Glendale, you are exactly right. China is now suffering from a lack of women and wives with their one child policy because they choose the boys to live and abort the girls..Right now many Chinese men are going to other nations to find wives, but how long can that continue. Let nature takes it course, and let God decide what sex our children are to be and love them all by not aborting them and by controlling our own passions. That is God’s way, the only way. That is a good article above, also, and thank you to Fr. Juan Velez for speaking out.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:53 PM By Dana
Do you remember the Good Club, the name given to the global elite billionaire ‘philanthropists’ (aka kiss of death) who held a secret meeting in NYC back in 2009? I think the tremendous and rapid deterioration of religious and family rights and liberties is an outgrowth of this incredibly wealthy and disproportionately powerful group of cold-blooded bigots such as Bill Gates, George Soros, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller and Ted Turner. Eli and Edythe Broad ,(and others equally wealthy but less well known) .but cheek & jowl this group can cough up an easy $125bn. If you’ve forgotten this merry bunch just google the so-called ‘Good-Club’. The antipathy and outright hatred of the Catholic faith by the Rockefellers is well documented. It was they who called this group together and it is common knowledge of their connection to the White House. I gather they think they’re saving the planet from over-population & global warming and feel the Catholic Church, the family, et al are to blame. It’s truly madness. Check it out. And thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of writing. Thank you Fr.Velez and thank you Cal.Cath.Daily for presenting reason and truth in a time when it’s under such attack.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:55 PM By JLS
Anne T., the west is effeminizing rather than sex selection aborting boys, so that the young Chinese men who immigrate will find little competition.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:48 PM By Anne T.
Yes, JLS, it all such a mess. I saw a video where they are forcing men in one of the military branches to wear pillows around their stomachs while they are doing exercises so they will know how the pregnant women in the military feel. How ridiculous! What is a pregant women doing in the military in the first place unless she is working in an office? Over here there are making men into women and women into men as you say. God help us!

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 6:27 PM By ldc
thank you to Fr. Velez, JMJ, McDonald….and many more and most to Cal. Catholic Daily…I enjoy many of them, I think we need to PRAY, and pray daily, remember what Our Lady has asked us to “Pray the Rosary, fast and sacrifice (little things, just offer them up, those are sacrifices) listen to our Holy Father, he has so much to offer…the problem it is not said from the pulpit…we could tell others, subscribe to the Vatican site and also to California Catholic Daily….and most important be proud of being Catholic and VOTE THIS EVIL THAT HAS COME INTO OUR NATION…I believe in the power of PRAYER all things are possible with God!!!

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:09 AM By JonJ
JMJ if evolution is a lie, then how can you explain JP2’s “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth?” And, btw, JMJ, while the process of becoming a new species by evolutionary mechanism (speciation) has not been proven, many parts of evolutionary theory are science fact, including: inheritance of traits from parents, the process of natural selection, variation within a species caused by evolution, effects of predation on species variability within a ecosystem, and many more. Do you dismiss the proven truths of evolutionary theory (notice, I did not include evolution into a new species as one of them) because you don’t understand them?

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 12:02 PM By Anne T.
Jon J, there is a difference between the theory of evolution and adaptation. Although Pope John II and Pope Benedict VI probably believe that such a process could have come about in some manner, they teach that it would have been by the hand of God and all had a first set of mutual parents. Furthermore, not all humans have the rhesus monkey blood factor — the RH negative blood factor, so there are a lot of “holes” in the evolutionary theory, including where are all the multitude of fossil changes that should exist showing such a process of evolution in order for such a theory to be proven.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:49 PM By JLS
JonJ, both your spiritual mentor and mine were there. My spiritual mentor left a record known as Holy Scripture, and also endowed man with reason. Both of these deal with genesis, but neither has said exactly how genesis happened. Your mentor, on the other hand, ever attempts to push the claim that speculation is truth. Remember that Jesus is the Truth, and speculation about Jesus is vain. That which God wills man to know of the Truth is available in Jesus. So, the vain game of insisting that guesswork amounts to truth is nothing less than a disguise to disfigure the Truth, namely Jesus. Evolutionists come in various persuasions, yet some of these are humble and do not claim that the evolution theories are true, but some do make this irrational claim. If you fail to understand the root of your false claim, then you need to look into it.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:53 PM By JLS
Also, JonJ, you make it appear, and likely intending to do so, that Bl John Paul II called evolution a fact … He did not do that. At the time his talk was publicized the media went wild falsely claiming that he said evolution was true. Now you are perpetuating this deception. Bl JPII never said evolution is fact or truth. All he said is that it can legitimately be studied in a search for fact and truth. After all, any humble study will lead man to the truth. The key word, JonJ, is humble; try it in your research.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 6:32 PM By A
I did not make my last post clear: the rhesus monkey blood factor is the RH postive factor, Jon J.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 8:07 PM By jonj
Ummm, AnneT, my whole point is that the ‘Theory of Evolution’ is much bigger than ‘speciation by natural selection’. Much of it was very visionary and cutting edge, and has been proven science fact (though not speciation which you seem to think is the entire theory). By stating that speciation is currently a theory, I am conceding ‘ holes’ in the ‘man from monkey’ path, which is what religious groups care about.

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 8:32 AM By JMJ
Jon J.: PLEASE give one such fact that shows evolution is true? Even Darwin on his death bed would not reread the first 3 books of the Bible as he knew that his theory was and still is wrong. If you were right about the lies of evolution and part of this lie was the inheritance of traits from parents, then you would have one HUGE MESS to explain, such as: why don’t we have leaves coming out of our noses? why don’t we have tails or fins or have the night vision that so many non-human animals and birds have? I could go on and on, but, I think that the Internet would freeze up while we would try to explain the truth to you. Look at the birds in the air or look at all of the species of fish or all of the plants, etc.. Last year, I was planting flowers at our daughter’s grave site and while I was making the holes, I came across so many different insects and spiders and I am now wondering, just which branch of these creatures did your family come from? Nature would tell you that your thinking is pure trash. You couldn’t include evolution into a new species (which evolution is all about) as you cannot even find one specimen to give you any credence. I, just as Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, believe in what God told us through His Holy Word: the Bible. You should reread our Holy Father’s Truth, etc. along with all of his other writings about evolution. It must be difficult to live in a SCI-FI world, when God gives us the Truth in nature. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 11:39 AM By JLS
There is no missing link. That is why evolution theory is speculation. Its fanatic adherents launch all sorts of fantasies trying to trap gullible people into believing it.

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 1:24 PM By Anne T.
Well, Kenneth Fisher and others, Gloria Allred has gone and done it. What did she do? She accidentally put her whole press list on line. Just put in “Gloria Allred accidentally reveals her 380-person press list” in your search bar and you can read all the names.

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 1:42 PM By Anne T.
And yes, Jon J., I have read those evolutionary theories to some children from books, but I always told them that some of it was just theory and not fact. I also told them that many of the ideas about how dinosaurs looked were speculation since what scientists said yesterday and say today in many cases will be different tomorrow. So Jon J, go on and read those books, but keep an open mind about all of it being “factual”. Some is and some is not. Darwin thought we had descended from monkeys because we have similarities but most scientists no longer believe that.

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 7:39 PM By JLS
jonj, in the search for the truth why does it seem important to you that you concede some things? I sure hope you can see what I’m driving at, but odds are you can’t.

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 10:57 PM By Anne T.
Actually, most people who have ever listened to Gloria Allred have figured out pretty much who is on her press list already. It does not seem like such a big deal, but one person did complain.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:34 AM By Larry
Darwinian evolution is based entirely upon the postulate that there is no God and therefore miraculous and extraordinary things which only a supreme being could will to come about could never happen or have happened. It must rest upon that premise because as others have pointed out, there is no evidence that random genetic mutation either has or ever possibly could produce anything but an unhealthy individual poorly adapted to survive–certainly not a new and different species. Laboratory experiments in which flies were irradiated to see whether anything like evolution could be induced in their descendants failed to do so. Evolution by mutation is the only default explanation if you want to avoid Intelligent Design. The lack of evidence in favor of random mutation may instead wind up proving the validity of Intelligent Design.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:18 AM By Dana
I agree Larry, and having read “The Signature in the Cell” by Stephen Myers, it’s conclusive by scientific proofs that it’s like a trillion to the 7th power that things ‘just happened’ by chance. But Darwinists don’t want to keep up with the latest studies because the primary reason so many of them keep cranking out their old moth-eaten ideas is that they want to keep moving their political agenda that goes them, such as religion is just a crutch! (yawn) that religion is the cause of all wars!! (ho hum) that science is above all the primitive religions!!! (visions of old Nazi newsreels come to mind with banners whipping in the wind, close-ups of blond youths smiling as they give the old salut) It’s so embedded in the psyches of the majority of professors around the globe that short of sending them to a good dog obedience school, one wonders how we can ever convince them of the irrelevance their hackneyed ideas. You can incontrovertibly show them the connection between Darwinianism & socialist dictatorships with hundreds of millions of deaths caused by their insane need to eradicate society of religion. But why are we talking about it? It’s like so ‘Yesterday’. ha. I wish someone would address what I wrote in my previous post or discuss why our gov’t hates religion so much and the ideas promoted in this excellent article. wink wink

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:13 AM By JLS
“The Doctrines of Genesis 1 – 11”: Rev. Victor P. Warkulwiz, MSS; forward by Bishop Vasa … available from Kolbe Institute of Creation.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:56 PM By Anne T.
Thank you, JLS, for the book recommendation. If it is forwarded by Bishop Vasa, it should be a good read.

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:21 PM By marcum
Thank you Father Vélez. Father Juan Vélez is becoming a champion voice of our time. He has celebrated Mass at our parish several times. His distinct voice and sound coherent narrative quenches the parched palate that permeates many of the faithful. I heard him on IHR (Imac.Heart Radio) and immediately identified his voice as he spoke about eloquently about the writings of Cardinal Newman. I look forward to seeing and hearing much more of Father Juan Vélez. God bless him.

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:39 PM By By Rolando
Thank you Father Juan, and if might ad, as San Josemaria said ” To stop up the sources of life is a crime against the gifts that God has granted to mankaind. It proves that a person is moved by selfishness, not love. Everything becomes clouded, because husband and wife begin to look at eachother as accomplices, and the dissensions that are produced, if this state is allowed to continue, are almost always impossible to heal”. (Christ is Passing By).

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:48 PM By JLS
Anne T., I found that book to be compelling, an excellent read and satisfying. There is science in it that I do not have the education to evaluate, however. However, I do know people who can do that … and some day hope to get them to look into it. Also, I am frequently in the “outback” and I see the fossil remains/impressions in remote desert areas … thousands of feet high … One of the points in the book has these geological formations happening very fast, and provides evidence such as … per photograph in book … a number of strata penetrated by a tree, ie the strata formed not in hundreds of thousands of years but in the lifetime of the tree.

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:25 PM By JLS
“because husband and wife begin to look at each other as accomplices …”: “Accomplices” … what a well put insight into the problem of contraception, that Rolando brings out!!!

Posted Thursday, March 01, 2012 2:22 AM By Abeca Christian
Can someone be an accomplice in regards to contraception without knowing it? It seems normal then how can one be an accomplice?

Posted Thursday, March 01, 2012 11:44 PM By A
JLS, although I am not a scientist either, I am often wondered about how they determine the age of the earth and how accurate it is since we know that different conditions can speed up or slow down a process. An example is that paint on a house can be guaranteed for a certain number of years, yet it can look older or look newer according to the surrounding conditions. Could the earth be much younger than they think because there were conditions that scientists do not yet know about that caused it to age faster? Do you get what I mean, JLS?

Posted Friday, March 02, 2012 12:35 PM By Rocco Paolucci
Thank you, Fr. Juan, for an excellent article. Let’s keep up the “spiritual” fight. May God bless you. Pax.