Roman fireworks [Op-Ed]

Catholic Charities got $3 billion of taxpayers money in 2010

And some say Obama is anti-Catholic

By Richard Bartlett

I'm writing in response to an article on CapeCodToday 2/29/12 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf headed, "Mr. President, you owe me and millions of American Catholics an apology."

Wondering if I should know who Fr. Zuhlsdorf is, and which area parish he serves,I looked him up on Google.

There is a surprising amount of information, including that his parish is  in the Diocese of Velletri-Segni, Italy. He is a very active internet personality and has appeared on Murdoch's Fox TV News.

In his article he uses the GOP candidates spin on President Obama's apology to Muslims for the burning of Korans by U.S. troops. That act of disrespect angered some Muslims to retaliate by shooting two of our soldiers. By issuing an apology, the President forestalled even more revenge killings of U.S. soldiers. It was diplomacy that worked. But I must ask Fr. Zuhlsdorf and the Republican candidates, "What would you do if Muslims set fire to our Bibles?"

He echoes the Republican candidates' charge that the President is "demeaning our Catholic Faith." That is not true. When the American bishops called out the contraception clause in the healthcare bill, President Obama relieved the Church of their need to pay for those women's health services that offended them, shifting the cost to the insurance companies.

The bishops were mollified, but one day later said they changed their minds.

98% of Catholic women practice birth control

As has been pointed out in the media countless times, 98% of Catholic women practice birth control. It looks as though the Church cannot persuade its members to accept out-of-date strictures and wants the government to do their enforcement for them. The Santorum/Tea Party Republicans try to say it's about freedom of religion, but who is not free to practice their religion? Who is forced to obey or disobey their church's teachings?

The ill-conceived Blunt Amendment cosponsored by Sen. Scott Brown would have let any employer deny any part or entire coverage to any or all employees. Shame on him.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf is very much in error when he charges the Obama administration of anti-Catholicism. Catholic Charities got $3 billion of taxpayers money in 2010. That was 60% of their budget. In contrast, only 3% came from church contributions. That's hardly hostile!

Unquestionably, Catholic Charities does a great deal of good work for the poor. Still, it's getting good PR for the Church using money from non-Catholics. When government pays for secular good works that frees up money for ecclesiastical expenditures, a point made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in 1976.

And as Republican patron saint Ronald Reagon said in 1984, "Church and State are, and must remain, separate."

Richard C. Bartlett, Cotuit

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