The American Prejudice and Catholic Freedom

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please join me in welcoming guest blogger Omar Gutierrez to the CV Blog.

In 1949 Paul Blanshard published American Freedom and Catholic Power. Its popularity in the U.S. re-opened a foul-smelling wound that our nation had seen many times before. Namely, Americans don’t trust Catholics to be Americans first and Catholics second.

The book, based on articles which Blanshard had written for The Nation, argues that Catholicism is fundamentally and diametrically incompatible with a free democratic society. According to the Church’s own teaching, he said, Catholics are in fact not free to vote according to what is best for the nation over and above what is considered best for the Church. As such, Catholics are a danger.

Blanshard then goes on to argue that the large influence of Catholics in the fields of medicine and education mean that the very freedoms of the American people are at risk since the prospect of even allowing Catholic alternatives to secular institutions is a recipe for Catholic dominance and thus the end of our republic.

His solution? Get Catholics out of running hospitals and schools and universities.

All of this came to mind as this entire HHS mandate business burst out onto the political spectrum. What surer way to get Catholics out of the business of healing and education than by forcing them to opt out of it. Would the nation suffer? Sure, but only in the short term. The endgame is getting Catholics and anyone else who dares to bare the Christian standard out of social services. That, says the contemporary secularist, is the purview of the State and the State alone. Catholics need not apply.

I am confident that the administration has overreached. I believe that the East Coast cocktail parties have addled the minds of those advising and those in the administration. They believe the time is ripe, that the nation is ready for this sort of challenge against the Church. The middle of the country, that soft and sweeping span between L.A. and New York will not struggle for long. But the administration is wrong.

So also I am confident in our episcopal leadership. We do not have a soft-spoken and diminutive man heading the U.S. Bishops, which is no insult to such men. Only their time is not now. Now we need the strong shepherd, the father who will hold our hand and see us through to the other side. Now we need the likes of Cardinal Dolan who is gregarious and all of the Catholic Church with every beaming smile and joke and serious choice for orthodoxy.

Whittaker Chambers, that defector from the Soviet system of spies, wrote to his children at the beginning of Witness that as he and they walked through the pine woods, “where it was darker lonelier and in the stillness our voices sounded loud and frightening,” they would instinctively give him their hand. So too we, the children of a Cardinal who grew up in this middle of this country ask for his help to guide us through and offer him ours.

The hope is that, like Chambers’ children, we might, “if all goes aright, make out three crosses, from two of which hang thieves.” There we will be at Golgotha. And there our Catholic Church in America will no longer be young and so willing to accept the promises of well-spoken men who assure us that all will be well and that we share a desire for social justice. Rather our Church will know that “life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when [we] know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth,” we will be all the wiser.

I’m honored to add my voice to the many at and share in the journey to wisdom about being Catholic and American. Long live Christ the King.



  • Ray Carlisle

    It seems to me that there could certainly be a connection between that 1949 book and the beginning of the indoctrination that is thought to have begun about a decade later.

  • Anon

    Marsha and BethAnn get their information from left-wing terrorist group “Media Matters”. Like typical liberals, they parse the numbers and leave off the most important facts:

    “While the dollars being sent agencies’ way are certainly significant, said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ senior director for advocacy, “a key thing to consider when looking at budget allotments is the fact that it’s sometimes difficult to determine a direct cause and effect relationship between agency funding and administration support because of the “many, many factors” present in the allocation process.”

    “The takeaway message for me is that we have not seen any kind of wholesale changes in our levels that one could attribute to changing administrations,” he said.

    • Paul S

      Right on, I guarantee you Marsha and BethAnn are paid zealot operatives of known terrorist and lefty friend George Soros. In a just country he would have been arrested, tried, and sentenced for treason a hundred times over by now. Unfortunately we live in Obama’s America where thought criminals like BethAnn and Marsha are free to spew their false anti-Catholic dreck everywhere without fear of repercussion.

      • GREG SMITH

        Paul … “THOUGHT CRIMINALS?” Wern’t they persecuted in Orwell’s “1984.” Should they be fined, imprisoned, subjected to “enhanced interrogation” or just executed? Really! – Greg

    • Brian A. Cook

      If it weren’t for Media Matters, how else would we know that Rush Limbaugh personally attacked a random woman for three days straight and barely apologized, thus humiliating everyone who asked questions about the mandate?

  • LFR
    Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, who chairs the bishops’ Committee on Justice and Peace, and Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, president & CEO of CRS, asked members of a House appropriations subcommittee to increase funding to the Title II Food for Peace (the main source of U.S. food aid) and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education food assistance programs. They noted that while the Obama Administration’s budget proposal increases overall foreign aid by 2.4%, it leaves funding unchanged for McGovern-Dole and cuts Title II Food for Peace by 4.5%.

  • HyacinthClare

    This is an auspicious first essay. You are VERY welcome, Mr. Gutierrez. I hope to read much more good work from you.

  • BethAnn

    Here are some other ways the Obama administration is forcing Catholics out of “the business of healing and education.” Increasing USDA food assistance to Catholic Relief Services from $12.45 million under Bush to $57.89 million under Obama; an increase in funding of Catholic Charities USA from $440 million under Bush to $554 million under Obama; an increase in HHS funding for the Catholic Medical Mission Board from $500,000 under Bush to $7 million under Obama. Why is the Obama so insistent on giving MORE money to Catholic service organizations if he is trying to force Catholics out of “the business of healing and education?”

    • Jeffrey

      The Obama administration has been so keen on forcing the Bishops out of the public discourse that his administration took the radical step of awarding the highest ever single-year HHS funding to the USCCB in FY 2011.

    • mileschristi

      At the same time, his administration fought to the supreme court to rule on whether he could determine appropriate pastors for given congregations and is simultaneously working to force Catholic hospitals out the US health care system. Notice that anything he contributed to that you have cited has almost nothing to do with US healthcare, “Catholic Relief Services….Catholic Medical Mission Board…etc”

      Actions speak louder than words and in this instance, louder than money as well.

    • Mark Frederick

      Partly so they will comply with their way of doing things ( i.e. the HHS mandate ). Yes there are some well- meaning – albeit wrong on principles – Administration officials who want more money allocated to help the poor and needy. However, there are others with a clear agenda to shift our culture toward pure secularism. For them, this commingling of monies allow them to dictate the rules of the game.

  • Marsha

    Paul Blanshard had a right to “fear” the Church. He knew, by studying history, that the “Dark Ages” were brought on by the teachings of the Church that had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. See link:
    He knew that this was possible once again if the false teachings made their way into American political thought.

    • Paul S

      Revisionist history by liberals. Trust your church instead of the ivory tower atheist lib elites, assuming you actually go to church (probably not).

    • The Tisroc

      Is this comment a joke?

    • John

      Apparently, you are still residing in the Dark Ages, since you have not availed yourself of the knowledge of history at your disposal. Contrary to your contention that the Catholic Church was responsible for bringing on the those Dark Ages, it was through the dilligence of many monks in many monasteries that the much of the literature and accumulated knowledge antedating the overrun of Europe by the Huns was preserved. As a matter of fact, had the Church not guarded the scriptures from which it had assembled the Bible, we might not have even that. If you restrict your readings to the works of anti-Catholic bigots you will never enlighten yourself.

      • Marsha

        One can not achieve enlightenment by not questioning. One can not achieve enlightenment by putting one’s head in the sand. One can not achieve enlightenment by accepting current teachings simply because the teachings are old. Only by questioning can one determine what is accurate and what isn’t. Closed minds led to the Dark Ages. Open minds led to the Renaissance! Question everything!



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