By WILLIAM MAYER
March 25, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - A visit to LA Cardinal Roger Mahoney's blog [see, http://cardinalrogermahonyblogsla.blogspot.com] should be a startling revelation for a traditional Catholic, or American for that matter. Unfortunately what should be surprising isn't - not by a long shot. Given the rapid and downward turn of events since Obama's bait-and-switch electoral victory 16 months ago, nothing in the way of iconoclastic change should startle thoughtful observers. Yet despite this fact, the dawn of every day brings with it such unprecedented breaks with the past that one might feel in need of a road map to determine at what juncture the wrong turn was made.
That point being beyond the intent of this writing, allow us to consider Cardinal Mahony's political blogging which contains this post from March 21:
"Health care reform passed on Sunday night, and brought millions of people out of the shadows of living without health care coverage. We have reached out to them precisely to include them fully into American life and protections. Now we need to do the same thing with our millions of immigrants who are living in the shadows of our society but without protections and guarantees--because they do not yet possess legal status. We need to devote ourselves to bring about a comprehensive bill which will bring them into full participation in the life of our country."
In the space of less than 100 words the Cardinal tosses overboard in a mind-bendingly cavalier manner, the single most important tenet underlying Judaism, Christianity and Western Civilization, that being the idea of free choice.
Allow me to explain...briefly...
Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the Church's most brilliant intellectual - and other theologians, have written extensively on the subject, often referring to Deuteronomy 30:19 or similar texts, "...I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed..." [American Standard translation]
"It is written (Sirach 15:14) God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel...That is of his free-will. I answer that, Man has free-will: otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards, and punishments would be in vain. In order to make this evident, we must observe that some things act without judgment; as a stone moves downwards; and in like manner all things which lack knowledge. And some act from judgment, but not a free judgment; as brute animals. For the sheep, seeing the wolf, judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural instinct. And the same thing is to be said of any judgment of brute animals. But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments. Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will... " 1.[source, The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas Second and Revised Edition, 1920]
The power of this line of thought is revelatory and undeniable; unless man is created free to choose both rightly and wrongly, he can't be held morally responsible for his actions.
This is the kernel upon which the Western experience has been built, reflective of a continuous striving to maximize conditions so that the exercise of this freedom is unfettered, set against the similarly Biblically derived admonition that one must choose rightly.
The ideals that serve this notion are personal freedom and liberty, especially as they pertain to the constantly impinging force of governance.
In our system, the belief has been that democratic rule should be based upon guaranteeing and fostering this process.
As John Locke, often cited as the Founder's single most influential source of philosophy [having provided the ethical basis for the social contract] on establishing the American model wrote, "The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom."
So the maximization of that which extends and preserves freedom and liberty should be the goal of all who live in the West, especially those whose privilege it is to minister to the citizenry.
Following from this, if this process of maximization is good, then its opposite, diminution of freedom and liberty - outside the maintenance of the structure which allows such choice, i.e. the laws under which we operate - is not morally defensible either from the standpoint of Judeo-Christian theology or its secular embodiment, Western political philosophy.
Let us now examine Cardinal Mahony's stand on what has rightly come to be known as Obamacare in light of the foregoing [we will ignore Mahony and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' weasel word opposition to federally funded abortions in deference to the larger concern here].
Though its proponents deny the characterization, Obamacare socializes America's health industry - with use of the word socialism properly noted, placing one-sixth of the economy - and every U.S. citizen - under strict government control.
The degree of control here is near total, with federal bureaucrats being given the power to force their will upon decisions traditionally made by and between doctors and their patients.
The mechanism whereby this will be enforced is draconian. This legislation creates approximately 100 boards, agencies, programs and other control devices [final number to be determined by unelected bureaucrats, behind closed doors and hidden in perhaps 100,000 pages of new health regulations yet to be written] ultimately enforced by an army of 16,000 new IRS agents whose duty it will be to force compliance, under the ultimate threat of prison.
This is a level of intrusion completely alien to both the Christian as well as the American tradition.
In 1891 Pope Leo XIII published Rerum Novarum an Encyclical devoted to, as reflected in the document's subtitle, the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor. [see, document available here at the Vatican website]
This broadside was understood, until fairly recently as being the Church's response to socialism which had become a major topic of concern upon the publishing in 1848 of Marx's The Communist Manifesto and later, in 1867, of the first volume of the philosopher's further assault on capitalism, Das Kapital.
In Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo established the Church's broad based theological opposition to socialism and with it, the sanctity of private property.
"...To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies...Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life... The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home... Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property..."
In the 120 years subsequent to this first declaration by the Church, leftist philosophers and errant theologians have put forth the proposition - based upon a topsy-turvy Biblical revisionism - that Jesus was a progressive Democrat - a socialist - bent upon income and property redistribution and societal leveling.
In his support of Obamacare, albeit his above noted wink-wink-nod-nod opposition to Obamabortions [they will of course be forced by the courts as even a dull attorney would surmise, likely as the result of 14th Amendment challenge, assuming the legislation itself stands its own, soon to be withering, judicial review] Cardinal Mahony errs greatly because no one has the right to their private property unless they can control it and the most important private property is one's body, which has been given to each of us, for safekeeping until we are called to final account.
It is this control of one's body through what were heretofore private decisions made by individuals in conjunction with their physicians that Obamacare obliterates.
Cardinal Mahony should be ashamed for either not understanding this, or worse, understanding and rejecting it in pursuit of the collectivist's holy grail.
On to the Cardinal's immigration stand...
In the same sense that the Hippocratic oath compels physicians to first do no harm, we as a nation - as a faith based people, Christians and Jews - are obligated, morally, philosophically, theologically and legally to follow the law [yes of course, the laws must be just, the topic for another essay].
This societally agreed upon mandate is what causes the United States to be a nation of laws which theoretically apply equally to all, hence our seminal document, the Constitution.
On the immigration question Cardinal Mahony's [we will leave aside at this juncture, the position of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is nearly identical] position is that the borders of the United States are immoral and should be ignored. Therefore Cardinal Mahony advocates the free and unrestricted flow of Mexican citizens across our borders whereupon they must be granted full U.S. citizenship, and of course the full array of social welfare benefits including Obamacare.
One must note here that the sanctity of national borders - upon sober contemplation - are essential to the very concept of the nation state, which cannot exist without them. Perhaps the Cardinal should familiarize himself with the Treaty of Westphalia  which firmly established this principle as the core element of international law.
Cardinal Mahony, in his foolish arrogance, has rejected all of this, everything that makes his ignorant blogging possible - the natural rights, freedom, liberty, wealth and bounty brought about by a Judeo-Christian society based upon private property and capitalism.
Cardinal Mahony thus joins with the utopian Catholic revisionists in pursuit of the ultimate moral confusion, forcing man's notion of order and justice ahead of God's.
Again, the Cardinal and his many adherents should be ashamed for while they have the right - thanks to the system in which they live - to publicly advocate ignorant and terribly harmful ideas, I personally object to them trying to cloak and defend their hidebound socialism through the misuse of Catholic and/or Christian dogma.
This Sunday as the Cardinal - preparing for Holy Week - looks out over his congregation, noting the empty pews and dwindling numbers, he need not wonder why - he has his answer.
1. Full text available here New Advent The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican ProvinceOnline Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
APPROBATIO ORDINISNihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ
MARIÆ IMMACULATÆ - SEDI SAPIENTIÆ
2010 William Mayer, PipeLineNews.org LLC. All rights reserved.