Priest Discusses Watergate in Homily on Easter Monday

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by Sharon Rondeau

Is there a connection between Christ's death, resurrection, and honesty?

(Apr. 9, 2012) — Last November, then-New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met with Barack Obama at the White House to assure the religious community that the health care law would not violate conscience protections. Dolan stated that Obama had insisted that “protection of conscience” would be honored that he had much respect for the religious community’s work.

In an interview on “Sunday Night Prime,” produced by EWTN, Dolan stated that he received “three assurances” from Obama that there would be conscience protections  in the health care law (begins at 5:45).  Obama also told Dolan that a Catholic priest “got him his first job.”  Since Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced that there would be no religious exemption for religious institutions, there have been vocal protests and lawsuits from leaders of various religious groups.

Referring to the health care law, Fr. Dolan said, “We didn’t pick this fight” and “We’re not going to run from it.”

EWTN filed a lawsuit in Alabama against the mandate which imposes coverage of contraceptives on religious institutions, a requirement which Dolan described in the interview as a violation of the First Amendment, which protects religious freedom.  The President of the network “expressed regret at the necessity of taking legal action to defend the network’s constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”  Dolan has stated that the church “can’t compromise on principle.”

Fr. Dolan was appointed Cardinal of New York by Pope Benedict XVI in February after serving as Archbishop of Milwaukee, WI and later, New York, a position he still holds.  Born in Missouri, Cardinal Dolan completed his theological studies in Rome.  He obtained a doctorate degree from the Catholic University of America.  Dolan also served as Rector of the North American College in Rome and has said that “the greatest blessing in life is the faith.”

Dolan expressed his displeasure at a subsequent phone call from Obama in January 2012 informing Dolan that the mandate which would “force Catholic universities, hospitals, and charities to provide insurance for their employees covering contraception — even though that violates church teachings” would remain in place.  Dolan described the mandates as “terribly choking” and “unconstitutional” and said that other Christian sects are affected as well.  Dolan said the mandate is “a huge mistake.”

Anthony Martin of The Examiner is reporting that in regard to Obama, “a special investigation” has shown that “a disturbing picture is emerging of a man who is not who he claims to be.  The information the public has been told concerning Obama is turning out to be false–fabrications and inventions of a man and an unseen force behind him that had clear ulterior motives for seeking the highest office in the land.”  A Cold Case Posse working with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department stated on March 1 that there was “probable cause” to believe that Obama’s long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration card are forgeries.

The health care law was discussed on several Easter Sunday talk shows yesterday.  Cardinal Dolan was a guest on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” on which he said, “You’ve got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the Church.”

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument regarding the health care law, or PPACA, passed in March 2010, and a decision is expected in June.  Shortly thereafter, Obama issued a “warning” to the Court against taking an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” of ruling his signature law unconstitutional, as one Appeals Court has done.

This Monday morning after Easter, sometimes called Easter Monday, Fr. Joseph Mary said Mass in Alabama, a service which is replayed several times throughout the day on EWTN.  Fr. Mary chose as the subject of his homily the Watergate affair, after which Chuck Colson, who was Special Counsel to then-President Richard Nixon, as well as others, were sentenced to federal prison.  The priest reminded the congregants that Colson had been called “willing to be ruthless to get things done” on Nixon’s behalf.

Colson converted to Christianity before beginning to serve his sentence and is a co-author of the Manhattan Declaration.  He was the first person to serve time for the Watergate scandal and was assigned to a federal prison in the state of Alabama.  He began an initiative called Prison Fellowship which he funded from proceeds from his book, Born Again.  Tragically, Colson suffered a brain hemorrhage on March 30 and was listed in critical condition as of April 4.

Fr. Mary then mentions John Dean, who “turned state’s evidence” against Nixon, and then transitioned to the topic of the 12 disciples of Jesus.  One listener observed, “Fr. Joseph Mary spoke of a ‘conspiracy’ to cover up the truth – a conspiracy by The President’s closest advisors.”

Fr. Mary quotes Colson: “Men will give their lives for something they believe to be true; they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.  The Watergate cover-up reveals the true nature of humanity; even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will, in the crunch, save their own necks, even at the expense of the ones they profess to serve so loyally.” DM420218_A DM420218_B

Why did Fr. Mary choose Watergate for the subject of his homily today?

The Pope had also spoken about truth and lies in his Easter Sunday address.

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