June 28th, 2012Sackcloth and Ashesby Sophia Mason | http://girlwhowassaturday.blogspot.com/

So we can put the champagne back in the cupboards.  The Individual Mandate is a tax, says Chief Justice John Roberts (though Justice Kennedy apparently disagrees).

I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland.  That new kind of Wonderland, in the movie version I wouldn't watch if you paid me to, with The Depp in fright makeup.

Kennedy, reading the minority dissent: "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety."

And I was so looking forward to turning the second week of Fortnight for Freedom into one big Catholic party!

The bad news is, we're stuck with the HHS interpretation of the requirements of the Individual Mandate.  In plain English, all employers have to pay for health care that covers cotnraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-providing drugs.  That includes EWTN and Belmont Abbey.  That would include Jesus and Mother Theresa, if they were still in business.  (Well, you know what I mean.  Jesus is still in business—they tell me He has a vicar in Rome, or something like that.  I don't think the local American branches of the vicar's organization are exempt either.)

The good news is ...

There is good news, really there is.  The good news is that the whole debate over Religious Liberty, which would have become moot if the Individual Mandate had been struck down, will continue, probably for quite some time.

Why is this good?

Because as a country we've started to forget religion.  Now that religious consciences are being pushed into a hard place, we as a country will no longer be able to forget it.  We'll have to make a choice.  Either Catholicism and other religions of that traditional, "restrictive" ilk are worthy of respect, or they are not.  Either individuals are Catholic (or religious) or they are not.  Either you're ready to go to (or go get) the lions, or you're not.

In a way, this ruling is a gift.

My old college professor used to say (probably still does—is probably saying it today, louder than ever!): "You kids are lucky.  You get to fight!"

He was in the army during WWII where, to his (I suspect) everlasting regret, he never got to see action.

Well, here's our chance to see action, my friends.  You can begin with this.  Or with this.  Or even with this.  Or go start your own protest!

Read the SCOTUSblog on the opinion here.

And in the meantime, just a reminder of whose side we're on ...


Immenso Jeovha,         Mighty Jehova,
Chi non ti sente?             Who does not know you?
Chi non è polvere         Who is not dust
Innanzi a te?                     Before you?
Tu spandi un'iride?...   You fling out a rainbow—
Tutto è ridente.                All is laughter.
Tu vibri il fulmine?...    You shake the lightning—
L'uom più non è.          Man is no longer.

The excerpt is from Verdi's Nabucco (post here). For you trivia-lovers, here's Wikipedia on this particular chorus:

The best-known number from the opera is the "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves," Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate / "Fly, thought, on golden wings," a chorus which is regularly given an encore when performed today. ...
Music historians have long perpetuated a powerful myth about the famous Va, pensiero chorus sung in the third act by the Hebrew slaves. Scholars have long believed the audience, responding with nationalistic fervor to the slaves' powerful hymn of longing for their homeland, demanded an encore of the piece. As encores were expressly forbidden by the government at the time, such a gesture would have been extremely significant. However, recent scholarship puts this and the corresponding myth of Va, pensiero as the national anthem of the Risorgimento to rest. Although the audience did indeed demand an encore, it was not for "Va, pensiero" but rather for the hymn "Immenso Jehova," sung by the Hebrew slaves to thank God for saving His people. In light of these new revelations, Verdi's position as the musical figurehead of the Risorgimento has been correspondingly downplayed. At Verdi's funeral, the crowds in the streets spontaneously broke into "Va, pensiero".

"To thank God for saving His people."  I like how the nameless Wikiwriter actually capitalized the "He" there.  It was once considered grammatically correct to do so; but now in most parts that tradition of capitalization has gone the way of the Oxford comma, so it's nice to see it pop up accidentally.   Ah, but 'tis the little things that help to restore one's faith in humanity ...

... and equally, by little things that God saves His people.

Pray, mon freres.  Let us pray.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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  • June 28 2012 | by AC Trausch

    To be clear, the HHS mandate was not under consideration in this case. The "individual mandate" to purchase health insurance was at the center of the debate. The lawsuits against the HHS mandate are still moving forward.
  • June 28 2012 | by Sophia Mason

    That is correct, Ac Trausch; "the Individual Mandate" is legalese (sorry, I work with lawyers!) for the mandate to buy healthcare. "the HHS Mandate" is the HHS regulation that specifies that that healthcare must provide coverage for contraception, etc.
  • June 28 2012 | by Dena Hunt

    The HHS mandate was not to be affected by the SC ruling at all, except, as you point out, that if the bill had been ruled unconstitutional, the HHS mandate would have been made void. As it is, the lawsuits will go forward. Let us hope they go forward with renewed steam as the threat to religious freedom is now more eminent.
  • June 28 2012 | by Manny

    There is no good news in today's decision. It's a horrendous decision. I'm pretty demoralized. You can read my thoughts on the subject at the blog I share:

    Prayer is the only answer.
  • June 29 2012 | by Sophia Mason

    Yes, Dena, you're right. I was hoping that ACA would be ruled unconstitutional, and all the regulations would be tossed in the waste basket with it. But the religious liberty lawsuits do go forward, and given the Court's ruling in Hosanna Tabor, I think we have some chance with those.
  • June 29 2012 | by Sophia Mason


    I concur with your disgust at Roberts, as well as your characterization of the "it's not a commerce issue 'cause it's really a tax" as Orwellian. Maybe if lawyers had to take logic instead of dubiously-based "ethics" classes we wouldn't have such issues ... But I digress!

    I do think there's hope though. While there's life there's hope. Check this out, if you haven't seen it already: http://www.becketfund.org/hhs/
  • June 29 2012 | by Cotton

    My thoughts on the subject are, 1. We Catholics should all strive to become holy saints. 2. We should ignore the calamity of governments to provide a fix. 3. We should ignore those variety catholic that are not faithful. 4. We should spend more time in prayer and less in action. 5. The bishop should be still - talk less, publish less, speak less - and concentrate on becoming the saints we need to lead us. 5. Priests, who are faithful to the church should begin to get blisters on their knees spending time at the alter instead of spending it behind a desk - another administrator we do not need. 6. Being Catholic is the only alternative we have - these are my thoughts from the Camino de Santiago, 29 June, 2012.