A lay parable for Catholic Bishops to consider: The Scorpion and the Frog
With Catholic Bishops and parishioners up in arms with the Obama administration for its recent attack on the Catholic Church and the First Amendment, it’s time I think for a basic review to see why maybe Obama believes he can get away with it (other than his basic narcissistic arrogance, that is).
Some history, via Michael Becker;
In 2008 the Catholic Bishops were perceived as saying that Catholic voters were “morally obliged” to not vote for candidates who support abortion and yet their parishioners weighed in 52-45 in favor of President Obama, a seven point flip from 2004 when pseudo-Catholic John Kerry was the Democratic nominee.
And then, when ObamaCare was on the line, Sister Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association, carried the President on her back and assured the Bishops that abortion wasn’t part of OCare.
Catholics fundamentally have defied the Bishops on the issue of life – although I would note that the Bishops have a solid record of being wishy-washy on the issue – and provided the margin that Mr. Obama needed to become President Obama. They also, primarily in the person of Sister Keehan, provided the necessary cover for the passage of ObamaCare.
And so Obama made a decision that confused the Catholic Church; “I thought we were friends?“
As soon as Sebelius released this decision, the Catholic church panicked. The Conference of Catholic Bishops reached out to the administration to explain the position in which it had put them. But the tone of their concern was largely friendly: Most Catholic leaders were convinced that the entire thing was a misunderstanding and that the policy—which was labeled an “interim” measure—would eventually be amended.
The reason for this optimism was that more than a few important Catholics had previously climbed out on a high branch for Obama politically, and for his health care reform as a matter of policy. Despite what you may read in the New York Times, most lay Catholics are nominally at home in the Democratic party. (Remember that a majority of Catholics voted for Obama in 2008.) And what is true of the laity goes double for those in religious life. In 2009, Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins welcomed President Obama as the school’s commencement speaker in the face of a heated student protest. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops mostly kept its powder dry during the fight over Obamacare, and very few members of the church hierarchy actively, or even tacitly, opposed the bill. Others, such as Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, actually lobbied in favor of it, early and often. So most Catholics took the president at his word when he met with Archbishop Timothy Dolan last fall and assured him that when the final version of the policy was eventually released, any fears would be allayed. [My emphasis]
The fears rather than being “allayed” were justified. In helping to carry Obama on their backs, Catholics found they had given a scorpion a ride across the river;
The Scorpion and the Frog
One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.
“Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.
“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”
“This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”
“Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.
“Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”
So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.
“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”
Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
What the Catholic Church is finding out here, is that when you deal with the devil, you should expect to get burned. Or stung, as with the frog.
The question is, or should be; now that they know him for who he is, have they learned anything?
But when you peel away the layers of righteous indignation, we find a gruesome layer of facts that is being covered over and is not likely to be exposed by the very bishops who are uttering powerful words in defense of conscience. The bishops, as a body of religious leaders, consistently fail to act on their own words—and that will be the downfall of their recent pontificating.
As they utter opposition to the Obama administration’s strong-arm tactics, they do not act to correct the arrogant falsehoods perpetrated by publicly pro-abortion Catholics like Nancy Pelosi. They have not done so in the past, and my prediction is that they will not do so now either.
So, empty air from the Church hierarchy? It is if they don’t start standing up to anti-life Democrats like Pelosi and her like.
- Obamacare and the American Conscience (minx.cc)
- The bishops are standing up to the President. But what of Pelosi? (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Reid: Dem ‘caucus totally supports’ Obama’s fight against Catholic Church (nicedeb.wordpress.com)
- Courageously Catholic in the Public Square By Judie Brown (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)