After two years of lockdowns and coercion, the President is poised to impose a vaccination mandate with the power of law. The Supreme Court will soon render a final decision on whether the State has this power. Regardless of the outcome, many restrictions will remain and new mandates can be imposed.
As an attorney who represents employees, I have spoken with many who are suffering from the mandates imposed by governments and the businesses doing the State’s bidding. These people have had their futures cast into doubt and fear they will be unable to provide for themselves and their families.
We have all played a part in creating and sustaining the culture of fear that has led to these mandates, and our compliance ensures that this all continues. Fortunately, more and more ordinary people understand this and are beginning to resist. That is good, but it will not be enough.
We need our leaders in the State and in the Church to stand with us. Whatever your station, but especially if you are a leader, think about what you have done and what you have not done during the past two years. If you have not openly opposed these mandates, I beg you to reflect upon what happens when the good fail to act.
While the President’s mandate currently allows those who refuse the vaccine to be masked and tested as an alternative, and there is the possibility of receiving a religious exemption, there are currently many lawyers hard at work developing arguments to require vaccination regardless.
For more than a century, the State has increasingly involved itself in the minutiae of our lives. Our laws have been warped to guarantee the right to promote sin and prohibit the right to promote virtue. This cruel mandate is the newest in a long line of perversions.
These mandates threaten to create a second class of citizens denied the privilege of a normal life—yet only a few heroic leaders challenge them.
Good leaders in the State, what greater cause are you biding your time to fight for?
As a Catholic, it is distressing that the Church has not taken a bolder stand for its rights or the rights of the faithful. When COVID-19 seemed most dangerous, churches closed. Sacraments were delayed.
The worst fate that can befall a man is not physical death. It is damnation.
Sadly, instead of proclaiming these truths, the Church joined the World in fear.
Then, when vaccines were developed or tested using the remains of aborted children, many in the Church explained away concerns about that gruesome reality by saying it would simply be too difficult to separate ourselves from the fruits of sin, or by suggesting this cooperation with the evil of abortion is sufficiently remote.
Perhaps they can show those positions’ philosophical accuracy. I doubt they can show their prudence.
Not only have such arguments undermined the Church’s moral authority, they have added to the burdens of those whose consciences do prevent them from cooperating with the evil of abortion. Those arguments have armed bureaucrats acting in bad faith with justifications to deny or revoke religious exemptions.
I can somewhat appreciate, but cannot fully comprehend, the difficulty of this position. Church leaders have a hierarchy to answer to and a need to protect the Church from the State. But, bishops and priests, I beg you, consider the protection of your flocks as well.
Good leaders in the Church, where do you think this ends?
Consider the examples of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and the events preceding their martyrdom.
In the early 1500s, England was a Catholic country. The future looked promising, but King Henry VIII lacked an heir. Eventually, the king determined to divorce his wife and take another, but the pope refused the king’s requested divorce. That did not stop the king. He took his second “wife” and demanded support from the nobility and clergy.
All the king wanted was an oath.
The king pressured the nobles and even found theologians to argue justifications for his divorce. Without much delay, almost all the then-Catholic leaders in England chose to affirm the king in his sin. But not Thomas More, the Chancellor, and not John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.
Although we know the outcome, consider the perspective of those who sided with the king during that moment in history: popes and kings had often quarreled. Surely, this, too, would pass.
Surely, indulging the king was more prudent than admonishing him and provoking his wrath. Surely, the realm’s prosperity would be endangered by any nobleman’s dissent. Surely, placating the king would protect the Church’s social standing and property. Surely, a second wife would be enough. Surely, the break with Rome would end. Surely, the king would soon come to his senses. Surely… Surely, they thought such things—what else could explain their choices?
Think for a moment about how uncertain everyone must have felt during those early months following the king’s break with the Church. I doubt that most of the men who swore oaths would have done so if they knew what would come.
They thought their compliance would buy peace.
It did not.
Spiritual matters aside, the leaders of England lost what they had sought to gain. The king sired a sickly son, who reigned briefly before dying. The throne then passed to the king’s two daughters, but both died childless, and the Tudor line ended. Thus, the king’s schism to secure his succession came to nothing.
The nobles’ failure to oppose the king, however, led to chaos. Protestant and Catholic monarchs traded the crown back and forth for a century. In the ensuing instability, England would be attacked by Spain, endure multiple religious persecutions, and suffer a civil war ending in dictatorship.
Ultimately, the clergy’s submission destroyed the Catholic Church in England. Henry VIII oversaw the theft of monasteries and Church lands. And, as time went on, Protestants gained power in England and the clergy either apostatized, fled, or were martyred.
England was lost when the king demanded oaths to wickedness; and the good, but cowardly, leaders in the English State and in the English Church responded by acquiescing to the unjust commands of their corrupted ruler. Imagine if the nobles had stood with St. Thomas More and if the clergy had stood with St. John Fisher, all refusing to endorse the king’s sin and calling him to repentance.
At that time, simple verbal defiance could have prevented a century of bloodshed. They failed to act when they could have saved their county.
Consider this history. Where will you stand?
[Photo: Brandon Trosclair, a supermarket owner from Louisiana, speaks to reporters after attending the Supreme Court arguments regarding his lawsuit challenging U.S. President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)]