Bishop Jenky made an extremely apt comparison between President Barack Hussein Obama's anti-religious freedom policies to similar policies which occurred under Hitler, Stalin, Bismarck, and Clemenceau. Here are his remarks below:
Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.
In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his “Kulturkampf,” a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.
Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.
Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.
In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama—with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.
Apparently some faculty at Notre Dame were offended by Bishop Jenky's accurate historical comparisons and wrote a letter demanding the resignation or firing of Bishop Jenky. Charles E. Rice who is an emeritus professor at Notre Dame Law School defends Bishop Jenky's courageous remarks here:
The immediate antecedent of that last quoted sentence refers to the fact, which not even a liberal academic could deny, that Hitler and Stalin, like Bismarck and Clemenceau, “would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.” It was not “incendiary” but simple truth for Bp. Jenky to say that the trajectory of the Obama regime is along a “similar path” in regard to “education, social services, and health care.” His faculty detractors misread Bishop Jenky’s homily, assuming that they actually read it before they distorted and denounced it. The strident tone of their Letter, moreover, draws into question their own judgment and balance.I am in full agreement with Bishop Jenky and Charles E. Rice. Spot on!!
Bishop Jenky properly drew attention to the impending dangers to religious and personal freedom. The Obama regime, the leader of which was elected with 54 percent of the Catholic vote, is substituting for the free economy and limited government a centralized command system of potentially unlimited jurisdiction and power. Its takeover of health care was enacted against the manifest will of the people, in disregard of legislative process and by a level of bribery, coercion and deception that was as open as it was unprecedented. The HHS Health Care Mandate imperils not only the mission of the Catholic Church but also the right of conscience itself.
The faculty Letter outrageously claimed that Bishop Jenky’s limited and appropriate reference to Hitler and Stalin showed his ‘insensitivity to victims of genocide.” The Hitler record, however, is relevant in another respect. It provides an example, comparable to the Obama record, of the rapid concentration of executive power by a legally installed regime. Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor on January 30. Over the next few weeks he consolidated his power. The decisive event was the Reichstag’s approval of the Enabling Act on March 23, 1933, by which it ceded full and practically irrevocable powers to Hitler. That was the point of no return. The Enabling Act received the needed two-thirds vote only because it was supported by the Catholic party, the Centre Party. (Eliot Barculo Wheaton,The Nazi Revolution: 1933-35 (1969), 286-93; William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959), 88, 276-79). The gullible Catholics voted themselves and the German people into persecution. America’s Catholics may be about to follow their example. With good reason, Bishop Jenky prayed: “May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.”
Bishop Jenky deserves appreciation for so urgently reminding Catholics of their civic duty. He spoke the Truth as a Bishop ought to speak. And his judgment and courage reflect the finest tradition of a Notre Dame that has gone missing. Pray for Bishop Jenky, for Notre Dame, for our Church and for our country.
The organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has written a letter to the IRS demanding the suppression of free speech - a right guaranteed to all citizens under the Constitution - saying that Bishop Jenky violated the terms of the Catholic Church's tax-exempt status by invoking the names of Hitler, Stalin, and Obama in historical terms while giving examples of how each have enacted policies of religious oppression. The Thomas More Society and the Catholic Church in Peoria, Ill say "'Bring it on,' promising a 'legal war' if churches are attacked on such issues."
The Thomas More Society says that the law and the Bill of Rights is on the bishop’s side, and promises a “free and aggressive legal defense to any religious leaders targeted or victimized for the robust exercise of their free speech rights.”
“The Internal Revenue Service has no legal right to investigate, let alone threaten or penalize the Catholic Diocese of Peoria for illegal ‘electioneering’ after Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C., referred to policies of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin while delivering a robust, wholly legitimate critique of current federal efforts to quash and curtail religious liberties,” says Thomas Brejcha, president of the Thomas More Society.
“References to egregious, historical mistakes on the part of political leaders of the past in messages to congregations, even in an election year, are fully protected by the First Amendment, whether those messages are delivered from the pulpit or on soap boxes in the public square,” he continued.
The Peoria Diocese has defended Bishop Jenky's remarks:
But Diocese Chancellor Patricia Gibson rejected the outrage, explaining that Jenky ‘offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions.'
She added: ‘We have currently not reached the same level of persecution.‘But Bishop Jenky would say that history teaches us to be cautious. ... (He) is concerned that our government is truly treading on one of our most dear freedoms, which is religious freedom.’Here is the entire homily.
Personally, I think anyone who takes issue with Bishop Jenky's comments are either ignorant of historical facts or are partisan hacks who are progressives who have drunk the Obama socialist Kool-Aid in addition to not getting informed about historical knowledge from some our finest government schools. Progressive leaders do want to keep the masses ignorant of history.
"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it" by George Santayana