Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Laity doing what Laity should do!

September 4th, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

When the USCCB asked the Laity to “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” one might legitimately have wondered “Do they mean it?”  and “Do they really think it might happen?”  After all, there was already a Canon in place which affirmed the rights of the laity.  But duty?  Canon 212.2 already stated, in part that “Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.”  Surely, support of religious freedom would qualify as a serious spiritual need.  But part 3 of that same Canon 212 states “They have the right, indeed at times the duty….to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.”  And it goes on to say ““They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful….”  

But did the USCCB envision that the inevitable result of their encouragement to “Stand up for Religious Freedom” would involve calling to task  “pastors” who don’t stand up for religious freedom themselves?  Or in lieu of hearing a strong message from the pulpit against voting for candidates who propagate intrinsic evils, that members of the faithful might indeed then go directly to other members of the faithful, as a solemn duty?

While we can’t say what the bishops or canonists envisioned or expected, neither the Canon nor the USCCB’s call for action should logically be construed against such initiatives of the faithful.

But are the faithful too lazy or too scared or too apathetic to do what they’ve come to expect from the pulpit?  Would they even know where to start?  The Fortnight for Freedom was a call to education and one measure of success is to see what individuals might now be willing to do for their Church,  and how they show their own courage for souls.

I am delighted to report to you one local hero, supported by a few friends, who took just such an initiative:  Joe O’Mara.  Joe has been a member of St. Patrick in Victor for over 35 years.  He would have been happy if a guidance had been given against voting for anyone with a platform and personal commitment to matters of intrinsic evil.  But when it came down to a needed lay initiative, Joe did not shirk from doing it. 

This past Labor Day weekend, at all 4 Masses, Joe arranged not only the distribution of a Voters’ Guide for 2012, based entirely on the USCCB’s position that a faithful Catholic many not vote pro intrinsic evil, but he also wrote and addressed a letter over his own name to his Faith Community.  After each Mass, along with supportive friends on the legal sidewalk space, he organized the distribution of both items.   Over 80% of the cars leaving accepted the Guide and the Letter.  Here are some pictures of the scene at St. Patrick, followed by Joe’s cover letter(Joe was at the other driveway exit when these pictures were taken.)

St. Patrick in Victor, NY


Interest & Discussion on the Sidewalk

Mrs. Evie Imperato offers Voters' Guides



Dr. Anthony Imperato gives information to Mass-goer



Dr. Tony gets a big kiss for his efforts


More than 80% of cars stopped for the information





Our Religious Liberty is under assault.  

This is not just about contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization—although all should recognize the injustices involved in making them part of a universal mandated health care program. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It is about people of faith. This is first and foremost a matter of religious liberty for all. 

If the government can tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end?   This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded.  It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?  What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society—or whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it. 

Religious Liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday. 

Religious Liberty is part of the American civil society, which includes those who are responsible for our hospitals, clinics, universities, colleges, schools, adoption agencies, overseas development projects, and social service agencies that provide assistance to the poor, the hungry, immigrants, and those faced with crisis pregnancies. 

Assault on religious liberty is an attack on civil society and the American genius for voluntary associations.   Do the work that the Gospel mandates that we do and it is you who may be forced to choose between the good works we do by faith, and fidelity to that faith itself.  These Americans make their contribution to our common life, and they do not need the permission of the government to do so. 

Recent actions by President Obama have reduced our First Amendment to a “privilege” arbitrarily granted by a government imposing its will in an all-encompassing, extreme form of secularism.  Just in the last 8 months we have seen …

HHS Mandate : Jan. 23, 2012 requires the Catholic Church to violate its own teachings by aiding and abetting, through insurance, the providing of contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage to its employees.  

Grants pulled from Catholic Humanitarian Services ministry March 28, 2012 – A federal judge has ruled that allowing government grants to Catholic-run programs against human sex trafficking amounts to an unconstitutional endorsement of the Catholic religion because the Church does not facilitate abortions for trafficking victims.  

Catholic foster care and adoption services : Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.

Taxpayers fund abortions for illegal aliens under new Obama admin rules : Mar 02, 2012.  Under new guidelines issued by the Obama administration, immigration agents must provide taxpayer-funded abortion services, transportation to the abortion clinic, for illegal aliens awaiting deportation.

Blunt Amendment to protect religious liberty under Obama [HHS] mandate failed in U.S. Senate 51-48; Feb.22, 2012.  Thirteen of 24 Catholic Senators voted against it, including Sen. Gillibrand.  The proposed measure would have given employers and insurers the possibility to opt out of paying for contraceptives and sterilizations.

DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act):  Obama has refused to support DOMA, a law already in place when he was elected.  His refusal has doubtless encouraged passage of “gay marriage” at the state level, including NYS, and encouraged attacks against the Catholic Church for her faithfulness to teaching against homosexual life style, gay activism.

The danger of tyranny, which has been mounting for years, is reaching crisis proportions. As Francis Cardinal George, former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, put it recently, “I expect to die in bed. My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” 

This problem we have with President Obama is a Religious Liberty Problem.  It is a Problem that will be only solved at the ballot box this November.  It is the job of Catholic laypeople to change the thinking of their political party and their political leaders with the tools of their Catholic faith.  Importantly, it is the job of priests to give people those tools – to form Catholic laypeople to think and act as disciples of Jesus Christ, in a manner guided by the teaching of the Church.  Just as Catholic laypeople should be the leaven of Jesus Christ in the public square, priests need to be the leaven of Jesus Christ in lives of our people. 

The USCCB, The United States Catholic Council of Bishops, in issuing “Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship“, stated,  “Decisions about candidates and choices concerning public policies require clear commitment to moral principles, careful discernment and prudential judgements based on the values of our faith”.

What we do as Catholics, when spelled out, is the guarantee that our lives are really and ultimately important ….. we do matter.   Our choices provide a clear record of what we are, what we make ourselves to be, and how we are formed by our Faith.  

If there was ever a moment where you could do for your Catholic Faith, to know the importance of proclaiming Truth… is to read this.  Read this and then satisfy your need to find it to be True.

Then act on it as your Faith would have you do.


Joe O’Mara

St Patrick’s Parishioner, 35 years


For a copy of the Voters’ Guide, go to

The “Stand Up for Freedom” Panel was blank in the Victor handouts.  There is also a version in which 19 people have enumerated “bad fruit” as their reason for not supporting the current administration in November.  If you want any of these brochures or if you want help doing a similar handout of materials in your parish, please contact Joe at the email shown above.  The snail mail address is PO Box 196, Canandaigua NY 14424.



4 Responses to “Laity doing what Laity should do!”

  1. Richard Thomas says:

    I try and compare what is happening here with what happened in Poland with the Solidarity movement. Solidarity was the movement that brought Communist Poland and ultimately the Soviet Union down.

    In Poland, the Catholic CHurch was the fiber that held people together. People clung to their faith. The Catholic faith was the moral fiber that led the novement. Catholic leaders in the religous and political areas were the pillars of the movement.

    Here in America, except for a few faithful Catholics, I don’t see anything like what happened in Poland happening. Catholics are very fragmented. Many are “Cafeteria Catholics” and sadly, millions will vote for the party of death.

    If push comes to shove, how many Catholics will stand up for faith and freedom, like was done in Poland.

    Look at our Catholic leaders. Can anyone rally around any of them like the Poles did with Pope JP II? No. Can anyone rally around the likes of Cardinal Dolan? Do our leaders bravely speak out on topics of Catholic moral principles…..except “Social Justice”?

    If the “Dark Ages” come to America, I fear that Catholics, unlike the Catholics in Poland, will not lead us out of the darkness.

  2. y2kscotty says:

    Advice – Don’t hand out political tracts on church property – even if the Pastor agrees. These tracts may have your approval, but remember some other political group will want the same privilege and you might totally dispprove of it. Mass-goers of my acquaintance don’t want political advice at church. Probably the only political advice that could eb “approved” by the Pastor would be the Bishops’ statement – and nothing else.

  3. Abaccio says:

    Catholics, on the whole, have poorly formed consciences. It is imperative that we, in true Christian Charity work to inform the ignorant as well as convert the heathen. Many Catholics today think that welfare/food stamps are of the same moral importance as the sanctity of marriage and the value of human life from conception until natural death. If they don’t hear it from the pulpit, perhaps they need to hear it elsewhere.

  4. Scott W. says:

    Advice – Don’t hand out political tracts on church property – even if the Pastor agrees. These tracts may have your approval, but remember some other political group will want the same privilege and you might totally dispprove of it.

    This advice doesn’t make sense. Let’s say we want to hand out tracts explaining true marriage and the duty of the State to protect it and the pastor approves. So, let’s say there is a group that has a tract on false marriage (same-sex). Why would the pastor approve that?

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-