“Dagger John” was no pacifist Catholic bishop. A lesson for our time?

archbishop-john-hughes

Archbishop John Hughes of New York, universally known to friend and foe as Dagger John, was  a very tough and fearless man.  After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church was touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow.  (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched.  On another occasion when a threat was made to burn Saint Patrick’s cathedral the Archbishop had it guarded within hours by 4,000 armed Catholics.  He earned his nickname!

Among his many accomplishments was his success in leading the New York Irish out of poverty.  It is a fascinating story and relevant to our time.  In 1997 in City Journal, William J. Stern wrote an article on how Dagger John did it…

Link

“Dagger John” and the Church Militant

So who will protect the American Church from the latest threat, this one from the hatchet-faced secretary of Health and Human Services (and why does such a department even exist?), Kathleen Sebelius, and her boss President Obama? As I wrote in my New York Post column yesterday:

Friday’s ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services proved yet again that ObamaCare’s critics are right. It’s a breathtaking attack not only on the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, but also on the separation of church and state.

Kathleen Sebelius, the nominally Catholic HHS chief, bluntly informed religious medical institutions that offer services to the general public that she will indeed compel them to offer free birth control, sterilization and “morning after” pills as part of their employees’ health-care plans. They have exactly one year to get with the program or suffer the consequences.

That’s all their vehement objections to her August “guidelines” got them: “This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule,” read a department statement defending HHS’ insistence on what it euphemistically calls “preventive services.”

In other words, they have a year to figure out how to violate their religious beliefs and contravene church teaching. And if they choose to cancel their health-care plans rather than submit, they’ll incur a hefty annual fine under the tender mercies of ObamaCare.

Read more