The headlines of the last week have me thinking of the Deep State. But not in the usual sense. And not the headlines you think.
A deep state is “a state within a state, is a form of clandestine government made up of hidden or covert networks of power operating independently of a nation’s political leadership, in pursuit of their own agenda and goals.”
The possibility of a deep state operating within the U.S. federal government seemed much more likely this week, with the summary of the Mueller Report. It exonerated the Trump Campaign of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
The U.S. intelligence agencies that wrongly investigated President Trump now seem, more than ever, to have been seeking to undermine a legitimate government of which they disapproved.
As with the nation, so with the Church.
Last Sunday, The Hartford Courant ran a feature story on a local Catholic laywoman, Linda Bayer, who recently died:
She read at Mass and was the president of the parish council at Sacred Heart Church, and when the diocese required three parishes to consolidate, some parishioners resisted the change. … Bayer met with parishioners reluctant to leave their church and listened to their objections with tact and diplomacy, Melo [Fr. Nicholas Melo, the pastor] said. Bayer became the head of the new combined church’s pastoral council, “and was a very unifying force for us,” Melo said.
The article continued: “Over the years, she received various church honors, and would send her mother pictures of herself at a ceremony. Her mother would cut out the picture of the bishop or other high ranking official and place her daughter’s photo in the place of honor.” All well and good. Except for this:
While she was a devout Catholic, she also supported NARAL, a pro-choice organization, and found no contradiction in her position. “She viewed the church as her family,” said her brother Michael. “You don’t agree with everything your family says, and it didn’t affect the way she related to church.”
It is shameless under any circumstances to say that a good Catholic can be pro-abortion. Emphasizing it in an obituary is in especially poor taste. (Fr. Melo has confirmed to me that he was unaware of her support for NARAL and only learned of it when he read The Courant article.)
This lack of shame, though bad, is fairly common. What is special in this case is that Bayer was also an employee of Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, at a time when the Mayor colluded with NARAL to pass an ordinance against a pro-life pregnancy center.
This is a pattern that I have seen throughout my fifteen years as a Catholic layman who is a professional pro-family activist in the State of Connecticut.
It is my job to speak in the public square of my home state for the biblical values Evangelicals and Catholics hold in common: the sanctity of human life, the truth about marriage and the family, and the religious liberties that are our birthright as Americans.
But in the case of the Catholic Church, my job is made harder by the fact that I am defending an institution riddled with fifth columnists. Indeed, as a Catholic layman, I sometimes feel as if I am relying for spiritual support on a Church that does not believe in its own faith.
Or, at least, a Church infested with a deep state that seeks to undermine its faith.
The midwife who delivered one of my children at St. Mary Hospital’s Birthing Center in Waterbury? She is now the head of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. And she even exploits her own Catholic background to serve her evil cause.
The priest who was my pastor when I was leading a statewide campaign to repeal Connecticut’s gay marriage ruling? He is now “married” to a man, and he publicly promotes various gay and transgender causes. This was a priest who was once the bioethics expert of our Archdiocese. He had a regular column in our diocesan newspaper.
The 2007 law forcing Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals to provide the abortifacient Plan B drug in its emergency rooms? My sources tell me that employees at those hospitals worked with pro-abortion groups to help force that law on the Church.
There are many similar stories, stretching back decades. But those are just a few of the ones with which I was personally involved.
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“Connecticut must then have a liberal bishop,” you are thinking, “like the ones in Chicago or San Diego.” Actually, we don’t.
Our Archbishop, Leonard Blair, arrived in Hartford six years ago with a reputation for orthodoxy that was so strong that his appointment was denounced by the liberal National Catholic Reporter.
But Hartford is not an easy place to proclaim the gospel. You will often feel like Custer surrounded by the Indians.
Especially when the Indians are in your own army.