"...LAW can override consensus and reshape it...history isn't made by majorities, but by minorities with the stamina and smarts to persevere against the establishment while co-opting its institutions."
-- Stephen Settle
National Catholic Register
February 21, 1993
Jesuit priest Virgil Blum, founder and first President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, proposed this strategy in a 1971 America magazine article titled, "Public Policy Making: Why the Churches Strike Out."54 "If a group is to be politically effective, issues rather than institutions must be at stake," Blum acknowledged. Abortion was simply the issue chosen to galvanize the movement created to achieve this effectiveness.
Blum's article set the stage for the creation of the Pastoral Plan, offering the bishops a set of well thought out guidelines which capitalized on centuries of experience of Jesuit manipulation of governments. Blum's own words make clear the true motivations of the bishops and their plan. An analysis of Blum's article was published earlier.55 Additional comments from it appear later in this Chapter and in the next. Analysis of the Pastoral Plan makes the intentions of the bishops evident.
In the Introduction, the bishops claim, "We do not seek to impose our moral teaching on American society..." Then they define their goal, "the establishment of a system of law that will provide legal protection of human life from conception..." (defining life according to papal security-survival needs) and launch into their plan for a political mobilization designed to achieve this end no matter what the majority of Americans believe. It is immediately apparent that their claim is ridiculous. The bishops had the good sense to remove this claim from the sanitized draft.
The first section, "Plan of Action for Constitutional Amendment," describes a mustering of literally millions of people into a political machine completely controlled by the bishops for the purpose of protecting papal security interests -- at the expense of U.S. security interests. This mobilization includes virtually all Catholic institutions and agencies in the United States. From their list in the draft, I will discuss only a few:
The bishops determined the rules of the abortion engagement and defined the terms of the debate. This was in response to another of Blum's guidelines: "Crucial to influencing public opinion is getting the people to define the issue your way. Since language not only defines the situation but also shapes attitudes, a group's cause has an almost insurmountable handicap if it permits opposing forces to define the terms of the discussion. `He who defines the terms of the controversy has the controversy half won,' said a wise politician."56
Enforcing these rules set forth by the bishops required the unwavering support of Catholic journalists in both the print and broadcast media. We never see forced pregnancy of 10-year children discussed in terms of the extreme form of child abuse it really is. We are never exposed to a discussion of the powerful relationship between being an unwanted child and being a criminal, a drug abuser or alcoholic. Costs to all of us because of the bishops' success in forcing unwanted children upon American women, so that the bishops can protect papal security interests, are enormous, but these costs are never discussed as part of the abortion debate. We are only exposed to dimensions of the abortion debate that the bishops can either win or can argue to a draw. The Catholic journalists organized by the bishops as a part of their Pastoral Plan insure that all tow the line. Without this cadre, the bishops' plan would have failed miserably.
The pope has a keen awareness of the importance of the media to
his agenda. In a letter to the world's Catholic journalists
appearing in the February 27, 1992 issue of The Wanderer,
titled "Mass Media Need Catholic Presence," the pope states: "It
is in this connection that on World Communications Day I recall
the activities of Catholics, individually and in a myriad of
institutions, in this field. In particular I mention the three
great Catholic media organizations: the International Catholic
Office for Film and Cinema(OCIC), The International Catholic
Press Union (UCIP), and the International Catholic Association
for Radio and Television (Unda). It is to them in particular and
to the vast resources of professional knowledge, skill, and zeal
among their extensive international membership that the Church
turns hopefully and confidently....The great body of Catholic
media professionals, lay men and women for the most part, must be
reminded on this special day of the awesome responsibility which
rests upon them...to foster the Church's presence in the media
and to work for greater coordination among the Catholic agencies
2. Catholic Physicians Guilds. - Index
In 1975, 80 percent of all American obstetrician-gynecologists
performed abortions. In 1994, this figure is below 20 percent.
Much of the bishops' success in restricting the availability of
abortion to Catholic and nonCatholic American women can be
attributed to the bishops' mobilization of Catholic physicians.
Behind the scenes manipulation in medical societies and on
hospital boards, etc., career advancement of anti-abortion
physicians at the expense of pro-choice physicians and outright
intimidation were some of the tools used by the members of the
guilds to achieve this remarkable success.
3. Catholic Lawyers Associations. - Index
The bishops recognized that these associations, if properly led,
could secretly facilitate the placement of anti-abortion
individuals, both lawyers and nonlawyers, in positions of power
in elected and nonelected positions and in public and private
life. Also, various organizations were created to defend
anti-abortion activists and advance the bishops' agenda in other
4. Catholic Hospital Association. - Index
The bishops called upon this association to defend the Catholic
hospitals against any effort to induce or require Catholic
hospitals to offer abortion related medical services to women who
want them. The association also was asked to begin a propaganda
campaign against the evil of abortion directed at Catholic
hospital patients. There were many other ways in which this
association has advanced the bishops' agenda, including stripping
hospital privileges from physicians, Catholic and nonCatholic, if
they performed abortions anywhere or even referred for or
counseled patients on abortion. Individuals, including
physicians, advanced or failed to advance in their careers,
depending on their position on abortion and many conformed most
unethically -- to the benefit of the bishops.
5. Lay organizations. - Index
The lay organizations the reader sees listed by the bishops in
their plan collectively have a membership nearly 10 million
strong. Members have been asked through their organizations to
take whatever steps they can against prochoice individuals and
institutions and to promote the advancement of anti-abortionists
into positions of power, in their careers, and socially and
politically as well. Advancement of individuals based on merit
has been corrupted in order to advance the interests of the
Papacy. Reading the publications of these organizations over the
past 15 years, I have been impressed with the creativity by which
the American way of life has been corrupted by these desperate
bishops through their lay organizations in order to achieve the
goals of their Pastoral Plan. Every American has suffered
serious consequences from this activity. Individuals are usually
unaware that they are victims of this plan and its
behind-the-scenes manipulations, and mistakenly attribute their
misfortunes to other causes.
The Pastoral Plan specifically states that the bishops will assist each Catholic organization and agency in marshalling political power, and power to manipulate professional groups, in order to advance the objectives of the Vatican.
In another of his guidelines, Blum concluded that if the Catholic leadership is to succeed, it must make their efforts look non-Catholic.57 Blum also concluded that to accomplish this goal, the bishops must create a strong ecumenical movement.
Before the Vatican's need of ecumenism came along, the small fledgling ecumenical movement of the 1960s was going nowhere. Blum's article was published in 1971. Then, suddenly, ecumenical activity exploded. Most of the Catholic activity in the Christian ecumenical movement has taken place since that time. A leading motivation for the involvement of Catholic leadership in ecumenism has been the Catholic Church's need for wide-scale public participation by Protestant churches in the anti-abortion movement. Blum recognized early on that "ecumenism" would be an essential weapon to counter the criticism certain to come with the blatant involvement of the bishops in making public policy. He saw that constant defense of the Catholic bishops by Protestant leaders, in the name of "ecumenism," was critical. In hindsight, he was obviously correct. Protestant leaders have served as tools of the Catholic bishops to blunt criticism, by branding such criticism as anti-Catholic or anti-freedom of religion and thus un-American. Protestants with good intentions were used like pawns to advance papal security interests at the expense of our country's. (More on the Vatican's ecumenism success in Chapter 14.)
As a result of this intimidation, the bishops' unAmerican activities unleashed by this plan, go undiscussed in academia, the professions, business, labor, national, state and local governments, and most especially in the press.
The bishops' call to appoint only anti-abortion judges met with overwhelming success during the Reagan and Bush years. They succeeded in influencing judicial appointments during these administrations. Not one single pro-choice federal judge was named to the bench. Over 70 percent of our federal judges are now basically anti-abortion, as are all five Supreme Court Justices appointed during those years.
Much of the success of the bishops in their manipulation of the U.S. judicial selection process is owed to the Catholic controlled Free Congress Foundation (FCF), founded by Catholic activist Paul Weyrich in 1978 in response to the Pastoral Plan's call for the creation of "grassroots" organizations. FCF's Judicial Selection Monitoring Project was created specifically to accomplish the bishops' goals as set forth in this section of the Pastoral Plan.
The bishops' call for members of Catholic Lawyers Associations to write articles for law journals attacking the philosophical basis of _Roe_ and _Doe_, and presenting the strictest and most guarded interpretations of _Roe_ and _Doe_, has resulted in a plethora of such material appearing not only in law journals but in publications meant for wider readership.
Virgil Blum offered two guidelines to the bishops relevant to the leadership of this effort. "Most of the laity," he wrote, "will not, on their own initiative, become involved in any civic organization that concerns itself with educational, religious and moral values...Catholic laymen on the whole simply do not get involved in...politics, even for their own financial benefit, unless the pastors give their approval and strong encouragement. And most pastors will not do so unless the bishop pushes them into it."58
Blum seems to be suggesting that the laity is a mindless herd who must be pushed into involvement in politics. However, that there is not greater lay involvement can best be accounted for, obviously, by the fact that most Catholics disagree with the bishops on abortion. Some of the key reasons for this disagreement are discussed in Chapter 13.
In a second guideline on this topic, Blum states, "...religious leaders [must] begin to take seriously their role as leaders and moral persuaders...They must provide the leadership in the organization of issue-oriented interest groups that will be actively involved in the making of public policy."59 Blum makes clear that the intent is the making of public policy -- as determined by the bishops. He also says they must provide the leadership of what have become known as the New Right organizations. The bishops obviously accepted Blum's many guidelines, including these two.
Objective 2 of the Diocesan Plan states: "Oversee the development of `grass-roots' organizations, and direct their activity and involvement." Is it legitimate to label a Vatican-created and bishop-controlled lobbying effort, "grass-roots"? In the section of the Diocesan Plan titled, "Organization of Grass Roots Effort in Every Congressional District," Objective 1 states, "In each district, the parishes will be one basic resource, and the clergy will have to be activated to lead and/or collaborate in the overall effort." The leadership down to the lowest possible level is clerical just as Blum had said would be necessary for success.
It is evident that the Diocesan Plan called for pressure directed at and intimidation of the secular press and electronic media. Furthermore, the plan went on to say, "Develop Core Groups with close relationships to each Senator or Representative," obviously referring to development of pressure groups (see Objective 1). Every Senator and Representative is to be contacted repeatedly by a multitude of pressure groups controlled by the bishops, to advance the Papal agenda. Intimidation to discourage opposition to the Papal agenda is implied, " -- create a presence at public functions; conduct symposia; be available to press and media." And the bishops have achieved the desired result.
The sections titled, "House Activity" and "State Coordinating Committee" both further reflect the considerable experience of this foreign-controlled lobbying effort. In the sections on both the creation of function of the pro-life groups and the diocesan plan, the bishops state that they will insure that this lobbying effort will be funded.
The plan boldly states: "A comprehensive pro-life legislative program must therefore include the following elements:
a) Passage of a constitutional amendment providing protection for the unborn child to the maximum degree possible.
b) Passage of federal and state laws and adoption of administrative policies that will restrict the practice of abortion as much as possible.
Accomplishment of this aspect of this Pastoral Plan will undoubtedly require well planned and coordinated political action at the national, state and local levels."
It further states: "Thus this Pastoral Plan seeks to activate the...resources of the Church in three major efforts:
3. a public policy effort directed toward the legislative, judicial and administrative areas so as to insure effective legal protection for the right to life."
Then the Vatican turned their "faithful" loose on America to achieve these objectives using any means they could muster. There is a mountain of evidence showing that the bishops and other faithful have resorted to all tools at their disposal to achieve these objectives.60- The Vatican, at this point, had already determined that its very survival was on the line.
As noted, this version details a 3-pronged attack, one devoted to each of the three branches of our federal government: legislative, judicial and administrative. The success of the bishops in their "public policy effort directed toward the administrative area" was truly stunning. Within a year after the Pastoral Plan was initiated in November 1975, during the President-elect Carter transition team era, the bishops had already seized considerable control.
The bishops succeeded in their efforts to elect Presidents Reagan and Bush, the two most Catholic Presidents in American history. As the TIME article shows, with the election of anti-abortion Ronald Reagan and anti-abortion George Bush in 1980, the Vatican seized control of the administrative branch of our government in the area of population and family planning.63 The comments of U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican William Wilson and of Cardinal Pio Laghi, Vatican Ambassador to the U.S., say all that needs to be said. In these two administrations, U.S. policy was made to reflect Vatican policy.
These two Presidents took whatever administrative actions they could take to impose Vatican family planning, abortion and population policy on all Americans. They made numerous appointments from the ranks of the Religious Right. These executive appointees waged a campaign of bureaucratic harassment and obstruction against the family planning establishment.63a Those whom G. Gordon Liddy, imprisoned for his role in the Watergate scandal, refers to as "agents of influence"63b were surreptitiously placed in key posts. The list of actions taken is long and goes far beyond the better known ones, such as the Mexico City policy, the ban on abortions in overseas military facilities and the ban on fetal tissue research.
Through these two Presidents, the Vatican succeeded in crippling our government's population and family planning efforts. However, it has not succeeded in passage of its all-important "Human Life Amendment" to our Constitution. This amendment would, for obvious reasons, be very destructive of U.S. security interests but is vital to Papal security interests.
During the Carter-Reagan-Bush years, the bishops directed an infiltration of every U.S. government office and agency that has anything to do with family planning, abortion, immigration and population growth control, including those that produce information that would point to a need for national or international population growth control. The Vatican seeks to undermine the effectiveness of the population and family planning related missions assigned to the various government and government funded agencies as directed by Congress.
The Vatican used faithful Catholics like Jack Sullivan, as described by Ravenholt in Chapter 5, to implement their agenda. It directed this infiltration by a group of Catholics who owe their allegiance to the Papacy rather than America, opportunistic non-Catholics like Sander Levin64 and Catholics who simply owe their jobs to the bishops and are also very disinclined to bring attention to the bishops' corrupting influences. Evidence of the success of the bishops in this regard abounds.65-
With the administrative area of our government under such strong Vatican influence, it was easy to impose its wishes in the judicial area. As noted earlier, Presidents Reagan and Bush appointed five Supreme Court Justices and 70 percent of all sitting judges in the federal court system. All were anti-abortion, another stated goal of their Plan.
The third branch of the government, the legislative branch, was also specifically targeted by the Pastoral Plan. This branch has been more difficult for the bishops, though they did achieve influence in Congress sufficient to the point where pro-choice Congressmen could not override a presidential veto. So long as the bishops controlled the White House, this was sufficient for their purposes.
However, in 1994 the bishops scored a stunning success. The Republicans seized control of both the House and the Senate. Every single freshman Republican elected to both houses was anti-abortion, a remarkable achievement for the bishops and their Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities.
The creation of these "grassroots" organizations by the bishops had far reaching consequences for the governing of America. Many of these consequences are widely known. Others are not.
For example, the 1980 election cost $127.3 million. Trade and corporate PACs spent $61.6 million. New Right PACs raised a combined $19 million. Conservative challengers were given disproportionately far more by corporate and right-wing sources. In her book, The Right to Lifers: Who They Are, How They Operate, How They Get Their Money, Connie Paige states,"The most perplexing aspect of all this was the change in nature of corporate giving -- the phenomenon that threw the Democratic candidates off balance even more than did the astonishingly large amounts. Never before had oil companies, savings-and loan associations, defense contractors, the real-estate and insurance industries, builders, truckers, auto manufacturers and dealers, and the utility, chemical and dairy industries directed their resources in such vast quantities toward so many political unknowns of the same ideological stripe."71
This dramatic change in corporate giving was a direct result of the bishops' Pastoral Plan and its call for the creation of this plethora of Catholic controlled "grassroots" organizations and its call to Catholic laymen in these secular institutions to do whatever possible in the political arena to advance the goals of the plan. This included lay Catholic manipulation of corporate giving to political campaigns in such a way as to advance the papal agenda.
According to the account of a lawyer who clerked for him, Dooling was responsible, thorough, and highly intelligent.72 He was also a practicing Catholic.73 He took thirteen months to hear the evidence, which ultimately amounted to dozens of witnesses and thousands of pages of testimony.74
On February 4, 1980, E. Willis, writing for The Village Voice, summarized the outcome: "[In] Judge John F. Dooling's 328-page decision [on January 15, 1980], striking down the Hyde Amendment...he demonstrates that the purpose of the Hyde Amendment was never to save the taxpayers' money, keep the government neutral on a delicate moral issue, or distinguish between `necessary' and so-called `convenience' abortions.
"The amendment," says Dooling bluntly, "was a ploy by anti-abortion congressmen frustrated in their attempt to pass a Constitutional amendment that would override the Supreme Court's 1973 pro-abortion decision; its purpose was quite simply to circumvent the Court's ruling and prevent as many abortions as possible." Dooling makes short work of the anti-abortionists' pretensions to being a spontaneous grassroots movement that owes political victories to sheer moral appeal. He confirms that right-to-life's main source of energy, organization, and direction has been the Catholic Church, and describes in detail how the movement uses one-issue voting to put pressure on legislators, candidates, and the party organizations that nominate them -- a tactic that gains its influence far out of proportion to its numbers.
"After quoting various Christian and Jewish theologians' differing opinions on abortion and the question of fetal personhood, Dooling argues that the antiabortionist view is not based on any moral or religious consensus but reflects a sectarian position that `is not genuinely argued; it is adamantly asserted'...The Hyde Amendment, he concludes, is religiously motivated legislation that imposes a particular theological viewpoint, violating dissenters' First Amendment rights."
Dooling carefully examined the bishop's Pastoral Plan as he prepared his decision. He documented that the Hyde Amendment became U.S. law only because of the considerable success enjoyed by the bishops in the implementation of their Pastoral Plan.
One might ask how the Catholic Church could have retained its tax exemption under these circumstances. The answer is simple. By this time, the bishops had mobilized their "faithful" with their Plan. In the critical government departments and agencies, the bishops held sufficient influence to block any challenges. Several attempts were made. All failed. The Pastoral Plan's mobilization of responsive lay Catholic judges and other government officials, including IRS decision-makers, ruled out any hope that American law would be enforced against the bishops and their obedient followers.
Judge Dooling clearly understood the grave implications for America of the Pastoral Plan. However, he was no match for the awesome power of his bishops: this decision was quickly overturned by an Appeals Court and the Hyde Amendment became law.
Had the Catholic Church been stripped of its tax exemption status when the bishops approved its Pastoral Plan, which was obviously in order, the Vatican would not have succeeded in killing American political will to confront the population problem. Without the tax exemption, the Vatican would not have succeeded in covertly "co-opting its [the U.S. government's] institutions," as Stephen Settle suggested. Every dollar of the Catholic Church's income and expenditures would have been publicly accounted for. Settle's "minority" would not be able to manipulate government policy to advance the security interests of the Papacy at the expense of U.S. security interests.