Tag Archives: Nikolas T. Nikas

The mission of man, the genius of woman

DORINDA C. BORDLEE writes that the ‘genius of women’ requires men . . .

Dorinda C. Bordlee

Dorinda C. Bordlee

What do women want? Any man trying to bring joy to the woman he loves knows full well that this question poses a deep mystery.

Men may never suspect that their special mission or “genius” holds a key to the answer.   Having come of age during the remarkable pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II, my professional endeavors to defend women and unborn children from the violent exploitation of abortion were informed and enriched by the Pope’s insightful apostolic letters and his big vision for women expressed in Evangelium Vitae: “In transforming the culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on women to promote a ‘new feminism’” (#99).

So after being invited to a woman’s symposium addressing Pope Francis’ recent call for an even deeper theology of woman, I did something that a modern woman might consider counter-cultural:  I asked my law partner — a man — for his thoughts on the subject.

While his response later proved to be consistent with the themes of the symposium scholars, I must admit that it wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear. Out of the mouth of Nikolas T. Nikas came the answer that a deeper theology of woman is incomplete without men understanding and being affirmed in their own authentic identity and mission as men — so that complementarity can be realized to the benefit of women, men, children and families.

His argument went along these lines: “The Church needs to develop and challenge men with a big vision of the ‘theology of man.’ Otherwise the ‘feminine genius’ might simply dissolve into a Catholic version of radical feminism — a false philosophy of woman against the world.”

This assessment brought home the reality that I and many of my Catholic sisters might not have paid much attention to John Paul’s call for a focus on the male-female relationship of “communion” and the “unity of the two.” I had to ask myself if I was sometimes thinking or acting like a radical feminist who happened to wear a crucifix.

And then came the abstracts setting forth the thoughts of brilliant scholars whose symposium papers are now in a book entitled Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity and the Church (Our Sunday Visitor). The book’s essays include titles such as “The Genius of Man” by Deborah Savage, PhD, and “The Dignity and Vocation of Men: Why Masculinity and Fatherhood Matter to Women,” by Theresa Farnan, PhD.

Emboldened by my sisters’ affirmation of my law partner’s assessment about the need for a focus on men, I prepared a presentation delivered at a conference in Nashville, and later as a keynote address for the Diocese of Phoenix. Entitled “The Genius of Women and the Making of Men,” my presentation set forth my admittedly basic understanding of some of the characteristics of the “masculine genius.”

Looking to St. Joseph as a model of the masculine genius, I observed that men needed to be affirmed in a threefold vocation to be (1) protectors, (2) providers, and (3) prayerful leaders in service of their families, the Church, and their professions. But men have long ago been pushed away and told to mind their own business thanks to the rise of radical feminism and the legalization of abortion, which ironically facilitates the sexual exploitation of women.

I concluded with the basic acknowledgment that for women to fully attain human flourishing, we need to open our hearts and invite men to be men, and to allow men to be men.

Recognizing that my assessment as a policy lawyer was superficial at best, I suggested that perhaps this issue could be taken up in other symposia across the country and perhaps in pastoral letters from bishops. That last part was something that I had not expected to say, but the presence of Bishop Thomas Olmsted at the Phoenix event prompted the comment that ultimately resulted in the bishop holding a “mini-synod” on masculine identity and mission. Nik and I were honored to present along with experts who have thought deeply about this question in the fields of theology, philosophy, psychology, and masculine formation.

With Bishop Olmsted’s permission, I encourage everyone to be on the lookout for his upcoming pastoral letter, designed to teach and to inspire concrete initiatives. It’s time for us all to remember, as John Paul reminded us, that the Lord “assigns as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman; and simultaneously … assigns to every woman the dignity of every man.”

DORINDA C. BORDLEE is an attorney and co-founder of Bioethics Defense Fund, a pubic interest legal and educational organization whose mission is to put law in the service of life.

ObamaCare at the bottom of the ninth

Dorinda Bordlee & Nikolas Nikas say efforts to overturn ObamaCare are ongoing . . .

Nikolas T. Nikas

Nikolas T. Nikas

In July of 1973, Yogi Berra’s New York Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by nine games in the National League East. That’s when he uttered his most famous phrase: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” The Mets rallied to win the division title on the final day of the season.

Most are aware that the Health and Human Services “contraceptive mandate” cases are proceeding, but the legal challenges to ObamaCare as a whole are over, right? Not according to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’re writing this article to summarize the revived ObamaCare challenge — and to invite Legates to join a “friend of the court” amicus brief.

On Nov. 26, 2012, just three weeks after the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order reviving a 2010 lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of vital ObamaCare provisions — provisions that if struck down could prove to be fatal to the entire ObamaCare scheme.

In this revived case — Liberty University v. Geithner (No. 11-438) — the Supreme Court granted the Christian university’s petition for rehearing and “remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.NFIB v. Sebelius is the case issued by the Supreme Court this past summer that upheld ObamaCare’s individual mandate under Justice Roberts’ strained reasoning that the penalty on individuals could be viewed as a “tax.”

Dorinda C. Bordlee

Dorinda C. Bordlee

The NFIB case did not raise or address many issues that will now be the subject of federal court scrutiny, including provisions regarding the employer mandate and its crippling penalties, the individual mandate in light of possible constitutional infirmities that arise from the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the penalty as a “tax,” and — as raised in our original amicus brief — conscience issues and Free Exercise violations posed by ObamaCare’s hidden “abortion premium mandate.”

The Liberty case will be briefed and argued by Liberty Counsel lawyers before a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., this spring and might end up before the U.S. Supreme Court on the merits before the 2014 effective date of the ObamaCare state exchanges.

Bioethics Defense Fund — the non-profit legal organization that we founded to put law in the service of life in accord with the natural law teachings of the Catholic Church — will be counsel of record on the amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief designed to support Liberty University by fully addressing issues of religious liberty and pro-life conscience.

Several Legatus members have already agreed to be named as “amici” (friends) in the brief to be presented to the U.S. Fourth Circuit — and later to the U.S. Supreme Court. We are looking to add as many Legatus members as possible. As amici, you would be on record as a Catholic businessperson who has an interest in educating the federal judges about provisions that raise serious conscience objections for Catholics. Amici are not parties to the lawsuit, and they are free from any legal obligations.

All that would be required to join the brief as a friend-of-the-court is your name (and that of your spouse if desired) and the location of your Legatus chapter. We will list you in your individual capacity as a Legatus member, but you may list your position and the name of your company for purposes of identification only.

Our brief will address the “abortion premium mandate,” a section that allows health plans in the state exchanges to carry abortion coverage but not to disclose it until enrollment. ObamaCare then requires that every enrollee who ends up in a health plan with abortion coverage must pay a separate itemized abortion premium of a minimum $1 per month, with no exceptions. That separate premium, directly paid from the pockets of individual enrollees, is required to be placed by the insurer into a fund designated solely to pay claims for other people’s elective abortions.

As counsel on amicus briefs in nearly a dozen HHS mandate cases, we know that the Obama Department of Justice has its hands full defending religious liberty lawsuits across the country. But the rights of conscience lawsuits are set to explode exponentially once millions of Americans find themselves in plans that require a government-compelled abortion premium mandate in 2014 — unless ObamaCare is fatally undermined by this revived legal challenge.

Action Item: To join the BDF ObamaCare amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit on behalf of individual Legatus members who have an interest in educating the judges about the abortion premium mandate, contact us at info@bdfund.org or (504) 231-7234. Click here to join us in this effort.

DORINDA C. BORDLEE and NIKOLAS T. NIKAS are attorneys and founders of Bioethics Defense Fund, a national legal and educational organization whose mission is to put law in the service of life.