- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- How It All began
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
In 23 years of pastoral service and experience, I can confidently state that an average of 3% of practicing Catholics strictly follow the teachings of the hierarchy on contraception. More disturbing than this for the bishops is reported in the following Huffington Post article,
The exemption debate has largely focused on Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies. Critics of the HHS mandate say it forces institutions to subsidize treatments that violate the tenets of their faith. Parishes and other church organizations focused on preaching and teaching the faith are exempt from the mandate.
Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) say that religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should be required to provide employees with free contraception coverage. Nearly as many (46 percent) say they should not.
A majority of Catholics (58 percent) support the contraception mandate generally. While Catholic Church teaching proscribes the use of artificial birth control to avoid conception, 98 percent of Catholics use contraception, according to separate surveys.
Aquinas said that we must follow our own conscience, even if it means excommunication, since it is our conscience that will acquit or accuse us at the end of our life. Religious Freedom (Freedom of Conscience) applies primarily to individuals and not to institutions. It means that no one, especially the state, or religious "authorities" can dictate to an individual what they must do, or practice in matters of conscience. Moral teachers, like parents, can give guidelines and help to develop values, but they cannot make every moral decision for a child, especially after the child reaches adulthood, or an adherent. You cannot abdicate your personal conscience to another person or an institution (cf. Nuremberg trials).
Religious Freedom (Freedom of Conscience) is primarily applied to individuals. No one should be able to impose upon an individual beliefs or practices with which they disagree. Religious Freedom (Freedom of Conscience) is secondarily applied to Religious Organizations since these are voluntary associations of like-minded people, e.g. churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc. These organizations enjoy Religious Freedom/Freedom of Conscience, because their individual members enjoy these freedoms. However, these organizations may not use these Freedoms as a license to attempt to impose their beliefs/practices on the whole of society. If they attempt this, these institutions become guilty of violating the Religious Freedom of individuals. Ironically, the very attempt to use legal coercion on others constitutes in and of itself a violation of the principle of Freedom of Religion/Conscience that they invoke.
If an insurance company provides a benefit, it does not mean that you must use it. However, it is quite another matter to insist that others (especially your employees, students, or other subordinated peoples) not have that same option. The Jehovah Witnesses might just as well take exception that they are required to pay for your blood transfusion, a procedure they consider immoral. The Society of Friends (Quakers), religious pacifists, could well object to their tax dollars supporting the maintenance of the military and financing foreign wars. Orthodox Jewish people could object to their tax dollars supporting food programs that include non-Kosher items and preparation practices at public schools.
What is particularly offensive about this feigned outrage on the part of the bishops is that it is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to increase their political power. Katherine Stewart, writing in the Guardian brilliantly captures the logical and moral inversion the bishops are attempting with their feigned outrage over "Religious Freedom."
“In the writings and speeches of Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders in recent months, "religious freedom" has come to mean something close to its opposite. It now stands for "religious privilege". It is a coded way for them to state their demand that religious institutions should be allowed special powers that exempt them from the laws of the land.”
It is time the Vatican cleaned their own house first, and held personally accountable/punished bishops who Covered-Up pedophilia to protect the corporate wealth and "reputation" of dioceses. Apply Catholic social teaching to Diocesan employment (wage/benefit) practices AND then perhaps, they will have the moral authority to address general social issues. They would certainly look far less ridiculous to their clergy and the faithful. Then again, their attempt to mobilize society against Marriage Equality and The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act may simply be an effective way to divert the public's attention from the bishop's role in the Cover-Up scandal.