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Understanding Oppostion to the HHS Mandate (Part 1): Why the Church Won’t Pay for Contracept
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | February 6, 2012 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 02/07/2012 2:11:19 PM PST by NYer


In discussing the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate that will attempt to force the Catholic Church to pay for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization, I have discovered that many Catholics, while generally understanding why we object to paying for sterilization and abortifacients, are less than enthusiastic about our refusal to pay for contraceptives. This “lack of enthusiasm” for the Church’s position on Contraception, along with political irritation, makes many Catholics ambivalent or even hostile to the Bishop’s call that we oppose the HHS mandate.

Why we won’t pay for contraceptives – While the fundamental issue is this matter is Religious Freedom and the First Amendment, (which we have discussed here before and will again in the future), it may be worthwhile to focus for a moment on why we religiously oppose the use and funding of contraceptives. This discussion on contraception cannot be complete in a brief blog post, but setting forth the principled reasons of the Church teaching may be helpful.

In looking at the issue, we might begin by looking at the “big picture.” For while many people fail to see why contraception is harmful in a particular marriage, it is easier for them to begin to see the harm that contraceptives have caused in our wider culture. Looking at some of the harm may be of help in addressing the overall negative attitude that many, including most Catholics, bring to the Church teaching on Contraception.

For indeed, a generation has passed since the publication of the boldly pastoral and prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae which upheld the ancient ban on the use of artificial contraception. Perhaps no teaching of the Church causes the worldly to scoff more than our teaching against artificial contraception. The eyes of so many, Catholics among them, roll and the scoffing begins: Unrealistic! Out of touch! Uncompassionate! Silly! You’ve got to be kidding!

The Lord Jesus had an answer to those who ridiculed him in a similar way: Time will prove where wisdom lies. (Matt 11:16-18)

And to a large degree time has proven where wisdom lies. For some forty or more years after widespread acceptance of contraception many grave cultural consequences have set in, related to sexuality and mistaken notions of sex. Among the consequences are: widespread and open promiscuity, which has led to higher and higher levels of STDs, abortion, teenage pregnancy, single parent homes, divorce, and to a decline in marriage rates. Recall that advocates of contraceptives, beginning in the 1950s and into the 1960s made many promises of the “benefits” of contraceptives.

The Promises of the Contraception Advocates:

  1. Happier Marriages and a lower divorce rates since couples could have all the sex they wanted without “fear” of pregnancy.
  2. Lower abortion rates since there would be far fewer “unwanted” children.
  3. Greater dignity for women who will no longer be “bound” by their reproductive system.
  4. More recently contraceptive advocates have touted the medical benefits of preventing STDs and AIDS especially by the use of condoms.

Paul VI in refuting these benefits made a few predictions of his own.

What were some of the concerns and predictions made by Pope Paul VI? (All of these are quotes from Humanae Vitae)

  1. Consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity (Humanae Vitae (HV) # 17)
  2. A general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. (HV # 17)
  3. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. (HV # 17)
  4. Who will prevent public authorities from…impos[ing] their use on everyone. (HV # 17)

So, forty years later, who had the wisdom to see the true effects of Contraception, the world or the Church? Well lets consider some of the data:

  1. The divorce rate did not decline. It skyrocketed. Divorce rates soared through the 1970s to to the 1990s to almost 50% of marriages failing. In recent years the divorce rate has dropped slightly but this may also be due to the fact that far fewer people get married in the first place, preferring to cohabitate and engage in a kind of serial polygamy drifting from relationship to relationship. The overall divorce rate despite its slight drop remains high, hovering in the low 40% range. Contraceptive advocates claim that divorce is a complicated matter. True enough. But they cannot have it both ways, claiming that contraception would be a “simple” fix to make marriages happier and then, when they are so horrifyingly wrong, claiming that divorce is “complicated.” Paul VI on the other hand predicted rough sailing for marriage in advent of contraception. Looks like the Pope was right.
  2. Abortion rates did not decrease. They too skyrocketed. Within five years the pressure to have more abortion available led to its “legalization” in 1973. It has been well argued that, far from decreasing the abortion rate, contraception actually fueled it. Since contraception routinely fails, abortion became the “contraception of last recourse.” Further, just as the Pope predicted sexual immorality became widespread and this too led to higher rates of abortion. It is hard to compare promiscuity rates between periods since people “lie” a lot when asked about such things. But one would have to be very myopic not to notice the huge increase in open promiscuity, cohabitation, pornography and the like. All of this bad behavior, made more possible by contraceptives, also fuels abortion rates. Chalk up another one for the Pope and the Church.
  3. The question of women’s dignity is hard to measure and different people have different measures. Women do have greater career choices. But is career or vocation the true source of one’s dignity? One’s dignity is surely more than their economic and utilitarian capacity. Sadly, motherhood has taken a real back seat in popular culture. And, as the Pope predicted women have been hypersexualized as well. (Yesterday’s Superbowl Ads featured large amounts of female nudity to sell even products like Doritos). The dignity of women as wives and mothers has been set aside in favor of the sexual pleasure they offer. As the Pope predicted many modern men, no longer bound by marriage for sexual satisfaction, use women and discard them on a regular basis. Men “get what they want” and it seems many women are willing to supply it rather freely. In this scenario men win. Women are often left with STDs, they are often left with children, and as they get older and “less attractive” they are often left alone. I am not sure this is dignity. But you decide who is right and if women really have won in the “new morality” that contraception helped usher in. I think the Pope wins this point as well.
  4. As for preventing STDs and AIDS, again, big failure. STDs did not decrease and were not prevented. Infection rates skyrocketed through the 1970s and 1980s. AIDS which appeared on the scene later continues to show horribly high rates. Where is the promised deliverance? Contraceptives it seems, do not prevent anything. Rather they encourage the spread of these diseases by encouraging the bad behavior that causes them. Here too it looks like the Church was right and the world was wrong.
  5. Add to this list the huge teenage pregnancy rates, the devastation of single parent families, broken hearts and even poverty. The link to poverty may seem obscure, but the bottom line is that single motherhood is the chief cause of poverty in this country. Contraception encourages promiscuity. Promiscuity leads to teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy leads to single motherhood (absent fatherhood). Single motherhood leads to welfare and poverty. Currently in the inner city over 80% of homes are headed by single mothers. It is the single highest factor related to poverty.
  6. Declining birth rates are also having terrible effects on contracepting cultures. Europe as we have known it is simply going out of existence. And while many debate endlessly over demographic data and how to interpret it, Europe’s future seems increasingly Muslim and the social network wherein the young care for the old has been largely gutted. I have written more on this HERE: Contraception is Cultural Suicide! Likewise here in the USA white and African American communities are below replacement level. Thankfully our immigrants are largely Christian and share our American vision. But for the Church the declining birthrates are now resulting in closing schools, parishes, declining vocations and the like. We cannot sustain what we have on a population that is no longer replacing itself. Immigration has insulated us from this to some extent, but low Mass attendance has eclipsed that growth and we are starting to shut down a lot of our operations.
  7. Sexual Confusion – Contraception “decouples” sex from having children. It emphasizes sex as pleasure. for its own sake, and simply for the bonding of the adults involved. And while the Church does teach that marital sex does have a unitive dimension, it is not to be separated from its link to the procreative dimension. Having largely separated out the procreative dimension from sex, leads to a loss in the sacredness of sex. For if sex is just for pleasure, and not intrinsically related to having children, why should it be thought of as so sacred or serious. And why wait until marriage and maturity to start having it? And if sex is just about adults having pleasure and sharing intimate love, then many stop understanding why homosexual acts (which cannot be open to procreation) are flawed and intrinsically disordered.
  8. Thus we have sown in the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind.
  9. And of course it is the children who ultimately pay. For, even though we have tried through a contraceptive mentality to say that sex has little to do with having children, the fact is it does. And our children are born into a cultural whirlwind that is largely caused by sexual confusion and irresponsibility. And contraceptives and the contraceptive mentality have been a huge factor in the unraveling of our sexual sensibilities, and the breakdown of our families. Bad behavior has been encouraged, and all the bad consequences that flow from it are flourishing.

Most people seem largely disinterested in this data. Hearts have become numb and minds have gone to sleep. I hope you are not among them, and that you might consider this information well and share it with others. Time HAS proved where wisdom lay. It’s time to admit the obvious

What I have tried to do here is to show some of the reasons the Church opposes the use and promotion of contraceptive practices. There are actually insights that bring forth this opposition. It is not just a backward bunch of clerics in the Vatican opposing sex. Rather it is an ancient wisdom that makes good sense.

When sex is decoupled from child-bearing many grave distortions are introduced into a culture. As the proper understanding of sex becomes unraveled, so does the family. And it is children who suffer most.

While the crisis of Western Culture has more than contraception for its cause, contraception has still played a huge role in setting off many whirlwinds that have swept away much that was good. It is no accident or mere coincidence that in the very 50 years that contraceptives have become widely available and used, that the family has gone into a kind of nuclear winter. The statistics make it clear that more than half of children (and far more in minority communities) will never know the two parent family that most of us who are over fifty experienced as normal and ubiquitous.

Of course another fundamental reason we oppose Contraception is rooted in the ancient practice, stretching back into biblical times and carried forward all through the Christian era. Until the 1940 Lambeth conference there never was a Christian Church or communion who approved of contraception. In that fateful year the Anglican Church of England gave the first tip of the hat to contraceptive practice, and slowly, the Protestant denominations all followed. But Catholics, Orthodox and Orthodox Jews have never changed. We continue to hold the ancient and wise insight that sex is intrinsically linked to child bearing, and that the link should never be broken and replaced by other intentions in isolation from that. To do so invites disaster, as we can plainly see.

It will be granted that living the Church teaching on Contraception is not easy. Yet some of the difficulty must also be traced to our seeming obsession with small families. We have argued on this blog at some length about economic realities and many have voiced strong opinions that more than 2 children is just not economically feasible. And yet others with larger families say they do fine. It would seem that a lot has to do with what we want and what our priorities are going to be. And while the arguments will surely continue, it is remains true to this author that the absolute necessity for only 1 or 2 children is not an unassailable fact.

In the end however, Catholics are encouraged to look beyond merely their own family and see what contraception has done to us. Life is bigger than merely what is hard for me, or what I like or don’t like, think or don’t think. Contraception has been a bitter pill that the West has swallowed.

While our fight against the HHS ruling is essentially about religious liberty, Catholics and others must understand that we do not seek to religious freedom merely for some arcane doctrine of no importance, that Catholics or others should say “What’s the big deal?” Rather, opposition to contraception is an essential component in the Catholic teaching on sexuality by which we stand against grave forces that wreak havoc on our culture. We cannot pay for something we see as sinful and destructive.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholicchurch; hhsmandate; msgrcharlespope

1 posted on 02/07/2012 2:11:27 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
Until the 1940 Lambeth conference there never was a Christian Church or communion who approved of contraception. In that fateful year the Anglican Church of England gave the first tip of the hat to contraceptive practice, and slowly, the Protestant denominations all followed. But Catholics, Orthodox and Orthodox Jews have never changed.

Catholic ping!

2 posted on 02/07/2012 2:12:55 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

The church is not being forced to provide birth control or abortions.

It isn’t about religion or liberty. It’s about property.

The church has the choice to get out of the hospital business and turn the buildings over to the federal government cheap as its first step (25% of all hospitals), besides the VA, in taking over all hospitals.

I believe that is and has been Obama’s only goal in this.

3 posted on 02/07/2012 2:28:08 PM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (REPEAL WASHINGTON! -- Islam Delenda Est! -- I Want Constantinople Back. -- Rumble thee forth.)
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To: NYer

You can’t have “religious liberty” without “just plain liberty.”

Every country that has socialized medicine gives up liberty by the bucketful to enact their socialized medical schemes.

It would appear that the Church was naive enough to think that there was some path towards socialized medicine that was going to respect their “religious liberty” at the same time compromising the liberty of everyone else involved.

So, how’s that working out?

4 posted on 02/07/2012 2:29:39 PM PST by NVDave
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide
The church has the choice to get out of the hospital business and turn the buildings over to the federal government cheap...

Dear friend, like an intricately woven tapestry, the Catholic Church carries out its mission to serve, through hospitals, colleges, universities, and a host of other organizations. No one, regardless of their inability to pay, is ever turned away.

Obama's goal is to attack ALL religious groups beginning with the largest one. If they can succeed here, the rest will collapse like dominoes. That is the plan.

5 posted on 02/07/2012 2:52:14 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

No employer or insurance company, religious or non-, should be forced to privilege anti-life drugs and surgery over the treatment of actual illness or injury. No copayment for contraceptives, but there is for statins? No deductible for sterilization surgery, but there is for angioplasty or joint replacement? Poppycock. (Thank you, Rick Santorum, for the great word, which is much more offensive than y’all think it is.)

Everyone should be against this ... especially every sick person, whose costs will go up so that some people can pretend there are no costs to their sexual behavior choices.

6 posted on 02/07/2012 3:08:13 PM PST by Tax-chick (Email your grandmother!)
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To: Tax-chick

Congratulations on the newest addition! She is beautiful, like you :-)

7 posted on 02/07/2012 3:12:32 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

Part of what Obama wants is to cause the exodus of the Church from running hospitals. This is because they Church has approximately 11% of the sum total of hospitals in the country.

But, he also wants to re-engineer society as he wishes it to be. That means that any agency or organization whose teachings, ideals, theology or philosophy run contrary to O’s variant of socialism must falter and fall, in his eyes. The largest and best-known of those is the Catholic Church. Obama wants the influence of the Church, and any others who would oppose him, to want.

So what’s he gonna do? Just a guess, here. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that he has one of the myriad agencies under his control use regulations to make something roughly equating to a same-sex union law or laws. Suppose that the regs in question make it tantamount to a crime to forbid same-sex unions from happening in any facility in the US. That’d give the impetus to charge those at whichever facilities didn’t allow for the unions.

Obama likes regulation, since he’s is a true bureaucrat, as well as a socialist. It’s able to be dictated by him and those who agree with him, there’s little recourse, no messy congressional hearings or posturing from undependable politicians, AND it can be couched in a way which sympathetic ears may hear as being more benign than it really is.

If Obama gets the Catholic Church out of the hospital business, he wins, since that’s the largest other player, aside from the government. If the Church fights him on it, he’ll try to get the courts involved to be those sympathetic to him, and he wins. If genuine Catholic organizations, along with his evil planted fake ones (Catholics for the Common Good, anyone?) weaken their resolve, than he’ll use that in PR, and he wins. And this is in addition to the fact that Church teachings are completely contra-Obama’s view of life in this country. So to him, any of this is a win.

But make no mistake, He is after the Catholic Church. And once he feels he’s done there, his eyes will focus on any and all other groups who oppose his actions and words. He’s a coward, but that doesn’t remove the evil, it intensifies it. The fact that his personal hands won’t be busy does not stop the hands he will direct. Those will be any convenient ones under his command.

Pray, brother, for your country, and those in it.

8 posted on 02/07/2012 3:12:53 PM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: NYer; VinceASA; Monkey Face; RIghtwardHo; pieces of time; Warthog-2; Tzar; word_warrior_bob; ...

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

9 posted on 02/07/2012 3:23:49 PM PST by narses
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To: NYer
4.Who will prevent public authorities from…impos[ing] their use on everyone. (HV # 17)

Yes, and once the Catholic Church is driven out of the hospital business, one less protective buffer will exist between the people of this country and coercive population control policies like those that have been imposed upon the people of China.

This HHS mandate, if allowed to stand, is merely a "preview of coming attractions."

So people who want to keep yapping about "mean old mother church" had better take a good hard look at what the "wicked stepmother" will look like.

10 posted on 02/07/2012 4:29:52 PM PST by Sons of Union Vets (No taxation without representation!)
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To: NYer

Thank you! She looks like Frank, except that the tiny bit of hairs seems to be brown, instead of red.

11 posted on 02/07/2012 4:31:50 PM PST by Tax-chick (Email your grandmother!)
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To: NYer
‘I am going to stick with fellow Catholics’ in Pres. Obama’s war on Catholics. Wherein Fr. Z rants.
Unholy War
Six Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate
Santorum: Obama Hostile to Christians
Understanding Oppostion to the HHS Mandate (Part 1): Why the Church Won’t Pay for Contracept
Standing with the Bishops [Catholic Caucus]
Updated: *167* Bishops (More Than 90% of Dioceses) Have Spoken Out Against Obama/HHS Mandate
Updated: *153* Bishops (Over 80% of Dioceses) Have Spoken Out Against Obama/HHS Mandate
An Affront Catholics Agree On [Liberal and Conservative Catholics Against Obama Mandate]
Army Silenced Chaplains Last Sunday

Catholic Military Archdiocese & Chaplains interfered with last Sunday by Pres. Obama’s Admin
The Anti-Catholic President v. the Catholic Bishops
Sen. Rubio introduces bill to reverse Obama birth control mandate
Churches balk at birth control rule - Catholics won’t comply, Bishop Kevin Rhoades says
Protestants and Jews declare to White House: We stand with Catholics
Checking the Air Outside [Bp. Zubik's follow up to Obama's “To Hell with You”]
Mohler [Southern Baptist] Says Insurance Mandate Not Just 'Catholic' Issue
An Open Letter to President Barack Obama Concerning Recent Tyranny (With Pictures!)
Lincoln bishop: prepare for 'suffering' under HHS mandate
Bishop David Zubik confronts Obama
Obama’s ‘war on the church’

Pope hits out at 'radical secularism'
‘We Will Not Comply’: Catholic Leaders Distribute Letter Slamming Obama Admin Contraceptive Mandate
‘We Will Not Comply’: Catholic Leaders Distribute Letter Slamming Obama Admin Contraceptive Mandate
Bruskewitz: Fight Insurance Ruling [Sebelius a "bitter, fallen away Catholic"]
Letter from Archbishop John G. Vlazny on the matter of freedom of conscience and decisions by HHS
Bishop Olmsted's Letter to Catholics [Catholic Caucus]
Liberty for the Amish & Quakers but not Catholics. . .
Contraception mandate prompts Peoria bishop to instate St. Michael Prayer (Catholic Caucus)
Phoenix bishop (Olmstead): defy feds on birth control
A letter from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr concerning HHS edict

Speak honestly: abortion is ‘the killing of tiny human beings in the womb’ – Denver bishop
Bishop [Daniel Jenky] Blasts Secularist Intolerance, Calls For ‘Assertive Action’ to Defend Church
(Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik comments:) HHS delays rule on contraceptive coverage
Dolan: Natural law, not religious preference, dictates all life sacred
Religious leaders blast HHS over contraception mandate
Mandated Contraception, Sterilization: Caesar Demands Church Violate Conscience
OBAMA’S CONTEMPT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (mandates coverage of sterilization & contraception)
Implications of Obama Admin move to force Cath hospitals to provide contraception and sterilizations
Catholic doctors’ group launches petition against contraception mandate
Contraception mandate tramples religious freedom, US bishops say

12 posted on 02/07/2012 9:29:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
A followup article.

What political party is the Catholic Church?  Neither of course. But depending on what is in the news you can count on labels being applied. If the issue is abortion, embryonic stem cell research, or homosexual “marriage” detractors will say the Church and bishops are “in bed” with the Republicans. But if the issue is immigration reform, capital punishment, concerns about war, or care for the poor, then they’re all “just a bunch of Democrats.”

The move by the Bishops to inform the Catholic Faithful on the Mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that all organizations, including religious ones, must pay for contraceptives, abortion-inducing “medicine” such as the morning after pill, and sterilizations, has been interpreted by some as a raw political move. To be fair, this move by the Administration is so egregious that many political liberals and conservatives stand largely together in calling for the HHS Mandate to restore the historical religious exemptions that have always marked such policies.

Anti-Obama? But there remain some in this country who see the move by the Bishops as merely “anti-President Obama” and “another example” of the conservative Catholic Church showing itself a mere outpost of the Republican Party. Others, like Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sibelius, though Catholic, stand, it would seem both politically AND religiously against the Church.

And thus, this may be a moment to ask, what party is the Roman Catholic Church? Perhaps Republican!? Really? A lot of Republican readers of this other blogs would beg to differ, and have often written here with annoyance to described the Bishops as “liberal” and have indicated disgust at how many Catholics vote Democrat. And Catholic Democrats too take annoyance at the Bishops for being too “conservative” on many issues and not bold enough in matters of Social Justice and the Social teachings of the Church. The fact is, as a huge Church of 70 million, Catholics are as diverse as America. Much to the chagrin of many Catholics themselves who often see their differences as a serious departure from the Gospel on the part of their opponents.

The fact is that the real goal for the Church is to be Catholic, across the board: vigorously pro-life and clear on the sexual and life issues, working to strengthen marriage and the family,  vigorously advocating for the poor and immigrants, aware of and advocating all the social teachings, fully embracing subsidiarity, solidarity and justice, standing fore-square against the violence that so permeates our culture, generous, merciful and forgiving; and willing to work in communion with those who authentically advocate these Catholic Principles, even if they focus on  some of them in particular. Pro-life Catholics should rejoice that others work for and advocate for the poor, and advocates for the poor should rejoice that some fight for life and to end abortion. Together we can cover all the bases.

The goal is for every Catholic to learn the Catholic faith and be a principled adherent to the faith prior to any political allegiance, or worldview. Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. He is God and He does not fit into our little categories. Neither does the Church. And hence we are to some extent an “equal opportunity annoyer.” And while we may align with the views of certain political parties and groups in certain matters, we are just as likely to stand opposed to other views of the very same party in other matters.

Is the Catholic Church Republican? Democrat? And what are you? As for me:

  1. I’m against abortion, and they call me a Republican
  2. I want greater justice for immigrants, and they call me a Democrat
  3. I stand against “Gay” “Marriage,” and they call me a Republican
  4. I work for affordable housing, and stand with unemployed in DC, and they call me a Democrat
  5. I talk of subsidiarity and they say: “Republican, for sure.”
  6. I mention the common good, and solidarity and they say, “Not only a Democrat, but a Socialist for sure.”
  7. Embryonic Stem cell research should end, “See, he’s Republican!”
  8. Not a supporter of the death penalty, standing with the Bishops and the Popes against it…”Ah, told you! He’s really a Democrat!…Dye in the wool and Yellow Dog to boot!”

Hmm, and all this time I just thought I was trying to be a Catholic Christian. I just don’t seem to fit in. And, frankly, no Catholic should. We cannot be encompassed by any Party as currently defined.

True Catholicism cannot be tamed by any political party or interest group. True Catholicism will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. It will annoy both the right and the left, and will also affirm them, it has no permanent allies or opponents. As it was with Christ, most every one will have reason to hate the Church, and some will come to love the her. We are destined to be, with Christ, a sign of contradiction (Luke 2:34) that will often be opposed, for we do not simply fit into any on world agenda or party.

In the end we are called to be those who are “simply Catholic.” Every other party affiliation, membership, alliance, or connection must yield to the Faith and be judged by it. No worldly thought should ever trump the Faith which God has revealed through the Church. And, even in some matters (e.g. how best to care for the poor) that are prudential in nature, our alliance to the Church founded by Jesus Christ ought to win the day when it comes giving the benefit of any doubt.  And while staying in a dialogue with our Bishops, we must also accept their leadership and respect their insights as those designated to teach, govern and sanctify. In the end we should be simply, plainly and essentially Catholic.

Thus, in this case, when the Bishops speak out against the HHS Mandate they are well able to appeal to a principled stance of Catholicism that has not changed, no matter what the culture or the politics of abortion or the sexual revolution have demanded. Who, even among our worst opponents can really claim that the Catholic church has not been consistent on matters of abortion and contraception? And while our culture has shifted its views and allegiances in these matters, the Church has not. Our views are principled and consistent in this regard. Call us conservative today, but tomorrow when another issue like immigration comes up, we who strive to be simply Catholic, will not purely line up with the conservative or Republican party line. Again, our source must be, and is, a consistent reference to the biblical message and the social teachings of the Church that insists, in this case, that the foreigner among us must be treated with respect and justice. And while border security is essential, so is generosity and justice for those who, like our own ancestors, seek opportunity in this land. Not conservative enough? Perhaps not, but Catholic and biblical.

Frankly the Catholic Church is just too big and diverse, our teachings too ancient, biblical and Catholic to fit into a narrow little label like liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. Long after the West as we know it may be gone (pray not), and surely long after political positions have drifted and morphed into other combinations, the Church will still be here articulating and trying to live to the best of her ability the Gospel as set forth by a higher and more lasting authority. We should do and be nothing less than being Simply Catholic.

Please note this is the second in the series of articles responding to some of the criticism of the Church’s opposition to the HHS Mandate. The first article was yesterday and can be read here: Why the Church Won’t Pay for Contraceptives

In this video, Cardinal George and the Chicago Archdiocese are making a similar point very about being Catholic First, creatively:

13 posted on 02/08/2012 1:20:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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