HHS Mandate “Compromise” in a Nutshell

  • Charlie Weaver

    Very amusing. One objection: you could see Sr. Keehan as many things, but she’s definitely a practicing Catholic. If the people who run the hospitals and schools are not Catholic by dint of being okay with the compromise, then whose free exercise of religion is being prohibited? Either they are Catholic and their consciences will be violated by the mandate, or they are not and therefore do not deserve an exemption. You can’t have it both ways.

    I’m basically onboard with the bishops in that the administration needs to do more to address the religious liberty concerns. But I object to the terminology putting “practicing Catholics” on one side of this issue. That does not seem to be the case in my parish.

    More broadly, we have to be careful to distinguish real religious liberty concerns with objections from conservative economic principles. It seems much of the recent commentary is tending that way, and I think it only serves to divide the Catholic church as a political force further.

    • fabius

      being a “Practicing” Catholic doesn’t just mean actively doing things with the Church. The term means practicing the faith as taught by the church, the practicing has to involve adhering to church teaching. Being deliberately out of line and standing contrary to the magisterium is a problem. You’re at the least a “bad practicing Catholic,” if you deliberately and overtly disagree with the Bishops and work for policies against their wishes.

      The hospitals, charities, and universities all ultimately answer to the magisterium. I went to the University of Dallas, a private Roman Catholic University. The local bishop had a say in what happened.

      Going with the mandate requires deliberately contravening established church teaching, it’s more than just violating the individual consciences of individual catholics. It’s forcing an institution to contradict itself and participate in something the institution regards as a serious moral teaching, to be a sin.

      • Charlie Weaver

        I agree that practicing Catholicism involves adhering to the precepts of the church. I don’t agree, however, that one must accept the opinion of one’s bishop in every matter. They are, after all, fallible human beings. Indeed, they have not presented a completely unified front in this matter since the compromise was put forward on Friday. Even Abp. Dolan seems to have gone back and forth a bit. My point is that being at odds with one’s bishop does not make you not a Catholic. Whether it makes you a “bad practicing Catholic?” I don’t know. Perhaps the caption should be: “What good practicing Catholics think” or “What practicing Catholics on good terms with their local ordinary think.”

        This cartoon suggests that “Practicing Catholics” are of one mind on this issue. This is objectively not the case. I would say they’re clearly divided on this issue.

        I’m sorry to make light of what is still a serious matter of conscience. But I find this kind of tone worrisome. Why do we have to identify our side of a contentious and difficult issue with practicing members of the faith, and consign those we disagree with to the ranks of the “non-Catholic?”

        • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

          The problem is that the bishops are just reaffirming Church teaching. If they don’t agree, they have a problem with the whole of the Church, not just their local bishop.

          • SillyQuestion

            It seems debatable to me that the bishops are re-affirming church teaching in their response to the “accommodation.” Could you explain which teaching they are re-affirming?

          • fabius

            That to be forced to provide/pay for/facilitate contraception when it’s in their power not to do so is coercing a religious institution to act contrary to it’s own teachings.

          • SillyQuestion

            Thanks. I understand the generalities but honestly think it gets more complicated with the “accommodation” — which I don’t purport to fully understand. The closer the insurance coverage structure gets to the situation in which a religious institution pays cash wages that the employee then uses to buy contraception, the less clear the violation of conscience or religious liberty, at least to my Catholic eyes. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to spend it on contraceptives.

          • fabius

            You’re right.

            But all the accommodation does is shift the paper work around. The money for the contraceptives still has to come from somewhere, the administration just said that insurance companies have to provide it. The administration didn’t say that the insurance companies couldn’t charge the church higher premiums, which is probably what will happen. Even then, you still have a situation where explicit access to contraception would become contingent upon the church employing an individual, and that same access would not come through the employee’s own purchasing power.

          • SillyQuestion

            Agree with the paper work point but at some point the paper work matters. Should we abolish money because it is used to buy contraception? Should Catholic institutions fire employees they know to be using wages to acquire contraception? And what if a policy that covers contraception did not actually cost more than one that did not? My point is simply that it is a difficult question, and I do not believe the catechism has “clear” answers that can be used to cudgel fellow Catholics.

          • InvictusLux

            The Catholic Church has extraordinarily clear instruction on the matter – it is grave matter to contracept . A soul so doing is playing with fire and is at exceedingly high risk of going to hell for casting off his/her Christian morality due to damaging of the soul (the vessel of grace). The only way the state can make this work is to get insurance out of companies and make everyone purchase it DIRECTLY and have options to pick and choose coverage LIKE WE ALREADY DO. OBAMACARE is NOT about healthcare at all – its about controlling citizens and social engineering. Everyone including gov knows its not sustainable and will collapse in a few years.

        • InvictusLux

          There is no contention on this issue – the orthodox teaching are spelled out explicitly. One can “protest” like a Protestant and not conform to that teaching but that does not serve to diminish the principal that The Catholic Church has its own organizational authority in the aggregate that is protected by the Constitution in the same way that Government in a SERVANT role of the people derive its rights from the aggregation of rights afforded to the collection of individual citizens. Just because some in society become criminals and do not abide by the teachings (constitutional provisions) nor respect the rights of others does not invalidate the authority of government – nor does non-conforming Catholics in name only invalidate the authority of The Church.

        • fabius

          The Church does teach that the individual conscience is ultimately supreme. If you truly, honestly, 100% are trying to find the Truth and it happens to go against established teaching, God won’t knock you for it. It’s a logical extension from the notion that in our fallibility we can’t always see the truth even if we’re trying as hard as we can to do so. God recognizes that fallen nature and rewards the good attempt. Even the greatest saints didn’t know everything.

          The flip side of this, though, is that the Church was founded to help the laity, and part of the obligation of being a faithful christian means trusting that the magisterium knows what it’s doing. It’s an act of humility to say, “I may not understand this, or even agree with it, but the magisterium was put here for a reason and I’m supposed to submit to it and trust them.”

          I’m sure that quite a few “practicing” Catholics who are active in their parishes and receive the sacraments still disagree with the bishops stance here. But the common usage of the word here appropriately describes “practicing” as, “those who agree with and submit to the established teachings of the Church.” Regardless of what any individual thinks or how they act, the church teaching on contraception is clear, and those who submit to that teaching are the ones “practicing” that teaching.

          • SillyQuestion

            I agree with all you say. But if tomorrow the Bishops say, you know what, the accommodation is OK, what then? To me, the only clear teaching is don’t contracept. We are beyond that simple proposition, though. We are talking about implementing health policy in a pluralistic society.

          • SillyQuestion

            My 1st attempt at replying was apparently eaten. I agree with all you say. But what if tomorrow, or three months from now, the Bishops are OK with the “accommodation”? Do you say I no longer believe what I believed on Feb 16, or do you stifle any further thought on the issue, or what. To me, the only clear teaching is don’t contracept. But we are beyond that clear directive. We are talking about implementing health policy in a pluralistic society.

          • fabius

            It’s not really a matter so much of what the bishops say, but of established church doctrine. You’d have to revise the catechism. Technically the bishops could all change their minds and still be wrong.

    • Joe Gehret

      I wish to address two concepts of your thought process: the first being who ultimately is sovereign in the Catholic faith, the second being the nature of what it means to be a “practicing Catholic”.

      First, I think you’re operating under the assumption that ultimate sovereignty in Catholicism, that is, who ultimately is the arbiter of all things Catholic, is not the Church itself, or its leaders. In the way you worded the free exercise of religion point, you seemed to indicate that Catholics are protected from the Catholic Church (or at least from her leaders) by the concept of freedom of religion. This concept is an American concept, and stretching it to the extent that I think you do can be dangerous. We, as Catholics, willfully accept the teachings of the Catholic faith, its inherent in our very “Amen”. This means that we do not maintain the freedom to be picking and choosing what we like and do not like and still label ourselves as proud Catholics. The deposit of faith is the deposit of faith, one and whole, not to be split, nit-picked, or butchered until it suits our preference. Now, granted, that doesn’t mean we are blindly following whatever we are told, however, we are expected to seek to understand, and thus ultimately agree with, what the Church mandates. In this case, that Catholics, for the sake of religious freedom and obedience to our bishops, do not support the mandate.

      Secondly, to be a practicing Catholic does not mean we have the liberty of being cafeteria Catholics, for the same reasons I expressed in the first reason. Christ’s Truth revealed to the Apostles isn’t piecemeal, its whole. If we truly believe, we have to believe it(the dogmatic and doctrinal teachings of the Church) as a whole, not as we see fit from time to time. If we truly believe that the Catholic faith is all that it is, we have to maintain the integrity of its beliefs, even those of who gets authority. If not, then the whole thing is little more than a really old club.

  • http://thecatholicsciencegeek.blogspot.com/ The Catholic Science Geek

    Whether this was intentional or not, your blog is a feast for the senses today…between 10 minutes of musical perfection in “On Being Made for Infinity” and this hysterical diagram…my day is made. You, my good sir, rock!

  • Amanda

    pure awesome.

  • http://ohnimus.wordpress.com/ Christian Ohnimus

    “we could tell you how many empires tried to tell us what to do . . . but it would take 2,000 years.”

    . . . Love it!

  • Lore

    LOVE IT!

  • Friar Chuck

    I am sorry, but there is way too much hypocritical harrumphing going on about this matter. You act as if all Catholics completely adhere to church teachings on contraception when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. I accept that the mere fact that few follow the teaching is not a proof that the teaching is wrong, but these public statements by Dolan and others that ‘we are being forced to go against our beliefs’ and ‘this is a violation of the first amendment’ is a huge lie because we were practicing contraception well before any of this came up. Pick a better battle. At least the Pharisees actually did observe the ritual washings.

    • CW

      So, what is your point? It doesnt matter if there are 99% Catholics practicing contraception. It is *still* a battle for the Constitution.

      Also, what if we were telling Jews to eat pork? So what if only, for instance, 10% of Jews still abstain from pork. It is *still* a violation of our Bill of Rights. They are preventing us from free exercise of our religion. (not to mention the abortifacient effects of many contraceptives that prevent the free exercise of life by teeny tiny babies!)

      • Anonymous

        You’re right, it’s a battle to keep the Catholic Church’s desired exception from violating the 1st Amendment.

        • Tally Marx
          • Anonymous

            Are you just following me from story to story, trying to tickle my funny bone with David Barton? I guess you missed it last time, so here you go again:

            You seriously linked a David Barton article?! That man makes up more history than Seth Graham-Smith (who wrote: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, a delightful bit of fiction).

            Barton’s article is a very clever manipulation of facts and historical quotes, but he neglects several things:

            1) A committee at the Continental Congress, tasked with vetting a law that would establish the new country as a Christian nation, noted “the dangers which the union between church and state had imposed upon so many nations of the Old World” and said in light of that it was felt “inexpedient to put anything into the Constitution which might be construed to be a reference to ANY religious creed or doctrine.” (emphasis mine)

            2) There’s the Treaty of Tripoli from 1797 (before Jefferson), passed unanimously through Congress and signed by President Adams, which states: “The government of the United States is NOT, IN ANY SENSE, founded on the Christian religion.” (emphasis mine)

            3) “We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt.”
            - President James Madison’s Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

            4) There is ZERO mention of any specific religion or deity in the Constitution or it’s amendments. In the Constitution itself, it’s only mentioned once, in Article VI, where it states that there shall be no religious test to hold public office.

            The United States of America is a secular nation, and it works just fine that way. It was meant to be a new type of government, for ALL its people, not just the religious ones.

            Thanks for the chuckle (again).

          • InvictusLux

            VisionFromAfar
            Most all your arguments are the ho-hum standard fare of atheistic drivel used to try to make the claim that America was not founded as Christian Country – but every one of these arguments are a TOTAL CANARD. I don’t have the space and time here to give a detail rebuttal to each but will give the gist of it.

            The so called FIRST Treaty of Tripoli (1797) was formed in a panic due to Muslim pirates capturing American ships and sailors BECAUSE they were viewed as a CHRISTIAN nation that was in league with CHRISTIAN ENGLAND. UK was paying tribute and encouraging the pirates to harass and capture US ships/sailors as a form of indirect warfare. The Muslims just wanted to force us to pay the standard Muslim Tax that they demand all non-Muslims to pay for safe passage in their “house of Islam”. The ORIGINAL treaty was a counterfeit that was modified by a single US diplomat who was a secular anti-Christian. He was trying to be expedient to put those non-Christian words in the text to further appease the Muslims. Congress had no time to send edits back and forth the Atlantic (months of travel time) to revise the Treaty and just went with the original (corrupted) wording to try to get Americans prisoners freed. To make a long story short – the Muslims double-crossed us on the deal later and demanded more money. At which time we sent in US Naval forces and blasted their harbor and fleets and tried to replace the Pasha in command. They signed a NEW 2nd Tripoli Treaty with NO WORDs whatsoever saying we were a non-Christian country – because WE HAD THE UPPER HAND and WERE a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY.

            If you want to look at proof positive that the founding fathers thought we were a Christian Country then look at the TREATY OF PARIS of 1783 that ended the Revolutionary War. It is shot full of TRINITARIAN CHRISTIAN terminology. To Wit: Preamble starts off: “in the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”

            Furthermore nearly ALL of the US colonies started off with RELIGIOUS charters.

            In the Declaration of Independence there is all manner of religious concepts (divine providence, endowed by the Creator etc.) that makes it a slam dunk that America ASSUMED a Christian theological principal in the framework of the nation.

            Learn some history.

            And if you are going to quote Madison as a reference for government without religion – that MAKES the Catholic CASE! We want GOVERNMENT OUT of the religious business trying to IMPOSE secular hedonistic morality on us (contraception, sterilization, abortion etc.).

            There’s so much wrong with your statements that you really have no business making such absurd comments in here.

          • Anonymous


            The so called FIRST Treaty of Tripoli (1797) was formed in a panic due to Muslim pirates capturing American ships and sailors BECAUSE they were viewed as a CHRISTIAN nation that was in league with CHRISTIAN ENGLAND.

            You don’t find it odd that every single Senator, the President himself, and the general populace (it was printed in newspapers in Philadelphia and New York), all decided not to object? Not a single one said, “Well, I don’t really like it, but I have to anyway.”? The circumstances surround that clause (Section 11) are fascinating, but they don’t negate the clause itself, or the behavior that occurred when it was ratified (i.e. – not a single recorded voice of dissent). The piracy had nothing to do with religion and everything with extorting other countries for passage through their waters.


            If you want to look at proof positive that the founding fathers thought we were a Christian Country then look at the TREATY OF PARIS of 1783 that ended the Revolutionary War. It is shot full of TRINITARIAN CHRISTIAN terminology. To Wit: Preamble starts off: “in the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”

            Wait, you mean our treaty with an admittedly Christian nation uses their symbolism? Be still my heart. Just because the verbiage is used I didn’t see anywhere that said, “Yeah, we’re the bestest Christian buddies ever!!! OMGLOL” That preface is standard fare, akin to the “in the Year of Our Lord.” Also, I’ve read the full, actual text of that treaty. Guess how many times Trinity show up? Once, in the Pramble. God? Once, mentioning George is king by “the Grace of God.” That’s it. Hardly “shot full of Trinitarian Christian terminology,” I should think.


            Furthermore nearly ALL of the US colonies started off with RELIGIOUS charters.

            The US colonies, extensions of the British crown, which also used the Anglican Church as an extension of it’s will, had religious charters? Funny how that worked. Interestingly enough, Thomas Jefferson worked tirelessly to get those religious aspects removed from state constitutions. Now why would he do that, if we’re all just one big happy “Christian” family.


            In the Declaration of Independence there is all manner of religious concepts (divine providence, endowed by the Creator etc.) that makes it a slam dunk that America ASSUMED a Christian theological principal in the framework of the nation.

            I’m so sorry, but the Declaration of Independence, for all of it’s historical impact, is simply a strongly worded letter. It has zero legal standing in the US government. Nice try, thanks for playing.


            Learn some history.

            I did, which is why I can poke holes in all your arguments.


            And if you are going to quote Madison as a reference for government without religion – that MAKES the Catholic CASE! We want GOVERNMENT OUT of the religious business trying to IMPOSE secular hedonistic morality on us (contraception, sterilization, abortion etc.).

            No, you want the government to establish special exceptions just for you, which means the government is giving tacit approval to the Church, which is a clear no-no from the 1st Amendment.
            Also, you can’t claim “separation doesn’t exist, we’re a Christian nation” in one breath and follow it with “but your argument proves we deserve separation of church and state” in the next. You can’t have it both ways. Either there is a separation and the government is violating it (your 2nd argument), or there isn’t one and the government is just overstepping its bounds (your 1st). They’re both wrong, I just want to know which one you actually believe.


            There’s so much wrong with your statements that you really have no business making such absurd comments in here.

            I have every business doing so. Barton is full of “canard”, and until people wake up to that, I will stamp out his ignorant, sectarian nonsense everywhere it pops up.

    • InvictusLux

      Friar Chuck it just so happens that most all priests are adhering to church teaching on contraception by being celibate. You are also trusting woefully inaccurate statistics on Catholic lay practice as well and advancing the insulting of Catholic everywhere by repeating it. There are millions of single and widowed Catholics in addition to the religious (nuns, priests, brothers etc.) who DO live in strict accord with Catholic teaching; not to mention millions of married Catholics who live chastely within marriage in accord with teaching. But what does this have to do with anything anyway? Would you advocate government taking away the right to vote because so many are apathetic and don’t vote? Would you take away the right to assembly because so few bother to get out of their easy-chairs to protest tyrannical government? Would you go along with striking the removal of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness since so many murders take place everyday in America (not to mention the abortions) ; and because so many are in jail as criminals with no liberty; and because so many choose to be unhappy with addictions to drugs and all manner of deviant behaviors?

    • Penny Farthing1893

      It doesn’t matter if lots of Catholics don’t adhere to Church teaching – it’s still Church teaching. Last time I checked, morality wasn’t a democracy. There are lots of Catholics in prison too. Guess what. Catholics sin. If one single Catholic wanted to follow the Church and not pay for contraception, his (or her!) conscience should not be violated. The Bishops don’t need to pick a better battle. It’s about time this was taught from the pulpit.

    • jm

      The argument is not whether Catholics use contraceptives; it is whether or not the Catholic organizations for which they work should be forced to fund it. The Catholic church has never taught and will never teach that contraception is OK. Anyone using contraceptives is directly acting against Catholic teaching, even if that person is a practicing Catholic.

      Pick a better battle? The right to life is a fundamental belief of not only Catholicism, but most Christian religions as well. This mandate requires organizations founded on these beliefs to provide exactly what it fights against every single day.

  • Xibit

    Yo, Dog, we heard you like memes, so we put some memes in yo memes so you can look at memes while you look at memes.

  • Friar Chuck

    My point is that this is not a matter that violates a Constitutional right: whoever wishes to observe the Church teaching is fully capable of doing so. Tell me why that is not so. Absolutely nothing about the regulation requires a person to practice contraception. A better analogy to the pork thing would be a law that forbade Jews who wished to eat pork from doing so.

    • Barefoot Mommy

      No, not practice it, just pay for it for others :-/ Should Jewish people pay for your porkchops?

      • Friar Chuck

        Really? How much more, exactly? What is the difference in cost between a policy that provides contraception, and one that doesn’t? Please, use facts and resist the emptation to be a stooge for right wing politicos who dang care about Catholic teachings except when they can use them for leverage. I would be impressed if they were advocating free health care for mothers and children, but sadly, they aren’t doing that

        • InvictusLux

          What does low-cost have to do with it FriarChuck? That brings up the better topic – if its so cheap WHY NOT LET INDIVIDUALS BUY IT THEMSELVES since its not a thing everyone wants to start with? This administration is using this as a wedge topic to try to fragment the church and to subvert ecclesial authority for political and ideological gain.

          If you had a family member that was going to be executed by the state by firing squad for a crime (say murder of a corrupt government official) and they asked family members to go buy the 25 cent bullet and chamber the round would you gladly oblige them because its so cheap? Or would you find that UNCONSCIONABLE?

        • Kristin

          Health insurance premiums for women under 40 are already more expensive (by about $100-200 a month) than premiums for men under 40. So yes the cost of our premiums as women will go up. Insurance companies are not going to starting giving away free contraception out of the kindness of their heart. While the pill is not very expensive ($20-50 a month), other forms of contraception, such as IUDs are very expensive. I don’t know how much women’s premiums will go up, but they will go up.

        • Barefoot Mommy

          According to the Census Bureau, there are 60,000,000 females aged 15 to 44 in the U.S. Per data from the CDC, 17% of them use hormonal birth control – 10,200,000 women. Multiply that by $50 and you have $510,000,000 spent on birth control pills every month or $6,120,000,000 a year. You think that the insurers are going to just write off that amount? And if it is a tax write off (I’m not saying it will be) the tax paying public will have to pay it. So any way you look at it, people paying for insurance premiums will have to pay for contraceptives. Aren’t you glad I didn’t use the bogus 98% stat that is being bandied about?

      • Anonymous

        Ah, but you’re not paying for it, that’s the conflict here. The health insurance premiums are technically part of the employee’s salary, but withheld by the employer to use as part of a collective bargaining arrangement with the insurance companies. It’s not the employer’s money (technically) in the first place.

        Also, the Church is now arguing that ANY private employer (not just non-Church, Church-owned-businesses) should get an exception because of their religion, which is stupid on so many levels the mind boggles.

        • Barefoot Mommy

          Why? As an employee, I should be able to have access to a plan that doesn’t infringe on my conscience. Most employers subsidize health plans, so they do pay for them in part. Another problem is that companies like Christian Brothers who provide health care for religious organizations would be forced to provide contraceptives, which they currently do not do.

          • Anonymous

            You misunderstand, it’s not that they’re arguing that the employEE gets to pick, it’s the employER. That means if the local lumber warehouse is owned by a Christian Scientist, everyone who works there now is only covered for prayer healing. Or if the owner’s a Jehovah’s Witness, no blood transfusions. Are you really okay with that?

          • Annony11

            There is a distinct difference between the beliefs of an individual owning a company and the beliefs on which a company is founded. That being said, yes, if I chose to work for a Christian Scientist organization (which, I actually have in the past) I would accept their limitations on health care and pay out of pocket for the rest of my costs. However, it is also likely that this would be sufficient cause for me to find a different job which would provide the level of health insurance which I would want.

          • Barefoot Mommy

            Read Dolan, he’s arguing for both. Actually, you make the point that everyone should have choices in the types of policies we wish to purchase.

    • Anonymous

      No. The problem ISN’T contraception and who does or doesn’t practice it. The problem is BHO’s ignoring the limits of his power. Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING the free exercise thereof

  • Cal-J

    Hey, Marc, can you make a bigger resolution? Or just link to a larger one? I have friends who can’t read this.

    • Annony11

      Not sure what browser/operating system you’re using and how it varies from one to another, but using ctrl and + tends to increase size on pictures as well as text.

  • http://odgie.wordpress.com/ Odgie

    Aw, EE, still pouty because you keep getting pawned by an 18 year-old who won’t back down from your trolling?

    • InvictusLux

      Odgie did you mean pawned or the slang “pwned” . If the latter be careful since she is probably too old to understand that word; which is conventionally spelled “pwned” but pronounced p-owned (as in “owned”). It originally pertains to the concept that’s akin to progressing a pawn to wipe out a much theoretically stronger chess piece through smart play (a major insult term heard in various game play).

      • http://odgie.wordpress.com/ Odgie

        Either works as far as I am concerned.

      • SomeoneSmall

        The word “pwned” comes from a Japanese videogame typo – the “o” in “owned” was accidently replaced with a “p”, and “pwned” was born.
        Off topic I know, but I just had to. :)

    • Imperatoraugustus

      Well, im an 18 year old catholic who lectors at church and used to teach CCD before I went to college, but I believe in contraception. What’s so bad about family planning in all truth and honesty? I know here in New Jersey I’ve yet to find a majority of Catholics against contraception. Same thing in the Army…safety briefs for the weekend always emphasizes contraception

      • Joe Gehret

        Just because a democratic majority of people feel one way doesn’t mean the Church ought to adopt their feelings as dogma, and it certainly doesn’t make something true. If you want to know what the Church teaches in regard to contraception, read Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI. In the meanwhile, if you do intend to be Catholic, then shouldn’t you really be Catholic? That is to say, shouldn’t you truly believe that the Church is what it claims to be and thus, has the authority to teach what it teaches? If you claim to be Catholic, then be Catholic!

      • Barefoot Mommy

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with family planning. My husband and I prayed and planned for all of our children – we just did it without altering the natural state of our bodies. Might I suggest reading Love and Responsibility? It might just surprise you. Anyway, the majority of people didn’t believe in the Resurrection either ;-)

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/4G3FXOBF4GPDPUQCI4DVRXIIYA Jerry Travelstead

          Wow, that’s a long way to go to try to ensure that your church always has potential new members. The highest yield group for new members is the offspring of current members – nothing else comes close, hence many religious denominations’ emphasis on birthin’ babies.

      • Joe Gehret

        It is. Their issue is against contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.

      • JM

        You do know that the Catholic church holds that contraception is wrong, don’t you? Just because your assumed majority of Catholics in New Jersey believes something, doesn’t make it the belief of the Church. If you are Catholic, you can’t pick and choose what to believe.

  • SillyQuestion

    But that doesn’t address Charlie’s point, which is a good one. What if I don’t agree that allowing an employee of a Catholic institution to obtain contraceptive coverage directly from the insurance company with which that institution contracts for its health plans (which do not cover contraception) violates a precept of the church? Or, more accurately, what if I don’t agree that the Catholic institution would itself be violating any precept of the church in that situation? Am I not a practicing Catholic, then? What if the bishops themselves don’t agree? Am I still not a practicing Catholic? Am I bad practicing Catholic? According to whom?

  • Joe Gehret

    EE, I want to ask you, do you believe that there is an absolute moral standard, that is to say, that there are somethings that are intrinsically evil or intrinsically good? Or are you relativistic in your moral standards, and thus maintaining that morality is up to the person and ultimately something determined by social contract rather than absolute standards.

    • Anonymous

      I can’t speak for EE, but I counter with this question:
      1) Is murder bad because God said so?
      - or –
      2) Did God say so because murder is bad?

      Think carefully. #1 says that there is no intrinsic moral standard beyond what God tells us, and thus all those without God are intrinsically amoral, being as they don’t follow God’s rules. #2 implies that there IS an absolute moral standard, beyond any faith or written law of humankind. That implies that not all rules come from God, so how many did He make up beyond what was necessary?

      Personally, my vote is for #2.

      • Joe Gehret

        What option 2 also suggests is that God is not sovereign, which means that he is less than God, i.e., not God.. It is only logical that option 1 is the case if God does exist. You draw an unwarranted conclusion that those without God are intrinsically amoral. A person can follow a law he is not aware of every bit as much as one which he is aware of.

        • Anonymous

          Only by accident. That he is ignorant of the law is tangential to the issue (according to you), which is that “law” can only flow from a single source, and those without that source can rightfully be considered “outlaws”, even if they occasionally follow the law unknowingly.
          Which, granted, is the entire concept of evangelism in a nutshell. I just don’t agree with the concept in the first place. I think morals adapt to society, and there are no absolute standards.

          • Joe Gehret

            I think if its the case that there are no absolute standards, then one of two things will happen: Either everything will be morally acceptable, or the strongest man in society gets to make all the rules. If the first is the case, than justice is a myth and I can go around killing people who disagree with me with no consequences. If the latter is the case, then congratulations, you’ve made tyranny the only logical form of government!

          • Anonymous

            Ah, but that’s why “law” always appears in quotes in my above argument. See, murder is the extreme example of this argument. You can apply it to anything that lends itself to religious moral “oversight”: promiscuity, homosexuality, contraception…
            Everything might be morally acceptable, but that doesn’t make it legal.
            By accepting that there is no absolute morality, I allow that societies, as they form and evolve, can establish their own set of morals, rules, and yes…laws.

          • Joe Gehret

            Than what’s to say that I make my society totalitarian, oppressive, and completely unchallenged? What if I want my morals to be I’m king and everyone else is my slaves, and I just so happen to have the ability to make that happen?

          • Anonymous

            Then you’re in medieval Europe, or modern-day Middle East, and it’s not likely your reign will last beyond your death.

          • Joe Gehret

            That’s not the question, the question is: is it right for me to be a tyrant?

          • Anonymous

            Keeping it readable:

            That’s not the question, the question is: is it right for me to be a tyrant?

            For you, absolutely. You have the power, the means, and will to make life miserable for hundreds of people. To make whatever your whim is, a law. You have successfully forced your will upon society, usurping any “right” or “wrong” within that society for your own ends. Other societies may disagree with your laws, and may seek to force their laws and society-agreed-upon “right” and ‘wrong” on you, who are outside their society. So who’s the tyrant in the end? The one who forces his will on society from within to further his own goals and desires, or those of the outside society, potentially forcing their will on a society and people not their own?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

        This paradox, first enunciated in the Platonic dialog EUTHYPHRO, can be resolved if, unlike the gods of Plato, the Divine Being, by His very nature of being divine, therefore must be good, must create good, and must command good, which includes forbidding murder.

        In sum, if the nature of God and the nature of murder are incompatible, it makes no more sense to ask if murder is bad because God says it or if God says it because murder is bad than to ask if you love your child because you want to be a good parent, or you want to be a good parent because you love your child. It is two different ways of saying the same thing.

        • Anonymous

          Well played sir. /salute
          I, however, have a point of view more in line with Plato than yourself, so we’ll have to agree to disagree beyond this point. :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Gjernes/1400126950 Christian Gjernes

        Good cannot exist without God. Evil is evil because it distorts his plan for things. Death distorts his plan for life, and lies distort his truth. However, it is possible to know some of good without knowing the source.

    • Annony11

      If there are things that are intrinsically evil or good then there must be something which makes them so. You can claim that Catholic teachings are evil just as much as we can claim that contraception is evil. But the claim itself is not enough to make it so. Who or what determines if something is intrinsically evil?

  • Chuck

    GOD BLESS MARC BARNES.

  • fabius

    I do hope everyone who supports the HHS mandate and is touting the “get with the program, this is the price of being part of a society” understands the can of worms they’re opening.

    If the government has the legitimate power to decide what it thinks is in the public interest and can coercively order private institutions, insurance companies, and individuals to offer certain services, then there is absolutely nothing to prevent a future administration from doing the exact same thing in reverse. A hypothetical Pro-Life president could mandate that no private insurance company cover abortion procedures because the administration believed that abortion increased the risk of breast cancer, and so preventing abortions would be a cost-saving measure in the long run by reducing the need for breast cancer treatments. You can do the same thing with contraceptives, as the WHO already classifies hormonal birth control as a carcinogen.

    Set aside what we believe or disagree with/on about the specific medical legitimacy of various health care services. The Obama administration has set a precedent that others may easily follow, in ways you might not like.

    So watch out if the societal consensus decides to elect someone who has a different idea of health care rights than you do. There is still time to close Pandora’s Box.

    • SillyQuestion

      “If the government has the legitimate power to decide what it thinks is in the public interest….” Stop right there. Do you dispute this? I don’t know if you’re American, but here in America, that is (in short hand form) a power of the government, which is, after all, nothing more than our democratically elected representatives. The legislature announces and implements public policy. That is what it does.

      • fabius

        Of course, the whole point of government is make laws with the intention of serving the public good and securing the rights of individuals.

        The HHS mandate is going a step further though and coercing private institutions which traditionally have been left to themselves. Traditionally we have decided that our active public policy would leave the majority of the private spheres of activity up to individuals and private institutions, especially charitable ones. Supporters of the mandate may think that intruding on those spheres is a good idea or necessary for the common interest. But, do you dispute that this is opening up new lines of precedence?

        The point supporters of the mandate need to realize, is that they might not always have a legislative consensus that accords with their wishes, and that this precedent might well one day be used against them.

        That is aside from the fact that traditionally, we have left religious institutions alone in large parts of our public policy, so long as the religious activities were not infringing upon the rights of individuals. Even then, we traditionally tolerate a large amount of leeway for those groups. It could easily be argued that exempting Quakers from the draft deliberately harmed other individuals by forcing them to serve in the military in place.

      • Proteios1

        Fabius hits it on the head. I think an elected government that markets it’s policies and coerced people to agree via media is not one “representing” the people but suppressing and controlling the people. See china for a reference.

  • Anonymous

    this made me smile :)

  • A Catholic Woman

    Political arguments aside… I’ve been married for almost 20 years. I contracepted for almost half of them. I met a priest in confession who told me that I should stop receiving communion but with great caring explained the Church’s teaching on sexuality and gave me information on “Contraception, Why Not?” and the Couple to Couple League. My husband and I dragged our feet before reluctantly taking NFP classes and following the Church on this. The more I learned about the Church’s teaching on this matter, the more I realized how beautiful it is and how much sense it makes. The impact on our marriage has been profound. Surprising to me, our marriage went from being okay to being stronger and more loving than I could have imagined possible given the first nine years. I am much happier than I was before. I would even say that I am freer. We also have a third child who I couldn’t imagine life without. In my experience, this teaching is not a big “no.” Rather, the Church’s concern is the human being’s well being and happiness.

    • Proteios1

      Smilar story for me. And profound is merely a word compared to the effect living wht the Church has tight all along. Dern it, they’re right!
      Linguistically abuse aside, the union of husband and wife gets better when you live it as God intended.

  • Jay E.

    Man, you are totally awesome.

  • Joe Gehret

    Edinburgh, take it from a seminarian studying to be a Catholic priest. The ones who enter the priesthood don’t do so with any sort of agenda to change Church teaching, and even if those who do become priests, they do not make it to be bishops. Bishops are selected by Rome on basis of their orthodoxy, meaning that no Pope is ever going to tap someone who seeks to overturn an issue set as firmly as contraception. Its here to stay, just like male-only priesthood and marriage between men and women. The Catholic Church is coerced by no one. Especially not misguided feminists.

  • Joe Gehret

    On what (or whose) authority do you base your claim to: a) have an absolute moral truth, and b) have knowledge of an absolute moral truth?


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