How the Catholic Church Became Cool Overnight

Or, to be precise, how all the balling was duly recognized.

Having tested the waters of agnosticism, the general culture, and a whole host of personal heresies, sins and stupidities, I have come to Walker Percy’s conclusion:

Q: What kind of Catholic are you?

A. Bad.

Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?

A: I don’t know what that means . . . . Do you mean do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?

Q: Yes.

A: Yes.

Q: How is such a belief possible in this day and age?

A: What else is there?

Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.

A: That’s what I mean.

Q: I don’t understand. Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: It’s not good enough.

Q: Why not?

A: This life is too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer “Scientific humanism.” That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight, i.e., God. In fact I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less.

So get at me.

As far as I’m concerned — though I’m certainly open to scientific humanism making a big, total-fulfillment-of-the-human-person comeback — Catholicism is the addict’s fix, the starving child’s Chipotle burrito, and the UVA student’s pastel shorts and button-downs, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum et in saecula saeculorum, amen. What I didn’t realize – how could I? — is that the world would catch up to my particularly brilliant brilliance.

That’s right folks. I woke up this morning and the Church was the shizz. This is first and foremost because we have been rudely placed in the position of rebellion, and of the advocation of civil disobedience. To those who understand the teachings of the Church, this rebellion is nothing new, it has just been suddenly and fantastically stuck in the public eye. (Thank you, Department of Health and Human Services.) The Church already rebels against the twin monsters Socialism and Capitalism in her teachings, and strives instead after the principles of subsidiarity, in which the human person is neither an economic tool nor a cog in the machine. The Church already calls us to rebel against the culture of death, against abortion — of course — but with equal fervor against euthanasia, unjust war, the unjust use of the death penalty, suicide, terrorism, and any attacks on life. But now everyone gets to know that these guys:

Are all about this:

But nicely, like this:

And, with rapidity, this everyone has been expressing their support. Let’s take NPR, one of the more leftist media outlets. They had the daring to post a piece from the secular The Weekly Standard, which said, amongst other gems:

It’s unclear whether Obama anticipated the blowback which resulted from this announcement, or perhaps even welcomed the fight. The liberal Catholic establishment nearly exploded. Sister Keehan was so horrified she threw her lot in with the more conservative Dolan in full-throated opposition to Obama. Cardinal Roger Mahony, the spectacularly liberal archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, wrote, “I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience… This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic community can muster.” Michael Sean Winters, the National Catholic Reporter‘s leftist lion, penned a 1,800-word cri de coeur titled “J’accuse!” in which he declared that, as God was his witness, he would never again vote for Obama. The editors of the Jesuit magazine America denounced a “wrong decision,” while the Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne called the policy “unconscionable.” When you’ve lost even E.J. and the Jesuits, you’ve lost the church.

Indeed, and such on NPR. This particularly great write-up came with The Atlantic, Laura Ingraham, Hot Air — noting with Rasmussen that the majority of Americans are against the attack on religious liberty — and a whole host of others. But here’s the thing about the Church. Once you begin the radical task of defending Her right to practice what She preaches, you can’t help but notice how excellent that preaching is. Thus the issue of why — precisely — the Church is against the use of artificial contraception is similarly irritating the public eye, and as it turns, ’tis a beautiful irritant. The Business Insider, an entirely secular journal, found it alarming enough to publish Time To Admit It: The Church Has Always Been Right On Birth Control. From the article:

The Church teaches that love, marriage, sex, and procreation are all things that belong together. That’s it. But it’s pretty important. And though the Church has been teaching this for 2,000 years, it’s probably never been as salient as today.

Today’s injunctions against birth control were re-affirmed in a 1968 document by Pope Paul VI called Humanae Vitae.  He warned of four results if the widespread use of contraceptives was accepted:

  1. General lowering of moral standards
  2. A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
  3. The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men.
  4. Government coercion in reproductive matters.

Does that sound familiar?

Because it sure sounds like what’s been happening for the past 40 years.

So what happened overnight? Why is the Church’s most controversial teaching something that — suddenly — can be affirmed in the secular, public sphere without fear? The teachings didn’t change — they’ve always been awesome. Our culture didn’t change — it continues to suck. No, we owe this shift in disposition to the remarkable act of placing our hands on the desk, pushing firmly down upon it while pushing firmly up with the toes, and straightening the kneecaps until the body is aligned vertically between heaven and earth.

We stood up. The net result of the Bishops’ hardass response, the preaching directed against the mandate in parishes across the country, and the blogosphere’s immature and shrill cry of outrage was this: We are winning, and not just the battle, but hearts along with it. The fact that something as obviously wrong as the HHS mandate happened should be no surprise. In fairness to the Administration, from a brief look of the Catholic Church in America, one may not have known She is still in opposition to the use of artificial contraception. I do not simply speak of the massive level of dissent over the Church’s teaching, I speak of the general lack of confrontation the issue gets from the pulpit, whether the Bishop’s or the parish priest’s. I know it’s easier said than done, and perhaps I speak out of place, but please, priests: When 83% of your flock are in sin, it is your duty to address the issue. Will parishioners walk out on you? Without a shadow of doubt, for the Gospel is a piercing sword at times. But as the net result of standing against the HHS mandate has — thus far — been an outpouring of support and good, so will be the result of an organized stand against the stupidity of artificial contraception. We have learned the power of saying firmly what we believe, and not giving a damn what the world thinks of it. Let us now use it to confront the heart of the modern world — our miserable view of the human body, our utter boredom with the act of sex, and our hostility towards new life.

  • http://twitter.com/PaigeKellerman Paige Kellerman

    Except for the new “compromise” that was just dealt us. The bishops need to stand firm. Making the insurance companies pay for it and then making the religious institution pay for the product is not compromise. Same wolf, different sheep suit…

    • MeanLizzie

      The Bishops are standing quite firm. Their response today was, in diplomatic language, “you’re kidding right?” They’re studying their next move in this chess game.

      I like this post and would only add what I heard a priest say about thirty or so years ago; “to be a committed Catholic is to be the most radical thing in the world.”

    • Ntsikseng

      The bishops have decided. Below, however, the text of the internal letter to the bishops — obtained tonight by Whispers in the Loggia — and signed by the aforementioned quintet: the conference president, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, and the bench’s committee chairs for Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston; Doctrine, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington; Domestic Policy, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, and the newly-formed arm on Religious Liberty, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport.

      * * *
      Dear Brother Bishops,

      As you have heard, today President Obama announced an upcoming change in the federal rule requiring most private health plans in the U.S. to include coverage for contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can induce abortions.

      The Administration’s stated intent is to protect a broader class of religious employers from being forced to pay directly for objectionable coverage or to list it in the plans they offer their own employees. But it does not meet our standard of respecting the religious liberty and moral convictions of all stakeholders in the health coverage transaction. Therefore we remain committed to rigorous legislative guarantees of religious freedom.

      We remain fully committed to the defense of our religious liberty and we strongly protest the violation of our freedom of religion that has not been addressed. We continue to work for the repeal of the mandate. We have grave reservations that the government is intruding in the definition of who is and who is not a religious employer. Upon further study we are very concerned that serious issues still remain and we have found numerous problems which we will raise in this letter.

      We heard of the change this morning. President Obama called our USCCB president, Cardinal-Designate Dolan, to tell him that significant changes would be made in the final federal rule in an effort to accommodate our concerns about the religious freedom of our institutions. He outlined these changes, and said the Administration would be in further dialogue with religious organizations to work out the questions that remain unanswered. He said White House officials were willing to meet with us to discuss the issue further. Later in the morning, senior White House staff came to our Conference headquarters to do so and to answer questions. Shortly after the announcement by President Obama, Conference staff held a conference call with staff from Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, USA, Catholic Health Association, the University of Notre Dame and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

      At present our understanding of the new final rule, at least part of which is expected to appear in the Federal Register next week, is as follows.

      The Administration has indicated it is retaining the narrow, four-pronged exemption for “religious employers” such as churches and houses of worship. There is a serious concern that the four-pronged exemption would become a precedent for other regulations. However, it will also offer a new policy covering “non-exempt” religious organizations such as charities and hospitals. Our concern remains strong that the government is creating its own definitions of who is “religious enough” for full protection. Secular employers must provide coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs.

      Non-exempt religious organizations that object to these services may offer a health plan without them – that is, they do not list the services in their plan and they do not pay directly for them. But the insurance issuer selling this plan must offer to add these services for each of the organization’s employees free of charge (that is, no additional premium and no co-pay or out-of-pocket expenses). We are told that this is not to be seen as a “rider” – rather, these items will simply be covered, but without the employer endorsing or directly providing them. However, it remains unclear as to how insurers will be compensated for the cost of these items, with some commentators suggesting that such compensation will ultimately be derived from the premiums paid by the religious employer. This lack of clarity is a grave concern.

      These latter (religious but non-exempt) employers will have a year (up to August 2013) to work out final details of this, with a further rule to be issued by the Administration before the end of that period. The advantage is that we can take part in this dialogue; the down side is that we may not know the final actual details of some aspects of the policy until well into the New Year.

      All insurers without exception are covered by the mandate to provide these services without charge. At this point it does not seem that a religiously affiliated health plan (e.g., one run by a Catholic health system) can be offered to the general public and exclude the objectionable services, since most of the public is supposed to have these services included by their insurers automatically.

      We are presented with a serious dilemma regarding self-insured plans, where a religious organization is both employer and insurer, and regarding student health plans offered by religious colleges and universities. It appears that such plans will be required to offer the objectionable coverage.

      It seems clear there is no exemption for Catholic and other individuals who work for secular employers; for such individuals who own or operate a business; or for employers who have a moral (not religious) objection to some procedures such as the abortifacient drug Ella. This presents a grave moral problem that must be addressed, and it is unclear whether this combination of policies creates a mandate for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs covering more of the U.S. population than originally proposed.

      The indication from the Administration that this process will be worked out into the coming year is of grave concern. Prolonging the process of the protection of religious liberty over multiple months is not beneficial or effective for the clear principle of religious liberty and freedom from coercion. In particular, the clear assertion of religious liberty is a matter of justice for our employees.

      As you can see we have a great deal of work ahead of us. We need to study the proposal quickly, carefully and with all legitimate viewpoints represented in order to come to firmer conclusions. The Catholic Church has been the leading voice for religious freedom and moral conviction on this issue, and we want to commend all the bishops for the good work that has been done to bring this urgent issue to the very peak of public awareness. Our task is far from over. We remain fully determined to work strenuously with our many partners in service to the full exercise of the right to religious liberty in our country.

      Our brother bishops permit us to repeat the principles that are guiding us:

      First, there is the respect for religious liberty. No government has the right to intrude into the affairs of the Church, much less coerce, the Church faithful individuals to engage in or cooperate in any way with immoral practices.

      Second, it is the place of the Church, not of government to define its religious identity and ministry.

      Third, we continue to oppose the underlying policy of a government mandate for purchase or promotion of contraception, sterilization or abortion inducing drugs.

      Thank you, brothers, for your commitment to work with everyone concerned about religious freedom in our society and to advance our principled goals. We will continue to keep you informed as we study this issue and learn more about this policy and our opportunities for its correction. We heartily welcome your observations and continued prayers and support.

      Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan

      Archbishop of New York
      President

      Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo

      Chairman
      Committee on Pro-Life Activities

      Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl

      Chairman
      Committee on Doctrine

      Most Reverend William E. Lori

      Chairman
      Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty

      Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire Chairman
      Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

    • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.datiles Michelle Datiles

      Kickass bishops standing firm? Check.

  • Georg Laing

    Popery FTW!!!

  • Liz

    BAZINGA!

    and that’s my Bishop in the photo with all the bishops of Indiana! woot

    • Prthompson65

      That’s Karol Woytla, ie. John Paul 2, in the center!

      • Annony11

        Karol Wojtyla is in the center of the picture at the top. I think Liz is talking about the one half way down with the five bishops.

        • Feeneyja

          That’s an awesome piture of Catholic cool!

    • Annony11

      Might be a huge stretch but were you in Europe a year ago? I know a Liz from Indiana who is likely to read a blog like this.

  • Jackie H

    Excellent! As ridiculous as this whole issue is, I’m glad that it’s forcing people to talk about these issues that are normally considered taboo. God will change many hearts through this!

  • Anonymous

    Jesus Christ was the greatest radical who ever lived, the all time great rebel… and yet no one seems to see it. If you want to experience some American style hatred, be an openly Catholic artist. The Fine Art World is the 3rd most bigoted, the 3rd most corrupt institution in our country… 2nd is Journalism, 1st is Liberal Progressives.

    • Penny Farthing1893

      You’re definitely right about artists! Do you have a website with your art?

      • militant412

        I would like to know too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=566295683 Martinho Isidro Correia

    Fantastic!

  • Jay E.

    The Catholic Church is made of WIN! Christus Vincit. ‘Nuff said.

  • http://twitter.com/CaffdCatholicMa Karianna

    Loved the Business Insider Article! Kind of random for the publication but really due.

    Marc, I would love to see your take on (and if you have already, link please) why, if people are so “against” Church teaching and why she stands for what she does… why don’t they just leave the Church? If it’s the liturgical aspect they like… why not become Episcopalian or Lutheran? Why call yourself Catholic and sit in a Catholic Church if you are not going to follow the Church? I pledged to be non-political/ controversial on my blog this month. :)

    • Musiciangirl591

      one of my favorite sayings is “going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” :)

      • Km

        Chesterton! One of my faves, too!

    • Anonymous

      Good question; can’t wait to hear Marc’s take. A huge piece, I believe,is the current lack of Catholic Identity among those who self-identify as Catholics. Now, I don’t want to be all “back in days of yore, there was such a golden age….” because that’s not true. But 60+ years ago, Catholics knew that being Catholic meant certain things- like Sunday Mass, regular confession, abstaining from meat on Friday, and being obedient to the teachings of the Church (contraception being just one among many). Now most people have the infamous “cafeteria Catholic” philosophy- as in, I’ll take only what I want, and leave the rest. Until that paradigm changes, there will be a lot of Catholics who don’t follow Church teaching, not necessarily because they are angry or up in arms, but because they have never been really taught what it means to be Catholic and why we should follow Church teaching.

      • Feeneyja

        I think you are right Maggie. There has been a persistant lack of education. Today, while praying The Angelus with my kids at noon, I pondered how I could have spend 8 years in Catholic school and NEVER prayed it once. We never learned it. I think of Millet’s painting “The Angelus” where two farmers stop mid harvest to pray the Angelus (you can see the church spire in the distance and imagine the Angelus bells tolling)…what happened? Why the lack of knowledge and understanding? My understanding of contraception came from experience and I saw how right the Church is…no one EVER told me why in all of my years in the Church. It’s perplexing yet refreshing to finally come to an understanding. I feel greatful to be able to pass it on to my children.

        • http://twitter.com/CaffdCatholicMa Karianna

          Great points, folks. Maybe Catholic is becoming like Jewish… an ethnic designation? Love Millet’s painting of “The Angelus!” It’s a great reminder to just stop and thank God and ask the Blessed Mother to keep us in her prayers!

        • Anonymous

          I spent 12 years in Catholic school and never heard of the Angelus.
          My daughter spent 12 years in Catholic school, and never heard of it, either.
          I am 52 years old and have lived in 13 different towns in 4 states since college. My current Church is the very first that prays the Angelus!

      • Prthompson65

        Vatican 2 recognized the validity of decisions based on informed & prayerful personal conscience–INCLUDINGthe issue of contraceptives. THAT TOO is “Church Teaching.”

        • Alexandra

          That was what I was taught at my Catholic high school. That the Church teaches that you can make informed and prayerful personal decisions to use birth control. I’ve been really stunned by this backlash because I had always been taught that it was a personal issue. That the Church had a stance, you should consider it, but if you can prayerfully come to the conclusion that it is good for you and your marriage, it is okay. Thanks for throwing that in. :)

          • Musiciangirl591

            actually i was taught at my Catholic high school, you can’t do that, Church teaching is Church teaching…

          • Gail Finke

            Alexandra: Thanks for this post. It is good to remember that while some people are never taught rules, and others were taught them and rejected them, still others like you were actually taught to do something that is not Church teaching by a Church institution. And that, folks, is why Catholics are all over the map. We have all been taught different things or, in many cases, nothing at all.

          • Alexandra

            My Catholic education was drastically different from the things I’m learning on Marc’s blog. It was much more liberal and focused on prayerfulness and making your own decisions based on understanding of Catholic Social Teachings.

            I’m surprised, and honestly kind of resent, when people say that because we don’t strictly follow the things the Church teaches, we’re not ‘real Catholics’. Certainly we’re a different kind of Catholic, but it seems counter productive to try to exclude people who consider themselves Catholics simply because they do not agree with everything the Church teaches.

            The Church has changed its mind before. Galileo got an apology. It seems more productive to me to embrace everyone and respect their differences.

          • Feeneyja

            Alexandra,

            Unfortunately, after Vatican II there were many bishops, priests, and other religious that interpreted what they wanted out of the teaching. That can be easy to do. It is easy to justify anything. I was told by a priest that ABC was OK when I got married. I found through my own experience that it was decidedly not OK. I THEN learned the official teaching and was stunned how it mirrored my reality. I have found many women who went through the same thing.

            The difficulty here is the difference between Church doctrine and the human interpretation of it. Priests and Bishops can be wrong. They are human. We are reminded in our news how wrong they can be – particularly when they assert their personal beliefs or interpretations over the true teachings. The important thing that I have learned from my Catholic journey (and I walked away from it for a time), it that the love of God and the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ (of which I am not worthy) is the key. When you have that key you can unlock all kinds of understands of the teachings of the Church. There is so much wisdom and beauty in it. I was not shown that as a child growing up in the Church. The freedom I have found now is my faith, the confidence, is something I never thought I would have. Never.

            My sister just took her first vows in a convent nearby (Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration). The peace she experiences in her vocation is beyond words and something many in this world cannot understand. After Vatican II, their order, as did many orders, got rid of their habits, some got rid of communal life. The freedom that they thought Vatican II afforded them led to these decisions (a misinterpretation). They later found that they had a serious drop in vocations. If you didn’t wear a habit and didn’t live in a convent, why not just not be a sister at all? The habit and convent are seen by some as meaningless symbols, but they are powerful reminders of their unity and service as Brides of Christ. When they re instituted the habit and a refocus on the doctrines of the Church, they had a swelling of vocations. It made a big difference. The meaning and value of what some think are bogus old traditions are brought into focus once they are thrown out the window. Another example: My Aunt who is a very liberal agnostic, went to Mozart’s Requiem Mass last year at the traditional old Church in her Chicago neighborhood. It moved her to tears. She was stunned that it did (and I pray for the continued softening of her heart). There is often meaning beyond our understanding. It is unfortunate when it gets muddled in the humanness of our experience.

          • Caffeinatedcatholicmama

            I chose to become Catholic when I was 21 and maybe this is why I have a hard time understanding thr concept of Cafeteria-Catholics, or Catholics in name only. If one did not believe that Christ is fully present in the Eucharist, would one still be called Catholic? What about teachings such as the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption? The way I see it, Catholics have two reference books, the Bible and the Cathechism, and I think Freenayja is on point when they say that it was the interpretation of the words that has caused confusion.

            My thought is, after Vatican II, if the Church really did allow for contraception, don’t you think they would have been crystal clear in the teaching as laid out in the Catechism? Rather than leaving room for error. When I was going through RCIA, at a very liberal University (Wisconsin) the Church’s stance on contraception, abortion, women priests and the like were made very clear. It was not presented as a “well… This is what they say, but don’t really believe it.” and that’s where I think we are.

          • Caffeinatedcatholicmama

            I’m the Karianna from above. When I post on my iPad, it doesn’t give me the twitter option.

          • Alexandra

            To me the idea of Cafeteria-Catholics makes a whole lot of sense, actually. Your church and faith distinction are a large part of your culture and community. Leaving that community isn’t fun, and so sticking with the faith you grew up with is comfortable and most natural.

            I grew up in the Catholic faith, but have always been an atheist. I didn’t actually realize that other people actually believed in God until high school, I really thought we were unified by our culture and stories, but that we recognized they weren’t factual. It was very easy for me to continue to identify as Catholic and not believe any of the Church’s teachings. Giving up the identity of being a Catholic was what was very hard, and I can’t imagine how a theist who disagrees with some of the Church’s teachings could find it in themselves to leave.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Wait a minute . . . you’re an atheist and you have given up being Catholic, but earlier, you said you resent being told you’re not a Catholic.

            Do you by any chance see a connection between your cafeteria Catholic upbringing, with its accompanying shock that some Catholics actually believe what they say, and your lifelong atheism?

          • Angela P.

            What?

          • wineinthewater

            Alexandra,

            Galileo isn’t a very good analogy here. For starters, Galileo was wrong. He was more right than many of his contemporaries, but his model was still wrong. But that is rather beside the point.

            The Galileo matter was one of science, not faith. The Church does not have, and does not claim, to be infallible on matters of science. Only on matters of faith and morals. And when it comes to faith and morals, the Church has never reversed an authoritative Church teaching. There have been “changes” in the sense of developments where the teaching was more fully fleshed out, but never in a way that was contradictory to what was taught before.

          • olivia demkowicz

            The Catholic Church teaches that you can make informed and prayerful decisions to avoid pregnancy or space births using such methods as NFP, it has never allowed ABC.

            “In the path of the couple there can be grave circumstances which make it prudent to delay the birth of children or even suspend it. And it is here that knowledge of the natural rhythms of the woman’s fertility become important for the life of the spouses. The methods of observation, which allow the couple to determine the periods of fertility, allow them to administer all that the Creator has widely inscribed in human nature, without disturbing the integral meaning of sexual donation. In this way, the spouses, respecting the full truth of their love, will be able to modulate its expression in conformity with these rhythms, without taking away anything from the totality of the gift of themselves that the union of the flesh expresses (Papal Message to “Humanae Vitae” Congress, Oct. 2, 2008)”

            Humane Vitae was the document that laid out the conclusions that were drawn from Vatican II on the area of “family planning” and Human Dignity in general.

            I believe that a lot of the misconception surrounding Vatican II was that the lay people (and even bishops), some of them, were hoping the Church would come out in favor of ABC, especially since back in 1968 there were no such NFP methods as there are today, instead just the “rhythm method” which could be wildly inaccurate. And, because the Church made “changes” they just assumed, and let themselves believe, that those were in fact changes that were made and that the Church had sided with all other Christian denominations at the time and was allowing ABC.

            The Church has never said, nor written down, that ABC is allowed or morally acceptable in any situation except in cases of rape to “attempt to stop ovulation to prevent conception, never to destroy a potential life (methods such as spermicides ” (I can definitely find that document if you want).

            I hope this helps clear up some misconceptions.

          • wineinthewater

            I’m sorry to say that you were not taught what the Church teaches. It actually works the other way around.

            If the Church teaches that it is sinful, it is sinful no matter what. Circumstance and your own personal conviction can impact your own culpability, but cannot make a sin no longer a sin.

            The way that Primacy of Conscience actually works is this: if the Church does *not* teach that something is a sin and you, after prayerful consideration, feel that it is a sin, then it is a sin. The extension of this is that no one, not even the Church, can compel you to do something that your conscience tells you is wrong.

          • Anonymous

            Can I “Like” this more than once :)

        • wineinthewater

          I’ve read the documents of Vatican II beginning to end and never read anything like that. Care to quote?

          “Primacy of Conscience” is a widely misunderstood Catholic teaching, and most people who talk about it actually get it backwards. Primacy of Conscience does not mean that if you think that something that the Church teaches is a sin is not actually a sin that you can go ahead and do it. What it actually means is that if you think that something is a sin that the Church says is not a sin, then it would be a sin to do it. Primacy of Conscience means that you cannot be compelled to do something you think is sinful by anyone, even if the Church teaches that it is not sinful. The fact that you think it is a sin means that it would be sinful to do it.

          So, Primacy of Conscience does not mean that you get to over-rule the Church about what *is* sin, only that you get to over-rule the Church about what is *not* sin.

  • Musiciangirl591

    you’re awesome! keep it up and i’m looking forward to reading more of your posts :)

  • Anonymous

    Rum, Romanism, and rebellion, Baby.

    Oh, and babies!

    What’s not to love?

    • David Meyer

      “Rum, Romanism, and rebellion, Baby.

      Oh, and babies!”

      Change “babies” to rugrats and you keep the ‘R’ thing going.

      • Moiramcl07

        Never liked babies being called RugRats…not sacred enough…

  • English Catholic

    Yep – in my seeker, vaguely-Christian, don’t-really-believe much days, I disagreed with the Church’s stance on contraception (which means I had never given the issue a minute’s thought), but I damn well admired Her for sticking to Her guns when all the World was shouting, screaming at Her about how totally wrong She was.

    Even then, I was just about smart enough to see that the World of the early 21st Century was wrong about everything, in every way it’s possible to be wrong.

    That was about seven or eight years ago. God willing, I’ll be received into the Church in two months.

    • Jeremy

      Will be praying for you!

    • Km

      I was there once, too! As my husband likes to point out, as a Catholic who fully embraces church teachings but who once believed all the things she argues against I am a dangerous tool of the holy spirit. I not only see the fallacies, I once believed them myself. I know intimately what one has to choke down or overlook to convince yourself that you are right. We are powerful apologists!

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

        “…as a Catholic who fully embraces church teachings but who once believed all the things she argues against I am a dangerous tool of the holy spirit. I not only see the fallacies, I once believed them myself. I know intimately what one has to choke down or overlook to convince yourself that you are right. We are powerful apologists!”

        Hell yeah we are!

    • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.datiles Michelle Datiles

      …and may many more follow in your footsteps! So happy for you–welcome home.

    • Angela P.

      Welcome home, English Catholic! Welcome home!

  • Anonymous

    I’m thrilled and my heart is lightly singing that now all of America has to stop and actually consider artificial contraception!!! I know that in just his past week, souls have already turned and many more will,and it’s all thanks to Obama’s mandate. God bless you, Mr. President.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

      You know what’s really interesting is that I started philosophizing about why contraception might not be such a good thing, oh, five or six weeks before this story broke. Can’t remember what got me thinking on that path, but I was already persuaded by the time this story came out. I can’t shake the feeling that God has not only used this crisis to change some people’s hearts directly, but he also changed some of our hearts *in the run-up* to these events in order to “prime” the public discourse for changing their opinion.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730270640 Micaela Swift

        yes…for goodness sakes! I know people (who think they are top notch Catholics) who have been “convinced” that contraception is a GOOD, and that the Church had and has it all wrong…that the Church ‘isnt really’ against contraception etc etc….Now they have to see the Church in her glory standing up to the ‘shit for brainers’ who have twisted her teachings, her name, and her goodness for the last 50 years bringing about this disaster! Seeing these bishops come together is awesome. This is how they need to fight off the pathetic rotten secular culture…. like a severe thunder storm ready to separate those who are deceived and having them swallow their garbage.

      • GingerinYork

        Me, Too: I found myself explaining to a young man who stands up for celibacy that, “Contraceptives kill marriages” and I realized later that this is not HIS fight but it might be mine.

  • Jmsteve4

    “etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum et in saecula saeculorum, amen”

    Willy Wonka! That’s why I heard that in Gene Wilder’s voice!

  • Tom Fennelly

    Mark, speaking of things that people hate, I hate the fact that you are an 18 year old punk and such a damn good writer. Keep it up!! Vivat Jesus!

    Sincerely, a guy twice your age with 4 kids

  • weweedmaniii

    Civil disobedience my —! I’m ready to be Peter & ride shotgun (literally) with the Church in the streets. I don’t believe everything the Church teaches, had a Priest Professor who offered his collar to anyone who did, no takers. But I defend Her right to disobey temporal powers to submit to the Eternal Power of her Bridegroom Jesus Christ.

    • beautiphil

      I like the analogy of comparing being a Catholic to playing a sport: you don’t have to personally agree with all the rules (although hopefully with education, experience, and understanding you will), but if you’re gonna play the game, you gotta play by the rules.

    • Penny Farthing1893

      I would have taken the collar, then politely handed it back, since I believe everything the Church teaches, and hence, as a woman, am not eligible to be a priest ;)

      Good point though, and well said!

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

      I would have to say I believe everything that the Church teaches, because I believe one thing that the Church teaches: that the Church is right.

  • luv’nWichitaDiocese

    We are just so cool. That’s all I’ve got to say.

  • MeanLizzie

    Don’t be too swaggery about it. The press and the WH are about to make it “uncool” again. Or try to.

    • Penny Farthing1893

      They can try, but here’s what they are offering now:

      Old mandate: Religious employers must provide insurance that covers free birth control.

      New mandate(s): Religious employers must provide insurance. Insurance companies must cover free birth control = Religious employers must provide insurance (that covers free birth control) = Religious employers must provide insurance that covers free birth control.

      Wait….

      • Musiciangirl591

        my diocese’s position on the matter hasn’t changed, i don’t expect anyone else’s to

      • Mcorcoran13

        They also say the “exception” applies to religious non-profits like hospitals and charities… no mention of schools or businesses run owned by Catholics….

  • Alexandra

    I’ve read this a few times now, and I’m not sure I understand what’s being said. Is this article saying that the Catholic Church has gained respect and admiration for standing up for its religious liberties in reference to the HHS mandate?

    • Musiciangirl591

      yep! EWTN and Priests for Life filed lawsuits, almost all the bishops in all the dioceses came together and said no, we aren’t complying to this, all the Catholics and Christians came together to state what we believe in, Father Pavone and his brother priests (this is what i heard) went shopping for their toothbrushes for when they don’t comply and go to prison. i believe that it has gained respect for what it’s doing! we’ve faced opposition for the last 2,000 years and we’ll keep fighting!

    • Anonymous

      Yes, in some circles. Our Protestant brothers and sisters, especially Evangelicals, are applauding the bishops’ efforts and standing with them. Rick Warren, pastor of the California megachurch SaddleBack Church, tweeted earlier about his support of the Catholic Church on this issue, and his commitment to religious freedom..
      Many non-religious people have also stepped up to the plate recently. seeing this for what it is- not about birth control, but about government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

      • Alexandra

        Okay, thanks for clarifying.

        Because I’m looking at different sources, what I’ve seen is a condemnation of the bishops. From the more liberal point of view, what they are doing is awful and disgusting. Clearly there’s a lot of split on this issue. It depends on how you frame it. Here, people are seeing it as a religious liberties issue, elsewhere it’s seen as a women’s health and worker’s rights issue. What Obama did with his “compromise,” was reframe it in terms of what it is intended as, a healthcare issue instead of an attack on religious liberty.

        • VVVVVV

          Personally, as a woman, I’m insulted that the Administration thinks it’s necessary for me and mine to be on contraceptives. Somehow, I manage to be perfectly healthy and happy without contracepting, as do ALL of the other women in my immediate family.

          As an individual citizen, I don’t my insurance money that goes into an insurance pool being used for someone else’s contraception. Any other medical need is fine, but I find contraception completely repugnant and unnecessary.

          • Alexandra

            And you don’t have to be on contraception, but those of us who do want to should be able to attain it easily. No matter what numbers and studies you pull up, medical and public health professionals have deemed contraception to be beneficial to society and this administration is therefor rightfully pushing to address the needs of society.

            You may judge our decision as morally repugnant, but you don’t get to decide what other people do with their insurance just because you put money into the pool. That’s the way that a society works. I think it’s ridiculous, inane, and bordering on unethical that my insurance covers acupuncture, but some people benefit from it and that just the way it is.

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

            Alexandra, despite having your point refuted several times, you keep coming back. Frankly, you’re like a little kid, who gets told off, runs away, then comes back again in an hour to complain again. GROW UP.

          • Alexandra

            Yikes. Well that’s an interesting take on it.

            Would you prefer if this was just a place where you were all high-fiving each other? I enjoy the discussions I have here, and I certainly don’t see it as me having my point refuted. You might, but I see it as discourse.

            I’m learning here. Debate is fun and good for strengthening arguments for those of us on both sides. Moreover, I’ve only ever been civil, which I’m not sure is a childish trait.

            Don’t engage with me if you think I’m childish and need to grow up.

          • Lauren G.

            I’ve got to agree that you’ve been pretty civil.

            What I find objectionable is the government saying, “you can think contraception is wrong, and you don’t have to take it, but you have to pay for it.” To me contraception is a sin. I certainly don’t judge the women that take it (I sin like crazy, I have no right to judge!), but I don’t want to pay for a sin.

          • Feeneyja

            The right to contraception is a 14th amendment right to privacy, that has been turned into universal (no longer private) public policy, that violates a 1st amendment right. Period.

          • pllym

            Alexandra – i am certainly a person who enjoys discourse and productive conversation, and not just with people from “my own side” (as im sure many on this blog do), but you seem to always just spin off into your own rationalizations, most of the time without having addressed the majority of the points brought up. You think that just shifting the words around -its not religious conscience its women’s health – is an argument?? Thats not discourse at all – it seems more like cheerleading to me. If you are trying to be effective by being this lone voice crying out in a sea of opposing voices, its a pretty weak attempt, since no one can really end up taking you seriously, as you dont treat any of the points against your position in a serious and thoughtful way. Ultimately, you just come off as close minded and thats the first fallacy when engaging in public discourse.

          • Alexandra

            I disagree with your assessment, but thanks for your feedback!

            I do often just ignore points because they’re so extreme there’s no reason to address them. It’s not a discourse worth participating. Very often I do engage in real discourse here, but there is a whole lot of stuff to ignore because it’s not reasonable or rational.

            The other point is to see what holes people can poke in my arguments, which leads me to be able to figure out how to plug them up. Some of the holes are real and others are not worth addressing.

          • pllym

            See, this is why i find you most disingenuous. You’re supposedly here for “discourse” yet you just admitted yourself” “to see what holes people can poke in my arguments which leads me to be able to figure out how to plug them up” Close minded to the core. Goodbye and God Bless.

          • Alexandra

            I’m sorry but I guess we just disagree on what the point of talking to people of opposing opinions is. No I am not looking to change my mind, and I don’t expect anyone here to change theirs.

            I’m just exchanging ideas with people. Talking, which is discourse. If that bothers you, or seems closed minded, I’m sorry, but the intent is just to talk to people.

          • pllym

            Alexandra – i will make this point about “discourse” and apologize for not making it clear. The aim or purpose of discourse has always been to participate in debate which actively seeks the objective truth of the matter at hand. If you can call certain things evil, then you can call certain things good – the aim is to discover what the good actually is and determine from there what is the true way to attain it. That ensures that we don’t live like barbarians but civil rational beings. If there is so such thing as objective truth, why even bother talking or debating??? If everything is just subjective opinion (whats good for you is not the same as it is for me and i decide for myself what truth is) then you would cease fighting other people with words and the matter would just be settled by force of will- “discourse” would become a fight for domination over each other, replacing logic and justice with raw will power. It seems to me, and by your very own admission, your idea of “discourse”, and correct me if im wrong, is just to reaffirm your own convictions, not an honest and open-minded search for truth which can perhaps lead yourself or others to change their minds. The lack of purpose and openness, replaced simply by the subjective desire to affirm your own pre-conceived ideas is the definition of prejudice.

          • Alexandra

            Lauren, I really see this as a reframing issue though. Everyone already pays for things they might find disagreeable or even immoral through taxes. There are so many things that I disagree with, but that doesn’t mean I get to stop paying taxes without punishment.

            We contribute to a society, and our personal opinions, morals, or religious beliefs can’t let us get out of our duties otherwise religion would basically be a “get out of jail free” card. Society cannot function if that’s allowed.

            I absolutely see why Catholics think that they should be exempt, but I think it comes down to that if you want to provide services that are not purely religious, and hire people who are not of your faith to do it, you are saying I want to be part of this society which includes sometimes having to inadvertently contribute to things that you find immoral.

          • Lauren G.

            I don’t know what religion you are, or if it has a concept of sin, so forgive me if this sounds condescending when I explain this. Sins are SERIOUS. They are more than “disagreeable”, they are a violation of God’s rules.

            As Marc has said before, Obama is essentially telling us to either obey him or obey God. The choice for Catholics is obvious, but we don’t want to have to make the choice in the first place.

            If you feel your conscience has been violated by the government, I encourage you to write to your officials! Freedom of conscience isn’t just for Catholics!

          • Alexandra

            (Sorry I can’t do the skinny columns)

            I’m an atheist so sin is a concept I reject.

            I just don’t understand how this issue is any different than paying taxes which end up subsidizing unjust wars or going to organizations like PP that distribute birth control. While you can raise your voice and say I disagree with this happening, you don’t stop paying taxes. And paying taxes doesn’t mean that you’ve sinned, does it?

            While the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act might actually protect the Catholic from this mandate, Justice Scalia has made it very clear that this kind of thing isn’t just. That we must not let religious groups get away with refusing to follow laws like this.

          • Lauren G.

            I have no problem paying taxes. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. The issue here is whether this money even belongs to Caesar. I absolutely disagree with prolife tax dollars going towards PP, and the Church ought to have stood up against that. However, she’s standing up now, and I’m with her.
            Speaking of PP, I have a question (not trying to be sarcastic, just really curious): why can’t these women just go to PP? Isn’t that what they’re all about?

            Finally,
            While I respect your argument, a Justice saying something is right does not make it so. There are plenty of people I could cite for you that do NOT think this mandate is right, and I doubt that would change your mind in the least.

          • Musiciangirl591

            “The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.”- Blessed John Paul II

          • Sep Hammond

            Alexandra – yes, this is different than paying taxes. We all pay taxes into a big pot and then use our votes to determine whom to elect to decide how that money will be spent (i.e. democracy). There is no democracy involved when X gives money to Y so that Y can directly do something with it that Y wants to do, like buy contraception.

          • Alexandra

            I understand your point, and can sympathize with it, but I still disagree. Thanks for explaining it.

          • Alexandra

            Lauren, the issue with women just going to PP is two-fold. First off, women should not be denied the same access to birth control that is covered under the law just because they work for a religious employer. Birth control is part of healthcare, and religious freedom of the employer should not infringe on the rights of an employee, those being the right to adequate healthcare insurance.

            The second issue is that PP is in huge demand. You can make appointments, but they are typically months in the future and may not be soon enough for many people. Typically what you do is show up early in the morning and snatch one of the open appointments. You then wait all day until it is your turn. The PP clinics are usually in places that are not incredibly well served by public transport and are difficult to get to. It basically requires giving up a full day to be able to get an exam and prescription at PP. Besides that, they can only give you 3 months supply at a time and do not give you a prescription that you can take to your local pharmacy, so you have to make this trek out there multiple times.

            This system is particularly bad for women with lower incomes, and through being denied coverage through their employer are being put at a huge disadvantage if they want to get birth control.

          • guesty

            I’m not sure why you think Catholics need to pay for your contraception to be able to obtain it. Is it really that difficult for you to obtain contraception on your own dime? Why do you think Catholics who are morally opposed to contraception need to buy it for you? Because this is NOT about us stopping you from using contraception. This is about us having to pay for you to use it. Big difference. The constitution says nothing about the right to free contraception. Not there. Not even implied. It does say free exercise of religion and by forcing Catholic businesses, institutions and charities to buy insurance that includes contraception is NOT free exercise of religion.

          • Magdalene

            I disagree that contraception is beneficial to women’s health. Many studies (not approved by “planned parenthood” of course) show that birth control pills are deleteriuos to health. And so is abortion which contributes to cancers. Kill the child now and the mother later. That is just the physical death we are speaking of here. The far greater death and the goal of the demonic is the death of the soul.

            “Women’s Health” ! What a wordsmithing! The children are taught sex and to be promiscuous and the result is pregnancy and abortion. Follow the money.

            We have an evil government. It is a short walk from “free” contraception to forced contraception. Do not think for a moment that it cannot happen here. It can and we have the tyrants in power to do it. Our hedonistic society is blind to the dangers and does not know history. This slippery slope ends in the depths of a hellish disrespect for life: and that includes for you because one day you may be old or sick or disabled and not worth the money.

            The devil is having his day. Screwtape’s coupl

          • Alexandra

            That’s quite a slippery slope argument. How would the government execute mandatory birth control? No one is teaching children to be promiscuous. No one is encouraging them to have as much sex with as many people, but they are arming them with the tools that they need to protect themselves if that is the choice they make. The truth is there will always be people who chose to be promiscuous and it is better to help them be careful than tell them to be abstinent. Abstinence only sex ed is a whole lot like just hold it potty training. It’s not practical.

            The abortion-cancer link has been refuted.

            I’ll agree that hormonal birth control can have some negative effects, but I am of the opinion that the benefits far outweigh the negatives and it can be good for women and society. And of the opinion that it is important to let a woman make that choice for herself and that it should be easy for her to access it if she wants it.

            We take risks in life all the time. We drive cars, jog in smoggy towns, get x-rays, take medications to cure sickness, fly in airplanes, and we weigh the pros and cons and decide there are risks worth taking. The risk of a small increased risk of breast cancer is worth it to some women when the benefit is control of their fertility. Of course it isn’t the only way to control fertility, but a woman should be allowed to chose whatever method she wants to without judgement. It’s her body.

          • Anonymous

            How would the government mandate birth control? Just look at China.

            The government is supporting Planned Parenthood, which does teach children to be promiscuous and encourage them to have sex whenever, wherever, and with whomever (or even whatever) they wish.

            The abortion-breast cancer link is supported by more (and more reliable) studies than have failed to find a link – something like 30 documenting a link vs 2 that didn’t, last I read. And the increased risk is usually found to be in orders of magnitude, not just slight.

            Hormonal birth control has been linked with drastically increased risk of cancer, not to mention a plethora of other disorders, not just some minor inconvenient side effects. Don’t use my money to let others damage themselves unnecessarily!

          • Alexandra

            Almost everything you said there is false.

          • Annony11

            If almost everything scragsma said is false, now would be the time (if you are truly interested in discourse and debate) to provide reasoning and proof as to what part of scragsma’s statement is false and why. Making a bland statement that part of something is false is no argument.

          • Alexandra

            I agree, it’s not an argument. But like I said, some of these points aren’t worth addressing. These statements are just all wrong. There’s no debating it. If someone really believes all of these things, there is just way too much in the way of having any meaningful discourse.

          • Musiciangirl591

            abstaining isn’t as hard as it sounds…

          • Alexandra Magana

            I’m not sure what you’re referring to, and just because you find it to be easier than others doesn’t mean anything but that you are being successful in your goals. Fantastic for you, irrelevant to others.

          • Anonymous

            No problem. You want to be on contraception, go for it. But don’t mandate that my money be used to pay for it, either directly or indirectly! And don’t insist that I ‘tolerate’ something that is intolerable – neither you nor the government has the authority to do that, and that’s what this mandate is trying to do. Compliance is not possible.

            And btw, medical and public health professionals have NOT deemed contraception to be beneficial to society. Most of the evidence is that it harms individuals, families, and society as a whole.

          • Alexandra

            No, you are incorrect, there is a body of literature that says that it can be harmful, but that is not the opinion of the majority of medical and public health officials. There will always be dissent, in every field, but just because it exists doesn’t mean that there isn’t a general consensus that is different than the dissenting opinions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            “you don’t get to decide what other people do with their insurance just because you put money into the pool. That’s the way that a society works.”
            …is a ridiculous statement.

            The concept of an insurance policy is that you pay a relatively small amount of money into a pool to insure against unpredictable calamity, i.e., a random accident or terrible disease. You don’t buy *insurance* to pay for regular, everyday expenses.

            There’s a good reason for this. Imagine if you used your *car insurance* to pay for gas and oil changes. Obviously, people with smaller cars or who drive fewer miles would be paying for more than they used, to the benefit of those who had bigger cars and drove more miles. That’s not *insurance*, it’s just transfer of wealth. You also can’t use car insurance to install a new sound system or get a custom paint job. Again, that would be robbing the people who don’t choose those optional services, to pay the others.

            What Obama’s HHS has done is complete the process liberals have started in all 50 states, of mandating the “definition” of insurance so that it includes payouts for everyday expenses like scheduled checkups, and optional things like contraception. Obama’s just done this at a federal level. This is not *insurance*. This is socialism. The left has succeeded in *mandating* that everyone’s money be taken to pay for *optional* things that some Democrats want. This is not “how a society works”, this is madness that will not stand.

            They have outlawed the purchase of insurance that actually is *insurance*: i.e., a low-cost financial instrument that covers you for low-probability calamities. Instead they have made the law such that the only thing called “insurance” you’re allowed to buy is a high-cost, government-controlled service that pays for everyday and optional services you could perfectly well pay for on your own, and *may* cover you in case of unlikely calamities… subject to approval from a federal government panel, of course.

          • Alexandra

            That’s an interesting take, but unlike you I don’t think socialism is a dirty word or a bad idea.

          • Annony11

            Interesting comment. On what do you base your opinion of socialism? Having spent three years in a post-communist socialist country, I can attest that it can be a rather scary concept. On paper it’s great but once you figure in human beings it turns into a giant mess.

          • Alexandra

            Western European style socialism. I spent two years in Ireland. Obviously it still comes with its issues, but I think it’s a better system than the one we have in the US.

          • Annony11

            Got it. I’ve seen the good and bad sides of socialized medicine in Hungary (from your comment it sounded like you were talking about socialism in general). When I had bronchitis last year, all of my appointments with five different doctors were covered by my insurance and I only had to pay for my prescriptions. On the flip side, one of my coworkers had to get her wisdom teeth out. Because they were impacted the insurance decided that would be major surgery and require an overnight stay in the hospital. The insurance company did not want to pay for the hospital stay so she missed every Friday of work for two months getting a tooth pulled, the stitches out the next week, then the next tooth the week after, etc.

          • Alexandra

            It was mostly kind of a flippant reply, so it makes sense that it sounded silly to you. Socialism can be a scary concept, I agree, but socialist policies can be good. They also come with their problems though.

            I remember having a friend who had a brain tumor and there was going to be a reasonably long wait for the surgery, much longer than anyone with a brain tumor wants to wait. She ended up going to France where there was private medicine and getting it done quickly and paying big money for it.

            There needs to be a good mix of socialized and private medicine to make it work properly, but the amount of medical debt that people incur in the States, and the way that it cripples them financially is just utterly depressing. This is an awful system we’ve got going here.

          • Gail Finke

            Joe, insurance also covers prescriptions for chronic conditions. My son has to take medicine every day and will for the rest of his life. Without insurance, many people would go bankrupt paying for these regular expenses. Just a reminder.

          • VVVVVV

            But insurance doesn’t pay for non-necessary, beneficial things like vitamins and nutrition supplements. I see contraception in this category. Contraception may have been found to be beneficial by the medical community, but it is certainly not a health necessity as your son’s medicine is. I think that’s a distinction that should be made

          • VVVVVV

            But insurance doesn’t pay for non-necessary, beneficial things like vitamins and nutrition supplements. I see contraception in this category. Contraception may have been found to be beneficial by the medical community, but it is certainly not a health necessity as your son’s medicine is. I think that’s a distinction that should be made

          • Alix

            “No matter what numbers and studies you pull up, medical and public health professionals have deemed contraception to be beneficial to society…”

            Just like the FDA has approved numerous drugs, that later have to be recalled, to be safe.

            Just like the Department of Agriculture has deemed genetically modified food, despite numerous studies to the contrary, to be safe. And CAFOs. And pesticides that are suffocating parts of the ocean.

            Just like our own government, at one time, deemed slavery to be a ‘necessary evil’ and called it legal, although it is an offence against Human Rights.

            Just like the same Medical and Health professionals once deemed lobotomy to be a safe and effective treatment for mental illness.

            Just like the government once ordered people of Japanese descent detained in internment camps.

            Just like, just like, just like… put your faith in the government, or in public officials, or in medical professionals. Excuse me if I don’t find that to be convincing.

          • Alexandra

            Those are interesting points, you make good ones.

            The difference to me is that in my personal experience, and the literature about the decades that hormonal birth control has been in use, it is a good thing. I find this to be more convincing than the religious arguments against it.

          • Anonymous

            Alexandra, thank you for continuing to dialogue with us.

            Concerning the “benefits” of oral contraceptives, did you know that the World Health Organization classifies combined oral contraceptives (=the Pill) as class 1 carcinogens: that is, “carcinogenic to humans,” the most serious classification of carcinogens? Please see citations here, and here.

            Also, while the Pill does reduce the risk of some ovarian cancers, there is strong evidence that this is due to the Pill’s mimicking of pregnancy.

            In fact, pregnancy is what reduces the ovarian cancer risk; the Pill puts women in a state of pseudo-pregnancy (until it fails to suppress ovulation, and then just creates a uterine environment too hostile for a fertilized egg to implant, leading to chemical abortion, hence why the Pill can act as an abortofacient).

            And there is very strong evidence that oral contraceptives are a major risk factor for breast cancer.. (full text of that article is here. )

            My mother, born in 1951, was part of the generation that came of age in the early 70s. At her 40th high school reunion a few years ago, she noticed that an alarming number – about 35% by her estimate – of the women in her graduating class were survivors of breast cancer. She wondered about why the percentage was so high, until I asked how many of those women probably used oral contraceptives right out of high school into their early thirties. Obviously correlation does not equal causation, but as we look at the crazily-high rates of breast cancer in the last 40 years, much higher than any generations before us, it does make me wonder….

            In terms of the economic and broad sociological effects of widespread contraception, there is a lot of evidence, both scholarly (here, here, and here, for example) and anecdotal, that the contraceptive revolution has not, in fact, been good for humanity on either the micro or the macro scale.

            Finally, the prevalent use of hormonal contraceptives has not been great for the environment.

            See here , here, and here. (a lot of these weren’t available in the full text, but the abstracts are pretty telling: estrogen, which is not water-soluble (because it is a sterol-derivative), is present in waterways at much higher rates than it would be naturally, because, to be frank, millions of women taking the Pill and other hormone treatments pass those hormones to the environment via their waste products, which, after sewage treatment, end up back in the ecosystem. Granted, some of the compounds are also more prevalent because of our use of plastic and other petroleum-derived products (also not water-soluble, but the estrodi0ls are a huge factor)

            Note than none of the reasons I listed above- economic, socialogical, demographic, environment, medical- were based on religious belief.

            There’s always more to the story.

            It always strike me as dissonent that so many people are conscious of the kind of foods they eat, wanting to only eat organic food or GMO-free food, or avoiding cooking with plastic containers, etc., and yet are willing to take very high doses of very unnatural chemicals every single day.

            In Stevens Point, WI, there is a really great co-op community right across the street from St. Peter’s, a very orthodox/committed Catholic Parish. The two seem opposed at first glance, but cooperate because they both teach Natural Family Planning: the Catholics for its moral and marital benefits, the co-op owners for its environmental benefits.

            Love the earth? Use NFP. I’m an organic woman :-)

          • Gail Finke

            Alexandra, before I had any religious objections to contraception I was on and off the pill for many years. I stopped using it — again before I had any religious objections — because I never found one that worked for me. The pill made me gain weight and, it became clear years, negatively affected my moods and my sex drive. So I have no love for the pill. That said… I did take it for years and during that time NO ONE paid for it but me. When I started on it right before I got married, my employer at the time, a small family-owned business that was not Catholic, did not offer it as part of their insurance package. I thought they should. But you know what? I learned that they were buying the insurance, and they thought it was for illnesses and operations, etc., and no one was responsible for my getting pregnant or not getting pregnant but me and my husband. And I came to see that they were right. They were right then and they were right now. No one is saying that birth control shouldn’t be legal, available, and cheap — and it is.

          • Alexandra

            There actually are people saying it shouldn’t be available. Many people.

            I think the real problem here is that insurance shouldn’t be provided through employers. We should have socialized medicine. Healthcare is a right, and having it tied to our employment status is just a horrible idea. Especially in the cases of small businesses, it just cripples them.

            Thanks for sharing your story, I appreciate it. :)

            Also the way I’m seeing the posts right now, it seems like a comment about the inaccuracy of a post is showing up as a reply to yours. It definitely isn’t directed at you!

          • Jmsteve4

            But if it’ socalized heathcare we have the same problem. We still have to py for something that we don’t think ought to be paid for via taxes.

          • Linebyline

            We don’t get to decide what other people do. But you get to decide what other people pay for. How convenient.

            Would you then be okay with respecting my religious rights by buying me a rosary? By being forced to pay to subsidize my rosary-buying whether you wanted to or not?

            Would you be okay with forcing Protestants, who believe that prayers to saints constitute idolatry, to subsidize rosaries for Catholics who can’t afford them? (Or even Catholics who can?) Would it be okay to stomp their religious rights just because I think Catholics should have access to rosaries?

  • Nebraska Catholic

    You are my hero!

  • Mary Anne

    If you want to be Catholic, be a Catholic, If you can’t stand the heat ….get out if the kitchen!”…..I love being Catholic….I love mt God ….and look forward to being with Him some day……don’t think our president us or understands Christianty!!!

  • Allison Grace

    Once again, I read this whole thing to my teenaged boys and husband while they cleaned up the breakfast dishes ~ thank you for taking the time to write!

    • Anonymous

      Mother of the Decade?

      Well done.

  • Annony11

    The NPR article made my day! I’m not sure which is most surprising:
    1. NPR actually published this article.
    2. It is remarkably unbiased.
    3. Sister Keehan, NCReporter, and America Magazine have all spoken out against Obama in support of Cardinal-elect Dolan and the other bishops.

    The only thing that has disappointed me in the Church’s response was the way my pastor dealt with the issue at Mass last weekend. While he spoke very passionately about the need to repeal the mandate and gave practical (petition, email congressmen, prayer of course) suggestions on what to do as well as included the letter from our diocesan administrator (our diocese is waiting for a new bishop to be appointed) in the bulletin, he never actually stated what the mandate was about. This saddened but didn’t really surprise me as his homilies tend to be in the vein of “you’re so good because you’re giving this time to God by going to Mass.” As Marc writes, I would love to hear more priests preach “hard” truths like this because so many people just have no idea what the Church even teaches.

    • anony316

      Unfortunately, Sister Keehan has done a 180 and came out in support of the non-compromise “compromise”. She’s covering for HHS now. Unless something changed overnight; I haven’t finished my cup of coffee and haven’t seen anything.

      • Annony11

        Yes, I’ve seen that as well. At the time that the article was written, however, she was still supporting the Church.

    • Anonymous

      Lucky you that your pastor at least dealt with the issue at Mass. Mine is extremely timid; all he would allow was our bishops’ letter as a bulletin insert and a mention by the lector that the letter was there. Nothing from himself at all. I’m grateful that we even have a priest in the parish to provide the sacraments, since there are many parishes without one, but it’s disappointing that he doesn’t think he needs to do anything more than that.

  • Katieg

    Haha, just fantastic!

    By the way, I just want to brag that the super-cool bishops in that pic are wonderful, faithful shepherds from my state of Indiana. They are currently in Rome for the ad limina visit.

    Keep it up, Marc! I went to school with your sis at FUS and I love reading your stuff. Gosh, praise God for His Church and for the graces to be a member of the Body of Christ!

  • Catholic Lady

    I am so proud of our bishops and all those who stood up against this ridiculous law.

    Keep it up Marc!

  • http://twitter.com/dferg David Ferguson

    Do not need E.J. Dionne’s help. He is not a friend. He will support Obama in the end.

  • Catherine

    YES. This article sums up everything I felt about the whole dramatic debacle. I was almost disappointed when I heard the White House backed down – the confrontation was looking glorious.

    Still, the more people hear about Humanae Vitae, the better. JPII wrote HV in the Sixties. It’s about time the rest of the world catches up to the Church.

    • Musiciangirl591

      JPII wasn’t pope in the 60s, that was Pope Paul VI

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

      The White House didn’t back down. Nothing’s changed. I’m still looking forward to this.

      • Musiciangirl591

        eh, from what i’ve read the Bishops aren’t changing their position on the matter (at least not in my diocese)

    • Prthompson

      That was Pope Paul, not JP2.

  • Anonymous

    this is the perfect time for all priests to get on board, shepherd their people. They just may find that when they do, the whole congregation will respond in a resounding, “AMEN!”

  • Ntsikseng

    Below is the text of the internal letter to the bishops — obtained tonight by Whispers in the Loggia — and signed by the aforementioned quintet: the conference president, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, and the bench’s committee chairs for Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston; Doctrine, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington; Domestic Policy, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, and the newly-formed arm on Religious Liberty, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport.

    * * *
    Dear Brother Bishops,

    As you have heard, today President Obama announced an upcoming change in the federal rule requiring most private health plans in the U.S. to include coverage for contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can induce abortions.

    The Administration’s stated intent is to protect a broader class of religious employers from being forced to pay directly for objectionable coverage or to list it in the plans they offer their own employees. But it does not meet our standard of respecting the religious liberty and moral convictions of all stakeholders in the health coverage transaction. Therefore we remain committed to rigorous legislative guarantees of religious freedom.

    We remain fully committed to the defense of our religious liberty and we strongly protest the violation of our freedom of religion that has not been addressed. We continue to work for the repeal of the mandate. We have grave reservations that the government is intruding in the definition of who is and who is not a religious employer. Upon further study we are very concerned that serious issues still remain and we have found numerous problems which we will raise in this letter.

    We heard of the change this morning. President Obama called our USCCB president, Cardinal-Designate Dolan, to tell him that significant changes would be made in the final federal rule in an effort to accommodate our concerns about the religious freedom of our institutions. He outlined these changes, and said the Administration would be in further dialogue with religious organizations to work out the questions that remain unanswered. He said White House officials were willing to meet with us to discuss the issue further. Later in the morning, senior White House staff came to our Conference headquarters to do so and to answer questions. Shortly after the announcement by President Obama, Conference staff held a conference call with staff from Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, USA, Catholic Health Association, the University of Notre Dame and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

    At present our understanding of the new final rule, at least part of which is expected to appear in the Federal Register next week, is as follows.

    The Administration has indicated it is retaining the narrow, four-pronged exemption for “religious employers” such as churches and houses of worship. There is a serious concern that the four-pronged exemption would become a precedent for other regulations. However, it will also offer a new policy covering “non-exempt” religious organizations such as charities and hospitals. Our concern remains strong that the government is creating its own definitions of who is “religious enough” for full protection. Secular employers must provide coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs.

    Non-exempt religious organizations that object to these services may offer a health plan without them – that is, they do not list the services in their plan and they do not pay directly for them. But the insurance issuer selling this plan must offer to add these services for each of the organization’s employees free of charge (that is, no additional premium and no co-pay or out-of-pocket expenses). We are told that this is not to be seen as a “rider” – rather, these items will simply be covered, but without the employer endorsing or directly providing them. However, it remains unclear as to how insurers will be compensated for the cost of these items, with some commentators suggesting that such compensation will ultimately be derived from the premiums paid by the religious employer. This lack of clarity is a grave concern.

    These latter (religious but non-exempt) employers will have a year (up to August 2013) to work out final details of this, with a further rule to be issued by the Administration before the end of that period. The advantage is that we can take part in this dialogue; the down side is that we may not know the final actual details of some aspects of the policy until well into the New Year.

    All insurers without exception are covered by the mandate to provide these services without charge. At this point it does not seem that a religiously affiliated health plan (e.g., one run by a Catholic health system) can be offered to the general public and exclude the objectionable services, since most of the public is supposed to have these services included by their insurers automatically.

    We are presented with a serious dilemma regarding self-insured plans, where a religious organization is both employer and insurer, and regarding student health plans offered by religious colleges and universities. It appears that such plans will be required to offer the objectionable coverage.

    It seems clear there is no exemption for Catholic and other individuals who work for secular employers; for such individuals who own or operate a business; or for employers who have a moral (not religious) objection to some procedures such as the abortifacient drug Ella. This presents a grave moral problem that must be addressed, and it is unclear whether this combination of policies creates a mandate for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs covering more of the U.S. population than originally proposed.

    The indication from the Administration that this process will be worked out into the coming year is of grave concern. Prolonging the process of the protection of religious liberty over multiple months is not beneficial or effective for the clear principle of religious liberty and freedom from coercion. In particular, the clear assertion of religious liberty is a matter of justice for our employees.

    As you can see we have a great deal of work ahead of us. We need to study the proposal quickly, carefully and with all legitimate viewpoints represented in order to come to firmer conclusions. The Catholic Church has been the leading voice for religious freedom and moral conviction on this issue, and we want to commend all the bishops for the good work that has been done to bring this urgent issue to the very peak of public awareness. Our task is far from over. We remain fully determined to work strenuously with our many partners in service to the full exercise of the right to religious liberty in our country.

    Our brother bishops permit us to repeat the principles that are guiding us:

    First, there is the respect for religious liberty. No government has the right to intrude into the affairs of the Church, much less coerce, the Church faithful individuals to engage in or cooperate in any way with immoral practices.

    Second, it is the place of the Church, not of government to define its religious identity and ministry.

    Third, we continue to oppose the underlying policy of a government mandate for purchase or promotion of contraception, sterilization or abortion inducing drugs.

    Thank you, brothers, for your commitment to work with everyone concerned about religious freedom in our society and to advance our principled goals. We will continue to keep you informed as we study this issue and learn more about this policy and our opportunities for its correction. We heartily welcome your observations and continued prayers and support.

    Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan

    Archbishop of New York
    President

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo

    Chairman
    Committee on Pro-Life Activities

    Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl

    Chairman
    Committee on Doctrine

    Most Reverend William E. Lori

    Chairman
    Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty

    Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire Chairman
    Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

    • Anonymous

      A fine letter!.
      Now, let’s see some backbone.

  • Anonymous

    “No government has the right to intrude into the affairs of the Church”

    Any objection to Sharia law?

    • Anonymous

      Sharia is not of the Church.

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

      Yes, because Sharia law dictates that all MUST follow it. The Church is refusing to pay for something, while Sharia takes away rights.(Real rights. Not those imagined rights like the right to contraception.)

  • Stephen Charles Rees

    Loved it! This has kinda been my approach to the faith for a whole now! Cheers from L’Angelus

    • Stephen Charles Rees

      *while

  • Renee

    Hormonal Contraceptives Associated With Higher Risk of Female Sexual Dysfunction, Study Finds

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504074841.htm

    If the Catholic Church was truly oppressive to women and didn’t want them happy, it sounds like contraception is something they would approve.

    Feminists are nothing but puppets big pharmaceutical companies.

  • Mddec40

    I can see this on YouTube and it going viral, or at least close!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.datiles Michelle Datiles

    Awesome. Enough said.

  • Anchor Mama

    I’ve been writing about this subject, too. Only I write from the perspective of a wife and mama who’s used NFP for 20 years. Good grief! I’m old enough to be your mom. Why do I find that both encouraging and disturbing at the same time? Very, very well done, Mark! If you’re at all curious you can find me at:
    http://coldanchorfarm.blogspot.com

  • littlebro

    100th!

  • Joseph Barnes

    Don’t you people have better things to do than post five page comments that nobody really reads?

  • Gajohnston

    Marc: Excellent document, How the Catholic Church became Cool ! It is clear, concise, direct and I hope the more people who read it will be given Gods’ grace to have the power of saying what they firmly believe and not give a damn about hurting someone’s feelings. Many of our clergy and religious now are challenged with these question: What can seperate you from Jesus?
    What can seperate you from the teachings of the Church?
    For those who support this administration, they have already seperated themselves from following Christ.

  • http://www.CatholicRadioReport.com/ Domer2x

    Who are the three in the photo at the top of the article? I know JP2 is in the middle… Who are the other two?

  • Eva

    You’ll love this: http://9gag.com/gag/2545123
    the Bible with memes

  • Eva

    You’ll love this: http://9gag.com/gag/2545123
    the Bible with memes

  • TheAudiGirl

    I am a converted Catholic who swam the Tiber in answer to the Anglican Church’s meltdown and my particfular congregation becoming a daily worship of homosexual sex and nothing else. I became a Cathholic because I don’t want any more surprises. I was tired of sitting in the pew with my teeth clenched, waiting for the next bombshell that would cause me to have to walk out. I do not believe the Catholic church will ever behave like that.

  • TheAudiGirl

    I am a converted Catholic who swam the Tiber in answer to the Anglican Church’s meltdown and my particfular congregation becoming a daily worship of homosexual sex and nothing else. I became a Cathholic because I don’t want any more surprises. I was tired of sitting in the pew with my teeth clenched, waiting for the next bombshell that would cause me to have to walk out. I do not believe the Catholic church will ever behave like that.

  • Linus

    I will say that if sex is the ” thing ,” the summit and meaning of life, what a bum boring life it has been!

  • Smobooks

    When I was in 10th grade (my confirmation year), the church deacon held a sex ed session. I distinctly remember him teaching us how to use a condom. (This was Massachusetts, but I’m sure these things happened elsewhere in the 70s and 80s, and beyond?) I vaguely remember hearing at some point that ABC wasn’t ~really~ allowed, but the message wasn’t very direct. My Catholic boyfriend-turned fiance-turned husband and I used ABC for 15 years, then I had a tubal ligation after our third kid. I honestly didn’t realize that a tubal was against Church teachings (I had fallen away from the church for years, in part because my husband was abused by one of those Boston priests when he was 14, so I had some issues with the Church for a time). Once I realized the problem with ABC and sterilization, I went to confession, but I still feel guilty about not having the children I perhaps should’ve had (if I hadn’t used ABC). My point? The Church teachings aren’t uniform or explicit enough. This needs to change. The truth is the truth and it must be taught uniformly around the world.

    • Joshua

      It is. The problem lies not with the Pope or the Church’s teachings but with the disobedience of the local bishops and priests. They, the teachings, are still as universal as they can possibly be! I will give you an example, the Church universally teaches that any type of contraception is immoral but the Bishops in Canada rejected those teaching in their Winnipeg Statement (a reply to Humanae Vitae). The responsibility is on the local Clergy and the laymen and women to be independently educated about their faith. I am new to the Catholic Church and I am always reading. I take what my Priest says and research it lest I fall astray.

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

    Brilliant. Reminds me of GK Chesterton at his best.

  • Bemused spectator

    Muhammadanism, really? Is this the 18th century? What else… the wonder of the universe persists only by belief in Catholicism? Do you even know what Sufism is? Its central tenet is the mystery of God and respect for the humble. It just happens to be Islam. And ruined by science? SCIENCE?! Science, which opened our eyes to the infinite universe? From the neutrino to the galaxy? The surface tension of a water droplet to a decaying proton at the end of the universe?

    I guess it hurts, you know… after scientists proved that the celestial firmament WASN’T a big, fixed backdrop revolving around the Vatican, but instead a universe bursting with stars, billions in our own galaxy, just a single galaxy mind you, one of billions of galaxies, and mankind built the tools–yes we did–to look deep into the inky blackness, into the distant past because light is the yardstick of both space and time, and we looked. Into time that shouldn’t have existed, we saw impossible grandeur, saw truth… and well, the Catholic Church, She was chafed.

    • Maureen O’Brien

      The Big Bang Theory was invented by a faithful Catholic priest. Copernicus was a faithful Catholic priest. When Galileo had torqued off everybody else in Europe, the Pope was funding and sponsoring him. Modern experimental science was invented by faithful Catholic monks and friars, to better understand Creation and give glory to God. Learning that the Earth was as far from the center of the universe as Nazareth was a pokey little town — heck, that was a theological advantage, once people cast off the old Greek natural philosophy of crystal spheres and solar centricity.

      Or you could keep ignoring the facts and continue to believe urban legends.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=638626759 Rob Ferguson

    I’m curious who the other men are in the photo with him…anyone?

  • Guest

    This gives me Hope.

  • Dave

    Lol, John C Wright called you a homo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002004467137 Sally Dennen Vittorio

    How do we explain the fact that our Catholic Church is investing heavily in pharmaceutical companies that make contraceptives, in gun companies ,and in tobacco companies. This was recently brought to my attention, and I have not an answer to what is being viewed by some as hypocritical..If true, I am so very disappointed and this just adds to other “stains”.
    Does anyone know these circumstances?

    • Alexandra

      Do you have sources for that? That is really interesting.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3LVTW36FICDD5Q4L4LNZHZJB3I Carmen

    I don’t know why you think you should have a voice in women’s health care.

    The “stupidity of artificial contraception” is hella superior to the stupidity of the rhythm method.

    And in case you missed it, we don’t really need millions more people on Earth. Seven billion and climbing.

    If you want to talk stupidity, let’s talk about banning both contraception AND abortion. That’ll teach those slutty women to have sex!

    • Hassie64

      Carmen, thanks for being the voice of the hopelessly lost modern woman, who wouldn’t recognize the sacred if it came to earth and died for her.

    • wineinthewater

      I don’t know why you think you should have a say in how Catholic organizations spend their money. It’s not quite so straightforward as that. We can pretend that we are all little islands with no impact on each other, but we aren’t.

      As to your comment about “the stupidity of the rhythm method,” that reveals a lot. There is way more to NFP than the old rhythm method. The fact that so many advocates for contraception continue to disparage NFP with references to the rhythm method demonstrates a significant lack of critical analysis of the situation.

  • 171719

    Why the fuck do you religious cunts exist?

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      Your content-free comment doesn’t deserve to be answered, but I’ll do it anyway:

      We have just seen a series of posts in which our host, who graciously allows you to comment here even though he is under no obligation to do so, has argued that the modern mindset, with its approval of contraception and abortions, is ultimately misogynist.

      I find it a little ironic that someone who opposes this view would express it by a casual use of the word “cunt.” It inclines me to think our host is on to something.

      • Anonymous

        eh, he probably doesn’t have much more of a thought process than profanity and insults…

        • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

          Don’t respond to ad hominem with more ad hominem.

    • Anonymous

      please watch your language, you’re not going to be taken seriously using profanity, it makes your argument invalid

      • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

        Profanity doesn’t make an argument invalid, though it certainly makes it less pleasant to read; the problem is that Mr. 171719 didn’t make an argument at all.

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

      To do nice things for you and God.

  • Rick gorilla man Gonzales

    Dude…DUDE! Yes!….haha…I seriously see exactly what your saying..I wish I could put into words my journey that put me through all the genius teachings of men has taken me…like nihilism and suicidal thoughts..but. The best thing I’ve done is come full circle, back to the little happy burro I’ve always been…you got it man. I can see it. Paz y Amor wey.