God King to Punish Catholics…

…for failure to worship him.

His patience with our barbaric folkways has run out.

And besides, when he punishes Catholics, good and Truly Enlightened[TM] People have nothing to fear:

Here’s the basic deal: Attention Catholics! You have absolutely no right to say what should and should not happen in somebody’s bedroom–and we are now sticking a gun in your ribs and forcing you to pay for what goes on in somebody else’s bedroom.

  • Benjamin

    Run a school as a school or a hospital as a hospital, that is, do you employ and serve people that are not members of your faith? Then you should be required to follow regulations that all other schools and hospitals do. Seems reasonable to me.

    • Mark Shea

      Translation: You are not allowed to tell me what I can do in my bedroom, but I will put a gun in your ribs and force you to pay for what I do in my bedroom.

      • Benjamin

        No, you’re required to provide healthcare just like any other institution is under the law, and you don’t get to opt out because you’re serving the general public and not those of a particular sect. Churches and Dioceses are of course totally exempted. I pay for all kinds of things under the law I find objectionable. Deal with it, it comes with civilization.

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

          Right, because a product intended to prevent the natural consequences of your elective actions is “health care” for which I have to pay or my family can’t get (actual) health care.

        • Steve

          “…you’re required to provide healthcare …” This is the whole of the problem. What else should a employer provide? Food, lodging, entertainment. Sounds like an employer should be renamed slavemaster other than he shouldn’t expect any work out of his charges. This system has been and is bound to collapse. “Deal with it, it comes with civilization.” What’s that, extortion by masses controlling a formerly productive country through Politician/lawmakers? That’s some civilization we’re getting! Give us … or we riot!

          • Benjamin

            Push for single-payer if you don’t like employer provided healthcare. I’ll be right there with you.

            • Claire

              But again, how exactly is contraception “healthcare”? Neither fertility nor pregnancy are diseases, so why should either condition require preventive treatment?

              • Benjamin

                Unintended pregnancy is a disease.

                • Mitch

                  And murder is the treatment, I suppose?

                  • Benjamin

                    Killing sperm is murder now? “Every sperm is sacred/every sperm is great…”

                    • Jon W

                      No. But pregnancy is absolutely not a disease.

                      (Mitch’s comment was a reference to abortion, not spermicidal birth control, which is not murder but is still wrong when used by one of the sexual partners to avoid pregnancy.)

                    • Claire

                      Maybe a basic biology course is in order? A sperm is not yet a person. A fertilized egg, however, is a person. A very small one, granted, but a person. Do you know of any people who started as anything but a zygote? I don’t. As for the idea of “unintended pregnancy”, I wonder about people who claim to have a superior hold on reason and logic, but who are then shocked and chagrined that sex sometimes results in pregnancy. “Pregnant? How did this happen? Was it something you ate?”

                • Jon W

                  Holy sh**, man, that’s a person you’re talking about. At least two of my siblings were conceived when my parents were actively trying not to get pregnant, one while on artificial birth control and one while using Natural Family Planning. They are both beautiful, wonderful people and their conception was not a “disease.” That’s friggin’ sick.

                  • Dale Price

                    Yep. Warped beyond words. Even our desperately confused legal system is clear that pregnancy is not a “disability,” let alone a disease.

                • Beadgirl

                  No, no it is not. The fundamental problem is this false dichotomy we’ve chosen, mother v. baby, where it’s a zero sum game and if one gains the other must lose. As a woman and a mother and a former child and a feminist, I say “bull.”

                • Paul

                  “Unintended pregnancy is a disease.”

                  More insane assertions without proof.

                • Guest

                  Pregnancy is absolutely not a disease. It is the body doing exactly what it was designed to do.

                  The re-classification of contraception and abortifacients (C&A) as preventive care was political, just so this could be rammed through. If you look at the list of mandated preventive care (vaccinations, mammograms, PAPs, colonoscopies, etc. you will see that C&A is totally unlike any other preventive service in function. All other preventive services clearly seek to prevent disease. C&A seeks to prevent a normal body function either by shutting down ovulation or by making it impossible for an embryo to grow as it normally would.

                  You’ve been suckered and you accept it because it happens to line up with your POV. Let the gov erode your rights – even the ones you don’t care about – and it’s only a matter of time before it comes after the one’s you do.

                • Noah D

                  For the love of God, I beg of you: seek help.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          No, you’re required to provide healthcare just like any other institution is under the law, and you don’t get to opt out because you’re serving the general public and not those of a particular sect.

          You don’t even see how circular you reasoning is, do you? Catholics are protesting an unjust law, and you’re saying “well you have to follow this law because it’s the law and you have to follow it.”

      • Arnold

        That is an excellent pithy explanation of the core of this whole issue.

        • kenneth

          Except that it’s also an argument against providing any sort of healthcare at all. Essentially all of the costs of medical treatment in this country derives directly from the “natural consequences of elective action.” If the argument is rooted in “pay for your own damn lifestyle choices”, then no employer ought to be on the hook for covering any condition related to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, many cancers or any injuries incurred off the job.

          • Dale Price
          • Jon W

            Except that it’s also an argument against providing any sort of healthcare at all.

            The difference, of course, is whether you have the Foundational Tradition of Western Civilization on your side or not. Our society is demolishing the foundations of its own house, and we’re going to lose a lot more than just a bunch of pretty tax-exempt Gothic-style buildings.

            Every step of the sexual liberation parade the church has been told that their dire predictions of bad consequences to stupid policy were just ignorant scaremongering, and every time the church has been proven right. Now the church is just trying to keep alive a community of people who don’t have to acquiesce to the destruction of marriage as the entire Western society has heretofore known it, and we’re being told that not even this can we keep, that things the Natural Law has always said were abominable are now “basic health care”, and that we have to pay for them, not matter how wicked we find them.

          • http://www.usmc.mil S. Murphy

            Nonsense. Unintended consequences, no matter how predictable, aren’t at issue. We’re objecting to subsidizing commitment-free recreational f*cking, not blood-pressure meds.

            • kenneth

              Why does a country like ours with a secular system of government owe a higher priority to the reason for your libertarian objection over that raised by a businessman who doesn’t want to be forced to pay for lifestyle based heart disease complications, which are vastly more expensive than contraception and which literally threaten the viability of small businesses and the competitiveness of the U.S. economy as a whole?

              • Jon W

                Because our objections flow out of the near-constant Natural Law tradition of Western Civilization and are based on a truly rational and coherent account of human flourishing and the help that we owe to people to help them live good lives. Notice, we’re not objecting to helping to pay for the unintended pregnancy and helping with childcare that result from all that recreational f*cking. That’s because having and raising kids is a good thing for someone to do and for others to help with, no matter how the kids were conceived, while using artificial birth control and helping others to do so is a bad thing to do, no matter how good your intentions are.

                • kenneth

                  Actually, some of the bishops pressing the matter were very quick to dump their female employees on the street with no health care as punishment for “all that recreational f*cking” (and if THAT phrase of yours doesn’t convey the beauty of Theology of the Body, I don’t know what does…) So apparently raising kids isn’t all that important or good, if you have a point of orthodoxy you’d like to underscore.

                  At any rate, the government has no business helping you to enforce your religious doctrine or Natural Law/civilizational philosophy on anyone else.

                  • Pat D.

                    Does the government have any business helping you to enforce utilitarian philosophy (or whatever it is you happen to follow)?

                    • kenneth

                      Its purpose is to enforce the laws of the land as they are formulated from majority will and vetted by Constitutional considerations. The current government and its policy of public health care won the votes, and so far has not been barred from that policy by the courts. When it comes to making the administrative rules pursuant to that law, it is the business of the government to follow the consensus of the best medical and scientific thinking on the issue, not sectarian religious doctrine.

                    • Dale Price

                      Actually, kenneth is wrong and the overwhelming majority of courts have rejected the administration’s arguments: 17 out of 23, in cases involving for-profit businesses.

                      http://townhall.com/news/religion/2013/04/09/erlc-to-hhs-mandate-is-religious-persecution-n1562788

                      So far, general will/majoritarianist arguments haven’t been advanced by the Administration, but it is interesting to see kenneth wielding that bludgeon.

                    • kenneth

                      Injunctions are not rulings about the merits of a case. They are nothing more than a court calling “time out” on a government action to allow proper review of the situation before going forward. If you’re fighting a law that has onerous provisions and you have any plausible argument to be heard, getting an injunction is like falling off a log.

                      The HHS mandate issues are not settled law. Courts may overturn part or all of Obama’s approach. My bet is that they will draw some lines which are very different from what HHS says and what many of you want. I’m happy to offer my own analysis of justice in this matter, as are all of you. At the end of the day though, the decision of nine judges is the one that settles the matter.

                  • Jon W

                    Oh my goodness. I used that phrase because someone above used it, looking for a polemically harsh way to describe it. *eyeroll at your witless and tangential objection*

                    I want some citations on which bishops were willing to abandon their female employees for getting pregnant and whether that was an act generally approved by Catholics or whether they were generally censured for it. Traditionally, the Church has been very much in favor of public care for pregnant women, even the naughty ones.

                    And to your last point: every single act of aid by whatever agency assumes and promotes a particular ideal of the way life ought to be lived. Every. Single. One. Don’t go telling me that we’re the only one with a religious and metaphysical ideal of life while secular people are just helpin’ out folks. That’s totally false. When I first got out of college I could have had my Perkins loans forgiven if I went and taught in an inner city public school but not if I went to work for my parents’ family farm. That’s because that charitable program has a particular agenda that flows from a particular ideal of life grounded in a particular metaphysic.

                    My sister is a manager at a grocery store. People, for some unaccountable reason, aren’t allowed to use their SNAP benefits to buy the alcohol and cigarettes on sale there. We’ve restricted the freedom of those poor poor people. Could it be that’s because we have a commonly shared understanding of what an ideal life is supposed to consist of? And that peanut butter fits into that in a way Bud Light does not?

                    So don’t give me this crap about our metaphysic. Everybody’s got one. We’re just pointing out that ours is old, carefully worked out, consistent, has grounded millions upon millions of beautiful lives, and is The Founding Tradition upon which this whole frigging civilization is built. And now we’re being told we have to give it up because enabling people’s sexual adventures is more important than preserving a rational community of people who believe (even if they don’t always live up to it) that it’s better to die than to do a grave evil.

                    That’s not cool.

                    • kenneth

                      So here’s three women who were fired (and thus left without health care) for getting pregnant. What’s real cute is that one of the guys doing the firing had a dalliance with two barely legal high school lads when he was a teacher. The church didn’t seem to have a problem with paying for his sexual adventures. He was suspended for a few years (still with health benefits and a decent standard of living, I bet), but last I knew, he was still a pastor.

                      http://www.whiotv.com/news/news/teacher-sues-church-over-pregnancy-firing/nTmGB/

                    • kenneth

                      Of course everyone has a metaphysic behind their regulations. The problem is, the ones you mentioned can and have been articulated in secular terms. A ban on funding/access to contraception has not and cannot be articulated in those terms. The things you mentioned are rooted in a secular societal interest in mitigating the effects of poverty and hopefully its existence.

                      That can be justified in religious terms too of course, but on a purely secular, even utilitarian basis, it makes sense to fight poverty. Multi-generational poverty is a huge, huge source of cost in our economy. Jails, street violence, domestic violence, the costs of unmitigated serious health issues at their most expensive and hopeless stages. By any measure you choose, a dollar or policy well aimed at fixing poverty pays off many times over. We give incentives to college grads to teach in poor areas because we know that education is a determinant of poverty. We don’t let them use food stamps for booze, not because we think its immoral for anyone to drink, but because we have a concern that limited resources intended to alleviate malnutrition are used toward that end.

                      It’s not paternalism for the sake of creating an ideal society. When we give people government checks, for, say disability, or tribal mineral rights or treaty obligations or lottery payouts, we don’t attach conditions saying what they may or may not spend it on.

                      If we were to employ the real reasoning behind the regulations you mentioned in reference to birth control, public funding would not only be ok, it would be practically mandatory. Multi-generation poverty simply could not exist without underage and unplanned pregnancies, and while contraception is by far not the only answer to that, solutions which have excluded it have never, ever worked.

                    • Dale Price

                      Who’s arguing for a ban on contraception? Not even Rick Santorum is campaigning against Title X.

                    • Dale Price

                      And there are decent, secular public policy arguments against contraception (without outlawing it), at least from the standpoint of encouraging fertility and a healthy birth rate. Singapore has been desperately trying to raise its grim birth rate, as has Russia.

                      This is an especial concern when entitlement programs are premised upon a ratio of contributors of working age to those who are recipients.

                    • Pat D.

                      @kenneth

                      What would you say are the boundaries of secularity?

                    • Jon W

                      No. Secular is just another word for “the sacred that everyone accepts.” At the bottom of every social program, every anti-poverty measure, and every government handout or hand-up are the words, “We have a sacred duty…. They have a sacred right….” There are plenty of “secular” justifications for not pretending that children don’t need a father or a mother, or for recognizing that fertility is an intrinsic part of publicly honored sexual relationships. But these reasonable justifications get in the way of our sacred right to “define our own concept of existence” and get our rocks off as we please, so all of a sudden that’s “religious”, not “secular”.

                    • kenneth

                      “Who’s arguing for a ban on contraception?” It’s clear in word and especially deed that that is the endgame where the Church is concerned. That gets denied and soft-pedalled a lot, but it’s one of the clearly intended goals of “life at conception” bills and state amendments, and the political obstruction of things like Plan B. When pressed, many in the pro-life movement, at least large swaths of the Catholic wing, let the mask slip. “Well, it’s all just abortifacients anyway, so we’re not technically trying to outlaw contraception.”

                      The fact that Rick Santorum doesn’t rail against Title X shows only that the Catholic lobby are not fools. The Church vigorously fought private access to birth control for everyone up through the Griswold v Connecticut years. There is nothing at all to indicate a change in position. They’re savvy enough to know they won’t win that issue head-on legally or culturally, so the strategy, as with abortion is to chip away at access as much as possible.

                    • Jon W

                      kenneth,

                      It’s one thing to abolish birth control in a society where almost everyone is on board with the Catholic project and quite another to try to force, by law, a bunch of people who do not share your understanding of the ideal life to change long-standing practices.

                      Just like any Saudi Arabian Muslim would be right to say, “I don’t know if I trust you Westerners. Your ‘end game’ is obviously to abolish polygamy and give women equal rights.” While that’s absolutely true in some kind of ideal way, that doesn’t mean that if we suddenly gained political power in Saudi Arabia we would justified in immediately trying to restructure their whole way of life based on an ideal they don’t yet share. That kind of thing has to be accomplished with baby steps.

                      So don’t whine and fret about Catholic opposition to birth control and our pie-in-the-sky ideal of a nation where birth control is illegal. Nobody’s going to even try to outlaw birth control until there’s a broadly shared understanding in our society of the purposes of sex.

                      You, on the other hand, don’t seem to have any problem imposing, by law, your own ideal of life on those who don’t share it.

                    • Jon W

                      Also, how can you not understand the difference between non-abortifacient birth control and abortifacient birth control?

                      The difference is obviously not “birth control women use is abortifacient, birth control men use is not.” It may be that most birth control women use happens to be abortifacient, but that’s obviously not the issue.

                      It is clear to a huge percentage of people in this society that abortifacient birth-control involves deliberately destroying a human embryo, and this society generally shares the understanding that human life ought to be protected at every stage. (We may be bad at it, but we do affirm it.) So, there is definitely a justification for at least trying to ban abortifacients.

                      An analogous case would be environmental laws. It is generally understood in our society that caring for the environment is a good thing and some sort of pollution laws are justified. Therefore, it is legitimate to try and pass some of those laws even if some people object to them on the grounds that it’ll hurt their business more than others.

                      You’re not imposing a draconian and drastically different ideal of life on people just because you pass a law that burdens them as long as you and they generally share the ideals and ends of life the law promotes and the society has mechanisms to share the burdens that law imposes.

                  • enness

                    Kenneth:
                    “some of ”
                    “three women”

                    Is that the best you can do? Do you want me to say that pulling the rug completely out from under a pregnant woman (assuming that’s an accurate assessment of what happened) is wrong regardless of how it happened? Consider it done, and I just took all the steam out of your argument.

                    • enness

                      Sorry for the double post.

                  • enness

                    Kenneth:
                    “some of ”
                    “three women”

                    Clearly, the presence of any such examples no matter how few or how infinitesimal the proportion is evidence of a systematic…oh, I can’t even be sarcastic about this baloney.

                    Is that the best you can do? Do you want me to say that pulling the rug completely out from under a pregnant woman (assuming that’s an accurate assessment of what happened) is wrong regardless of how it happened? Sure, consider it done. We don’t do that at the Catholic pregnancy center. See how easy it was to take all the steam out of your (non-)argument?

                  • enness

                    “The problem is, the ones you mentioned can and have been articulated in secular terms. A ban on funding/access to contraception has not and cannot be articulated in those terms”

                    Of course it can. It’s carcinogenic and has a funny way of getting into the water supply, making it a bigger issue than just one of individual choice. Feel free to disagree, as I frequently do with Mayor Bloomberg, but remember you only asked for a secular argument — not necessarily a good or persuasive one (though I think this, if anything, would qualify).

                  • enness

                    ““Who’s arguing for a ban on contraception?” It’s clear in word and especially deed that that is the endgame where the Church is concerned. That gets denied and soft-pedalled a lot, but it’s one of the clearly intended goals of “life at conception” bills and state amendments, and the political obstruction of things like Plan B. When pressed, many in the pro-life movement, at least large swaths of the Catholic wing, let the mask slip. “Well, it’s all just abortifacients anyway, so we’re not technically trying to outlaw contraception.””

                    So if I assure you this is not my goal, are you going to call me a liar? Even I don’t apply this sort of conspiratorial “end game” talk to the average rank and file supporter — I make it clear that I’m referring to a handful of radicals with a disproportionate amount of influence.

                    We say that about abortifacient drugs because it’s a factual and perfectly valid distinction. Still, the mere existence of such a personhood law on the books does not translate automatically into a ban. It could be an official statement of disapproval, without teeth (a little like the texting-while-driving laws in my state, which are barely enforced). You may wonder what the point of that would be, and you’re welcome to, but still.

      • midwestlady

        Again, if you see my post farther on down, Mark, it’s more complicated than that. The choice was made for you quite a while ago, and not originally by Obama and Sebelius who weren’t even on the national scene then.

    • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

      Right, because the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply when there are Important Regulations….

      • Benjamin

        There are no First amendment violations. Religious institutions are totally exempt. Hospitals and schools cease to be religious institutions when opened up to the general public.

        • Paul

          “Hospitals and schools cease to be religious institutions when opened up to the general public.”

          No.

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

          I have first amendment rights as an individual, as a business owner and as an employee. The HHS mandate violates my religious freedom in all of those roles.

          • midwestlady

            That is a price that someone decided was acceptable more than a decade ago, and I doubt that the situation you find yourself in was even considered important then. Or maybe even likely, to give the original negotiators some benefit of the doubt.

        • Dale Price

          The vast majority of courts which have ruled on the issue disagree with you. Probably staffed with theocrats, though.

        • kenneth

          For-profit companies like Hobby Lobby are not religious institutions in any sense of the word, and have no realistic claim to an exemption. That is especially true when the company is organized as a corporation. As a corporation, Hobby Lobby is not the Green family. They are controlling owners, but corporations exist as a separate entity, a legal pseudo-person to insulate the real owners from various personal liabilities. The corporation has no religious mission, and its only purpose or goal of its “conscience” is to maximize profits.

          • midwestlady

            Poor Hobby Lobby is caught in the crossfire. This is collateral damage.

          • Liam

            Soooo… corporations are people, with the right of freedom of speech, but not the right to free exercise?

            • kenneth

              All of the corporate freedom of speech claims I’ve seen are tied to the sole reason for a corporation’s existence: profit. Never saw a corporation going to church.

          • Dale Price

            The problem is that you are arguing there are no First Amendment rights for those who engage in private enterprise. My business has to reflect the lowest common denominator of religious observance in order to not run afoul of whatever mandate any particular government cares to impose.

            That’s not a bridge too far, that’s a moon landing.

            • kenneth

              First Amendment protections have never been absolute. They are always balanced against other rights and the public interest to regulate certain things. That is true even for churches and other religious entities. The courts have held that the burdens on their free exercise and the public interest justification for those burdens must be weighed more carefully, but even they don’t have blanket immunity from any law that burdens their exercise of religion.

              Government has many more compelling interests in regulating business activities than it does regulating you or I in our private lives or in the public forum of free expression. That’s been the case since the first market stall was opened in the first city. In our country, there is a recognized protection for First Amendment rights for business owners and even, to a degree, for the fictional persons known as corporations.

              It is also determined that many things outweigh those rights in the conduct of business – public safety, environmental concerns and the civil rights of the public patronizing your business. Even with good First Amendment reasons to do so, you can’t just label or advertise your product any way you want, or build using whatever materials you want, or keep whatever hours you want, dump your waste wherever you please or refuse service or employment for certain reasons.

              First Amendment protections are broad. They do not require the government to repave the entire road of commercial regulation to make sure you never hit a conflict with your conscience, nor do they require the government to let you opt out of any regulation simply by making a First Amendment claim.

              • Dale Price

                Again, you straw-man my arguments:
                “First Amendment protections are broad. They do not require the government to repave the entire road of commercial regulation to make sure you never hit a conflict with your conscience, nor do they require the government to let you opt out of any regulation simply by making a First Amendment claim.”

                I’m glad I outgrew my hay fever, because I didn’t say anything remotely so absolutist. Frankly, it would be helpful if you offered a real-world example of something that *you* think *would* violate a private, for profit business operator’s First Amendment rights, rather than conjure up some hypotheticals endorsing federal power.

                In any event, your arguments take no cognizance of the RFRA, which is problematic for both you and the administration. Overlooking the RFRA might be why for-profits have won injunctions against the mandate in 17 out of 23 court cases.

                http://townhall.com/news/religion/2013/04/09/erlc-to-hhs-mandate-is-religious-persecution-n1562788

              • Vijay

                Nonsense! First amendment rights or not, it is a moral and a “human” right for an individual to run a business to sustain himself so long as it is not immoral or does harm to others. It is only incidental that in the process of sustaining himself, the individual is also able to help sustain others whom he may employ to carry out his business. Keeping fairness in mind in terms of wages, the business owner must pay his workers fairly for the work they have done for him, for the worker deserves his wages. But morally and ethically, the business owner is not obliged to do any more, certainly not anything that conflicts with his own conscience. For how then, in all good conscience, and keeping integrity in mind, can the business owner run his own business? Of course, no one is forced to work for the individual. If they are not happy with their wages of with the terms of the employment, they are free to move. It is only a dictatorial government that seeks in the name of a false democracy to prevent the individual from freely exercising his God given right to do what he wants with his own property, so long as it is not immoral or does no harm, and infringes upon his rights. I don’t think any civilization prior to Marxism would have bought this nonsense at all. And please don’t tell me that we are enlightened but the ancients were all barbaric! By the way, is it today that we are trying to rein in one enlightened mad man in North Korea after our enlightened leaders have created barbaric wars in every country of the world in the last 2 centuries?

                • S. Quinn

                  From a business owner: amen, amen, amen, and thank you!

              • enness

                Free birth control is arguably NOT a more compelling interest than religious liberty. As I believe more than one of the court rulings pointed out, the federal government could just cut out the middleman and do the dispensing directly.

            • enness

              Dale: basically he’s okay with my potentially being run out of my livelihood on account of free birth control. That’s the Bullcrap-to-English translation.

          • enness

            Kenneth:

            “As a corporation, Hobby Lobby is not the Green family.”

            I’m going to say this slowly. It’s THEIR business. They own it. Without their initiative it would not exist. Capisce?

        • Jared

          No, Catholics are still Catholic if they run a hospital or school. In fact, we’ve done that for awhile now.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            Pshaw! Next you’re going to tell me that they invented schools and hospitals.

            Wait…they did, didn’t they?

            • midwestlady

              Hospitals, yes.
              Schools, no, unless you mean universities and then yes. We invented universities.

              • Andy, Bad Person

                Yes, I meant universities, but for the sake of the rhythm of a pity response, I went with schools.

                • Gary Keith Chesterton

                  Well, we did invent the idea of putting students into grades. That was St. John Baptist de La Salle.

                  • midwestlady

                    Actually I doubt that. Probably that’s one of those internal folk claims that Catholics have lots of.

        • enness

          Benjamin, and I suppose if you were to have a private blog unaffiliated with any major publication, you cease to be “the press” and the government can censor you? Would you agree with that statement? Sheesh.

    • jcb

      It doesn’t appear to seem reasonable to the courts.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      So all Catholics need do to escape these regulations is to turn away people who do not agree with us to die in the street from lack of non-catholic medical care and to remain ill educated, ill fed, and ill clothed because of non-catholic schools and charities. What an interesting public policy you are proposing. Did you think this through.. at all?

      • Benjamin

        If you really think that’s less immoral than providing birth control pills, knock yourselves out. It will say a lot about your priorities as a faith is all I can say.

        • Anson

          I don’t think you entirely grasp what TMLutas is saying. He is saying that we cannot meet the needs of the ill, the poor, the uneducated if we are not able to enlist employees to do so. And we cannot enlist employees if we are required to participate in evil to do so. We don’t want that those things should happen. We are not threatening it. It is just the world as it is.

        • Dale Price

          Abortion pills. Not birth control–abortion.

          But what the hell. You probably think Gosnell was just a trifle enthusiastic.

          • Benjamin

            And here I thought “every sperm is sacred” was satire.

            • Dale Price

              You are apparently–unsurprisingly, typically–ignorant. The Hobby Lobby litigation is premised entireley on the requirement to pay for abortifacients. The owners are down with birth control.

              • kenneth

                The trick to that piece of stage magic is to simply re-define all contraception that women can control as “abortifacients.”

                • Jon W

                  Bulls***. Some artificial birth control causes spontaneous abortion. Some does not. If you can’t figure out the difference, go back to biology class. Maybe Richard Dawkins is right. Maybe science education is in trouble.

                  • midwestlady

                    Science education is in trouble, no matter what happens to this argument. Americans think it’s a religion. :/ When they will put any work into it at all, that is. Increasingly we just buy our science in the box from China, on credit.

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  The trick has already been pulled by redefining pregnancy as implantation. It is the pro-aborts who have been playing word games here.

        • enness

          Sure, blame us. The government is forcing us to try to make such an abhorrent ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ which we would never do of our own volition, and yet it’s all our fault. Could the tactics get any more despicable?

      • Benjamin

        Of course, you won’t actually do any of that because this is nothing but a calculated political move by the USCB to distract everyone from decades of complicity in child abuse and little more.

        • Anson

          And there it is. Who had 9:51 in the pool?

          • Dale Price

            Score one more for Anderson’s Law!

          • contrarian

            Abuse! (sputter sputter sputter) Inquisition! (sputter…sputter…) Hates….wo-mennnnn (…sputter…kerplunk).

            • Dale Price

              CRUSADES!
              GALILEO!
              VESTMENTS!
              UNSOLD VATICAN MUSEUM ART!
              OLD CELIBATE MALES!

              • meunke

                EXPENSIVE RED SHOES!!!!!!!

                • Jared

                  JESUS IS JUST HORUS!
                  MITRES ARE BABYLONIAN FISH HATS!
                  CONSTANTINE DID EVERYTHING!!!

                  • http://beingfinite.blogspot.com Anders

                    Has no one yet mentioned PINE CONES?!?

                    • http://moss-place.stblogs.org Peony Moss

                      SACRED MONKEYS!

                    • Margaret

                      Thank you, I was waiting for the PINE CONES!

        • deiseach

          Annnnd BINGO! When there is no reasonable argument to employ, fall back on “Abuse scandal”. How about arguing that this is a calculated political move to distract the attention of the populace from the Crusades?

          Or that saying that pregnancy is a disease which must be prevented so compulsory inclusion of contraceptives and sterilisation is “preventative health care”? Hint: putting someone on the pill won’t prevent such things as sexually transmitted disease, or cervical cancer, or uterine cancer, or ovarian cancer. You know, real diseases. A prescription for the oral contraceptive for its hormonal use in treating things like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is legitimate medical care under Catholic teaching.

          And a hospital ceases to be Catholic when it opens up to members of the public. Interesting notion, that. So we could argue, for the same reason, an American chain such as McDonald’s ceases to be American when it opens up to members of the public. I mean, if a non-American can walk into a McDonald’s restaurant and order a burger and fries, that means McDonald’s cannot consider itself American unless it only employs and serves Americans in America.

          • Benjamin

            It ceases to be acting *as a religious institution* when it hires and serves members of the general public in something totally unconnected to religion. Would you like me to repeat this again in big, bold print so it finally gets through?

            • Dale Price

              Yes, if you accept the remarkably limited definition of “religious institution” as defined by the administration, you are correct. But since that is what the entire argument is about, you are question begging. Repeating it doesn’t make it any more or less correct. But go ahead–you will anyway.

            • contrarian

              I don’t think you understand how you are reducing ‘freedom of religion’ to freedom to worship and think a certain way.

              You are drawing a distinction between the public and the private (with its corresponding conceptions of the good) that is not only unconstitutional, but (more importantly), incoherent.

            • Paul

              “It ceases to be acting *as a religious institution* when it hires and serves members of the general public in something totally unconnected to religion.”

              Healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and other charitable works are not “totally unconnected to religion.” It seems to me that you need to do some homework on what religion is before making these statements.

            • LaVallette

              My dear fellow: It is “practice” that is constitutionally protected not “worship”. Believers practuce their religion in EVERYTHING they do in their everyday life. Religion is a way if life and not some detached concept out there that only operates for a short time once a week while inside the church, temple. or synagogue .

            • Vijay

              Why?
              If I write a Catholic book and both Catholics and non- Catholics read it, and I hire non- Catholics as my publicists, my book can no longer be Catholic??

              Do I stop being an American or whoever I am because I work with and serve non-citizens in my area? Just because I hire a Muslim, who by the way, I am perfectly willing to pay, I cannot not now be a Christian? Or let’s say I’m a Muslim, and now just because I hire a Christian, should I be compelled to explicitly and specifically set aside money to pay for my workers eating pork, ham and salami so as not to offend them? And do I cease to be Muslim because U hired a Christian?

              Your arguments are nonsensical! Should we Put up in Bold Print somewhere?

            • enness

              Benjamin, you don’t get it. Religion is (supposed to be) a pervasive, holistic, integrated way of living. I serve God by not whining that I have to clean the toilet at the office because there’s not enough money for a full-time custodian, and offering up my small trials and indignities recalling how truly they pale in comparison to death on a cross (not saying I always succeed in this).

              Add to those small trials: not being gratuitously snarky to you right now, no more than is absolutely necessary to get the point across.

              Maybe I should put that in bold print.

          • kenneth

            So this touches on a subject I have yet to hear explained. How would the bishops and other opponents of this mandate address the practical realities of contraception which is used for non-contraceptive purposes? This is not a trivial matter. Millions of women rely on these pills as the only realistic treatment options for medical conditions that have nothing to do with pregnancy prevention. My own wife is among them, and not all these pills are $9 a month. Hers are $60, and some are more, and they are not all interchangeable.

            Let’s say Obama and Sibelius are knocked off their donkeys tomorrow by God on a trip to Damascus. They give in to the bishops demands. What, exactly, would an employee at a Christian owned or affiliated business have to do to prove their need for hormone pills was “legitimate”? Would they need signatures from three doctors and a priest? Would they have to try and fail some other treatment for a year or two? What about young women in whom hysterectomy appears to be the best or only option? That sure as hell isn’t out of pocket cost-of-a-sandwich money we’re talking about.

            If they had cancer, would they have to first try some other modality that had a lesser chance of success? What if their condition is not life threatening but merely disabling? I’ve known women who had essentially no quality of life before resorting to sterilization. What if the doctors tell a young woman “you and the baby are not likely to survive another pregnancy”? Will she have to just accept celibacy or gamble her life on whatever birth control she can afford to uphold your doctrine? I have yet to hear anyone address these realities in a serious way. Your narrative seems to hold that this is all just about supporting a libertine lifestyle with a pill that all of you can afford yourselves anyway.

            • SouthCoast

              “How would the bishops and other opponents of this mandate address the practical realities of contraception which is used for non-contraceptive purposes?” It would not be a problem. It is not the pharmaceutical itself that is opposed, it is its use as a contraceptive. Read the papal encyclical, Humane Vitae, (can be found several places online), that states. “the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever” (HV 15).”

              • kenneth

                I’m aware of the distinction drawn in doctrine, and that’s all well and good, but it does not answer the question of how women of Catholic employers would access care in the real world. Virtually every treatment option for a wide array of reproductive tract issues has contraceptive potential or dual use. How would a Catholic insurer or employer police whether “intent for impediment” without effectively locking female patients out of modern medicine? Would a doctor simply have to code for a diagnosis other than preventing pregnancy? If so, the whole thing becomes a wink-and-nod affair like whiskey prescriptions during prohibition. If that’s not enough, what would a woman or doctor have to do to demonstrate that the condition treated with the Pill is “real enough” and completely free of contraceptive intent? A polygraph? More likely, some appeals process in which it will be essentially impossible for women to get care.

            • Vijay

              You seem to be pretty ignorant about this. Catholic institutions and hospitals already pay for contraceptive pills when prescribed for medical reasons. My own wife was on it. So lets not bring up straw man arguments.

              • kenneth

                It’s not a straw man argument. It’s an honest inquiry about how this doctrine does or does not translate into real world situations. No one has ever told me the policy or procedures used by Catholic institutions in this area, or if there is any semi-uniform guidelines from bishops etc. Is it just as simple as a doctor documenting some other condition to treat besides contraception? If it is, then yes, that removes a serious objection of mine to the USCCB position. I remain opposed on other grounds, but I try to be honest about where I stand. Yours is the first response I have ever heard which addresses this issue head on and does not completely trivialize it. It doesn’t completely answer my question, but it gets at my line of inquiry. Thank you.

                • S. Quinn

                  In my family as well we had someone prescribed birth control pills by a Catholic doctor at a Catholic hospital clinic for strictly medical reasons, that is, a REAL disease. There s no ” sperm worship” as you put it, just real medical decisions.

            • enness

              Kenneth, there’s no need for such intrusive measures. Start by paying them as generous a wage as they can afford. Then it won’t matter whether they want pills or $60 worth of groceries.

              We all gamble with our lives every time we step out our doors, even perhaps before then. I don’t see your point. Doctors aren’t infallible.

          • kenneth

            The issue isn’t when someone “ceases” to be Catholic or anything else. It’s when your activity and organizational nature expose you to greater burdens of regulation and less sweeping First Amendment protection.

            If you’re a guy named McDonald, and you serve up burgers to your private dinner party friends on Sundays, you can turn away whoever you like. If you don’t like one of your guest’s choice of football team, or you suspect he’s a closet Canadian, you can bounce him, no questions asked. If you make it a private club and only serve to those who know the secret handshake and earned the funny hat, or you make it a church and serve the burgers as ministry work, same deal.

            When you put up the golden arches and hire anyone and take anyone’s money, you don’t cease to be Catholic, or American, or whatever else you identify with, but your activity just outgrew the First Amendment bubble which gave near-total immunity from government regulation in your earlier iterations.

            • Vijay

              Put up Golden Arches and take money? Whose money? No one is forced to donate to any business or organization. You mean money for services provided? Ok so what? What does that have to do with employees and workers? The whole purpose of a business is to exist to provide service. If a customer is not happy with the service, they can take their business elsewhere. Last I knew, nobody needed to go to a Catholic hospital to get contraception for sex in the bedroom. For medical reasons, yes! And doctors in Catholic hospitals already provide “that” service for medical reasons.

              As for the worker, see my post above. The worker deserves his wages, but no more. It is a fundamental human right for an individual to use his talents to buy and sell to sustain himself, as long as it is mutually agreed upon by seller and customer, it is not immoral, and it does not do harm to others. Other than agreed upon fair wages, any other imposition by a government is simply exploitation. To insist that the person even go against their own conscience and integrity in order to simply sustain themselves is criminal. Imagine if your daughter wanted to sell her books at a tag sale, and the town told her that she could not host a tag sale unless she provided beer to anybody who helped her all morning who asked to quench their thirst. you might wonder why they couldnt quench their thirst with water and why should you have to provide it anyways? After all your daughter agreed to divide the profits from the book sale with all her helpers. Can’t they buy their own beer?

              • kenneth

                There is the free market argument, but the fact is that commercial activities are subject to greater government intrusion and less absolute First Amendment protections than are activities directly related to the celebration or propagation of religious beliefs.

                For a long long time, we had the argument in this country that a business owner ought to be able to turn away business based on the race, religion or ethnicity of his customers. Whether that equates morally to positions on contraception is not the point. The First Amendment does not try to mediate the validity or popularity of one’s belief system. It creates a presumption that one ought to be able to freely express and as much as possible, live according to his or her own views. Libertarian philosophy, which strongly informs our traditions of governance also offer an argument for being able to refuse contraception coverage OR service based on race.

                One can always argue that a patron can take their business elsewhere. Nevertheless, we have come to a consensus that some public interests outweigh First Amendment concerns. We have yet to determine where that line lies in this issue. The notion that a for-profit business open to the general public should be treated differently in these matters is not radical, nor something I made up. It is well established in case law.

        • Mark Shea

          I thought you said you can’t believe God would care about our sex lives?

        • Jared

          The what? Sorry, I can only remember one thing at a time, apparently, and all I can think about is the HHS Mandate. -____-

      • midwestlady

        The other piece of the puzzle which the USCCB also wants you to ignore is that many of these same hospitals have had insurance policies covering these things in place for years anyway. This is not much of a change for the great majority of them. So when they talk about “caving,” um no. There’s no “caving” to be done in many Catholic hospitals and similar Catholic businesses. Many of them caved years ago and nothing was said about it at the time. Not like it’s a surprise. Many of these places hire mostly non-Catholics anyway and the institutions are simply offering benefits packages very much like the public institutions with which they compete. This goes for a lot of supposedly Catholic universities too. There are a few standout institutions who didn’t do this and they’re heroic and wonderful, but most of the big ones did.

        Why did this occur? And why is it something that the USCCB is so adamant about, wanting you to protest and get all riled up about? There is a backdrop to all this, and it is complicated. Many people are not putting all the pieces together either, and there are powerful people in the USCCB who like it that way. And no, Benjamin, it’s not primarily about the abuse crisis. It’s much bigger than that.

        The Catholic Church in the US is undergoing a demographic crash. We’re far enough into it where you can see it happening from your pew at church, but not so far into it that it can’t be denied by some people who have it in their interest not to deny it. However, at the highest levels, they know this is occurring and they know it will continue to occur. We’re doing the same thing here that happened in Europe. It’s irreversible for now as long as things are working like they are now.

        In several countries in Europe, the best example of which is Germany, what the local bishop’s conferences did when they crashed, was take advantage of some old laws on the books to set up a funding system for Catholic institutions that was independent of the collection plate. This way they could ensure that institutions could survive, regardless of the fact that population crashed. They could also ensure that appearances were kept up and the illusion of a vibrant Catholic Church could remain even in the actual event that there were virtually no Catholics in the pews, which is now the case in Germany. The system in Germany is called the Kirchensteuer, or federal Church tax. The cost to their bishops’ conference and thereby, to the Church in Germany? Allow the institutions to do all the things that the government wants them to do and get into bed with the government. Which they did, eagerly. This is what some people would have liked in the US, since we have a demographic crash we don’t want to admit either. We also have all these old buildings that we own but can’t pay to run or keep up by ourselves. The US government was supposed to be our funding agency and we were supposed to provide “faith-based” services for them, quietly going along to get along for all the advantages that would provide us.

        However this same stunt won’t work here in North America in the same form as it did in Germany because we have different laws pre-existing on the books, but that doesn’t mean that the powers-that-be-in-the-Church weren’t going to try something like it anyway. In our case, the status quo was tolerated and extensive government funding was sought, in an attempt to create a haven for the Church in much the same way, as much as possible here. BUT now, it has all but failed, although we as laypeople have been asked to protest the failure. The Obama thing is a blessing in disguise, as much as he galls me, because the whole thing has been thrust out into the open where it belongs. We are first and foremost the Catholic Church. We have a mission and it should not be suborned in favor of institutional security. Our mission is:

        18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.””
        Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition.

        If we, as a Church in a particular area–North America, go to the wall for this mission, it’s okay. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Make amends for our mistakes, trust God, and go with the mission. If that means we re-evaluate our effectiveness in certain spheres and shut some things down and actually fund and staff the rest as true apostolates, then so be it. Let’s just cut the crap, though. It’s not working, and it’s wrong.

        PS, the Kirchensteuer is in some degree of trouble in Germany also, since even though the Germans like these old stable cultural assurances in place, it no longer serves the government’s purpose as well as it once did. People are bailing on the system because it’s expensive for the average German “Catholic” who no longer attends mass. The government’s take is a few percent and at some point that will probably no longer be enough. And the internet has made the whole thing far more visible for what it is. Shame on them.

        • JoFro

          Excellent! Perhaps the Church needs to die to rise again! :D

          • midwestlady

            Well, perhaps dying isn’t such a great idea, but a little plain honesty would certainly be a good thing.

    • midwestlady

      No, the problem isn’t so much that non-Catholics come to our doors to be treated. The problems are that a) we have taken government money and government money always has strings attached, and b) that we have hired mostly non-Catholics who are making the decisions irrespective of the supposed (and originally genuine) apostolic mission of Catholic hospitals.

      The medical industry has become highly technical and it’s no longer an “apostolate,” which was its original function. It’s time to get out of the field as a Church.

      • contrarian

        Absolutely. This is just like gay marriage. We’ve taken the devil’s money and compromised our mission for years. Likewise, we’ve contracepted for years. No one should be shocked to see where this leads. The sudden outrage by the bishops is, while refreshing, too little too late.
        A quote by John Chrysostom comes to mind here…

        • midwestlady

          Actually, I don’t think it’s refreshing that we’re being asked to protest something that we were dragged into by the USCCB in the first place. I think it would be refreshing if the Church would man up and close some of this stuff that we can’t staff and maintain without selling our souls to the federal government, all for the sake of appearances.

          • JoFro

            There was a story from South Korea of a lay Catholic who serves bowls of noodles to 700 poor people daily – and does it all with no government money at all – NOT.A.SINGLE.DIME!!!

            How? Because that is how a Catholic is supposed to do it! That’s why! Something the bishops should learn to emulate.

            P.S. We badly need bishops with backbones, seriously!

          • Jon W

            all for the sake of appearances

            This is just plain wrong.

            • midwestlady

              There’s an ambiguous reply if I’ve ever seen one. It’s wrong that it’s all about appearances (because it is), OR do you contest that it’s all about appearances?

      • enness

        Get out of healing medicine? Would you listen to yourself?
        If the salt loses its flavor then what can bring it back again?

    • Dale Price

      This is such a red herring “argument.” The question is not one of whom is being served, but what services the institution will pay for with respect to those who voluntarily agree to work for said institution. If you don’t want to shell out $9 a month for BC pills to work for a particular business, then don’t work for it.

      Then again, you probably favor forcing Catholic hospitals to offer sterilization and abortion, reinforcing why you don’t see what the big deal is.

      • contrarian

        Ultimately, the only defense of this (so as to make it coherent) is to say that it’s not really ‘you’ snipping the spinal chord of an infant, or dispersing contraceptives or abortion pills; it’s ‘the law’ that does this. You are just a ‘vehicle’ for this law, a law that ‘you’ can in conscience disagree with while your body does these things. So don’t worry about it. ‘YOU’ (the disembodied you) can still be opposed to all of this stuff. Your physical actions might align with a grave immorality, but that’s ok, because there’s nothing wrong with your physical behavior aligning with a law that you might be opposed to.

        I’m trying to figure out how this is NOT what the argument is from the current administration. But that seems to be what they are saying.

        The government is forcing Catholics to accept a dangerous sort of Manicheeism, of a sort that would make Eichman proud.

        OR they are saying that abortion and contraception are positive GOODS. I’d LOVE if they were arguing that. Of course, that would entirely reframe the debate to one over the philosophy of nature and philosophical anthropology, something that our Rawlsian leaders simply can’t allow (Thaddeus Kozinski, check your messages). A Catholic would LOVE that debate. Philosophy of nature? Bring it on.

        Ain’t going to happen, though. So Manicheeism it is.

      • kenneth

        The Church and many of you are prescribing “put your money where your mouth is”, but aren’t willing to swallow any of that same medicine. If you work for any company with any Catholic affiliation, or even a Catholic owner, and you want birth control, suck it up and pay for it yourselves or find another job. At the same time, the government is “fascist” if it refuses to underwrite the Church’s mission with public dollars.

        Nowhere is that more flagrant than in the Catholic adoptions dispute. “We’re not going to do the job you contracted us to do by the rules, but you have to pay us just for being us, or you’re an evil God-King.” When anyone suggests that they actually pay for their own mission work out of their own money, they carry on as if someone suggested auctioning their daughter’s virtue online.

        In the case of religious hospitals, it’s clear that tax breaks in many cases amount to subsidies. The value of the tax breaks is often grossly out of proportion to the value of the charity care they provide. That’s well documented in recent times. So we’re underwriting companies that have a tenuous charity mission at best, are run primarily by non-religious executives, employ mostly non-church members and serve mostly non-member customers, and we’re unreasonable by asking them to follow the law?

        If you hate living by Caesar’s rules, move off the couch in his basement, leave the nest and start paying your own way. If something is that important to you that you want to make it a mission, fund it with Catholic dollar and run it directly under the auspices of an archiocese or a religious order. Then you’ll have a good case for telling the government to keep its hands off free exercise.

        • Dale Price

          At the same time, the government is “fascist” if it refuses to underwrite the Church’s mission with public dollars.

          It’s not my argument, so I’m not sure why this is directed at me.

          At a minimum, there’s a considerable difference between imposing a mandate and offering dollars with strings attached. The law certainly reflects this with respect to Federal-State relationships.

          However, to the extent that a government offers money with viewpoint strings attached, that moves into a gray area, especially if it appears designed to exclude certain viewpoints. Perhaps the real question is whether or not tax dollars should be underwriting private activities–e.g., the revisions of the food aid program which will cut out buying from American private suppliers. It will almost certainly become more of a question as our financial solvency problems become more and more acute.

        • enness

          There is NO stipulation in the mandate that only applies to organizations which accept public money. So that is completely irrelevant.

          “In the case of religious hospitals, it’s clear that tax breaks in many cases amount to subsidies.”

          The BS meter is off the chart here. Keeping money you raised or earned legitimately is NOT a ‘subsidy’ for crying out loud! Kenneth, do you think your tax refund is a gift from your beneficent overlords?!

    • Andrew O’Brien

      BS. Nobody is forcing people to accept a “Catholic” standard of healthcare. If anyone wants to have their birth control provided by their employer then they can find a new employer who will do that, or find a doctor who will prescribe it.

      • meunke

        GASP! Why, that’s almost Free Market thinking there! We can’t have that! We can only accept free market ideas when doing so doesn’t prevent our ruling class from attacking the Church.

      • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com Robert King

        Moreover, contraception (including abortifacients) is already covered by most health insurance plans. It’s just that it is categorized as ordinary medicine (which requires copays and deductibles). The HHS mandate shifts these drugs to “preventive care”, meaning that the cost is covered entirely in the insurance premium without cost-sharing by the patient.

        The primary reason for this is to make expensive and invasive forms of contraception, like IUDs, free. These currently may be out of the price range of some low-income women who could easily afford oral contraceptives.

        No one is being denied any kind of medical coverage; they are only getting certain drugs and services for free, which they previously had to pay for. No one is having any kind of doctrine forced down their throats – except those who happen to believe artificial contraception and/or abortion is morally wrong. In other words, this mandate has no real medical reason behind it; only economic and a cultural ones.

      • http://www.usmc.mil S. Murphy

        Yeah, and with the honest recognition that just changing jobs at the drop of a hat isn’t that easy, could we re-structure the thing so that employers paid a monthly insurance allowance (calculated with or without dependants) that the employee could then use to buy his or her own insurance?

        • enness

          I do recognize that. That said, it would be preferable not to get into that situation in the first place, if possible — and if the person desperately needs income, they might have to do their best to make do with a less than ideal situation.

  • Jacqueline

    Hello Mark,

    How am I able to email you? Couldn’t find your email address on here… Thanks!

    Jacqueline
    Outreach Developer
    Shrine of Christ the King
    6415 S. Woodlawn Ave.
    Chicago, Il 60637

  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

    One quibble Mark, Catholics are the good, true, and enlightened. Granting the other side the moral high ground just because of their unsupported claim to it is not a recipe we should follow.

  • midwestlady

    I have no idea why anyone is surprised by this, since they warned everyone they were going to do it last year. It’s a bad thing, yes, but it is what it is until someone can defeat it in court, or elect someone else and try to get it overturned. But that’s not the real problem.

    The real problem is far more complex and contradictory and that’s why we’re having so much trouble with it in the Church, and that’s why we’re having so much trouble in the culture too. For starters, here’s the baseline: The Church has always taught that abortion is intrinsically evil, a grave sin. Many Catholics, however, procure abortions. In fact, the data says about the same number of abortions occur among Catholics as among the general population. Many Catholics also insist on ignoring this simple data, and insist on publicly decrying others about abortion, calling all kinds of names in the street and making a lot of noise. So, we are not believed because we do not do what we tell others they must do. And in the internet age, you can’t get away with this kind of hypocrisy forever. That’s the real problem.

    I say we either clean up our act or shut up. We can’t have it both ways.

    BTW, the data shows that the same pattern holds for birth control, divorce and euthanasia of the elderly. We are “them” unless we act differently. And until we do, we have no grounds for calling “them” out. “Them” meaning all those straw evil people that we habitually have imagined aren’t “us.”

    • contrarian

      midwestlady,
      These are some great comments, and I agree almost entirely. Me thinks–and I don’t want to sound too controversial here, but–one problem (among a million) is that bishops aren’t putting the smack down on politicians who support this sort of stuff. One reason (among a million) that one can easily see why a lay man or lay woman might say, “I’m Catholic but I still think that (fornication, cohabitation, contraception, abortion) is ok,” is that Catholic politicians who endorse these practices publically aren’t given the smack down by their bishop. For certainly, Biden, Pelosi, etc., have said the exact same thing as this lay man, only instead of in private conversation, in public interviews. I’d like to see the bishop of DC say, “You think you’re Catholic BUT supporting grave evil is ok? Like hell. But nothin.’ Excommunications for the lot of you.”
      That would help. Our bishops take the ‘kill ‘em with kindness’ approach, and it ain’t working. We need heads to roll if this has any chance of getting better.

      • midwestlady

        But it’s just so much easier to blame somebody else, isn’t it????

        • contrarian

          I guess I don’t quite know what you mean here.

      • kenneth

        You really think excommunication would bring Pelosi or Biden to contritely beg pardon at the papal palace like Henry IV at Canossa? Do you think it would hurt their standing with the vast majority of their Catholic constituencies who approve of and use contraception themselves? The bishops will not excommunicate because the backlash would cost more than it would accomplish, plus it would deprive them of a grievance and talking point that they fall back on on almost a weekly basis.

    • enness

      I don’t do those things. Why should I be constrained by their hypocrisy? Because others are masquerading or not holding up their end of the bargain, do I deserve to get steamrolled?

  • midwestlady

    It’s not the bishops’ job to “put the smack down on politicians.” It’s the bishops’ job to teach the faithful their faith, which they sometimes do. That’s the bottom line.

    • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com Robert King

      It is the faithful’s job to keep the faith, to follow Christ, to bring the light and power of Christ’s love into the world… which we sometimes do.

      It is the government’s job to protect and promote the rights of all citizens, so that they may pursue the good of all society… which the past several administrations seem to have forgotten how to do.

    • contrarian

      Hi midwestlady,
      Well, I guess it would say it’s both. Or really, these are both forms of teaching. Excommunication is pedagogical, both for the person excommunicated, and for those schlubs in the pews who are ignorant of the faith.

      • midwestlady

        No. Finger pointing is neither the issue nor the remedy.

        • contrarian

          Good pedagogy isn’t the remedy?

          • midwestlady

            In this case, it isn’t good pedagogy. These people, like many Catholics in the pews, are completely ignorant of the Gospel, which has absolutely nothing to do, one way or the other, with what they’re engaged in when it comes to this. This is politics.

            The powers-that-be in the Catholic Church in the USA discovered a political ploy–call it what they may (peace, justice, yada, yada), but that’s what it is–that they thought would get them through a difficult and incomprehensible (to them) time. It’s failed and they’re pissed. And they dragged all of us through the mud in the process. And they’re trying to motivate some public outcry to get them out of their jam. And it’s not working.

            Meanwhile, politicians who know they’re politicians saw an opening to get their long-time fond goals accomplished at our expense, and we were suckered to get that done. Naive people get suckered. This is American politics and if you’re not big enough to hold the cards without tipping your hand, you don’t play this kind of poker if you want to walk out with your shirt. End of story.

            • Jon W

              the Gospel [...] has absolutely nothing to do, one way or the other, with what they’re engaged in when it comes to this

              Nope.

              • midwestlady

                Yup. Out of the mouths of “public catholics” come some ridiculously ignorant things. This is because they’re politicians first and they’re “catholic” later because they inherited it or something. They have no clue. None whatsoever. They use their affiliation with the Catholic church the way you might use membership in a labor union or geographical area. It’s a useful category for them because it gets them votes from naive people.

              • midwestlady

                And yes, I know that many Catholics can’t tell politics from religion at all, in any way shape or form. That ought to worry you.

  • meunke

    I keep hearing the argument “Well if you open your services to the public, you have to do this” AND/OR “when you hire non-Catholics you have to allow this” etc.

    These statements seem to imply a choice which I believe doesn’t exist. Let’s just say for poops and giggles that a Catholic charity then decides to ONLY employee and give charity to other Catholics.

    According to law, is this not then discrimination? Would not the federal government come down on the institution like a ton of bricks, just as if some institution suddenly decided to ONLY hire whites, or not to give services to blacks?

    Do they REALLY think that’s a viable choice?

    “Here’s your choice: I can either shoot you or you can be shot by me.” Some choice.

    • midwestlady

      Better choice, shut the thing down like should have happened years ago. But nooo, the choice was made to keep the institution open even though we could no longer staff it or maintain it, and we sought federal funds, not thinking that there were strings attached. I’m not sure whether the USCCB was that naive (read “stupid”) from the get-go, but I’m sure they know the deal now, even though they still persist in wanting this arrangement to succeed.

      The first ripple of demographic disaster in North America was that of the religious congregations of women, and they were the staffs of these places. The USCCB (and anyone paying analytical attention to the data) know that we are in the middle of a Catholic demographic crash in North America and there is no point in trying to hide it or pay for things by means other than the collection plate, which is what this arrangement was supposed to do. This was supposed to “tide us over” til the USCCB et al figured out how to stem the crash. Now the hopes lie in the hispanics, but it won’t last for long. Find the data. The only way out is to actually preach the Gospel. That’s the point, and if God is telling us anything, this is what he’s telling us.

      • enness

        I acknowledge your point, but I am nevertheless disturbed by how zealously you call for us to pull out of the corporal works of mercy business.

    • kenneth

      The scenarios you mentioned would not be a problem at all. When a church runs its administration center or school or employs someone in a “ministerial” capacity, which can include absolutely anyone whose job responsibility touches on teaching or furthering the church’s message or services, that church has almost airtight exemption from employment discrimination laws, even things like the Americans with Disabilities Act. That principle was upheld in a very sweeping way in a recent Supreme Court decision.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        A Supreme Court decision that, by the way, was decided against the very actors that you keep nonsensically defending in their other attacks on religious liberty.

  • meunke

    It also makes me so proud of all those Catholics, including some writers and major figures, who pushed for this healthcare law, damn the consequences, all in the name of social justice.

    End the end, we will not have decent health care, nor will we have true social justice. Congrats to all of them. *golf clap*

    • midwestlady

      “Social justice” is the justification for this sleight-of-hand. But you there is no good way to do a bad thing, and the members of the USCCB ought to know this, of all people.

      • meunke

        I will not sit in judgement of our bishops on this. It is not my place and I don’t know nearly enough about what they were trying to do. I leave all that to those better qualified.

        I will give a big thank you to Jimmah Carter: Thanks for your wage freeze, it made all this possible in the end.

        • midwestlady

          No, it had nothing to do with Jimmy Carter, as far as I know. He was president far before this really took on a life of its own, although the demographic crash was already underway then. It started before that. The first signs were present with the baby boom of the 50s, when a lot of new Catholics were “minted” and the retention rate simultaneously slowly started to turn down, based on churches in use and vocational numbers. Very few people at that time perceived what was happening. Data was not readily available.

          • meunke

            You misunderstand, YES it does track back to Carter. His wage freeze is the whole reason why we have employer funded health care as standard, ie employers had to find a way to entice better employees to come to their company when they weren’t allowed to offer a higher salary. If employer funded health care had not become the norm, this would be a huge non-issue.

            • midwestlady

              Actually, I’m older than you think, and employer health insurance did NOT start with Carter’s wage freeze. My father had it in the 50s and it was considered quite normal then in larger companies. It began to be popular in the early to mid-50s as incentive for employers to obtain the employees they wanted. Paid vacations for regular employees (not only high executives) started to appear around the same time.

              • midwestlady

                The problem, at any rate, is not employee health insurance which is a perfectly ordinary sort of thing in this country, but rather with the bungling of Catholic institutional policy which happened later with respect to the hospitals & universities. It wasn’t necessary before the crash of the women’s religious congregations because they worked nearly for free, and there was no reason to hire someone to do something you could get for free.

              • The True Will

                It goes back to FDR and the New Deal.

                • midwestlady

                  The roots of it, could be. The point for Catholics is that before the 50s, there was no need for this in Catholic institutions because they were majority staffed with religious, and religious worked for nearly nothing. No reason to hire someone to do something you can get done free, right?
                  Once that arrangement crashed, as the first salvo of the general Catholic population crash we’re now enduring, there was an increasing, although somewhat hidden problem. Most Catholics were not aware of the impending crash right away and those places were kept going by residual religious, cheap female lay Catholic employees (that tuition could cover), the collection plate and donations, but when that dwindled, something had to be done to prevent institutions from closing or being sold. The whole faith-based funding idea was born as a result. This happened just as colleges and hospitals in general were starting to use increased government funding and other sources of revenue and we probably stumbled upon it, to be honest. Also I am sure that the lessons of Kirchensteuer were not wasted on some. It is a model that has “worked,” if you want to call it that, in several European nations for decades. (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, etc.)

                • meunke

                  Thank you. I have NO IDEA why I said Carter.

        • midwestlady

          And yet that’s exactly what people do when they excoriate the bishops for not “putting the smack down on politicians.” It’s not their job to do that.

          • Benjamin

            Sure it is, if you see your religion as a useful vehicle for KULTURKAMPF against anyone to the left of Jefferson Davis. And plenty of Catholics do (cf. John Wright). It gives their obsession of defeating the Dreaded Liberals a saintly halo, as it were.

            • Benjamin

              (Note: I do not include all, or even a majority, of small-c conservative Catholics in that grouping, including Mark Shea, but there’s a not insignificant number whose real religion is Movement Conservatism with a Catholic Face).

            • Andy, Bad Person

              It’s like you’re begging to get argument-slapped by JCW. I’d pay to see it.

  • Half Heathen

    Benjamin, so you would be totally cool with health care regulations requiring employers to provide coverage to send pedophiles on therapuetic trips to third world countries to have sex with children, right?

    I am, of course, personally opposed to sex with minors, but how could I impose my sectarian opinions on others?

    • Mark Shea

      Besides, Ben has assured me that God has no interest in our sex lives.

  • the mouse

    For those who can opt-out of mainstream insurance, may I suggest one of the following healthcare-sharing organizations that are OK’d in Obamacare and do not support abortion, contraception, et al:

    http://www.chministries.org
    samaritanministries.org
    http://www.medi-share.org

  • LaVallette

    Variation on a theme:
    “Attention Catholics! You have absolutely no right to say what should and should not happen in somebody’s bedroom–and we are now sticking a gun in your ribs and forcing you to pay for what goes on in somebody else’s bedroom.”

    Attention gay marriage supporters; Gays fought for the decriminalization of their life style on the principle that :the state should get out of the bedroom, but now you and your suppprters are demanding that the state gets back in again! ( Most gays see this intellecfual dissonace and do no support or do not give a rat’s behind about gay marriage. Procreation of children is impossible and “exclusivity and fidelity” to one person is the antithesis of what it means to live the gay lifestyle. Witness how very few of those deemed eligible have taken up the right to gay marriage or civil unions wherever they may be available. It is nothing more than a futile gesture demean and detroy the meaning of marriage for the “heteronormative breeders”.

    • kenneth

      So a movement that has struggled since Oscar Wilde’s day, saw innumerable members killed jailed or tormented into suicide, and undertaken 40 solid years of uphill political and social struggle, did all of that solely to insult you as a “heteronormative breeder”? More than a little conceited no? And exactly what percentage, pray tell, must gays undertake marriage or civil union in order to legitimize their aspirations in your eyes? Before you set the bar too high, remember that less than half of American heterosexuals are married these days. Not all blacks, women (or for that matter, non-landed whites) avail themselves of their once hard-won rights to vote. Were those movements just angry street theater to give the bird to the social order? Should rights not exercised at some arbitrary level be revoked?

      • midwestlady

        Hey Kenneth, this is not a vote with your P****s contest. All of them could attempt marriage with each other, and in fact all of them could attempt marriage with inanimate objects for that matter, and it would prove nothing. You don’t vote something into “rightness.” That’s not how morality works. That’s how politics works. These are two different things for everyone who knows what morality actually is.

      • LaVallette

        Kernneth: why have you avoided the main point of my post; The dissonnace of Demanding the state get out of the bedroom and almost immediately demanding that it gets back in again try.

        And by the way: two wrongs have never made a right, If some or even many heterosexuals abuse or do not use marriage it does not justify additional abuse by another community. Besides all those heterosexuals in this position may welol have rejected marriage, but they have not made any attempt to redefine it out of existence. My point about the proportion of gays getting married or entering into a civil union was to demonstrate how little genuine support for the movement there is among the gay communityy itself. Absent the procreation of chidren, exclusivity and fidelity, what is left of marriage, except “lurve” and property arrangements!, What human relationship or combinations thereof cannot satiisfy these two qualifications.?

        • kenneth

          The main point of your post that jumped out at me was the megalomania of the assertion that all gay people just fought for their civil rights as a swipe at “heteronormative breeding.” The other thing that stands out is the gratuitous dig at gay people in a post that had to do with gay marriage or gay people until you raised it. They have nothing to do with contraceptive mandates, and gay marriage has nothing to do with what goes on in the bedroom. It has to do with what goes on in the other 99% of the week that consumes married or partnered life.

      • S. Quinn

        Kenneth, you are confused (and btw, Oscar Wilde was married… To a woman). Gays fought for decades for decriminalization, not gay ” marriage.” That is a fairly new event, and I happen to know the very first lawyers involved, their motivation, and their step-by-step plan.

  • LaVallette

    PS: Kenneth:

    Since when did Oscar Wilde and the other gays in history fight for gay marriage?. Oscar Wilde in fact was married to a ………. woman, Constance, with whom he had two children. There is a distinction between the struggle for the decriminalization of gay behaviour and gay marriage, the latter appearing as a phenomenon over the last couple of decades, It is the demand for the latter that has created the intellectual dissonance and becomes an insult to the heterosexuals because it reduces by law the social concept of “marriage”, hitherto a strictly heterosexual affair, to a shadow of its former dignity. Besides there are the legal consequences for those who cannot intellectually or or for reasons of conscience accept this legal arrangement , through anti descrimination legislation, are already (e.g. for refusal to hire a hall or retaurant for such a marriage, refusal to print invitations, withdrawal of licesnse from civil marriage celebrants etc ) will become increasingly dire. The law does not outomatically make things right. History is replete with bad law!

    • S. Quinn

      “history is replete with ad law.” Not to legal positivists like Kenneth. It’s the law, so it must be all that is true, beautiful and good. I assume he spits on Martin Luther King, who, borrowing from Aquinas, worked his whole life to both argue and show exactly why an unjust law was no law at all.

      • midwestlady

        Shades of Kohlberg’s theory of Moral Development. For some people being legal makes something automatically right.

    • LaVallette

      NEWSFLASH for Kenneth: (but not for the rest of the world)
      http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020743969_floristlawsuitxml.html

      “State sues florist over refusing service for gay wedding”.
      But gy marriage is NOT going to effect you heterosexuals at all!! It is just going to be pushed down your throats in all that you do in your life whether you like it or not.!


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