A fine rant from Scott Paeth on the U.S. Catholic bishops

Scott Paeth responds to the U.S. Catholic bishops‘ efforts to prevent insurance from covering women’s health care.

Due in part to my own family’s recent interactions with that bunch, I particularly liked this part of Paeth’s post:

In all honesty, my first reaction to any attempt by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to make any kind of moral argument, least of all one involving sexuality, is to want to say “Shut up, old man.” And no Bishop who is honest about the negligence and criminal malfesence of the Catholic Church around the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of allegations of child molestation and rape around the world over the last half century should expect any other response.

How can any Bishop expect to exercise moral authority, particularly in the authoritarian “do it because I say so” manner that they use, given their record. Every single solitary Bishop should be on his hands and knees begging for forgiveness from both those they’ve directly harmed, and from every Christian, Catholic and non-Catholic, for the damage that they have done to the church. The Bishops, through their choices, erased 2,000 years of authority over the period of a few decades. And why? To protect their own institutional position while shielding absolute moral monsters from being held accountable for acts that were both criminal and detestable. There is no excuse. And it will probably take another 2,000 years for them to regain that authority. In the mean time, the only thing I want to hear from a Bishop is the phrase “I’m sorry.”

… As to the merits of the argument about church institutions and contraception, there are none. …

The real issue, of course, isn’t that the Bishops don’t want to be asked to provide contraception. The real issue is that they don’t want women to have access to contraception. They don’t care who’s providing it, they don’t think women should have it, and so they think that society should prevent them from getting it. That is the heart of this controversy.

In a pluralistic society, the Bishops want to act as though they are not only princes of the church, but princes of the United States as well. But given that the only real authority they wield is moral, and that they have so completely squandered that authority, they have nothing of substance to say to those of us who will not be cowed by their shiny robes and view them as being morally bankrupt and of no use when it comes to spiritual guidance. They have no power to coerce, and no ability to persuade, so they try to change the subject, and hope we won’t notice that once again they’re lying to us.


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