Fr Frank Brennan SJ, professor of law at the Public Policy Institute, Australian Catholic University, has written a thoughtful article on the recent dispute between the Obama administration and the Catholic bishops over religious liberty and the contraceptive mandate. Here is a taste of his conclusions:
Here in Australia, our taxes and health insurance premiums undoubtedly help to fund abortions, sterilisations, and the provision of contraceptives at more affordable rates. Most Australian Catholics, including most of our bishops, accept that universal health cover includes some remote material cooperation with activities which might not pass muster with the strictest codes of Catholic moral behaviour. We do not lose any sleep over this.
Let’s hope the agitation by the US bishops does not lead to a similar campaign here.If such a campaign were launched in Australia, we would all need to fill in a questionnaire on our tax return and health insurance applications indicating which medical procedures we thought consistent with our consciences informed by Church teaching. The questionnaire in principle could be extended to approval or disapproval of all other taxpayer funded government functions including war and border protection.
We would contribute only to those universally available citizen services of which we morally approved. Very soon, our public square would be toxic too.