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Friday, February 03, 2012

A Catholic theologian on the Bishops and contraception

I saw an article today at CNN Opinion by Keith Soko ... associate professor of religious ethics and moral theology at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He teaches courses in bioethics and health care, social justice, peace and justice in comparative religions, and moral issues. It's a long and interesting article, giving the history of contraception in the church and opining on the present situation, so I've just posted a bit of it below ....

Bishops don't speak for most Catholics on contraception

(CNN) -- Recently, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Religious Liberty argued that the Obama administration's requirement that most health insurance plans cover contraception goes against "the mandate of Jesus Christ."

But Jesus said nothing about contraception coverage, of course, or most any other issues related to sexuality. So, what is the issue?

The current mandate would require that Catholic institutions like universities and hospitals include coverage for contraception and sterilization, although it exempts Catholic parishes. Official Catholic teaching is against contraception and sterilization. But this issue goes beyond internal Catholic Church concerns and moves into the public arena. The U.S. Catholic bishops and other conservative Christian groups have argued that the Obama administration's requirement wars with religious liberty and the role of conscience.

Last Sunday, at least 100 bishops had letters read at masses in their dioceses imploring Catholics to oppose this coverage. Newspapers have carried stories of Catholic bishops making apocalyptic predictions that Catholic universities and hospitals would have to close their doors if this coverage is allowed. But who is really making this argument besides the bishops and a minority of conservative Catholics and Christians, especially when studies show that 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptives?

.... (very big snip) ....

So here is the question, as I see it, as a Catholic theologian and lifelong Catholic, educated almost entirely at Catholic institutions, and taught to work for human dignity, the common good and social justice: Should the U.S. bishops speak for all Catholics on a matter of national public policy, an issue that most Catholics disagree on within their own church? The bishops have refused to discuss this issue with their fellow Catholics for more than 40 years. And the bishops are all male. What about Catholic theologians, academics, social workers and health care professionals? What about Catholic women? What about the 98%?

Public policy involves discussion, dialogue, debate, and sometimes even compromise. That does not mean compromising one's moral principles, but it may involve compromising how those principles are legislated as a matter of public policy in a pluralistic and democratic society.


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

I knew I could count on you, Crystal, to post something on this! Thank you!

I agree with that writer entirely. I DON'T agree with Humanae Vitae, and in practice a huge majority of Catholics don't either. The bishops want to opt out of contraceptive coverage... but I think their position on this is unfair, WHETHER OR NOT the government requires coverage.

In fact, if the bishops decide to OPT OUT of medical coverage rather than include contraception in their medical plans, I would hope and urge Catholic employees to GO ON STRIKE.

Now, that would be interesting...

8:36 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

Hey, did you have to read that anti-Obama letter from the bishops last Sunday at church? Do priests have a choice about reading it or not?

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Victor said...

Dear Denny and crystal,

Denny, I must agree with you that the majority of Catholics probably don't agree with the opting out of contraceptive coverage but in fairness to all good bishops, they must follow their heart of heart and do what is right.

Jesus had a LOT of followers until He told humans in so many words that unless they eat of His Body and Drink of His Blood, they really could not be His Followers.

As a child, I recall that my mom and dad use to use a form of contraceptive and I learned this very young when my older brother Joe, God Bless His Soul, showed me so called balloons under our parent's mattress and he would filled them up with water and eventually somehow blow them UP and "I" had no clue as to what they really were.

Long story short, me, myself and i are prepared to gamble that our soul and spirit also agrees that GOD (Good Old Dad) would not agree in the killing of any of HIS Cells but then again the Devil who once Lived backward also has many, many cell follower and owns them. Don't take my word for "IT", just ask some of his angels who literally wanted to rape "Jesus" and put much more than nails in HIS HAND and FEET. Let's just say that if those evil followers of the Devil had their way, "IT" would have lasted a LOT longer than "ONE" "Good Friday" if you know what "I" mean? "IT" might be hard to believe but Good Old Dad was looking out for His Only Begotten Son "Jesus" and through "Jesus" He's also looking out for all His "OTHER" Sons and daughthers.

I hear ya! "IT" is easy for you to say Victor cause you've already admitted to being crazy!

Takes "ONE" to know "ONE"

Who said that! :)



10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you Denny! I've couldn't agree with you more. Humanae Vitae is a prison for the soul We were meant to live as free radicals within bodies who can determine our outer beings. When the church will finally allow for open copulations (not marriages, too confining) then we will truly be free. Thank god that you are redefining the church from within.

6:46 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Anonymous - if all you're going to do is be snide in you comments, I'll start deleting them.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Hi Crystal --

No, we weren't required to read anything from the pulpit. Washington State already has two issues going on -- gay marriage, which will probably pass the state house and be signed by the governor, and an effort by the state to mandate abortion in health care coverage. Our new archbishop has already addressed the state on the issue of gay marriage, and I would expect the Washington State Catholic Conference to join with others to mount a referendum on it, if/when it passes. As to the abortion coverage, well, we'll see if it really goes anywhere...

That letter you refer to...was there one particular letter that the USCC sent around, or did each bishop write his own letter?

11:44 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yes, I saw it posted online here ... letter

1:51 PM  

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