MINOT, ND — The bureaucracy of the Catholic Church in the United States is trying to be as useless, conflicted, counterproductive, and harmful to lay Catholics as the U.S. Congress is to the American people.
America’s Bishops are confusing Catholics by using double speak, being indecisive, and being politically correct. Their posturing has, and is, causing great harm to the Church in America.
A case in point: In June 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) unanimously stated that the contraception-sterilization-abortifacients regulation of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act was an “unjust and illegal mandate and a violation of personal civil rights.”
Following the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston and chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was asked if this regulation violates God’s law. He responded, “The regulation that imposes abortion and sterilization, this is a violation of God’s law.”
So far, so good; here is the rest of the story.
In a letter to Congress, the American Bishops wrote, “Those who help provide health care, and those who need such care for themselves and their families, should not be forced to choose between preserving their religious and moral integrity and participating in our health care system.”
However, when Cardinal O’Malley was asked whether American Catholics should obey laws that violate God’s law, he responded, “The question is complicated.”
He went on to further confuse the issue: “This is a very complicated issue, and it’s something the church is struggling with right now, and trying to come up with a moral analysis in order to be able to allow people to form their consciences and to go forward.”
As a Catholic, I do not wish to engage in calumny, particularly involving a Cardinal or Bishop of the Church I love. I do not believe my comments are such.
I believe that the Catholic hierarchy is obligated to be clear and concise when it comes to defining God’s law. I believe that the hierarchy has a duty, as difficult as it may be, to “uncomplicate” the issues that Catholics face when it comes to their faith and how we should live as Catholics in our secular society.
Cardinal O’Malley has failed to meet this obligation.
I agree with the Cardinal that a moral analysis is in order.
The Affordable Care Act regulation mandating that Americans (including Catholics) must fund contraception-sterilization-abortifacients did not appear yesterday. The mandate is now several years old; the implementation is upon us.
It is difficult to believe the “moral analysis” to which Cardinal O’Malley refers has not been done. The fact that it has not been done indicates something is terribly wrong with the hierarchy.
I submit that what is wrong is a failure of the hierarchy to be decisive on a matter that demands decisiveness. Delay is not a valid option; it is simply an excuse to sustain the status quo and leave the Catholic laity without much-needed direction.
Was this same lack of decisiveness on the part of the hierarchy responsible, at least in part, for the fact that Catholics practice artificial birth control and obtain abortions at the same rate as American society as a whole?
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom