In the aftermath of the decision by Health and “Inhuman” Services regarding mandatory contraception coverage with an ideologically narrow exemption I thought I had seen some rather strong statements from various bishops.
“The present secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, a bitter fallen-away Catholic, now requires that all insurance, even when issued privately, must carry coverage for evil and grave sin,” Bruskewitz wrote in the letter, which he instructed parish priests to read aloud to their congregations at Mass this weekend. [Source]
Runner up for muscular episcopate statements is:
Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh wrote, “It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!” There is no other way to put it.”
I would even give an honorable mention to Cardinal Mahoney:
“I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on the freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic Community can muster.”
None of this is surprising since from the start this has been the message from the Obama administration to Catholics. The very appointment of Kathleen Sebelius, the former governor restricted from receiving Communion from her bishop, was a slap in the face to Catholics. The latest ruling is totally consistent with the whole thrust of this administration – the abortion-at-all-costs administration.
Father Rutler in part writes:
…For a while, various Catholic leaders had hoped that they might reach an understanding with the Administration, and some even felt more at peace with the president’s assurances. But “peace for our time” only lasts until Poland is invaded.
At the time of the last presidential election, some may have thought that I overstated things in finding parallels with the dystopian world described in Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World, in which Julian Felsenburgh makes eugenics “a sacred duty.”
Since our Lord did not humiliate the frightened apostles by saying “I told you so” when he rose from the dead, I shall not say “I told you so” to any who underestimated the plottings of social engineers whose audacity is only an audacity of despair. [Source]
As noted by Fr. Rutler this was an “interim final rule”. If that isn’t a perfect example of bureaucratic relativism I don’t know what is.
In the meantime of course defenders of this ruling love to point out the high rate of contraceptive usage among Catholics themselves. This is certainly scandalous, but directing doctrine by practice is “nonsensus” fidelium. It is very nice to see the public outrage by bishops over this ruling and you can certainly wish there was even a greater outrage over the scandal of contraceptive use by Catholics. But we can’t go back in time to properly catechize the past and have had bishops and priests willing to speak out against the culture of contraception and the self-centered view of children as resource hogs that must be kept in check.
The real question is how can we catechize the present and upcoming generations in regards to the truth of human sexuality. It has often been noted, especially by Catholics, the symphonic nature of truth. The teaching of the Church in regards to marriage is interlinked with contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexual acts, etc. But what happens when you start leaving out instruments in a symphony? It is rather compatible to what has happened to marriage when “instruments” such as the teaching on contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexual acts have been removed or to extend the comparison – muted.
In the meantime regarding this rule of unjust law we can follow Bishop Olmsted’s recommendation. [PDF]
Therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Pray the rosary asking Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of our Nation to intercede for us. Without God, we can do nothing: with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.