« The Republican Debates by Richard Sale | Main | "(AIPAC) is attempting to block a brief filed by Director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) Grant F. Smith" »

12 February 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Nancy K

I am not Catholic, but many of my friends and nurses that I have worked with are. To a person they disagreed with the Vatican on not only BC but also the right of a women to have an abortion. Granted my friends and coworkers are well educated women, but they also identified with the church. Some of them were Republican but not because of BC issues.



"Granted my friends and coworkers are well educated women," Come now! You know the truth? pl

Morocco Bama

This "controversy" could have been avoided with the implementation of a Single Payer System, but the Poseur In Chief and his sponsors wouldn't even allow the notion to be debated as one of the possible options despite the majority of the population being for it, regardless of what the misdirecting talking heads say.


Employees receive part of their compensation in money and part of their compensation in insurance. The Bishops have no right to dock the pay of those who use money to obtain birth control and they have no more right to dock the insurance of those who seek birth control. The Bishops are not seeking to avoid being forced to do something they imagine is wrong -- they are seeking to impose a penalty on those who reached a different decision on the morality of birth control.

g. powell

Anyone aware of Malthus knows that birth control is a necessary requirement for the survival of a civilization with a low infant mortality rate. Obama understands this and made its provision a requirement, bad politics but very good policy. He has now even offered a face-saving device that enables the Catholic institutions to abide by the rule.

If the Bishops want to continue their resistance, they should be made to answer a simple question: "If you insist on maintaining the prohibition on birth control, which do prefer: mass starvation or higher infant mortality?"



The bishops rule the church. They are not seeking to "dock" anything. They do not agree to pay for birth control. Perhaps we do not need Catholic hospitals, universities or charities. These institutions can becomeas secular as the rest. Perhaps the Church should divorce itself from all that and concentrate on its purely spiritual mission, which is to spread the Gospel. I don't really care. pl


g. powell

Irrelevant. You merely wish to dictate Church teaching from outside the institution. This is not about Malthus or economics. pl


Moreover, I doubt that all who work for Catholic organizations are Catholics and some who are not Catholic have no qualms about using birth control or for other reasons need not to have children for their own health necessities. It seems that this should be a non-issue as it stands because no "good" Catholic following the directives and agreeing with the Bishops would ever take advantage of the birth control offered. It is a circumstance much like a teetotaler at a coctail party who chose a Pepsi over a vodka. No one is forcing any use of contraceptives on anyone.

If this seems to be causing risk of a schism between the liberal Catholics and the Ordinaries, the basis for the schism is much more basically caused by the doctrines being handed down and the lack of beliefs of some in those doctrines than being caused by federal government actions. As Col. Lang pointed out, the Catholic Church is not a democracy. It being a theocratic autocracy under the divine right of the Pope, it will always have and always has had believers who do not fully believe in Papal inafallability and that has and always will result in struggles between some parisioners and the Ordinaries. Such give and take is probably a good thing and is something that keeps Catholicism vibrant. If a schism develops over this, the federal action will have been only a small spark that ignited an existing struggle, not the cause of it.

What I really think is going on is simply a group of over-eager politicians using serious theological questions as their play things to get an advantage. I seriously doubt that some of these players care a whit about birth control issues and they are willing to trade in their counterfeit currency of fawned conservativism and religiosity when all they really care about is getting elected no matter what. They should be ashamed.

Those who are believers should pray for the Catholic Church and be thankful we no longer believe in the divine right of kings. This struggle will strentghen the church and I hope, sink the politicians who trifle with these serious issues of conscience.

Tim Vincent

"Many Americans are not willing to be the property of the federal government."

But sadly, fewer and fewer each year.

There are 3 groups roughly:
Those who want more and more "free stuff" and care not about freedom (or rarely personal accountability).

Those who have "TRUTH" and know best about how everyone else should live.
For them Obamacare is about power.
How dare the Catholic (or any) Church have a different opinion?
Most of these people live between the Potomac and the Charles.

And the rest of us.



"It seems that this should be a non-issue as it stands because no "good" Catholic following the directives and agreeing with the Bishops would ever take advantage of the birth control."

Some of you are determined not to understand that Catholics are not free to decided what is moral and what is not. That is what the teaching magisterium of the Chirch is about. The fact that many Catholic employees would not use this benefit even if paid for by the insurance comoanies is irrelevant. The Church itself, not the institutions, decides what is moral and what is not. If you don't like that, stop calling yourself a Catholic. Many have. There is no voting over Church teaching. The essentially medieval Catholic Church decides. As I said before this one of the things I don't like abouit the Church. It is more interesting to me that in detail various bishops have made "deals" with state governments over this but as a group the Conference of Catholic bishops does not wish to do so. What are you going to do, burn them at the stake? As I said, maybe the Church should stop educating, healing, giving charity, etc. Notre Dame U. could become something like "Central Indiana U." My sister's college in Hollywood, CA had a "dustup" with an archbishop in LA and the nuns disbanded themselves as a community and secularised the school. They owned it. pl


I suspect that most Catholics left the bishops behind a long time ago in many matters. Some may even ask them why they are so quick in condemning paying for birth control when they were painfully slow, for years, in dealing with sexual child abuse within their churches? Nor does their complaint that this is a First Amendment issue hold up. It's a health insurance issue.



Yet another open attack on the Church and its teaching authority. The clergy and hierarchy are guilty as you charge. That is also irrlevant. Like Northern people speaking of the South you argue that the Catholic Church no longer exists. You are wrong. Obama will learn that. People who still think themselves Catholic, even if they are not practising will resist this because it dictates a secular morality in our lives. If you think that this can be shoved under the rug you are sadly mistaken. pl


Here is a thoughtful description of the divergent views on birth control in the various denominations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_contraception.htm

The issue is not simple and goes to the heart of christiam personhood and the authority of the Ordinaries.

I think callow politicians who exploit things like this raise serious issues about whether they would be wise rulers.


" Good Luck. You will need it in November. Many Americans are not willing to be the property of the federal government. pl"

Many Americans are not willing to be drafted into the cause of the catholic church when it come to their war on contraceptives. And they aren't willing to turn over secular law to religious institutions. I suspect the ones that will need the luck in November are going to be those politicians who side with the church as it goes ever furtherer down the rabbit hole on this issue. There are limits to what religions can get away with. Just ask Bob Jones University and Warren Jeffs .

As for the catholic church not being a democracy. I agree. It is not. Catholics who are appalled at the church's behavior can do what many sensible people have done before them. Leave the church and take responsibility for their own spiritual development rather than outsourcing it to religious dogma.


I am well aware of the authority of the church and I am equally aware how diluted that authority has become among many who consider themselves Catholics. I am sure an argument can be made who is Catholic, but many I know frequently go to church, participate in church life and claim to be Catholic. It is not up to me to question them.

I don't think I am attacking the church authority as much as having a realistic view of it. I also think that the Obama administration have a similar view of who matters in this regard and I agree that the bishops matter less.

I suspect the most important issue in this election will be war and peace. With the GOP for war and the Dems for peace. That will override everything else.



Nobody is being "drafted" into anything. These church associated institutions are not run with convict labor. People work there of their own free will.

BTW. anyone who mocks me with something like "brother Pat" again will be permanenetly banned. I am not slave labor either. The sooner you stop coming here the sooner I can stop maintaining the blog.

As usual, some of you are incapable of distinguishing between analysis and advocacy.

The evident hatred displayed by many of you for the Catholic Church undermines your argument. pl

Will Reks

Doesn't the reality that most or some Catholic women use birth control indicate their contempt for the church's teaching authority in some matters? Also regarding abortion.

I think the bigger story is that the Catholic Church wants to take the WH head on regarding social issues. I don't think Obama wanted this fight.

I am a moderate evangelical. I've always liked the Catholic church's approach to social justice but in recent decades they have drifted from that.


In the Pastor's Homily today he melded the "story of the Leper" with "the Gift of Life" very well while we read the Bishop's letter on Birth Control and Politics in our pews. Somehow Obama has a very tin ear in these areas especially since 28 states have already covered the insurance gap in their laws. This should of been much better handled in Washington as it has given the Bishops some red meat they so desperately needed for resurrection on the political stage.

My Church and My Government are important to me and should not be publically squabbling no matter which is right. Of course My Country is Absolute.


I always thought a better solution would be for employees of any business, Catholic too, to be able to opt out of their companies health insurance, have that money added to their wages as long as that employee bought insurance on their own from a health exchange, or any private insurance. Tax deductions would make it wash for both employer and -ee and that way the empoyer would not have to directly support a medical procedure or benefit it did considered immoral.

Would it work? Unfortunately our government's primary purpose seems to be to f*** with us these days.


So Obama's Chief of Staff now thinks the President gets to decide what someone's religious belief is? So much for the Constitution. Which religious group is next on the secularization band-wagon?


Things like this remind me that the principle of separation of Church and State is to protect the church from the State, not the other way around as, well, the fanatical secularists would have it.

The Bishops are taking a stand on a core belief - the secularists see it as a threat on their authority and resort to the usual words of power - racist, misogynist - can papist be far behind?

I'm not a Catholic but it seems to me that the Catholicism is the business of Catholics.


I imagine little is done in the White House these days without taking the general election into consideration. And in that regard, is anyone who was going to vote for Obama (or seriously entertain it) turn around and vote for Romney or Santorum over this? I really doubt it. Catholic or not.

And since the forces marshaled in opposition to Obama get equally (or even more) outraged over the most trivial (and sometimes fabricated) issues, this birth control rule is precisely the sort of policy that he should be promoting. It advances core liberal beliefs about equality and exposes the extremity of the opposition.

Anyhow, when did birth control become so controversial in the United States? When did the Republican party decide to get as worked up over abortion as they are now appalled at the specter of free birth control? It's not because of religious liberty--I just do not buy that this is in any way, shape, or form about religious liberty. It's about promoting what are now core conservative beliefs in the ongoing culture war. And in this case, they are aligned against probably the one thing that has made it possible for women to enter, succeed, and maintain a place in today's global economy.


Col. Lang -

Being raised Catholic, I can confirm that you are absolutely correct as far as the letter of Catholic structure and teachings go. However, as actually practiced by Americans that's just not the way things are in the real world. There's a reason the term "cafeteria Catholic" was invented. You can criticize them for inconsistency or not fully understanding their faith, but that's the way it is.


Sorry if I'm off base, but I thought religion was an individual affair, especially in America. Let's quit trying to find ways to tie the two together.



That doesn't matter. you can't expect the bishops to cooperate in this and they won't. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

July 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad