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Sunday, May 27, 2012

American Catholic Bishops Must Need More Work: Now They Sue Over Birth Control

Every Roman Catholic Church I know is worried about revenues while American Catholic Bishop are now  going to the expensive courts to sue over birth control?  (The Week, June 1, 2012 page 3)

Apparently, Roman Catholic Bishops don't have enough problems to solve, they're creating more.

Most dangerous about this lawsuit is that it could be a build up for the US Bishops to intervene in this Fall's election, says columnist E. J. Dionne

"More than 40 Catholic institutions, including the archdioceses of New York, St. Louis and Washington DC filed lawsuits this week challenging the Obama administrations' requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for birth control."  

This lawsuit claims the inclusion of birth control coverage by health insurance plans proposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an infringement on religious freedom because the Roman Catholic Church disapproves.  Although the Roman Catholic Church opposes use of artificial birth control, exceptions are supported for the purposes of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, to protect religious nuns from the consequences of rape and to treat women with reproductive system diseases.  Practically all Roman Catholic health care facilities treat women who are using artificial birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

Okay, blog readers- I've read the classics about Saint Thomas a Beckett and Saint Thomas Moore. These two martyrs for the faith were religious zealots who lost their lives while standing on conviction for going against King Edward the IV (Beckett) and King Henry VIII (Moore). Birth control should not become a political power struggle, as other issues were in times past.

But I believe American Bishops have reached The Tipping Point on this birth control issue. They're on the wrong side of it from a social teaching perspective and from a religious point of view as well.  Although I'm obviously no theologian, I know that birth control used for the purpose of family planning improves the health and welfare of women and families. In my experience as a nurse and a practicing Roman Catholic woman, I've never understood why women are considered sinful for practicing birth control while men are never cautioned by the church for using Viagra to improve their sexual performance.  From a religious perspective, women have a right to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies, period!

Living inside socially insulated church chanceries and advised by chancellors, the Bishops have little idea what it's like in the real world.  Moreover, they're collectively such an old group, it's hard to say if their sainted mother's would have used birth control pills if it were available to them. But, if they grew up in families with less than 5 children, it's a good bet their mother's practiced family planning, including other forms of birth control.

Columnist Maureen Dowd says the issue is more about the all-male clergy trying to put women in chastity belts.

If this fall's US election turns out to be a ridiculous social war between American Bishops and President Obama because of birth control, the outcome will be another embarrassment against the Roman Catholic Church.  Birth Control is already practiced by an overwhelming percentage of Roman Catholic Women.  

Although some social issues might trump the nation's economy as an election issue, birth control isn't one of the burning topics that will change public opinion. 

But, when Roman Catholic Bishops ask their faithful for more money to operate their chanceries, they will have to explain how much of their declining revenues are used for legal fees to fight political rather than religious battles.  Frankly, I don't see a Saint Cardinal Dolan in the Roman Catholic litany of saints because of his stand against insurance coverage for birth control used by women.  

Rather, the Cardinal of New York would want his religious biography to highlight his compassion for the heath and welfare of women and children, rather than a legal brief against the use of birth control.

Roman Catholic Bishops will face the same outcome at the end of their lives as every other person on the face of the earth.  They have enough sins to defend.


Blogger Jacques said...

I completely agree.

4:40 AM  

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