May 25, 2012

Catholic Church Going to the Mattresses

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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Catholic bishops have signaled their readiness for all out war against modernity and a pluralistic government that would compel them to respect the sexual and reproductive choices of non-Catholic employees and students. And there will be civilian casualties.

In a statement that would put most drama queens to shame, the Archdiocese of Washington had this to say about the issue:
“1. Our more than 600 hospitals nationwide, which will need to stop non-Catholics at the emergency room door and say, ‘We are only allowed by the government to heal Catholics.’
“2. Our schools, which will be required to say to non-Catholic parents, ‘We are only allowed by the government to educate Catholics.’
“3. Our shelters, on cold nights, which will be required to say to the homeless who are non-Catholics, ‘We are only allowed by the government to shelter Catholics.’
“4. Our food pantries, which will be forced to say to non-Catholics, ‘the government allows us only to satisfy the hunger of Catholics.’ ”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has already threatened that they will stop feeding the poor.

Yes, Catholic leaders would rather let people die than to passively, not interfere with access to birth control. The punchline, of course, is that the vast majority of the Catholics they will deign to serve, use and approve of birth control. Talk about being out of step.

The scorched earth policy of  the 40+ Catholic dioceses and institutions who have filed suit against the federal government has some bishops nervous.

The first public sign of the internal split came on Tuesday (May 22), a day after 43 Catholic dioceses, universities and other church institutions filed a dozen lawsuits around the country seeking to overturn a policy from the Department of Health and Human Services that requires employers or their insurance companies to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees.

In an interview with America magazine, a national weekly published by the Jesuits, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., warned that "there is a concern among some bishops that there ought to have been more of a wider consultation" regarding overall strategy before such aggressive legal action was taken.

To sum up, this could backfire. They could lose court cases and create precedents they don't care for. And they risk making the Church a pawn in a broader political war.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1

Mostly the Church seems to be planning its own obsolescence. And it seems more than willing to cut off its nose to spite its face. Catholic Charities, for instance, was more than happy to take tax-payer money but not to follow federal or state government rules. 

Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money. The charities have served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children.

The bishops have followed colleagues in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts who had jettisoned their adoption services rather than comply with nondiscrimination laws.

. . .

Catholic Charities is one of the nation’s most extensive social service networks, serving more than 10 million poor adults and children of many faiths across the country. It is made up of local affiliates that answer to local bishops and dioceses, but much of its revenue comes from the government. Catholic Charities affiliates received a total of nearly $2.9 billion a year from the government in 2010, about 62 percent of its annual revenue of $4.67 billion. Only 3 percent came from churches in the diocese (the rest came from in-kind contributions, investments, program fees and community donations).

As Addicting Info points out, not only are our tax dollars being poured into these institutions, they also enjoy tax exempt status. That's a lot of money coming out of the public coffers only to have the Church retreat to its cloister and tell us all to get stuffed.

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. ~ Matthew 25:31-46

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