Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Just as Catholic as I wanna be

Every so often, the Strib will print a piece by a Catholic mouthpiece about how the gubmint doesn't allow people to be as Catholic as they wanna be, or conversely, that it doesn't want to make people Catholic enough. Sometimes, as in the case of the two linked op-ed pieces here, they will be published almost simultaneously.

In the first link, John Garvey, the president of Catholic University of America, whines about federal mandates for women's health care to be included in health insurance plans:
In a section of the Affordable Care Act that didn't get much public attention during the debates last year, Congress asked HHS to prescribe a list of "preventive services for women" that health-care plans across the country would have to provide to subscribers at no additional cost.

The regulations that HHS unveiled in August will require Catholic University, if it wanted to continue to make insurance available to its students, to offer coverage of sterilization procedures and prescription contraceptives, including pills that act after fertilization to induce abortions.
I won't tarry to quibble with Garvey about whether the morning after pill induces abortions -- it doesn't -- but Garvey's protest that the Catholic church isn't trying to impose its morality on others is just -- I'm trying to think of a nice term -- hogwash. Forcing women to carry an unwanted pregnancy is about as big as they come in the imposition department.

Perhaps President Garvey will move out of the rectory or whatever presidential palace he inhabits and turn it into an orphanage. Then he might have a little more moral standing to make his argument. In fact, President Garvey, get a hold of me after you do that, and we'll talk.

And you do have to laugh a little because Garvey apparently has so little faith in his church's moral teaching that he is afraid that students would take advantage of the offered services.

By comparison, Joel Adkins' bombast about the Catholic church's desire to control the definition of marriage is refreshingly direct. Adkins is the executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic church in Minnesota. In other words, he's the Catholic church's chief lobbyist.

In a piece that sounds remarkably like Katherine Kersten (she's the wind bag beneath his wings!), Adkins argues for "traditional marriage" using words like timeless, false secularism, moral witness, and defense of truth. Adkins says his side is "true," but you will look in vain in the piece for why it is true.

And we won't be silenced, says Adkins. People are saying mean things about us. But do you have any idea how hard it is to get a Catholic clergyman to come out and debate this with you? I've tried (on any grounds, including religious doctrine); so have a lot of other people. Adkins bellows about the Catholic church's place in the public square, but all it seems to be able to do is lob vaporous letters over the fence.

Come out and debate, Joel Adkins, with someone like Episcopal priest Neil Elliot, the author of another -- and altogether better -- op-ed in the Strib addressing the same subject, but taking the other side. Until you -- or John Nienstedt -- are willing to do that, don't come crying about the public square.

When you come right down to it, the Catholic church's position rests on two things. The Books of Moses, which have all kinds of zany abominations and directives that churches have been picking and choosing since the church began, and the Apostle Paul, who was a great evangelist, but kind of a cranky misanthrope. Go read the second chapter of Titus, just by way of a simple example, if you don't believe me.

Finally though, like Garvey, Adkins falls back on the argument that the Catholic church isn't trying to tell other people what to do:
This is not a debate the church has chosen, nor is it an intramural conversation about church doctrine. The church is not telling anyone who they can and cannot love. After all, we are commanded to love everybody.
As I said: hogwawsh.

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