Monday, January 30, 2012

NCR sides against Catholic freedom

The sad saga of the National (so called) Catholic Reporter continues.

On its site today, it posts an editorial that I would summarize as follows:

We're pretty much fine with Obama forcing Catholics to go along with contraceptives and sterilization and abortion-causing drugs, as part of health care, because...we think those are good things and that's where the crowd is going, and, well, we wish the Obama administration had been a little more subtle but so what. Everyone should stop complaining because that makes things unpleasant, and we don't like that.

You can, of course, read it for yourself and form your own conclusion.

I wonder what NCR blogger Michael Sean Winters--who wrote a scathing denunciation of President Obama's attack on religious freedom--will do now.


Mark said...

Father Z has a post on planned parenthood celebration of the loss of religious freedom including a video that is in your face dancing birth control pill

If this does not tick you off about Planned Parenthood Partner Obama and his administration as a Christian, nothing will.

Yep thats right, Obama is listed on Planned Parenthood site tab for history and success as a Partner with Allies in the Congress.
It is at the bottom where they talk about his election.

Simon said...

I hate great respect for Elizabeth Scalia, but I thought that her take on this business, and about Winters in particular, was more than a little optimistic. What will Winters do now? What will he do having "declare[d] he cannot, in good conscience, cast another vote Obamaward"? Well, I suppose that he will cast a vote for Obama in something other than good conscience. Elizabeth thinks that this decision will unite liberal and progressive Catholics, and I think she's probably right, but the problem is that there are very few liberal Catholics, and a whole bunch of liberals who call themselves Catholics but who aren't. This is a useful line in the sand to this extent: It tells people who insist (often in good faith) that they are good Catholics who happen to dissent on a few issues that no, you are not a good Catholic, and you need to repent. The hardest people to convert are the people who think they're already right with Jesus.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I'm all for avoiding misplaced optimism.

I think it's true that this is a useful line in the sand, and it may do us more good, by being so blatant, where a more subtle attack would have been harder to oppose.

And while it's tempting to assign genius to ones opponents in their schemes, sometimes they mess up. This could be one of those times, we'll see.

That said, here are some fears of mine:

1. That President Obama already has a plan for how to deal with a rising drumbeat of Catholic anger. At the right moment, he will attempt to diffuse it--or at least confuse and divide the bishops and the faithful--by grandly proposing a further concession. The aim of the concession would be to quiet the bishops, or at least a substantial portion of them. I can think of many variations of such a concession, but that's not important; what's important is that the only acceptable concession is to exempt all those who have moral objections, period.

2. My other fear is that there will be division or lack of resolve on the bishops' part about strategy and tactics.

Bottom line is that we should--we must--force the Obama Administration to fine us, and then to either arrest us or seize our property. Under no circumstances should fines be paid. Make them do what they are loathe to do. What they want most is meek acquiescence--they can live with squawking if they get that.

Also, I dearly hope the bishops have some sound political advice. They likely have good legal counsel; but this is a political fight as well, and they need to go in well armed. I know the advice I'd give them, some of which appears above.

Simon said...

Sad to say, I think that the bishops have arrived at a "spine" moment and are falling short. The problem is, in a word, mismatch. The bishops cannot say that DHHS is at war with the Catholic Church and that the head of DHHS is a Catholic in good standing; that doesn't add up. You can't talk big and yet refuse to take actions within your competence. Until they excommunicate Sebelius, I think people will conclude, and rightly conclude, that their rhetoric is just talk.

I could imagine that Obama simply thinks that this will blow over; I could readily imagine that they believe that the bishops are out of touch, that tame catholics like the NCR editorial board have no dog in the fight, and that it'll therefore blow over. And, you know, there are non-trivial reasons to believe that. They have polls, intuitively wrong but yet to be debunked to my knowledge, claiming that 98% of Catholics use birth control anyway. And then there's the fact that a whole bunch of Catholics voted for him last time, and nothing has changed (did Winters really not see this coming?). So they could well be overconfident.

Simon said...

And then there's this.