The Catholic Church, ratcheting up its attack on President Obama, under the guise of fighting for “Religious Liberty”, has virtually leaped into the fray with an alacrity that would have seemed appropriate for protecting the safety of its children, but has been reserved all these years for just such a time as this, when government regulations to protect the welfare of women and reduce unwanted pregnancies are threatening the church’s essential core freedoms.
Which freedoms are those? The freedom to prevent church or diocese employees from enjoying the same access to contraceptives and family planning that the rest of society takes for granted. The freedom to ensure that families trapped in crushing poverty by unwanted and unsupportable births will never escape their destitution. The freedom to thwart birth control for many women and thus encourage their desperate recourse to abortions. The freedom for the bishops to take federal and state funds for their social programs without ever having to answer to anybody or any governmental institution about anything.
And what exactly are these bishops protecting? Who decided that a drop of semen or an unfertilized egg is so precious to the Divinity that no action must be allowed or countenanced—under threat of political damnation—to keep these two from conjugating?
Who asked these beacons of moral authority to take time out from cleaning up the mess brought about by the church’s wholesale sacrifice of hundreds—in some cases thousands—of childhoods to the sexual appetites of its
priests, so they can lecture the President on their rights and religious liberties? Where was their vigilance when the innocence of children was at stake? Where was their outrage when children’s welfare and safety was put at risk repeatedly under the liberty they took to protect the church’s reputation as a defender of the poor and the weak?
As we listen to the shrill complaints of the bishops, we should ask ourselves which would concern Jesus more, the plight of the poor or the preservation of doctrines that cement their poverty and suffering?