Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Catholics Support Artificial Birth Control

Life Magazine Cover
of March 20, 1970
The fight continues between the White House and the Catholic Church about the healthcare law forcing Catholic employers to provide free contraception and/or sterilization for their employees.  Speaker John Boehner, himself a Catholic, has gotten into the fray and has said that "If the president does not reverse the department's attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must."   The White House is now talking about reaching a "compromise", although I don't know how you compromise with evil.  The Catholic Church's plain teaching is that artificial contraception and sterilization are inherently evil and constitute a mortal sin, which means complete separation from God, and if this sin is not confessed, repented of and absolved in confession, these men and women will die and remain separated from God for all eternity. 

Again, I think in many ways the Catholic bishops have only themselves to blame for this situation because they have allowed Catholics in their jurisdiction to disobey this law and nothing was ever said.  But now that they are actually being threatened, they have no choice but to defend Church teaching.  And as a result, the true message of God is being taught, which is a reason for rejoicing.

However, far too many Catholics don't believe this is even an issue, as they have no problem with artificial contraception and do not hesitate to make that known, as shown in this article from USA Today.
New surveys: Catholics want birth control coverage
Pundits and bishops warn President Obama he could lose the white Catholic vote over requiring a contraception option for insurance plans. But Catholic women say they want birth control covered in employee health plans.

The pivot point is how you see this. Is it a battle over birth control -- used by 98% of U.S. women at some time in their lives -- or over government intrusion into the right of religious organizations to live by their teachings? 
The Catholic bishops, backed by conservative evangelicals, say the Obama administration shouldn't include contraception coverage as part of free preventive care options in employers' health insurance plans. 
Hence the showdown: As our editorial Monday says, religious liberties fight or, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says, a free choice issue. 
And here's where the Catholic women come in. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll released today, 

A majority (55%) of Americans agree that "employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost." Four-in-ten (40%) disagree with this requirement. 
Key breakdowns 
  • 58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. That slides down to 52% for Catholic voters, 50% for white Catholics.
  • 61% of religiously unaffiliated Americans say employer plans should cover contraception.
  • 50% of white mainline Protestants want the coverage. However, for evangelical Protestants, that drops to 38%  
 And perhaps of greater note among election-watchers  
Women are significantly more likely than men to agree that employers should be required to provide health care plans that cover contraception (62% vs. 47% respectively).  
A second poll, also released today from Public Policy Polling, has similar findings. This poll, conducted at the request of Planned Parenthood, finds 
...a majority of voters, including a majority of Catholics, don't believe Catholic hospitals and universities should be exempted from providing the benefit.

...Independent voters support this benefit by a 55/36 margin; in fact, a majority of voters in every racial, age and religious category that we track express support. In particular, a 53 percent majority of Catholic voters, who were oversampled as part of this poll, favor the benefit, including fully 62 percent of Catholics who identify themselves as independents
I was listening to an interesting interview with the late Fr. Malachi Martin in which he compared the state of the Catholic Church to the brutally beaten and scourged Jesus Christ.  Just as Jesus Christ, as a result of the horrific scourging he received, was no longer recognizable even to his own mother, so the Catholic Church is so beaten and in such tatters that it is hardly recognizable as the same institution it was even 50 years ago.  Fifty years ago Catholics accepted the teachings and pronouncements of the Holy See and obeyed without question. Catholics faithfully attended Mass and received the sacraments. I remember the long lines at confession, the packed churches at each and every Sunday Mass.  If there was dissent among the laity and hierarchy, it was muted and only in pockets here and there.  Now it is widespread and common, and many millions of souls are at risk.

Fr. Martin says we can do only what Christ himself did - continue on the way carrying our cross.  It is still possible to be a good and loyal Catholic in these evil and turbulent times, but just as it took all of Christ's efforts and more to continue on the way to Calvary, it will mean giving everything inside of us to continue this fight.  When it became too much for Christ, another named Simeon came along to carry the burden.  When we have given all we can, God will supply the help we need.  But we must never back down.  We must always stay loyal to Christ's Holy Vicar and to the Church founded by our Savior.

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