21 June 2012

Fortnight for Freedom Kicks Off Today

Today begins the two-week (if you haven't read Shakespeare, that's a fortnight) effort of the U.S. Bishops to keep the heat on the administration to back off its death-mandate in the so-called "healthcare" plan. Archbishop Carlson is very much in the front of this very worthy campaign. As part of this program, he has called on parishes to set aside this weekend to focus on the issue. The St. Louis Review has an article.

I always love to read USA Today for hard-hitting news delivered in a highbrow style, so for your amusement I link to its story here. They sure are worried about the sinister question of "just who is funding this campaign?", though wondering who funds the other side of the issue does not occur to it.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court, set to recess next Thursday until the first Monday in October, will put an end to this most unconstitutional of "laws" (perhaps as early as today), and turn this fortnight into a victory lap. Though one thing no Catholic should ever do is to put trust in that Court, I will say.

Because nothing in this vale of tears is without stain (Our Blessed Mother excepted), pardon me as I point out two discordant notes about the USCCB, and Archdiocesan, plan, worthy as they are:

1. While the Archbishop has called on all Catholics to support the effort to repeal the contraception mandate, the LCWR will use its Annual Assembly in St. Louis just over a month from now to give a national platform to speakers like Jamie Manson, who wrote this about the bishops' campaign:

With its attacks on same-sex marriage, battle against providing adequate health care for women, hostile takeover of LCWR and inquisition into the Girl Scouts, the hierarchy continues to make itself an embarrassing media spectacle in a society that long ago refused to accept the teaching on birth control, believes in women's equality and increasingly supports same-sex marriage.

Even those who are not affected directly by these ideological battles find it odious that hierarchy is choosing to spend precious money and resources on lawsuits against the Obama administration and bizarre new campaigns like the Fortnight for Freedom.

[...]The hierarchy's refusal to acknowledge the crucial need for contraception globally as well as a priesthood that includes women and married persons is a clear sign of their continued isolation from the concerns of society.

Respectfully, this is a very mixed message. How will the faithful react to this call for shared advocacy on such a vital issue when the Archdiocese allows such a speaker at such a conference? Would it not serve the effort better to speak with a clear and unambiguous voice as the Catholic community? Why would the LCWR get away with rubbing its agenda in face of the Archbishop-- especially so soon as this?

2. Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with the theme of the effort being a call for "religious liberty?". The very first sentence on the Archdiocesan campaign page states, "Religious liberty is our first, most cherished freedom."

That term can mean lots of different things, and we all know of doctrinal wars over its meaning. Of course, we can assume that, in this campaign, it refers to the "free exercise of religion" clause in the First Amendment, or possibly to the liberty of the Catholic Church in the sphere of religion and morals. Fine, but strictly defined the term could be taken in a non-Catholic sense, that error has rights in an absolute sense. It is an old and recurring issue in Church history.

Oh well. This is a quibble. The Bishops' effort is a good one, and well-done at that. And that includes the effort in St. Louis. Keep up the pressure on politicians as though everything depended on it, and pray as though a miracle is needed instead. After this fortnight is past, we can put that pressure on the LCWR assembly.


Peggy R said...

that 'fortnight' thingie could really confuse john & mary cath...paging bishop trautman.

Anonymous said...

Ahem..that is Bp. TroutPERSON

Peggy R said...

marc...good point!

Anonymous said...

Thetimman said: "That term [Religious Liberty] can mean lots of different things, and we all know of doctrinal wars over its meaning."

I'm not so sure that "we all know" of the doctrinal wars though. I have assisted at the Traditional Latin Mass for some 7 years now and I never heard of the controversy over the teaching of the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae as compared to the pre-Vatican II Magisterial position on the doctrine of Religious Liberty.

It has only been in the past six months since I began reading the history of the Society of Saint Pius X that I learned of this relevant controversy. I would venture to say that many Catholics, even tradition-minded ones, are simply ignorant of the issues. For those like me who want to learn more, angeluspress.org is a great place to start. I began with books by the late Michael Davies, but there are many resources from which to choose to educate yourself. As an aside, I think if more Catholics realized what these doctrinal wars were about, they would soon have--at the least--a more sympathetic view of the SSPX.

All of that said, Bishop-led prayer for the overturning of Obamacare and the HHS Mandate is a great thing, for a fortnight, or longer. Perhaps a Rosary Crusade is in order. But I'm not sure I care to lead my family in a fortnight of reflections on Dignitatis Humanae.