Daily Archives: July 5, 2014
HHS Mandate: Trying To Understand The Details
The HHS mandate row is, as it is natural, very complicated; particularly for people, like me, who live the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and can’t spend their lives looking at the details. In particular, it is difficult for a European observer to immediately grasp the two profiles of contraception and abortion.
More in particular, things are complicated in that, as I could understand it, Hobby Lobby opposed a limited number of – medicaments officially considered – contraceptives because they deem them abortifacients. Which means, if I got it right, that at least as far as they are concerned the issue is abortion, not contraception. But the issue is at the same time also religious freedom, and I understand the Supreme Court decision was limited to a limited number of medicaments which, whilst abortifacients, are officially contraceptives. Therefore, whilst Hobby Lobby can be satisfied, we aren’t (yet).
Things are more complicated for Catholic organisations than for Hobby Lobby, as – if they are Catholics in more than name only – they must oppose both contraceptive and abortifacients of all sorts. Again, from what I gather the Supreme Court examined the cases under the aspect of religious freedom, which unavoidably must apply to contraceptives as well as abortifacients. Therefore, it would appear to me, unless I got it wrong, that whilst the issue has not been explicitly decided yet, there is a fairly good chance that the Supreme Court will upheld the right of every Catholic organisation (non-profit one, or for-profit if closely held) to deny every medicament going against Catholic teaching, contraceptives as well as abortifacients.
Some of my US American readers might perhaps provide me with easy and concise explanations, or with links helping with the matter.
I have found this here and this here, and will look at them more in detail as time allows. I am interested in particular in the chances of the contraception battle for nonprofit and closely held for-profit organisations, as it seems to me that concerning certain abortifacients things should be clear enough for both for-profit and non-profit ones.
Again, I am thankful for sober, digestible guidance in the intricacies of the law and the judicial decision.
Bring It On
I read with beautiful regularity about the danger of “schism” if priests were to, say, start teaching Catholicism instead of fluffy common places meant to allow the not-so-faithful to feel good with themselves.
I never understood the reasoning.
Such un-faithful are, if informed and willing, obviously schismatics in pectore, but occupying the pews. They have, so to speak, already carried their schism, but inside the Church and their hearts rather than outside of Her; I call it a schism in all but name, and a far more dangerous one than a formal schism.
In most cases, though, I do not think this is what is happening. My impression is rather that many of these people are simply uninstructed, and were never helped to seriously confront Truth.
The uninstructed pewsitter who hears nothing but rubbish from the pulpit will end up absorbing the values of the society around him; values he thinks broadly aligned with the Christian message, because the priest never tells them otherwise; and if the priest talks of the evils of society only to attack Capitalism and free markets he might, particularly if he isn't very smart, one day come to believe that these are the main issues a Catholic should be confronted with.
But I firmly believe that most of these people are not fundamentally bad. When they get the Catholic dish served, they would end up eating and enjoying it. Reluctantly at the beginning, certainly, or complaining that the fare has changed. But in time, and with the assistance of a good cook solicitous of explaining to them why the food is healthy, they would learn to enjoy it and to want no other diet.
Yes, some would go. But they are already gone. Whenever not ignorance, but wilful rebellion is at the heart of their thinking, they would not stay anyway, and they are a cancer the Church should excise from Her body at once.
Bring it on, say I. Christianity is about Truth, not numbers. The pews don't need to be warmed by schismatic backsides, at least schismatics backsides in all but names. A priest who is timorous to teach Catholicism for fear of “schism” is doing much worse: he is nurturing this very schismatic mentality as he allows it to stay within the Church and take over the everyday religious and – unavoidably – political discourse.
Bring it on. Let those who are not in anymore go, and let them go away under the sun rather than continue their demolition work in the shadow of the church. Many, I think, will stay; but again, it is not a matter of numbers.
Besides, it is not known to me that parishes which adopt the Traditional Mass empty themselves whilst the parishioners tun to the next tambourine NO mass, or defect to Methodism. The contrary is the case. Catholicism is attractive, because it responds to a natural, instinctive thirst of Truth.
Let us stop with these “fears of schism”. Let us, in fact, hope and pray for good priests who pose their parishioners in front of a clear choice, asking them to be either with Christ or with the world. By God's grace many will understand, make an effort to change, and never look back.
But there is no reason to allow the cancer to keep metastasising in the body of the Church. We must not only not fear, but wish for the crisis, both in individual consciences and in the Church at large. There is no other way to excise this cancer, because it will not go away from itself.
Bring it on.