Sunday, February 05, 2012

Catholic Bishops and the Laws of Men

Imagine a couple has been in a monogamous marriage for over two decades. They have raised four children. They do not wish to have more. They could be worried about having enough money for retirement,
and can't afford to raise more children. In addition, because the couple is getting older, they are worried that they will lack the energy to raise another child. Finally, they worry about the health of the mother and potential child in such a late pregnancy. This couple wishes to remain intimate, and so use contraceptives to prevent another pregnancy.

The vast majority of Catholics agree that the use of contraception, such as in the case described above, is completely reasonable. In 2005, a poll showed that over 90% of Catholics thought using contraception in some circumstances was not a sin. Also important is the central role that contraception plays in preventing great sins: a sure-fire way to prevent abortion is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Catholic Bishops stand in stark contrast to their flock. They believe that anyone who uses condoms is a sinner, no matter what. Not content to merely pass their antiquated judgments, the Bishops are now demanding the power to deprive American Catholics the right to purchase condoms & other family planning products with their health insurance.

Growing up a Catholic, I remember a church that tried to serve as a guide. The church gave recommendations and advice to its flock, but never dictats. The recent change is really bizarre to me. What does it say about the Bishops' mindset that they would even try to use legal means, to use man's laws, to restrict the freedoms of their flock? At any rate, the Vatican should not have the right to impose their religious laws on Americans from Europe. Americans have economic freedom, religious freedom, and behavioral freedom that should not be infringed upon by anyone, even Catholic Bishops.  I am glad that President Obama stood up for the freedom of Americans in this case and told the Bishops that they can preach, but they cannot rule. Any Catholic who believes that family planning is smart, and that abortion is terrible and should be avoided, should call their Bishop and tell them as much.

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