But I had to post this excerpt of Cardinal George's response to the HHS mandate. My emphases. [and comments]
In the public discussion thus far, efforts have been made to isolate the bishops
from the Catholic faithful by focusing attention exclusively on "reproductive"
issues. But the acrimony could as easily focus next year or the year after on
assisted suicide or any other moral issue that can be used to distract attention
from the attack on religious liberty. Many will recognize in these moves a
tactic now familiar in our public life: those who cannot be co-opted are
isolated and then destroyed. [sounds like Alinsky tactics from Rules for Radicals---RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)] The arguments used are both practical and
Practically, we're told that the majority of Catholics use artificial
contraception. There are properly medical reasons, in some circumstances, for
the use of contraceptive pills, as everyone knows. But even if contraceptives
were used by a majority of couples only and exclusively to suppress a possible
pregnancy, behavior doesn't determine morality. If it can be shown that a
majority of Catholic students cheat on their exams, it is still wrong to cheat
on exams. Trimming morality to how we behave guts the Gospel call to conversion
of life and rejection of sin. [ Yes!]
Theoretically, it is argued that there are Catholic voices that disagree with
the teaching of the church and therefore with the bishops. There have always
been those whose personal faith is not adequate to the faith of the church.
Perhaps this is the time for everyone to re-read the Acts of the Apostles.
Bishops are the successors of the apostles; they collectively receive the
authority to teach and govern that Christ bestowed upon the apostles. Bishops
don't claim to speak for every baptized Catholic. Bishops speak, rather, for the
Catholic and apostolic faith. [And what a joy it has been to see one by one, the American bishops speaking up so strongly in the public square for religious freedom. Goosebumps . . . .]Those who hold that faith gather with them; others
go their own way. They are and should be free to do so, but they deceive
themselves and others in calling their organizations Catholic.
The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the
bishops not respecting the separation between church and state.|
The provision of health care should not demand "giving up" religious liberty.
Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was
guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to
church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except
conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications,
health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works
of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by
the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.