Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quote of the Day

. . . [In the current birth control controversy] the bishops and other Christian groups are appealing to the role of "conscience," a concept on which the bishops themselves and recent popes have put little emphasis, in contrast to the role of "obedience." If they are going to appeal to conscience, then they must also respect the consciences of responsible adults — Catholic women and men, and non-Catholics who work at Catholic institutions.

They must respect the role of parents to decide how many children they can have, and can afford to take care of. No one is forcing Catholics to take contraceptives. It is a question of access, and hence, of justice.

They must also respect the role of Catholics to share their expertise in health care and in public policy, as Vatican II argued. Catholic theologians and other professors at academic universities have the responsibility to search for truth and to work for justice. The Catholic moral tradition has long argued that there is a difference between morality and public policy.

. . . So here is the question, as I see it, as a Catholic theologian and lifelong Catholic, educated almost entirely at Catholic institutions, and taught to work for human dignity, the common good and social justice: Should the U.S. bishops speak for all Catholics on a matter of national public policy, an issue that most Catholics disagree on within their own church? The bishops have refused to discuss this issue with their fellow Catholics for more than 40 years. And the bishops are all male. What about Catholic theologians, academics, social workers and health care professionals? What about Catholic women? What about the 98%?

See also the previous PCV posts:
We Are the 98 Percent
Something to Think About — February 11, 2012
Obama, Catholics, And Why I Walked Out of Mass on Sunday
Out of Step With the Flock: Bishops Far Behind on Birth Control Issues
Overpopulation and the Catholic Church: Can't We Become Part of the Solution?

Related Off-site Links:
98% of Catholic Women Have Used Contraception the Bishops Oppose — Dino Grandoni (The Atlantic Wire, February 10, 2012).
Why I'm a Catholic for Contraception — Karalen L. Morthole (CNN, February 10, 2012).
U.S. Bishops Oppose Obama's Compromise Birth Control Plan — James Vicini (Reuters, February 11, 2012).
Men Dealing Badly with Women: The USCCB and Women's Reproductive Health — Colleen Kochivar-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, February 12, 2012).
Liberals Enabled Bishops in Contraception Battle — Sarah Posner (Religion Dispatches, February 11, 2012).

1 comment:

  1. The question of religious liberty, i.e., individual conscience versus obedience to the Church was one of the most contested issues fought during Vatican II between liberals and conservatives. In the end it resulted in the now familiar constitution which reads:

    “Deep within their consciences men and women discover a law that they have not laid upon themselves but which they must obey. Its voice, ever calling them to love and to do what is good and to avoid what is evil, tells them inwardly at the right moment: do this, shun that. For they have in their hearts a law inscribed by God. Their dignity lies in observing this law, and by it they will be judged . . . By conscience that law is made known in a wonderful that is fulfilled in love for God and for one's neighbour. Through loyalty to conscience Christians are joined to others in the search for truth and for the right solution to so many moral problems that arise both in the lives of individuals and in social relationships.” - Pastoral Constitution on the Modern World

    This claim is further supported by the declaration On Religious Liberty which reads:

    “The dignity of the human person is a concern of which people of our time are becoming increasingly more aware. In growing numbers people demand that they should enjoy the use of their own responsi¬ble judgment and freedom and decide on their actions on grounds of duty and conscience, without external pressure or coercion. They also urge that bounds be set to government by law, so that the limits of reasonable freedom should not be too tightly drawn for persons or for social groups. This demand in human society for freedom is chiefly concerned with the values of the human spirit, above all with the free and public practice of religion”.

    Catholics have begun to realize their individual role and responsibility to dialogue (not monologue) directly with our Creator. This applies to all of the challenges and trials we face each day. Including abortion, contraception, homosexuality, etc., etc., By listening to God with our hearts Catholics are not disobeying the Church but rather following the advice first offered by and truth recognized by the faithful fathers of Vatican II.

    This is of course is a thorn in the side of the most conservative and fearful element in our Church led by the present Pope. Imagine the loss of power & prestige is that is now at stake? The Holy Spirit’s desire to guide the People of God has been ignored for too long.