Saturday, April 14, 2012


From the New York Times:
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops issued a proclamation on Thursday calling for every priest, parish and layperson to participate in a “great national campaign” to defend religious liberty, which they said is “under attack, both at home and abroad.” 

In particular they urged every diocese to hold a “Fortnight for Freedom” during the two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July, for parishioners to study, pray and take public action to fight what they see as the government’s attempts to curtail religious freedom. 
For more than half a year, the bishops have put the religious liberty issue front and center, but it has not yet galvanized the Catholic laity and has even further polarized the church’s liberal and conservative flanks. In an election year, liberal Catholics have accused the bishops of making the church an arm of the Republican Party in the drive to defeat President Obama, an accusation the bishops reject. 
Could it be that the laity are not galvanized because they do not see their religious liberty at risk?  Could it be that a good many Roman Catholic women view the bishops' campaign as an assault on women's health care? 
Quoting from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the bishops say that unjust laws should be either changed or resisted.
Puhleeze!  The citation of Martin Luther King's letter from jail and the comparison to to the Civil Rights struggle for equality for African-Americans is a bridge too far.  Bishops, you make yourself look foolish.  You speak well to immigration and other issues, but who will listen when you destroy your own credibility with comparisons to MLK, as you campaign to deny women health care in the name of religious freedom?

And if you don't mind strong language, read Charles Pierce's post titled 'The Clan of the Red Beanie Stalks MLK, Sanity.'

'The Clan of the Red Beanie' is good, isn't it?  Charles is quite the wordsmith.

Image from Wikipedia.


  1. Bishops are right and the precedents here are going to be bad for everyone

  2. James H, welcome to a fellow Louisianian. Obviously, you and I disagree.

  3. Thank You

    Let me just say as to one part of the BIG PICTURE I try to use this recent example.

  4. James H, thanks for the link. Immigration policies are an entirely different issue than health care, and I don't see the link between the two. The bishops in their letter also mention Christians in other countries who are actually being killed and persecuted, which is also a specious linkage.

    I know the ways of the Roman Catholic Church well, having been a member of the church for 60 years. I learned much that was good for which I remain thankful, but I left over the child abuse and cover-up scandal. If I had not left 16 years ago, I would have made my departure over a good many issues since then, including this one.

    The heavy-handed interference in the lives of women who are not members of their church is outrageous. A Facebook friend had this to say about my post:

    As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of even every-Sunday-at-mass Roman Catholic women plan their families with the assistance of contraceptives, oral or other.And good on 'em.

  5. First time in 40 years in the US that I've seen "fortnight" used by an American . Pretentious some? I quit using it almost 40 years ago, when a US co-worker said "I thought only people in Jane Austen talk like that".

    Re persecuted bishops, hot on the heels of frustrated Anglican Mainstreams fag-bashing comes (Usual Suspects) George, "Out-Of-His-Depth-In-A-Font", Carey, riding the A Mainstream bandwagon with "Christians are being “persecuted” by courts and “driven underground” in the same way that homosexuals once were".

  6. I read the article from a link at Conscientisation. I suggested that Carey might be taking lessons from the RC bishops in the US.

  7. I'm debating making another pleading "For God's sake, STOP GIVING THEM (the RC bishops) MONEY!!!!" post on an RC blog (blogger of our FoJ acquaintance). Stop me, Mimi. :-(

    I have had up to and OVER my kiester w/ the RC heirarchy (in the US. May be better in Austria!). I really have. I want those b@stards defunded, NOW. [We all know where NOM gets there $$$$$ now, don't we?] I want the RC faithful to turn their backs on their hate-/paranoia-spewing clergy (if not walking out on 'em). I want them to say to Rome, en masse, "Give us new, SANE bishops, or we'll choose our own!"

    I want the RCC *reformed*. Or I want it GONE.

    Had it! >:-0

  8. They lost their moral compass years ago and are now lost in the wilderness.

  9. Stop me, Mimi. :-(

    JCF, I couldn't if I wanted to. ;-)

    Tobias, in the wilderness, indeed, including having lost touch with the RC laity. 'Do it because I say so' doesn't work any more.

  10. I've always seen the RC Church as overly authoriarian and patriarchal. That was so thirty years ago during my brief stint as a Catholic, and I think it's gotten worse over the years--a trend aided and given much strength by John Paul II and the current Benedict whatever his number is. I don't think it's a co-incidence that Benedict used to head what was once called the Inquisition. This is an institution trying to increase its own power, not only over its own members, but over the rest of society too. They are now demanding, in effect, the right to follow only the laws they want to follow--and then to make other people follow their views. And oddly enough, it's the people who make clamors about Muslim shariah law "taking over" the US who defend the Catholic bishops on this issue.

  11. Seems to me the bishops, like Justice Scalia, like Rick Santorum, like lots of Southern Baptists etc. we could name, are all stuck in the 19th century, if not the middle ages: longing for the glory days when a straight white man was the very summit of God's creation, women knew their place (between the kitchen and the bedroom), and teh gayz just didn't exist at all.


  12. One of the problems that the bishops (and parish priests also)have is that they used to exert great control over people's lives thru the confessional and now people avoid that.
    In one parish, we were preparing kids for first Penance.As I started to leave a meeting with the Pastor, he hemmed a bit, turned pink, and then asked me if I knew why women did not discuss problems of a sexual nature in the confessional. Being a VatII baby and fairly new convert. I said lightly: "Ah, I think that women feel they can make their own decisions about those things, Father." Was that ever the wrong answer!
    Next meeting he said that he was concerned that the kids would be confused if none of the parents went to confession, would I ask some of the parents to go to confess so the kids wouldn't think that the sacrament was just for kids.
    So I passed on his request to a couple of the mothers. They were hesitant. One said immediately that her husband had told her that if she got pregnant again, he would leave her, so I left it up to them. Came the day of the event, they did go to confess, first one and then the other (the only adults to do so). They came out and stormed up the aisle and as one passed me, sitting in an aisle seat, she hissed at me "You bi ch". Later they told me that he had questioned them and really lit into them about contraception, etc.
    I could not apologize enough, I did not have the background to realize the power of the confessional. These days people (wisely, I think) avoid confession and it takes away a great deal of the
    power/persuasion that the clergy had. That power tool just doesn't work well now and so they are resorting to more and more desperate measures to enforce the old rules. You may be pretty sure that as people leave the church and avoid confession if they stay, the bishops are getting pressure from Rome to DO something!
    We came to call it "Putting the toothpaste back in the tube".

    This is especially sad, I think, because there are times in life when people need a safe place to talk about their problems and sins and they have to shop around for a safe priest who uses the sacrament to help and offer the comfort of forgiveness instead of to humiliate and control.


  13. Kishnevi, Benedict was known amongst certain of his fellow Roman Catholics as 'Ratzinger, the Enforcer', when he visited the US to investigate whether the bishops, universities, and religious communities were following the party line. Not much has changed, as the Vatican still sends its enforcers over.

    Russ, I have to say that teh gayz pretty much didn't exist in my world as I grew up. Not until I was in high school did I fully realize, except in a vague way, that there were those amongst us who were attracted to the same sex. There were only the maiden aunts and bachelor uncles, some of whom had a housemate of the same sex.

    Nij, what a horror story! Once I made up my mind to use birth control, I never confessed it, because I did not think I was sinning. I'm thankful that I chose my priests well, and I never had one who put me through an inquisition on the subject.

  14. Even if you weren't going to get a lecture about using contraception, I am not clear on why women would want to "discuss problems of a sexual nature" with a bloke who, if he's adhered to the rules of his job, never has sex.

  15. Cathy, I don't understand either why women would want to talk about sex with a bloke who is supposed to be celibate, either,

    JCF, Sorry.

    Mark, you'll have the feds on you, yet.

    1. And now I'm banned from said blog.

      {Double Le Sigh}

    2. With this Friend-of-Jake blogger? Yes. Surprised and hurt. My backside didn't need any more figurative bootmarks. [That said, I think this blogger's REAL problem is something other than me. I just happened to be there, as a target. For that reason, in particular, I pray for this blogger's healing, from whatever the real deal is.]

    3. Ah well, I am sorry, JCF. I should have tried to stop you, but I doubt you would have paid attention.

    4. Paid attention to you, Mimi? Always.

  16. They need to be on the RCC - they're the ones calling for holy war.


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