Top Ten Catholic Teachings Santorum Rejects while Obsessing about Birth Control

The right wing Republican politicians who have been denouncing the requirement that female employees have access to birth control as part of their health benefits as an attack on religious freedom completely ignore the church teachings they don’t agree with. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are both Catholics, and wear their faith on their sleeves, but they are hypocritical in picking and choosing when they wish to listen to the bishops.

1. So for instance, Pope John Paul II was against anyone going to war against Iraq I think you’ll find that Rick Santorum managed to ignore that Catholic teaching.

2.The Conference of Catholic Bishops requires that health care be provided to all Americans. I.e., Rick Santorum’s opposition to universal health care is a betrayal of the Catholic faith he is always trumpeting.

3. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations. (Santorum largely supports executions.)

4. The US Conference of Bishops has urged that the federal minimum wage be increased, for the working poor. Santorum in the Senate repeatedly voted against the minimum wage.

5. The bishops want welfare for all needy families, saying “We reiterate our call for a minimum national welfare benefit that will permit children and their parents to live in dignity. A decent society will not balance its budget on the backs of poor children.” Santorum is a critic of welfare.

6. The US bishops say that “the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions…”. Santorum, who used to be supportive of unions in the 1990s, has now, predictably, turned against them.

7. Catholic bishops demand the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Rick Santorum denies that there are any Palestinians, so I guess he doesn’t agree with the bishops on that one.

8. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops ripped into Arizona’s law on treatment of immigrants, Cardinal Roger Mahony characterized Arizona’s S.B. 1070 as “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law,” saying it is based on “totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources.” He even suggested that the law is a harbinger of an American Nazism! Santorum attacks ‘anchor babies’ or the provision of any services to children of illegal immigrants born and brought up in the US.

9. The Bishops have urged that illegal immigrants not be treated as criminals and that their contribution to this country be recognized.

10. The US Conference of Bishops has denounced, as has the Pope, the Bush idea of ‘preventive war’, and has come out against an attack on Iran in the absence of a real and present threat of an Iranian assault on the US. In contrast, Santorum wants to play Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove and ride the rocket down on Isfahan himself.

The conflict is between Federal authorities and the US Catholic bishops over rules requiring employees of Catholic institutions such as universities and hospitals to have birth control pills supplied to them as part of their health insurance. Because of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, the contemporary Roman Catholic church has taken the stand that artificial birth control is immoral. The bishops therefore object to having the church be forced to supply it as part of their employees’ health care packages.

The problem is that birth control is legal in the United States, and birth control pills are used for other purposes than contraception (in fact, contraception may not even be the purpose of the majority of prescriptions). Contrary to what Santorum alleges, the prescriptions are relatively expensive for poor and working class families.

Religious practices in the United States are trumped by secular law all the time when there is a conflict. Thus, Native Americans who believe in using peyote as part of their religious rituals were fired from their government jobs for doing so, and the US Supreme Court upheld it in 1990.

Likewise, traditionalist members of the Sikh religion believe that a man should avoid cutting his hair, and should bind it up in a turban. So what if an orthodox Sikh gets a job as a construction worker? He can’t get a hard hat on over the turban. Does he have the right to forgo the hard hat on the construction site, so as to retain his turban? The question went to the US courts, and they said Sikhs have to wear hard hats. If a brick fell on the turban and killed the Sikh worker, his family could after all sue the construction company for negligence since it did not require him to wear a hard hat.

Or there are many instances in which Muslim religious laws and practices have been over-ruled in the United States by the courts. American law forbids Muslim-American men to take a second wife, something legal to them in many of their home countries. State law tends to award community property in cases of divorce instead of the much smaller payments men can make to divorced women in Islamic law, even if the couple have specified in their marriage contract that Muslim law (sharia) will govern these issues.

I don’t think there is any question that Federal law, and state law, can trump Roman Catholic religious sentiments, just as they trump the religious sentiments and practices of other religious communities where issues of secular justice and equity are at stake.

The tradition of American progressive thought is tolerant of religion even while usually not being religious itself. In my view this attitude of tolerance is rooted in James Madison’s theory of democracy, which is that it is best preserved by lively arguments among groups in the body politic that disagree with one another. Thus, while the Roman Catholic church authorities adopted a negative stance toward modernity, cultural pluralism, and democracy in the nineteenth century, the Catholic community in the United States nevertheless contributed in important ways to modernity, cultural pluralism and democracy. Arguably, had the US been entirely Protestant, its law and practice would have evolved in a less pluralistic and tolerant direction.

A flourishing Catholic community contributed to social debates and so improved American democracy– witness Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. And, the reformist theologians of the twentieth century, most of them European or Latin American, cultivated by American Catholics, made important contributions to our understanding– Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hans Kueng, Paulo Freire, and Gustavo Gutierrez. I would argue that Vatican II was an important event in American religious life across the board, not just for American Catholics. It is lack of appreciation of Madisonian conceptions of democracy of pluralism and checks and balances that led the late Christopher Hitchens to disregard altogether the enormous positive contribution of the Church, whether to the education of the poor and working classes or to teaching social justice. (By the way, the argument for democracy depending on diverse voices and vigorous debate is also an argument for the benefits for the US of the advent of Islam in American public life).

So, the arguments the bishops are making about the balance between conscience and the obligations of civil law should be welcomed by all Americans as part of our national dialectic.

President Obama is to be applauded for at least trying to find a compromise that doesn’t dragoon Catholic institutions into betraying that conscience. In the end, of course, civil law must uphold equitable treatment of all women, and a satisfactory compromise may not be possible. We will be the better for having the debate, and attempting to find a modus vivendi.

What isn’t helpful is to have loud-mouthed hypocrites who reject all the humane principles for which the Catholic Church stands getting on a high horse about a third-order teaching such as artificial birth control (on which the position of the church has changed over time, and may change again).

159 Responses

  1. You know, i’m not trying to be with or against anybody here, but I don’t know if it is right to consider all catholic church stances on policies as “teachings of the catholic faith” that catholics are necessarily obliged to adhere to.

    • Depends on how firmly you believe in the doctrines. I have an acquaintance who is strictly Catholic, and he’d say the exact opposite of what you did. He firmly believes that if you don’t follow in the specific teachings of the Catholic church, you don’t deserve to call yourself Catholic and therefore, should just excommunicate yourself and find a new religion.

      By his (and most likely other Catholic’s) logic, you’re not a ‘true believer’ and need to GTFO. Different strokes for different folks.

      • Is Catholicism a religion? Is Protestantism a religion? Aren’t both of them main sects of Christianity?

        If both of these are religions, then what happened to Christianity? Who is Christian? Who is the follower of Christianity? What religion Christianity is?

        • To be complete, one might ask what religion is Islam? Sunni? Shia? Sufi?

          Humans seem constructed to only be able to manage fealty and attachment to groups of a certain size and shape. So schism and sectarianism and tribalism and secession and rebellion seem kind of built into our natures. Along with the unfortunate, common recognition that there is, or needs to be, a Divine of some sort, whether just First Cause or that intimate set of Persons and acceptable Goddesses (some call them Saints) wrapped up in a dogma and doctrines that gee whiz, just happen to favor a certain small group of (when you look close) often pure Machiavellian crypto-atheists who use people’s touching and deep need for Something To Believe In That’s Larger Than Themselves to manipulate the Masses for fun, profit and power…

          We are all in this together, more’s the pity.

        • Nothing has happened to Christianity. Catholicism is a religion, and the Protestant religion split off from the Catholic religion in the 16th century mostly due to the efforts of Martin Luther to reform the Catholic Church which had become rather corrupt in that day and age. This period in time is known as the Reformation. They are both Christian religions, and the Protestant faith has many different sects, such as the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Anglicans, Baptist, Calvinists, Evangelical Christians,etc.

          There are many differences between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. However, some major differences between the Catholic Church and almost all of these other Protestant religions is that the Catholic faithful follow the directives of the Vatican (ie the Pope, aka the Holy See). Another major difference is that Catholics believe that the bread and wine offered up during the Catholic mass is changed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into the body and blood of Christ. Another major difference is the veneration of Mary. Because she was Jesus’ mother, said “yes” to God’s will, and brought him into the world, Catholics believe that she is holy and worthy of adoration and veneration. Only the Episcopal/Anglican faith believe in the last two points, but they do not recognize the Pope as a spiritual leader of their church.

          They all follow the teachings of Christ,and thus are Christian religions. They only differ in certain doctrinal areas….but never waiver from the Bible’s teachings.

          I hope this helps…

        • Yes Catholicism is a religion. In fact Catholicism IS Christianity in that Protestantism only started in the 1500s.

          The Word “Catholic” means “Universal”, which is to say, a Catholic is a “universal Christian.”

      • Rejection of artificial birth control is not a core Catholic doctrine like its believe in the Trinity or Jesus as the Son of God. It is a rational argument without much scriptureal basis founded on “natural law.” But even then, it is a conclusion from a conclusion from a conclusion. As a Catholic, I question the logic, know that new science has undermined the old scientific presumptions, and do not think a celibate pope has the best vantage point to make a valid conclusion. According to some Vatican gossip, Pope John Paul was going to call the conclusion infallible and the present pope begged him not to.

        I think any bishop who thinks the Church’s position a position that cannot be challenged has not really studied the issue. He is simply going on the pope’s authority. And his own infallible authority.

        • The belief that life begins at conception is largely due to the inability to determine at what point a human being acquires a soul. Since that cannot be scientifically determined, the best option is to err on the conservative side and go with life beginning at conception. That is why contraception, abortifacients and abortion is considered a “grave evil”.

          The teachings on contraception and abortion are found in the Ordinary Magesterium, and it is considered to be an infallible doctrine, due to it’s constancy. Teachings found in the Ordinary Magesterium do not have to be proclaimed Ex Cathedra by the Pope in order to be considered infallible.

          And I most certainly believe a celibate Pope can understand biology enough to make a statement on this issue, by the way.

    • Well, Catholics are supposed to view the Vatican as the source of truth as the truest interpretation of God’s will by humans and bishops as an extension of the Pope (I was taught this for 9 years in a Catholic school). So a ‘true’ Catholic WOULD see these stances as ones they would need to adhere to because these stances stem from the church’s interpretation of God’s word.

      • Actually, the proper function of Rome is that of an arbiter with respect to handling liturgical disputes. The various Bishops and Cardinals of the church have a wide variety of interpretive models and some are quite a bit more progressive than others.

        Consider that both the underlying mathematics for both the Big Bang, AND Darwin’s theory of Evolution , were both paid for and sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, and the two scientists developing their respective fields.

        Mendel worked tirelessly for nearly 30 years and invented his own brand of statistics as well, to define and mathematically ascertain the basic Laws of Heredity.

        Le Maitre studied with Eddington, Hubble and even worked with Einstein on matters related to the proof of Eddington’s theory of the Expanding Universe, Le Maitre pinned the “big bang” down as a possible causation event, and Hubble ended up confirming the theory years later.

        Senator Santorum – despite all his rhetoric is a very small-minded politician, effectively just a hairs breath from the GOP nomination, but every inch as ignorant and neoconservatively minded as Sarah Palin or any of the other intellectually soft and malleable candidates the US conservative movement seems keen to offer up these days.

    • Like many, this article confuses the proposed guidelines of the bishops with papal decree delivered ex-cathedra. Papal decree delivered “from the seat of god” are matters of indisputable dogmatic doctrine. These decrees are extremely rare and do not typically address specific political issues. Everything else is opinion and NOT dogmatic, and is subject to change. A guideline, so to speak. The opinions of a pope is not generically “the word of god.” They are just that, opinions.

      • it doesn’t do any such thing. Show me where I used the word doctrine or dogma. Geez, why do insiders always assume outsiders don’t know what they are talking about?

        on the other hand if you go on and on about sticking up for the bishops in this dilemma it is hypocritical to then stand against them on every single other issue.

        • Because you call the opinions of the Bishops “teachings of the Catholic Church.” They are 2 different things. The reason we can stand with them in this dilemma and not be hypocritical is that it goes directly against the teachings of the church, ie papal encyclicals. That contraception is wrong IS a teaching of the Catholic Church, a fundamental point. That minimum wage should be increased is not a teaching of the church.

        • There is a difference between dogma and doctrine on the one hand and teachings on the other. The pope and the bishops when they issue these statements are teaching the laity what they think the church stands for. In Roman Catholicism, their word carries more weight than that of the laity. If you think you know better than they, the Southern Baptist convention might be a better fit.

      • Differences of opinion is what makes horseraces and different sects of religions. It is good to note that the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and birth control come from encyclicals, which, as you say, are papal opinions. They are not “ex cathedra” rules of the church. Even some cardinals seem to be confused about this point. The most recent “ex cathedra” pronouncement was in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, defining the Assumption of Mary.

    • It doesn’t much matter what you think. It matters what the Church says… and it says Catholics are supposed to follow its dictates.

      Santorum, like most cafeteria Catholics, picks and chooses what to follow. Unlike most cafeteria Catholics, he’s running for President of the US and claiming his adherence to Catholic teaching gives him moral cred that others don’t have.

      • Except that it is not a sin to disagree with the opinions. I can disagree with them that minimum wage should no be raised in the USA and I am not sinning. If I don’t pay my employees more that minimum wage, I am not sinning. However, if I disagree with teachings on contraception, or use contraception, then I am sinning. That is a huge difference. One is a fundamental teaching of the church, the other is not. And, because of this, the church treats them differently.

        • Speaking of opinions, George Carlin has a few. You can’t link to Youtube through this place, apparently, but for Carlin’s view of Absolute Truth, you can call up “George Carlin – Religion is bullshit.” Though I understand it’s a mortal sin to watch stuff like that…

    • I have read an official catechism book within the last few years, and it is very heavily pacifist. It allows war only in self defense and the offense must be close in time, aimed at your own physical borders and unavoidable by other means. So, basically, unless there is an army marching against you, war is murder according to the Catholic Church. And capital punishment is always murder.

    • I left the Catholic church after 56 years because I did not believe in the tenets of the church on birth control, abortion.
      I felt that they did not do enough to save children from predatory priests. I do not support the ban of women from the hierarchy of the church.
      I was told I could not be a Catholic in good standing if I was ‘cafeteria Catholic”
      So I left.
      Santorum is choosing abortion as a wedge issue. His stand on all contraceptives is barbaric.

      But, I think he represents the new and improved Catholic church that is getting more conservative in anything other then it’s social teachings.
      What santorum does not realize is that not everybody is as wealthy as he is nor do they have paid for health care for life. He is a hypocrite and a dangerous one at that.

      • It is good that you recognize your own flaws within the Church and your “choice” not to follow. The fact that not all Catholics feel the same as the Church does isn’t a negative thing for anyone other than yourself. Leaving the Church is a way for you not to have to face your sins as sin and no longer TRY to be a righteous follower of Christ. That is all he asks – that we TRY and if we fall get up and TRY again. Unlike you – I do believe the teachings about contraception and birth control are more damaging than good for a woman’s body. Hormones introduced unnaturally into a woman’s body leads to all kinds of trouble and well frankly several different cancers (even if the risk is small) – There is good and bad in all and one day the bad in the contraception will prove to be worse than the good you believe it is now – Santorum is the LEAST wealthy of any of them in the race who are you calling wealthy? That boggles me. The only hypocrite is our president who donates a measly 1% to charity – makes more than everyone but Romney and tries to say that rich people don’t pay their “FAIR” share. At least 13% of his earnings went to charity and all God demands is 10% – I am a Santorum supporter and see the truth you do not in him; but I give Romney credit for his contributions

        • Billie: This is such claptrap comining from you.

          What do you and the bishops know about the effects of birth control? Are you a physician? Or scientist? Have you done any research? Or you just parroying dogma that has been passed down by someone else who has no clue?

          Can’t you think for yourself?

          Obviously not since you are a Santorum supporter.

          On question for you Santorum supporter: why is it ok for Mrs. Santorum to have a pregnancy terminated when her life is at stake but other women in the same situation can’t?

          The Obamas minimum net worth = $2,802,012 with a maximum net worth of $11,830,000. The Obamas donated $329,100 to some 40 charities and the full amount of $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize to 10 charities.

          Also, too, you can be sure that not a single penny went of any racist or homophobic organizations whose purpose is to discriminat againt others.

          And please, plese explain how little Ricky donated $13 million when his 2011 net worth was less than $3 million?

          Home schooled were we?

    • Yes. Furthermore, it appears that the issue here is the first amendment, not specific doctrine. Take care all, Susan P.S. Thanks Lela for keeping me in the loop. Love, Mom

    • You are 100% right here Marshmello LOL – I am a STRICT Catholic and the “TEACHINGS” of the faith are not opinions of others within the faith – they come from doctrine and the Bible itself. As long as the entire doctrine did not change and the Catechism re-written to include “Do not go to war with Iraq” that is not a teaching – It was an opinion of the Pope. PERIOD The only time that happens is with “DIVINE” inspiration. That means Jesus himself spoke through a prophet and declared that “going to war in Iraq is bad” therefore this entire article is purely illogical fallacy and bunk

    • These are not Church teachings, but opinions/views of the pope & some of the bishops for consideration by the faithful – these are not mandates or ex cathedra doctrine. This is a common liberal attempt to try to equate all issues in an effort to bury the non-negotiable “intrinsic evils” (see BISHOP’s own words on this below) so they can justify supporting pro-abortion pols.

      And after all, subsidiarity is a fundamental principle of Catholic teaching on social justice – and the solutions offered by Democrats are typically 180 degrees opposed to that concept.

      How many of those in poverty are there because of the govt “assistance” they receive? I have a friend in Colorado who has been stuck on welfare for years & is vigorously supporting Santorum. They have been trying for years to help themselves – she has said repeatedly that her family doesn’t want welfare, just a job, but the govt’s “help” has driven business away from their state. She’ll be the first to tell you that the govt doesn’t solve problems, it perpetuates them.

      Meanwhile, over 50 million babies have died in our country since Roe v Wade – compared to how many poor people? The implication – sometimes even spoken – is that born people count more than the living-but-not-yet-born (the Supreme Court didn’t even grant them 3/5th’s personhood).

      Thankfully, the bishops added a clarifying introductory note to their “Faithful Citizenship” guide, during last year’s election cycle, to prevent it’s meaning from being distorted by those who would like to muddy the issue:

      Catholic Bishops: Abortion Should Guide 2012 Election Vote
      “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many,” the document says.

      “As Catholics we are not single-issue voters,” the bishops wrote in the guide. “A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”

      In addition to abortion, the bishops said euthanasia, assisted suicide, and embryonic stem cell research should form the panoply of pro-life issues that guide Catholic voters.

      link to lifenews.com

      (The pope has also said that there is no intrinsic evil currently in existence that is greater than abortion. So there is no legitimate excuse for a Catholic to support a pro-abortion pol over a pro-life one in this 2012 election)

  2. Living Christ’s Image: Santorum (and Gringrich) would be terrible presidents not because they are Catholics, but because they are bad Catholics. Even the tenets of the Republican Party are antithetical to Catholic morality and teaching (I am a product of the Jesuits). As an atheist myself, although with Christ as one of many role-models, it is difficult to listen to these two men talk period as their hypocrisy makes me sad.
    Perhaps Obama will have the political-savvy to kill two/three birds with one stone here through inciting public dialogue about religion, forcing another awkward Mormom-speech from Romney à la 2008…

  3. Intresting list. Here are two more:

    (11) In 1996 Pope John Paul II declared that evolution was a scientific fact (humans evolved from previous life forms, but God gave humans a soul). In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI said that denying the truth of evolution is an “absurdity” link to msnbc.msn.com

    (12) In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI called for international agreement on climate change. “I hope that all members of the international community can agree on a responsible, credible and supportive response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, keeping in mind the needs of the poorest populations and of future generations,” the pope said. link to catholicnews.com

  4. santorum rejects basic biological and scientific facts deemed to be true for catholics by pope pius XII [himself hardly a flaming liberal] in his encyclical.

  5. Once again, Santorum – and Gingrich for that matter – are shown to be nothing more than hypocrites, liars and “deli counter” Catholics, picking and choosing which church doctrine they want to follow. The country would be a lot better off if all politicians checked their religion at the door.

  6. even if the ban on artificial birth control were affirmed by ecumenical council and the church commanded all catholic mothers to remain pregnant as much as possible and family a dozen kids each, still the church has no right to demand that the USA impose catholic law on the rest of us. no pope no priest no shaman no rabbi no rebbi mo mulla no dervish no medicine man no wuhipi no evangelist has the right to demand thev rest of us dance to the tune of their drum. women have a god given right to decide their own health. if priests and popes medicine men and mullas were forced to become pregnant and raise those kids themselves believe me their fetwas and ex cathedral pronouncements would change.

    • The Church isn’t imposing anything on the United States. What the Church wants is to be free to adhere to the standards of the Faith in regards to the schools, hospitals, and institutions that the Catholic Church OWNS AND FUNDS. This is for Catholic institutions, and the government should not be allowed to force them into any such requirement.

  7. If dems really cared about Catholics help, they could make a reasonable compromise. Employers who don’t want to cover contraception on religious grounds, need to cover something else, really important and more expensive.

    • Hmm really important and expensive. How about paying for the college education of all the employee’s children?

      • This is funny, but serious. No one in this discussion is talking about sex, but it is central here. In reality on planet earth, humans will engage in sexual activity and even if best efforts are employed, some pregnancies will ensue. Carrying a child to term should not be the penalty for sexual activity. Check out Freakonomics data on the relationship between availability of abortion and reduction in crime. Children who are wanted are more likely to be balanced adults. Let’s try to make abortions as rare as possible by making birth control ubiquitous! Secular law rules here!!

  8. The problem with this argument, of course, is that the bishops don’t really promote any of these teachings either. For the institutional church, it’s all abortion all the time.

    • Thanks for saying that. You saved me the trouble. Except, I’d add this ‘birth control’ contretemps is just something they’ve ginned up to justify full-throttle support for republicans in the fall. Look for Joe Biden to be denied communion, round about September.

  9. Those points all rather run counter to the right’s calim that this is a “Christian nation” as well, I would think.

    • How can this be a christian nation when the first amendment clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,”

      if you can’t establish a religion, that the nation can’t be “christian”.

  10. As a former Baptist and long-time critic of Protestant fundamentalism, I have never been able to understand the game being played between far-right Protestants and far-right Catholics to join forces while ignoring the differences in doctrine that justify their separate existences.

    It’s as if both groups are really part of a 3rd religion, extremist, violent Americanism, yet they must hide in their existing religions to obtain certain Constitutional advantages that they intend to deny to everyone they regard as un-American.

    Pat Buchanan is the paragon of the Catholic-who’s-really-a-Baptist. Like a quantum particle he exists in two religious states at the same time, embracing the Pope’s anti-Communism and utterly ignoring his pacifism, because the Pope is himself just a tool to strengthen America.

    I think every religion introduced into this country gets contaminated over several generations by the essentially Protestant aggression of its founding; the individual greedbag who claims that God approves of his rape of land and “lesser” peoples in the name of productivity, which will then fund further conversion and conquest. This entrepreneurial evangelism became first Manifest Destiny, then Imperialism, then the road to assimiliation for Jews and Catholics. Thus pro-war, pro-natalism, pro-rich, pro-pollution, pro-speculation, anti-Latino and anti-regulation.

    Americanism is Protestantism twisted into a self-justifying tribal religion; people of other religions want to be part of the tribe too. But they will get shortchanged by ignoring an agenda that demands total conversion. Right-wing Catholics can support the destruction of the public school system, but Catholic schools are too expensive to compete with the vast fanatic-subsidized machinery of Baptist and Pentecostal schools and home-schooling. Is it so important to crush liberalism that you will hand your children over to enemies for conversion?

  11. Of course, all this ado is just the latest example of of “mobbing behavior,” link to en.wikipedia.org, or maybe “piling on.” And of course diversion and distraction and the deepest form of hypocrisy. The Cardinals flap at the clumsy Unitary President as he makes a mis-step, and the ConservaCrows join in. And all those folks who already have Obama in their sight picture and have the adrenaline on a steady simmer, just waiting for that first bubble to form on the bottom of the pot to trigger another rolling boil and cloud of steam.

    Why is there so little hammering on the hypocritical Mitred Ones for centuries of institutionalized sex slavery forced on all those post-partum critters that actually are born, and bleed, and suffer, when what is so often called, and so unfortunately remains, “unspeakable?” Actions that are thought by the vast majority of us to be so far off limits that in many places, there’s a death penalty for such horrific abuse?

    These “doers” of children have no problem doing what they You have to wonder how many of the many predators in the “priesthood” use protection (other than the cloak and cassock of Silence, and the cowardly hiding behind the touching, durable faith of Believers who lose their parishes and have to double-tithe to pay the fines and judgments and defense costs and PR bucks of the malefactors) when they do what they do in chancel and nave.

    And how many of these abusing anointed whining harumphing Bishops are neck-deep in the institutionalization and protection of what sure looks like an organized, long-lived HCPCSC (Holy Catholic Priest-Child Sex Conclave)? Oh, of course, the Sinners repent, and are granted absolution and relocation to a new pool of prey critters…

    But no, let’s grab that Presumption of Priestly Blessedness and use it to leverage yet another Reason To Defeat Obama.

    Though you have to wonder, really wonder, if the Obamites really want another four years, given the degree of political klutziness involved in this and so many other failures in the Art of Presidential PR.

  12. Anti-contraception teaching may be “third-order” but contraception is, so they say, “intrinsically evil” and a grave sin (“mortal sin”) — with possible loss of heaven,like for murder.

  13. You are wrong on several points:

    1) President Obama is not seeking compromise. He merely moved the subsidies for contraception from Catholic hospitals and universities and onto Catholic insurance companies. Most Catholic organizations use Catholic insurance or self-insure, so Obama’s “solution” is nonsense and Obama knows it.

    2) Unlike Protestant teaching, Catholic teaching on contraception has NEVER changed. The penalties associated with contraception have changed over the course of centuries as culture has changed, but it has always been taught to be a mortal sin.

    3) Dorothy Day, who herself had an abortion as an atheist, was strenuously opposed to abortion and contraception after her conversion to the Catholic Church.

    4) Muslims are not required by their religion to take a second wife. Failing to take a second wife doesn’t interfere with the practice of their faith.

    Native Americans who want to use peyote can do so – the courts do not stop them.

    Sikhs who want to keep their long hair can do so – the courts do not stop them.

    According to Obama, Catholics who don’t want to pay for contraception… can’t refuse. They MUST violate their consciences, under penalty of law.

    Finally, the teaching on contraception is not a “third-order” teaching, rather it strikes at the heart of Catholic Faith. The teaching on respect for the innocent unseen life is directly linked to the teaching on respect for the innocent, unseen Christ present in the Eucharist.

    You apparently don’t know the first thing about Faith or the law. But, apart from that basic problem, your commentary was fine.

    • But the Native Americans in that case did believe that they have to use peyote. Courts say they can’t on pain of being fired. Likewise wearing a turban is much more central to orthodox Sikhism than birth control to Catholicism.

      You don’t know anything about the history of church thinking on birth control, obviously.

      Humanae Vitae is ignored by 98% of American Catholics, so it can’t be very important to them.

      A single payer universal health care system would have avoided this problem. Shall we work toward that as our great American compromise?

    • And YOU are a disingenous casuastrist of the FIRST order. Maybe some Jesuit training in your past? Or is it just another expression of identity politics?

      Thank you for the entertaining, enervating string of contra-de-ceptions.

      Just another example of why humanity is on the ragged edge of proving beyond peradventure that we are a failed species…

    • I’m sure if alter boys where capable of getting pregnant, the Catholic Church would be all for contraception..

      • Now, now. Rates of pedophilia in Catholic institutions are similar to those in other big social institutions such as public schools. The other big scandal has been the church’s preference for protecting priests suspected of impropriety at the expense of congregations. But, again, big social institutions often attempt to protect their own and the reputation of the institution at the expense of the public (for instance the infamous ‘blue wall’ in police forces). The priests and church leaders involved in the abuse and cover-up acted criminally, but let’s not tar the whole Catholic community with that brush. The church is made up of human beings, who often behave badly, and it is a paradox of spiritual life that the vessels of holiness and the avenues for the irruption of the divine into the mundane world are themselves flawed sinners.

    • The church has indeed changed it’s teaching over the cenuries. At one point in time it was considered only a venial sin to have an abortion before quickening. It was not looked on as murder or a mortal sin at all. Please know all the facts before you accuse someone else of not knowing the skinny.

      • Not really — the quickening rule was a result of the Church (and everyone else, for that matter) not knowing the facts of embryology and thinking nothing was happening until movement occurred.

    • Two things-

      “Catholics who don’t want to pay for contraception… can’t refuse. They MUST violate their consciences, under penalty of law.”

      More accurately, everyone will have to participate, to some extent, in a pooling of resources to cover everyone’s health care costs. Contraception, if prescribed by a physician and the prescription is accepted by a health care recipient, could be one of those costs.

      “the teaching on contraception is not a “third-order” teaching, rather it strikes at the heart of Catholic Faith. The teaching on respect for the innocent unseen life is directly linked to the teaching on respect for the innocent, unseen Christ present in the Eucharist.”

      Don’t confuse the Catholic teaching on contraception with that on abortion — they have different bases and are not equivalent. If you want to argue about whether specific methods of contraception are abortifacient (and facts to support that belief) then do so.

      The cooperation with what the Church teaches is evil seems at least as remote in the case of the mandate as it does in the case of a Texas taxpayer paying for one of the executions that clearly violates the teachings of the Church.

    • Here is what I don’t understand. And please follow me for a moment…
      1) God created us with free will- and because God does not make mistakes this must be for a reason.
      2) According to several religious philosophers this is so that we can choose to believe in him. We can choose to make mistakes, mistakes lead to redemption.
      3) The Pope said the following about birth control:

      “Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.”

      If it is the action of taking birth control that is the sin, how is providing the choice of offering it a sin? When God himself created us with the ability to make choices.

      I can understand why certain organizations would not WANT to pay for the option, especially when they do not WANT any of their employees taking birth control. But I do not see how offering a choice to employees is a violation of any moral code. It is not like any employer is actually going to force someone to take birth control just because they are providing it.

  14. Christianity is practically socialism. If you strip away all the messiah business all you have is a man who lived 2000 years ago that saw the evils in money and empire, denounced greed and said the meek shall inherit the earth and you should sell all your possessions and give all your money to the poor.

    These ideas were bundled with salvation to get less righteous people to buy into it. Now we see those less righteous ignoring some teachings and only following the ones they think will spare them from hell.

    Viva la religion ಠ_ಠ

    • “Giving all your money to the poor” was the highest order of personal sacrifice that Christ prescribed to the rich young man as a way for him to save himself. It has never been in a universal context.

      • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart… and the second commandment is like unto it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37. Interesting what a confection has been assembled on top of (and pretty much obscuring) the pretty simple stuff that Jesus is reputed to have said, the bits that have somehow lasted through all the careful edits through the ages, by those Holy Kamoly Old Men who built that magnificent, imposing edifice, gilt and ermine, amassing power in this world and by their claim, the next, and all that scarlet and marble, on that there Rock. Thanks to the wonderful ingenuity of one great Ad Man, Paul. The Golden Rule, not “The Gold Rules.”

        Remember the story of the Widow’s Mite? Mark 12:41-44? The camel and the eye of the needle? Matthew 19:24? Naw, not a universal message of the Roman church, but there’s some pretty strong sinews that tie us to the messages of Jesus… at least the ones I hear. But that’s the nature of faith and belief, isn’t it? We hear what fits with our biases and preferences.

    • I would say that Jesus’ main message was that people are more important than formalisms (those in charge hated to hear this because adherence to formalism gave them power and income and so they had him killed.) Of course Jesus’ teachings themselves morphed into one of the biggest formalisms ever at the expense of people. This exactly describes how I see Newt and Rick. If He hadn’t been ressurected Jesus would surely be rolling in his grave.

  15. This is the totalitarianism of the left.

    And you’ve garbled the lefty politics of the Bishops’ Conference, which is not doctrine, with Catholic doctrine.

    • You want to go back to the good old days when censorship boards run by local Protestant churches chopped up books and movies in towns all over America? Or when private clubs and neighborhoods allowed no Jews? That’s more totalitarian than who the hell pays for a woman’s medical care, and you know it. The tyranny of landlords, robber barons, popes, superstition-mongering priests, all once Church-approved, was a hundred times worse than living in the modern America created by FDR. You don’t like it, move to a Catholic country that still arrests gays and women who have abortions, like… uh, well, every Catholic country seems to be getting more advanced than the USA in gay rights and women’s rights now, along with health care for the poor. I guess Catholics are a bunch of leftist totalitarians everywhere but Gingrich-land.

    • Although he cites to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference for support, most of what he cites as Catholic teachings are in fact (in somewhat more generalized form) teachings of the universal Catholic Church as promulgated in papal encyclicals.

  16. Your rendition of the inconvenient (for rightwingers) views of the Catholic Church reminded me of why I’m a Catholic when Santorum, Gingrich and his unspeakable wife sometimes make me tend to wonder…

    As to the requirement that Catholic hospitals, schools, and universities fund birth control in the employers’ portion of the health insurance coverage, this, luckily, can be resolved by getting the insurers to pay it all, since having women take conception reduces the insurers’ costs of covering someone…

    So it was an unforced error or ‘own goal’ by the Obama administration not to have found the cutout that they have now found belatedly…

  17. The top ten that you list are not part of religion even though they are advocated by Bishops. All you are doing is trying to show Santorum and Gingrich appear as hypocrites. Obama is the central issue here. His agenda is to reduce the amount of freedoms that the individual has and to make the federal government the master of all we do and say. His plan is to make a welfare state. He consistently undermines the constitution to push his agenda. I think everyone knows that your in the tank for all things secular and that you label them progressive. I notice that many people do not admit to being liberal but rather progressive since it hides their true side.

    • Yeah, amazing how those bishops and popes consistently draw all the wrong conclusions about the implications of Jesus’s teachings for social policy. Shocking, really.

    • President Obama’s agenda is “to reduce the amount of freedoms the the individual has and to make the federal government the master of all we do and say.” Nonsense. Pres Obama has said that some Catholic institutions — hospitals and Universities — must include access to contraceptives in the health care policies they provide for their employees (many many of whom are not Catholics, and which, of course, those employee must purchase.) This regulation does NOT say that such employees must use contraceptives, only that they MAY choose to do so. So, who is it who is reducing freedom? It’s not the President. It’s the Bishops.

    • Bill Clinton already destroyed the welfare state in 1999 at the behest of capitalists and the GOP congress. Which is why the Bush economic collapse left tens of millions in suffering unprecedented since WW2. Are you going to seriously sit there and claim Obama is way to the left of Bill Clinton?

  18. One small point. This sentence, “American law forbids Muslim-American men to take a second wife, something legal to them in many of their home countries,” reads a bit off-key.

    Islam is a religion, not a nationality. Muslims come from many countries, including the good ol’ USA.

    • Point taken & thanks. But on the other hand 90% of American Muslims are first or second generation immigrants, so the Old Country referent is not irrelevant to the discussion.

    • In many Middle East countries, Islam DOES take on a “national” meaning as well as a religious one. Many of the Muslim countries in addition to Israel define one’s “Personal status” as being part of a religion recognized by the country, whether the person is an actual “believer” or not. Thus, according to Sharia law, a person whose father is a Muslim is himself born a Muslim and is bound by Sharia law regarding his or her personal status. For example, according to Sharia law, a Muslim woman can not marry a non-Muslim man. Egypt and other Muslim states in the Middle East will not legally recognize such a marriage because it conflicts with Sharia law, regardless of whether the womans was a believing-practicing Muslim or not. Another example is that Islam allows a man to have four wives, but Christianity mandates monogamy, so a somone who is born a Christian in these countries would only be allowed to marry one wife, again, even if he is not a “believing”-practicing Christian.
      Thus, we see that religious identity does play a role in the lives even of people who do not practice that religion. Thus a Muslim man married to four wives, should he move to a Western country that prohibits polygamy faces a serious dilemma.
      Incidentally, many people believe that the fact that many Western nations now recognize homosexual marriages means that the whole insitution of marriage is now being redefined in the West and thus, it is inevitable that polygamy (and polyandry, for that matter) will have to be recognized as legal in these same Western countries since it is becoming increasing intolerable for people to have hte state restrict in anyway their personal preferences in these matters.

  19. Catholic church teaching on birth control has not changed.
    the fact that a (possible) majority of of Catholics in the usa ignore the teaching does NOT mean the teaching has changed.

    the sanctity of human life, and the warning against any action that might unjustly take a life.. is a CENTRAL tenet of teh Catholic faith, every bit as central as any teaching of the Turban .. simply because it is less VISIBLE than a turban it is in fact easier to hide breaking that teaching if you choose to do so.

    the fact is a sikh who doesnt wear a turban, or a Jew who doesnt cover his head is VISIBLY breaking his religions rules… while a Catholic who uses artificial birth control (as opposed to periodic abstinence) is not obvious.
    its always easier to break the law if you dont think anyone will notice, thats all/

    • You couldn’t hold that life begins at conception in the medieval era before people knew what a cytoblast was, Kirsten. The issue used to be the ‘quickening.’

      • I think the “life begins at conception” issue came about because the church theocracy cannot know 1) when life begins, and 2) when the zygote/cytoblast/blastocyst comes to have a soul. So the problem stems from having DEFINED life as beginning at conception, since that is the beginning of the process. If you really want your head to explode, try and explain why the every-life-is-sacred crowd squalls to high heaven about abortion, which is not to be EVER allowed even in the event of fatal hazard to the mother, while allowing the termination of tubal, or ectopic, pregnancies. Yes, indeed.

  20. The exact nature of this particular hypocrisy matters. Santorum, et al. (let’s call them ‘Santora’) are raising holy hell not over dead soldiers, or ill workers, or impoverished people, or the condemned. The hue and cry is raised because a large institution is being forced to spend “its” own money on something. At the end of the day it’s a complaint that more or less amounts to having to spend money — much like the federal refusal to spend “its” money on abortion.

    These guys — and, sadly, our society more broadly — can only perceive things as commercial transactions. Other things are just not important – -things like morality, right and wrong, etc. In all those areas, people just have to accept that we can disagree. But forcing a powerful interest to spend money It doesn’t want to? The horror!

    • And where, one wonders, does “the Catholic Church’s money” come from? Maybe the earned income of its parishioners, mostly, as opposed to being “earned,” or even “made,” by the institution? A form of “tax?” With the sanction for non-payment being social and spiritual, as opposed to (maybe) some attention from the IRS and the US Attorney’s office?

      Can’t use “tax money” for abortion or Planned Parenthood, but you can use parisioners’ money to not only pay the civil and criminal penalties for the sins and depredations of pedophilic priests (who sure seem a whole lot more organized and better-protected than even the squidges that spermeate the darkling corners of the Internet with their NAMBLA and “baseball card” collections of vulnerable young people being abused…) but to campaign, vigorously and politically, from the Bullpit and the other organs and orifices of the Church hierarchy, for the views of “faith” crafted by subtle, crafty, self-interested old men onto the faithfulness and sense of the divine that most humans are born with?

      And Juan, the pedophilia, as far as I can tell, is kind of much bigger than in any other large social institution I can think of, and it extends not only to altar boys but to little and young and pubescent girls, too, with the actuality of pregnancy, that “Holy Life,” occurring too. I guess ’cause you can break your vows of celibacy and chastity with impunity, the assurance of Gracious Forgiveness being ready to hand, but OhMyGod do NOT break that late-engrafted abjuration against any kind of barrier contraception.

      Anyone know how many of our fellow humans, with the mark of Cain and all on them, also have a nice case of HIV/AIDS as a result of being boogled by some fraud in a frock and collar? I betcha the number is way more than “one.”

  21. The reactionary dimbulbs to whom Romney, Santorum and Gingrich pander are actually all that remain of the Republican Party’s reliable electoral base. The RP strategy is very transparent. It must mobilize the true believers and also convince the outright KKK fringe of the party that one of its candidate-clowns stands a chance of lynching Obama at the polls in Novemeber.

  22. No surprises here…Business as usual…They’ll say or be anything to get those votes…I wouldn’t be surprised if next week he’s a Rastifarian…You know how it goes…

  23. Santorum is just a johnny-come-lately to the neocon republican movement that started with the class of Gingrich in Congress in 1994. If you substitute “illegals” and “gays” for Jews and Slavs, this republican crop of neo-fascists are following the Nazi blueprint of late 1920’s and early 1930’s Germany. A significant number of 1 percenters are worried enough about the masses coming for their wealth, and the great profits to be made in armaments, that they are supporting the neocon agenda from the sidelines with their money. Arguably, these neocons have already had their day in the Bush administration and will probably not regain control of the government; but if the economy goes into decline, which is likely, watch out. The seeds of ethnic hate, uber patriotism, intolerance of non-believers, etc. is still on the rise in the heartland.

  24. Santorum is rabidly anti-, and that makes him ignore any rules that don’t further his bigoted ways. As all bigots, he is blinded by his fear. His Catholicism, as all his other organizational memberships, is a platform to posture upon, not a doctrine to be followed. He already has his doctrine: the only time anyone may legally have sex is when they are married, AND ONLY for purposes of procreation. (So if you have a very fertile wife, bad timing and four children, you mat have had sex only four times in your life…)

    Economic recovery? If you aren’t having sex, you can work for da man (if there are jobs…)

    Foreign policy? Make the WHOLE WORLD only lawfully have sex blah blah…

    Look what happened with ALCOHOL, Ricky. Prohibition does not work. Ever. If the people want it, the people will get it. And the gov can either spend money to stop it or make it legal and tax it… (In SEX, it’s called a marriage license, which can be viewed as a one-time tax on marriage, or simply a fair fee to repay the cost of creating and recording the document.)

    • Irony is, Prohibition was a Protestant-run movement that viewed alcohol as a “Catholic” drug, and looked to punish Catholic immigrants for their alieness. Catholics defended a freedom that Protestants and most of the GOP wanted to trash.

  25. Even if Santorum has a strong religious conviction, Catholic, Muslim, whatever that certainly doesn’t mean that he bases all of his public policy solely on that conviction. Using that logic nobody or any religion could possibly hold office. Or at least hold office without being a hipocrite. This includes Athiests.

  26. Santorum supported the position of the Catholic Church on the Crusades –

    “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told a South Carolina audience yesterday. “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom. They hate Western civilization at the core. That’s the problem.” Sanoturm also suggested that American involvement in the Middle East is part of our “core American values.”
    “What I’m talking about is onward American soldiers,” Santorum continued. “What we’re talking about are core American values. ‘All men are created equal’ — that’s a Christian value, but it’s an American value.”

    • Prof. Cole, you must make these remarks by Santorum the subject of a posting. Crusade-apologism is monstrous in this day and age. And it ought to shut up the libertard Obama-bashers here – how you Ayn-boys feel about the church’s right to order you to fight a war on Islam just ’cause?

      It’s insane. The Crusades are nothing but a list of crimes and aggressions, including the sacking of Christian Constantinople and the butchering of Jerusalem’s population. The Crusades and the Inquisition are recognized by historians as being a coordinated effort by the papacy to restore its authority after its return to Rome from exile. Crusades = anti-Semitism, in the eyes of its authors.

  27. It would be much simpler to rid the world of all the divisive religious beliefs. As an ex Catholic who defected from the evil that the church is , especially the seat of evil, the Vatican , we would be better served to think ourselves as humans rather than idiots that spew divinely inspired nonsense.

  28. I do not see how adding contraceptives would add any additional cost to a policy that provides for childbirth. Certainly it would take many years of providing contraceptives to equal to the cost of taking care of the medical costs of a pregnant woman and the birth or a child(ren). One difficult birth or the birth of a premature baby or one with problems would cost more than a number of years of contraception for many women. This is probably the reason insurers can offer to cover contraceptives for free outside the policies purchased. It’s a better deal for them for women to use contraceptives. Simple economics.

    • It’s not a cost issue. The problem lies in the fact that the Catholic Church does not believe in contraception. They feel that being required to pay for an insurance plan that will offer contraceptives and abortifacients they would be complicit in what they believe to be a “grave evil”, and that is unacceptable to them. They feel that the Obama administration is telling them to “stuff their religious beliefs”, and this they will not do.

      This is about the 1st Amendment being violated. The government is basically telling the Catholic Church that they have 1 year to figure out a way to violate their consciences. This is an unprecedented attack on religious freedom.

      Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles, seen by most as a
      progressive, wrote on his blog January 20: “I cannot
      imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of
      conscience than this ruling today. …For me there is no
      other fundamental issue as important as this one as we
      enter into the presidential and congressional campaigns.
      Every candidate must be pressed to declare his/her position on all of the fundamental life issues, especially the role of government to determine what conscience decision must be followed: either the person’s own moral and conscience decision, or that dictated/enforced by the federal government.”

      This is NOT about money. It is about religious freedom.

      • Sez you. Others obviously see things very differently, and see the brouhaha for what it is: a gaffe of sorts by the Unitary Presidency, leapt upon by the hypocritical monitor lizards (they’re the critters that kill their prey by sneaking up, biting them, and then following them until the unfortunate bite-ee dies from a horrific, painful sepsis caused by the putrescent bacteria that populate the biter’s lizard mouths) and yapping dogs on the Wrong side of the political spectrum as a way to “go on the offensive” and protect their privileges and plaisirs…

        Religious freedom. That’s the “freedom” to do and believe whatever the Bishoprics (or the Pat “Send Me Your Seed Gift” Robertsons, or those Mullahs we hear so much and know so little about, or who was that guy, the one who founded and kilt off “Jonestown?”) tell you to do and believe, right?

        • Clearly you are not *getting* the fact that the issue in question involves institutions OWNED and OPERATED by the Catholic Church. The government has no right the healthcare, schooling, and charity services provided by the Church, yet the liberal mindset is that they do.

        • Such institutions almost always involve a “public accommodation” and often receive Federal funding, as with the universities. No man is an island.

  29. It’s curious that Obama hasn’t reference one more example of how we balance religious freedom and other social and political goals in our system: we insisted that Mormans should respect marriage laws in this country and give up their religious custom of polygamy. Was this a “war on religion”? No, we just insisted that all Americans, regardless of religion, needed to abide by our laws and could not use religious belief to avoid compliance. Why can’t Catholic religous institutions do the same thing with offering incurance coverage of birth control?

  30. The White House just wants to further their reach into America’s day-to-day lives, because “The Government” knows better than the individual. I don’t really have a beef with the Catholic Church, but let’s be honest, some of the wealth of that church has come from the (historically speaking) hardest working, least literate people in the world,The South & Central Americans. There have been times before when the Catholic Church has been in question for avoiding the obvious moral choice (see WWII).
    As far as the Muslim question is concerned, the same people who would argue FOR letting the Islamic couples have their own laws and rules for marriage, would turn their back or remain silent when the woman is obviously treated as chattel and, in some cases, physically or mentally mistreated because it’s part of their “culture”. Weak argument.
    I say free contraceptives to anyone on welfare;(send them with every check) Government-support stops after the second child is born.

  31. if rick santorum has EVER used a condom, he is being a complete hypocrite. something like 99% of catholics use birth control. also, many women, including myself, take birth control pills to help regulate their cycle to eliminate terrible cramps and other severe problems that come with having your period. when reading these things, the catholic church seems more liberal than conservative, on topics such as health care, immigration, the death penalty, etc, and i find it a shame that people vote for the person who will lead their country based solely on one topic:abortion.

    • Because abortion affects all of society. All life is sacred…and for Catholics, and other who are Pro Life, this includes babies in their mother’s wombs. Some people believe this strongly enough to vote their conscience on this matter.

      And you are right. The Catholic Church is very much involved with human rights worldwide, providing not only billions of dollars in aid, but also encouraging the faithful to go out and help the poor and outcasts in this world. Among many, many other services, they have migrant worker outreach, immigrant outreach services, believe in a living wage and fair trade practices, and believe that healthcare should be universal. They only catch: they don’t believe that contraception should be a mandated “preventative service” offered to their employees. I don’t know why it would have been so hard to offer an alternative in the first place. Now Obama has kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest. Oh well…

  32. This may be a bit of a scatter-gun oversimplification, but my observation is that the only thing these politicians believe in is the rectitude of their own ambition (other than Ron Paul). There can always be some sectarian frills added to their public persona, but only to the extent that it furthers their ambition. E.g. God told Bush Jr to do some Shock and Awe.

    One question I’d like to ask Santorum: If the Iranians stated that they are placing trays of thousands of zygotes in there nuclear facilities, would you still want to bomb them?

    • Ron Paul is an ambition-free zone, huh? So the rest of us should let him steer the ship of state, because he is so, so, what again?

      • About Paul, the exception I was thinking about related to his beliefs, rather than his ambitions (which are a mystery to me). I think he does believe in what he says, while I do not think the others do.

        Not a Paul supporter but I do agree with his foreign policy and defense posture. If he was given both the State and Defense portfolios in the next Obama administration, we’d be better off. If isolationism means putting the troops back in the barracks, I’m all for it.

  33. These are not teachings of the Catholic Church. You are confusing opinions of the USCCB with the infallible teachings of the chruch. The doctrine of the Church is infallible when made from the Chair of St. Peter, and only when dealing with faith and morals. These would include contraception, and many others. Therefore the teaching on contraception cannot be changed.

    • There has been much scholarly debate over whether the doctrine against artificial contraception is an infallible teaching of the Church, see, e.g., the article at link to ts.mu.edu. However, it is clear that there is a category between the definitively infallible dogmas and “opinions of the USCCB” and, although the post cites the USCCB for support, the teachings Santorum is charged with neglecting amount to far more than “opinions of the USCCB.” Several papal encyclicals have declared support for the “living wage” and conditions for the use of the death penalty have been set forth that only the invincibly ignorant could be excused for not seeing are violated in many contemporary American executions.

      • Teachings on abortion and contraception are contained in the Ordinary Magesterium of the Catholic Church. The contents of this document are considered infallible teachings of the Roman Catholic Church because of their constancy in the faith, regardless of whether they have been given Ex Cathedra.

        • That itself is not necessarily true; again, read the cited article, by a supporter of the position that the teaching is infallible, for a survey of authoritative opinion.

      • For some reason, I couldn’t reply to Sjay’s response to my comment below, so I am placing this comment here.

        SJay…I’d love to read your referenced article, SJay, but link is not working. :(

        Anyhow, the teachings in the Ordinary and Universal Magesterium (and thus contained in the Sacred Magesterium as well)clearly state that human life is sacred from conception to natural birth. Therefore to somehow impede the implantation of a fertilized embryo, or to abort a baby would be considered a sin in the Catholic faith.

        Therefore, since the teachings contained in the Ordinary and Universal Magesterium are considered to be infallible, the the Catholic Church’s ban on abortion is, indeed, derived from an infallible doctrine. Just because no Pope has ever claimed infallible, does not mean that the teachings of the Magesterium can be ignored. As I mentioned previously, that is another way doctrine can become infallible, and since the protection of life from conception on is firmly in the Ordinary and Universal Magesterium,and therefore anything that would NOT protect life from conception on (say…contraceptives, abortifacients and abortion) would be considered a ‘grave evil’ by the Catholic church.

        here is a link to a source that lays it all out. link to hli.org

        • The previous discussion was about contraception, not abortion. Excluding abortifacient methods of contraception, the prohibition against contraception must have a different basis. However, whether or not a teaching meets the rather strict criteria for infallibility is something of a red herring. A course of action can be so imprudent as to be a grave evil, even though the action engaged in is not intrinsically evil. Some of Santorum’s actions may well meet that standard.

  34. First-time visitor here, and enjoyed this piece. Reasonably balanced commentary is regrettably rare nowadays. When I begin to get unutterably steamed about the Catholic Church between its protected pedophiles and uproars like this over women’s legal access to contraception, I know it is always good to remember that few organizations under the sun are all bad, all the time.

    I also blogged on the topic of the current bishop’s fracas today (“The Violation of the Bishops”):
    link to alainamabaso.wordpress.com

    And recently blogged about Santorum’s vision for America(“Love and Togetherness in the Age of Santorum”):
    link to alainamabaso.wordpress.com

    Maybe you and/or your readers will enjoy. Thanks for your commentary.

  35. Traditional family values according to sanctimonious, Bible-beating, chest-thumping conservative pundits and politicians: unplanned pregnancies by unwed teenaged girls.

    Of course, the irony is that many women take birth control pills as a means to regulate hormonal imbalances, not for preventing pregnancy per se.  Should an employer who is a Jehovah’s Witness be allowed to deny health coverage for blood transfusions and organ transplants?

    • And the Catholic insurance plans actually allow for this use of hormone therapy, as does the Catholic church. Provided the diagnosis confirms that this therapy is needed, the Catholic Church has absolutely no problem with it. All you need is for a doctor to document this condition, and Catholic insurance plans that cover prescriptions will cover the cost of these medications.

      But Obamacare would not limit the Catholic insurers to this narrow usage. Therefore, they would be forced to “check their beliefs at the door” so to speak, and that goes against the First Amendment. The government is forcing a religious group to go against one of its most central teachings, that is considered infallible (reference: Ordinary Magesterium). This is blatantly unconstitutional.

      Sorry…the “separation of church and state” swings both ways.

      • And gee, no doctor, to do what’s needed as part of “playing the system” to get the care he has sworn to provide to his patient would EVER, like, you know, maybe put down a diagnosis-of-convenience, now would he or she? Good thing the good ol’ Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith aren’t still driving the truck — otherwise there might be a First Amendment problem, as in there wouldn’t be one to worry about. Right?

        And your version of the First Amendment, and your comfortable certitude that Obamaforcedcontraception is “blatantly unconstitutional,” may be argumentatively convenient, but it don’t sound much like the one I learnt about in Law School, back in the weird ’70s, or even read about since then. Bearing in mind that Citizens United is a “First Amendment” piece of what-ever.

        Please forgive me if I am stepping on the toes of your identity. That’s where we are in the world these days — coming up with endless old and new reasons to do and say bad things to one another.

  36. Here is an article on how religious-run adoption services, due to the privatization fetish in Virginia, are getting the right to discriminate against gays.

    link to talk2action.org

    See how this works, folks? The libertarians privatize all our social services to religious fanatics, in effect granting them hundreds of billions of $ in subsidies, and then exempt them from all anti-discrimination rules that conflict with their fallible, self-serving dogma. We will be paying as much in taxes as ever since the hypocrites will siphon it off to give to politicians and other theocratic projects, but we will suffer all the bigotry and inequality we had in the laissez-faire era they worship. Interesting to see who will be happy with that.

  37. You know…it seems to me that the central issue here is the Obama administration’s disregard for the First Amendment. It would have quite simple for Mr. Obama to offer a way for Catholic institutions be faithful to their doctrine, however, he chose not to. Now, he looks as though he has absolutely no regard for the First Amendment and the separation of church and state that so many liberals like to point to, although,apparently only when it suits THEIR purposes.

    Regardless of Mr. Santorum’s record in public life or as a practicing Catholic, or any other Catholic’s lifestyle, the central issue remains that the government is trying to force a religious institution to go against one of its most sacred doctrine: that all life is sacred, from conception to death. It matters not whether YOU, ME, or anybody else believes that. And this may come as a shock to you…but this is NOT about what you believe. It IS about what the Catholic Church teaches. And this administration’s mandate on contraception IS in direct violation of the First Amendment, with regard to religious institutions this affects. Mr. Obama simply does not have the power to ignore the Constitution. He should know better. He did teach that course, didn’t he?

    • There is no constitutional issue here, because no religion is being established over another. In fact, what you want is to establish the Catholic Church and have the Federal government enforce its doctrine on non-Catholic employees of Catholic hospitals and universities. That would be unconstitutional.

      US Federal law trumps religious practices that contravene it, as demonstrated in the case law.

      As I said, the best compromise here is a Canadian style single payer system, so let us, liberals and Catholics alike, work to achieve it.

      • I respectfully disagree with you. The actual text of the First Amendment is very clear.

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

        Establishment of religion is only part of the First Amendment. Congress cannot make any law that will prohibit the free exercise of religion. THAT is the part that Catholics and other religions who have similar beliefs as the Catholic Church are upset about.

        As I said before….”the Separation of Church and State” swings both ways.

      • “In fact, what you want is to establish the Catholic Church and have the Federal government enforce its doctrine on non-Catholic employees of Catholic hospitals and universities. That would be unconstitutional.”

        Now that’s a bit of a stretch — although I believe that the mandate is not unconstitutional, allowing a religious exemption to it would not be a violation of the First amendment. Telling the Church that it doesn’t have to undertake an action that it is morally opposed to is not enforcing its doctrine on non-believers just as allowing a Muslim employer to ban the consumption of bacon in his lunch room is not imposing sharia.

        • Ummm….the SCOTUS just spanked the Obama administration for trying to interfere with the Lutheran church over their hiring/firing practices. Do you think this is less of an intrusion into church practices?? This is interference with church doctrine…sacred doctrine that has been handed down for nearly 2000 years, regardless of what some on the left say. If you think that the SCOTUS will not spank the Obama administration again for over reaching their authority, I believe you will be sadly mistaken.

          And no…I don’t want to make anyone do anything. I don’t want to establish the Catholic Church as anything, or enforce its doctrine on anyone. That is a silly argument, and you really should know better. If Obama allowed for Catholic institutions to just have a different policy, one that didn’t include contraceptives and abortifacients, then how would that enforce anything on anyone. The employees who wanted contraceptives could go with one of the other government plans, and the Catholic church would have to pay the $2000/year/employee fine (which would most likely be much less than actually paying for insurance for this person in the first place). Then, the non-Catholic employee could have contraceptives, the Catholic Church doesn’t have to violate their conscience by paying for it, and the gov’t gets an extra 2000 from the Catholic Church for sending their employee elsewhere for insurance.

          I don’t see the huge hairy deal here.

    • Kate, you’re a Christian, I would bet you would say. What’s with the imagery, then? “Spanking?” and “Bitch slapping?” Do YOU turn the other cheek? More than once?

  38. Just goes to show you….You can’t argue with a Roman Catholic, Mr. Cole. They firmly believe they have the right answer to everything. And it’s usually male Catholics who have the loudest voices when telling the rest of us how to live our lives. Meanwhile, 98% of Catholic women use birth control. And years ago, a nun contributed money from her convent’s social services kitty to help my neighbor get an abortion. All the blather about the Church speaking with God’s voice is nonsense. No church speaks with God’s voice exclusively. Not a single one. Some churches are better than others at following the teachings of Jesus Christ–feed the hungry, etc. But that’s not the same thing as speaking with God’s voice. I’m sure God wishes, as many of the rest of us do, that Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, et al. would STFU.

    • I am sure glad you have the voice of God guiding you. You must be a lucky person indeed. The fact remains that the government is interfering in the free practice of religion. It is against the First Amendment, and that is that. I predict that the SCOTUS (if it goes this far) will bitch slap the Obama administration once again for interfering in the free practice of religion.(reference the recent Lutheran Church clergy case that went before the SCOTUS).

      And no one is telling YOU or anyone else how to live their lives. Funny how you could make this all about YOU. No one is trying to infringe upon your rights, yet you turn this all around as though it affects you in some way. As I said before, the Obama administration could have avoided this all together if they had just offered to exempt these institutions.

      • You obviously were already looking for an excuse to destroy Obama and vote in a murderous gangster like Gingrich. If you work for those who will take away my liberties, then your definition of liberty and my definition of liberty are in conflict. This has happened before, all the way up to civil war. I’m sick of the growing tyranny of Protestant fundamentalists, who bomb abortion clinics and get away with it, scheme to take the vote away from minorities a la Jim Crow, build armed militias and claim they have the right to restore the right of state governments to secede and discriminate and restore the unconscionable injustices of the past. I’m ready to fight them to the death. If you want to be their ally, just remember that once they’ve destroyed people like Prof. Cole, they will come for the Catholics and Jews.

  39. According to the Catholic Church, abortion and contraception is considered to be evil, and a grave, sinful act against God. This has NEVER, EVER changed in the history of the church. The way it was dealt with as a matter of reconciliation and penance might have changed, but Church doctrine has not.

    And I would advise you the next time you wish to write a on a Catholic and their personal relationship with God and their church, you get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read the section dealing with “Judgement of Conscience”. In that section, Catholics are encouraged to act according to their consciences, and if they so discern through prayerful, informed thought, they may disagree with the Church, in situations that do not constitute a “grave evil”. In Chapter 1782 it states: “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.” The only exceptions to this are in the case of matters that are delivered “Ex Cathedra”, which are actually rather rare Papal edicts that cannot be ignored; or those teachings contained in what is termed the “Ordinary Magesterium”, which are considered infallible teachings of the Church. Abortion and birth control are directives that have been given to Catholics via the Ordinary Magesterium.

    So, you see, Santorum could very well have made a judgement of conscience on all those matters you listed, given that there are always many reasons why politicians feel the need to vote a certain way on different issues. And whether YOU believe the decisions he made in those instances were right, he might very well have felt he had the nation’s best interests at heart. Since there is also a portion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that deals with the case for the “Just War”. I don’t know Mr. Santorum’s conscience or his heart, but if he felt the wars he voted for fell into this category and were justified, then he would not be going against the Catholic Church at all. You are confusing the opinions of church leaders with doctrine delivered Ex Cathedra.

    • Both John Paul II and Pope Benedict say that the Iraq War was not consistent with the Just War doctrine. But of course that is just the view of two popes and Santorum’s opinion is better than theirs on this issue.

      • Well, as I said before, “judgement of conscience” covers this. Regardless of what any Pope says (and I mean no disrespect to any Pope), if Mr. Santorum believes that it was best for our country, then I suppose that is why he voted the way he did. Neither Pope is an American citizen, nor are they US Congressmen, privy to US intelligence on issues regarding the Middle East. Santorum has a duty to the American people to do what he feels is best for our country. I’m not defending his vote, I am only pointing out that his duty to his country might have trumped his personal religious beliefs. I would think you would like that he didn’t allow his personal religious beliefs to dictate his political career. I guess I was wrong about that… I also suppose Mr. Santorum has probably read the USCCB’s document entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, which speaks directly to the issues that face every Catholic voter and public official. This document speaks to a lot of the issues you have cited, and might give insight into why he voted the he did, or feels the way he does on certain issues.

        But this whole issue isn’t really about any particular Catholic’s lifestyle or choices. Regardless of your (and others)desire to make this issue all about Rick Santorum’s faith and his record, it’s NOT about that. It IS all about the Obama administration’s disregard of the First Amendment, and the separation of church and state. I don’t know why you can’t see that. It is plain as day in the text of the 1st Amendment.

        • Plain as day. Kind of like how priestly celibacy is plain as day in the text of the Holly Bibble, along with a whole lot of other skits in the dogma-and-doctrine show.

          But this is about belief, and Revealed Truth, and speaking of revelations, God sure has laid it on my heart that anyone who teaches and demands the eschewing of birth control, and artfully argues that “this” is about “religious freedom” to do as they are told by their paternalistic, self-serving Mitred Ones rather than rendering unto Caesar (who was generally intolerant of exotic religious convictions, preferences and practices, is not aligned with the Will of the Divine.

          As someone else asked, do the Quakers have to pay for all those wars? Or do I have to let my tax dollars be given to “charter schools” that preach propaganda and intolerance that I find sickening and deadly to what little is left of commonality and comity and community in our culture?

          Congrats, by the way, on creating a nice Jesuitically circumscribed and complete and apparently personally comfortable world view.

    • You are incorrect. There has been no consistent abortion policy from the Catholic Church over the ages. The current church just spouts this propaganda to support their current position.

      link to faculty.cua.edu

  40. The Catholic religion and perhaps many Christian religions are Sunday religions. Many Christians “wear their faith on their sleeves” and practice it on Sundays or when it suits them.

    I see no spirituality or religiouness in almost all of the politicians. The legal education of majority of them teaches them how to tell the best stories or lies.

    I totally respect and honor the Muslims for saying their prayers 5 times daily. Length of prayers varies 3 to 30 or more minutes. When: pre-dawn, noon, late afternoon, sunset, evening before retiring. Sounds like a very good practice. I’ll adopt a similar schedule for my own prayers and meditation. How about yourself?

    Imagine what could happen if a majority of Americans began saying prayers of their choice 5 times daily. An atheist prayer could be: “I will do my individual best to help others and myself do are best towards perfection with less and less judgment.” There would be more peace, honest communication, joy and growth. Sounds like Congress should have 5 minutes of prayers every 2 hours.

    I was brought up as a Catholic and gave it up with all other beliefs. I have experienced many things in my travels around the world and with a couple of years of work in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

    I’ve found that Muslims are slightly more spiritual and have their hearts more opened than Christians and Americans. Spirituality or religion, your choice.

    Muslim evidently do not proselytize their religion.

    • Islam is most definitely a proselytizing religion, as is Christianity. The main arena of competition these days is in Africa. An African from Tanzania I knew who converted to Christianity out of his original native belief system told me that each religion had one advantage and one disadvantage over the other. Traditional African beliefs allow for polygamy, so Islam is more congenial in that it too allows for polygamy, whereas Christianity insists on monogamy (although many African Christians ignore this). On the other hand Islam also has the month-long Ramadan fast period every year , so Christianity is easier in that it has no such difficult demands on its believers.

      • Islam proselytizing? Got a cite? I sure try to get a “sight” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Holy Rollers coming up the path to my front door, so I can be, as the old Brits used to have their butlers say, “not at home.” At least the “Christian Mailing Listers” have figured out that they are wasting their tax-free postage peppering me with tracts and ads for Holy Spikenard Oil Personally Blesset By Pastor Mealymouth, for my Seed Gift of just $19.99 for four months, that will also get me a 4-CD set of his Blesset Sermons telling me all the reasons I should hate, fear, and hope to exterminate most of the rest of humanity…

        And there’s a great stirring in the Force in the Mideast, for sure, with a lot of sectarian and tribal killing, likely only to get worse with all the inputs and takeouts there, and gee, all those “Christians” throwing gasoline on the fire and stirring the pot in hopes of bringing one or another form of Armageddon, depending on their Freedom of Religion convictions… Maybe I missed it, but are Muslims all about apocalyptic end times kind of stuff?

  41. The author seems to have a basic inability (or in the left’s favored term, lack of nuance) in grasping the distinction between prudential judgments and dogmatic magisterial teachings. Also, neither Santorum nor the Church is demanding that contraception be banned, but that those who oppose it on moral grounds shouldn’t have to participate in any sense in making its provision ubiquitous on their dime. always am amused that those who live and die on the necessary separation of church and state will nonetheless champion the prudential prerogatives of individual or conferences of bishops to make their statist claims, when they align of course.

    and not sure where “I don’t think there is any question that Federal law, and state law, can trump Roman Catholic religious sentiments” fits in the author’s mind with the 1st amendment, but then i see where he’s trying to equate that something in Catholic teaching could match honor killings etc. in other contemporary faith traditions. but there is no such equation to be made.

    and the author leaves out any mention of the principle of subsidiarity (look it up) that governs Catholic social teaching, which would affect almost all of his 10 points, which isn’t surprising, but forever annoys the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of me. for instance, “Santorum is a critic of welfare” and “Bishops want welfare for all needy families”. who is best equipped to effectively help the needy? oh, DC. sure.

  42. Whoah! Hold the thoughts here. What about the wholesale rape of children by the catholic church and their evil priests? Boy (ha) did this subject ever get swept under the rug, er bed. And how many women bishops are there? Religion, all religion, is here to keep women and folks of color submissive.

    • Thatsubject has NEVER been swept under the rug since it became public. The priests involved were prosecuted, and many sent to jail. The Catholic Church has paid out huge sums of money to the victims, provided victim counseling for the victims and their families, and the Pope has issued an apology, and all rightly so. However, it is still not enough. There can never be enough money, counseling or apologies to make up for what was done to those children. We Catholics will never forget the shame these priests have brought our faith. They have forever tainted our religion. So no…it has not, nor will it ever be “swept under the rug” again. And thank God for that. Because we (Catholics) should never forget the pain these priests caused. Ever.

      As for women in our clergy (as priests, deacons etc), it is a biblical derivation for the doctrine of having only men priests. Here is a good article that explains in much more detail. link to catholic.com

      and I must say that just because the horrific sins of a few, the whole church should not be punished. And besides, the instances of sexual abuse of minors is more higher than that in the Catholic church. However, the cover up of the priest/pedophile scandal was indefensible. However, this issues isn’t about the pedophile priest. It isn’t about women being priests. It isn’t even about women’s healthcare. It is about the first amendment rights of the Catholic Church being thrown under the bus. And that is an outrage.

      • Save your outrage for the acts of the thousands of “not being swept under the rug” predatory pedophiles and the whole structure that fostered and protected them, who sure look to have created a nice niche for themselves in the folds of the Mother Church. The whole Church sure seems to indeed be getting punished for the acts of those creatures — how many billions in secret little settlements/blood money, and legal judgments, and finally fines, are having to be made up by parishioners (many of whom are losing their parishes thanks to that cost, and stuff like the difficulty of attracting people to the priesthood, and keeping them, with that recent engraft of “celibacy” and that old-man-discovered teaching that women (after the ancient churches at least) are too something or other to be priests.

        This is all about, to my eye, protecting a carefully cultivated and tended identity. That thing that so many of us are willing to die, or more often kill, to hang on to. And it’s amazing how artful and subtle we can be, when it comes to arguing the nature of anything that affects that identity.

    • There are zero women bishops, priests or clergy at all – That is the teaching of the Church – wow a real teaching discussed in this thread that is amazing. Supreme court just upheld the fact that “The Church has the right to deny female clergy” whooops sorry for that constitution we have there. Thank GOD!!! Our government has NO RIGHT whatsoever to tell a Church how to teach or what to teach – end of discussion

  43. The Catholic Church may say they support all of those issues, but they are really a one issue religion. The only thing that matters to them is reproduction issues.

    They are busy throwing their support to candidates who oppose 90% of what they say they are for. All that matters to the Catholic hierarchy is abortion and birth control.

    So every time you hear that the Catholic Church is for all of these social issues, know that they will all be thrown out for the only real issue they will care about, abortion and birth control.

    • I would say you are incorrect – They are for protecting and embracing all innocent life; born and unborn – true, this whole controversy is because of the government ignoring our first amendment and trying to dictates the confines of the Church and demoralizing the values maintained. Once the government comes in and tells any church to do one thing, they are going to come in later and demand more and more and more and one day – there will be no church left only government. If it were up to the president we would be worshiping him on the Sabbath

  44. Not one of those items on your list is Catholic teaching. Therein lies your serious misunderstanding. The Church officially bans artificial birth control. You need to make the proper distinctions if you want to be taken seriously as a writer.

  45. You do know that what the The US Conference of Catholic Bishops say isn’t always Canon law. Just because they say it, does not mean it is official Catholic doctrine or decree or Catechism. I’m pretty sure the whole Israel-Palestine problem is not mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    • Yes, Jesus of Nazareth mainly came to prevent people from using condoms 2000 years later, but his commandments on taking care of the poor and helpless are optional.

  46. There is a difference between the opinion of the bishops (or even the pope) and Catholic doctrine. To have a differing opinion than the USSCB or even the Pope when he is not speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals is not the same thing as “picking and choosing doctrine”. Please do your research so you don’t make a fool of yourself.

  47. Its all make believe anyway. Doctrines made by man, for the control of other men…..

  48. stupid question …. what happens to a non Catholic, who wants birth control, who is covered under a health care program operated by a Catholic institution?

    • Having been that non-Catholic, I’ll tell you: you’re out of luck. You have to pay out of pocket for your pills, and they can be expensive. In my case, I also had to find an out-of-network healthcare provider and pay that cost out of pocked — thank you Planned Parenthood for being accessible.

  49. These aren’t official positions of the Catholic Church, just of the USCCB. Just war doctrine, sure. A lot of the other stuff about minimum wage and government-sponsored healthcare, not Biblical ideas.

  50. I was raised Catholic and want to know where in the teachings of Christ is there any reference to birth control pills or the morning after pill. How can these things be considered abortion if no life has ocurred ? These people are wrong and just want to control their flock. I don’t think men in funny dresses should control wommens heath issues!!!!!!

  51. It just shows you how one man’s idea can get so misrepresented. If you just look at the New Testament of the Bible, there were very few “rules” for people to follow other than to love one another as you love yourself and the act of forgiveness.

    The Catholic Church evolved (excuse the use of the word) into an organization that eventually wanted control and power over peoples minds and bodies. It is all about power and the abuse of it.

    Where does it really spell it out in the New Testament about abortion and contraception? I don’t think Jesus gave much thought about that since it probably was very rare that time in history.

    The US Federal Government is a secular organization. The rules or laws have to apply to everyone. Reproductive health is something that effects everyone but more so, women. Women bear the children so it is important for them to be deciding their reproductive health. I would really like to know if the Catholic Church agrees with prostate exams, viagra and other sexually enhancing drugs for men. And what does the Catholic Church believe about women who have spontaneous abortions (when the fetus cannot survive the pregnancy) through no fault of their own?

    It is very difficult to take a stand on something unless you have walked in their shoes. The Pope is not female and has a very limited understanding, and possibly, opinion of women. This country is secular and he has no say in our laws.

  52. Juan Cole needs to be clear on what is Catholic doctrine (mandatory for a Catholic to profess (Our Lady is ever virgin for example)) and what is the opinion of a pope or bishop and not mandatory for a Catholic to profess where the individual has the right of freewill to form their own opinions and act on them. All the ten accusations in this article are wrongfully attached to a dogma which does not exist. Statements such as “In contrast, Santorum wants to play Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove and ride the rocket down on Isfahan himself.” discredit Mr. Cole and show further ignorance and bigotry against Catholics that should not be tolerated, thus this post to correct Mr. Coles wrongful and biased attack on the Holy Faith.

    • The problem with distinguishing between Catholic doctrine and mere papal/bishop’s opinion is that so little is actually covered by actual doctrine.

      Concerning the issue at hand, contraception, it has certainly never been the subject of an official, infallible, ex cathedra statement by any Pope or College of Bishops. It is no more Catholic doctrine than the ten statements you complain about. It is, like them, merely an opinion expressed by a Pope who was not speaking infallibly at the time and so cannot be considered official doctrine.

  53. Almost none of these are actual Catholic teachings. Does the poster know anything about Catholics or Catholicism? Or is he just a very misinformed Catholic?

    • Okay, so what you’re saying is, when the Church is progressive, compassionate, egalitarian, and pacifist, it’s always optional, but when it’s bigoted, misogynistic, tyrannical, and Crusading, it’s always mandatory.

      So all the former is just window dressing and Roman Catholicism is in truth bigoted, misogynistic, tyrannical, and Crusading, like all the other monotheistic cults. Difference being that in working to drag civilization back to the Dark Ages, the Church has the advantage of actually being to BLAME for the Dark Ages.

      Thank you, I thought there were still some good things about Catholicism but you’ve taught me otherwise.

      And I bet you and Kate never, ever would vote for a truly liberal Catholic, no matter how air-tight his religious justifications are, and you’d be first in line to support his excommunication for failing to be a far-right bigot. How did you feel when Archbishop Romero was murdered for his “communism”, using your tax dollars?

  54. If there was a medicine for men that treated a disease or condition – say, an enlarged prostate – but had the side effect of sterility (aka birth control), the bishops wouldn’t be quite so quick to deem its use a mortal sin.

  55. Not even Rick or Newt can be a little bit pregnant, but politicians are apparently happy to be a little bit Catholic when it suits them.

  56. I read most of the above and couldn’t help but think that those who don’t like the health care requirements of the USA might think about moving to another country. Haven’t we heard a similar suggestion for Catholics (like myself) who get labeled “cafeteria Catholics” because they think and make distinctions?

    I recommend Gaillardetz’s book on Authority……. And I suggest that the language of ‘intrinsic evil’ does more harm than good. Moral evil (sin) is in the sinner, not in some act considered in itself. The act is only part of the picture.

  57. While the comments here were interesting, with many Catholics weighing in, the point was not about dogma and internal Catholic minutia, it is about a professed “good Catholic” picking and choosing what church edicts he endorses. Juan Cole does a fine job pointing up the classic hypocrisy embraced by politicians. What is lacking though is calling out the Church itself for only raising a ruckus in defense of perceived threats to their religious doctrine while standing moot when religious rights of other faiths get hammered hard.

    This whole ruckus is about political power and has nothing whatsoever to do with religious freedom of the faithful.

  58. Have a little fun and look up a bit of history on contraception and abortion, like OLD history — Starting point: link to womenshistory.about.com

    Then do a little posthole digging into the history of the Church’s teachings, dogma, doctrine, whatever you want to characterize the angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pinning on the same topics in the Universal Church — “One Church to Rule them All, One Church to Find Them, One Church to Bring Them All and In The Hark-ness Bind Them…”

  59. The birth control mandate is not about the religious practices . The Birth control mandate is a violation of the 1st amendment to the constitution. Which specifically protects the rights of religion against government intrusion. This mandate is unconstitutional. This administration is trying to break all religious barriers and this is bad for all religions.

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