Tuesday, February 14, 2012

a catholic who agrees that the bishops had it coming

Paul A. Rahe is a Catholic who had thoughts similar to mine on this issue. And since he is a lot more knowledgeable, I thought I'd link to him (link from Powerline, who also had similar thoughts ... I don't feel so lonely any more ...).

Here are some quotes from his post:
At the prospect that institutions associated with the Catholic Church would be required to offer to their employees health insurance covering contraception and abortifacients, the bishops, priests, and nuns scream bloody murder. But they raise no objection at all to the fact that Catholic employers and corporations, large and small, owned wholly or partially by Roman Catholics will be required to do the same. The freedom of the church as an institution to distance itself from that which its doctrines decry as morally wrong is considered sacrosanct. The liberty of its members – not to mention the liberty belonging to the adherents of other Christian sects, to Jews, Muslims, and non-believers – to do the same they are perfectly willing to sacrifice.
This is a good point. I think if I were a Catholic, I'd be writing to some of these bishops to ask why they aren't protecting my freedom of conscience, only their own.

More from Rahe:
This is what the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church forgot. In the 1930s, the majority of the bishops, priests, and nuns sold their souls to the devil, and they did so with the best of intentions. In their concern for the suffering of those out of work and destitute, they wholeheartedly embraced the New Deal.
People today forget that the evil foe of the Democrat party used to be WASPs: White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Before Roe v. Wade and the Reagan Revolution, Catholics were as closely identified with the Democrats and their socialist enterprise as blacks are today.

And more:
In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States – the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity – and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism – the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

the bishops get theirs

I've been reading all over the blogosphere about Catholic bishops being upset at a mandate in Obamacare that would force almost all employers, including Catholic hospitals and schools to provide contraception as part of their health insurance. I would be more sympathetic, but, ... weren't these the same bishops that gave cover to Obamacare as long as they were getting their special exception? Aren't these the same bishops that have always supported the welfare state?

I seem to recall discussions of the welfare state as an extension of Christian charity. As though the bishops had mixed up "love thy neighbor" with "render unto Cesar" and ended up with "Render under Cesar so that Cesar can love thy neighbor for you."

Catholics (not all Catholics, but probably the majority) have supported expansion of government services under the theory that since Christians have a responsibility to help those in need, they should support a government that helps those "in need".

There are two serious problems with this theory. First, God didn't command us to help the poor just because God wanted the poor to be helped. If that were the purpose then God is perfectly capable of giving the poor whatever help they need. God commands us to help the poor because he wants us to have the spiritual exercise of voluntarily giving up something that is ours in order to help others. Sacrifice is good for the soul.

This side of the giving is completely lost when taxes are taken from us at gunpoint to give to the poor, and since the poor are getting far more help from the government than they need, people who want to exercise their souls have fewer opportunities to do so.

The second problem is that when the government is doing the charity for you then the government decides what charity work needs to be done with your money --not you and not your church. Not only does this mean that your "charity" money goes disproportionately to the politically connected (because that's where all government spending goes) but in addition, politically powerful special interests will piggyback on this spending to push their interests.

That last thing is what the bishops have suddenly come up against, but I don't see any sign that this was a learning experience for them. All they seem to want is their special exception over religious objections. If people have pragmatic, philosophical, or financial objections, well, screw them. They can just knuckle under and do what Mr. government charity tells them to do. It really strikes me as a sort of un-Christian, I've-got-mine-so-I-don't-care-about-your-problems approach to the issue.

It would be nice to see some indication that Catholics have learned a lesson about the dangers of the Leviathon government, but I'm not seeing it in any of the reading I've been doing. I expect that the bishops will eventually win this one and that they will then go back to supporting the very policies that led to the problem to begin with.