It saddens me that at a time when so many American families suffer from unemployment and poverty, the leadership of the Catholic Church reserves its loudest voice of moral outrage for issues related to human sexuality.
James Salt, Catholics United
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jim Fuller
Over the past few weeks, the Catholic bishops have initiated an unprecedented campaign opposing new health insurance rules that will expand coverage of contraception. Church leaders are angry that Catholic-affiliated hospitals, universities, and social service agencies were not exempted, and, for this reason, are now reading letters in all 19,000 parishes across the country publicly opposing the new rule.
Catholics United understands that contraception use is a sensitive issue for the Catholic Church, but it is hard to stomach this level of outrage when the bishops have been relatively silent on so many pressing issues of our day. Where was the public outcry over our nation's past use of torture or our involvement in unjust wars? Why aren't the bishops reading letters at Mass about the moral scandal of unemployment and poverty in America?
On top of this, many bishops are using misleading statements and unnecessarily heated rhetoric to intensify the conflict. In order to help set the record straight, Catholics United wants to make sure that you have the facts about the new health care regulations as they relate to contraception:
Churches are exempt from these rules. The new rules require that institutions that employ and serve non-Catholics, such as hospitals and universities, are required to include contraception coverage in their health insurance plans. No Catholic church or diocesan office will be affected.
No one is being forced to use contraception against their will. The new rules simply require that employees have access to these services. Individuals who are opposed to the use of contraception do not have to make use of the coverage.
There will be fewer abortions because of this decision. Regardless of your beliefs about contraception, everyone should recognize that greater access to prevention services will result in fewer unplanned pregnancies. Fewer unplanned pregnancies will result in fewer abortions. And despite many false claims to the contrary, the contraception covered by this rule does not include abortifacients, like RU-486, that induce abortion.
It saddens me that at a time when so many American families suffer from unemployment and poverty, the leadership of the Catholic Church reserves its loudest voice of moral outrage for issues related to human sexuality. I sincerely hope and pray that our Church leaders can tone down their rhetoric, refocus their priorities, and begin using their powerful voice to address the vast economic insecurities and conflict in the world and honor the rich heritage of Catholic social teaching.
In the coming months, let's hope that both sides of this debate can come together and find a solution that both meets the medical needs of all employees and protects the religious identity of Catholic institutions.