Go for it. Just go for it. Burn it all down. Pile everything you’ve ever said was important to you in the street, douse it in gasoline, and let the blaze light up the sky.
This puts it all on the table. Republicans and Catholics and Republican Catholics and Republicans who just say they’re Catholic and Catholics who are Republican because abortion seems yucky are now all just going to have to say it now.
They would rather lots and lots of women die from preventable conditions, too many unwanted children, and abortions that should never have to happen, than that they have to put up with the thought that some woman somewhere is making her own decisions regarding who she has sex with and when.
I got news for a lot of people what think this is some kind of winning argument about religious freedom for Catholics.Catholic women have memories of the battle over the Pill and the issuance of Humanae Vitae the first time around.
For instance, the Belgian bishops stated: “Someone, however, who is competent in the matter under consideration and capable of forming a personal and well-founded judgment–which necessarily presupposes a sufficient amount of knowledge–may, after a serious examination before God, come to other conclusions on certain points. In such a case he has the right to follow his conviction provided that he remains sincerely disposed to continue his inquiry.” Of those who arrived at conclusions different fromHumanae Vitae, the Scandinavian bishops stated: “No one should, therefore, on account of such diverging opinions alone, be regarded as an inferior Catholic.” The Canadian bishops made a similar statement: ‘These Catholics should not be considered, or consider themselves, shut off from the body of the faithful.”
Catholic women remember the woman in the pew next to them in church, dragging 13 children behind her, her husband dead or gone and no help at hand. They remember the neighbor who died in childbirth because her doctor was bound by faith to save her baby at all costs. They remember the relative whose husband defied the hospital’s orders to make sure there were no more children, who suffered horribly before the end. They remember their own miscarriages, stillbirths, when God wanted them to have just one more baby, at the age of 45 in 1953.
And those were the married women who wanted the children they had. Those were the ones doing it right, in the eyes of the more conservative bishops and members of the church. That was the fate due thegood girls. I don’t need to go over what happened to the bad ones, and what we remember about them.
So go ahead, tell those women that a condom is cause for excommunication. Tell those women that the greatest threat to their liberty is some other lady in their health plan getting the pill for free. Tell those women, who lost their sisters, who lost their aunts, who lost their mothers, who saw the women around them worn out and rubbed down to nothing, that they don’t have the right to painlessly, reasonably ensure that they live to care for the family they want. Let’s have that fight. Let’s haul out all the arguments.
Let’s talk about how God really wants our infant mortality rate to skyrocket. Let’s talk about how many women, exactly, God wants dead. Let’s make adherence to a rule of the modern world the be-all and end-all test of who is a true believer. That’s never gone horribly wrong before.
Let’s have that fight, because there’s no way it goes the way the bishops think it’s going to go. This is the lateCardinal Avery Dulles, writing in 1968:
In view of the American tradition of freedom and pluralism, it would be a serious mistake to use the encyclical as a kind of Catholic loyalty test. Nothing could so quickly snuff out the spirit of personal responsibility, which has done so much to invigorate American Catholicism in the past few years.
Nothing could be more discouraging to young people and intellectuals, upon whom the future of our Church so greatly depends. Nothing could be more destructive of the necessary autonomy of Catholic universities and journals, which have begun to prosper so well. Nothing, finally, could be more harmful to the mutual relations of trust and cordiality that have recently been established between bishops and theologians.
He could have been speaking directly to the bishops and their power-hungry enablers in Congress today. Have that fight. Go ahead. You won’t like the outcome. I’ve been saying for years that our vicious abortion politics are burning down everything else the Church has ever considered important, and this? This is like throwing a bottle of lighter fluid onto the kindling before striking the match.