Monday, January 30, 2012

The Pope's Pissed

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI issued a solemn warning about the erosion of religious freedom in the United States, in a January 19 address to visiting American bishops.

The Holy Father told the American prelates, who were making their ad limina visits, that “it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.” He added: “The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life.”

He specifically named the United States, and by inference, the current Obama administration, in attacking all of Christianity. President Obama is probably not itching for a fight over abortion. But he might get one. With unusual speed, the Vatican has condemned Obama's Jan. 23 repeal of the ban on U.S. funding for foreign family planning aid groups who offer abortion services.

The repeal fulfils a campaign promise Obama made to pro-choice supporters. But 
if the late Friday afternoon signing was an attempt to get the change in under the 
radar, it didn't work. Top Vatican officials, usually hesitant to respond directly to 
Washington's domestic policy decisions, pounced quickly. By Saturday afternoon, 
the Holy See was emailing reporters the Sunday edition of its official daily, 
L'Osservatore Romano, which features a front page headline describing Obama's 
decision as "very disappointing."

The US should be a land thoroughly committed to religious freedom in light of its history and the fundamental principles of the nation’s founding, the Pope argued. He said:

At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.
Pope John Paul II

The loss of religious freedom, the Pontiff warned, is “a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself.” He explained: “When a culture attempts to suppress the dimension of ultimate mystery, and to close the doors to transcendent truth, it inevitably becomes impoverished and falls prey, as the late Pope John Paul II so clearly saw, to reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.”

The Pope said that he was dismayed by reports from the American bishops about new threats to religious freedom. He mentioned especially the initiatives that would “deny the right of conscientious objection” to people who are morally opposed to “cooperation in intrinsically evil practices.” Here the Pontiff was obviously referring to policies that would require health-care personnel to cooperate in abortions, or force both public officials and private individuals to participate in the celebration of same-sex marriages or refer children for adoption by gay couples. The US bishops have sharply criticized the Obama administration for its unwillingness to afford "conscience clause" protections to religious believers.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan

The New York archbishop also slammed Obama's plans to force the Catholic Church into providing its employees with free birth control. According to new regulations, church-affiliated institutions will have to cover all methods of contraception, including sterilization and the morning after pill, described as an 'abortion drug' by some religious conservatives, will also be covered, but an actual abortion will not.

Asked whether he disagreed with the President's mandate, following a lecture in New York last night, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, said: 'You bet we got a disagreement.'
 'The government doesn’t have the right to butt into the internal governance and teachings of the church. 'It’s not about contraception. It’s about the right of conscience. This is not a Catholic issue, it’s an American issue,' he added. 'We’re strong on this issue of conscience, and that’s what’s at stake here.'

The administration's new rules exempt houses of worship and their employees, as well as other institutions whose primary purpose is to promote religious belief.

No comments:

Post a Comment