My old diocese (Peoria) is still occasionally sending me updates because they haven't noticed I moved, and against my better judgement I just read part of one. In it, Bishop Jenky is going on about how he's willing to go to jail over resisting the mandate, saying that everyone who disagrees with him is just pretending to be Catholic, and finally has the gall to claim that "they wouldn't do this to any other religion in the country."
Yes, that's right. The Catholics are the ones that are persecuted here. That's why they make up something like a quarter of all Americans, a similar percentage of Congress, and fully two-thirds of the Supreme Court.
He, like many others in the hierarchy, is pulling out all the stops on this. They care about this issue more than they have cared about any other issue, social or political or theological, in my lifetime. They have mobilised the troops on this issue more than they do for abortion, their heretofore banner issue, and the only other issue that they've raised even close to this much fuss about.
And the thing they (claim to) care about, more than anything else, is making it harder for women, Catholic or not, to gain some measure of control over their own reproductive health.
They were often accused of having an anti-women bias over abortion, and they protested that it wasn't about being anti-women, it was all about the innocent embryos. As a surface motivation, this is somewhat plausible, and I think most of them believe it to be true (although I think there are probably subconscious motivations they may not be aware of). But there's just no analogous claim that they can be making here.
So yes, they care. Or at least claim to. They're ready to go to jail to demonstrate what martyrs they are for the deep and abiding principle of... of... not letting women exert control over their own bodies? Because granting women such access, and making everyone pay into a pool to pay for it---a tax, effectively---is the largest affront to the church that they've ever seen. Apparently. I still think that at least some of the bishops were duped into this and haven't really thought about what-all they're supporting, but they've thrown in with the Republicans in a big way here and are promoting an agenda of making non-Catholic women (who ignore them) and Catholic women (who mostly disagree with them) less able to make their own moral, personal choices.
"Sometimes one despairs of using natural language for communication of propositions between humans, when it is so manifestly not suited to the task." --Geoff PullumPosted by blahedo at 2:04am on 9 Apr 2012