Popular Posts

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Bishops: Between Barack and a Hard Head


 Anyone wondering why the Catholic Bishops of the United States are in a delicate position these days need look no further than the juxtaposition between Barack Obama’s controversial contraceptive mandate and Paul Ryan’s controversial budget proposal and tortured Catholic defense of it. While I am persuaded that the bishops are correct to be challenging the president for his narrow understanding of religious organizations and for his apparently deceptive dialogue with Cardinal Dolan (see this revealing interview Dolan gave to the Wall Street Journal) during the months of “deliberation” his administration engaged in, I am also certain that Catholic social teaching is deeply at odds with the Ryan budget proposal. The challenge for the bishops is to resist both on explicitly religious grounds and to let the faithful make political judgments during this election season fully informed by Catholic social teaching. From my perspective, that means continuing to support the bishops as they seek release from the HHS mandate and continuing to support the president as he seeks to defeat Ryan’s budget and defend the constitutional veracity of the ACA. I do not share the view of many Catholic conservatives that the whole of the president’s Affordable Care Act is anathema to Catholic social teaching because of its supposed expansive funding of abortion and to the Constitution because of its mandate to buy insurance (an argument forcefully made by some of the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court). I believe there remain solid Catholic and constitutional arguments for the justice of ACA. I hope that the bishops do not allow their strong opposition to the president’s contraception policy to silence their historic arguments against the Ryan budget proposal or to lend their authority to specious pro-life and constitutional arguments against ACA.

No comments:

Post a Comment