Catholic In-Fighting Displays Contempt For Separation Of Church And State

The Catholic Church has always taken a stern hand in the direction of their flock. That’s to be expected. It’s the norm for all religious organizations, large or small. Exerting a measure of control over the behavior and mores of their followers is hardly frowned on, here in America. In fact, the Catholic Church flourishes here, with churches, universities, vast real estate holdings and social fraternities; all of which are free from taxation.  Indeed, the U.S. branch boasts fabulous wealth and power, even viewed apart from the worldwide Catholic Church and it’s Vatican City headquarters

Lately the U.S. Catholic Church has made some very public gestures, that land squarely in the political arena. Recently, with the help of a D.C. based conservative ‘think-tank,’ the church opened an inquiry to sit in judgement of the Girl Scouts of America, and their relationship to Planned Parenthood, among other things. A not-at-all-veiled action that threatens repercussions which could affect birth control and women’s health eduction worldwide.

On Mother’s Day my family, along with countless others, were treated to highly charged political screeds, offered as ‘sermons.’ I do not attend services, but I’m told by family members that on their special day, my mother and grandmother were subjected to a lecture on the evils of Obama, same-sex marriage and the proper deployment of the thermometer when using the rhythm method for contraception, a plan with success rates that can be as low as 30%.

Hope brunch was nice, Grandma.

The latest example of the Catholic church throwing it’s weight around in the political arena is, the infighting that has occurred between Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia and the Washington D.C. Archdiocese led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl.  The controversy stems from an invitation to Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary to give a commencement address at the university. It wouldn’t seem like a big deal for the followers of Jesus Christ, to extend a welcome to someone whose job is to provide health and human services.

But of course, Jesus never got to weigh in on the subject of contraception, although several of the leading lights in the spirituality business seem to know exactly what side he’s come down on. Sebelius incurred the church’s wrath as the author of the provision in the 2010 health care bill, that required employers to provide insurance that include birth control options. Just that.

The funny part is, both DeGioia and Wuerl agree that Sebelius’ position on birth control is wrong, they just don’t agree as to what degree she deserves to be condemned. The university president released a statement that birth control was the issue, a contention that Wuerl hotly denies.

It would all just be good theater to the casual observer, if it weren’t for the involvement of  ‘conservative Catholic think-tanks,’ and Washington insiders. Plus the fact that the church-led outcry over the provision, shifted the responsibility from employers to insurance companies. They won that battle, a political victory.

A statement from the Archdiocese derides DeGioia’s statement, saying DeGioia, “does not address the real issue for concern — the selection of a featured speaker whose actions as a public official present the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history,”

Got that? The problem with U.S. Health Services is that it challenges religious liberty. Because the government wants to provide it’s citizens with the option of birth control.

To me that suggests the church is demanding primacy over what rights the government can grant it’s citizens. The church can certainly make rules and tell Catholics to follow them, but they have no say over what rights are offered to Americans.

It’s a weak economy and the Catholic Church is thriving on its tax-free throne. It receives a virtual one-way river of money, collecting payment for a non-tangible product. But as George Carlin once said, “If churches want to play politics, let them pay admission like everyone else.”