Sunday, January 29, 2012

Notes From Homilies: Listening and Acting on the Word of God

Today's take-away from the homily today:  You don't get to ignore God's prophets just because you don't like what they have to say.

As Catholics (and that's who I'm speaking to today), we have a wonderful and sometimes demanding set of beliefs based not only on the Bible, but the Traditions of the Church and the Magesterium (those given authority to teach the beliefs of the Church; i.e., the clergy, in particular the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, as long as they are not speaking falsely themselves). 

That often puts us at odds with what society calls compassion and tolerance, which in America, especially is highly valued.  So we get beat up, put down, etc. online and elsewhere for standing up for things like abortion is wrong, marriage is between a man and a woman, contraception is wrong, etc.  It's hardly a surprise that so many Catholics shy away from these topics, or choose to side with the supposed majority around them, or to adopt a "Well, it's not for me, but if that's what others believe..." attitude. 

I know exactly how they feel.  For years, I've hesitated to put anything "controversial" on my
social pages.  After all, I'm there to sell books; why should I alienate a reader?  I also hate controversy, and don't want to spent my precious online time researching to refute others. Unfortunately, silence can imply consent. 

This week, Father brought up one issue that is important not only as a Catholic, but also as an American.  Most of you know President Obama wants to mandate that ALL insurances, even those by religious institutions, cover sterilization and contraception in health care.  The Catholic teaching on contraception and sterilization is that it is wrong.  (The only exception being use of birth control pills to treat certain medical conditions.)  Some people, even some Catholics think this is no big deal: after all, the Church has non-Catholic employees and some folks use birth control for treating medical problems.  But this is an issue for a few reasons:

1.  The Church, as an institution, is being asked to violate its own beliefs. 
2.  It violates the separation of Church and State.  Just as the government should not force anyone to follow a particular religion or face penalties, they should not force a particular religion to act against its stated beliefs--or penalize them if they do.
3.  It sets an ugly precedent.  If the government can force a religious institution to support contraception in violation of its beliefs, what's to stop it from mandating that religious organizations pay for abortions, or church-founded hospitals perform abortions and euthanasia...or religion-sponsored nursing homes allow (or even fund) euthanasia?
4.  It sets the government above God.

I found this petition against the Contraceptive Mandate.  If you agree (and if you are Catholic, you should), please sign it.  I also encourage you to write your senator and representative to put pressure on the White House to stop this travesty.

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