This blog started out as a collection of scripts for an online radio show of the same name. It riffed off of my 2004 book, Musings from the Christian Left, now republished as The Conscience of a Catholic Radical.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Fortnight for freedom a bust

The Catholic Church's Fortnight for Freedom came and went with nary a media mention outside the Catholic press.  Likewise, the regulation on birth control that the bishops were protesting has been published with no fanfare at all in the media.  While the bishops preliminary analysis was discouraging, I would not expect otherwise, as it would have ruined their protest by prayer to say anything else.

The timing of the Fortnight, which ended on July 4th, seems to be another attempt by the Church to catholicize a holiday that has nothing to do with Catholicism.  Indeed, the founding fathers would be quite amazed at their attempt to turn a commemoration of their revolution into a protest about the institutional rights of the Catholic Church to prevent their own employees, both Catholic and non-Catholic, from having access to a full range of family planning choices.

This is not to say that the last 237 years have not been good to the Church in America.  Indeed, it is among the strongest of nations in Catholicism, given the general decline of church attendance in Europe.  The largest denomination in the country is Roman Catholic, with ex-Catholic being the second most common.

The freedom to be the latter, or to disagree with the Church on such matters as birth control, where they have the scientific and relational facts wrong, is why we celebrate Independence Day.  Frequent readers of this space know my arguments on this issue - that life cannot begin until gastrulation, where the embryo first acts under the influence of both parents and therefore its own soul or life force - before that point the mother's life force controls development, and therefore her soul.

Since all forms of birth control are effective before gastrulation, there can be nothing wrong with them in terms of life.  As for what using birth control says about marital love, I would prefer the celibate and all male hierarchy to stay out of my bedroom.  Indeed, the whole teaching on Catholic sexuality is suspect given its stand on ordaining women.  If women were ordained to the deaconate, priesthood and episcopacy, the Gospel of Life might be able to get some traction outside of the clergy and young people in Catholic school (who soon change their minds once they start having sex).

Be that as it may, the attendance at adoration at my very liberal parish was said to be sparse but intense.  The more conservative parish in Old Town Alexandria may have had more attendance, although I doubt it.  The idea of using prayer to bribe God to change public policy is either a cynical use of prayer as a grass roots organizing tool or simply a misunderstanding of the whole concept.  In spirituality, the purpose of prayer is to align oneself with the will of God.  It is, in essence to say "Bless him (in this case Obama), Change me."  I doubt that Cardinal Dolan had that in mind when he organized the Fortnight for Freedom.  The Church will be at war with itself over contraception until he does and that is truly sad.