As a relatively recent adoptee of the Catholic faith, I am continually learning about the Catholic Church's priorities and that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These funky and very powerful American bishops are extremely politically active and I get the impression lobbying the American government is what turns their crank. The last I heard about them in church was when the Obama health care legislation was in development. The priests asked us to fill out a card with our contact information to give to the USCCB. I declined. I have particular legislative priorities that run towards animal welfare and ending of American aid to Pakistan. I learned that Pakistanis don't pay taxes with any regularity. Why am I expected to support them? (Yeah, I know it's to help keep a nuclear country stable but I'm not buying it.)
I like to concentrate on the issues I care about, not necessarily what the Church cares about. I think the Church should care about the systematic torture and abuse of sentient beings used in government research but they don't seem to be moving in that direction. So, I'm kind of left with what they give us. In the U.S. Bishops’ Legislative ‘Principles and Priorities’ For New Congress letter, they promote the things that you'd think they would: protection of the poor and vulnerable (their definition of), and respect for the dignity of all human life an underlying principle. Regarding the latter, the following sentence really confuses me, "Efforts to force Americans to fund abortions with their tax dollars pose a serious moral challenge...."
But forcing Americans to fund all kinds of devastatingly expensive welfare and foreign aid programs apparently offers no similar moral challenge. I don't get that. It looks to me that 'respecting the dignity of all human life' is so entirely focused on abortion, Catholics are not encouraged to look at or support the end of activities that truly destroy the dignity of human life. For example, supporting corrections to Canon Law that force dioceses to reveal to law enforcement priests that sexually molest children. If you don't know how sexual abuse obliterates a person's dignity and causes unbelievable anguish, see here. And what about modern day slavery and forced prostitution? I think that is clearly an example of the disrespect of human dignity.
My theory as to why the Church focuses so heavily on abortion is because it's easy to work against it. Let me say here that I think they should work against abortion however not to the detriment of other critical initiatives to save and love God's people. You can find abortion clinics. The addresses are in the yellow pages. It's easy to head over there and pray in front of it. Most pregnant women getting abortions are scared and very vulnerable. Those are the easiest people to influence. Not so with prostitution. Those places typically don't advertise to the public their locations. You can't know where a pimp's house is to pray in front of it. The pimp is also likely well armed. Not so pregnant women.
And from what it looks like in my diocese, we're not going after pedophile priests or even spending any time praying for the victims of abuse during Mass. You, of course, can offer that up during prayers of the faithful but couldn't we hear more about that during a homily? Can't we do better for the vulnerable in our churches? I suspect we don't because it's easier to go after abortion rather than an adult male and priest.
I think it's an Americans duty to get involved in the law making process. There are good things to be done. I'll continue to look beyond the Catholic Bishops initiatives and work toward furthering issues that I know God cares about because He cares about the dignity of all His children and the protection of all His creation.