You might know that 43 Catholic organizations filed suit against the Obama administration to overturn decision that all employers must provide contraception free of charge to its employees. I understand only 13 diocese joined the lawsuit. That doesn't appear as broad support to me. Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, CA, gave an interview to the America Magazine saying, "I think our rhetoric has to be that of bishops of the church who are seeking to be faithful to the Gospel, that our one concern is that we make sure the church is free to carry out her mission as given to her by Christ, and that remains our focus.” If the bishops can maintain that focus, he said, “the people rally behind us,” but the bishops lose their support when the conflict is seen as too political."
Amen. I've long been a critic of aggressive stances against contraception and the Church's complete and sole devotion to just one crime against humanity, abortion. But, one commenter on the WP said it much better than me and I thought I'd post it because it's just so logical and concise.
And now for something completely different - a positive suggestion for the bishops, a bit of jiu-jitsu.
The Church is opposed to contraception, but not to birth control. It's model is natural family planning, which it holds out as a holistic approach to integrating birth control within a relationship of deepening intimacy between husband and wife. It is, however, little practiced, even among Catholics.
(Note: Natural family planning is not simply the old rhythm method, and has been shown to be as effective contraception.)
At the same time, anti-contraception has become something of an obsessive-compulsive complex among many in the Church, and seems to dominate the hierarchy. It generates far more publicity, much anger, and often negative energy, turning into heat what could be light shed upon promoting their holistic alternative. I have long thought that the Church could do more to promote it's pro-life philosophy by softening its negative campaign and putting that wasted energy to work in building support for pregnant women, ensuring that all had access to adequate medical care, nutrition, and the social, moral, and material support to turn a pregnant woman into an expecting mother, while continuing their adoption programs to make sure that there is an alternative when biological motherhood doesn't turn into parenting.
So here's the trick - accept Obama's compromise if the administration will make a matching move, adding natural family planning to the birth control coverage of all employer-provided health insurance plans.
Sure its a hard turn for the anti-contraception forces to make. It will require a re-evaluation of how religious belief best engages with public policy, and the balance of goods and bads in their moral calculus. But if the lawsuits fail, they might give it some consideration.