Archive for June, 2012

6-24-12 Sunday Morning

Published by under Interplay


Photograph: Janine Wiedel, 1975

Sunday morning. A lot of people filling the pews. Some beat the rush and attended services yesterday. A few of us avoid the summer heat and the homily, thumbing through a newspaper or surfing the web to discover the latest outrage in religious circles. Widow burning in India, female child genital mutilation in Nigeria, calls for a ranking, but it’s work juggling the pros and cons on a lazy Sunday morning. Which is worse? Philosophically, where does one come down?

This week it’s easy. The odds on favorites as losers are the Catholic Bishops. You bets yer money, and you takes yer chances, but zero for three ain’t bad.

I’m not talking about old sins such as the Spanish Inquisition under King Philip ll in the 1500′s. However, if you’re interested in blood and gore, I recommend Verdi’s Don Carlo produced by the Metropolitan Opera a couple of years back. The auto de fe of the Flemish heretics was dramatic with Russian soprano Marina Poplaskaya’s Queen Elizabeth standing straight and unmoving yet managing to convey a searing sympathy for the hood-covered victims being burned alive.

No, I’m referring to recent events, or, at any rate, recent revelations. I first became aware of a certain moral laxity when Eamon Casey, beloved Bishop of Galway, was forced to resign in 1992 when it was discovered an American woman had given birth to his child. As my Conamara friends mused over a pint of Guinness, “It shouldn’t happen to a Bishop.” That was before the rush of revelations of the decades-long brutality of the Church against the children of Ireland.

Then, there is the global pedophile tragedy, followed by the enslaught against gay marriage, personal vendettas which ruin lives and destroy communities. This week’s assault on human rights is more serious. It is an assault on the sustainability of our planet. The Bishops would deny women access to birth control even as the population explosion spirals out of control. 7 billion and counting. The most astonishing, and enraging, fabrication in the Bishops absurd moral crusade is that it is rooted, as noted Catholic historian Garry Wills points out, in a non-existent Gospel teaching.

Birth control is not a question of religious freedom. Birth control is an issue of personal liberty. The Bishops can demand adherence to their interpretation of God’s will till hell freezes over.  They cannot demand obedience from those who do not adhere to the Faith.  If the Catholic Bishops are not prepared to follow the law of the land, they should withdraw from institutions ministering to the many, and concentrate on ministering to those who freely accept the theological beliefs of the Church of Rome.



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