Still outraged—outraged!—that the majority of Americans support insurance coverage of contraception, used by almost all sexually active women, including Catholics, the bishops and cardinals aren't shying away from its absurd rhetoric and threats.
Via Joe My God, Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has penned a lengthy column suggesting that Church-affiliated hospitals should shut down and cease providing health care services altogether, rather than be forced to ... uh ... exist in a country in which women have access to birth control:
What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.Of course, none of those things are actually true, since the new policy adopted by the Obama administration doesn't force the Church to do a damn thing, won't cost the Church a dime, doesn't cover abortifacient drugs, and is, in fact, not only "economically sustainable," but far more cost-efficient than denying contraception to women. In other words, the cardinal is flat-out lying about what the policy does and doesn't do. Hey, isn't there something in the Bible about how you're not supposed to make shit up?
The cardinal acknowledges that "some" (actually, Father, it's just about all) Catholics don't actually subscribe to the no-contraception rule, he's got news for them:
There have always been those whose personal faith is not adequate to the faith of the church. Perhaps this is the time for everyone to re-read the Acts of the Apostles. Bishops are the successors of the apostles; they collectively receive the authority to teach and govern that Christ bestowed upon the apostles. Bishops don’t claim to speak for every baptized Catholic. Bishops speak, rather, for the Catholic and apostolic faith. Those who hold that faith gather with them; others go their own way. They are and should be free to do so, but they deceive themselves and others in calling their organizations Catholic.Riiiiiight. So the 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women who've relied on some form of contraception are not adequately Catholic. Bunch of fakers. Because the only way to be adequately Catholic is to do exactly what the bishops command. It's right there in the Bible! Bishops are the boss of you, and if you don't do what they say, you aren't a good Catholic, sayeth the Lord.
So having suggested that the Church should deny all health care to all people rather than stand by while its laity continues to use contraception just as it always has, and having chastised that laity for being inadequately subservient to the Church hierarchy, the cardinal concludes:
I ask lay Catholics and others of good will to step back and understand what is happening to our country as the church is despoiled of her institutions and as freedom of conscience and of religion become a memory from a happier past. The suffering being imposed on the church and on society now is not a voluntary penance.Ah yes, the Church and society are indeed suffering by being forced to ... wait, what is it the Church is being forced to do? Oh, right. Absolutely nothing.
But apparently that's reason enough to threaten to shut down hospitals and deny care of any kind to anyone in need. In the name of the Lord.
Of course, the Church has already lost this battle. And it knows that; thus, the increasingly desperate complaints and threats that prove the "concern for each other" and acts of "love and good works" don't mean nearly as much to the Church hierarchy as demanding that the government enforce its antiquated edicts. Because lord knows its own "inadequate" laity has stopped listening.