With all the recent debate about Pope Francis’ interview, one is left wondering if the Catholic Church has lost its zeal for truth.
The answer to that is: Of course not! As Rob Gasper pointed out in his analysis of the Holy Father’s interview:
Was the pope saying that the Church should cease all humanitarian activities? Absolutely not! He was emphasizing that those activities gain their fundamental meaning from the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, apart from the gospel, the Church’s social teaching loses all substantive reference.
But here’s the rub. Right now in the United States it is increasingly difficult to tell exactly where the Church is on a wide variety of challenges that Catholics encounter today. Do the bishops teach and catechize? Are Catholics fully informed on the matters most critical to living a life in and with Christ today?
I argue that the answer is no.
In fact, in a recent interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, said it best,
We as Catholics have not properly combatted it [the culture of death] because we have not been taught our Catholic faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for 50 years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention. I can say this because I was the bishop of two different dioceses.
Indeed, radical attention is long overdue. Take, for example, the mandate and its implications in the context of the overall thrust of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare).
While the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, told his fellow bishops that “a careful legal and moral analysis of the final rule” is underway, the truth of the matter is that the rule is clearly not in agreement with Catholic moral teaching. He says that the bishops stand firm against the rule, but at the same time Catholics remain totally unaware of why the Church has a problem with the rule, as 82 percent of them see nothing wrong with contraception.
If that isn’t a moral disconnect, then I don’t know what is!
Remember the pope’s admonition in his recent interview:
How are we treating the people of God? I dream of a Church that is a mother and shepherdess. The Church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people, and accompany them like the Good Samaritan, who washes, cleans, and raises up his neighbor. This is pure gospel. God is greater than sin.
The Church can only live up to this role if she first ministers to her people instead of accommodating the political and cultural world that has fed the poisons of contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage, and euthanasia to the masses for more than 50 years. It is time for the Church and the bishops—individually and collectively—to lead the way. And a great start is with the contraceptive mandate.
As Dr. Jeffrey Mirus so eloquently points out, the government has cleverly put forth a mandate it says targets employers. But entities with employees are companies and religious organizations that have real people involved, individuals who are impacted by such laws, often in a negative way. To make my point, I would invite each bishop to watch the new video produced by the Becket Fund addressing how this mandate will so very negatively affect the Little Sisters of the Poor and their care of the elderly. If these amazing nuns do not win their lawsuit, their work will end because the sisters will not bow to the will of the government.
Nor should we, dear bishops.
Please pray for each Catholic bishop, that they will absorb the words of Pope Francis and begin revisiting basic Catholic teaching in their catechesis of the people of God—including elected officials.
American Life League is Bringing Jesus to Planned Parenthood through Mary. We pray that the bishops will bring Jesus to the pulpits and the public square where evil can be confronted and defeated.