Saturday, February 18, 2012

"What People Talk About Before They Die" by Kerry Egan

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/28/my-faith-what-people-talk-about-before-they-die/

"Even in these cases, I am amazed at the strength of the human soul. People who did not know love in their families know that they should have been loved. They somehow know what was missing, and what they deserved as children and adults.When the love is imperfect, or a family is destructive, something else can be learned: forgiveness. The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive. We don’t have to use words of theology to talk about God; people who are close to death almost never do. We should learn from those who are dying that the best way to teach our children about God is by loving each other wholly and forgiving each other fully - just as each of us longs to be loved and forgiven by our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters."

"Bad Reaction"/Commonweal Editorial on Bishops and Contraception Mandate/ Attack on Women's Health Care Rights/Conscience/Religious Freedom

http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/print/6166#.Tz_wJz6Yyl0.mailto

"Even before all the details of the president’s proposal were known, the bishops rejected it and then upped the ante by insisting that the only possible solution was to repeal the mandate altogether. In other words, the bishops are now demanding that no employer be required to offer free contraception coverage to its employees. To justify their response, they offered only the most tendentious reading of the possible flaws in Obama’s proposal. Now the USCCB is threatening a concerted political and public-relations campaign—during an election year—that casts the president as a determined enemy of religious freedom."

Bridget Mary's Reflection
The bishops attempt to demand the mandate is an attack on women's rights to health care, their conscience and religious freedom. Why do the bishops have the right to impose their views on Catholics and non-Catholics alike? We do have separation of church and state in the U.S. Isn't that one of the basic tenets of our democracy?  


Darrell Issa's First Panel on Contraception Coverage Had Zero Female Witnesses

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/02/16/issa_s_first_panel_of_witnesses_on_contraception_hearings_included_no_women_.html
"Refusing to acknowledge that their stated concerns were addressed is simply revealing that the Republican war on contraception coverage is in fact a war on contraception itself, and no amount of hyperbole Rep. Darrell Issa uses in titling hearings can change that..."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
It appears that the Republicans are following the U.S. bishops in their war on contraception and on women by excluding them from sharing their experiences about family planning and women's health care issues. Like the Panel on Contraception, the U.S. Bishops have zero females in decision making and they certainly did not consult any woman. 98% of Roman Catholic women have used contraception at some point in their reproductive lives, and a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported that even among Catholics, 52 percent back the Obama policy: they believe that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals should be madated to include birth control coverage in insurance plans. The majority of Catholics are supportive of this policy because it protects women's health. So are women and the rest of the population. Women's health and well-being should be discussed by a panel that includes women in proportion to the population.  By excluding women from the Panel on Contraception, the Republicans are following the example of the bishops whose misogynist behavior excludes women from the priesthood and decision-making in issues that impact their lives including human sexuality. The agenda is elimination of contraception not just for Catholic women, but for all women. Is this the Republican agenda too? Listen carefully to what the candidates are saying about contraception.





Friday, February 17, 2012

"Contraception Crusade" on Colbert Report/ On the Lighter Side

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/408347/february-14-2012/contraception-crusade?xrs=playershare_fb

Catholic Bishops Step Up Campaign Against Contraceptive in Parishes Across U.S./Time to Oppose Bishops by Calling Representatives to Support Contraceptives and Family Planning as Pro-Lfe and Pro-Woman

The USCCB has sent out a bulletin insert to be included in parish bulletins. Please include this in next weekend's bulletin, as its timeliness is dependent upon Congressional action. If you have other methods of distributing this content (websites, Facebook pages, etc), that would be wonderful. More information regarding the HHS Mandate is likely forthcoming. Thank you for your support in this effort to restore religious liberty and freedom of conscience!

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE - Washington DC 20017-1194 - Fax 202-541-3166
BULLETIN INSERT

Sweeping HHS Mandate Stands, Violating Conscience Rights and Religious Liberty
Congress Must Act to Fix the Problem


On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed a rule that virtually all private health care plans must cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception. The exemption provided for "religious employers" was so narrow that it failed to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations-including Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities-that help millions every year. Ironically, not even Jesus and his disciples would have qualified for the exemption, because it excludes those who mainly serve people of another faith. On February 10, the Obama Administration made this rule final "without change"; delayed enforcement for a year against religious nonprofits that were still not exempted (our charities, hospitals, and colleges); and promised to develop more regulations to "accommodate" them by the end of that additional year. But, as explained below, that promised "accommodation" still forces them to pay for "services" that violate their religious convictions. The original rule that violated our religious liberty so severely has not been changed, but finalized. After touting meaningful changes in the mandate, HHS instead finalized the original rule that was first issued in August 2011 "without change." So the offensive definition of "religious employer"-which excludes our charities, hospitals, and colleges because they serve people of other faiths-is still in place, and those institutions are still subject to the mandate. HHS has promised some kind of "accommodation," but only after the election. HHS said it would take an additional year to develop more regulations to "accommodate" religiously-affiliated charities, schools, and hospitals that still fall outside the "religious employer" exemption. The impact of these additional rules will not be felt until after the election, the only point of public accountability for the Executive Branch. This eliminates an important incentive for HHS to provide the best protection for religious liberty The promised "accommodation"-even at its best-would still force our institutions to violate their beliefs. Under the proposed "accommodation," if an employee of these religious institutions wants coverage of contraception or sterilization directly from the insurer, the objecting employer is still forced to pay for it as a part of the employer's insurance plan. Since there is no other source, the funds to pay for that coverage must come from the premiums of the employer and fellow employees, even those who object in conscience.
There is no exemption for objecting insurers, secular employers, for-profit religious employers, or individuals.
The U.S. bishops defend religious liberty for all, and so have repeatedly identified all the stakeholders in the process whose religious freedom is threatened by the mandate-all employers, insurers, and individuals, not just religious employers. Now, all insurers, including self-insurers, must provide the coverage to any employee who wants it. In turn, all individuals who pay premiums have no escape from subsidizing that coverage. And only employers that are both non-profit and religious may qualify for the limited "accommodation." We urgently need legislation to correct the mandate's threats to religious liberty and conscience rights. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) to ensure that those who participate in the market for health insurance "retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions."
ACTION: Contact your U.S. Representative by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter:
Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members' local offices. Send your email to Congress through http://www.flacathconf.org/religiousfreedom Additional contact info can be found on Members' web sites at: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
MESSAGE: "Please co-sponsor and support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). The Obama administration's decision to mandate coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of this measure especially urgent. Please ensure that the religious liberty and conscience rights of all participants in our nation's health care system are respected."

Billy Atwell
Director of Communications
Diocese of Venice in Florida
941-484-9543 (office)
941-484-1121 (fax) www.dioceseofvenice.org
www.facebook.com/DioceseofVenice
www.vimeo.com/DioceseofVenice
Bridget Mary's Reflection;
Contact your congressional representatives to oppose the bishops campaign and provide cover for women's health and reproductive family planning as a matter of their conscience and freedom of religion. The U.S. bishops do not represent the majority of Catholics. Tell Congress and the White House that the health of women including contraceptive coverage is what you support as a Catholic and a citizen of the United States. This is an issue of human rights and justice for women as equal images of God who can and should make their own moral decisions on family planning including use of contraceptives.
 Jesus had no policy on contraceptives so the bishops should not act as if this is an issue for him. Jesus treated all with compassion and non-judgment. One could argue that Jesus would be angry with the bishops as he was with the religous leaders of his time for placing heavy burdens on  the people. Now the bishops are imposing their ethics on women, specifically women who cannot afford children and do not want to became pregnant. They are denying women their rights to be free moral agents who make these decisions according to conscience. 
 What ever happend to the bishops pro-life stance that aimed to prevent abortions? Contaceptives prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
Yes, indeed, get in touch with your congressional representative as the bishops advise, but tell him to support women's health, freedom of conscience and religious liberty to chose when to bring children into this world. 98% of Catholic women have used contraceptives, the bishops do not represent them in this campaign. The bishops cannot continue to discrimnate against women and blame Obama for it. (as in Obama health care that mandates insurance coverage for contraceptives.)
Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
sofiabmm@aol.com

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cardinal Cushing Had No Desire to Impose Church's Moral Judgments on all Faiths/in Contrast to U.S. Bishops Today

Boston College Magazine

Legal aid
by Seth Meehan
"When the Massachusetts legislature voted in 1966 to end the last all-out ban on contraceptives in the nation, it was with the approval and assistance of the Boston Archdiocese On February 15, 1963, Boston’s cardinal Richard James Cushing (1895–1970) was the guest on “Conversation Piece,” an afternoon talk show on local radio station WEEI. Not for the first time since the campaign and election of President John F. Kennedy, a Boston Catholic, Cushing addressed public concerns about the role of the Catholic Church in politics. As Kennedy himself had done, Cushing offered the assurance that Catholics did not believe religious viewpoints should control political decision making in the democratic arena. The leader of 1.8 million Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese, Cushing told the radio audience that he had no desire to impose the Church’s moral judgments, by using his considerable influence over Massachusetts legislation, on people of other faiths. .."


Seth Meehan is a Ph.D. student in history at Boston College. His essay is drawn and adapted from an article titled “From Patriotism to Pluralism: How Catholics Initiated the Repeal of Birth Control Restrictions in Massachusetts.” Published in the Catholic Historical Review in July 2010, the article earned Meehan the Peter Guilday Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association.

Winnipeg Statement of Canadian Bishops Dissenting from Contraception Teaching

Below are key passages giving reasons for Canadian Conference of Bishops dissent on contraception:
17. It is a fact that a certain number of Catholics, although admittedly subject to the teaching of the encyclical, find it either extremely difficult or even impossible to make their own all elements of this doctrine. In particular, the argumentation and rational foundation of the encyclical, which are only briefly indicated, have failed in some cases to win the assent of men of science,or indeed of some men of culture and education who share in the contemporary empirical and scientific mode of thought. We must appreciate the difficulty experienced by contemporary man in understanding and appropriating some of the points of this encyclical, and we must make every effort to learn from the insights of Catholic scientists and intellectuals, who are of undoubted loyalty to Christian truth, to the Church and to the authority of the Holy See. Since they are not denying any point of divine and Catholic faith nor rejecting the teaching authority of the Church, these Catholics should not be considered or consider themselves, shut off from the body of the faithful. But they should remember that their good faith will be dependent on a sincere self-examination to determine the true motives and grounds for such suspension of assent and on continued effort to understand and deepen their knowledge of the teaching of the Church.
Preliminary Pastoral Guidance
26. Counsellors may meet others who, accepting the teaching of the Holy Father, find that because of particular circumstances they are involved in what seems to them a clear conflict of duties, e.g., the reconciling of conjugal love and responsible parenthood with the education of children already born or with the health of the mother. In accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assured that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.


27. Good pastoral practice for other and perhaps more difficult cases will be developed in continuing communication among bishops, priests and laity, and in particular in the document we have promised to prepare. In the meantime we earnestly solicit the help of medical scientists and biologists in their research into human fertility. While it would be an illusion to hope for the solution of all human problems through scientific technology, such research can bring effective help to the alleviation and solution of problems of conscience in this area.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Birth Control,Bishops and Religious Authority" by Gary Gutting/New York Times/Canadian Bishops Dissent on Contraception/Winnipeg Statement

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/birth-control-and-the-challenge-to-divine-authority/?src=twrhp

"Since, as I’ve argued, members of the church are themselves this source, it is not for the bishops but for the faithful to decide the nature and extent of episcopal authority. ...The mistake of the Obama administration — and of almost everyone debating its decision — was to accept the bishops’ claim that their position on birth control expresses an authoritative “teaching of the church.” (Of course, the administration may be right in thinking that the bishops need placating because they can cause them considerable political trouble.) The bishops’ claim to authority in this matter has been undermined because Catholics have decisively rejected it. The immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI meant his 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” to settle the issue in the manner of the famous tag, “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.” In fact the issue has been settled by the voice of the Catholic people."

Bridget Mary's Reflection
I agree. The bishops, indeed the institutional church's position on Humanae Vitae, reflects the minority opinion and has been soundly rejected by the Catholic people. If teaching is not received by the faithful, it is not valid teaching. This is often referred to as the "sense of the faithful".

"Although many Episcopal Conferences published statements regarding Humanae Vitae, it is the Canadian Bishops' statement which has been the subject of the most controversy, as has been widely interpreted as a loophole whereby Catholics may feel permitted to use birth control. Central to the debate is the role and importance of personal religious freedom of conscience." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnipeg_Statement

"Quite Serious" by Bridget Mary Meehan/ Naples Daily News

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/feb/15/letter-quite-serious/ Naples Daily News
I am responding to some misperceptions about me and about the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement in a letter to the editor titled "Are you serious?

"Beneath the Conflict" by Joan and John Houk


The contraception -- freedom of conscience conflict set new records for speed of bishops’ reaction and administration accommodation. Never before have our bishops responded in a matter of hours to anything. Years of collective discernment has been the norm. Never before has any administration reacted in a bureaucratic flash to any critique by anyone. One may guess that both bishops and administration saw this conflict coming a long time ago. In that sense alone, it was (past tense) a manufactured conflict.
The U.S. Bishops know they lost the war on contraception years ago so it wasn’t about contraception unless you are an exceedingly dense bishop. It wasn’t really about freedom of conscience either. No one was being required to use contraceptives, and the bishops had already accepted alternative policies in various states. So what is left? There is good reason to suspect an orchestrated attempt by our bishops to discredit President Obama and his administration, and at least for some bishops, it may be a case of “scarlet fever,” i.e., how does this look at promotion time.
There may be something to be gained by continuing to dissect this make-believe conflict, which is to remember an often forgotten teaching from Jesus himself. Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, but you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. (Luke 11:46) It is not right to lay burdens of the law on people that because of your wealth, position, gender or race you yourself do not have to carry.
Our bishops never need to make a decision of conscience regarding the personal use of contraceptives. Then by what Christian judgment do they lay their anti-contraception burden of law on others? We can turn this dust-up into an opportunity to remember how Jesus taught us to live together. We can make people’s lives better from the bottom up by avoiding laying on heavy burdens, especially those that we ourselves don’t have to carry.
Joan and John Houk
2/13/12

Strong Majority Support Contraceptive Coverage/Not U.S. Bishops by Marjorie Connelly/ New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/us/politics/poll-finds-support-for-contraception-policy-and-gay-couples.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23
"Majorities in the New York Times/CBS News poll backed an insurance requirement for religiously affiliated employers and legal status for same-sex unions.
On contraceptive coverage, 65 percent of voters in the poll said they supported the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, and 59 percent, said the health insurance plans of religiously affiliated employers should cover the cost of birth control. "

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On the contraception mandate: Can the bishops speak credibly about a women's health issue? by Bryan Cones- in US Catholic

http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/2012/02/contraception-mandate-can-bishops-speak-credibly-about-womens-health-issue
By Bryan Cones - in US Catholic
..."The fact is, church teaching addresses women's bodies and their health care in profoundly intimate and different ways than it does the bodies of men. (One wonders how the conversation would be different if we were talking about prostate exams or erectile dysfunction.) It does not help the bishops' credibility that women have had no deliberative voice in the creation of church teaching on birth control, and since none of the bishops are married, they are not in the position to consider more than intellectually the economic, emotional, and psychological dimensions of an unplanned pregnancy.The fact remains that half of pregnancies in this country are unplanned, and half of those end in abortion. The emotional, psychological, economic, and moral costs of these pregnancies (and abortions) fall most heavily on the women affected, and I think it incumbent upon Christians to consider these women and their children--born and unborn--as we examine this moral issue.I do not see how preventing a woman from using a legal medical means to decide when or if she becomes pregnant impinges on my right to excercise my faith. Indeed, my hope that greater access to birth control would reduce the number of abortions more than makes up for any concerns I have about the legal complexities surrounding the mandate's effect on Catholic employers."

WHO'S CONTROLLING WHOM?/Bishops at War About Women and Reproductive Capabilities

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/311102/whos-controlling-whom?SESSb1e1ef98fce7d4a918305aa2a63a1dad=google
Church is not the victim here
By Katy Burns
..."Make no mistake. It is a war. And it's not a war about "religious freedom," as the crusading bishops and their conservative supporters, including a parade of pandering Republican presidential wanna-bes, would have you believe. It's a war about women and who will control their reproductive capabilities. It is a war about birth control, especially the relatively easy, inexpensive and effective birth control provided by the Pill, IUDs and other devices that have in the past 50 years revolutionized the world. For the first time in human history, women have been able to participate fully in the world in which they live. The results have been dramatic as women have moved in force into academe and into the workforce.This includes millions of Catholic women, in this country and elsewhere, despite the fact that their church holds that using artificial birth control of any kind whatsoever is a "grave" sin. Such liberation - particularly when some of those women start questioning their subservient role in the Church as well - doesn't sit well with many members of the Catholic hierarchy, an authoritative and autocratic bunch of celibate men who seem obsessed with controlling the reproductive lives of the rest of the world...."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Excellent analysis that leads to the heart of the problem- sexism and sad, but true, misogyny. Until we have women priests and a married priesthood in the institutional church, the Roman Catholic hierarchy will attempt to control women's sexuality as they have in the past. We have a prophetic movement of Roman Catholic Women Priests that is causing a holy shakeup in the Vatican now. We stand in solidarity with women worldwide in opposition to the U.S. bishops over this latest affront threatening contraceptive coverage as an issue of human rights and religious freedom for women worldwide. And the majority of Catholics affirm our position.
 Women of the U.S. and world are waking up to the bishops' debacle as a power and control grab by the institutional Roman Catholic Church! I agree that it is a war of the male hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church against contraceptives for women of the world.
Bridget Mary Meehan
 sofiabmm@aol.com
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Birth Control Debate: Why Catholic Bishops Have Lost Their Grip on U.S. Politics—and Their Flock m Padgett/TIME

http://swampland.time.com/2012/02/13/birth-control-debate-why-catholic-bishops-have-lost-their-grip-on-u-s-politics-and-their-flock/

"Yet in his refusal to cave completely to the religious liberty campaign, Obama has illustrated the reality that the bishops no longer speak for most U.S. Catholics—the nation’s largest religious denomination and a critical swing-voter group—on a host of moral issues, according to polls.

Not on abortion or the death penalty (a majority of Catholics believe those should remain legal); on divorce or homosexuality (most say those are acceptable); on women being ordained as priests and priests getting married (ditto); or on masturbation and pre-marital sex (ditto again, Your Excellencies). And especially not on contraception. Ever since Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Church’s senseless ban on birth control in 1968, few doctrines have been as vilified, ridiculed and outright ignored by Catholics – evidenced by a recent study showing that 98% of American Catholic women have used some form of contraception. It’s hard to believe, as the bishops would have it, that those women simply succumbed to society’s pressure to do the secular thing. They’ve decided, in keeping with their faith’s precept of exercising personal conscience, that family planning is the moral and societally responsible thing to do—for example, preventing unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions. And it explains why a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found most Catholics support the contraception coverage mandate even for Catholic-affiliated organizations. Presumably most endorse Friday’s compromise."
Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012/02/13/birth-control-debate-why-catholic-bishops-have-lost-their-grip-on-u-s-politics-and-their-flock/#ixzz1mMqDNOlX

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Birth Control and Bloviators- What Just Happened?" by Angela Bonavoglia

http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/birth-control-and-the-bloviators-what-just-happened
"That is why the targets of the church’s sexual repression—right here, right now—are not just Catholic women, but all American women. If that feels like mission creep, it is. If that scares you, it should."
Angela makes argument for women priests in article above as part of structural change necessary for true equality of women in the Catholic Church. I agree. Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com

"Did the Bishops Forget About Women?" by Jon 'Brien/Washington Post/ Bishops' Actions Hostile toward Women, not Christ-like

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/did-the-bishops-forget-about-women/2012/02/10/gIQAnIwo4Q_blog.html.

"It’s perplexing that the bishops have used their authority to declare that the vast majority of Catholic women who do use a modern form of birth control--only two percent rely on the natural family planning method endorsed by the Vatican--are beyond the pale. So much so that the campaign to avoid paying for this birth control overshadows any analysis of these women’s needs.The bishops’ media firestorm is hollow, because it reflects a failure of the imagination. Instead, the bishops are called to a different, quieter kind of action. It starts with asking, “What do you need, my sister?” and being patient and humble enough to really listen. If the bishops are going to go around yelling to the heavens about their conscience rights being abrogated and their religious liberties being threatened, and all the while ignoring the health needs of women right in front of them, they’re never going to hear the conscience where it already is: quietly, assuredly, directing ordinary people in the sacred task of living everyday life."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
This latest fiasco with the U.S. hiearchy reminds us how much we need women priests, women bishops and women in leadership positions in every area of decision-making in  the Catholic Church. We are visbile reminders that women are equal images of God. Indeed ,Rick Santorium may be half right, if we had women priests in every parish in the Catholic Church, the bishops would not have embarked on this ill-advised campaign to cut contraceptive coverage.  Presidential candiate, Rick Santorium recently said that Obama would force U.S. bishops to put women priests in every Catholic parish!
Just imagine what that could mean!! First, women priests would speak truth to power as we are doing now.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests issued a news release on Feb. 10th (see blog below that castigated the U.S. bishops for demanding an exemption to the mandate of providing contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act.
 Can you imagine Jesus who lambasted the religious leaders for putting heavy burdens on the people allowing the male hiearchy to condemn Catholic women for using contraceptives to plan families and avoid unwanted pregancies. Many women were among Jesus closest disciples. (Luke 8.),  The bishops' attempts to exempt themselves from the demands of justice, lacks compassion, and is hostile toward Catholic women, and all their employees who depend on contraceptive coverage for responsible family planning.  It is time for the bishops to treat women as Jesus did, beloved sisters and equal partners in the Gospel.  
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
703-505-0004
sofiabmm@aol.com
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Beyond Pelvic Politics" by Nicholas Kristof in today's NewYork Time's Sunday Review./Bridget Mary's Commentary on Kristof's Op.Ed.

"Does America’s national health policy really need to make a far-reaching exception for Catholic institutions when a majority of Catholics oppose that exception?"
at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/opinion/sunday/kristof-beyond-pelvic-politics.html?_r=1&hp
"Kristof: The cost of birth control is one reason poor women are more than three times as likely to end up pregnant unintentionally as middle-class women. "
Bridget Mary: Contraceptives prevent unwanted pregnancies that often result in abortion. It makes no sense for the bishops who claim to be pro-life to oppose contraceptives that could possibly reduce the number of abortions. Or is the real agenda here something else, control of women's sexuality. Read article below on Minority report- the reason the Vatican rejected contracpetives is fear of loss of power and control. Another major point is that the Vatican's teaching prohibiting birth control has never been "received"by the church.  Here are the reasons: 1 )the teaching must reflect the faith of the people of God, the Catholic community; 2) the teaching must be affirmed the majority of the church's theologians and 3) the teaching must be proclaimed by the pope and bishops in communion with him-- not by the pope alone or a minority. 

Kristof:... a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported that even among Catholics, 52 percent back the Obama policy: they believe that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals should be obliged to include birth control coverage in insurance plans.
Bridget Mary: The majority of Catholics are supportive of this policy because it protects women's health. That should be the bishop's pastoral concern too. Vatican II taught that the people of God are the church, not the bishops alone. 

Kristof: After all, do we really want to make accommodations across the range of faith? What if organizations affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses insisted on health insurance that did not cover blood transfusions? What if ultraconservative Muslim or Jewish organizations objected to health care except at sex-segregated clinics?
Bridget Mary: And the furor is all about protecting the Catholic hierarchy's freedom of religion even though it is well known that they do not reflect their fellow Catholics views or practices. Will our political leaders give the same protection to Sharia Law as they are to Church Law in the name of freedom of religion? This debate will open more questions and issues than the politicans can imagine. But right now, by promoting the U.S. hiearchy's rejected teaching, the politicans have walked into a hornet's nest that has already done a lot of damage.  They have certainly alienated many Catholics and Catholic women!

Kristof: In this case, we should make a good-faith effort to avoid offending Catholic bishops who passionately oppose birth control. I’m glad that Obama sought a compromise. But let’s remember that there are also other interests at stake. If we have to choose between bishops’ sensibilities and women’s health, our national priority must be the female half of our population.

Bridget Mary: I agree completely!  Catholic women perform about 80% of the ministry in Catholic parishes. Now that we have women priests, we are finding that more and more Catholics want a more inclusive, egalitarian church. Catholics are finding a spiritual home with married priests and women priests in new Eucharistic communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments. So, perhaps, it is ironic, but the alienation of  Catholics and specifically ofwomen in the church may result in the growth of a renewed Catholic Church.
Bridget Mary Meehan
sofiabmm@aol.com

Homily Reflection by Woman Priest Katy Zatsick on History of Teaching on Contraception/ Minority Report is Shocking which 98% of Catholic Women Reject