On the eve prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, Catholics heard separate messages from two groups of Catholic leaders; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops collectively called for the defeat of the bill in the House of Representatives, while scores of health organizations across the nation led by Catholic nuns called for its passage. We know what happened.
More recently, however, when the Obama Administration issued a mandate which would require Catholic colleges and universities like St. Ambrose University in Davenport to provide contraceptive and sterilization coverage against their will, the bishops and scores of liberal Catholics who actively supported PPACA agreed; the mandate is discriminatory and must be revised or overturned.
Recently, some Catholics have claimed that the bishops simply don’t speak for most Catholics on contraception, citing data claiming that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception. In essence, these individuals are advocating for a referendum within the Church based on non-scientific data. Many of these individuals, intent on protecting the Obama Administration at any cost, would rather prioritize progressive “family planning” agendas and focus on personal opinions instead of actual Church teaching.
What these individuals have failed to recognize is that it is neither they nor the 98 percent who interpret Church doctrine. As Catholics, we believe in the apostolic succession of the bishops. We believe that the Holy Spirit guides their interpretation of doctrine. These are central tenets of our faith. Even if we personally don’t like a Church teaching, we recognize that by not abiding by it we are acting contrary to doctrine.
Giving in to the Obama Administration would be a concession that religious freedom comes with an asterisk if a politician disagrees with a Church teaching. That cannot happen, and we must not let it happen.
Member, St. Ambrose University Class of 2011