Friday, February 8, 2013

Catholic Bishops to Obama Compromise on Contraception: Nope

Religious Freedom Hearings, D.C., 2012

Golly, they didn't take the compromise. I wonder why?*


Brian Roewe, "New Contraception Exemptions Still Fall Short, Bishops Say," NCR

Rob Boston, "New Round, Old Fight: Why the Religious Right Rejects the Obama Compromise Over Birth Control," Talk to Action

Andrew Rosenthal, "Catholic Bishops Oppose Birth Control Compromise," New York Times

Kevin Clarke, "Dolan Says Latest HHS Proposal Falls Short," America

Mark Silk, "The USCCB's Rhetorical Contraception Accommodation," Spiritual Politics

Grant Gallicho, "What Bishops Want," Commonweal

That miracle that Michael Sean Winters was touting a few days ago seems suddenly to have been unmiracled, leaving the centrist cheerleaders for the bishops in a rather . . . embarrassing . . . position. They're in an embarrassing position because they've chosen to side with the bishops, who are playing partisan political games while history moves around and beyond them, leaving both them and their centrist cheerleaders in the dust.

History, as in women's legitimate aspirations for freedom, self-determination, fulfilling lives, is bypassing the bishops and those who have been foolish enough to keep pretending that the bishops represent either a credible moral voice for the present or credible pastoral leaders pointing to a viable future for our church. As history bypasses the bishops, their centrist cheerleaders who have clung to the bishops' moral tiller and have mediated the bishops' moral pronouncements to the rest of us look less than sagacious and, frankly, less than morally astute--since said moral tiller is simply not there and, like Gertrude Stein's Oakland, hasn't been there for a long time now.

Someday, some interesting dissertations will be written by scholars who look back to this period of history and read the commentary about the contraception issue and the phony religious freedom war at centrist U.S. Catholic blogsites, and ask who was doing the talking (hint: look at the names of those who have issued commentary up to now, in the list above; look at the big centrist Catholic blogs and see the names of those engaged in discussions of the bishops' response there).

And those same scholars of the future may also ask why women, for the most part, are simply ignoring the male chattering and rule-parsing and phallic boasting about their exclusive right to lay down moral laws--claims that many women increasingly ignore (and rightly so) as they go about the business of living and making their own moral decisions without recourse to the chattering, boasting phallic rule-makers, rule-parsers, and mansplainers.

* Hint: look at the photo at the head of the posting.

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