Friday, February 10, 2012

To lukewarm Catholics: This is your moment. Defend your mother.

You cannot have God for your Father 
if you do not have the Church for your Mother.
-- St. Cyprian, third century Christian martyr

To every lukewarm, confused or dissenting Catholic out there:

I get you, I really do. I was a lapsed and lukewarm Catholic once, too, with one foot out the door. You probably think the Church is wrong on contraception and you want your birth control for free. I understand. I am one of "the 98%" of Catholics who have used contraception at some point in their lives.

But even then, as a tepid, contracepting Catholic, I would have seen something like this HHS mandate as a defining moment.

As it stands, this is your defining moment.

Mother Church -- your mother -- is under attack. You may think she is old and out of touch, even a doddering old fool. You may feel she doesn't understand you. But she is still your mother.

As much as you may want her to change her mind on contraception, she won't. She will never change her moral teachings, no matter how unpopular they are, no matter how many of her own children reject them. She is stubborn that way, when it comes to objective truth. It's part of what makes her your mother, and frankly, it's something to be admired.

The federal government issued its mandate just a few short weeks ago, imposed by a man who apparently thinks he's a king. But your mother, the Church, has her own mandate to follow, one which was given some 2,000 years ago, by a true King. It was a mandate to hold fast to the truth and teach it faithfully, until the end of time. Christ's eternal mandate supersedes and annihilates all temporal ones.

Now, because Mother Church will never give in to the government's attempted violation, there will be painful fallout in the resistance. You are a child of the Church, even if a bit distant from her, and you have a duty to defend her in this battle. Rouse your irrevocably baptized soul and come to her aid. It's sadly true that we sometimes kick around our own family members, but we don't allow outsiders to come in and do the same!

The government has made a breathtaking power play, kicking around your mother in her own home. She has responded with a firm and resounding, Get out of our house!

Get up, and help her shut the door.

For [Catholic] is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, "As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it", and all the rest), and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all; which before was barren, but now has many children.
-- St. Cyril of Jerusalem, circa 350

**Update: Obama "shifts" the mandate to insurance companies who are paid by Catholic institutions. Don't be fooled and don't let your guard down. Nothing has changed.



  1. Thanks for this. I have a draft post that says EXACTLY what you are saying, only not as good :) My title was/is: "Dear Sometimes-Catholic"

    It is going to take these folks to come to the aid of the Church... we must do this together... divided we fall.

  2. You stay up very late for someone with eight children!

  3. Probably because those are the hours when the house is quiet, the family is sleeping, and she can think!


    I am going to post this on my Facebook page and hope it gets passed around. This is so very important!

    1. I think you're right. I actually meant it in admiration. Most mothers I know are completely exhausted much earlier.

  4. Reminder to Non-Catholics: Your "mother" could be next.

  5. I am so ridiculously hopeful for our Church during this time of persecution. Just for the reason you mention. I think a lot of Catholics will feel like a real family- hey I can pick on Mom but you better not! Also I think there will be a lot more Clarity like which Catholic school will refuse and which will go with the flow. And if some of our bishops go to jail, what love! What faith! Meanwhile our Supreme Court is headed by a faithful Catholic I got to see during the Papal Mass. Praise God for checks and balances. This time of persecution will end and our church will be more vigorious and pure hearted as a result of this time of testing.

  6. What a beautiful post. Thank You for defending our Mother Leila.

  7. What word did Saint Cyril use instead of [Catholic]?

  8. Ruth Ann, here is the entire quote, which was a bit too long to put on the post:

    And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it [Ephesians 5:25], and all the rest), and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all Galatians 4:26; which before was barren, but now has many children.

    Emphasis mine. From his Catechetical Lecture 18 (paragraph 26).

    I highly recommend it! :)

    1. Ah! I see! Thank you. The Fathers of the Church have such rich insights.

  9. Seriously don't let your guard down with this "accommodation" announcement that may come in the next couple of days. The WH already is saying it will not be enough to please the Bishops. This administration just wants to appear as if they give a crap about our beliefs...they really don't. Stay alert!

  10. I got very choked up reading this. Thank you for sharing your passion, which many of us do share.
    It struck me how much we want, as Americans, to make this a "woman's issue" when in fact, we are targeting our mother... because we want to remove the bonds of motherhood from our humanity, and treat motherhood as a burden and even a disease.
    But for all those of us who have not been graced with the gift of children in physical motherhood, we especially can understand the privelege and gift under attack here.
    And I think especially we women need to have a strong firm voice here - and refuse to let motherhood, spiritual, physical AND metaphorical, be so violated.

  11. Checking in and signing up.

    Have I mentioned that I haven't voted since 2000 (former Republican who would cross party lines from presidential elections on down in voting) because I've been disgusted by both parties, but this HHS mandate has pushed me over the edge? There have been other attacks on the Constitution by Republicans and Democrats, but this mandate is the clearest, most direct and bold attack on the First Amendment, which covers all of us. Not just the Catholics, devout or liberal. Not just Christians. Everyone will be affected by this move if it goes undefeated.

    Here's an exampled of the problem: A friend of mine is an Obama fanatic. I told her about this mandate, which she hadn't heard of. She kept saying, "He can't do that!", so I offered to send her the direct link to the mandate on the government's web site - not a link to any Catholic nor Republican nor conservative nor religious stance on this - just the link to the HHS web site. At first, she was agreeable. Then she said to me, "I don't want to have my head in the sand, but..."

    If she and her lack of intellectual dishonesty (i.e., not wanted to see the truth or read anything that might challenge her beliefs about Obama) are indicative of most of his supporters, including Catholics, we're done.

    Even if Obama rescinds it to win back the easily fooled, this mandate shows clearly his character. (Though, if it is rescinded, the spin will be that HE was willing to budge, not the religious crazies.) Character doesn't change. A mandate rescinded tomorrow will come back in full force after the election. In fact, this mandate would only be the start. Not only will I vote against him in the presidency, but I will vote against every Democrat/Liberal in every other election this year, and likely for years to come.

    Obama and his buddies might be re-elected or elected into office, but not with my vote, nor with my indifference.

    I will, of course, be an outcast among all of my friends and my co-workers (I work in higher education, yeah) who are on the side of "tolerance" and "diversity" (two more words whose meanings have been co-opted), but I've always been on the outside. Hopefully it won't be terribly painful adjusting to the extra loneliness.

    Apologies in advance for any typos - in a hurry!

  12. Excellent!

    And Lena's warning is spot on as well. This is only the beginning, and soon Obama's administration will begin targeting non-Catholics as well, if he's allowed a second term.

  13. When reading all the news surrounding this I am struct by one very important thing. Mind you I will practice NFP in my marriage so I wholeheartedly believe in NFP. The important thing, I think, that needs to be considered is that most if not ALL Catholics I know in real life use birth control. My best friend is the youngest of 5 and that's ONLY because her parents started using it after their 5th child(my bestie) was born 4 years after that 4th child. Though I don't agree, I can see how many people who know regular non-practicing Catholics would think that this mandate isn't bad simply because most "Catholics" they know use birth control. If people who profess to be Catholic AND use birth control proudly can't be brought to understanding about the Church's stance, how can a non-Catholic be expected to understand something that isn't talked about in their faith(I'm Protestant and I am only encouraged in my NFP beliefs on Practicing Catholic blogs)?

    Mainly I'm saying non-practicing Catholics, who make up the majority of Catholics people know, proudly use birth control and scorn this teaching of their church. If all Catholics practiced NFP, this would be taken more seriously as Catholics would represent a solid body unified against birth control. Since this is not the case, the general public has no reason to believe that Catholics truly believe birth control is evil because most of them are using it. Even with the outcry of the Bishops, there hasn't been a unified outcry of Catholics and this is the disconnect for most people. People claiming to be Catholic are a huge number, but practicing Catholics don't seem to be. If your run of the mill Catholic is using birth control and has no problem with it, then where is the issue? This last question is the question being asked by most non-Catholics.

    1. As a non-Catholic, I agree. It is hard to take it very seriously when most people who call themselves Catholics use birth control (at least those are the stats I see on the news--I have no idea if they're accurate)

  14. Just found this on Elizabeth Scalia's Facebook page from Thomas McDonald. He read the press release from the WH:

    "The policy also ensures that if a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge."

    Another meaningless gesture. I haven't found the link yet, but I'm sure it's correct.

  15. Philise, I understand your point, I really do. But thank the Lord, it's not actually playing out that way. Even people who like contraception are speaking out. It's been amazing to see that! And, not just Catholics who want contraception, but Protestants, too:

    And more!

    So, they see that it's not a "contraception" issue, but an issue of government intrusion into the matters of religious institutions. It's a Constitutional issue. Praise God, maybe we've awakened the sleeping giant and brought attention to Church teaching as well.

    Keep praying!

  16. If your run of the mill Catholic is using birth control and has no problem with it, then where is the issue?

    Sadly, these Catholics need to wakey-wakey. I was one of them, so I say that with all sincerity. I was awoken to the truth of the Church several years back after my deep slumber, and I embraced it with trembling arms, but nothing has kept me saner and more peaceful and it's my prayer for the rest of my brethren to have a likewise conversion to the teachings of the Catholic Church. It's really only something the Holy Spirit can convict them of, though. The spirit of the person has to be willing after their mind has been enlightened.

    As to your post, mama - "Katy, bar the door!", as the saying goes. We on earth aren't called the Church militant for nothing.

    Nice post.

  17. Stacy, this is so ludicrous. You know, when ObamaCare was passed, no one really noticed that it gave the HHS director (Sebelius, a "Catholic") the right to mandate any type of coverage she pleased, as long as she dubbed it "preventive services".

    That's the kind of power she has here. So, she and Obama pushed their abortion/Culture of Death/sexual rights/Planned Parenthood agenda by mandating freeeeeeee! contraception and abortifacients.

    Gosh, perhaps these tyrants could have mandated freebies in other areas, too: MRIs, dental visits, X-rays, gosh…. anything!!

    Don't you just love people who hand out stuff for free (with other people's money), and then on top of it, it's not really preventing anything other than fertility and pregnancy (neither are disorders or diseases!), and stuff that really is "preventative" is not freeeeeeeeee!!


    Get this man OUT.

  18. Thanks for the comment back. I'm glad people are fighting and seeing it in light of the bigger picture. Unfortunately, those I know don't.

    Personally....I'd love to see a church wide furlow of employees for about a week just so the government can understand how many people are employed and out be out of a job.

    I'm also interested in whether or not there are enough Nuns and monks to staff the hospitals. Maybe this should mobilize them causing them to go to school and be trained so Catholics hospitals will only employ Catholics.

    Finally, what if the Catholic Church did the calculation figuring out its cheaper to close hospitals than to pay the fine. As far as I know the Catholic Church is well within their rights to shut down their hospitals and schools that employ non-Catholics.

    Are any of these plausible?

  19. Philise, at this point I think anything and everything is on the table.

    I am watching Obama on TV, giving his press conference. Oh, he is so duplicitous! How can anyone take him seriously??


  20. Philise,

    The only problems with this:

    Maybe this should mobilize them causing them to go to school and be trained so Catholics hospitals will only employ Catholics.

    is that this is only half of it, the hospitals would have to serve only(or primarily) Catholics to qualify for the exemption. Can you imagine a Catholic hospital saying, "Whoa, sorry there Mr. Jones, you've self-identified as a Protestant and we've met our quota this month for non-Catholics, so you'll have to take your impending brain hemorrhage somewhere else. Have a nice day!"

  21. Hahahaha....oh ok. I was mistaken. I thought the health insurance thing on applied to people you provide health insurance to. If it has to be the population you serve AND the people you employ that's a problem. Well I guess the only solution left was my original one...

    The Catholic church is providing a service to humanity that they don't have to provide by having hospitals. It may be illegal to turn people away but its not illegal to close your business. Push comes to shove.....Providing services to humanity is nice but committing sin is death.

    Thus the Catholic Church could just close its hospital doors. Is that possible? Is it also possible to first do the furlow so that all these people who work there will see how trying to force the Church to sin isn't happening? That way the government would see how many people will be out of a job IF the Church is forced by the HHS mandate to close its hospitals to avoid sin!

  22. The Catholic hospitals very well may have to close,but we need to consider that Obama may be just fine with that. The government would just swoop them up. If they are government run, they call all the shots.

  23. Philise, yes, closing hospitals is an option, and many bishops have said they will do that before they are forced to provide abortions. But...don't you see? That's EXACTLY what Obama wants! That's the precise reason for all of these mandates. He thinks the church has far too much power so he's gradually trying to squeeze them out of the public arena. He wants the government to be the only player. Fewer competitors = more power = more control.

    The church has made a grave mistake in the last few decades in ceding many of their services to the government. The secular government and the Catholic Church are fundamentally and theologically at odds, thus they are competitors in their purposes and methods. And this is the result.

  24. I'm sorry but all your assumptions about Obama's intentions are completely ridiculous--you need to get over your persecution complex. Obama doesn't want to close down hospitals, he isn't acting out a vendetta against the church, he isn't "going after" the non-Catholics next; he is trying to get better and consistent health care for all Americans. If you don't agree, that is fine, but see the issue for what it is.

  25. @Nicole C - Really? I do not believe this is any kind of anti-Catholic conspiracy per se... It is to support Obamacare which can't function if people are allowed to opt out in larger numbers than a fringe group like the Amish.

  26. Johanne - if that were true, why is he pushing contraception? Contraception is not health care.

    Also, look at his track record. The man openly and enthusiastically supports leaving babies born alive to die if the abortion didn't work. He has said that babies are "punishments." He believes Christians are ignoramuses who cling to "guns and religion."

    Sorry, but I can't see how anyone could look at his track record combined with his current actions and not see a clear and concentrated vendetta against orthodox Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. Perhaps you're the one who needs to get your head out of the sand.

    1. Obama is, himself, a Christian. And contraception is absolutely health care. And he made that comment about guns and religion about a certain geographical portion of America and, though not politically correct, I think it's an accurate statement. He said that a young teenager having an unwanted baby could be a "punishment" and he does not enthusiastically support leaving babies born alive to die. This is all ridiculous. My head is not in the sand. It's fine to have your viewpoint but you (I mean you in a generic sense) but you surround it with all this fiction and it gives your cause less credence. If you really want nonCatholics and nonpracticing Catholics to support your position it helps if it's stated intelligently.

    2. Obama is, himself, a Christian.

      "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car." - G.K. Chesterton

      Obama's actions speak much louder than his words, and his actions are not those of a Christian.

      And contraception is absolutely health care.

      Really? What illness does it treat? What disease does it prevent? How does it improve anyone's health? Are you aware of the many risks and side effects, or the increased probability of contracting/transmitting HIV? How about the link to increased sexual dysfunction? Or even the Pill's effect on what men women desire?

      Does any of the above sound like "health care" to you?

      And he made that comment about guns and religion about a certain geographical portion of America and, though not politically correct, I think it's an accurate statement.

      So you also believe that Christians are ignorant because they put their faith in God and not Obama?

      He said that a young teenager having an unwanted baby could be a "punishment"

      Actually, he said, "If [my daughters] make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

      He called a baby a punishment. Babies are the natural biological consequence of sex, but they are NEVER punishments. It's clear he believes otherwise.

      and he does not enthusiastically support leaving babies born alive to die.

      Yes, he does. He repeatedly voted against legislation protecting those children and was enthusiastic in his opposition to it.

      My head is not in the sand.

      Then why do you cling to your incorrect assertions despite all evidence to the contrary?

      It's fine to have your viewpoint but you (I mean you in a generic sense) but you surround it with all this fiction and it gives your cause less credence.

      Fiction? I have reams of evidence to support all of my assertions, all of which I've provided. You, on the other hand, have provided none to support yours. Who is surrounding their beliefs with fiction, exactly?

    3. Go JoAnna! Sorry Leila, had to break the rule just this once!

  27. I'm happy to give up my religious liberty so that Obamacare can function. Seems like a fair trade.

  28. Nicholas, yes, really. If not a direct attempt to marginalized the church, then why choose contraception?? Its "health benefits" are shaky at best, it's widely controversial, and its preventative qualities only prevent something that's NOT a disease. If this was truly an attempt to expand access to healthcare, why not mandate coverage of something like antibiotics??? I don't use contraceptives, but I think it's absurd that if I did, those would be free, but I'd still hae to pay a co-pay to cure my small children's ear infections. Yes...there's an ulterior motive. And to not see it is dangerous.

    1. Birth control is not widely controversial. It's only controversial to a small percentage of Catholics.

  29. Furthermore, Catholic hospitals care for more poor and underpriileged people in the entire world. Bishops have plainy stated that if they were forced to provide abortions (which yes, some contraceptives result in) the hospitals would be forced to close. Yet Obama continues to force these kinds of mandates on them. Looks pretty clear to me that he wants Catholics out of the healthcare business. Proving once again that the whole "liberals care more about poor people" line is a fallacy.

    1. No, Obama wants to have health care for everyone. If Catholic hospitals close that is on their souls, not Obamas.

      And yes, you're right about Catholics providing so much care to the poor. It's one of the things I admire about the Catholic church and a way it has always set itself apart from Protestants.

    2. Abortion is not healthcare. It is murder!! In only a small percentage of cases is pregnancy ever life threatening. It is much more likely for the mother to have a condition in which the treatment might harm the baby than for the unborn baby to be dangerous to its mother.

      Obama is saying it is more important that Catholic hospitals be forced to murder unborn babies than it is for them to help the poor and disenfranchise. In fact, it is more important to him to pass through his ideologies, which are often not supported by reason or scientific fact (like the effectiveness of contraception in the first place) than to protect the needs of the poor and disenfranchised.

  30. Meg, you may be willing to give up your religious liberties but I SURE AS HELL AM NOT WILLING TO GIVE UP MINE. I'm not going to hell for bo or anyone else! I'm fired up! I'm ready to battle! Give me a sword!!

    1. You are an American and it is your right to fight for what you believe in. That right belongs to all of us.

  31. I actually agree with this statement more than anything else. With a better health care system the contraception issue would be moot.

  32. Johanne, please explain how birth control is healthcare. It is used for certain conditions, like acne and PCOS, yes, but it only *masks* symptoms. It does not treat them. In fact, on the contrary, it causes heart attacks, strokes, infertility, and breast cancer, to name a few (it's a type 1 carcinogen).

    Regarding Obama's vote against helping infants who are born alive after abortions, I don't know why the use of the word "enthusiastically." All he had to do was cast a vote in favor of supporting those infants. He didn't. Case closed. Here's a great analysis of that (this is a must-read):

    1. Nicole, it's true that the pill doesn't always cure the underlying cause of a health problem, but sometimes it does. When I was a lot younger I had bleeding between my periods but I went on the pill for a few months (specifically as treatmnent for the bleeding, I would not have used it for BC) and when I went off it the break-thru bleeding had stopped. There are a lot of medical treatments that are vital even though they don't cure the underlying problem--like insulin, for instance. It treats the symptoms of diabetes but doesn't cure it.

      I get so weary of Catholics asking this question about how is birth control health care. Some women shouldn't get pregnant because of health conditions (such as severe hypertension), etc. And while you might say that she should then have a lifetime of celibacy, I just disagree with you. Thanks.

    2. NFP-only doctors manage to treat a wide range of women's health issues without resorting to throwing contraception at every problem. For every story like yours, there's 10 more where a woman was put on the Pill to mask her symptoms instead of treating the underlying disorder, and suffered prolonged infertility as a result.

      Moreover, you don't know that it was the Pill that cured your bleeding. It could have happened through changes in diet, or perhaps it resolved on its own as you progressed through puberty.

      A woman who is advised not to get pregnant due to health reasons does not need a lifetime of celibacy. She can use a moral option to prevent pregnancy - NFP, which has a method failure rate comparable to that of hormonal contraception. But really, if you LIFE is in danger due to pregnancy, wouldn't celibacy be the safest option?? If I were in danger of DEATH if a pregnancy occurred, I would not want to risk even a 1% chance, nor would I expect my husband to subject me to that risk.

      Not to mention that a woman with severe hypertension SHOULD NOT BE TAKING THE PILL.

    3. You're right she shouldn't be taking the pill. I guess I think more of barrier methods when I think of contraception. There are lots of methods available that aren't hormonal and don't have side effects. I don't like the idea of the pill because it does have side effects and because it puts all the burden on the woman.

    4. Condoms have a 15% fail rate between user and method failure. (Even more interesting is that if you use a condom during your non-fertile part of your cycle the condom isn't doing anything; if you use condoms during the fertile part of your cycle you are paying Russian roulette.) Even tubal ligations can fail (and lead to a higher rate of ectopic pregnancies). When 53% of women who come in for abortions say they were using contraception when they got pregnant, than artificial contraception is not as foolproof as advertised.

      And insurance should pay for condoms???? Is it that much of a hardship for any one to go to ANY gas station or super market?? Not to mention that a lot of insurance companies won't even cover a walking boot when you break your leg, but condoms should be covered?? Fixing a broken leg seems much more like healthcare than making sure someone can have the illusion of consequence-free sex.

  33. @Nicole C - I think that he totally underestimated the blowback. I think he honestly looked at that 98% figure his advisors came up with and though this would sail through with minimal gripes.

    Access to contraceptives plays well with his base, so that isn't a huge stretch there, but far more dangerous for him is the idea that if this doesn't go well for him, the same argument will be used to allow people to opt out of Obamacare... and whether you like or dislike it... I believe it has some positive qualities as well as problems... it will utterly fall apart if not everyone is required to participate.

    1. See my link above. It's unfortunate that Obama caved to the insurance industry, because if hadn't we wouldn't be having these discussions about religious employers--it wouldn't be an issue.

  34. Nicole C. I agree, mandate coverage of other things like my yearly flu shot.

    Leila, I believe we had this discussion on one of your blog posts a few months back.

    To everyone, if you are capable of commenting on this or any other blog, you are capable of writing a message to the president. I do believe in being respectful and polite while being firm and direct.

  35. Johanne, I'm glad you admire the Church for providing healthcare to the poor. So why would you be in favor of a mandate that would force it to end all of those services? It doesn't matter if you agree with the Church on contraception. The fact is that this kind of mandate will force the Church out of running hospitals.

    1. I guess I don't think the mandate will force the Church to do that, I think it's the Church's choice to do that. Especially in light of the new compromise.

    2. Providing contraception and abortion is considered just as much of a sin as using it yourself. It's the legal equivalent of aiding and abetting a crime. Therefore the Church is being FORCED to choose between shutting their doors or intentionally leading others to sin, which is a sin in itself.

      Everyone likes to point out about how Jesus healed the sick, but they miss the point that the healing He provided was a reflection of the forgiveness of sins. Jesus' priority was the forgiveness/prevention of sins; healthcare and help for the poor was secondary. This, too, must be the priorities of the Church.

  36. I was being sarcastic. :) I'd sooner be imprisoned and I stand by our Bishops.

  37. "No, Obama wants to have health care for everyone. If Catholic hospitals close that is on their souls, not Obamas."

    Oh, it's on the souls of the Catholics in charge and on Obama's. If the hospitals close due to this mandate, it will bode well for the souls of the Catholics, and not so well for our president.

    1. Even in light of this recent compromise? I guess I don't understand that, if the insurers have to pay and not the Church. I don't understand why that is not an acceptable compromise.

    2. Johanne, what compromise? What Obama offered today wasn't a compromise in the slightest. He basically said, "The mandate still applies. I'm just gonna word it differently." We're not fooled.

    3. Johanne, this compromis is purely cosmetic. It's like saying 'you don't have to sell heroin yourself, just give your money to a middleman and he'll happily pass the heroin on to the customer for you.' Catholic institutions will still have to fund things that we believe are morally wrong (sterilization, contraception, abortifacient drugs, etc), we will just be forced to do it via a middleman. And although you have made it quite clear you disagree with us on the immorality of birth control, surely you can agree that forcing the Church (even via a middleman) to pay for something we believe is wrong is not respecting religious freedom. I wonder, would you not have a problem with this type of 'compromise' if (although unlikely) the administration forced orthodox Jews to pay for other people's bacon or Muslims/Mormoms to pay for other people's booze? Even though I disagree with Jews, Muslims and Mormons on the immorality of those items (pork and alcohol), I completely support their right not to have to pay for something they deem immoral. And if I were to work at a Jewish/Muslim/Mormon facility of some type, I would not expect for those things to be provided to me, given that I had freely chosen to work there or to use their facility.

  38. Nicholas, perhaps you're right about his motives, but I tend to be a skeptic and err on the side of caution when it comes to our liberties being stripped from us. Just because it's happening gradually as opposed to one fell swoop, doesn't mean we won't soon find ourselves with no liberty at all. We need to be vigilant and prepared.

    Meg, yes! If hospitals close for standing up for the TRUTH it won't be on our souls, but our president's.

  39. I haven't seen the text of this alleged compromise, but if it states that everyone gets the coverage and the Church doesn't pay for it... I am failing to see a problem -- at least as far as the Church position on not paying for it goes.

    1. Actually, it says everyone gets the coverage and the Church does pay for it, only he invokes the insurance company as a middleman. It's not a compromise at all; rather, it's a sleight-of-hand that gives the illusion of compromise.

      To use Leila's earlier analogy, if the government mandated that a Quaker company provide guns to their employees, and then relented and said that the Quakers could instead pay Cabella's to pay for the guns, would that in any way change the fact that Quakers are paying for guns?

  40. Johanne, I hope you will address JoAnna's points.

    Obama voted to let infanticide stand. It's on the record. He is in the back pocket of the abortion industry and PP -- they are his base. He said on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade that the ability to abort their children "allows our daughters to fulfill their dreams." (!!)

    He just denied a longstanding grant to the Church in their aid to victims of human trafficking (the Church has consistently gotten the highest ratings for those services for many years), which even insiders admit was because Catholics do not support abortion. There are even congressional hearings going on about that very incident, that's how blatantly anti-Catholic a move it was.

    What evidence do you have that any of what we say is wrong, aside from your feelings that Obama is a nice guy and a Christian of good will? I tell my kids, "Actions speak louder than words." Watch his actions, know the man.

    Truly, I need some evidence from you to refute what we and many others have documented.

  41. will utterly fall apart if not everyone is required to participate.

    Nicholas, then why has the administration already given thousands and thousands of waivers to companies who are friendly to them?

  42. Johanne,

    And contraception is absolutely health care...He said that a young teenager having an unwanted baby could be a "punishment"

    In this mandate contraception, sterilization, and "morning after" pills are deemed "preventative services". This category also includes government mandated immunizations for all children of certain ages for communicable diseases for the benefit of society. If contraception and sterilization are now, by law, preventative services, and unwanted children are a "punishment" on their mothers and hence a burden on society, how long do you think it will be before this mandate is promulgated?

    Johanne, would you consider this necessary health care for all? I'm interested in your opinion.

  43. @Leila - I believe the waivers are temporary, no? Like any politician he is trying to compromise to advance his ultimate agenda.

    But that is a FAR cry from say a ruling down the road that ultimately let tens of millions of people opt out for religious reasons.

    One of the most contentious points of Obamacare is the "you have to buy insurance" mandate. That concept is what makes "Insurance companies cannot discriminate against 'pre-existing conditions' work. Now, people can have an honest disagreement as to whether this is good or bad, AND I could certainly be mistaken about the direct correlation between this and the current debate... But I would argue that it is a far more likely explanation than Obama hates Catholics and wants to destroy the Church.

  44. Nicholas, watch the patterns. Why did he strip a longstanding grant from the Church, which was very effectively (by all accounts) helping victims of human trafficking? That had nothing to do with ObamaCare.

    Johanne, do you think that fertility is a disease? I'm not being snarky, I'm seriously asking.

  45. LJP I have to go and don't have time to respond to all your questions, but in relation to the 13-year-old contraceptive thing--I have mixed feelings. Of course 13 year olds shouldn't be having sex at all and certainly their parents should know. But some kids have parents they can't talk to, or parents who would punish them severely and not be helpful if they knew their kid was having sex. I guess I think every step should be taken to convince the teen not to have sex, and to get help if she is being abused--but I don't think a parent should automatically be informed because sometimes parents are a child's worst enemy.

  46. @Leila - I am unfamiliar with that, I'll see if I can look it up.

    @Johanne - I disagree with that. Somewhere, somehow, society changed in how it views the relationship between parents and children. Somehow the "default" value of we assume that parents love their children and have their best interests at heart has been replaced with this crazy notion that kids know what is best for themselves, and parents cannot be trusted. The sentiment you state - "We shouldn't keep parents informed because they are sometimes the child's worst enemy?"

    And they get more outlandish than that. I have seen the argument made that "What if it is the parents who are sexually abusing the child!" Which boggles my mind. Not (sadly) because that never happens... but how did it reach a stage where we /assume/ that is the case?

    1. Nicholas, I am in social services and I know so many young people who have been severely abused by their parents that I know what I'm talking about. It's terribly sad but it's reality and we put teens at risk when we don't acknowledge it. And no, I don't agree that kids always know what is best for them, certainly if they are having sex at age 13! But informing parents can sometimes be very dangerous. I've seen it happen. And I don't think people assume children are being abused, we just know it's a possibility.

  47. @Leila - According to a quick Google search... CNN says "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has denied a grant request from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of sex trafficking over concerns they will not get access to information on contraceptive services, family planning and abortion."

    OK, I have no problem stipulating that Obama and the democratic base in general are keen on the idea that everyone gets contraceptives... Because free love, contraception, abortion, and zero-pop growth are all popular liberal ideas.

    But that isn't Anti-Church. That is clearly playing chicken. He is stating "These are the rules of the game, conform or don't play."

    Is it terrible and tragic? Yes. But if secular society is going that way, then by all means vote Obama out of office!

    So, if you want to say Obama wants to marginalize the Catholic Church, I will agree 100%.

  48. Someone, for the love of all that is Holy, please tell me HOW birth control is medicine let alone preventative medicine?

    Medicine: A drug or other preparation used for the treatment or prevention of disease.

    Pregnancy, unwanted or not, is NOT a disease.

    Disease: (Medicine / Pathology) any impairment of normal physiological function affecting all or part of an organism, esp a specific pathological change caused by infection, stress, etc., producing characteristic symptoms; illness or sickness in general

    Pregnancy is no more a disease than aging, and I don't see Botox being covered by the Mandate!

  49. @Johanne - I do not doubt it. But just like a Police Officer laments that everyone he deals with day to day is a criminal scumbag, as a social worker you are going to come across a disproportionate number of bad and horrible parents. The vast majority that never come in contact with your offices should not have to be judged by the standard of the small number of terrible ones.

    Whether you assume abuse is happening or just that it might is splitting hairs. You are treating the /parents/ as if they can not be trusted just in case.

    I'm a 41 year old man... so neither a geezer nor a spring chicken. But I remember enough of my teenage years and even early 20s to know that I made some pretty stupid decisions. I am simply suggesting that it is backwards that we have reached a stage in society (and this is my opinion/perception) where we trust children and distrust parents as a default.

    I am not going to say it isn't a tough issue, but you have to start somewhere, and if we have already written off the family, I don't see where we go next... The State can not run every household... and before you suggest I am indulging in hyperbole... If the standard decision you make as a state agent is that you will keep parents, primary guardians, in the dark, and assume that dependent minors have the right to make their own decisions and mistakes and can keep their parents in the dark... Who exactly is left to make the decisions? The State?

  50. @Bethany - Because they are going with a definition more like "If you have to have a doctor give you a prescription for it, it is medicine."

    Cosmetic surgery is still considered "medicine" practiced by MDs, even if most truly, purely cosmetic procedures aren't covered by healthcare.

    A lot of things these days have very expanded definitions.

  51. Johanne, the folks who are A-OK with giving 13-year-olds contraception (with or without parental knowledge) are the same folks who are doing this:

    Check all three points. Planned Parenthood and their ilk are on record with this stuff! How can they actively sexualize a child while at the same time claim to be helping her be happy and healthy? It's like we've lost our collective minds.

  52. Cosmetic surgery is still considered "medicine" practiced by MDs, even if most truly, purely cosmetic procedures aren't covered by healthcare.

    But Nicholas, is at least claiming to restore something lost (due to age), or fix a deformity of some type.

    Contraception takes something healthy and medically normal, and seeks to derail and corrupt it.

    So, I get your point, but it's not a proper analogy.

    1. Sorry, should have said:

      "But Nicholas, cosmetic surgery is at least claiming to restore something lost (due to age), or fix a deformity of some type."

  53. Meg, I'm glad you were being sarcastic - sorry I missed that.
    I guess I can put that novena for your soul away! (totally joking btw)

  54. "So, if you want to say Obama wants to marginalize the Catholic Church, I will agree 100%."

    I like when we agree! :)

  55. @Leila - No, actually I was thinking more like breast augmentation and the really trivial stuff :-p But you are correct that there are some more traditionally medical uses for cosmetic surgery :-)

    My point to Bethany was more along the lines of one of the biggest hurdles we have is that the two sides share almost no common definitions. We can sit here on this blog and post definitions of medicine and scratch our heads and say "How can they think contraception is medicine?" and they are doing the exact same thing... because the two groups are so far apart on even the most basic concepts.

  56. I find it interesting that everyone s/b entitled to free contraceptions, sterilizations, and abortions (because I imagine that's next) and it gets termed "healthcare." Yet, infertility treatments are not provided free. In one case, the body is functioning as it should. In the other, the body is not functioning as it should. So, why is infertility not treated for free?
    I also think it's very telling that someone believes so strongly in overpopulation that they went to the time, trouble, and expense to erect the Georgia Guidestones, putting forth an "ideal population" at about 5% of what it currently is.
    Culture of death.

  57. What if, what if, what if... What if society actually accepted the inherent dignity of all persons? What if society stopped portraying and enabling the use of women as objects for the enjoyment of men? What if society actually accepted marriage for what it is, the primary societal unit with meaning and purpose, worthy of protection? What if society accepted human sexuality in all its glory and fecundity and ceased viewing children duplicitously as either burdens or accessories? What if society accepted contraception and abortion as what they are, an affront to the dignity of women and a horrid skirting of personal responsibility and self-control?

    "Never happen" you may say. And I would have to agree with you. But is it not a worthy goal? How do we move toward it? Is free and abundant contraception and coerced acceptance of "abortion on-demand with no apology!" going to get us there? If so, I'd love to see that road map.

    Is it possible the denial of all I stated above is materially connected to abusive parents? to confused teens? to sexually exploited children? to parents who are afraid to discuss sex?

    I'm not looking for the answer to these questions, I already know where to look; just giving some food for thought for others.

    Love, Justice, Peace (in that order)

  58. Johanne-Your comment is frightening. Are you saying that the government and the schools know better than the parents? I know the administration believes that, but do you? I seriously cannot in anyway comprehend how anybody could not be in a complete uproar over the government implanting anything in a child without the parent's knowledge! They do not have the right. The children are not theirs to do with as they see fit, they are God's children and God put them under our care. Parents are not perfect, but we love them and can care for them much better than ANY government could ever hope to. Is it okay if they tattoo them, pierce them, start them on a medication without parent knowledge...why not? Why does birth control trump all rights all logic and all reason? I just do not get it.

  59. LJP, great questions!

    Nicholas, you said:

    ...the two groups are so far apart on even the most basic concepts.

    Yes, true! The Culture of Death vs. the Culture of Life, as JPII framed it. But you know, you've hit on our mission. Our mission is to speak the truth, in season and out. It's our own special mandate, and we will be judged on it. We are here not to change everyone's mind, because that is not possible, but to stay faithful to the Truth, and fight the good fight so that souls (including our own)are not lost.

    We need courage to speak and act and vote the way Truth would have us speak and act and vote. Hearts and minds are changed, but only if the Truth is actually presented! That is what we are doing here, and with all social media, and through political action, and any other form of communication.

    "Truth comes with graces attached."

    And, pray, pray, pray!

  60. I just don't know how to do it Leila. I have so so so many friends who are so engulfed in the Culture of Death that they don't even acknowledge it as a Culture of Death. Rather, it's simply "someone else's values, and everyone's values should be respected and protected."

    There is no argument under the sun that I can give them, that will convince them that all values are not equal; that values are useless if they are not based on something higher than themselves.

    I don't know what to do.

    1. @Bethany.

      You could accept that they have a valid point. You could look at the physical world in your search for the answers to your problems rather than some imaginary beneficent being. You could realize that "Culture of Death" is just a phrase, one of many, that is loaded to engage and antagonize you on an emotional level, when really there is no lack of death on this planet that goes unnoticed.

      America is becoming more and more tolerant as we age. Your position has been defined as intolerant by the vast majority of America. You can reject that definition or you can bravely carry your flag of intolerance as Leila has done and continues to do through this blog.

      Best Wishes

    2. It's only a "tolerant" America if you embrace liberalism and its "values." Liberals are VERY intolerant of those of us w/values put forth by the Church, for instance.

    3. And "the church" is tolerant???????

    4. More tolerant than the left or atheists or agnostics or whatever you want to call them. We just want to be free to practice our faith and not be forced to do something we believe would put our eternal souls in hell.

    5. Bethany: Give them a copy of Bernard Nathanson's book. Hand of God.
      Moggleme: I also don't like the term "culture of death". there are plenty of loving, life-affirming folks who intelligently question issues like abortion, euthanasia etc. They are not Nazis. But, it is good to have a cogent discussion with them armed with salient points and excellent logic.

  61. @ Lucky 7; I dont' think you read my comments carefully. My point was that, while the vast majority of parents can take care of their children much better than anyone else, this is not ALWAYS true. Look the two boys who were recently killed by their father--he took an ax to them and then burned them to death. would they be better off in hands of the state?- You bet they would! Children in foster homes are technically in the hands of the state. And they are only in foster homes because their own parents or guardians could not take care of them or were abusing them.

    So yes I am saying that govenment and schools know better than parents how to care for their kids but only RARELY is this true.

    1. These children WERE in the hands of the state.

  62. @JoAnna

    "So you also believe that Christians are ignorant because they put their faith in God and not Obama?

    Of course not. Read what I wrote. I was referring to Obama's statement there's a portion of the country where people cling to religion and guns. I believe this is true, even tho it's not politically correct to say so. In middle America there are a lot more bible-thumping, born-again Protestants who take the bible literally (at least the way their particular pastor interprets the bible), and I would characterize that kind of religious fervor as "clinging to religion" (I'm not so much talking about Catholics here--there is a kind of mindlessness to fundamentalist Protestantism that I find unintelligent). It has nothing to do with "Christians" in general and nothing to do with putting their faith in Obama. You greatly overreact to things and completely change their meanings. Your arguments would be more credible if you could avoid doing that.

  63. His [Obama] words quickly won the support he was looking for. "The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed," said Keehan, who supported Obama's effort to overhaul healthcare but had opposed the birth control mandate.

    Obama also won over a range of prominent Catholics who had criticized the policy, including Douglas W. Kmiec, his former Malta ambassador, and E.J. Dionne, a columnist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

    I think that president Obama is trying to work with the Catholics in America, but it seems that many in this blog are not giving him any credit.

    He is trying, and many Catholics seem to understand this.

    But remember, it is the insurance companies. And like most of America, they probably have no problem with birth control as a moral issue. It would be out of the Catholic organization's hand. The would depend on the values of the insurance companies.

  64. Moogleme -
    I'm not sure whether you were intentionally trying to be condescending or not.

    I'm sorry that you've never had the pleasure of talking with God. I have. Imagination is personal and of the individual. If the argument against God was purely based in the idea that He is imaginary, that would easily be proven wrong since HE apparently exists within the imaginations of over 2 billions world-wide and that's just current people. Which negates the idea of the individual imagination. In other words, if God is simply in my imagination, it would be impossible for all other believers, past and present, to be believing in the same God. Yet we do.

    If everyone's values are equal and have the right to be respected and protected, then what happens when someone values killing every 4th person they come in contact with. Or they value cannibalism, or stealing for the adrenaline rush, or cheating on a test to get the grade, or pedophilia, or racism, or slavery, or sex trafficking, or gender-based abortions (which is supported by Planned Parenthood), or... the list goes on and on. NO! Values based on individual whims, emotions and desires are not actually values. They are simply individual whims, emotions and desires, and they can be either good or bad. I should not be asked to tolerate bad whims, bad emotions or bad desires (those things that go against natural law), out of fear of "hurting one's feelings". I have respect for the dignity that lies in each and every human being, but will not tolerate their bad behavior, precisely because it is disrespectful to themselves and to everyone else.

    Your position has been defined as intolerant by the vast majority of America.

    And this is the entire problem, exactly. Positions are being defined by the majority, rather than by Natural Law, which humanity doesn't control.

  65. Johanne, any comments on my evidence that contraception is not health care?

    Your long-winded paragraph essentially boils down to, "Put your trust in Obama, not God." I'll stick with God over a man who repeatedly voted to allow infanticide.

  66. Regarding the Church's supposed "intolerance", from Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.:

    The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.

    Moogleme, what system or philosophy do you find the most "tolerant" of others?


  67. Chelsea, don't be fooled. As one observer noted, Obama just flipped us the bird. This is a shell game, his "compromise", and that is why Planned Parenthood is all warm and fuzzy with it. In reality, the "compromise" is worse than the original.

    Read and pay close attention to what happened. Obama is good at this:

    Even non-Catholics, who are okay with contraception, see the deception and are not buying it:

  68. I have just one question for the masses of people: Why isn't abstinence EVER considered as a viable option? I don't have any kids because I'm abstinent. This means I don't need birth control or an abortion. Everyone argues about birth control as if there aren't ways to avoid having babies. Abstinence WORKS! Why is it that no one is willing to embrace abstinence?

    It appears to me that everyone feels they have a RIGHT to the pleasure of sex AND the avoidance of the results of sex (babies). If the general perception was that sex leads to babies and pleasure and these two had never been separated by birth control/abortion then maybe people would be more careful.

    Also since everyone is saying its a woman's rights issue can we please discuss why women don't feel the need to CLOSE THEIR LEGS to avoid getting pregnant. If having a baby will ruin your life, don't run the risk! If you want this high powered career and don't want to take care of kids....leave that man alone and let him go find a woman who wants to be his wife and give him children. That will free you up to have your career, be really good at it, and not have to worry about children or a husband. The fact is women, you might have to CHOOSE. OMGoodness everyone is running around talking about choices. Well here's a choice: Singleness with the career you can't seem to give up for the sake of your children's development and well being or Marriage with the assumption that children may become your primary focus in that vocation. Let's actually make a choice and be good at something instead of trying to "have it all." If you want a marriage, that means you want kids or some level. If you can't imagine leaving your career, abstinence may be a huge part of your marriage. If it isn't...either your children or your job will suffer.

    I just don't have any understanding of why people are having so many issues. Its very simple
    No sex= no baby and no need for abortions/birth control

    sex=possible baby

    If you don't want a baby then you obviously don't want sex. Why is no one willing to accept that not wanting a baby is the same thing as not wanting sex. I'm just trying to figure out why people have so very little self control. You don't steal food from Walmart because you're hungry, so that means you can also avoid sex even if you want it. Self control.....oh what would the world come to if people exercised it!

  69. Philise, isn't it amazing that we live in a world which (for the first time ever) does not recognize that the "baby-making act" actually "makes babies".

    It seems that folks are entirely shocked that the two are connected!

    If we can go back to teaching our children that, believe it or not, "sex makes babies" (I know, it's hard for those on the Pelvic Left to believe!), then we might restore some sanity to the culture.

    Someone said recently, if our culture's view of sex has us climbing over a mountain of dead little bodies to get there, then something has gone terribly wrong.

    But of course, the Left thinks the Church is wrong, for teaching the obvious, eternal (and biological) truth: Sex and procreation are intrinsically connected.

  70. Philise, I wish I could print your most recent comments on flyers then hire an airplane to drop the flyers all over America. Then I wish people would read the flyer, take it to heart, and then recycle the flyers.

    Imagine the social problems that would be reduced. Imagine the amount of heartache that would be reduced.

    Of course there will always be dysfunctional families, etc, but there would be a lot more healthier families. Women dating men would not feel (I hope) obligated to sleep with men on the third date (stupid "rule).

    Leila, did you coin the term Pelvic Left?

  71. Philise,

    I just read your comment from last night...welcome to the counter-culture! Prepare to be ridiculed, derided, vilified, and shunned for your logical, reasonable, and loving acceptance of the inherent dignity of the human person and human sexuality.

    For someone who isn't Catholic, you sure do sound like one! You are proving the point that Catholic teaching truly is 'universal'. On a personal note, I would strongly encourage you to follow your mind and your heart, research Catholicism (you're halfway there already!)

    Suppression of what is distinctly woman = oppression of women

    Love, Justice, Peace

  72. Lena, I didn't coin it, and I wish I knew who did! It fits, doesn't it? Their entire cultural outlook is seen through the pelvis! Very base, very adolescent point of view. Not really cued into the higher things.

    Becky, no problem, ha ha!

    LJP, I'm going to be using this:

    Suppression of what is distinctly woman = oppression of women

    That is excellent! I want College Student to understand that.

  73. Gonna be gone all day. Have good discussions!

  74. Philise,
    I think you make some seriously good points, but I don't think it is wise to tell women they have to choose between motherhood and a career wholesale. There are lots of in-between places. I know lots of women who are excellent mothers, have very well-adjusted, lovely children and who work. Most have made huge sacrifices in their careers for their families, and this is just and right. You cannot "have it all", but it is not correct that you cannot be a very good mother and have a career.

    1. Hey Mary! I don't think Philise was saying that you have to choose between motherhhod and a career...she was saying if you don't want a baby don't have sex.

  75. Something that struck me the other day about the HHS mandate, was that everyone is calling birth control and abortion "healthcare". Why is nobody calling sanitary pads "healthcare"? These are things that every fertile woman must use...for their own hygiene and that of everyone around them, but I don't see the left jumping up and down demanding that we pay for tampons.

    1. So true, Mary! I want free yoga and gym membership! How bout some new free running shoes?

  76. EXACTLY, Mary!

    What really bothers me is all the rhetoric about this being "reproductive choice." Where's my reproductive choice?

    The state I live in doesn't mandate maternity riders on insurance policies....therefore any self-insured person (which is my family) does not have any option to add a maternity rider to their insurance policy. It's just not available unless you work for a company that has a company policy.

    I want to have more children, but financially, we cannot really afford it right now.

    Where's my reproductive choice? Shouldn't it go both ways? Why isn't someone mandating maternity coverage?

  77. As a stay at home mom of 6 I love this blog and the wonderful comments. As I was sending my oldest to college some of my very lovely friends were getting appointments to get their daughters on BC before the semester started. I was made to feel like a terrible mother for not doing the same. I held firm to my beliefs. I want so much more for my girls than meaningless sex. I know they will make these decision on there own, but I will not be apart of it. I cant say enough how precious my relationship is to my husband now for 22 years. And If we viewed sex in any different way I really don't think we would have lasted.

    On another note. Women are using BC to prolong having children many are finding it hard to conceive. My 42 year old sister in law is trying to have her first and has found out it isn't going to happen. She is devastated.She used to belittle me about my choices in having so many kids, now she admits that I had it all right. She said her career was her God and she didn't want to have children interfere with her amazing career. Now she realizes that she is a woman too. She realizes the deep biological need to be fulfilled through motherhood. For most of us it is true and for her it is much to late.

  78. Mary, I'm not saying its impossible. I should clarify. I haven't met a single woman who has been successful in my own field AND had a kid. The last girl that got pregnant got kicked out of the graduate program. I myself have been warned about getting married or pregnant before I finish.

    My point is that if you are both MARRIED and practicing NFP/Open to Life, working will become a struggle.
    - If your heart is really at your job, then carefully consider marriage and how it will affect your work.
    - If your heart is split, then carefully consider how much abstinence may be a part of your marriage.
    - Finally if you find your heart is in marriage/at home, carefully consider if the amount of time you have to devote to work correlates with you actual amount of interest in things outside the home.

    If you do make the necessary sacrifices at your job because you truly want to have a career and family, then kudos. Its just that in the industry I'm in.....that's not a option. The mere birth of a child indicates you're not serious about the job and need to be removed as quickly and quietly as possible so as not to arouse HR that such discrimination is going on. That's exactly what happened to my friend.

  79. Pedro, here is a paragraph from another post of mine:

    Roe v. Wade was the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. A "right to privacy" legal argument was used as the basis for that tragic decision. However, most Americans are unaware that the "right to privacy" (words not found in the Constitution) did not originate with Roe v. Wade, but with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, and Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972. What were those cases? Griswold was the case that legalized the sale of contraception to married people, and Eisenstadt was the case that extended the same "right" to unmarried people. The "right to privacy" regarding contraception cleared the way for the "right to privacy" regarding abortion. The legal road from contraception to abortion was natural and easy.

    There is no "right to privacy" in the Constitution. It's bad law. So is Roe. Bad law. Many pro-abortion legal folks agree with us on that.

    Do I want it made illegal? I think I will go with Thomas Aquinas (correct me if I am wrong?) that not every vice can be made illegal. I do believe that every abortifacient should be illegal, yes! There are few things that the federal gov't actually is supposed to do for us, and one of them is to protect our inalienable right to life. Inalienable. So, protection of all human beings, from conception till death.

    I will address the Culture of Death term in a bit. Been gone from kids all day, need some family time! :)

    (Mary, good point about the feminine products! Never thought of that!)

    1. OH, shoot! Pedro wrote his comment on another thread! I'll put this over there….

  80. As I was sending my oldest to college some of my very lovely friends were getting appointments to get their daughters on BC before the semester started.

    This kind of stuff leaves me speechless. Even when I was in sin as a college girl, I would never in a million years have wanted or expected my mother to facilitate my sins. It would have made me sick and would have made me lose respect for my mom. Also, no one has ever told me how this is different from making sure that their kids have clean needles just in case they were going to start shooting up in college. You only facilitate activities that you want to encourage, after all.

  81. Mary, I think I am going to do a post explaining why it's termed "The Culture of Death". It's really not about the motives or the character of the individuals who hold some of those ideas. It's about a philosophy that undergirds those issues.

    Great idea for a post, so thanks to you and to Moggleme for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Leila,

      I was thinking of doing the same thing, especially since I wrote my new-age post. People don't seem to understand that the term "Culture of Death" isn't mere polemics, it's a term used to describe a culture in which Death is upheld as an alternative to pain and suffering, in which lives which may be burdensome or difficult are terminated. In which "Quality of Life" becomes a weapon against life itself, and in which the preference for death infiltrates the medical system to such a degree that it becomes another form of "pain relief." We've seen this with abortion, indeed how many of us have, upon getting the diagnosis of pregnancy have been slipped the "genetic testing" forms along with all of the other lab-work we're expected to get done. Now we're seeing it with euthanasia.

  82. Suppression of what is distinctly woman = oppression of women

    That is excellent! I want College Student to understand that.

    In the most fundamental way, yes, third world countries do the best job in embracing womanhood. Unlike American girls they welcome menstruation. When our daughters get their periods for the first time, we teach them how to cover it up with tampons so no one will know. When their daughters menstruate, they throw a public celebratory party (normally a wedding.) At 12 or 13 we tell our daughters to ignore the profound change in their bodies, throw books at them and prepare them for an ungendered life. At 12 or 13, they embrace their daughter’s god-given femininity and capacity to reproduce, and show them how to be wives and mothers.

    Their way DOES honor the way women were biologically made better than ours. But I will never agree it is a better way to live.

    Loathing menstrual cramps and not wanting to go through the excruciating process of giving birth doesn’t make you misogynistic, it makes you practical.
    Liking sex and not wanting to be a parent doesn’t mean you have penis envy, it means sex-- is fun, and babies—are not

    Once again, I understand, but disagree.

    1. Sorry...not sure who you are but I FUNDAMENTALLY disagree with your statement that "third world countries do the best job in embracing womanhood."

      No. Many of these women have no education and are treated like property. I have been there and seen it. Is it good to celebrate the onset of menstruation? Yes. Is it good to be betrothed at 12? UNEQUIVOCALLY NO!!!! No Christian doctrine I have every read thinks this is a good thing. To even suggest this is a good thing is terrible.

      Have we extended our adolescence ridiculously and tragically through our thirties? Yes, and we do take our fertility for granted, but the polar opposite of that is not to be lauded. There is a perfect, and reasonable time for women to begin to reproduce and marry and that is between 19 and 30. Delaying it later presents problems and starting earlier presents problems.

  83. Babies of one's own are a responsibility, not a punishment.

    And sometimes they are very fun. Do you ever try to tickle their little tum tums? Sometimes babies make funny faces. And you can dress them in funny Halloween outfits. They love to laugh just like we do.

    Sometimes they are not fun, but are we grown-ups fun all the time? No, we are not always fun. Sometimes we are very annoying people. Luckily, most of the time we aren't killed for being annoying, hurtful, mean, grumpy, gloomy, selfish, etc.

    And if this time in your life you choose to focus on education or travel or some other pursuit and not babies, then don't do the baby making act.

    It seems like you do not want to grow up and take responsibility. I don't want to clean my bathroom, but I take responsibility for my own home. I like having a place to live, and cleaning it is my responsibility.

  84. Why do mothers put their daughters on birth control before throwing them to the wolves at college? Don't they care about THEIR HEARTS and FEELINGS??? Do they want their daughters to throw themselves at selfish men like throwing candy from a parade float? Didn't these mothers spent 18 years protecting their daughters from disease and ill will? Why are they throwing their daughters out the window with birth control? Does anybody out there worry about contracting a sexually transmitted disease???

  85. Lena,

    You are so right. The crazy thing is, as middle age woman,( no matter the conservative or liberal slant) we simply know better. We have lived it and experienced it. So how can we not want better for our girls? It is our responsibilty to guide them away from such harmful behaivor.

  86. Based on what I've read you are not open to any sort of compromise on this issue and based on what I've read the Bishops want any private employer who holds a moral/philosophical objection to contraception not to have to cover it. I'm curious to know if you feel there are lines. What about the following examples?

    * A Christian Scientist acquires a company and only wants to provide coverage for Christian Science practioners, not doctors because she doesn't believe in traditional medical care

    * Someone's moral philosophy holds that having more than three children does deep, significant and irreparable damage to the earth and therefore will not provide dependent coverage for more than three children (I know you have a million arguments for why that is wrong, but the fact is many people believe it to be true just as deeply as you believe contraception to be wrong)

    * A Jehovah’s Witnesses employer will not provide health care coverage that covers anything that could lead to requiring a blood transfusion or use of blood products because that is against his religious belief.

    Are you willing to accept that your health insurance can be changed at anytime because of someone else's deeply held moral or philosophical beliefs? If you are then there is no need to find compromise or common ground. If you aren't willing to accept that, then you need to be open to something like a company that will only insure 3 kids because in their belief having more than that is immoral. If you won't compromise, why should other people?

  87. Katydid13, I would not want the federal government to force anyone of any religion to do something that is considered a grave sin and could mean an eternity in hell. I hope that answers it for you. I also hope you will consider that this nation was founded to ensure the free exercise of religion and to escape religious persecution.

    1. Do companies (like your Christian Scientists example) have to provide health insurance? If so, then I think we should unhitch insurance from employment. Why does it have to come through an employer? I am all for ditching that system. And, in the meantime, I don't have to work for a Christian Scientist employer if I don't like it. I can work somewhere else. My choice.

    2. I don't know of any religion which holds as a tenet of faith and on pain of sin that having more than three children is immoral. That sounds like someone's personal opinion, not a religious belief. Do you know of such a religion?

    3. If JW's don't want to fund others' blood transfusions, and the gov't was forcing them to, I would consider that to be a complete violation of their deeply held religious beliefs.

    By the way, contraception is not so hard to get that someone else has to pay for it. Maybe I'd like someone to pay for my cell phone? Or my asthma meds (if I had asthma)? Or my Tylenol? If someone wants contraception, let them pay for it. It's not preventing a disease, unless fertility and children are diseases now. ;)

    I like this; it says what I want to say:

  88. Liking sex and not wanting to be a parent doesn’t mean you have penis envy, it means sex-- is fun, and babies—are not

    And this means that gosh darn it, we will do anything to make sure that our fun sex is not ruined by a child having the audacity to be conceived while we are having our recreational romp, correct?

    See, that is exactly what is so horrifyingly wrong with today's selfish and hedonistic view of human sexuality. We disconnect the "fun times" of free and easy sex from the actual babies that are biologically the result of that act. And, we step over a pile of millions of dead little corpses to get there.

  89. And, college student, I don't think that not preparing girls for marriage at age 12 and 13 is in any way "suppressing what is distinctly woman". There is nothing "distinctly woman" about early marriage, is there?

    Embracing womanhood means embracing our biology as something awesome (in the true sense of "awe"), how it's a gift and a privilege to be a woman, and how we don't need to make ourselves men to live a beautiful life (quite the opposite). I always marvel at how much feminists seem to hate everything that makes them uniquely feminine. They seem so badly to desire to be just like men. (Isn't that like being a self-hating woman?)

    Anyway, your words reminded me of a post I did a long time ago, when again, we see how much a woman's natural and healthy functioning is despised:

  90. College Student,
    As a person of faith, who was raised Catholic but now a Lutheran (I think barrier methods of contraception are OK IN A MARRIAGE). I can tell you from personal experience and from my extensive biological science background that making it easy for women to be sterile and totally disconnecting the baby-making act from baby making is harmful to women.

    Men are Dogs. The Catholic Church and other conservative religions are the only ones that seem to totally understand this clear fact. Sorry men, but you are always getting into hot water via your reproductive urge. Think about it. I have three beautiful young boys, but they are going to grow up and have intense, crazy, almost-uncontrollable urges to be very violent and very promiscuous. They should fight these urges, but we seem to do everything we can to encourage their sexual promiscuity.

    These are well-established historical and biological facts.

    A. Overwhelmingly, most violence in the world is perpetuated by young males between the ages of 14 and 28. (While they are competing for resources and females.)

    B. When is the last time a high-profile female politician or businesswoman had leave office or was scandalized by her promiscuous behavior? Can't think of one. Weiner anyone? Arnold? Spitzer? Clinton? Cain?

    C. Gay men even in couples are (for the most part) wildly promiscuous. Anonymous sex is common. I know...I lived in San Fran. This is not true of lesbians to the same degree or heterosexual couples.

    D. Men pay for sex. Women do not. They just don't. They almost never have.

    By putting young women on the Pill etc., we are essentially serving them up to the basest nature of young men. It is the same thing as super violent video games in my book...or encouraging violence in NFL hockey games.
    Check out this excellent work by a young researcher on why promiscuity among college women offers them nothing to gain and offers men everything.
    It is a MUST READ.

  91. Mary,

    I have to point out the inconsistency of your inital comment:

    "I think barrier methods of contraception are OK IN A MARRIAGE"

    followed immediatly by:

    "...making it easy for women to be sterile and totally disconnecting the baby-making act from baby making is harmful to women."

    Which is it? You seem to want your cake and eat it to. So "men are dogs" and we must not enourage their 'baser instincts' with the use of contraception unless their wives are under (marriage) license to do so? Sterile sex is ok, as long as it is monogomous? Sorry Mary, but this simply doesn't hold water, and I very much doubt it would convince those of considerable intellect with opposing views on human sexuality (College Student).

  92. College Student,

    It sounds as though you have drawn a line in the sand against child marriage and sexual slavery in the third world...that's good! Would it be too much to hope that you would also stand against enabling such behavior by encouraging greater use of contraception? Would you stand against masking the subjective symptom (unwanted pregnancy) while leaving the objective disease (maltreatment/dehumanization of women/girls) untreated?

    To your other point regarding the primacy of fun over natural consequences I would make this statement: 'No slave is greater than his master'. It seems as though a change of mind is not in the cards for you right now, so I will instead pray for a change of heart. I will also pray that when the day comes that your biology finds its success, when the hammer falls on the one chamber that is not empty, when your chosen method(s) fails, I pray that you resist the call to sacrifice that resulting life upon the altar of pleasure.

    Truly, no slave is greater than his master, and the day will come when our chosen master comes to call...will we answer that call with humility and self-sacrifice? Or will we answer with pride and sacrifice the other?

    Love, Justice, Peace

  93. @Leila - The problem I have is that while your argument that the compromise is a "worse evil" objectively... It is still significant enough to mollify the actual civil liberties / 1st Amendment arguments. So there is nothing "wrong" with it from a secular, positive law, standpoint.

    The Church doesn't have to pay for contraception... but someone else will. But this particular battle was not over free contraception. While you can have that battle, it is no longer about protecting the Church from illegal infringements on the right to conscience.

  94. Nicholas, there are plenty of attorneys working on the case now who completely disagree with you. You know, if I kill someone, I am liable to judgment and prison. And if pay someone else to kill someone, I cannot claim innocence. I am liable to judgment and prison.

    Obama has changed nothing, other than now forcing the violation of conscience of not only the Church, but private, religious-based or Catholic run insurance companies as well.

    He is saying, "Don't buy the beer yourself, get the older kid to buy it."

    None of it will pass Constitutional muster, because the federal gov't has no such power to mandate any of that. That's my take. We shall see.

  95. LJP,
    Good points...however, I am a biologist. I do not think the world is infinite. (By definition it is not.) I do not think a worldwide TFR of around 5 or so is a desirable thing. I think women and men who have pledged their loyalty to each other in a marriage (and this is backed up by law with LEGAL ramifications for ending it ...particularly with regards to adultery...I am not a fan of no-fault divorce), these married people can limit their childbearing. They are not totally removing the act from the idea of babies, as they pledged to welcome children (no specifics on numbers) when they got married. Without abortion, they will accept a child that arrives unexpected.
    Contraception is not immoral. It is inanimate. The use of it outside a marriage is very often immoral, as the man (and sometimes the woman) is lying to their partner. They are enjoying the sex without any intention to take on the hard job of loving that person and standing by that person through thick and thin. Therefore, if a baby arrives, they are in no position to accept it. They are using that person. Usually, given the difference in male and female natures ON THE WHOLE...(I think there are exceptions) it is the woman who is looking for commitment and relationship and the guy who is looking for fun without commitment.

  96. Contraception is not immoral. It is inanimate.

    Pills and latex sitting on a table are not sinning. They cannot sin. But they can be used sinfully. When they are used during the marital act to change the nature of the marital act, then they are being used to commit sin. Sin can only be committed by people, not objects. But when they are used in the commission of a sin, we are culpable. We are the sinners.

    A gun sitting on a table is not sinning. It is neutral. It's what we choose to do with the object that is sinful.

    Hey, if you want to use a condom for a balloon, you are not in sin. ;)

    I just had to say that because you keep saying that inanimate objects are not immoral. Of course. Only acts are immoral.

    Hope that is clear to readers.

  97. said, "Sterile sex is ok, as long as it is monogomous? " In a marriage, yes....and even the Catholic Church thinks so. If two people have a serious genetic issue or some other reason they deem serious enough to not reproduce (and the church leaves this reasoning up to them) and they practice NFP, using fertility monitors, charts, thermometers etc. for their entire married lives...they are fine having sterile sex. I'm not sure what the stats are, but I imagine that using all of these methods to the letter of the law...could probably get you pretty close to a failure rate of a condom coupled with a diaphragm. Sterile.

  98. they are fine having sterile sex

    Mary! Using NFP is not having "sterile sex"! Using NFP is sacrificing the act of sex during fertile times! Nothing has been sterilized, because there is no act being done!

    Contraception takes the pleasure of the act and rejects rejects its procreative nature. With NFP, we sacrifice and do not partake in the act if we are unwilling to accept a child!

    There is no "having sterile sex"…. we have not changed a single thing in the marital act. God's design remains completely intact. We have not changed the nature of the act we partake in!

    Please see that distinction.

  99. Mary, In NFP, we forego the marital act if we cannot accept a child. We sacrifice the act if we cannot accept a child.

    Contraception plows ahead and "grasps" at what it wants, natural law and God's design be damned! We will sacrifice nothing, we will forego nothing. We will have our sex and we will change it, distort it, and pervert it so that it has been deprived of its natural fecundity. We will take and demand our way, not sacrifice or practice self-control.

    Again, it is the difference between fasting and bulimia. (And yes, I think this unhealthy view of sex whenever we want it, however we say, is a disordered thing, similar to the addictiveness and compulsion of bulimia.)

  100. Mary, in your response to LJP, I think you are confusing something. As it has been stated many times, there is nothing wrong with limiting one's family size or spacing children so as not to have one on top of the other. That is fine. All your concerns regarding the world's resources and overpopulation are basically irrelevant. Even faithful Catholic couples can have reasons to limit family size, and the do so successfully with NFP. So let's set aside the reasons WHY people might limit how many kids they have and have that talk another day. Let's talk about the morality of HOW they achieve it.

    The use of it outside a marriage is very often immoral, as the man (and sometimes the woman) is lying to their partner. They are enjoying the sex without any intention to take on the hard job of loving that person and standing by that person through thick and thin.

    You posit that the man is lying to his sex partner. I would agree. But what is to stop this from happening within a marriage? I personally have a friend who got pregnant with her husband while on birth control and he wanted her to have an abortion. When she wouldn't, he kicked her out, so she's raising the boy by herself. The lie was there within the marriage and the lie was exposed when the unintended result appeared (a baby). But it had been there all along, and it was communicated every time they had contraceptive sex. They were not accepting all of each other-they refused the parts of each other that made them uniquely man and uniquely woman.

    You referenced a married couple's pledge to welcome children. Married couples also pledge fidelity. Practically speaking, these vows come down to every act of intercourse. With fidelity, each and every time a spouse has sex, it is to be with the other. If even one time, a spouse has sex with someone else, they have violated that vow. The same can be said regarding being open to children. Each and every time the spouses have sex, they are to be open to children. If even one time, they are not open, they have violated that vow. There is no saying, "Well, generally speaking, we will welcome children, but we will sterilize this sexual act because we do not want a child right now." Just as there is no saying, "Well, generally speaking, I am faithful to my spouse, but I am going to have sex with someone else because that I what I desire right now." It doesn't work that way-in the end they are unfaithful, and in the end, they are not being open to children.

    And if you think NFP is somehow the same violation as contraception, please re-read what Leila wrote above. There is a real distinction.

  101. Mary, in order to sterilize an act, an act needs to be performed in the first place. You can't sterilize an act that didn't happen.

    With NFP, not a single sex act is sterilized. Every single one happens as nature and biology meant it to happen. If conception doesn't occur during that sex act, it is not because the couple took measures to prevent it from happening. That is not the case with contraception.

  102. Mary, to your first post: I am a (micro)biologist as well, but admittedly had to look up what 'TFR' meant, so your point of an ideal TFR was unfortunately lost on me. As a Christian and a scientist I must allow my faith to illuminate my science, but I do my best to resist the reverse. If we let morality become the purview of science then utilitarianism will reign. Arguments regarding overpopulation have been covered here before and I have neither the interest nor the knowledge to engage in another one.

    It sounds like you adhere to the belief that as long as you are open to children in theory, or during at least one phase during your marriage then all is well. That is not Catholic teaching (not to say that you indicated it was). Every marital act must honor its purpose, must be in reverence to God, and must be ordered toward procreation.

    To your second post: Unencumbered sexual intercourse during infertile periods is not, by its nature, sterile; though it likely will not 'bear fruit', it is still ordered toward that end. The same cannot be said with the use of contraceptives.

  103. Also, if NFP causes sterile sex, someone needs to inform my 6th child that he doesn't exist, because he was conceived during a cycle in which we were technically avoiding but during which we decided to throw caution to the wind (and I'm so very glad we did!).

  104. @Leila - That is still a completely different argument than the one headlined in this particular blog entry.

    Mother Church is no longer paying for contraceptives.

    The argument that no Catholic, anywhere, running a private company, should be required to either is a different argument that will no doubt be litigated over.

    And is the point real or academic? Are there any major medical insurance carriers that don't offer the coverage for conscience reasons?

  105. Meg, JoAnna, and LJP, thank you!

    Nicholas, again, I beg to differ. Yes, the Church is paying still paying for contraceptives. And yes, there are insurance companies who don't offer coverage for conscience reasons.

  106. @Leila - Then I misread something... How exactly is the Church paying?

  107. Nicholas, if I am mandated to give my neighbor money specifically to buy porn, which he then gives to my son for free, who bought the porn?

    I love Bad Catholic's latest:

  108. Note that whereas before at least the employees of a parish were not provided with contraceptive coverage, under the "compromise", now even parish workers are supplied with the coverage! It's worse than before.

    Before, almost everyone got freeeee contraception! Now, absolutely everyone gets freeeee contraception! No wonder PP and Cecile Richards (who was an inner circle advisor to Obama on this decision by the way) were doing cartwheels with this "compromise" (which gives them more than they had before or could have ever dreamed of).

  109. "The revised regulation allows religious institutions to pretend that they aren’t actually purchasing an insurance plan that covers services they find morally objectionable, because their insurance companies will be required to pretend that they’re supplying these services free of charge. But fond illusions about 'free' services aside, it’s hard to see how a system in which Catholic hospitals and colleges are required to purchase health insurance for their employees from insurers that are required to cover birth control, sterilizations and the morning- and days-after pills is meaningfully different from the original Health and Human Services mandate." - Ross Douthat

  110. Actually the simpler solution is to get rid of the Employer Provided Healthcare Model. But that wouldn't satisfy people either :-p

  111. @Leila - But the original debate was about religious liberty and the Church paying. Not about how many people had access.

    If we want to be honest then and say that the real argument was that we want to restrict access to contraception then yes, the compromise is worse.

  112. Nicholas, everyone always had access, before, during and after this whole mandate and compromise. The issue is not access to contraception. The issue is religious liberty. The reason this nation was founded.

    And you missed my point on the porn thing. The state MANDATES that I pay my neighbor to specifically give my son free porn. See, that is an issue of a tyrannical gov't.

    Not so much an issue that I'm mad at my hypothetical son for viewing porn (which is a separate issue).

    Gotta run and get the kids! Back soon.
    Great quote, JoAnna!

  113. @Leila - I agree with many of your points, but I will continue to argue this one! :-p

    The state does not mandate you to pay your neighbor for porn to give to your son. The state mandates that you pay your neighbor to give your son porn /only if he requests it./ That would be the accurate analogy. I am arguing that in your analogy being mad at your son for viewing is what you should be mad about... because if he didn't then all you'd have to worry about is some wasted $ instead of sin :-p

    It may be hair splitting, but it is not insignificant. The porn, or contraception, only gets purchased and doled out AFTER the person specifically requests that they want it. Catholic employees are not going to have to deal with getting unsolicited IUDs mailed to them :-p

    Now, I am not arguing the theological nature of any of this. I am approaching this from the common sense point of view of an observer, and speculating how this may play out politically in Secular America.

    Again, I am not suggesting the Church teaching is wrong or should change.

  114. The state does not mandate you to pay your neighbor for porn to give to your son. The state mandates that you pay your neighbor to give your son porn /only if he requests it./

    In other words, the state mandates that Leila must facilitate her son's porn addiction, with her own money and against her deeply held religious beliefs, and the only concession they give to those beliefs is the permission to use a middleman instead of giving her son the porn directly.

    I like the analogy that Marc from BadCatholic used: If you tried to force orthodox Jewish restaurants to sell bacon, and those Jews — rightfully — told you to take a knee, punch yourself in the face and read the Constitution, it would be no ‘accommodation’ to then force them to pay for a Gentile with a bacon cart to serve pork inside their restaurant. The Jews would still be paying for and serving the bacon, you’ve just made them pay some one else to do it. By this logic, hiring a hitman is delightfully ethical — “I didn’t do it, I got someone else to!”

  115. @JoAnna - The problem with debating analogies is they are usually bad. :-)

    But again, in your counter, the root problem is the son's porn addiction, but we spend all our time and resources debating whose fault it is :-p

    I am not denying the Church has the right to defend its beliefs. I am merely pondering where the line is between an institution choosing to operate within secular society, as the Church does, and opting out, like the Amish do.

    Ironically, this would have been a non-issue if Obama had the balls to push through a single-payer Government Option in his Healthcare Reform Act. Because then we'd just be fighting about the government providing it, rather than all of the unintended problems inherent in the terrible and outdated employer-provided model :-p

    Infringement on religious liberty is an unintended side-effect, and he will find the easiest path around that obstacle. :-p

  116. I am merely pondering where the line is between an institution choosing to operate within secular society, as the Church does, and opting out, like the Amish do.

    Why is there a line at all? We are all about "free exercise of religion" are we not? Why on earth should there be a line? I can live my (well-established, 2,000 year old) faith and also operate in society. Why would that ever be a problem? And why hasn't it been a problem up until Obama?

    By the way, I would love to end employer-based health insurance. Why do we still have that?

  117. @Leila - It only becomes an issue if we wind up defining every issue as one of religious belief.

    There are two competing forces here - the Government shrinking what "freedom of religion" is accepted as, but also the Church wants to expand it. That is the way of an intrinsically adversarial system like ours.

    The analogies to bacon and Jews are not really appropriate because what we are really discussing is that the Church which is a huge institution is arguing that "freedom of religion" applies to businesses and such that they run. That a school, hospital, charity, etc. that they run are intrinsically different from all others in the same category. I am honestly on the fence as to whether that is a good idea or not.

    There could be a problem if we try and say that being Catholic exempts us from everything Obama passes because we don't like it.

    We agree on the employer-based health care system. We have it because it is so difficult to get Congress to change anything, and I suppose the power of inertia.

    While I am fine with the Church fighting the infringement on its merits, I am less fine with this issue turning into a proxy debate over Obamacare.

  118. There could be a problem if we try and say that being Catholic exempts us from everything Obama passes because we don't like it.

    Nicholas, I am honestly confused by what you are saying. The Church is very specific on why following this mandate is a sin for Catholics. A mortal sin. What other issue are we just saying, "Let's pretend this is a moral sin for us, so that we can exempt ourselves because we don't like what Obama's policies are"?

    Seriously, I am not clear on what you are saying. That we are simply pretending that this is serious sin for us, and doing it for political reasons? Is that a danger you see that has happened on other issues?

    Also, remember, Cardinal Mahoney (a big liberal, often a lover of Democratic policies, and a previous Obama supporter) is himself "outraged" at the "compromise" and is standing with his conservative brothers in the episcopate, demanding this be rescinded. When have you ever seen that before?

  119. @Leila - No I am not stating that. What I am stating is that a democratic society has the right to enact laws, and I am not convinced that the 1st Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty suggests that the government can never enact a policy that the Church deems a sin.

    The State doesn't require the Church to operate schools or hospitals. It appears to me that you are suggesting that because the Church has run schools and hospitals since prior to the Constitution, and we have religious liberty, that the government does not have the power to enact rules that would force the Church to shut down said schools and hospitals.

    It would be AWESOME if the government never did that, but this is a democracy, which means that people who are wrong can often win :-p

    I am inferring, and could well be incorrect, that your position is that there is no way the government could phrase, word, or define a policy of universal contraceptive access that you would not oppose on the grounds of religious freedom, and if so, I have a different take on what religious freedom entails. As always I am happy to br wrong. I believe I have a fairly reasonable track record of giving credit where it is due and changing my position in light of reasonable argument.

    I am also speculating that this debate is going to be carried into a larger debate against Obamacare, based on the positions expressed here... not that I am suggesting the Church position is in any way fabricated.

    But again, you have stated several times that people had access to such coverage before this... Which is true. But it is also true that if the Government regulations change that running a hospital is a sin, no one is being forced to run a hospital. I am suggesting that (pending the outcome of this fight) we could be back here again if and when they come up with rules mandating stem-cell research in hospitals or whatever else happens.

    In sum, I am not arguing that you are wrong... I am more or less trying to decide whether relgious freedom means the government can't ever mandate things we consider a sin... and I am genuinely not sure of that.

  120. Nicholas, I sort of get you and sort of not.

    Here's the simplified version as I see it:

    This nation was founded to get away from religious persecution. It was founded on the idea of limited federal gov't.

    So, religious freedom is guaranteed, and gov't. should be limited (especially when it comes to interfering with the Church's right to be the Church).

    The gov't has no right to mandate that any Catholic or any Catholic institution either commit sin or directly cooperate with sin.

    If they mandate something like that, then they have become a corrupt gov't. with unjust laws.

    If those unjust laws stand, and because of huge fines or threats of jail we Catholics have to make a decision, we will make a decision to close our doors rather than violate our faith and risk hell.

    So, if that's what you are getting at, then yes, we could see an America without a whole lot of Catholic institutions (good luck to the gov't trying to fill that void).

    And, that is the beginning of the end of this nation as we know it. Like I've said before, there is no guarantee that America will last another generation even. But the Church will stand.

    It's a safe bet to stand with Christ's Church on this. America is showed up ten minutes ago. The Church has watched every empire fall, for 20 centuries, and she still stands, steady on a Rock.

    So, that's what I see. :)

  121. Hi Mary,
    I don’t need to read an excellent work of research on why promiscuity among college women offers them nothing and men everything. I lived it ;) I get it.

    However I am not arguing in favor of promiscuity. Surely, we both acknowledge women use birth control with boyfriends and husbands. BC ain’t just for sluts.

    "...making it easy for women to be sterile and totally disconnecting the baby-making act from baby making is harmful to women."


    Is this because you think it makes it easier for men to leave us? Because if so, this premise is fundamentally flawed because it erroneously assumes we want the men to stay. Do we want the men to treat us well and date us, generally? Do we want the men to marry us, hell no.

    Therein is a major difference in our generations. In our hearts threes a lot of things we want from our casual sex friend, but marriage aint one of em. And it’s not because we don’t think we can get it, its because we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives with them either!
    ~College Student

  122. much to say, but again I feel like I am hijacking this thread, and it kinda feels rude to keep doing that. Sorry.
    Will respond later, but one thing jumped out: JoAnna said, "If conception doesn't occur during that sex act, it is not because the couple took measures to prevent it from happening. " That is just patently untrue and I am trying to figure out how you, an obviously smart woman, cannot see how using a fertility monitor, charting, evaluating your temp and mucus are not taking "measures." For cryin' out loud! Those are extreme measures!

  123. College Student...well, consider me a gal who learned something today. You really are not interested marrying a guy you love and from whom you want absolute devotion and fidelity? It's not even something you daydream about? Well, I guess the generations have changed...

  124. Mary, perhaps you could detail what measures were taken to that sex act that prevented conception. You really are missing the distinction between NFP and contraception.

  125. Mary
    If I can speak for Joanna... She was illustrating that no mechanism is used to sterilize or inhibit the sex act.

  126. Mary, seeing the attitude of College Student and the increasingly amoral way we are headed, all begun with the "free love" we-can-do-whatever-we-like-and-use-anyone-we-like mentality that started with the separation of sex and procreation (widespread acceptance of contraception), I hope you will realize how much wisdom the Catholic Church has. Find your way back. It's really the only voice of moral sanity left on earth. Seriously. And she will never waver.

    College Student, man, your comments are so depressing! I know you are not the only voice of your generation (my daughter is your age and there is a VASTLY more beautiful way to live), but wow there are so many lost souls out there if that is the worldview y'all have. Sad, sad, sad. As a mother, I just shake my head. Wow.

    Meg, thank you! Mary, the marital act is sacred, because it is the act that creates new human life. One messes with the sacred act and distorts it when one uses devices, barriers and pills to render the act barren (but still partakes in the sacred act). NFP does nothing to defile the sacred act. The sacred act is engaged in exactly as designed.

    I think we have forgot the sacred, and we have no reverence anymore.

  127. Nicholas, just fyi, here is a portion of a letter from Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, D.C. that addresses something you asked about:

    President Obama’s announcement does not provide any accommodation for the Archdiocese of Washington. Like many large organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, this archdiocese does not purchase group health insurance from insurance companies. In order to provide insurance consistent with our religious beliefs, our health benefit plan is a self-insured plan that extends coverage to 3,600 employees. This means that the archdiocese is the insurer and the archdiocese covers all claim costs. There is no insurance company involved. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the HHS mandate, self-insured organizations like ours are treated the same as regular insurance providers. This means that like Aetna or Blue Cross, the archdiocese and other self-insured religious organizations would be required to both provide and pay for drugs and procedures we consider morally wrong in our employee health plans.

    You can read the whole thing here:

  128. Note to readers: If you are getting a weird script-like font, blame Blogger! I don't know what the heck is going on!! UGH!!!

  129. Mary - please explain.

    How does NFP destroy or sterilize sperm?

    How does NFP inhibit ovulation or block the Fallopian tubes?

    What does NFP do to the sexual organs to render one or both sets artificially infertile?

  130. You know, it seems to me that none of this would ever be an issue if the feds and states operated the way they were intended. The fed gov is supposed to do whatever is listed in the Constitution. Everything else is supposed to be up to the states to decide. Where does the Constitution say anything about healthcare? It doesn't. Therefore, seems to me that the fed gov shouldn't even be sticking its nose into this. It should be a state issue. The fed gov is doing many things these days to circumvent the Constitution. Sadly, we have a pres who doesn't even like the Constitution. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that many problems, not just this issue or the healthcare issue by the way, come back to this basic point.

  131. Michelle, you are right. And is everyone aware that Supreme Court Justice (and liberal) Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not think the U.S. Constitution should be a model for other nations? She prefers different kinds of documents, like the South African model, or documents from Canada and Europe. Sigh….

  132. Yes, Leila. Ginsburg and others like the collectivist models. Those models say the state knows better than the parents, for instance. Put on your seatbelts, folks - it's gonna be a bumpy ride to say the least.

  133. Hi Mary,

    I absolutely positively DO want to get married Overwhelmingly most girls/women do.

    But I don’t want to marry everyman I date or sleep with (which is not many). I think your right in that most young women want more than sex but that more isn’t necessarily marriage.

    If I met the most wonderful perfect man in the world, I would certainly date him and hope to marry him eventually but you couldn’t pay me to marry him now. That is a pretty common attitude. I have many peers who are in 2 or 3 year relationships who intend on marrying but refuse to do it so young.

    ~College Student

    ~College Student

  134. @Leila - I would agree that is wrong. An insurance company is a separate kind of entity. Unless the Church were benefitting from some kind of legal status that considered it to be an insurance company or somesuch.

    But again, all this comes down to the employer-model being terrible and the unintended cause of a lot of problems.

  135. Sterile- 2.
    incapable of producing offspring; not producing offspring. Infecund. I see it, it does not matter if the act is unchanged in NFP (Meg) and it does not have to be sterilizing the sperm or the egg to be sterile. It is sterile and incapable of producing offspring if you are using careful, modern technologies like fertility monitors coupled with charts and other NFP methods. (These methods will doubtless become more precise and reliable as time progresses).

    If the egg ain't there or in the chute...the act is incapable of producing a child. That is a biological fact. So, though it may be "ordered" towards having a child is not "ordered" physiologically through timing.

    JoAnna, you said so yourself. (With I am delighted you are so happy with your family!) Your sixth child was conceived when you threw caution to the wind. Your sixth child (unless I misunderstood you, which is possible) is not the result of following NFP to the letter of the law and only having intercourse when your fertility monitor says you have no available egg. were not sterile at that time and had full knowledge you MIGHT NOT be. Happy to have another baby! Great! I can imagine many scenarios where a couple is not ready for another baby, and not so happy about it due to many reasons. As I see is never moral to kill that child, (THOU SHALT NOT KILL is perfectly clear to me) but it is moral to prevent that child from being conceived.

    It is odd that on the one hand, NFP practitioners have bent over backwards to ASSURE me that the methods work absolutely if you work them, and that you can use them as a moral way to avoid conception even indefinitely if that is what you and your spouse have discerned (again, the Church leaves it up to you to decide), but then here you are, telling me that NFP sex with the intention of NOT conceiving is not sterile sex because the act has not been changed. But if the egg is not is sterile sex. Simple.

    Also...many of you repeatedly keep stating that a husband and wife are not giving themselves totally to the other person if they use contraception. This is wanting the fun without the baby and it is gravely wrong. How this is not the same as using NFP for the same reason is unclear to me.

    "Oh" you say, "NFP is a mindset where you must always be open to a child." Notice (I think it was Meg's words above) where she said it was OK to "space" children and not have "one on top of another". It is really never OK to be "done", for whatever reason. Even in a crowded, poor and possibly dire situation. Even in a situation of depression, or whatnot. A couple can never decide they are done. So...this, if carried to its logical conclusion, would mean women would bear many many more children than they do now. Worldwide TFR would shoot back up to about 5 or 6, and you would have rapid growth....indefinitely. Even John C. Wright (thanks Leila!) and Darwin Catholic agree with this.

    In a finite world this is impossible. (Some bring up space travel at this juncture...and that is an entirely valid point, but not too many of you here have said that leaving the earth to live in space is part of your plan...I know it is not part of mine). (continued)

  136. (Cont.)
    Some women are going to contribute the most to the world by having large, happy, well-adjusted families. Some women are going to have smaller families and contribute by being doctors or lawyers or businesswomen. Some will have no children, possibly not marry and have really huge careers or become religious persons. These are all beautiful things. But...the spirit of NFP says no. To use NFP with a "contraceptive mentality" is wrong. Women in a marriage must always, for all of their fertile years, be open to life. They must always think more babies is better than less, and be willing to sacrifice for that. So, a breast surgeon who feels stretched too thin caring for her three children and her career, should make the choice to reduce her hours further (if possible) or quit and have another child, as wanting a career (even one that helps others directly) is never to take precedence over wanting another child. Given this logic, it seems there are only very few reasons a couple could ever morally decide not to conceive a child. "Sell the house and move to a small condo" vs. "not having another child", "Shop only at Salvation Army" vs. "not having another child". "Never take another vacation" vs. "not having another child". "Don't send our kids to college" vs. "having another child". "Don't get our kids braces" vs. "having another child", "Don't go on foodstamps" vs. "having another child" see the point. In every one of those scenarios, it seems ludicrous to not have the child as "how can you measure the worth of a child" against such paltry material comforts?

    This is not Christianity as I know is asceticism.

    Also, it is odd that you folks think the highest union of two people giving themselves to each other is through sexual union (fertile). That is just not my experience, even during our years trying to conceive. There are many moments in my life when my husband "gave" himself totally that had nothing whatsoever to do with sex. They are pinnacle moments. I also know many many many couples who are utterly devoted to each other and now into their seventies and eighties. Many of these couples have only two or three (sometimes one) child. These men have totally given themselves. I have no doubt. Their life has been a living tribute to their love for their wives. Do I know some where this was not the case? Yes, and some who practiced (near as I can tell) unprotected sexual union who were not giving at all to their wives.

  137. Mary, I want to address so much of what you wrote, but I am out the door and then trying to homeschool intensely today. But oh, you have it wrong!!

    First, there is no such thing as a "contraceptive mentality" with NFP:“contraceptive-mentality”

    Second, your last paragraph is about your "feelings" about the highest union. But that is not how God works! There are people who think that their highest "feeling" of union with friends is when they are drunk or on drugs. And some folks "feel" that their extramarital affair is the closest they have ever gotten to "God and true love", etc. So, you see we don't base what is objectively true on "feelings"! No, we base it on what is real, what is holy, what is of God.

    Do you know that those who are suffering intensely are often the closest to God, in highest union with the Trinity? See, feelings have nothing to do with it. We base our actions and beliefs on what is good, true and beautiful, objectively, based on revelation and natural law (both, which do not contradict, ever!). Not "feelings". Often, feelings do coincide with when we are doing holy things (that is awesome when that happens!), but that is not the criteria.

    Also, just curious: In philosophical terms, what is the difference between fasting and eating/purging? And in physical terms? (Not talking about the disorder/illness, per se. Only talking about the act.)

    Also, you never answered: What is being done to the ACT of sex when NFP is being used? Be very specific about the ACT, please.

    See you when I get a break!

  138. PS: And just to clarify: Of course there are moments of love and sacrifice that have nothing to do with sex (referencing your last paragraph), but we are talking about the nature and sacredness of SEXUAL union. The sex act, which is the means of producing children with eternal souls that will live forever. The highest physical union and the closest union that can occur on this earth.

    So, we need to stay very specific to the topic, unless you are starting a new, generalized topic.

    I want to hone in on this NFP (sex with no change to the act) vs. "barriers".

    Also, there is no marriage in Heaven, Jesus says. Do you know why?

    More later, ack!

  139. Mary - you said: It is sterile and incapable of producing offspring if you are using careful, modern technologies like fertility monitors coupled with charts and other NFP methods.

    I am astounded that you, as a biologist, would say something so incredibly inaccurate.

    Please elaborate. What mechanism of a thermometer or a fertility monitor is used to deliberately and artificially render the marital act sterile?

    In other words, how do these tools deliberately cause the reproductive system of a man or a woman to malfunction?

    Do you believe that thermometers and fertility monitors inhibit ovulation, or kill sperm?

  140. One last thought on the topic of debate and analogies. The Jew/Bacon analogy never sat right with me and this is why: the secular world would hold Jewish dietary restrictions to be a quaint personal belief. They have no vested interest them and therefore religious "freedom" isn't really an issue.

    The fundamental problem being faced here though is that what the Church holds to be a grave sin, the secular society sees as a "virtue" and a great public good!

    If enough scientists came out with reproduce-able studies that feeding infants small amounts of bacon prevented autism or something, then we would see a lot of public pressure from the secular world to force it on them.

    Now, this discussion is not about Church policy, because that is what it is... So really what we debate is secular policy, what the secular guarantee of religious freedom means, and I believe that is where the biggest hurdles will be. Increasingly, secular society views religion as something to be tolerated, rather than celebrated, and what we need to do is convince them that the public good is not necessarily served by rejecting our viewpoint.

  141. Your sixth child (unless I misunderstood you, which is possible) is not the result of following NFP to the letter of the law and only having intercourse when your fertility monitor says you have no available egg.

    Actually, you misunderstand NFP. If I follow NFP "to the letter of the law," then all I get is information. NFP is just information. I have knowledge as to the state of my fertility and the probability of conception if we engaged in the marital act at that particular time.

    My husband and I followed NFP perfectly. The information we had based on my basal body temp and cervical fluid signs was that I was highly fertile and ovulation was imminent. As it turns out, we were right. Thus, NFP did exactly what it was supposed to do - it gave us part of the information we wanted about how likely conception was based on my body's natural reproductive cycle. We chose to act, but we could have chosen to not act. Neither action would have in any way changed the nature or the character of my body's fertility or my husband's fertility.

    This is not the case with contraception. No matter the method, contraception changes the nature or character of someone's fertility. Barrier methods change the reproductive act by putting an unnatural barrier between the sex organs. Hormonal methods change the woman's body so that her reproductive system malfunctions. Sterilization mutilates otherwise healthy organs.

    NFP does none of that. It merely provides information about the status of a woman's reproductive system. It doesn't change that system in the slightest.

  142. @Leila - Regarding this side NFP debate... I can see where Mary is going... The person who abstains during a fertile cycle and the person who puts on a condom both have the same end goal in mind - avoiding a pregnancy. So at least in some way I can see where the idea of a "contraceptive" mindset comes in.

    But the difference, as you note is that abstaining from sex and having "protected" sex are fundamentally different. If Jesus had said "Thou shall always lay down with your wife on the night of the full moon without exception" or something, such that the Church explained that it would be a sin to NOT have sex with your wife when the moon is full, then yes, in that bizarro version of reality, NFP would be a sin if you deliberately abstained on such a night because it coincided with fertility.

    But I looked at the "myth" link you posted and it really boils down to a very semantic argument about the literal definition of "contraception."

    Also, in all fairness it is true that often on this blog we demand very strict intellectual follow-through from secularists, while the religious position by default doesn't necessarily adhere to the same (since it isn't derived from pure logic, but rather via revelation.)

    What I took away from that "myth" piece is that while yes, you aren't supposed to use NFP 'indiscriminately' the standard applied is one of a 'just cause' which is pretty delightfully vague.

  143. But if the egg is not is sterile sex.

    Who or what has done the sterilizing? Through NFP, there is no direct attack on the egg or ovaries, or the lining of the uterus; no attack on or inhibition placed on the penis, either.

    It isn't "sterile" in the sense that it's been modified through any mechanism. It's the natural sex act, unfolding as it should, with a minimal chance of life being the result (during her non fertile time). Life is still possible. Life is allowed a possibility with NFP.

    So, a breast surgeon who feels stretched too thin caring for her three children and her career, should make the choice to reduce her hours further (if possible) or quit and have another child, as wanting a career (even one that helps others directly) is never to take precedence over wanting another child.

    A person needs to do what they feel called to do. If the surgeon, in your example, assuming she's practicing Catholic, is feeling called to have another child (as a calling, not as a commodity) then she will discern that with her spouse through spiritual means (prayer, spiritual guidance, etc.) A lot of questions and feelings need to be sorted and ultimately, it comes down to following what you (as a woman) feel God is asking of you. There are valid reasons not to expand a family. It's up to each family to discern that. It's also up to each family to trust God.

  144. @Nicholas -

    The person who abstains during a fertile cycle and the person who puts on a condom both have the same end goal in mind - avoiding a pregnancy.

    And the Church teaches that wishing to avoid pregnancy (for just, or serious reasons) is not an evil end. Nor is it sinful to desire to space pregnancies.

    The contraceptive mentality comes in when one sees pregnancy as an evil to be avoided at all costs, as opposed to the natural end of the biological act of intercourse and the fruit of the marital act. Couples who use NFP are well aware that every single marital act is open to life and ordered toward procreation, even if the timing is such that conception is unlikely.

    By contrast, couples who contracept (and thus have the contraceptive mentality) have the mindset that pregnancy will NOT happen, and are so shocked when it does that they may resort to abortion.

    What I took away from that "myth" piece is that while yes, you aren't supposed to use NFP 'indiscriminately' the standard applied is one of a 'just cause' which is pretty delightfully vague.

    It's not vague insofar as it's impossible to make a list of every single situation in which a couple might find it wise and prudent to abstain, because what might be a just cause for one couple could be entirely selfish for another. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation in the slightest. Simcha Fischer wrote an excellent post about this a while back, called, "Why Doesn't the Church Just Make a List?"

  145. I can see where Mary is going... The person who abstains during a fertile cycle and the person who puts on a condom both have the same end goal in mind - avoiding a pregnancy. So at least in some way I can see where the idea of a "contraceptive" mindset comes in.

    Can NFP be abused? Sure, if the couple is never open to life.

    However, there is no stifling of the human organs, there is no chemical modification. There is perhaps, a heart issue, a fear issue, a trust issue. This is why NFP is such an intensely personal thing and why reasons for avoiding another pregnancy are so important to discern.

  146. @JoAnna - Yes... But again this is largely a semantic debate... "Contraceptive mentality" isn't a religious term with only one possible definition, so I suspect people will continue to debate the matter.

    Just like it seems pretty clear to me that Mary and Nubby are using two totally different definitions of "sterile." Nubby is using a technical definition of sterile, and Mary appears to be equating any sex that fails to achieve procreation as being "sterile" which I would agree is a misuse of the term.

    I agree with you. The way I read Mary's argument, she is trying to say that contraception and NFP have the same end goal, and therefore the means are irrelevant. The Church position appears to be that the means are actually highly relevant and there is some wiggle room in the ends.

  147. The Church's position, in a nutshell, is that we may never do evil so that good may result.

    Avoiding pregnancy = neutral end (can be good or evil depending on circumstances)

    Contraception = always an intrinsic evil, no exceptions

    NFP/abstinence = neutral (moral when used correctly, but can be abused depending on circumstances)

  148. @JoAnna - Interesting link! I am reading it now. I do agree that having well-defined and agreed upon terms is important.

    In some ways this reminds me of the many "moral relativism" debates, as that term has a very specific meaning in secular academics, and a more generalized meaning based on the actual two words to Catholics that caused a lot of arguing past one another.

    Conversely, here Catholics appear to have a very specific definition of "contraceptive mentality" whereas secular minded people seem to want to use the term in a very vague and broad sense.

  149. And the Church teaches that wishing to avoid pregnancy (for just, or serious reasons) is not an evil end. Nor is it sinful to desire to space pregnancies.

    Thank you, JoAnna! So many people don't see this somehow. We are talking means and ends. For an act to be moral, both the means and the end must be moral, not just one or the other. Christian moral reasoning: The ends do not justify the means.

    We have lost sight of that. But it's Christian morality 101: The ends do not justify the means.

    You all have to drill that into the heads of your kids, everyone. Means and ends are not the same.

    Okay, I'm disappearing again….

  150. Nubby "Life is still possible. Life is allowed a possibility with NFP." No...if you only have intercourse on your infertile days...there is no possibility. Modern technologies make it more and more precise and give you more and more accurate information. Choosing to only have sex on those days is rendering your sexual acts infertile. Period.

  151. Also Nubby, as Leila and others have pointed out many many times....contraception is not foolproof at all! Therefore life might have a chance there too! Why I think sex should be kept in a marriage.

  152. Mary, how do thermometers and/or fertility monitors render a woman infertile? What mechanism is used in that process?

  153. Thanks Nicholas for seeing the semantic debate.

  154. Mary, you are dead wrong. God rendering the human body infertile (whether all the time or only for three weeks a month) is God rendering the human body infertile. But when MAN renders the human body infertile, he has crossed a line and profaned the sacred.

    God designed the body and how it works. Not us. We can work with his design (even St. Paul says we are able to abstain from marital relations for prayerful reasons), but with something as sacred as sex, we cannot distort and change the nature of his design. Don't mess with sex.

    And, you still have not said how the sacred act is changed with NFP? We forego sex and sacrifice, with NFP. With contraception? We sacrifice nothing. We plow right ahead, taking exactly what we want, when we want it.

    And, if the Church is wrong on this, Mary, then there is nothing about which you can say that it is right. If we can't know that this teaching is correct, then nothing is certain.

    You follow a denomination (and a pastor?) who say that abortion is acceptable (one which, like all other such denominations, first said that contraception is acceptable). How can we know anything? Is there any source of truth on earth? Anywhere we can access that truth? Or is it all up for grabs?

    Who is the arbiter of truth on earth?


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