• Bishops fail on conscience
    February 18,2012

    Bishops fail on conscience

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has succeeded in getting the Obama administration to re-evaluate the “contraception mandate.” Hopefully whatever the final outcome of this dialogue, religious freedom and freedom of conscience will be preserved while making contraceptive services available to all women who want them.

    As a Catholic I find it very sad that the bishops pulled out all the stops for this issue while they remain scandalously silent about so many other threats to life and human welfare. Such issues as torture, the growing economic inequality in this country which undermines democracy, military spending which crowds out money needed for human services, the continuing destruction of the earth’s ecosystems, the growing militarization of our society and economy, and continuing threats to use military violence, including drones and nuclear weapons, are all issues that Catholic social teaching requires the bishops to speak out at least as forcefully as they have on contraception.

    Polls show that up to 98 percent of Catholic laypeople use some form of contraceptive to limit the size of their family and to prevent disease. Catholic families are, on average, no larger than families of people of other faiths. These folks are also the church, yet the 350 U.S. bishops claim to speak for all the faithful on this matter.

    If it is a violation of conscience that the bishops want to prevent, and I applaud them if that is their intent, then what about the consciences of those who oppose torture, bloated military spending, and wars of choice? We are forced to pay for these offenses against humanity with our taxes. Where is the voice of the USCCB?

    A selective reading of the church’s teaching will not convince me or many others to listen to the bishops when they rail against government intrusion on “Catholic” conscience.

    Joseph Gainza


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