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Will Obama really retreat over his edict that Catholic institutions must provide contraception? Probably not. And how will US Catholics vote then?

I suspect that the answer is deeply depressing

By on Friday, 10 February 2012

Why does one bother? In the wake of Rick Santorum’s recent hat-trick and the reports of his splendidly eloquent onslaught on Obama’s recent edict—that under his administration’s Health Care Act any provider of health care (including Catholic institutions) must be prepared to supply artificial contraception (including drugs which, though labelled contraceptive, are in fact abortifacient)—I came across, googling around, the following attack on me on an American website. The attack was provoked by my pointing out the absurdity of Santorum’s saying that the NHS had “devastated” the UK and that its economic effect was partly responsible for the collapse of the British Empire. I called this “deranged”: it might have been better to say simply grossly ignorant. However, I also made it clear that I rather liked the cut of Santorum’s jib (American politicians, after all, don’t need to know much about the UK, and rarely do). I also said what every informed US commentator also says — that he’s unelectable: I regard this as unfortunate, since the re-election of Obama, given the sheer awfulness of Mitt Romney (who everyone assumes will get the Republican nomination) is probably now an inevitable disaster, not only for the US but for all of us. This general assessment attracted the following, from an American website called QED:

Odd William Oddie

Catholic Herald UK had a hit-piece on Rick Santorum today where the author says that Santorum cannot win the election against Obama because he is too free-market, and is “deranged” {his word} about the National Health Service in Britain. Mr. Oddie seems to think that socialized medicine that kills people by delaying surgery is right in line with orthodox Catholicism, just as how most American bishops think destroying the American economy by flooding it with illegal aliens is right in line with orthodox Catholicism. The odd William Oddie seems to think a pro-abortion liberal like Romney or Obama, so long as they pay for your substandard healthcare, is preferable to a pro-life conservative who would have you make your own healthcare decisions.

I didn’t, of course, say Santorum was unelectable because he’s too free-market, nor indeed did I say almost anything else this person says I said (he seems to have just made most of it up): but what the heck? It’s just another loony blog, so what does it matter?

Meanwhile, back to Obama: he, unfortunately, is a continuing reality which does matter. There are now reports that he is trying to find a way of retreating from his anti-Catholic stance, fearful of losing the Catholic vote. One site, The Week, reports that “President Obama is taking flak from religious institutions and Republican presidential candidates over his decision to make employers, including Catholic universities and hospitals, cover contraception in their employees’ health insurance plans. Hoping to avoid a backlash, White House aides are promising to look at ways to make the policy ‘more palatable’ to religious-affiliated institutions”. That doesn’t mean, however, that Obama is going to change the ruling substantially, and I bet he doesn’t.

The fact is that if he does, he will offend US liberals, who also have votes, and actually rather like Obama’s anti-Christian, and especially his anti-Catholic, policies. The Week suggests the following four reasons why Obama’s birth control ruling “might actually help him secure a second term”: in other words why he couldn’t care less about what the US bishops, let alone Rick Santorum, have to say about anything:

1. It exposes Mitt Romney to fresh flip-flopper charges

Romney, Obama’s most likely Republican rival in the fall, has blasted Obama’s plan as an “assault on religion.” But that “wasn’t exactly Flipper’s position back in 2005,” says John Aravosis at America Blog. Back then, a strongly pro-choice Romney was already “demanding that insurance companies cover contraceptives.” Team Obama argues that “it’s the ultimate hypocrisy that Mitt Romney is hitting the president for the same birth control policy he oversaw and protected as governor” of Massachusetts….

2. Republican candidates are infighting over the issue

Instead of focusing on Obama, Republicans are wounding each other over the contraception mandate. Rick Santorum has used the issue to “level one of his harshest attacks on Mitt Romney,” says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. According to Santorum, Romney “trounced on the fundamental right to religious freedom” with similar measures in Massachusetts….

3. It could help Obama win over women voters.

Team Obama probably has good reason to believe that “any political damage will be limited” if the president says he’s “on the side of women’s rights,” say Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times….

4. And many Catholics actually agree with Obama

While more than 150 Roman Catholic bishops have criticized Obama’s birth control mandate, a recent Public Religion Research Institute study found that says Lauren Fox at U.S. News & World Report. In fact, six in 10 U.S. Catholics support the requirement, making it even more popular among Catholics than in the general population.

That last assertion is what makes my heart sink most: is it true? There have been claims that whatever ilberal Catholics think on the issue of artificial contraception, all US Catholics are now standing shoulder to shoulder over what they see as Obama’s anti-Catholic attack and will therefore vote against him in the Presidential election: but is that true? Or is it just whistling in the dark?

Seen from this side of the pond, it’s difficult to tell. All I have to go on are the internet and Fox News (which though I find it terrifically enjoyable I suspect may not be entirely dispassionate). So I appeal for information from American Catholics: how will you all vote? Is it really true that US Catholics “overwhelmingly support the new rules”? If so, the re-election of Obama is the least of the Church’s worries. Life in this world will always be a vale of tears, one way or another, with Obama or without him. But what about the next?

  • Anonymous

    What a well balanced blog. I agree totally with Dr Oddie about the NHS and about Rick Santorum’s unelectability. As a liberal Catholic I am glad that he is prepared to consider the possibility that the majority of Catholics in America, in particular those who voted for Obama in 2008, do not support the bishops about contraception. To me that is a very positive sign.

    I also watch quite a lot of Fox News, and laugh at its self-proclaimed “Fair and Balanced” reporting. However although Fox is the highest rating news channel in America, its highest rated programme is watched by less than 2 million people, or about 1% of the American electorate. 

  • Englandsgardens

    Most Western Catholics don’t believe in Heaven, or, indeed Hell and the place ‘in-between’.

    Most Western Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence or, indeed, any of the Sacraments.

    Most Western Catholics don’t care for, or understand, the Church’s teaching on abortion and artificial contraception.

    Most US Catholics will probably vote Obama. Obama is striking the Church now because he knows that the Church is weak, divided and because 75% (as Voris tells us) are either lapsed or no longer believe what the Church teaches, even if they go to Mass.

    That figure could be higher. All the Catholic Church has to go on now is tribal loyalty and the defense of the US Constitution. Non – Catholics can see this bill is totalitarian.

  • ms Catholic state

    If Obama gets a second term, then I guess practising American Catholics if not all of us here in the UK too, will have to prepare for persecution of some kind.  Not that most Catholics will be worried.  No doubt their consciences are already compromised and being Catholic rather than acting Catholic is enough for them.

    Don’t discount Santorum yet.  In my opinion he is the type of leader who makes history.  And I am sure he a true servant of God.  Those leaders don’t come along very often. But when they do come it is at crucial moments in Christian history.  A bit like Churchill I guess. Also recent polls suggest that he could beat Obama.  This is really a make or break US election…..not a more-of-the-same type election. 

  • Anonymous

    Your wrong again Mr Oddie, Obama will back down UNFORTUNATELY. Catholics will then go back to sleep and re-elect the babykiller.
    I say unfortunately because he will do it only for practical reasons. He may well resurrect his tyranny once he has power for another term. It will give him time to complete the infrastructure of the police state, at which point never mind the current sparring, the REAL persecution of Christians will begin….

  • ms Catholic state

    Actually just on one only day did Santorum outscore Obama in the polls.

    But this is really a battle between those that would destroy Christian Civilisation and those that would restore it.

  • Liam Ronan

    The number of ‘practising’ American Catholics is grotesquely overstated. Their number is fewer than what one might be lead to believe. However, as a 62 year-old American Catholic (eldest of 8 children) from Pennsylvania I will be voting for Rick Santorum as, I suspect, will nearly all of my family. Obama is largely viewed by us (and please do not think I’m a tad ‘odd’) as a sort of prefigure of the Antichrist. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

  • Anonymous

    If you substitute “over-indulgent nanny state” for “the NHS,” then Santorum’s statement makes a lot more sense. It’s likely that’s more what he actually meant, and was just using the NHS as an example of it.

    I have read about the “6 in 10″ Catholics supporting the mandate, too, but I’m not sure where that number came from. If it was a poll of predominantly white, upper-middle-class “Catholics” in, say, New York City or California, then it wouldn’t be very surprising but also wouldn’t be an accurate measurement of overall American Catholic opinion.

    There have been several signs that this mandate is too much even for liberals: E.J. Dionne of the Wash. Post wrote against it, as did Commonweal magazine (a strong Obama supporter) and Sr. Keehan who is CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

    As you’ve probably read by now, Obama has offered a “compromise” that (in my view) appears to be little more than a rewording of the original mandate. Instead of Catholic organizations paying for contraception, it says, the insurance companies will pay for it. Ah yes, but who pays the insurance companies? Obviously, the Catholic organizations.

    The important part for Obama here is that this “new” mandate has the support of Sr. Keehan. (As well as Planned Parenthood.) Sr. Keehan, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that Catholic hospitals and clinics are able to keep operating. However, she has also been criticized for seeming to favor Obama over the bishops ( ).

  • Anonymous

    I would say Fox News is no more or less fair or balanced than the New York Times.

    “do not support the bishops about contraception” — an interesting way of putting it. In the past, people who “do not support the bishops” were referred to as Protestants. 

  • Anonymous

    As a politically aware and active American Catholic, who does not like President Obama and will not vote for him, I am confident that his handling of this issue will not hurt him very much. The Catholics who are most upset about it are those least likely to vote for Obama anyway. The majority of US Catholics couldn’t care less.

    That should not surprise. Most US Catholics, like most Catholics anywhere, are rather selective about which moral teachings of the Church they take seriously. Most do not take the teaching against contraception seriously: maybe about 10% actually believe it, and fewer than that actually try to live consistently by it. For the vast majority, though, it’s simply a non-issue. The prospect of Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities being forced to pay for contraception and sterilization will strike them as no more problematic than being forced to pay taxes for things of which they really do morally disapprove..

  • Anonymous

    Statements from catholic Democrats such as Tim Kaine and from the Catholic Health Association sought clarification on the rules and have succeeded in persuading the President to change his position. That was a right and proper reaction, and indicates concern from liberal catholics to maintain constitutionally protected conscience provisions.  The resulting compromise restores the conscience clause for catholic institutions
    while extending the mandate declared under the President’s signature
    domestic policy. US catholic voters inclined to vote Democrat will see this as an attempt
    by the President to disengage from the issue.  The President can spin the situation in either direction depending on the audience he is addressing at the time.  Next.

  • Jeannine

    The HHS mandate is such a thorn to all Americans of good will that many groups & persons are standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the American Catholic Church on this issue including Jews, Muslims, atheists, Evangelicals, liberals, conservatives, etc…. except radical feminists. They know that if this current administration can force this reasonably large institution to not practice its beliefs, what will stop it from going after them? Everyone knows this mandate is a direct assault on the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

    The polling firm, Rasmussen Reports is more accurate with its surveying than its competitors. It has only 28% of American Catholics agreeing with the mandate. See:

    President Obama’s mandate seems to have united many, many Catholics of all stripes against him. I believe he will not get the same percentage of Catholic voters like he did in 2008, most likely noticeably less.

    Obama’s polling numbers are not in the re-electable range according to Dick Morris. IMO, if he wins it will be because of massive voting fraud, — you know, doing things the Chicago Way.

  • W Oddie

    No. What he did was pretend to back down. But what he did will fool nobody. Will it?

  • GFFM

    The backing down or what is now being spun as “tweaking” of the mandate has just begun–it’s hot off the press.  Obama himself announced it at an underwhelming press conference today where he didn’t want to be questioned about this unprecedented move to redefine the public space that religion, especially Catholicism, is allowed to occupy in American life. The backlash against this mandate has been big and will grow. Mike Huckabee, at CPAC today said “We are all Catholics now.” This rhetorical flourish has swept the press. The first amendment is clearly at stake. Religious freedom here is the core issue, not free and mandated birth control for all—Americans can generally see this and they recognize a brazen intrusion on the part of the administration here.  And no it is not true that US Catholics support this mandate. A number of progressive American Catholic pundits, amongst them Chris Matthews, has said that Obama is ‘going after’ the Catholic Church. Health and Human Services czar Kathleen Sebellius (and alleged Catholic) has redefined completely what a “religious” organization is in the US and her definition won’t withstand the scrutiny of the public or of the courts. Obama has overreached again. Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame, Ex-Ambassador Douglas Kmiec,  Sr. Keehan of the Catholic Health Association, and many many other Catholic leaders were completely misled by Obama’s supposed respect for freedom of conscience which he promised during his graduation address at Notre Dame. 

  • GFFM

    I suppose NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, CURRENT are fair and balanced. I think not. I watch non of it. 

  • EndTimes101

     Unfortunately i think it will fool many people, who lets be honest, wanted to be fooled by Obama in the first place. Any man (read monster) who can not only consistently vote for partial birth abortion but actually voted to withhold life assistance to babies actually BORN!…… well the writing was always on the wall. 54% of Catholics actually voted for this guy, to their eternal shame.
    My hopes and prayers are that the bishops have finally woken up and will stop trying to appease this monster and will instead finally fight for the faith WITHOUT COMPROMISE anymore. There has been a MASSIVE groundswell of support for them on this issue, not just from Catholics.The fact they cut a deal for themselves (and they thought for hospitals/schools) but left the lay Catholic business owners to fend for themselves was shameful and cowardly and Obama brutally exposed the folly of sleeping with the enemy. But they did FINALLY draw a line in the sand and to the shock of Obama and liberals everywhere Catholics/ protestants/Jews and true libertarians everywhere united and stood up loud and proud like i have never seen before in my lifetime. The backlash was amazing (and i never watched fox news once to gauge that). There has been an explosive reaction to this (read the readers comments across the board on the lamestream media) with many people openly calling for civil disobedience. Obama simply HAD to back back down…….for now.

  • EndTimes101

    What exactly is a ‘liberal Catholic’ then? How are you different from an orthodox Catholic? The days of tolerance for your kind are almost up. Either except the Dogmas of the Catholic Church or leave….

  • Adrian Johnson

    A perceptive and concise summary of American Catholic realpolitik –alas.  

  • Guest

    The Church has been absolutely right in its opposition to contraception.

    those who wish to learn why the Church is correct on this issue, an
    excellent commentary and further resource links can be found here:

  • Charles Martel

    “People who do not support the bishops” may or may not be Protestants. It rather depends what those bishops are doing and thinking. If you did not support the bishops when they all (except for St John Fisher) caved in to Henry VIII’s usurpation of ecclesiastical authority and move into schism in the 1530s, then you were most certainly a Catholic.

  • Adiutricem

    The plurality of American Catholics will vote to send the president back for a second term.

  • Jameshughes1947

    God I really hope so ! Obama is clearly a liar and will try to divide and rule. By the way how it Keehan get to such a prominent position in catholic healthcare when she is clearly politically ” inept by not recognising how untrustworthy Obama is and why has she not been binned given her opposition to the hierarchy in the US?  

  • Jameshughes1947

    Agreed ,so make sure he doesn’t get a second term! AMDG. 

  • Jameshughes1947

    Stick with the programme and make sure you get all the religious communities on board . That way Obama’s assault on religion will be seen as an attack on the first amendment rather than simply the catholics getting hacked off about their own problem. The opportunity is here and I hope to god the catholic hierarchy works to get everybody on board. They do however seem to be all sining from the same hymn sheet. AMDG

  • Charles Martel

    The 6 in 10 Catholics who support Obama are ex-Catholics. Catholics have an absolute obligation to oppose abortion and those who promote abortion.

  • Anonymous

    The problem lies in analysing the ‘Catholic’ vote. Lapsed Catholics tend to be ardent Obama style liberals. Practising Catholics are more nuanced but the majority will probably oppose Obama’s anti-life stances. In this case, however, even the ‘liberal’ Cathilcs seem to be outraged.

  • WSquared

    Englandsgardens, note that points two and three are mutually reinforcing, whereby one goes by the wayside, and then we are left with four.

  • Joxxer

    The six adult Catholics in my family did not vote for Obama. Another member was asked not to vote if it was going to be for Obama–and so refrained. The sad thing about voters is that they do not study the candidates to make themselves aware of the agenda of each. But we knew enough though to cast a vote against the lesser of evils (Republican candidate) who did not win… The Democratic Party’s platform is always pro abortion, pro homosexual agenda, and for more taxation. Who can support that?
    In November we will march out— after a lot of prayer– and vote against Mr. B O.
    May God save America!!!

  • Joxxer

    Obama will not back down. He continues with his anti-life agenda. He has done more to promote abortion than any other President and not just in the States. You can have the evil man!

  • freebies

    It will be interesting to watch how much significant change Mr. Obama
    can bring to America’s imperialist and violent foreign policy. Only time
    can tell whether he has actually inherited the legacy of blatant
    hypocrisy, immoral double-standards and shameful contradictions of
    former American presidents or not. The world will eagerly wait to watch
    how much he builds or destroys in the coming days.

  • Parasum

    Life in this world will always be a vale of tears, one way or another, with Obama or without him. But what about the next?

    ## If that meant “next POTUS” – which it clearly doesn’t – the answer is straightforward: once Obama is no longer POTUS, his legions of detractors will have to find a new AntiChrist figure for whose death to pray. (But never, apparently, for the conversion of the sitting Antichrist, whoever that may be at a given time; for no clear reason.) USA Christianity gets through its Antichrists like a baby through nappies, with never an apology to the preceding tenants of the position. Not very Christian, ISTM. (Maybe it’s time for an AntiChristine – if not quite yet.)  

  • EndTimes101

     Obama won’t back down fundamentally of course, but he has appeared to back down now. A mere strategy to APPEAR reasonable and now make the Bishops look unreasonable. Thereby splitting their supporters, which appears to have already begun (will someone please fire Sr. Keehan). Like any good Communist Obama knows how effective the divide and conquer policy has been. He will take one step back now if it means he can take two steps forward in the future. He will not stop his evil campaign so i hope and pray the Bishops stand firm and finally take him on. America and the West desperately need the Catholic Church to finally stand up and fight evil head on… is a critical moment in world history right now…WWIII could break out any day…..the lamestream media are not reporting how close we are to that scenario currently in Syria.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry, liberal Catholics are very tolerant of your sort of Catholic. We know that history has shown time and again that eventually the Church listens to the Holy Spirit and corrects the mistakes it has made in attitude and doctrine. 

  • GFFM

    This “mandate” decision is a consummate mistake and as I said earlier the tweaking has begun. He has placed himself in a terrible spot. Moderates and Independents have already fled his ranks. If he does back down he will have a very narrow constituency made up of the extreme left. The bishops show absolutely no sign of backing down at the moment. They have rejected his latest “compromise.” Catholic business owners will still be forced to go against their consciences. You will notice that even Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles has fled his ranks and at the moment over 140+ American bishops have spoken out against this violation of religious freedom. Cardinal George of Chicago is expected to release a blistering reply to this mandate which will give you more grist for the mill.

  • Anonymous

    Type your comment here.

    The Fox News Channel has featured a stream of right-thinking
    pundits blasting the Obama administration for infringing on “religious
    liberty,” but Fox’s own national poll finds top-heavy public support for
    offering birth control coverage in health plans.

    By a 61-34 percent margin, those surveyed this week approve of the
    Obama administration requiring all employee health plans to provide
    birth control coverage as part of health care for women.

    Sixty-seven percent of women surveyed, and 65 percent of Catholic
    women, supported the contraception/birth control requirement. 
    Fifty-three percent of men surveyed endorsed birth control coverage.

    Catholic hierarchy has relentlessly opposed the birth control
    requirement.  Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has addressed the
    issue in a March for Life sermon, a statement earlier this week and an
    article.  All warned about threats to religious liberties.

    But the flock isn’t buying it.  The Fox poll 58 percent of Catholics
    endorsing birth control coverage. It tracks almost exactly with a survey
    by the Public Religion Research Institute released earlier this week. 
    It, too, found that 58 percent of Catholics were in approval.

  • GFFM

    One observation here should be added. A great majority of bishops were quite receptive to Obama’s taking over of healthcare. A few, like Chaput for instance, warned of creeping federal intrusion into areas of religious belief and conscience. But the majority of the American episcopacy fell all over themselves to wag their fingers at those of us who warned about intrusion into end of life decisions, sexual issues. George Will and others have rightly chastised the American bishops for their conciliation and “cheerleading” for Obama and his authoritarian take over of healthcare. Now they are shocked that Obama has gone so far. Give me a proverbial break.

  • Alan

    A “liberal Catholic” is one who recognizes that the Church can, and sometimes does, change its teaching on non-fundamental matters.  A “liberal Catholic” is one who happily accepts Vatican II, instead of just paying lip-service to it while wishing it had never happened.  A “liberal Catholic” is one who does not call Protestants “heretics” and Orthodox “schismatics”, and does not say “we are the One True Church”.  A “liberal Catholic” is one who thinks there is room in the Church for those who do not think like himself on these matters.  A “liberal Catholic” is one who does not say “accept these dogmas or else”.

  • Alan

    It angers me when bishops, bloggers, or anyone else tries to tell me how to vote.  I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind on these things.  It is a damned cheek for anyone to tell me that I can’t be a proper Catholic if I vote for such-and-such a candidate.

  • EndTimes101

     If you don’t believe that the Catholic Church is the ‘one true Church’ then you need to leave the Catholic Church because that is a ‘fundamental matter’. Dogmas will NEVER change no matter how much you and your fifth column  agitate within the Church to fundamentally change her. That tactic has worked well with the CofE because it does not have the Holy Spirit as protection. If you had a shred of integrity you would leave the Church if you cannot except its Dogmas……your fighting a battle you can NEVER win and dooming your soul in the process.

  • EndTimes101

     Your time is short….do your worst…..

  • Alan

    The “One True Church” formula was replaced at Vatican II by wording that said that Christ’s Church “subsists” in the Catholic Church.  As for changes in teaching, I would give the example of Limbo, which at one time could have you excommunicated if you publicly denied it, yet was dropped by Pope Benedict a few years ago.  No doubt you would not class that as a “dogma”.  The “Syllabus of Errors” of Pius IX was regarded as virtually infallible for a time, but was later allowed to wither on the vine and is now a historical curiosity.  And I am not “agitating” to change the Church, as a fifth column.  I merely express my views on matters which people raise.

  • Trish

    I’m British, but lived in the USA until last year.  In 2008, I worked on the Obama campaign as a team leader.  Almost every one of us in that office were pro-life Catholics, supporting Obama for a variety of reasons, not least of which was health care since I don’t believe we can be truly pro-life while a sizable sector of society struggles without adequate care. I was also privileged to meet Obama and must say that I have rarely met anyone as kind or as sincere.  However, I said at the time and still say that one of his biggest problems is that he listens to too many people to get too many opinions, and I think that what we face now is a result of that.  When, as so many have pointed out, there are so many Catholics who disregard the teachings of our Church, how is a non-Catholic supposed to make sense of it all?   Unlike some, we do not view this as a war on religion, or on Catholics, but as a collision of ideologies and perceived rights, yet even from that perspective, I and my American husband are in an untenable position.  We stand firmly with the Bishops but at the same time cannot support the right-wing policies of those who do not stand with the Bishops on other major issues – war, health care, the death penalty, provision for those who have lost their jobs, to name just a few.  So what will this almost-American and her American husband do this year?  Without a major turnaround on the part of the Administration, we will probably sit out the political process altogether and I suspect that a number of Catholics who stand with the Church on EVERY issue might well find themselves having to do the same.

  • m francis

    The problem is this.   There is no cohesion amongst the Catholic community.  As Catholics we are never asked to make stark choices such as Adhere to the doctrines of our church or be ex-communicated.   We are told to be tolerant of others views and vices and turn the other cheek, and this message from the pulpit has made Catholics more permissive as a result.   The passion quite simply has been lost and the media see the Catholic church as a soft touch and constantly denigrate it as a result.   The sensitivities of Muslims however are catered for as their passion for their religion cannot be disputed  and their reactionary approach to any criticism works, they have even invented a word for such criticisms.   It is called, “Islamophobia”.    The Muslim faith look on us as weak and pathetic and some even feel the need to defend our faith for us in newspaper articles because they can clearly see that once we are out of the way, they are next. 

  • m francis

    I think we know that in life we have to make choices.   Obama is all too aware that the Catholic vote is important but when 6 out of 10 catholics support his policies on contraception it is up to our church to separate the wheat from the chaff and be unequivocal about what their stance should be.   Ex- communication for any Catholic officials who promote Obamas policies on contraception would provide suitable example.   All Catholics should sign a declaration of agreement with the tenets of our faith which would include a signed acceptance of the churches stance on homosexuality, contraception and the teachings of our Bible.  The heroic disciples of our past who went out to spread the word and didnt care who they offended when they did it are clearly not there.   If our church is not going to defend these principles then maybe we need to start again from the ground up as our Bishops appear  too soft and ineffectual against a barrage of atheist nastiness within the media and politics.

  • m francis

    You have to make an informed choice,  but clearly no-one can claim to be a practicing Catholic if they dont adhere to the ‘ tenets of their faith ‘.   It is a club you can leave whenever you like.

  • m francis

    We are led by too many naieve and pathetically soft individuals.  Sr Keehan is probably overwhelmed by the ridiculous notion that O ‘ Bama is actually Irish.

  • m francis

    Sorry but you are either in the club or not. For too long people have been overly tolerant of your sort.   If you are saying that you believe in contraception and that the bibles views on homosexuality are wrong then clearly you are not a Catholic.  You cant just pick and choose what you like and what you dont.  Tolerance is one thing, acceptance is another. 

  • Trish

    I’m not prepared to think about who should and should not be excommunicated, or for what sins.  That is beyond my competence.  As for the Bishops being too soft, I cannot imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes.  When I was a little girl growing up, these men were held in high regard.  Today, they get it from all sides and I am not going to add to their burden by suggesting what they should do.  I suggest that we pray for them.

  • Trish

    No, actually, it is not a club but a family and in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus told us very clearly how God views someone who strays.

  • Alan

    I never mentioned contraception or homosexuality, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.  What is “my sort”?  I was prompted to post on this blog because of the grossly intemperate remarks about Obama, as if he is the antichrist or something.  And I merely pointed out that the Church changes its teaching from time to time, not on essentials (the Creed is absolutely basic for example) but on the more peripheral issues such as Limbo.

  • Trish

    The Church is not a club.  We are family, brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are parts of the Body of Christ.  In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus told us very clearly what God’s attitude is to anyone who leaves the family.  I can just see the parable now, with one son calling his brother “your sort” and telling him to get out, leaving his father heartbroken, watching, waiting, hoping.  Is this what you want? Do you not hear Jesus saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”???