You have managed this really well from your end, manufacturing a "war on women"--Catholics want women to be pregnant or die!--while waging war on the First Amendment. I sometimes wish the Catholic bishops hadn't jumped at the bait, too (because I truly don't think this is the hill we want to die on)..."Jumped at the bait" puzzled me because I truly couldn't see what other choice Catholics, including their bishops, had at this point.
As Tom said when I asked him about this, "If not now, then when?"
The only other choice was to let it lie which is unacceptable from a purely American point of view because religious liberty is so bred into our national identity. Not to mention defending our faith as Catholics.
If the Bishops, our fathers in the Church, had not let so many small fights go by with little more than a disapproving glance, then we would not be in the position of having to defend our faith in this way. We wouldn't have to defend it not only to the government but to our fellow Catholics. However, none of us is perfect and nothing is as simple as fingerpointing, especially at those in charge. I do not say this in anger, but just as one looking back on the road that got us to this point. Honestly, I am simply happy that they are standing up in unison.
I think that this is a hill that we must take a stand on, and not simply as Americans, but as Catholics one to another. After I entered the Church, I found I had to do great internal struggling to come to terms with many of the Church's teachings about how to live out the ten commandments and Jesus' two great commandments.
It's trendy to call them "life issues" and "social justice issues," but let's say what we mean. It is about the ten commandments, Jesus Christ, and getting to heaven. If that is in the center of our lives then the fruit will be enough to make "life issues" and "social justice issues" fade because we will be loving our neighbors as ourselves. Old, young, poor, rich, unborn, homeless ... everyone.
Here's one of the big realizations that I had during that process: you can't be really Catholic and be a card-carrying Democrat or Republican. There is no political party on earth that truly lives God's laws.
To say anything else is to fool yourself. It is to be blinded by our own desires and to put the golden calf of politics and controlling things "our way" ahead of the commandments and Jesus Christ.
It is to define, explain away, and excuse ourselves until we are a shadow of what we should be, which is authentically Catholic.
Do we believe the Catholic Church is the bride of Christ? Do we believe that her mission is to get each one of us ... you and me ... to heaven?
Then why aren't we listening? Why aren't we pulling out our Catechisms to examine the places where we oppose Her teachings. Why aren't we delving deep into the "why" of what the Catechism contains and holding our own "golden calves" up to see what needs to go in order to bring us closer to God?
I am not perfect, believe me. Plenty of my family and friends can testify to that. But I do keep getting up and trying again. And God keeps pointing out where I thought I was right but I had it all wrong.
I want to be Catholic ... without any adjectives. Just plain Catholic is enough.
I am not a liberal Catholic, orthodox Catholic, conservative Catholic, cafeteria Catholic, or traditionalist Catholic: I am, simply, a Catholic (Roman Rite). That should be enough for you to know where I stand and what I believe about most issues. At least, it used to be.I can tell from Joanne McPortland's blog that she has done the same struggling. She and I may vary in how we try to apply the Church's teachings to ordering our lives or our voting or where we choose to volunteer, but we are not apart at the center. I know that she is honestly trying to do God's will with all her heart and mind and strength. By changing her long-held beliefs, even when it hurt.
She's had to move from her comfort zone to a place where both sides feel self righteous about attacking. Welcome, sister! Here I am too, although I think that I had to come from the other side of the road to meet you here.
In this particular case, on this particular hill, I think we have no choice but to take a stand and politely but firmly explain the truth. My prayer is that hearts and minds are opened, especially those of Catholics who dissent from Church teachings about contraception and abortion.