Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Parallel Magesterium?" Catholicism 101: The Church Speaks For the Church

Speaking with the full authority of some guy with a blog, this is nuts.

Some person who runs a health care business has been supporting health care legislation that's supposed to give people better health care. Like killing their babies.

There are nicer ways of putting it, of course: like "providing affordable reproductive health care," or even "elective abortions." But you've still got dead babies at the end of the process.

I am weary of being nice and polite about the right a mother has, to off her kids if she feels like it - or of a professor, to force his va-va-voom star student to kill the embarrassing results of his off-campus tutoring. At taxpayer expense. 'Health care' should be affordable, you know.

The (Real) Magisterium; a Cardinal; "Health Care" American Style; and an Important Executive

After a relaxing break this afternoon, I came back and read an - interesting - article about 'health care,' an allegedly Catholic business, and a Cardinal who apparently has had just about enough.

"Allen interview of Cardinal George supports report of 'parallel magisterium' worries"
Catholic News Agency (June 22, 2010)

"Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in an interview last week agreed that the rift over the federal health care bill between the bishops and the Catholic Health Association (CHA) exposed a major question concerning who speaks for the Church.

"The cardinal's recorded comments echo other reports. Last week, episcopal sources, who requested anonymity, told CNA that the cardinal lamented the rise of a 'parallel magisterium' in the health care debate and blamed CHA and other groups for the passage of the bill.

"On Tuesday Vatican expert John L. Allen, Jr., published the full text of his June 16 interview with Cardinal George on the blog of the National Catholic Reporter's website...."
Here's a link to that post:Back to the Catholic News Agency (CNA) article:
"...'What worries me more than a difference over empirical content, however, is the claim that the bishops cannot speak to the moral content of the law,' the cardinal told Allen. 'That seems to be what the CHA has said, though I'd be happy to be proven wrong.'..."
(Catholic News Agency)
I think this bears repeating:

What worries the cardinal more than a businesswoman's claim about what a law really says is "...'...the claim that the bishops cannot speak to the moral content of the law'...."

The Catholic Church is not a democracy. (February 19, 2009) We don't vote on which of the Ten Commandments we like this term. And, very importantly: Bishops teach, we listen. Not the other way around.

As a Catholic, I'm free to leave the Church. The door is open - both ways. (Timothy Radcliffe wrote an excellent article, "Should I stay or should I go?," in The Tablet (April 11, 2010) - cited in this blog April 11, 2010.)

Go Ahead: Read That Article

I recommend reading the entire Catholic News Agency article. It's got the sort of informed detail you seldom find when mainstream American news covers matters involving the Catholic Church.

The cardinal seems to be very interested in dialog and clarification. In my opinion, he's simply doing his job. The top executive of the business called the Catholic Health Association is, presumably, a Catholic. Even if she wasn't, my understanding is that the cardinal would still be obligated to be concerned about her.

How Could a Bishop Say That a Law isn't Moral?

I remember the 'good old days,' from maybe 1968 on, when red-white-and-blue-blooded Americans were all for "law and order." They had a point.

Any society with more than one person in it has to have rules and ways to enforce the rules - or you'll probably be down to one person very soon. Which is about what you might expect to hear from somebody who became a Catholic: intentionally.

Where many of the "law and order" folks made their mistake, I think, was in elevating law - any law - to a sort of secularly-sanctified status. Provided it was an American law, of course.

It's not 1968 any more, and another set of people have been deciding what American law is for several decades. I don't think we'll see "law and order" getting much traction, politically, now.

The notion that something is morally acceptable if it's legal hasn't gone away, though. Not as far as I can tell.

Take killing people. As long as your victim is young enough, or sick enough, and you have a particular sort of relationship with your victim: it's perfectly legal. We call it "abortion," "assisted suicide," or "euthanasia," depending on the details. All quite legal.

Moral? I don't think so. And, more to the point, that's what the Catholic Church teaches - to the best of my ability to discern. I've written about this before: click 'life issues' in this blog's label cloud.

So, yes: as far as I can tell, a bishop can say that a law is immoral. Sometimes he's obligated to say so.

Immoral Laws: Been There, Done That

Catholic leaders have been in awkward positions before, when the laws of the land they live in are not consistent with Catholic teaching. One of the more outstanding examples of this situation happened during the late 1930s and early 1940s, when a European country's elected leadership decided to put some fashionable ideas into practice.

Back to the article again:
"...At one point in the interview, he [Cardinal George] invoked the example of Blessed Cardinal Clemens von Galen, who under the Nazis 'not only condemned euthanasia as an unethical procedure, but he also condemned the laws which permitted it.'..."
(Catholic News Agency)
"Nazi?" Yeah, it's almost a cliche these days: but sometimes it's a good idea not to ignore history. As I said in another blog:
"...I've gotten the impression that it's considered gauche in some circles, to cite Chancellor Hitler's social programs and methods of persuasion. I'll grant that using 'fascist!' as an epithet has given references to Nazi Germany the same tacky feel as crying 'commie!'..."
(Another War-on-Terror Blog (June 22, 2010))
Cliche or not, I think Cardinal George has a point.

Eugenics and euthanasia were quite popular ideas, until Chancellor Hitler gave them bad publicity that's only now being cleared away. We really ought to know better, now: but it's easy to forget. Particularly when nasty ideas are put in nice, new, fresh-looking packages.

I'm profoundly grateful that Cardinal George and others are willing to do their jobs, and say what is right - and what is not.

Finally: "Magisterium?" That's what I'm not - and neither is somebody whose authority extends down through some 'health care' business. I've written a little about the Magisterium before.

Related posts:More:

1 comment:

Brigid said...

A few things.

Like an extra coma: "right a mother has, to off her kids if she feels like it"

An incomplete paragraph: "While you're at it, read what Car"

And a missing apostrophe: "the 'good old days,"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.