Many Bishops in the U.S., over 100, are speaking out against the Health and Human Services Mandate that all companies and organizations, other than churches, pay for contraception, abortifacient contraception, and direct sterilization in their employee health plans. They are right to speak out strongly on this issue. The HHS is wrong to require us to cooperate in evil by paying for intrinsically evil and gravely immoral acts. However, there is a certain hypocrisy to the Bishops’ action in this matter.
A large percentage of Catholic men and women have used contraception without contrition or confession; a large percentage of Catholics continue to use contraception. The use of abortifacient contraception among Catholic women who are married, or even unmarried and sexually active, is very high. Perhaps a majority of these women use the type of contraception that is abortifacient. The rates for abortions in areas of the nation with a high percentage of Catholics in the population are about as high as in other areas of the nation. Many Catholic women do not know that the procurement of a completed direct abortion results in the penalty of automatic excommunication. Many Catholics do not realize that it is the sin of heresy to reject the Church’s teaching that all direct abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother, is always gravely immoral.
What is the Bishops’ response to this prevalence of grave sin and ignorance of magisterial teaching concerning contraception and abortion among U.S. Catholics? They are mostly silent. Sometimes they speak out against abortion, but not often enough and not loudly enough. They rarely speak against contraception and abortifacient contraception, and then only quietly, in a few places in a few documents. It is hypocrisy for the U.S. Bishops to speak out more loudly and more emphatically on the lesser (but still important) issue of PAYMENT for contraception and abortifacient contraception, and not on the issue of the very widespread USAGE of contraception and abortifacient contraception by Catholics.
When government tries to take away our freedom of religion, the Bishops should speak out, as they have. When Catholic misuse their freedom of religion to reject definitive magisterial teaching and to commit grave sins without repentance, the Bishops should speak out more loudly. They have not done so.
The Bishops should undertake a major effort to reverse the widespread use of contraception and abortifacient contraception by Catholics. Where is the Bishop’s Letter, to be read at all Masses, on the subject of abortifacient contraception? Why object only to paying for contraception and abortifacient contraception, and not to using it? Of course the Bishops are against the use of contraception and abortifacient contraception, but they generally refrain from preaching and teaching on this subject.
They should also make it very clear to Catholics that any type of procured direct abortion, not only surgical abortions but abortifacient contraception as well, includes the penalty of automatic excommunication.
Sinful secular society knows that the Church is against contraception, and that most married Catholic women and many unmarried Catholic women nevertheless use abortifacient contraception. To speak so strongly against paying for abortifacient contraception, while not even mentioning that using abortifacient contraception is a grave sin, is hypocritical. The Bishops don’t want organizations to be forced to pay for contraception or abortion, but they don’t say much if Catholics want to pay for it themselves.
By contrast, the priests at my current parish have repeatedly spoken, at Mass during sermons, against:
sex outside of marriage,
divorce and remarriage,
and other sins.
Most Bishops, the vast majority it seems, only speak against the most common sins infrequently, if at all. They prefer, for some reason I can’t fathom, to speak on moral issues that have a political dimension, such as voting for pro-abortion politicians, laws permitting gay marriage, and the HHS Mandate. I completely support the efforts of the Bishops to fight against these types of moral evil and against unjust laws. But I do not see why they speak out more frequently and more prominently on political moral issues than on grave sins that are known to be widespread within their flocks.