If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to inform yourself about the challenge we have regarding the HHS Mandate (the short background and Q & A sheets are a good start, for more details and ongoing updates you might keep up with this page).
Now, do a reread of the section about “Challenges to Faith” (pages 41-43). If you had any doubt about whether the study of the USCCA would be relevant, this should answer that!
Let’s see how these intersect and consider how it requires us to think about how we think (world view, distinction about issues/implications, conviction that compels action consistent with truth in love, and detachment from loyalties that hinder the same).
Coupling this HHS rule with the legislation in Illinois last year that legalized Civil Unions (but had inadequate religious protection forcing Catholic institutions out of foster care), a couple of things jump out:
1) The state (in comfortable collaboration with a culture where God is considered a rather irrelevant participant) is usurping the authority unto itself to define (and impose this definition on others) the nature of the human person and the “goods”/value of life.
2) The ideological secularism in which it grounds the definitions is at odds with not only the Catholic view but also that of other faith traditions. Without a reference beyond ourselves, the value of the human person is based on a Darwinian ethic of pragmatism and power (which shift). There is a natural diminishing of the view of human sexuality (without meaning/design/purpose it is reduced to recreation/pleasure or means of exerting manipulative power). Furthermore, the general understanding of the “goods” of life, the rights inherent versus granted to individuals, our responsibility to one another, and how we experience our relationship to/with God, likewise are vulnerable to the whims of power. This secularism intends no room for religious influence in the public square, evidenced by the trend to increasingly limit the understanding of freedom of religion to freedom of worship. Such narrowing denies the integrity of the human person. Spirituality/faith isn’t meant to be compartmentalized but integrally experienced not only in the sanctuary but in all areas of life and relationships. The human person isn’t a sum of pieces but a whole.
The United States Bishops are speaking/writing very plainly and boldly about this violation of religious freedom, and others are speaking along with them. Before closing the post I would like to encourage two things. First, engage in this current issue – contact your legislator, write a letter to the editor… Second, let’s help one another (inviting others) to continue to deepen our faith and increase our understanding of who/whose we are and how we (and the human family) most fully live up to the dignity that is ours.
Let’s press forward soberly because of the very genuine shift in our culture, but also joyfully and with hope because of the One who is the source and goal of our faith! (Laurie E.)