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01/27/2012 U.S.: Battle over objection dossier drives Obama away from the Vatican – 30th January, 2012.

Obama turns his back on the Vatican when it comes to ethical issues
It is one of the most delicate “dossiers” in the Vatican. The Holy See has left it up to U.S. bishops to fight against the Obama administration’s decision which requires all U.S. Catholic hospitals to provide contraceptives and abortion products in their health programs
Giacomo Galeazzi
vatican city

It is one of the most delicate “dossiers” in the Vatican. The Holy See has left it up to U.S. bishops to fight against the Obama administration’s decision that, starting next year, all U.S. Catholic hospitals must provide contraceptives and abortion products in their health programs up to U.S. bishops. The Archbishop of New York and head of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, Timothy Dolan, responded by rejecting the measure and asking that the entire Catholic community voice its refusal publicly. The genesis of the protest is not just American. “The White House will never be able to impose on U.S. Catholics behavior that is contrary to the Teaching,” a Cardinal of the Curia expert on bioethical issues assures “Vatican Insider”. “Rather than go against their conscience, many facilities will close” assures the cardinal. Leading the “crusade” is the new Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez who has publicly called for a general outcry by believers against the new regulations with which the White House, U.S. in the opinion of the U.S. episcopate, “violates non-negotiable principles.” The Curia explains that “Mgr. Gomez is Hispanic and was given his position by Pope Benedict XVI because he is part of the new line of U.S. bishops that are in line with the Pope.” He is the leader, therefore, of those “creative conservative” prelates with which Benedict XVI is filling U.S. dioceses. “A conservative bishop for Los Angeles,” was the headline printed in U.S. newspapers when Archbishop Gomez was designated as successor to Cardinal Roger Mahony in April 2010.

The choice of the Mexican, Gomez as archbishop shows discontinuity with previous choices.A member of the Opus Dei, it is significant that the Holy See has left him in command of the offensive against the “morally unacceptable” decision of the Obama administration. A complicated issue for a man who is no ordinary bishop. Mgr. Jose Gomez was listed among the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States in “Time” magazine, in 2005. He was also winner of the “Good Shepherd” award in 2003 and held the post of Archbishop of San Antonio, until his appointment as Archbishop of Los Angeles. Gomez was one of the most active priests in the United States and has played a key role in working with Hispanic communities in the country. In 2007, CNN indicated him as one of the most prominent Hispanics on the occasion of the “Month of the Hispanic tradition”, and among other roles, he is a founding member of the Catholic Latin American Leaders (C.A.L.L). Hispanics and Latin Americans, according to his definition, “are people of faith with deep cultural traditions based on the fundamentals of the faith, which is new in the Church of the United States.”

A delicate issue that of relations between the Vatican and Washington, especially since a new nuncio has now been chosen: Carlo Maria Viganò. When he was Secretary General of the Governorate, Viganò had come into conflict with the Holy See’s “prime minister”, Tarcisio Bertone.

Moreover, until the name of the Republican challenger is made known, the Vatican prefers to maintain a “low profile” in relations with the White House, mindful that at the last presidential elections the majority of Catholics voted for Obama. Therefore, it will be the U.S. Bishops, with Archbishop Gomez at the helm, who will play the game on conscientious objection “locally”. And according to the Church, by playing this game, the U.S. administration is putting the Constitution at risk.

For the U.S. episcopate this is an unprecedented attack on conscientious objection and religious freedom. It is not only the more conservative fronts that are protesting against the White House, guilty of having established that health insurance policies must include contraception systems for women. On the controversial decision, in recent days, “ Vatican Radio” asked the lawyer Carlo Cardia, a professor of canon law at the University Roma Tre for comments. “Not only is the U.S. Constitution at stake, but the international charters of human rights which have had and have, among the most essential points, respect for freedom of conscience, which in turn, has numerous applications – Cardia said on Vatican Radio. We all remember one of the earliest forms of conscientious objection, military service, when the value of defending the country surrendered when faced with conscientious objection to taking up arms. This principle, which has a series of applications, is now practically disregarded, as though it it did not exist! The attack on conscientious objection is taking place on several fronts, and I believe that this erosion is becoming ever more serious. We should reflect on an international level, otherwise human rights will no longer be universal.”

On the one hand the erosion of the principle of conscientious objection, on the other a trend that seems to raise abortion to a right. In 2008 the majority of American Catholics voted for Obama despite the bishops’ skepticism. “When conscientious objection is put in brackets, the alternative becomes a right – points out Cardia. We recall that when the law on the “liberalization of abortion” was introduced, it was said that abortion is not a right, abortion is an appeal, in desperate situations, to something that everyone feels as suffering. Gradually this has disappeared altogether. Abortion is becoming a right, and what happens? On the other hand, conscientious objection to abortion can become a disvalue.”

Recently the Supreme Court of the United States voted 9 to 0 in favor of freedom of internal organization for the various religions, freedom that has somehow been questioned. It is unlikely that in November the same thing will happen again. Today, believers are all against him, without exception. Even the more liberal souls of Catholicism are saying they are “angry” at such a “hasty” decision. The protest is growing: the government, through the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, said that, starting in August 2013, Churches and religious associations will be forced to offer their employees health insurance coverage that contemplates repayments for contraception and abortion.

The directive, Sebelius said, “balances religious freedom and increases access to preventive services.” “America is not surprised, nor does it dare to sneer loftily as it looks at a significant and motivated piece of itself march through the streets of the capital, up to the Parliament, on the anniversary of the ruling of the Federal Supreme Court that legalized abortion: from Michigan to California, the battle in defense of life finds respect and has the ability to attract numbers similar to the public dimension of the faith,” says Catholic daily Avvenire commenting that “the success of the March for Life that was held in Washington was proven by the participation of over 100 thousand people, though figures were difficult to verify even in the U.S. which is renowned for its hi-tech precision.”

“For a diverse American prolife movement to bring to the streets tens of thousands of people from all over the country for a religious and political happenings, as was the case for the thirty-ninth year Monday in Washington, is a sign of popular roots that go beyond the caliber of a folkloristic event by a minority, regardless the motivation”, writes the newspaper of the CEI (the Italian Episcopal Conference) in an editorial dedicated to the initiative. “The great march in Washington – said the bishops’ newspaper – gave far more impressive show of a popular gathering than those set up by ‘Indignants’ overseas, on Wall Street and elsewhere, perhaps capable of greater media appeal but certainly not as able as the people for life to give voice to the shared alphabet of an entire civilization.” The input comes from afar, from Rome, and more precisely from Pope Benedict XVI who received the American bishops. The freedom of the Church to make its voice heard in the U.S. public debate “is seriously threatened,” said the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald William Wuerl who, when he returned home, went to the attack. The Catholic world feels betrayed by a president who to date still says that he is busy “reducing the number of abortions.”

Yet Catholic sectors too had defended the health care reform. According to Avvenire, “America looks in the mirror of life, and considers itself mature enough to confront itself with passion over the fate of man in an era of techno-science and individualism translated into rights still to be proven”. “This – the editorial concludes – is the lesson of a community that is not afraid to split when it’s worth it, that does not hide a crucial issue under the carpet of ambiguity, because it knows that it is also where their future is decided. Around the big questions regarding human life, from stem cells to assisted suicide, what is at play is the ethics on which the country will be sustained tomorrow. A useful reminder for the omissions and timidity of here at home.”


January 31, 2012 - Posted by | Charismatic Renewal, Youth | ,

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