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America magazine decries US bishops' stand on religious freedom

March 23, 2012

An editorial in the Jesuit magazine America has scolded the US bishops for their continued opposition to President Obama’s contraceptive mandate.

Rapping the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for showing “wonkish precision” in some detailed critiques of the Obama mandate, the America editors claim that the basic thrust of the bishops’ argument is misplaced. “Such exaggerated protests,” the editors say, “likewise show disrespect for the freedom Catholics have enjoyed in the United States, which is a model for the world—and for the church.”

The America editorial charges that the USCCB has been motivated by differences with the White House about policy, rather than principle. The editors argue that the Obama administration has answered all reasonable objections to the policy, and that the “compromise” offered on February 10 “fundamentally did what Catholic social teaching expects government to do—coordinate contending rights for the good of all.”

The editorial argues that the American bishops have wielded their influence most effectively in pastoral letters written in the 1980s on two clearly political topics: nuclear weaponry and economic policies. Yet the editors follow up that point by arguing: “The American public is uncomfortable with an overt exercise of political muscle by the hierarchy.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Mar. 25, 2012 5:49 PM ET USA

    “The American public is uncomfortable with an overt exercise of political muscle by the hierarchy.” This "American Public" is definitely NOT...; However the American government is not the real adversary...; "magazines" such as this one and others like them that call themselves "Catholic" are. If any "magazine" wants to smear the Church, let them do it, but NOT with the name "Catholic" in any way associated with them. If the bishops do not condemn such publications, who will?

  • Posted by: HKS - Mar. 24, 2012 11:38 PM ET USA

    I knew I was right in not wanting to subscribe to America magazine. This stand against the bishops proves it.

  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 24, 2012 11:00 PM ET USA

    Amerika strikes again. The good orthodox among the Jesuits must hang their heads in shame. Pray that the good ones will persevere, the ignorant ones will learn and the deliberately evil ones will repent and rejoin the Church.

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Mar. 23, 2012 11:45 PM ET USA

    Indeed the Church does not want to impose its ways of thinking and modes of conduct on those who do not share the faith; however, the H&HS mandates contraception, abortion and sterilization which are not matters of faith but rather matters of the natural moral law. The NML is a participation of God's eternal law made knowable to man and woman through reason. The NML guides us how to perform our proper actions with a view to our final end which is God. The above behaviors are contrary to reason.

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 23, 2012 10:25 PM ET USA

    America. A publication in the Jesuit tradition instead of the Catholic tradition.

  • Posted by: john1948 - Mar. 23, 2012 8:27 PM ET USA

    Does anyone care about the opinion of the eidtors of America magazine? Their "scolding" the USCCB because the bishops demand respect for the First Amendment is about as pitiful as this country's most incompetent president in history, Jimmy Carter, arguing with Pope John Paul II in 1978 about the value of liberation theology and priestesses, as reported in another article today. The editors are fools to think that someone might value their opinion.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 23, 2012 8:14 PM ET USA

    What a bunch of moralistic hogwash. Sadly it seems the Jesuits have now become so Americanized that they are openly siding with the government’s American brand of morality. Shouldn’t the Jesuits instead be doing their job which is to intellectually defend the Church? Compromising traditional Catholic teachings and morals for the sake of the common good (as defined by a secular government) is incomprehensible, and theologically indefensible. Maybe it is time to rein in the Jesuits and replace their leadership. They are clearly a big part of the current problems with HHS and the overall downward drifting of the Church in America.

  • Posted by: LittleRedHen - Mar. 23, 2012 8:08 PM ET USA

    I want the Jesuits to be declared in schism.

  • Posted by: scotty - Mar. 23, 2012 7:22 PM ET USA

    I am so sick of people/groups quoting about what the American public wants. Truth is, no one really knows what everyone wants and how everyone feels. I remember a time when self-proclaimed Catholics adhered to Church teaching as directed by the Magisterium, as they are in turn directed by the Holy Spirit. The Catholic faith is not a buffet where one can choose what they like and disregard what they do not. Prayer is still the most powerful weapon on earth; if you don't like something, pray..