Some Catholics may need a reminder about living out their faith properly, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., is issuing that reminder, through a pastoral letter on May 24, on “Being Catholic Today.”
The faithful cannot simply pick and choose what tenants they find to be true. Indeed, the Cardinal reminded that there are “fundamental truths,” and pointed out that “[t]he Church is not a business, a club, or a social-interest group. Her origins are found in the will and actions of Christ.”
Despite such truths, however, some, even Catholics themselves, in the name of “tolerance,” want to impose secular morality on others, where people can pick and choose. This is not to say that Catholics wish to impose their morality on the whole world, but it is not too much to ask that those who profess to be Catholics adhere to that morality. Instead, we are living in a society, even right here in the United States of America, where the Catholic Church cannot even practice their faith without discrimination from those who abuse their power and the faith while in public office.
While the Catholic Church has always been about caring for the poor, and is rooted in “authentic humanism,” the Church and other religious organizations cannot even freely practice their faith when it comes to employing others who share their mission.
By now, many are familiar with the contraception mandate from the Health and Human Services (HHS) of the Obama administration, which requires employers to provide their employees with contraception at no cost. Any so-called “accommodations” from the administration hardly constituted a compromise at all.
The administration also lost what could have been a powerful ally, the Catholic Church stands in favor of universal health care, but rightfully refuses to go against Church teachings.
The Cardinal’s letter also references other instances though, in his own archdiocese. The D.C. City Council passed two deceptively titled bills, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA).
The former bill particularly affects pro-life organizations, and could force them to hire abortion activists. There has even been concern that it could force abortion coverage, with an insufficient exception. The U.S. House of Representatives voted on May 1 to stop the bill. Such a move was not successful in the Senate, however, and now pro-life organizations must rely on even more court battles—as if the HHS mandate cases weren’t enough—if they are accused of discrimination.
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Both acts affect the Church, as the latter is described by Wuerl as forcing schools to “endorse, fund, or provide other assistance for the promotion of sexual conduct contrary to their faith and moral beliefs.”
The Cardinal also addressed issues outside his area, including a lengthy battle against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, of San Francisco, which has involved ruthless attacks and even calls for the Vatican to remove him. What did Archbishop Cordileone dare to do? The Archbishop is seeking to clarify that Church teaching was there in employee handbooks for the diocese’s teachers. Is it really so unthinkable that a Catholic school would want to ensure that Catholic teaching was being taught?
The Catholic Church, for instance, is fundamentally against abortion. The teaching of the Church, and words and deeds from Pope Francis, is abundantly clear on this. And yet, the Catholic Church still welcomes and loves post-abortive women, even devoting a ministry to helping them with the healing process. Christ would do the same. Especially as someone who spoke about caring for the least of us, He could never endorse abortion. He would still love the post-abortive mother, though.
And the Church has not only condemned abortion, but acts consistently in a merciful and loving manner. Pope Francis will allow priests to pardon post-abortive women and abortionists, while still maintaining a clear teaching against abortion.
The above examples of discrimination would once be thought of as completely unthinkable, and still are to many Catholics as to how those who discriminate, and do so in the name of “tolerance,” can get away with it. But “tolerance” has a different meaning now in this secularized world, and very much stems not only from a misunderstanding of, but also a hatred, of the Catholic Church and the good that is still being done in the name of the faith.