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Bishop Blaire and the contraception mandate May 29, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, Society.

Late last week – too late for me to catch, as I was out Friday and away from the internet for several days – Bishop Stephen Blaire, the very loquacious chair of the USCCB’s committee on Justice and Peace, expressed doubts regarding the bishop’s approach on the contraception mandate.  This is the man who seems to constantly and reflexively oppose any proposals to reduce social welfare expenditures (indeed, he demands their constant increase) in spite of the doom of debt this country is accumulating, and who frequently seems to find an apologia for the actions of the democrat party and the Obama administration.  He was quoted as saying this:

“I do think there are probably some different concerns with how it is being done,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, who recalled Catholic Charities of Sacramento’s unsuccessful legal challenge to a similar state mandate.

Bishop Blaire added that “there is a concern among some bishops that there ought to have been more of a wider consultation” on the USCCB’s response to the mandate. [Ah, yes, “dialogue,” where we can talk forever and nothing ever gets done. Is that what is intended here?]

“The question is what is our focus as bishops and that we have opportunity to clarify our focus and that we are all in agreement on focus,” Bishop Blaire continued. “I think there are different groups that are trying to co-opt this and make it into political issue, and that’s why we need to have a deeper discussion as bishops.” [Hmmm….this does sound less like questioning, and more like opposition to the lawsuits against the HHS Mandate]

Bishop Blaire “worried that some groups ‘very far to the right’ [please……..] are trying to use the conflict as ‘an anti-Obama campaign,’” [You’re right, we are, and rightly so.  And what about your dozens of statements which, amazingly!!, always seem to support the position of the Obama administration?  Do you ever “worry” that leftists will use your statements as part of a pro-Obama campaign?] eported Kevin Clarke, associate editor of America Magazine [Yes……very much like opposition to the direction taken]

I actually agree with Bishop Blaire, I do think the bishops have failed to take advantage of this golden opportunity to discuss the issue of contraception and the intrinsic evil thereof, in an attempt to rectify the horrific catechesis which has completely ignored the issue (when it wasn’t apostasizing) over the past 44 years.  But, I don’t think that’s what Blaire means. He means that he wishes the USCCB had wrung their hands and talked and talked and talked until the mandate was set in law, the Church was paying for contraception, it was a done deal, and ‘oh my we’re so disappointed this happened but what can we possibly do now?  It’s “settled law”.’

However, Bishop Blaire apparently found it necessary to backtrack – somewhat – over the weekend:

“I do think there are probably some different concerns with how it is being done,” he had said. “There is a concern among some bishops that there ought to have been more of a wider consultation.” [What…..over 4o different organizations are suing on this issue, including a large number of dioceses, and yet, there was narrow consultation? I find this hard to believe, except as an attempt to forestall action by talking forever]

“I stand solidly with my brother bishops in our common resolve to overturn the unacceptable intrusion of government into the life of the Church by the HHS Mandate,” Bishop Blaire said in his clarification. “In March, the Administrative Committee issued a statement of commitment to persuade the Administration to eliminate this interference, the Congress to overturn it or the courts to stop it. I contributed to and voted for this statement, and continue to support it, including its call for legal action as was announced on Monday.”……

….I am convinced we need to continue to seek to persuade others to join us in this just cause through reasoned, civil and respectful discussion. Our defense of religious liberty is advanced when there is open discussion about the best strategies to promote our common goal. [So, the implication is that discussion was not “open,” in some manner.  I’m not sure how much more open the discussion could be, it’s been a headline item and has dominated conversation for months]

I look forward to the discussions at the Bishops’ meeting in June which will offer us an opportunity to agree on next steps to achieve our common and essential goal of ending this violation of religious freedom.

This notion of a narrow discussion, and his references to his belief that “different groups” are attempting to somehow make a political issue of this are troubling.  This is a political issue.  This is a politician acting far, far outside his boundaries (constitutional, or with respect to the rights of the Church) – how is this not to be a political issue?  This is really an issue of Church persecution, which  under this administration has reached epidemic proportions.  Bishop Blaire may not like that fact, he may wish it weren’t so, but pretending that sufficient consultations weren’t made, or that it is wrong to “politicize” this issue, simply doesn’t make sense.   The Church has no choice but to defend its rights, and the bishops have chosen what may be the most effective means – legal action.  I may wish they would take this persecution as an opportunity to catechize on the intrinsic evil of contraception, but I don’t deny that, from a practical standpoint, doing so may undermine their efforts to oppose this persecution.  What Bishop Blaire wants seems something very different – he doesn’t make it clear, but the implication is the eternal discussion, obfuscation, and hand-wringing impotence that characterized the Church’s response to similar debacles in the period 1970 – present

I am very glad for the sea change in the mode and tenor of the response.  It may not be ideal to me, but it’s way better than what Bishop Blaire seems to be promoting.   

I note in passing that Bishop Blaire is a protege of Cardinal Mahoney.


1. dismas - May 29, 2012

Personally, I think you are correct here. All of this reminds me of being far at sea with officers who skipped the map-reading courses in their training. In a case like that, avoiding decimation would be by accident. In this case it is Divine Intervention. I was glad to see you note that Bishop Blaire is a Mahoney product. And it is not a passing comment.

tantamergo - May 29, 2012

Some of my best comments are made in passing.

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