The time is ripe for faithful Catholics, especially in the US, to approach the clergy and humbly ask them to preach about sexual morality.
Think about it: the tone of the discourse of the US bishops towards Obama’s abortion/contraception mandate is rapidly approaching a feverish pitch. Some weeks ago we heard the call for a national day of fasting on March 30. Then the USCCB released a blunt statement in April on this issue. Now they’re calling for civil disobedience.
Clearly, the bishops are setting this up as the greatest battle of our age. And rightfully so. So why aren’t they preaching about it from the pulpit?
They’ve spun the issue of paying for contraception and abortion as a matter of fundamental religious freedom. Fair enough. Given how much noise they’re making, any non-Catholic outsider would logically conclude that these issues are a central part of the Catholic Faith, as opposed to accessory parts of Catholicism, like the colours of priestly vestments on different feast days. Yet, if this same non-Catholic outsider were to sit in a Catholic pew every day for a year, he’d never hear a peep about contraception and maybe only one or two mentions of abortion.
Does it make sense that I hear more about birth control on CNN than in our churches? The bishops tell us that we have to be willing to go to the rack over these issues, but they dare not mention these same issues at Mass? We’re told that these issues are so important that the faithful should be willing to disobey the law, get arrested, shut down adoption agencies, schools and hospitals. Yet they’re apparently not important enough to teach about from the pulpit or in marriage prep? Seriously? Can these issues really be that important if the clergy dare not teach the “why” of these beliefs to the troops they’re trying to mobilize? There’s a screaming disconnect here, and any honest clergyman can see it.
And so, my friends, I’m convinced that many US priests and bishops will be more open now to teaching about these issues. In particular, the bishops who’ve been publicly vocal in opposing Obama have pretty much painted themselves into a corner. There’s no turning back or shirking for those men. Give them a friendly nudge and they’ll move.
We have to give the US bishops credit for making a good effort so far. But most of them haven’t gone far enough, in my opinion. Jesus doesn’t ask for merely a “good effort”. He demands total buy-in, total commitment, even to the point of
death losing our tax-exempt status. If the bishops don’t ramp it up a few notches beyond a “good effort”, they will lose this battle with Obama. First and foremost, they need to start teaching sexual morality again, including the rationale of “why” the Church holds these beliefs. They must also mobilize the faithful to vote against Obama himself, not just oppose the contraception/abortion policy. Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria gets it. Not many of the others have. This has to change. Fast.
In the meantime, American Catholics should be asking their clergy to teach about sexual morality. Even in Canada, I think the more faithful among the clergy have been following developments in the US and they would honestly concede that there’s no valid reason to keep putting it off.
Give it a try. Approach your pastor and or bishop and respectfully request that they give some airtime to sexual morality. If they show some receptivity, try to emphasize that they preach it at the Sunday Mass, not on a weekday when the church is empty. I’ll give it a try in my parish and let you know how it goes.