This post almost suffered from titlefail, as there are so may possible takes on this timely post from Fr. Ray Blake’s blog on one English Catholic’s view of the American contraception mandate crisis. Yes, and all of them are right. But I want to avoid lamentations about the past–even the recent past, and even other moral issues’ present– and keep up the will to fight this abomination while we can with what we can.
However, I do wish to point out that paying attention to what happens in Europe should be the ordinary job of vigilant Catholics. We are some years (not enough, sadly) behind the European suicide curve. Note in the excerpts below the frog-in-water process at work.
Fr. Blake wonders why British (and many other nations’) bishops were willing to capitulate without a whimper to what the U.S. bishops, to their credit, are willing to go down with the ship over– namely paying for others’ prerogative to contracept, sterilize and kill little children in the womb:
All this fuss in the US about the Catholic Church paying for abortions, sterilisations, contraception and so forth, in England the Church has been doing it for years, without a word of protest or a blink of the eye.
Admittedly in our own dear country, first of all the Health Servce was introduced, precisely to fund medical care, only gradually were other things added to the mix, until now the NHS kills babies in the womb and we are on the brink of it killing the old and infirmed.
It is alright though, we are not alone, “Health” Services in the rest of Europe are more-or-less the same.
As Catholics instinctively we support the American Catholic bishops but if we do, then what about our own situation?
Fr. Blake also linked to another excellent perspective from the UK at the excellent blog Valle Adurni:
Catholics in the pews who have not had the subject [SLC note: contraception] mentioned in a sermon or catechesis for half a century are now made aware of what the situation truly is. And thirdly, there is the situation in the UK. Our compulsory National Health Service contributions have for decades been paying for abortions, sterilizations, free contraception in schools and a whole host of other morally dubious or plainly wrong procedures. The chillingly-named NICE* has but to declare a particular procedure or drug a good use of public funds and our money goes to pay for it without a by-your-leave.
The original conception of the National Health Service was, I believe, a noble one. But it has become a kind of monster in some respects, and a shibboleth in others. No politician wants to be seen to be demolishing the NHS, and yet we are confronted with the situation that our health care provision is not, actually, free, and is not nearly as good as that to be found in France or even Spain. We have been through a huge period of privatization of health care at all levels except the vital one of who actually administers the money. If I could choose an insurance system that did not pay for abortions &c, then I should certainly do so, and that would bring some pressure to bear (which is presumably why this part hasn’t been privatized). There would, of course, have to be some system whereby those too poor to afford health care could continue to have access to it.
All of which is getting around to saying: wouldn’t it be nice if our own bishops also were able to man up and speak the truth. I happen to know that there really are behind-the-scene discussions with the government which are not without their effect, but these discussions are invisible to the population at large, even the Catholic population. There is a lot to be said for sounding the trumpet and beating the drum. It works wonders for morale, and I think that that is what we need right now.
*Non-UK readers might not know what NICE is; it stands for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. But it was also, prophetically, the name for the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments in C.S.Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, the body whose immoral experiments with human life brought dreadful calamities to the world.