It looks like the Catholic church has decided to go all in on the issue of birth control. Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George says that the church is willing to close its hospitals if their insurance companies are required to provide contraceptive services to all employees.
The cardinal told members of the Union League Club downtown that the Church may otherwise sell its hospitals, pay penalties, or in a last resort, close them altogether, rather than offer birth control. George says offering birth control would be cooperating with evil. [My italics]
Pretty strong language, Frank, considering that we are talking about a practice that an estimated 98% of women have used at one time or another. Too bad the church doesn’t view pedophilic priests with the same degree of horror.
Interestingly he also adds, “What is the place of church in society that is secularizing itself very, very rapidly?” which shows that he is well aware that the church is fighting a rearguard action to retain its tenuous hold on believers and retain any relevance.
He is right that the world, especially the developed world, is secularizing extremely rapidly. As a result, we are seeing a schism in the religious world. The liberal forms of the Abrahamic religions are losing members. It looks like the conservative wings have decided that their best chance of survival is to revert to rigid orthodoxy, and so we see the rise of Catholic dogmatism, Orthodox Judaism, and fundamentalist Islam, essentially a reversion to medieval male-dominated beliefs and practices.
But going against modernity is not a viable policy in the long run. There is no going back on the goal of women’s equality and emancipation. Modernity always wins. The great trends of history have been inexorably towards greater equality for the formerly marginalized. Those rigid religious groups that tried to hold back this tide will become more desperate and extreme even as they sink into oblivion.