Monday, February 06, 2012

Where Are All the People?

There seems to be a widespread assumption that the Obama administration’s recent assault on religious liberty and freedom of conscience will be met with widespread resistance by American Catholics. While it appears that some Catholic leaders are responding thusly, I remain skeptical that there will any kind of mass Catholic backlash against President Obama because of this. For if the laity is to become engaged in the battle in a meaningful way, the people in the pews must be shaken out of their current passivity.

Many Catholics seem all too willing to erect their own wall between church and state and like to pretend that their politics has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and vice versa. The problem is that when the government breaks through that barrier and injects itself into the affairs of the Church by attempting to force it to accept policies that violate core tenants of its beliefs, the illusion of this happy little coexistence is shattered. Well, at least it would be if the Church were more consistent and forceful in explaining exactly what is taking place and why it matters to American Catholics.

My experience may not be typical, but so far little word of this current controversy has surfaced in our parish on any given Sunday. A few months ago, there was an insert in the bulletin that touched on it. Since then, nothing. No homilies, no presentations, no mention in the weekly bulletin. The only thing related to politics that has merited attention has been on the marriage front, with updates on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment appearing in the last few bulletins. But nothing on the Obamacare rules which are a direct threat to the freedom of the Catholic Church to exercise its religious beliefs.

In order for there to be action, there needs to be a call for it first. I fear that too many Catholic leaders are still reluctant to sound it.