- Trying to square the circle
The opening days of the Synod on the Family have revealed distinct differences of opinion between the participants. How can their commitment to church teaching be matched with compassion for those who struggle with it?
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- Nobel Prize: Nomadic priest that migrants call for help Fredrick Nzwili
- Synod's division bell rings for the devolution of power Christopher Lamb in Rome
- The Synod of tough words spoken softly Paul Vallely
At the close of their annual plenary meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement reiterating their opposition to the controversial contraception mandate that is part of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. However, for the first time, the bishops also began to qualify their opposition.
In every previous statement on the mandate, the USCCB has said the mandate would cause Catholic ministries to “fund and/or facilitate” the objectionable contraceptive coverage. That language was dropped from the statement issued last week. According to one source, during the closed door executive session, the bishops wrestled with the issue of whether or not compliance with the mandate constituted illicit material cooperation with evil and decided not to include the “fund and/or facilitate” language which suggested compliance would be morally illicit.
Moreover, after two years during which opposition to the mandate, and the broader issue of religious liberty, tended to drown out all other issues, the new statement painted the USCCB’s religious liberty concerns as one among many issues facing the Church, alongside matters of worship and teaching, service to the poor, and comprehensive immigration reform.