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The Catholic diaspora and the tragedy of liberal Catholicism


GEORGE WEIGEL

Source:
Archdiocese of Denver
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/29/2012

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ABSTRACTGEORGE WEIGEL: Catholic diaspora and tragedy of liberal Catholicism Archdiocese of Denver Search HOME NEWS DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER EL PUEBLO CATOLICO PARISHES OFFICES CATHOLIC SCHOOLS BISHOP CONLEY QUICK LINKS >>> About the Archdiocese Becoming Catholic Pastoral Handbook Cardinal Stafford Library Calendar Donations Web Archive Contact Us MENU BY TOPICS MENU GEORGE WEIGEL Cemeteries & Mortuaries Child & Youth Protection Education/Classes Hispanics (En EspaƱol) Evangelization/RCIA Liturgy & Spirituality Marriage & Family Life Other Catholic Organizations Seminaries & Clergy Social Teaching Vocations Youth, Young Adults & Campus Ministry Archive 2012 Archive 2011 Archive 2010 Archive 2009 Archive 2008 Archive 2007 Archive 2006 Archive 2005 Archive 2004 Archive 2003 GEORGE WEIGEL COLUMN George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His column, "The Catholic Difference," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register , official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver.  Click here to read his biography .   Subscribe Today! For only $20 per column ($10 if online only), you, too, can publish George Weigel’s weekly column in your newspaper, bulletin or journal. For more information, contact Tracy Murphy, Associate Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Denver, at tracy.murphy@archden.org . The Catholic diaspora and the tragedy of liberal Catholicism Feb. 29, 2012 - In a Feb. 14 note to his people, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., the archbishop of Chicago, commented on the question of “who speaks for the Catholic Church,” which had become a subject of public controversy thanks to the Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate”—which is, of course, an abortifacient and sterilization mandate as well. The cardinal noted the administration’s crude attempt to play divide-and-conquer with the Catholic Church in the United States, a ploy in which some nominally Catholic groups quickly acquiesced. Yet something important in all of this was being missed, the cardinal suggested: “…the bishops of the Church make no attempt to speak for all Catholics; they never have. The bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those that hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.” The diaspora, in this case, was entirely predictable: columnists and politicians who had questioned the administration’s mandate, and organizations and associations that had raised serious questions about it when it was first announced, quickly fell back into line when the administration, on Feb. 10, announced an “accommodation” that was an obvious shell game, a ruse that didn’t change the moral issue involved one whit. Others, however, continued to gather around the bishops, who rejected the “accommodation.” And they will prevail. The administration is on the shakiest of legal ground in attempting to impose contraception, sterilization and abortifacients as “preventive services” that must be provided, on demand and with no co-pay, in all health insurance programs. As my friends Edward Whelan and David Rivkin pointed out in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 15, there is every reason to think that the administration’s mandate, even as tweaked by the false-flag “accommodation,” will fail two legal tests: the test of the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion (recently upheld in a robust way by the Sup.......